109th street

“Creepy” Writing

Anonymous asked: How would you write a letter from the villain in the story? My character receives a letter from him. What should it say? I want it to sound creepy and enthralling…

There are a few ways that you can go about this and it will very much depend on the style of your story and what the style allows for. 

When I first heard this question, my mind immediately jumped to this “haunted” writing style. Very creepy and surreal - not so much what’s being said, but how it’s said. Part of accomplishing this effect is getting into that mindset. I’ve found reading in it is very helpful. I recommend We Have Always Lived In the Castle by Shirley Jackson. The first person voice in this is very dark and strange. It tells you that there is something wrong about this character without needing to say it in dialogue. I am obsessed with its opening: 

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.” 

Another text I’d recommend that is written in a similar style is The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt. It is also one of my favorite books of all time. Though the writing style is ominous, for a long time, it’s reminiscent of a lucid dream. Here is an excerpt: 

“It was hot that summer and my nights were often sleepless. I lay awake in my two-bedroom  apartment on West 109th Street listening to the city’s noises. I would read, write, and smoke into the morning, but on some nights when the heat made me to listless to work, I watched the neighbors from my bed. Through my barred window, across the narrow airshaft, I looked into the apartment opposite mine and saw the two men who lived there wander from one room to another, half dressed in the sultry weather.” 

There is nothing malicious in this passage like there was in the last, but for some reason it reads as eerie. 

If style is not going to work for your story, you’re going to have to work with content to achieve this effect. The creepiness in my experience comes from not actions in a scene, but the potential for those actions to be taken. It’s a bit of suspense needed along with uncertainty. Here are a few things that might work: 

  • Reveal a secret. Secrets are a great way to up the creep-factor. Have the villain give away some information that the protagonist doesn’t entirely understand. It’s extra creepy if it sounds like a confession or a threat. 
  • Expose a guilty conscience. Like the last one, but this one doesn’t have to be so direct. If you can suggest that the villain is guilty of something horrible, especially if no one knows what he did, it’ll make him a lot creepier.

Salvation

In Edmonton, Alberta, there is a hotel called the Canterra, off of Jasper Avenue and 109th Street. During the night, go here and ring the doorbell. Should you be let in, look to see who the guard on shift is. If the man looks in his mid twenties, yet the hair on his head and face both are white as snow, take a seat beside the security desk. If it is any other guard on shift, leave and return in a week’s time.

Here you must wait. The guard will say not a word, nor answer any questions you may ask. He hears you, but he will not respond. He will only give you a sad look, as if knowing something terrible awaits. When the time is 2:52 AM, the guard will rise to perform a patrol of the building. Follow him only on this patrol – if you follow him at any time before 2:52 AM, you will be forcefully removed from the hotel, and lose your chance.

Say not a word as you walk the halls behind the guard. He will check that the rooms are all locked, as well as patrol the stairwells. When you both reach the 5th floor, you will notice that it is remarkably colder than the last four. Yes, the floor is deafeningly quiet – it is normal. When the guard secures all the rooms on the floor, you will both stop at a door that seems much older than any other door you’ve yet seen in the hotel. This is room 512. Only this particular guard has access to this room, Take note of the key of which the guard uses to unlock this door – it will be important later.

At this point, the guard will open the room for you and allow you to pass through. It will be quite dark, but do not yet be afraid – the worst is yet to come. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and step through the doorway. Do not open them until you hear the door close behind you, for seeing the transition can be maddening.

It will be almost unbearably hot, here. You will find yourself in a long hallway with numerous turns. There will be thirteen doors lining this hallway – do not open any of them. Take note which door has a splash of white paint on it, this will be critical soon. When you reach the end of the hallway, you will find yourself in the living room of the suite. In each corner of the room you should see a tall figure, each with burnt flesh. They should all be sitting on the floor, hugging their legs with their heads upon their knees and facing their respective corner. Their fingers will be chewed away until their tips are nothing but sharp, boney talons. Do not address these figures; do not touch them: they are Her guardians.

In the centre of this room, there She should be. She will be sitting in an old, ragged reclining chair. It is impossible to say how She will look, for Her appearance changes for everyone. She should, like her guardians, be asleep. Do not awaken her from her slumber.


For now, you have time to rest. There will be food and drink set out upon the coffee table in front of Her, and you are welcome to it. Do not partake in the pie, however, for it will numb your legs.

Should you be so bold, take a look outside the window. It will resemble a hellish version of the avenue which the hotel is on. The buildings will be burnt-out husks of their former selves, the river valley beyond will be dry and cracked. Fire will appear to be on the horizon, and the ever-burning sun will resemble blood set ablaze. Should you stay for hours on end, you will find no reprieve from the heat – there is no night here.

Now, look to the streets – you will find the same figures there as the ones in the room. They, however, are awake – shuffling, screaming and wailing from their back maws. They have no eyes in their sockets, but by some twisted means they can still see. Take care not to attract their attention, for they will follow you back to our world and this venture will be for naught.

When you are ready, stand before Her and speak clearly these words: “Save me, Mother, please.”

Say nothing else and wait. You should start to hear Her breathe.

At this point, one of two things will happen. Remember the key which the guard opened this room with? Should She place that same key on the table in front of you, count yourself lucky. Should She, however, place a different key upon the table, you will need to give Her an offering. A knife that was not previously on the table will now be present. The blade will be rusted, bloodied. Take this knife, and sever a finger, placing it beside the key. Wait.

If She places the same key as the guard’s on the table, you may take it and leave. If not, remove another finger. This will only occur a maximum of four times before the right key will be produced.

Once the key is in your possession, She will once again return to Her haunted slumber.

Now pay attention, for you only have a short amount of time. The Guardians will be stirring, now. Slowly they will rise from their sleep and turn in towards the room to face you. If they see you, they will slaughter you. Run. You have 10 seconds before they will fully turn from their corners.

Remember that door with the white splash of paint? That is the door you will need to use to remove yourself from this hell. If you hear screaming from behind you, the guardians are fully awake and are coming. You don’t have much time. Find the white-marked door, and get out!

You will find yourself inexplicably outside your own home, exactly a week after you entered the hotel. Keep the key on you at all times, wherever you go.

One day in the future, distant or near, a ragged old door with the number ‘777’ will appear wherever you happen to be. Use the key and open this door immediately. Leave anyone with you behind.

Wherever it leads, it will be far better than what is about to happen to this world.

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Hanover Township is known across Indiana for a particularly strange phenomenon. For the past 50 years or so, a pile of shoes has grown on the corner of the intersection on 109th Avenue and Calumet Street. The highway department regularly removes the shoes, but the pile is never gone for long. As soon as one heap of shoes is removed, another mysteriously appears.

 Over the years, every kind of shoe imaginable has shown up at the intersection, from cowboy boots to flip-flops and even a pair of clown shoes. Most of the shoes are rather worn, but a surprising number are brand new, straight from the store.  While students are the most likely culprits, no one in town has ever taken responsibility, and no one has ever been caught in the act.