In 2019 my friend Oleg is publishing an international anthology of flash fiction horror stories called “Horror Without Borders”. He has over 50 authors recruited for the project from 20 plus countries and all seven continents, that’s right, all seven continents — including someone that works in Antarctica. Oleg is publishing the book in print and as an ebook in Russian, and I’m the editor for the print-on-demand and ebook that will be in English. I’m also contributing a story to the collection. That’s what this article is about.
My original idea was to do a torture story where a patient that has gotten the normal medical treatment of being ignored, dismissed, and given painkillers gets so frustrated that he snaps, kidnaps the doctor, and tortures him in a creative way. He causes the doctor pain, for instance by pulling out a fingernail. Then he checks the doctor’s blood pressure, notes that it’s high and gives him some blood pressure medication. When the doctor complains about pain he writes him a prescription for painkillers. That sort of thing. It could be quite a terrifying piece of psychological horror. But, I’m not sure that I want to go to those dark places myself at the moment, so I’m coming up with other ideas.
My next idea is about a shrink that shrinks heads. I think it’s a funny idea on the surface, mixing the metaphorical with the literal. You could have a patient that opens the closet door for some reason and finds some shrunken heads. Maybe the psychiatrist stepped out of the room to grab something and the patient wanted a pen, or was curious. There could be some good foreshadowing talking about shrinking the problems in your head and such. It could end with the patient being discovered and the doctor approaching him, or there could be a time jump to the shrinking of his head, or after his head has been shrunk and is on display in the closet. I think it’s a decent idea.
The next idea started with the thought of creating a baby zombie. I think it would make more sense for it to be a kid now, maybe 8 years old or so. Let’s say there has been a big medical scare like that which happened with Ebola in the US a few years ago. Everyone is freaking out. Everyone is scared and wants the archetypal father figure to take care of them. The government, unfortunately, is what fills that image for people. So, the government mandates that there is a new required vaccine to combat this disease. There have been some reports that some people get sick after getting the vaccine, but it doesn’t matter because you are required to get it, no choices. A mother, her 8 year old son, and her 3 year old daughter get the vaccine. The son gets a fever. The house is put under quarantine. The mom tells the sister to stay out of the room. The mother is sitting with the son. He is really overheated. She leaves to get a new wet clothe to put on his forehead. When she returns there’s blood on the floor. As she steps into the room she sees the daughter laying unconscious on the floor missing her arm, and the son in the corner chewing on it. You could foreshadow this by having him bite at the mother before, and something about his eyes changing while he’s sick. That’s why the mother would tell the daughter to stay away. But, the daughter being nice and caring wants to take care of him. That’s why she sneaks back in the room when the mother leaves. That could work. Oleg likes zombies too. I like Zombieland and The Walking Dead. I think it’s a pretty good idea. Basically the vaccine supply has been contaminated with a mutated and/or modified form of human rabies that also potentially is a retrovirus of some kind that genetically modifies the human over time, the turning process is the fever period.
There could obviously be a bunch of other monster type stories that would work. I think a horror story about a succubus could be interesting, but it would be erotica and I don’t want to get into that right now.
My last idea, for today, is a flashback story. A false execution. Maybe someone is injured and a guy is trying to help her, but she dies. He’s covered in blood and the mob finally gets there. Maybe she was kidnapped just a short time before and the mob was running them down. Now this guy is there covered in blood. He’s obviously guilty, caught red-handed as it were. A mob execution seems reasonable. I could start the story with the guy having a gun put to his head, or a rope put around his neck, or something like that. Then his eyes fall upon the young girl, or something else, and he flashes back to why he ended up there. He had good intentions of some sort. The flashback brings us back to the present time and he’s executed. If done right I think that could make some people stop and think about innocence, justice, and humility; maybe.
It also strikes me as interesting that The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel are all very popular children’s’ stories about, essentially, cannibalism. But, I won’t delve into that here.
Next time I’m going to choose one of these and start working through it.
I’ve written two fictional pieces that I like so far.
“The City of Peace” — A future history science fiction utopia/dystopia action adventure in a framed story of a father telling his son a story about the child’s grandfather.
“The Birth of Hanniba’al” — A dark, somewhat alternative, historical origin story for the Carthage General Hannibal.
Here are three of my most popular posts.
“The Making of a Great First Line in Fiction”
“A Letter to My Niece in 2034”
“The Most Important Question in Philosophy — Part 4 of 4”
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