1) Why write horror?
I have been a fan of horror from an early age. I watched the Friday the 13th movies and read Stephen King as a kid and it is my favorite genre.
2) Tell us about your writing style - is it gore, psychological etc?
I prefer psychological, I think it is scarier although I do use gore from time to time.
3) Who is your favorite woman in horror author?
I love Anne Rice but I like a lot of indie authors too - DJ Doyle, Lily Luchesi, Baileigh Higgins and so many more, it would take all day to name them!
4) Who is your favorite scream queen?
Jamie Lee Curtis is the original and best scream queen and always will be.
5) What's next for you?
I write a few different genres, but for horror, I think I will be working on the next book in my Hotel Hell series.
Copyright D. J. Doyle
Mike and Jerry wasted no time, when Mike’s parents pulled up outside the log cabin and raced to the river with their nets and buckets. Best friends since they were two, but not alike in any way, Mike had brown hair and eyes to match, while Jerry was ginger with blue eyes and freckled head to toe.
“Be careful boys, don’t get too near the edge. Dinner will be in an hour,” said Deirdre, Mike’s mother.
“We will. See you in an hour. C’mon Jerry,”
Mike had begged his mother for Jerry to come along on their short holiday, saying he’d miss his best friend too much and would be bored without him.
His little sister was too young to go fishing with him and cried as she saw the two boys, barefoot and in shorts, scarpering through the long grass.
“Oh man, I hope we catch a toad,” said Jerry.
“No, bruh, we want a fish. Imagine my Dad’s face if we went back with a huge flapping trout or pike for dinner tomorrow.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m not a big eater of fish, though,” replied Jerry, and viewed the small bucket they had and struggled to believe a fish would fit.
They stood at the bank with their nets stretched out, and waited to dip it in once they saw movement in the water.
“Look bubbles,” yelled Jerry and pointed to the water.
He swiped the net and scooped up, the murky water flowed through and splashed down below. A fish flapped in the net.
Jerry brought it in close and picked the fish out of the net. Mike fell to the ground laughing, pointing at the little minnow fish, no bigger than his index finger, twitching in the breeze.
“You got a huge one there, Jerry. We’ll have full tummies with that one,” he chuckled.
“Not funny, Mike. I thought it was a large fish.”
As Mike rested on the grass laughing, a buzzing noise flew by his ear, he knew it was too loud for an insect, but birds didn’t make that sound. He leapt from the ground and swung his head around. His pounding heart drilled against his ribs.
“Did you hear that?”
Jimmy frowned. “Hear what? Don’t start messing with me.”
“I’m not, something buzzed right by my ear, something big. It wasn’t an insect, too loud.”
“Well, nothing else buzzes. It’s your imagination. Are we getting into the water to get closer to the middle?”
Mike still focused on his surroundings, he had a hunch it would pass by again and readied his net.
“Shhh, I can still hear it, somewhat.”
On the ground again, he instructed Jerry to hide in the long grass, while he waited. Adrenaline pulsed through his blood, as his vision became like a chameleon’s, darting in every direction. That’s when he saw it, a little black figure hovering towards him. Within a split second, Mike held up the net and swiped downwards, the metal wire slapped the ground. Without looking, Mike knew he had caught it. When he turned his head, he nearly shit himself. Although he was expecting some unusual insect, maybe affected by toxic waste and mutated, what he entrapped befuddled him.
“Did you catch it?” asked Jerry from afar.
“Yes, but I don’t know what it is.”
Trapped in the net, stood a little creature about a foot tall, humanoid in shape, but with black leathery skin with a purple hue, blacker wings with a blue tint, and silver razor-sharp teeth which stood out because it had no lips. It had no eyes or nose, yet two tiny ears pointed outwards from each side of its head. Its growl and hiss were barely audible.
Mike stood in a state of shock while he studied this ‘thing’ in front of him.
“Let me see, let me see.” Jerry thundered towards Mike who put out his arm to stop him from getting close. Once it came into his vision, Jerry gasped and was about to scream but Mike covered his open mouth.
“Shhh, I don’t think it can see us.”
With a squeaky yet intimidating voice, it spoke, “I can’t see too well but I can hear and sense your every movement. If you release me, I will do you no harm.”
“Wh...Wha...What are you?” asked Mike.
“Why, I am a fairy, of course, Have you never seen a fairy before?”
“Not like you. In the cartoons, they are bright and magical,” answered Jerry.
It growled again. “I am known as Amadán Dubh, and I do have magic, yes, but as you can see I’m not beaming nor glowing.”
“What does that mean? Amadán Dubh,” questioned Mike.
“Oh, your Gaeilge is not good. It translates as ‘Dark Fairy’. As you can see from my skin, I am very dark.”
“So, you can grant us a wish?” asked Mike.
“No, but I give you some of my riches. I have plenty of gold.”
Mike and Jerry glanced at each other and back to Amadán Dubh.
“Well, will you release me for gold?”
“Yes, of course. How can we trust you?” asked Mike.
“Yeah, how do we know you won’t just fly away?” added Jerry.
“A fairy cannot break their word, we wither and die an excruciating death. We must follow what we promise.”
Mike turned to his best friend, “What have we got to lose? It’s not like we can keep it trapped.”
Jerry shrugged his shoulders in a kind of agreement. Mike gently lifted the net. Amadán Dubh rubbed his hands together, his razor-sharp nails clanked as they hit each other, and sneered at the boys.
“I hope you are up for the challenge to receive my gold.”
“Challenge? You never said there would be challenges,” said Mike.
“You don’t think I can just hand it over? You must go get it.”
“And where is it?” asked Jerry, his hands firmly placed on his hips.
“In the river, of course, well hidden from human eyes. You must go to the centre and dive down. There you will find a shiny, silver bag full of my gold.”
“Hold on a minute.” Mike took Jerry by the arm and walked a few feet away from where the fairy was perched on a rock.
“What do you think?” asked Jerry.
“He could have flown away, but he stayed. It has to be real. Do we swim for the gold? I’m strong enough to dive, even with the current.”
“Me, too. Let’s do this. Our parents will be so happy.”
Amadán Dubh raked its nails off the rock, sharpening the talon-like claws.
“Have you made a decision?” it asked.
Mike stepped forward and nodded, “Yes, we’ll do it. Point towards the section we must swim to.”
Amadán Dubh flapped its wings and set off down the river bank with the children running behind.
As they sped up, Amadán Dubh turned, and from the palm of his hand, blew dust into their faces. They fell coughing and wiped their eyes.
“What was that?” shouted Jerry.
“Oh, just a little magic so you can breathe underwater. We’re here,” replied Amadán Dubh.
Mike giggled. “It makes me feel funny.”
He raised his hand and viewed his psychedelic aura surrounding his skin. “Wow, this is cool.”
“You can swim down just there.” Amadán Dubh threw a pebble into the water which caused a splash and ripple. To the boy’s amazement, the ripple didn’t flow out, the water stayed alive in that little space. Mike dipped his toe into the fresh water and shivered.
“With my magic, when you go under, you won’t feel the cold either,” said Amadán Dubh.
Full of confidence, the boys cannonballed into the water and swam down to the bottom to find the gold. Although neither had tried to breathe yet through instinct, they were unable to find the gold on this dive and came back to the surface for air.
“It is not there, you are lying, Amadán Dubh,” said Jerry.
“No, it must be the magic wearing off, it only lasts a few minutes. Here, try again.” Amadán Dubh hovered over the water, his black wings fluttered majestically and it blew some more fairy dust into their faces.
Without the first dust wearing off completely, the boys felt invincible. They dived down with full lungs and searched for the bag of gold. Coloured water droplets danced in their vision as the sun shone through, their hands tossed reeds and stones in search of the treasure. Still, they could not find the bag. It was time to resurface, but Mike pointed to his mouth, he was going to breathe out and then in. Jerry nodded, they felt safe. In unison, the boys opened, letting the old air bubble to the top, and breathed in the water, all the way to the bottom of their lungs. Instantly they knew their error and tried to swim to the surface, clutching at their necks desperate for oxygen. It was too far and the water inside impeded their efforts. Mike’s vision went blurry, his body jerked in distress. Jerry lost consciousness and his eyelids closed for the last time. Two bodies floated to the surface face first and looked as peaceful as angels.
An immoral howl of laughter rang out from Amadán Dubh, and a high pitched calling to those hidden around. Eight dark fairies flew over the bodies, four on each, and clamped their spiked claws into the soaked tender skin, blood dribbled down and dripped with the water as their bodies were lifted out and carried away for a feast fit for a Fairy King. Amadán Dubh ensured there were no traces of the boys and slashed the net to smithereens, for no one captures an Amadán Dubh, the trickster Fairy, and lives to tell the tale.
In the 21st Century, horror movies have changed dramactically. They are much more inclusive, have improved on their special affects massively and the use of technology as a whole has changed everything about horror movies. Whereas in the past, the main character might be lost in the woods, with no way to call for help, now she can use her phone to get rescued. Movies have tried to include the new technologies, making them part of their story. They have had to move with the times, to make the story more realistic and to add new dangers for the characters to face.
Filmmakers have also been taking into account social trends and issues that are affecting people today. It is important that they keep listening to the public and improving as they progress. It will be interesting to see what movies will look like in ten, twenty or even fifty years time and it will be interesting to see if horror is still popular, although I believe it will always be a popular genre.
A toast to Death. (A short story by Baileigh Higgins)
Copyright Baileigh Higgins
“It’s the zombie apocalypse, huh?” Ryleigh asked as she pushed her empty glass across the bar counter. “For real?”
“I guess so,” Gretchen answered, her eyes glued to the TV screen above their heads. She reached for the empty glass and tipped in a measure of whiskey on auto-pilot. Some of the golden liquid sloshed over the side, pooling onto the polished wood beneath.
Ryleigh pursed her lips and reached for a napkin. “Don’t spill. We don’t know how long we’ll be trapped in here, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on sobering up any time soon.” She couldn’t afford to be sober. Not when worry and longing for her husband, Brandon, and the rest of her family, ate her up inside.
“Sorry,” Gretchen said, still not looking away from the screen above her head.
Ryleigh glanced up and immediately regretted it. Gruesome images of dead people eating living people were being aired on all the news channels. Criminals ran around looting and killing while the government tried to keep order. Troops were being deployed, schools and community centers barricaded, and panicked citizens evacuated to so-called safe zones.
“Switch that off, why don’t you? It’s depressing,” Ryleigh said.
“No more depressing than them,” Henriette said with a slur in her voice, pointing an empty tequila bottle at the front doors of the bar.
Bodies were pressed up against the frosted glass, and blood was smeared across the gold lettering that read “Gretchen’s Pub.” Security gates added a much-needed layer of protection but couldn’t shut out the moaning and groaning. The sound was a constant reminder that they were trapped.
Ryleigh looked away and sighed. “I wish there was some way to get rid of them. They’re killing my buzz.”
“I know,” Gretchen said, switching off the TV. She reached for her phone and dialed her husband. Again. After a few seconds, she shook her head and tossed down the phone. “Damn it! Still no signal.”
“Told you so,” Henriette said, her body slumped across the counter. She burped, and at the same time, her eyes went wide, and her cheeks paled.
“No hurling on the counter,” Gretchen shouted. “Move!”
Henriette lurched off her chair and stumbled toward the bathroom. Even so, they could hear her heaving into the toilet as she brought up the better part of a bottle of tequila.
Ryleigh frowned and took a sip of her whiskey. “What a waste. Now she’ll have to start all over again.”
Gretchen slumped against the chest freezer behind her, clutching a bottle of beer. Not one for hardtack, she preferred lighter brews and ciders. “I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.”
“We’re all starving,” Henriette said as she made her way back onto her stool. Her breath smelled of the mints Gretchen had placed in the bathroom ever since hurling became a regular part of their routine.
“Is there nothing left?” Ryleigh asked, referring to the snacks they’d been living on for over a week.
Gretchen shook her head. “Nothing. We finished it yesterday. All we’ve got left is the mints.”
“She ate the last cupcake,” Henriette said, pointing an accusing finger at a snoring bundle of humanity in the corner. Lee-Anne. The youngest of them all at a tender nineteen years of age.
“They were going off anyway,” Gretchen said. “The last one I had was green, and not because of the frosting, trust me.”
“God, I can’t believe this is happening,” Ryleigh said.
“Then you’re not drunk enough,” Henriette said. “Drink faster.”
“So I can puke it all up like you?” Ryleigh asked. “No, thanks.”
“Hey, don’t start your shit with me, Ryleigh. I’ll knock you so hard your own mama won’t recognize you,” Henriette said.
Gretchen stepped in between them, holding out her hands. “No fighting in my pub. You want to fight; you take it outside.”
Ryleigh eyed the zombies blocking the doors. “Uh, no thanks.”
Henriette shuddered. “And end up like Cherise?”
Ryleigh looked at their former friend, Cherise, scratching at the glass with bloody fingers tips. Her fake bunny ears still sat on her head, the left ear drooping sadly. Cherise was the reason they were all at the pub when Z-day hit. A bride-to-be celebrating her bachelorette party at Gretchen’s pub.
Z-day. That’s what they’d named it. The day the dead rose and trapped them all inside the pub. Or should it be Z-night? Ryleigh snorted. It didn’t matter what they called it. Not really.
It’d been a fun night at first, filled with shots, cupcakes, rude games, and more alcohol. By the time midnight rolled around, the other girls had left, drunkenly making their way home to their grumpy husbands. It’d been just the five of them left, stubbornly stretching out the party until Cherise wandered outside for a breath of fresh air.
Ryleigh could still remember her screams as the crowd of zombies drawn to the pub’s music and lights surrounded her. Shocked into a semblance of sobriety, the remaining four girls stumbled outside only to be confronted by the sight of Cherise being ripped to shreds.
The zombies hadn’t taken long to notice them either and left the unfortunate bride-to-be bleeding out on the asphalt as they made their way up the steps to the pub. Gretchen, not one to waste time on dirty bums and murderers, quickly slammed the doors shut and locked them tight.
The girls were safe but also trapped. The only other exit, a wooden door leading to the storage room and kitchen, opened onto the parking lot next to the main entrance. They’d never get past the zombies in time.
Shocked and horrified, the four girls had watched as the undead filled the lot, soon joined by a zombified Cherise who added her moans to the rest. And there they stayed, refusing to budge no matter how much time passed.
At first, the girls tried to call their husbands and family, then the police, the fire department, the hospital. Hell, they even tried the veterinarian up the street—all to no avail. The networks crashed almost immediately, and not one of them got a call or message through except Gretchen. She received a garbled voicemail from her hubby, Gideon, that help was on the way. They just had to stay put. That was eight days ago.
The Internet followed not long after as the local networks gave way, and the television soon began playing on a loop. The same footage aired over and over, and nothing new was coming through.
Stuck, the girls decided they had no choice but to stay inside and hope that Gretchen’s husband followed through on his promise. Bored and frightened, they started drinking and haven’t stopped since. It numbed the worry over loved ones, the knowledge that death had come for them all.
Ryleigh stared at zombie Cherise for several minutes before turning back to her glass. Confronted by the awful truth of their situation, she pushed it away. Her stomach rumbled, an empty pit that would soon lead to starvation. It was time to face facts. “No one is coming for us.”
Silence fell as two sets of eyes swiveled her way.
“You don’t know that,” Gretchen said.
“Yes, I do. It’s been more than a week. Gideon’s not coming. No one’s coming,” Ryleigh said, raising her chin.
“So, what do you suggest?” Henriette asked.
“We save ourselves. We need food, or we’ll starve to death,” Ryleigh said.
“Did someone say food?” a croaky voice said from the corner. Lee-Anne.
“Awake, at last, I see,” Henriette said.
“Huh?” Lee-Anne asked, her blurry eyes indicating she was still very much out of it.
“Ryleigh thinks we should try to get out,” Gretchen said, folding her arms. “She thinks no one is coming for us.”
“Well…are they? It’s been so long,” Lee-Anne said, earning her a death stare from Gretchen.
“Come on, Gretchen. You know it’s true,” Ryleigh said.
Gretchen stared at her with quivering lips before bursting out. “I know, okay! I know. I just didn’t want to admit it before. If I do, that means he’s dead.”
Ryleigh sighed. “I’m sorry, Gretchen. Maybe he is dead. Maybe all our families are gone, but maybe not. There’s only one way to find out, though, and that’s not by sitting around on our asses all day.”
Gretchen nodded slowly. “All right, fine. What’s the plan?”
After sobering up with the last of the coffee, the four girls put their heads together and devised an escape plan of sorts. They got everything ready and lined up at the front doors, their faces pale but determined.
“Okay, Gretchen. You open the door a crack while Lee-Ann blocks it with the chair. Henriette and I will kill them with these,” Ryleigh said, hoisting a broken beer bottle.
“Deal,” Gretchen said, positioning herself off to the side. “Ready?”
“Do it,” Ryleigh said.
Gretchen unlocked the safety doors and slid them aside before turning to the glass front. Her hand trembled as she pushed the key into the lock, her knuckles white as she twisted the handle.
Immediately, the door swung inward, the frosted glass groaning beneath the weight of so many bodies. Gretchen screamed as she pushed back, trying to keep it open only a crack. Lee-Ann pushed her chair into the gap, blocking the lower half.
A foul smell washed into the pub—the rank smell of rotting flesh and unwashed bodies. Excited by the possibility of fresh meat, the zombies pushed harder against the barricade, with Gretchen and Lee-Ann struggling to keep them out.
Panicking, Ryleigh jumped forward with her broken beer bottle and thrust it into the closest zombie’s face. The jagged edges cut deep, popping an eyeball like it was made from jello. Putrid fluid sprayed from the wound, and she pushed harder to reach the brain. The infected stiffened and sagged but didn’t fall away, propped in place by his brethren.
Henriette moved in next to her and killed the next two zombies with wild yells of abandon. Blood sprayed into the air as the razor-sharp glass cut through flesh and flayed the skin from bone. She was smiling, her teeth white against her tanned skin, now speckled with crimson.
“Are you crazy?” Ryleigh cried over the chorus of groans. She thrust her weapon at Cherise, who had reached the front of the pack.
“Maybe!” Henriette shouted back, throwing herself at the next infected. “But who cares? We’re all gonna die anyway.”
Ryleigh choked as a wild laugh that bordered on hysteria bubbled up her throat. She cut and slashed at Cherise’s once beautiful face. The bunny ears the girl had worn for the party were soaked in blood and barely clung to her torn scalp.
Finally, Ryleigh scored a solid blow on Cherise’s temple, and the jagged glass cut into the brain. Cherise fell onto the other dead bodies that blocked the door but was soon torn away by the zombies behind.
Fresh infected thronged the opening, eager for the kill. Lee-Ann and Gretchen shrieked as they began to lose ground, pressed back by sheer numbers.
“I can’t hold them,” Gretchen cried, her lips bleeding where her teeth had cut into the tender skin.
“Me neither,” Lee-Ann said, her expression strained.
Henriette renewed her efforts, screaming like a banshee as she hacked and stabbed at anything without a pulse. Her bottle broke, and Ryleigh passed her a new one, scooping up a metal pipe when her own shattered as well.
With the pipe, she killed two more zombies, stabbing the end into their eyes. Gradually, the crowd thinned, the corpses falling away and giving them breathing room. Encouraged, Ryleigh stabbed another infected, only to hear Lee-Ann scream in pain.
Looking down, she spotted a zombie that had wriggled its way around the chair. It had a hold of Lee-Anne’s leg and was chewing on her denim pants, trying to tear through the thick material.
With a deep breath, Ryleigh lifted the pipe and brought it down onto the infected’s skull. The iron rod skewered its head like a chicken kebab, spraying brains everywhere. The sight and smell were enough to push her over the edge, and she turned away just in time to spew all over the floor.
The bitter tang of alcohol stung the back of her throat as she wiped her mouth. Straightening up, Ryleigh stared at the scene with watery eyes. Silence had fallen. Henriette stood heaving for breath, her face and arms covered in blood. Gretchen was wide-eyed and shivering. Lee-Ann cried while holding her leg, but a quick examination showed she was lucky. The zombie’s teeth hadn’t managed to cut through her denim.
Ryleigh caught a glimpse of her own blood-spattered and frightened face in the mirror opposite her. She looked just as bad as the rest did. “So…what now?”
Gretchen stood up and dusted off her pants. “Now we get the hell out of here. We can use the pub’s delivery truck.”
Ryleigh nodded. The truck was big and sturdy. “Smart.”
She helped Lee-Ann to her feet, and together with Henriette, they edged through the open door. The infected corpses lay dead still, their eyes milky, and their stench as powerful as ever.
“Man, they stink,” Henriette said, her short red hair sticking into the air.
“Poor, Cherise,” Lee-Ann said, looking at their former friend’s body, splayed out like a broken doll. “I feel so sorry for her.”
“We’ll be the sorry ones if we don’t move,” Gretchen said as she pushed past them, her lips set in a determined line. “Come on.”
Ryleigh and the others followed, tired and bloody.
The night air was cool against her skin, and Ryleigh shivered as she looked around. “Where are we going?”
“Somewhere safe, but first, I need to find my husband,” Gretchen said, heading for the truck. “We all do.”
“What if he’s…what if they’re all…” Ryleigh faltered, unable to finish the sentence.
“I’ll bet Peter is dead already,” Henriette grumbled. “Dumb-ass wouldn’t last a day without me.”
Ryleigh stared at Henriette, wondering how the woman could be so unfeeling.
Henriette noticed and shrugged. “I don’t mean it. Not really.”
“Okay,” Ryleigh said, knowing Henriette’s prickly ways were just a front. She trudged along, her mood low, until she became aware of a deep rumbling. “What’s that?”
“What’s what?” Henriette asked, twisting this way and that with a combative look on her face. “If it’s a zombie, I swear, I’ll squash it like a bug.”
Ryleigh shook her head. “Not zombies. Vehicles.”
A set of headlights appeared at the end of the street, followed by another set, and another. The girls pulled closer together, raising their weapons in readiness for trouble. The first car, a huge army truck, pulled to a stop in front of them, the engine rumbling like a big cat in the night.
Ryleigh tried to shade her eyes against the blinding light but failed to make out any details. “Who’s there?”
“Babes? Is that you?” a voice called.
“Brandon?” Ryleigh called. Could it really be him?
“In the flesh, babes! We came to save you,” Brandon called.
“A bit late, aren’t you?” Henriette said, her hands on her hips. “Where’s that lousy man of mine, Peter?”
“Over here, darling,” Peter said, waving her over. Henriette made her way over to him with a harumph, still clutching a broken bottle in each hand.
Ryleigh turned her attention to her own husband and spotted him jogging toward her. He swooped her up into its arms, and she breathed in his familiar scent. Tears formed in her eyes, dripping onto his shirt. “I’m so happy to see you. I thought you were dead.”
“I came close a few times, but we guys stuck together, and then we found this lot,” he answered, gesturing toward the army trucks bristling with soldiers.
Gretchen grabbed Brandon’s arm. “Where’s Gideon? Is he here?”
Brandon nodded. “He’s over there.”
“Oh, thank God,” Gretchen cried, relief and happiness chasing away the dread from before. Without another word, she ran off to find him, followed by Lee-Anne.
Brandon looked at Ryleigh. “Are you okay? Ready to go?”
“The army has strict instructions to deliver all survivors to the safe zone. That includes us.”
“Is it really safe, though?” Ryleigh asked as hope flared in her breast.
“It is. I’ve been there, babes, and the commander is a good guy. I know him from my days in the service,” Brandon replied.
Ryleigh looked at the pub that had been her home for the past eight days, at Cherise’s crumpled body, and shuddered. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
South African writer and coffee addict, Baileigh Higgins, lives in the Free State with hubby and best friend Brendan and loves nothing more than lazing on the couch with pizza and a bad horror movie. Her unhealthy obsession with the end of the world has led to numerous books on the subject and a secret bunker only she knows the location of.
From scream queens to femmes fatale, horror isn’t just for the boys.
Gothic media moguls Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence, authors of The Science of Monsters, and co-hosts of the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, present a guide to the feminist horror movies, TV shows, and characters we all know and love.
Through interviews, film analysis, and bone-chilling discoveries, The Science of Women in Horror uncovers the theories behind women’s most iconic roles of the genre. Explore age-old tropes such as “The Innocent” like Lydia in Beetlejuice, “The Gorgon” like Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th, and “The Mother” like Norma Bates in Pyscho and Bates Motel, and delve deeper into female-forward film and TV including:
1) Why write horror?
I love horror, I am a fan of horror movies, but I am not a fan of gore.
2) Tell us about your writing style - is it gore, psychological etc?
Psychological because I am squeamish, but it depends on what the story needs.
3) Who is your favorite woman in horror author?
I like Laurell K Hamilton, Anne Rice and I really enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House.
4) Who is your favorite scream queen?
That's a tough one. I love some of the older ones like Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis but I think Neve Campbell is great too.
5) What's next for you?
I have a book called Halflings out, which is my first full length horror and I will be writing a sequel to it, probably late 2021.
3) Final Girls
5) I Know What You Did Last Summer
6) Friday The 13th
7) Nightmare On Elm Street
8) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
9) Black Christmas
A Ghostly Haunting
Copyright Chasity Nicole
My life is far from ordinary, but who would expect a person that sees ghosts to have a normal life. I spend my days talking to people that do not physically exist—well they did at one time, but now they are dead. Usually these people have some form of unfinished business. They’re too scared to move on, or they simply don’t want to move on. Those who don’t want to move on, spend their entire afterlife haunting the living. They claim it is the only thing that makes them feel whole again—whatever that’s supposed to mean.
I was able to see the dead at a very young age, and it freaked my family out. Ever since I first realized that I could speak with the deceased, I have had a strong bond with both the spirit realm and the world we live in. I was the only one that understood my ability to see ghosts and communicate with them; everyone else pinned me off as nuts—until they needed my help because they were being haunted. Everyone calls the psychic chick when they need help, but, aside from that, I’m just your average seventeen-year-old nutcase that lives down the street.
I had received a call from my aunt that she thought her home was being haunted and decided to go take a look. Today was the day that I was heading to Harrisburg, North Carolina to stay with my aunt and uncle, to see what was really going on in their home. As I pulled into the driveway I had a very eerie feeling that caused me to pause for a moment. Creeping closer to the house, I noticed its old Victorian structure. It was one of those old houses, that you just know is haunted, or has a very spooky past. From school, I knew that it was common for these style Victorian homes to be built upon the land that used to be slave plantations back before the Civil War. Not only did the house scream that it was built to cover up a slave plantation, but the land did also. Average acreage for a slave plantation was about one-thousand acres, and this neighborhood was about that, if not more. Each home had the same old Victorian structure. Yes, this had definitely been a slave plantation at one point in time—and one with a very disturbing past—I was sure of that. I stopped my car, short of the garage, and noticed a strange figure in the attic above the garage—someone was definitely haunting this house.
“Mom, Harper is here,” my cousin cried from the front door of the bluish-white home.
“Oh dear heaven’s, child, stop that awful shoutin’. You’ll wake up your brother. It’s hard enough for me to get him to sleep in this haunted place. Now what did you say?” My aunt yelled from inside the house.
“I said, Harper is here,” my cousin shouted again as I ran up the stairs, to make the yelling stop. I had only been here a few seconds and already they were giving me a headache.
“Hey, Aunt Marissa. Laney was yelling about me arriving. My mom said yaw needed me to check out some troublesome ghosts that are wandering your house, so here I am.” Laney moved to the side, letting me in the house.
“Oh, hi dear. Yes, I called your mother about this house being haunted. Laney and Luke have such a hard time sleepin’ at night because of what is going on in this house. I have reached my last nerve on what to do about the pesky little things, so I called you to help us figure it out.” My aunt was wandering around her kitchen, clanging pots and pans—trying to get dinner cooking.
“Well I’ll do my best ma’am. But, I honestly don’t know what I can really do. I really can’t get rid of the spirits, but I can at least let yaw know if they are harmful and why they are still here. I can possibly help them crossover. But, I can’t make a promise that that’ll happen.”
“Come on, I’ll show you to your room.” Laney said, pulling my arm. I had a sinking feeling this was going to be a very long week for me. I felt so much activity in this place. I had already seen an apparition in the attic above the garage, and I knew something bad happened here—I could feel it.
“Oh Laney, don’t go a draggin’ her everywhere. Let her get settled in after you show her to her room. Don’t want to drive the girl bonkers before she even is here for a day.” My aunt laughed from inside the kitchen. No matter how old Laney was, she pulled me around like she was still four, an odd thing for a twelve year old to do.
“It’s ok, I’m used to being dragged around, Aunt Marissa.” Laney continued pulling me to the guest room. The room was plain white, furnished with a bed, bookcase, television, and its own private bathroom—thank goodness. “Want to show me around the house, Laney?”
“Uh-huh. But we gots ta be quiet. Luke is asleep, and he’s been very grumpy lately.” Laney giggled as she tugged me towards the living room. “Oh, you’ll see a…”
“Don’t tell me what ghosts I may or may not see. Let me find them on my own, that way I can figure out what is going on and help yaw. If you tell me where they are, they may not show themselves to me. Just give me the grand tour, without the haunted tour tacked on, please?”
“Okie doke. Well this is the living room. Momma doesn’t like it in here much. Neither does dad, so we have all our toys in here, well mostly Luke’s toys.” The living room was a disaster. It’s what you would expect from two kids with tons of toys. “This is the dining room; we rarely eat in here. We eat in the den mostly. It has comfy chairs.” We walked the rest of the house, my cousin pointing out each room to me.
My aunt’s house was rather large—larger than it had seemed from the outside. As I walked through each room, I could feel the activity that had occurred within its walls.
“Dinner’s ready!!” My cousin and I must’ve been touring the house for a while, because I hadn’t even noticed the smells flowing from the kitchen—it smelled amazing.
“Comin’ momma.” My cousin grabbed my shirt and pulled me to the kitchen. I slowly began to decipher the smells. I smelled beef, tomatoes, corn, green beans, carrots, and potatoes. “Yum, momma made beef stew, my favorite.”
“I wasn’t sure what to make for dinner, figured stew was great since it’s gettin’ a bit nippy outside.” Aunt Marissa sat the crockpot of stew down on the kitchen table with four bowls, four spoons, four glasses, a pitcher of sweet tea, and a pan of cornbread. The three of us sat down at the table just as my uncle, Mark, walked in the front door.
“Whose car is parked out front?” Uncle Mark must not have known I was coming today; he looked shocked to see me sitting at the dinner table beside my extremely hyper little cousin.
“Hey, Uncle Mark. I came to stay the week to help Aunt Marissa with a problem.”
“Is it that blasted ghost thing she keeps goin’ on about? I swear the neighbors are gonna think yaw are nuts. There ain’t no such thing as ghosts.” He shook his head as he put his jacket on the back of one of the chairs and took his seat.
“Well, let me take a look anyway. I can at least say if there are any or not. Worth a shot, and no one will know that’s why I am here, so your neighbors won’t think you’re nuts.” I smiled as we all scooped out our stew, and said grace before digging into our food.
Dinner was really quiet, as it was at my house when we had dinner together. I was used to the quietness around the dinner table, and I supposed that was something that most southern families did. Dinner was a time to eat dinner, not talk. Once dinner was finished, we went into the den and watched television. The show was soon interrupted by the sound of Luke crying.
“Oh for Pete’s sake, the baby is up. Cut that down, so I can go get him back to sleep.” My aunt walked out of the den to Luke’s room, coming back with my sleepy two-year-old cousin.
“Harpy, Harpy. I want Harpy.” Luke held his arms out as he reached for me.
“Hey Luke, you have a bad dream?” My aunt sat Luke down in my lap, and he snuggled up to me, closing his eyes.
“I had bad dream, Harpy.”
“It was only a dream though. It is ok now.” I rubbed his back as he began to softly snore—apparently I was good with kids.
“Goodness child, you’re here to de-ghost our house and you put our youngin’ to sleep.” My aunt smiled at me.
“Well, you’re family ma’am, so I’ll do what I can to help.” I smiled as I carried Luke and put him back in his bed. “I’m actually tuckered out myself, so I’m going to go to bed too. Night yaw.”
“Night, Harper,” Laney ran towards me and gave me a huge bear hug. After that, it was off for bed for all of us. It was going to be a rough night for me; different house, haunted with ghosts—I didn’t think sleep would come to me. Luckily I was wrong. As soon as my head hit the soft pillow, I was out.
I awoke to the sound of something crashing in the kitchen. Turning to look at my clock I saw it was only one a.m. I was pretty tired, but I got up to investigate.
Sleepily walking out of my room, my skin instantly began to crawl as I felt an electrical current surge through my veins. I slowly turned and looked at the doorway leading into the kitchen where I saw a shadowy figure moving frantically around. I took a step backwards, glancing at the shadow that had now stopped in front of me. It had the shape of a male, a frail male, he looked scared of something, but what would a ghost have to fear? The air around me grew very cold, and I noticed the door knob to the side door was shaking violently as if someone were trying to come in and couldn’t. The shadowy figure began to step backwards, as if trying to escape.
“Is that what is scaring you, the door? Is someone at the door going to hurt you?” I asked, knowing that if the ghost said anything I wouldn’t be able to hear it—I didn’t have my EPV recorder on me. However, the ghost seemed to understand this and nodded his head at me; he was a smart ghost. “You don’t want me to open that door, do you?” The ghost shook his head, indicating a ‘no’. “I won’t then, but it is ok. Whatever it is cannot get you in here, ok?” The ghost nodded once more before vanishing into thin air, and I went back to bed.
“Harper, time to get up, ya sleepy head you.” My aunt called. I groggily got up only to fall back on the bed.
“What in the world?” I looked down at my leg. It was covered in blood. Something had cut me in my sleep.
“You ok, hun? Where’d those cuts come from? Those some deep cuts. Mark, I need the first aid kit, Harper is bleedin’ all over in here.”
“I have no idea. I was woken up by a ghost in the kitchen at one, then went back to bed. Then just now I wake up with these cuts. They burn like hell too.”
“Here dear. Dang child, what’d ya do, nick yourself in the middle of the night with a sharp knife, or somethin’?” My uncle handed my aunt the first aid kit as she walked over to me and pulled out the rubbing alcohol, and some bandages—this was going to hurt.
“Now sit still, youngin’, while I clean up this mess. This will only hurt for a minute ‘er so.” My aunt knelt down and poured the rubbing alcohol on my bloody leg.
I winced in pain as the liquid filled the cuts on my leg. It hurt way more than a minute. “You lied!” I sat there holding back tears as my aunt bandaged up my bloody leg. I noticed that all the blood was coming from three deep cuts on my leg. Three cuts all in a row, all jagged, and I knew exactly what that meant—I had been scratched by a demonic entity while I had slept, lovely.
“I’m sorry hun. You better be stayin’ off of that for a bit, to let those cuts clot up. Or you gonna soak through the bandages.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”
“Well I am off to work, you two. Honey take care of Harper, looks like she is going to need it today, and I’ll see yaw this evening. Love you.” With that my uncle walked out of the room and out of the house.
“Come on, hun, we’ll get you set up in the den so you can be more comfortable, and watch some television. I’ll bring you breakfast in there.”
“If it is all the same, ma’am, I think I’ll just prop up in here and do some research on my laptop on what may have gone on in this house. I need to know what I’m heading into before I jump into it. Normally, I don’t care to know, but after the demonic cuts on my leg, I need to see what happened here.”
“Three consecutive scratches, that burn like fire, and are jagged in nature, are the marks of the beast. Those scratches were not self-inflicted; some demonic entity scarred me sometime after one in the morning. I believe trying to scare me away from releasing some of your ghosts. I guess I pissed it off when I spoke with the ghost that lives in your kitchen.” My aunt stared at me blankly, not sure of what to say.
“That is pretty frightening. I’m assumin’ you think we need to be movin’, don’t ya child?” I nodded as she added, “I’ll bring your breakfast in here then. I have to get my youngins’ up first and then I’ll get breakfast goin’. We’ll talk to Mark, about getting us outta here tonight, the two of us.” She walked out of the room, her footsteps headed in the direction of my cousins’ rooms.
Sliding my legs back onto the bed, I pulled my laptop out of my bag and began booting it up. I checked my e-mail then was off to search for information on my aunt’s house, unsure of what I might find. After about an hour, my aunt brought me breakfast—scrambled eggs, cheese grits, crispy bacon, and hash browns.
“Nada. It seems that I may be searching for a good while. I have a friend doing some research at the local library to see what she can dig up, but so far we’re both coming up short. I’m determined to find it out though. I just want to know before I go talking to the kitchen ghost again.”
“Kitchen ghost?” A sleepy Laney asked as she walked into my guest room, before screaming, “What happened to your leg?”
“I was attacked in my sleep by something in the house. And I found a ghost in the kitchen; I spoke with him this morning. He seems harmless enough, though.” I smiled as Laney climbed in the bed with me.
“Oh, him, I call him George. He’s a nice ghosty. But something always freaks him out, something with the side door. That is why I refuse to go near it. I think he is warning me about it.” My aunt nodded her head as my cousin spoke.
“Any idea why he’s here? I figure you may know some of the house’s history, better than me.”
“Well, the man next door told me one time that two women died in this house of cancer, and that a man hung himself. Other than that, I really have no idea.” My aunt shrugged her shoulders.
“Well that is something for me to go on at least. I’m going to keep looking, maybe I can dig something up soon.”
Another hour passed by before my cell phone went off. It was Hope, she had sent me a text message--Call me ASAP, I’ve found something I think you’ll find interesting. I dialed her number.
“Hey, what did you find?”
“You’re in the house where a young girl was brutally stabbed.”
“Really? That explains these gashes on my leg then.”
“Yeah, something got me overnight. Not a stab, more of a demonic gash type. Burns like fire.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Get the hell out of there Harper, before you’re killed!”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be careful. Let me know if you dig up anything else.” With that I hung up and went back to searching the web. Having a lead to go on, I typed in murder at my aunt’s address. Just as Hope said, there was a brutal stabbing of a young girl at this house. There were images of the house and it turned out the murder occurred in the same room I was sleeping in.
I decided to pull my black-light out and looked around the room. As the light shone on the walls all sorts of smears came into view. I shivered as I thought of a bloody hand gliding across the wall, as the woman tried to get away. Out of nowhere, I was in a room with a young girl and a strange man. The man looked like he was up to something. The woman appeared to be drunk. It looked like a date that went wrong. Without warning the man pulled out a knife and began stabbing the young woman. Over and over he stabbed her and blood splattered all over the room. She tried to grab the door handle, trying to escape, but every time she moved the man caught her and stabbed her again. Eventually she just lay still covered in blood and the man left the room.
I came back then. Sitting on the bed, I decided to look up addresses of old slave plantations—because of the original feeling I had when I first arrived. With a bit of digging I uncovered that this house was built on top of an old slave plantation dating back to the Civil War. Thousands of slaves died one dreaded night when the owner decided to burn down all of his slave’s homes on January 1st, 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The owner didn’t want to grant them freedom, so instead he killed every one of them, even throwing himself into the fire when the authorities arrived.
I sat back and stared at the information on my computer screen, shocked that I had just solved what was in this house—a confused male slave, a peeved slave master, a murderer, two cancer victims, a suicidal man, and a murder victim; but still I felt like something else was here, something evil.
“Did you find anythin’ hun? Feelin’ any better?” My aunt asked as she walked into my room, making me jump. I’d almost forgotten I was in her home.
“Yes, I’m feeling fine. I found out a ton. I’m going to speak with ‘George’ tomorrow and see what he can tell me. But I have a feeling yaw may want to start looking for another place. I think things are much worse than you can ever imagine.”
“Oh dear. We’ll talk to Mark about that after dinner. Speaking of which, you skipped lunch with all your researchin’, so dinner time. Up and attem’ girl, to the table you go.” I laughed at the way my aunt spoke as I hobbled to the dining room.
“So did you find anything?” my uncle asked between bites of his spaghetti. I simply nodded. “What’d ya find out?”
“We need to move, Mark.” My aunt blurted out before I could say anything.
“Now no child of my sisters’ is goin’ to come in here and tell me I need to move from my home!” He slammed his hand down on the table—I jumped.
“It’s just, this place isn’t safe, Uncle Mark. Something attacked me, and it’ll start attacking yaw too. It has a thirst for blood. The house has a murderer haunting it, two cancer victims, a suicidal man, a slave burned in a fire, an angry slave owner, a murder victim, and something far more sinister that I can’t figure out. You need to move, for the sake of your kids.” It was just then that something went flying in the living room, shattering against the wall in front of the door.
“What the hell was that?” My uncle ran into the living room. Family pictures lay broken, scattered all over the floor, with a note that said GET OUT! “Whose cruel prank is this?”
“No one’s, sir.” I tried to explain, “This thing is trying to kill yaw, and it will kill yaw. Why do you think it attacked me? Because it knows I will get yaw to move. It doesn’t want you to leave. Once you leave it will have nothing to feed off of—no negative energy exists if no one lives here.”
“The hell you will.”
“Listen to her, Honey. She is trained in this.”
“No.” That was all my uncle had to say before heading out of the house, slamming the front door.
“He doesn’t act this way. I wonder what has gotten’ into him?” My aunt said behind tear filled eyes.
“The demons are corrupting him, making him evil. The kids are next, then you. I got to stop this. You need to pack, with or without Uncle Mark’s agreement. Do it, and do it now.” It was then that a scream came from Laney’s bedroom. I darted for her room, to find her lying in her bed, pointing at her closet.
I peered, slowly, into the closet, to find an Ouija board floating in mid-air. There was my answer to the demonic entity haunting this house. Someone must have released a beastly creature while goofing off with that damned thing.
“Aunt Marissa, I found an Ouija board in Laney’s closet. Your house is haunted by one of the Devil’s henchmen. You got to get out of here.”
“Yes, yes we do. I just found a noose in my husband’s dresser. We are leaving today, and that is that.”
“Laney and Luke need to sleep with you tonight. It isn’t safe for them to be alone.”
“I want to stay with you,” Laney rubbed her sleepy eyes.
“I’m sorry sweetie. I have to do something dangerous tonight so yaw can move in peace tomorrow.” With that we all walked out of the room and headed for our bedrooms, I grabbed my Bible as soon as I walked into my room. This was a long shot, and I had never done it before—never needed to. I walked back into the living room and said a prayer that known as the Spiritual Warfare Prayer. Within a matter of minutes everything in the house calmed down.
I headed to my room to sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day. We were going to get everything moved out in less than twenty-four hours. Sleep did not come easy this time. Spirits haunted my dreams; George looking for a trinket of his daughters, a man burning in flames, and a woman being stabbed.
I awoke to a massive pain in my stomach, and to see blood spilling from my mid-section. Quickly, I stopped the bleeding and bandaged myself up—this house was definitely going to kill us if we didn’t leave soon. The prayer hadn’t worked. The demons were stronger than I had imagined. I sent a message to a few of my friends to come help with my aunt and uncle moving.
I stared at the wall blankly as I thought about all the information I had found out. The room suddenly went dark, and grew very hot. I was taken to the time of the Civil War, just after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. There sat George and his daughter working in the fields. The two looked relieved that they would soon be free. I realized that I had taken the appearance of a slave, and apparently one that the owner had some quarrels with because he came rushing up to me. The slave owner began whipping me. With each crack of his whip the pain grew worse, and the blood dripped down my back.
“Stop whippin’ my youngin’. She ain’t done nottin’ to you,” George, or my father, shouted as he charged at the slave owner, Chris Phifer.
“She ‘as, yaw are all free come night time. But don’t count yer chickens befer they hatch. Yaw ain’t goin’ no wheres. Ya ‘ere?” With that he stormed off for his home. Little did we know he would come out later that night.
At midnight our house seemed to grow extremely hot. My father ran to the window to see red flames roaring around. I darted for the door, trying to open it, but it simply would not budge. We were trapped. Chris had set the entire plantation on fire. I panicked while I continued fighting with the door, until the flames engulfed the door, forcing my family into a huddle in the middle of our tiny home. We sat there together, as we slowly burned.
Daylight brightened up my room and I heard knocking at the door—I had forgotten I told my friends to come help us move today. I quickly ran for the door letting everyone in. They had boxes, tape, everything we needed to pack up a house. We began packing up my aunt and uncle’s entire life and taking it out to the moving truck my friends had rented to help.
“What’s all this now?” My uncle asked as he stumbled in to a now empty living room.
“We’re helping you move, sir. Ain’t safe here. Harper’s been stabbed twice now, next time it could be worse.” my friend Craig said backing away from my uncle.
“Where we gonna go child? Ya think of that?” My uncle asked.
“Yes sir, she did. My parents have a house similar to this one, a few miles up the road, which they are happy to rent to yaw at a cheaper price.” My friend Craig said with a warm smile.
“Really?” My uncle asked.
“Yes sir,” I smiled as he gave me a reassuring look, thanking me for my hard work, then he began helping us box up things. I guessed the demon released his grasp on my uncle, allowing him to finally realize that he needed to move, or it could’ve been because he didn’t have to worry about a place to go. I had gotten everything under control for him, so I suppose moving was no longer going to be a stress on him—nor was he going to say no. How could he say no, when all of his stuff was already being carried out, anyway?
A few hours passed by the time we finished packing up the entire house and taken it out to the moving truck. My aunt whipped up some lunch for everyone, and we took a break to eat, realizing we’d skipped breakfast. We grabbed the rest of the stuff and were out of there, except there was one last thing I needed to do.
I walked back into the home, with a trinket in my hand. I had found it while boxing up things in the attic above the garage. I stopped in front of where I had first seen George, laid the trinket on the ground and walked away.
“Thank ye, child,” George appeared in front of me—causing me to jump out of my skin—he spoke through my cell phone.
“You’re welcome. I figured I could help one of you in this house. I can’t help the others, because lives are at stake.”
“I know. Off with ye, child. He be comin’.” George disappeared and a weird feeling washed over me, as every window and door in the house slammed shut—locking me in.
I heard my aunt scream from outside as something cold pierced my body, taking control of me—I had been possessed.
Something unreal happened after that. George materialized, and went hand to hand with the demon that had possessed me. The trinket was what he needed in order to move on, but instead he chose to fight for my freedom. He chose to save me. A ghost saved my life. I made a vow from this day forth that I would continue helping those unseen, because you never truly know when one may save your life.
1) Why write horror?
I grew up on 80s horror and action movies. I was a massive consumer of all genres growing up yet never started reading horror specifically until after I started writing it.
I love being in control. Im not a confrontational person at all. In fact I flinch if a person raises their voice. So horror, or the writing of is a place where I can control the pain and terror. I write out injustices that I otherwise feel helpless against.
2) Tell us about your writing style - is it gore, psychological etc?
I guess I write high action, splatter. I enjoy my monsters, even the human ones.
3) Who is your favorite woman in horror author?
I've Ania Alborn's "Brother" which I really enjoyed. At the moment I am consuming England's "Baba Lenka". But for splatter, it always comes down between D.J Doyle or Sam West.
4) Who is your favorite scream queen?
I just watched American Mary and I just loved everything about her character. Otherwise it would be Ripley.
5) What's next for you?
2021 is the year of sequels. I have promised myself to finish and publish the sequel to my novel Berserker-Green Hell. It has been far more research intensive then the first novel, but I am starting to enjoy it.
I was really pleased with how my Goddess revenge novelette Nang Tani has been recieved. I never intended too but I know have a sequel plotted out for that aswell. Then, only then will I look at the 50 bazillion other projects I have in mind.
1) The Haunting of HIll House by Shirley Jackson
2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
3) Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice
4) Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
5) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”