Another story where addiction is one of the keys, though a different kind of addiction: a narcissistic, media driven, Hollywood take on addiction.
The idea for this story originated while reading some work by Charlis Birkin, who specialized in a style of horror known as contes cruels. I can’t find a specific definition of contes cruels, but the stories tend to veer toward some depth of human cruelty at their heart; their sick and twisted heart.
The sample here is after ageing actress, Christina Conero, has followed instructions, snorting a powder that promises to be her personal fountain of youth. After a lovemaking session with actor and beleaguered husband, Philip Raines, this snippet sets us up for the first of two horrific jabs; the second one is more the knockout punch, the cruel revelation at the heart of this insidious piece.
[the lukewarm towel is covering her face]
“What is the purpose of this?” he asked, tugging at the lukewarm towel.
“You’ll see in the morning. Good night now, I need my beauty sleep.”
He finished his cigarette in silence only broken by the periodic shuffling of sheets as she reached up and touched the towel, as if making sure it was in place.
“You know I love you,” he said, before turning on his side and falling asleep.
He was dreaming about when Christina and he had first gotten together, and that time in Hawaii, on the warm sand with the moon as a shy spotlight. He said he would love her forever.
And she screamed…but that was not in the dream.
He flung his arm to Christina’s side of the bed; it was empty.
“Christina, what’s wrong? Where are you?”
She screamed again.
He took four urgent strides to the bathroom and shoved the door open.
STOP! No, don't want to give it all away! Oh, I want to tell you more, but you’ll just have to wait until The Dark is Light Enough is released, 11-11-11.
If you are following this blog, you’ve probably noticed the collection has a wide variety of subject matter and styles. Though I see a more weird fiction slant to my current stories—well, except for the novels, man, I have no idea where they come from or what they are, but I like em!—over the years I’ve approached storytelling from many different angles. Probably influenced by a lot of the writers who got their careers in gear in the 80s, like Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, David J. Schow and the likes, as well as Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and J.G. Ballard before them. An odd mix, toss in the Masters of the Weird, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and many more, the stories are the result of this melting pot of influence as channeled through my perceptions, my voice. And I've not even mentioned how music plays a Huge role in much of my writing; art as well.
I believe life itself and simply being curious and open to the possibilities and letting my imagination run with them is probably the biggest influence of all, hehe...
Next up, we head back to the forest, where nature has its own devious designs…
This Bizarre and Brilliant artwork by Eric Lacombe perfectly captures the vibe of "Make Pretty."