The horror, the horror…and vikings…and maybe some mummies as well.

Posted: November 1, 2013 in Writing

A while back, I had the pleasure of being invited to submit to an anthology a few of my dear writing friends were putting together. The theme of this anthology was to be Mummies, canopic jars and mummification.

This is a beast! Nearly 400 pages of mummy horror!

This is a beast! Nearly 400 pages of mummy horror!

My initial reaction was basically this:

Oddly enough with the homicide investigation.

I will tell you why my reaction was in the negative: I do not consider myself to be a horror writer. At all. The pieces that I’ve worked on, the pieces that have been published (check out my Short Stories page for deets #shamelessplug) haven’t really had any of the earmarks of horror. Suspense? Sure. Really bizarre, dark comedy? Definitely. But, horror? True horror? This is not something that I consider to be in my wheelhouse.

I mean, I had to look up what the hell a canopic jar even is!

Here, I saved you the Google search: Canopic jars, you’re welcome.

Yet, I am not one to shirk from a challenge. And, whenever someone invites you to submit to an anthology is a tremendous honor. They are saying ‘Hey, Kile! We think you’ve got the chops and want to see what you can come up with for our new venture!’

Pretty sweet in reality.

Still, the horror, man. I am a lifelong fan of the genre. I’ve got a Rob ZombieLords of Salem‘ tattoo on my arm and the Silent Hill ‘Halo of the Sun’ symbol emblazoned on my chest for christssake! My previous attempts at writing something scary have all met with a fiery death, crashing and burning into the realm of mediocrity and suckiness. Kind of like the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ remake from a few years back. Terrible.

Even the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would rather take the sweet embrace of nightmare death over watching this polished turd

Even the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would rather take the sweet embrace of nightmare death over watching this polished turd

I mean, I love horror. I remember when I was a kid, we went to a state fair. They had this game where you threw darts at posters; if you hit the poster and the dart stuck, you won the poster. That day I won a Freddy Krueger poster. Old school England, man. I was so happy that I hung it up in my closet. Keep in mind that at this point in my life, I had seen none of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. I also had a habit of leaving my closet door open at night. A young, impressionable mind with an over-active imagination lead to a rather terrifying series of me falling into an uneasy slumber. Even after I closed the closet door, I knew that Freddy was lurking behind it, smirking his evil grin, just waiting for me to fall asleep and transport me into the boiler room, where he would do unspeakable things to me and mock me before he killed me and ate my soul.

Flash forward a few years later to when I conned my grandmother into renting me the first movie in the series. I watched it in the afternoon on VHS( Kile is old, kids). I started shaking the second I pushed play and did not stop until the movie reached its nihilistic, everything-is-very-much-NOT-okay ending(which I still love to this day). I knew that Freddy was waiting for me at home, in my closet, and now he was more powerful than ever. Just like in the film, my fear brought him to life in the real-world. The ghoul that did not exist was now very real and lusting for my blood.

Why do we love horror and why do we write it? Hey, the discussion has been done to death, so if you want that, just use The Google to find out. If you want my opinion, I’d say it is a way to distract us from the fact that the real horrors are the ones we commit against each other each and every day. Humanity is the true beast lurking in the night, except for we can rationalize our way into not believing that we are all, deep down, Freddy Krueger. Well, without the child molesting aspect, of course. Bad example.

So, wracking my poor, still concussed brain proved to be an act of futility, so I went and did the only sensible thing I could. I went to my Notebook of Magical Ideas and Whimsy.

It is too a real thing!

This is just a small one-subject notebook where I will write down any story ideas that pop into my mind. No matter how vague or bizarre they might be, I put them in this fucking thing.  Some are more fleshed out than others. Some I have actually taken to the outline stage. For me, this is essentially writing a summary of the story long-hand, and then doing some brief character bios and anything else I might need to know to write the tale.  Sometimes, I don’t bother with this and just write until the story is done.

Behold the magic of KILE!

Behold the magic of KILE!

Anyway, much like finding the way to Neverland, wouldn’t you know it? I had something in this tiny little book of ideas and wonder and happy fun-time super joy that would make for a tale most horrific!

Note the spelling mistake in the title. I can't actually write. Or read for that matter

Note the spelling mistake in the title. I can’t actually write. Or read for that matter

The story was one that was originally going to fall into the realm of historical fiction, primarily a suspense tale. But, once I re-read my outline, done during a flu-inflicted brain during a work seminar, the gears of woe began to turn in my brain. The places where I create dark things, horrible things that make you cry out and wet yourself and think that Eli Manning is lurking in your kitchen, just touching every piece of food you have and putting it back without actually eating anything. Who the fuck does he think he is!  JUST PICK WHAT YOU WANT AND LEAVE, ELI!!

Anyway, the story is set in the Viking Age, and focuses on the aftermath of a raid on a small Irish village. We follow two young boys, forced into enslavement by the Northmen, as they lead their parent’s murderers far away from the village and into a vast and expansive bog. These Northmen were lead to believe that the village’s riches are kept in the center of this bog, in a monastery located on a lone island in the midst of the decay and muck. I combined the original outline with the premise of the anthology and I feel turned out a story that surprised me. I wrote scenes that I never expected, or anticipated in my original outline.

And, wouldn’t you know it? The story turned out better than I originally thought it would. Cue the ‘The More You Know’ star. Who knew that taking my love of horror, Scandinavian history and heavy metal and combining the three would have led to such a fortuitous turn of events?

If you want to read the whole story, you can just mosey on over to my ‘Short Stories’ page for the links to buy the anthology, which is MASSIVE. The thing is just jam-packed with talent, so much so, that if you attempted to even comprehend just how much, you very well could go blind.

SPOILER ALERT: Sean Bean also dies in THIS story, too.

SPOILER ALERT: Sean Bean also dies in THIS story, too.

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