I like to keep things...interesting. I like to look at things from different angles. One of my specialties. Not that it's always some mind-boggling revelation, oh no. But I am aware at all times of a) allowing the stories to develop organically, taking their own paths and b) again, looking at them, approaching them, from a different perspective. Seems after years of writing, this is a natural part of my process.
But it's always been like that, even before I had the skills, or at least solid inclination, to attack each story with this mindset in mind.
Honing one's writing, reading broadly, incorporating out-of-left-field nuances, yeah, well...that's just the way it works for me now. At least...at least I hope so.
Sometimes, really, a good story stands up no matter the leanings toward it being something 'original' or not, but I am always aware of this while writing as well.
"Headbangin'." I wrote this story long ago, but it's a really good indicator or my willingness even back then to allow the layers full reign, the absurdities, the weird perspectives and all that jive.
If it seems simply as though the main character has reached his wit's end and insanity is his only option, think again.
If you think that voice in his head is simply a product of his imagination, oh, yes, do think again.
I mean...what if it's actually an alien race, something ancient and earth-bound, and all it really wants is a way out of his head, out of its limbo existence.
What if this is actually a prelude to invasion?
Oh, man! Well, all that and more play out in this bit o' Heavy Metal Horror that actually was in an anthology called--oh my!--Heavy Metal Horror. I updated the story a couple years back when I heard of this anthology, tweaked it and modernized it a bit, and let it (rock 'n') roll.
Here's a taste of our protagonist Kenny's realization that he's not alone. And, yes, yes, since I have brought it up before, I would tweak the semi-colons a bit here, but not messing with it right now. For a future collection, oh, yeah! Looking forward to that... ;-)
It slithered into prominence, almost a presence unto itself, as Kenny drove home with Frank toasted unconscious in the passenger seat. With his window down, he bathed in the wind-cooled sweat, helping to simmer most of the abuse of which he had subjected himself. But his head throbbed, oh yes, it pounded its discomfort home, massaged and battered by clumsy talons, not the soothing fingers of icy, invigorating wind. It was a dull, monotonous assault, threatening internal evacuation from the confined quarters of his skull. Trying to abate the ache, calloused fingers rubbed hard above his eyes. Amidst this basic function, he felt it, or heard it: he wasn’t sure. A thought as mass, as substance--being--an inner illusion depicting solidity and formation. Regardless of veracity, it startled him to the point of swerving, a loss of control that almost landed him against the center divider. He had to jerk the steering wheel hard to avoid collision, jostling the still sleeping Frank first against the door, before slumping him brusquely to the dash. Drool flowed from his slack mouth, but even the abrupt handling did not wake him.
The instant crystallized, placed on a pedestal above rules and regulations, memories and dreams--the intangibles of human nature--that had molded him up to now: this moment in time. He rubbed his head again, hoping to rouse the genie. A distinct influence responded, attaching itself to his thought processes, much as a leech would a vein. Stung, the sudden infusion of alien provocation caused his body to chill; unlike the wind’s prying fingers it was a more brutal, intimidating condition: a split-second trapped in the heart of the glacier, incapacitated, yet alive.
When it passed, the lines of communication were open.
It spoke, it whispered, a voice much like his own, only laced with a confidence, an intuition, a perversion that he had never incorporated. It brandished fame in its prognosticating, a fame that Kenny could not have perceived without its assistance. He listened with unwavering devotion, something his 21st Century media-flush brain had never been able to muster, as mutated by MySpace/Facebook/Twitter social network textspeak blipslang: the clipped language of the 21st Century youth, silliness without substance, multi-task info-overload that whittled one’s attention span into that of an ADD fly--short, skittish, and isn’t there something else he should be doing? It enthralled him, the absolutely outlandish motivations that drove the voice--the ideals, the strategy; and it fascinated him because in the strange, twisted world he lived in, those motivations seemed wholly conceivable.
With his focus primed, only time stood between Kenny and his rendezvous with destiny. He relished knowledge, basking in the polluted waters of his new reality, the insane as fact, as progenitor to logic. How else could he explain his willingness to relinquish control and life itself for a skewed concept of fame?
He couldn’t. But it wasn’t in his hands any more. Another held the reins, one whose selfish machinations were tempered as part of a new outlook. Its ancestors had conceived from initiation guidelines based in a singular objective: the quest for freedom. With mounting failures, the passage of time scarred and amplified their urgency, inhibiting their quest.
It all goes downhill with a pummeling 4/4 beat from there or, well, look...for the alien thingamabog in his head, it all starts to go very, very good. And all because the term Headbangin' is taken to heart. Literally!
BTW, when released, the underlines I used to indicate italics where still underlines instead of italics. I can't say if this issue was straightened out as I've not seen a latter version but, no matter, the story is a fun and mind-bending read anyway.
2012 is right around the corner as I type this. I wish you and yours the Best Year Ever!
And don't forget, if you want to start the year right, start it DARK, please pick up my collection, The Dark is Light Enough for Me. Available at Amazon (inc. the UK, Germany and France), B&N, and OmniLit. The print version is officially ready any day now, final tweaks are being made as I type this. Thank you to those who have read it and, hopefully, enjoyed the collection. And for those of you thinking about it, by all means, give it a shot. It's "not your average horror," as has been said.
Thanks again, and here's the cover art for Heavy Metal Horror, an ebook worth investigating.