Author Topic: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story  (Read 4550 times)

Offline John Forth

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Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« on: April 26, 2010, 08:09:53 pm »
With the Campaign for Real Fear coming to a close, and a few sad souls on here not making the final cut, I thought it would be nice to give people a place to post their 500 words for others to have a look at. So if you have a story that didn't get to the final 10, why not pop it below and let us all have a gander.

Of course, I wouldn't dream of asking anyone to show me theirs without going first, so without further ado:

We Are Now Approaching

'Excuse me.'
Masters stood as the train slowed, expecting the man seated between him and the aisle to stand and give way. He didn't budge; didn't even look up from his clasped hands. Was he praying? Masters cleared his throat. 'Excuse me. This is my stop.'
'Look,' said Masters, 'if you don't move, I'm going to miss my stop. So please-'

'Sit down.' The man's voice was thick as a drain following a storm.
'I don't think you understand-'
'I understand.'
'No. You see, this is my stop, and-'
The man opened his hands to allow Masters to see what he held. Masters saw himself reflected in the curve of the blade. Desperately, he looked around the carriage for help, but he had worked late, and his stop was close to the end of the line; there was no one there.
A frantic beeping signalled the closing of the doors. The train hauled itself forward again. Limbs weak, and shot through with rods of ice, Masters lowered himself back into his seat. As he did so, the other closed his hands.
Masters looked at the man. He was thin, his face elongated by a shaven scalp. His jacket was featureless in the way it would be if a child had drawn it in crayon, his jeans piebald with stains. A drug addict, Masters reckoned, or some care in the community nut. Perhaps he could be reasoned with.
'Listen, I don't have much-' Masters reached for his wallet.
'Not to talk.'
His hand fell away from the pocket.
The conductor hadn't passed through this way yet, but then they didn't always check the tickets on services this late. He wondered whether he would be able to knock the man over and make a break for the driver's booth. But even if he made it that far, would he be able to get in? There was always the emergency brake, but that would leave him stranded with his assailant.
Something vibrated against Masters' chest. His phone. It emitted an angry buzz, which made the man flinch and finally turn to look at Masters.
Masters put his hand over the shivering device. 'It'll  be my wife. She'll be worried.'
The man shook his head. 'You won't be speaking to her again.'
It seemed as if the vibration had invaded his entire body. Masters felt himself begin to shake. He turned to the window and peered out at the night, at the map of criss-crossing tracks. There was another train, running almost parallel. As it drifted closer, Masters saw a lone figure peering out of the window. It was a woman, her eyes wide, one palm pressed to the glass. A tall figure with yellow skin stood over her. Distantly, Masters realised that his phone had stopped.
A voice sounded. It came from the man, and simultaneously from the loudspeaker in the carriage. 'In collision, we become immortal,' it said. 'A life entwined in another, the crossing tracks. We are now approaching-'


In retrospect, it wasn't really fresh enough, and didn't particularly go anywhere, so I'm not especially gutted that it didn't make it.

I wrote a couple of others for it, which didn't get submitted. If anyone's interested, they can be found yonder:

Offline LouM

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 01:34:49 pm »
Great idea! There are some going up on the TTA forum -

I think it's good that people are sharing their stories: it feels like it's really carrying on the spirit of the campaign.

Mine's up on my blog, but to save faffing round with clicking all over the place...


It’s late, and she would never normally have taken this way home. The alley’s just that little bit too long for comfort, the distance between the street lamps just too far and the shadows between them just too deep. But still, it’s late. Very late, and the walk around the block is long—longer still in the rain—and all she wants is to get home.

She stands at the mouth of the alleyway and she makes her choice.

The rain has only got heavier with the passing night and the sound of water dripping steadily, slowly, echoes around her as she walks. There’s a new sound: footsteps. Not hers. The noise fills the alley, bouncing off the walls and her heart skips. The feet behind her stumble slightly, then pause. She can hear whispers, muffled laughter. “Alright sweetheart? What’s the hurry?”

She walks faster, sinking into her coat like it’s armour and counting the steps she still has to take. The footsteps follow. “Wait up, darlin’! We just want a chat—don’t we boys? No need to run off—hey… hey!”

The end of the alley is there, right ahead: she can see it now, feel it, and she’s running—but not fast enough to escape the hand that falls on her shoulder, the fingers that tighten with a cold, hard grip. There’s a sour smell, of stale booze and cigarettes and danger. Another hand—two—on her shoulders, her arms, pulling at her… dragging her back into the darkness.

The hands drop away and she lurches forward, her head colliding with the wall. The bricks are rough against her skin but she doesn’t notice; doesn’t care. She sees stars in the darkness as she staggers forward, only vaguely aware of the sounds behind her: a scuffle, something breaking… bones?

Another hand on her shoulder—this one gentle, leading her towards the light. “Are you alright? Thank god. Come on; this way.” The voice is soft and low. A woman’s.

She allows herself to be led and tries not to think of what might have happened here, what could have been. She tries not to remember the sound of her rescue, tries not to ask herself how a single woman could have fought off those men…

In the safety of the streetlight, she looks up at her saviour; sees the flash of teeth as she falls, then nothing more.

The rain has stopped, but still there’s the sound of dripping—not water now, but blood.

I reckon mine was probably a little too simplistic - and, let's face it just not as good as some of the others!  ;D
But it was good fun and I enjoyed the challenge - wouldn't it be great if they made this an annual thing?

Offline John Forth

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 07:57:58 pm »
I agree. I'd love to see more of the submissions appearing online. :)

It probably wouldn't take much work to set up a Wordpress Blog to collate all the unused stories. I'm tempted...

Offline Steppedonwolf

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 09:08:34 pm »
Here's mine. Perhaps I misread the brief. Looking back, I know they wanted stories that show diversity in horror, but my attention was drawn to the 'modern fears' idea. Knowing lots of spectacle wearers have a fear of using contact lenses (Aargh! Shoving bits of plastic in your eyes! Aargh!) I wrote a story about that...

CONTACTS - Adrian Chamberlin

Switching to contact lenses was an act of vanity. My belief was that appearances are everything. Well, I’m paying the price for that vanity now. But so are you. Because appearances aren’t everything. Seeing those things will be no defence from them.

My eyesight had been deteriorating for so long and I was fed up with the ever-increasing thickness of my glasses. Hell, I was putting on more weight, losing even more hair, so I figured I was allowed something that would give me back a bit of self-esteem.

After six months of regular use the optician told me that I couldn’t wear them anymore. Build up of proteins or something. By this time I was so used to the lenses, so happy to leave the Coke-bottom glasses behind, that I didn’t want to part with them.
So I sourced them from somewhere else. Not a reputable supplier, but the prescription was spot on. The vision was perfect – even better than the lenses given to me by my optician.

Too perfect. Because I found I could see things that I couldn’t before. Things that you can’t see.

I can see the shadow-creatures that hover over you. I can even see what passes for faces on them, and their alien smiles as they enter your bodies and take you over. What happens after that you’ve read in the papers and the police reports.

I gave up trying to warn you people. I just walked on by and let things take their own course. I don’t even hear your screams anymore.

Like everything else with wearing contact lenses I just got used to it. Just as I got used to the itching and the constant dryness in my eyes whenever I put the lenses in. Even the sharp, stabbing pain was bearable. For a while, anyway.

One thing I couldn’t get used to was taking the lenses out. They seemed to stick to the cornea, reluctant to come away. Each day that passed I found it harder, until one day I found that I couldn’t take the lenses out anymore.
I tried prodding the lens with an index finger and there was nothing there. The contacts weren’t merely fixed to the surface of the eyeballs. They’d passed through completely.

Last night the pain increased. It became unbearable. I rubbed and rubbed the eyes until…well, until there was nothing left.

So now I’m wearing glasses again, dark ones this time to hide the emptiness of my eyeless sockets. The irony hasn’t escaped me. The price of vanity.

You’d think I wouldn’t be able to see the shadow-things through my wall of darkness. But I can. I can still see them, because they are creatures that are darker than blindness itself.

Be thankful you can’t see them. And understand why I walk past you when they make contact. They know I can see them. They’ll make a move on me if I stop to help.

Like me, you’re on your own.

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Cicero

Offline simonkurt

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 09:47:10 am »
This was my sub:

Message 3 - Simon Kurt Unsworth

She pressed play on the answering machine, stilling the flashing red light, and listened to the messages. The first was her mother, asking if how she was and the second was a friend inviting her for a drink that night. The third was Mike, and in the background Davey and Meg. Meg was speaking but what she was saying was unintelligible, and Davey sounded upset. Mike sounded upset as well, his voice blurring at the edges. There was traffic noise behind the three voices.

“Ellie, I’ve tried, but I can’t live without you, or the children. One lousy day every two weeks isn’t enough, you’re my world and it’s not fair that I can’t be with you all the time. It’s not fair on me, or Davey and Meg. I can’t do it. I won’t. I’m so sorry.”

The playback ended and for a moment, she was confused. She watched as a police car pulled up outside the house and a police man and policewoman emerged from it, and the scream only birthed itself in her belly when she saw the look on their faces as they started up the path towards her front door.

Offline LeeH

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2010, 08:00:40 pm »
Here ya go - just posted mine on my blog, but here it is - feel free to point and snigger... :-)

One Side of a Conversation with a Crazy on the Train

I’m going to sit by you. Is the train moving soon? Where’s it going? Where are you going? I’m going to Portsmouth. This is my first train of the day. Can I get to Portsmouth on this train? How do you know?

Who do I ask when I get there? Is there a guard on this train? Will he know? I can see another train there, look. I can see your daughter. What time does that train leave? I see her in my head. Do you think that train goes to Portsmouth? Could I walk? When does this train leave? She’s ok, but she won’t be. What platform will I need to get there?

Will the guard know what platform I need? What if he doesn’t know? Will anyone be able to tell me? There’s a car, a big one. She won’t see it. What about that train, there? When does that leave? How do you know?

Here’s the man with the trolley. Will he be able to tell me what platform I need? How do you know? Will he know someone who can? What about the guard? Will he want my ticket? There’s lots of blood. Where are you going? Where’s home? Will it take you long to get there? Is that a long time?

I’m going to eat my sandwiches now. Do you like tuna? I like tuna. Do you like tuna? It’s a black car. It might be a blue car, but I think it’s a black car. I’m going to eat my sandwich, now. Why are we slowing down? How long will we be here? Why East Croydon? Will we move again, soon? I’ve never been to Portsmouth, but I’m coming back today. Will I be able to come back today? On the train? How do you know?

It’s happening now. She’s very pretty. I can see the car. This tuna is nice. Do you like tuna? It’s blue, not black. What are you looking for? Why are you looking for your phone? I don’t know where. There’s a lady standing behind her. They’re by the road. Who are you calling?

I don’t think this bread is very nice. What time will I get to Portsmouth? When’s the train coming back? Will it be a long time? The lady’s letting go of the little girl’s hand to answer her phone. I don’t have a phone. Should I get a phone? Are you calling her? Why are you calling her? Do I need to buy another ticket? She’s jumped off the kerb into a puddle. She’s laughing. She’s jumped again. Will I sit in the same seat? The lady’s talking, now. Why does she have her hand on her other ear?

That was a loud noise. That was a loud scream. Why’s it coming from your phone?

How do you know?
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Offline John Forth

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 08:09:23 pm »
Hah - Lee, I wonder if that's what was going through the mind of the largely silent crazy on my train story.

Actually, that reminds me of a conversation I had waiting at the train station once. I was minding my own business when a little man with red hair walked up to me and said: "How's it going? You alright?"

Like a fool, I answered: "Yeah, not bad. And you?"

Him: "Oh, I'm terrible. I've just come out of a coma and my wife's left me and taken the house."

Me: "Ah..."

It took me about half an hour to get rid of him.

Offline Roy

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 12:07:48 pm »
and taking advantage..
The 20 winning entries will be published in Black Static Magazine, probably June and August's issues; numbers 17 &18. Subscribe now to be sure of your copies.

Offline Natt

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Re: Your (unselected) Campaign for Real Fear story
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 03:21:05 pm »