Familiarity Is the Only Difference between Myth and Reality

Familiarity Is the Only Difference between Myth and Reality

When I was little, I loved a show that followed scientists trying to prove the existence of monsters. It probably wasn’t the most accurate depiction of the scientific method, but I was enthralled. It was exciting to think that all those things whispered about in myths could really be out there. That maybe, the world wasn’t as mundane as everyone had told me it was. Maybe there is something worth unearthing out there. Years later, I learned in history class that the Romans had thought people...

Some Consequences Can’t Be Undone

Some Consequences Can’t Be Undone

All choices have consequences. Sometimes they’re easy to let go. Sometimes they’re hard to survive. When I think about the choices not made, and all the consequences I’ve avoided, there’s one moment that always pops into my head. It was a small encounter while I was traveling. Over and done with in barely three minutes. A man who seemed rather nice offered to show me around. My horror-loving brain acknowledged four things at once. He was twice my size, he was blocking my exit, he knew I was a...

What if the Voice inside Your Head Isn’t Your Own?

What if the Voice inside Your Head Isn’t Your Own?

There are so many subgenres of horror that I love, it’s hard to pick just one to focus on. In a way, that’s why Jigsaw of Souls uses the jigsaw motif. I wanted to fracture one story into many parts, each one both dark and cool, and would explore one of the subgenres I love. The first one, Curse of the Necromancer, deals with the undead. The first horror movie I ever saw was Night of the Living Dead. And I’ve always had a soft spot for the zombie genre, even as it exploded and became the...

The Unknown Is Where the Horror Begins

The Unknown Is Where the Horror Begins

Once, when I was in a glorious bookstore that was so full of paperbacks it was a fire hazard, I was absorbed in finding my next good read. I wandered aimlessly, barely aware of the man at the end of the row. No matter what aisle I happened down, he was always there. Always backlit by the sunlight. Always between me and the only exit. I was engrossed in a blurb when I heard the soft creak of a floorboard. I turned and there he was. Only a few inches separated us. We stared at each other for I...

A Little Bit of Pretty Can Hide a Whole Lot of Horror…

A Little Bit of Pretty Can Hide a Whole Lot of Horror…

There’s a building in my hometown where businesses go to die. It seemed like every possible kind of store occupied the bottom floor while the apartment on the second level was perpetually empty.   Rumors spread—as they often do among teenagers—and I was told that the original owner had committed suicide in the apartment. No business has survived more than a few months there ever since.  What struck me the most wasn’t the prospect of having a haunted house so conveniently located. It was that...

Some Things Just Haunt Us for the Rest of Our Lives…

Some Things Just Haunt Us for the Rest of Our Lives…

We don’t always outgrow our fears. Sometimes, we just learn to carry them with us. I was that weird kid that was utterly infatuated with myths and monsters. I savored campfire stories and hoarded urban legends like they were collectibles. Most of the time, I can put the story aside. But there are a few that just seem to lurk in the back of my mind, waiting to take over my thoughts. To this day, a flash of light in a darkened mirror will have me thinking about Bloody Mary. Maybe it was the...

The Things We Fear Don’t Always Hide In the Shadows…

The Things We Fear Don’t Always Hide In the Shadows…

We rely on our senses to understand the world. So, what do we do when they fail? I’m near-sighted. Without my glasses, everything is a jumbled mess of colorful splotches. I can dismiss it as mildly irritating until a moment comes along that forces me to remember just how vulnerable I am. I used to go to a 24-hour gym. I always had the place to myself. I’d stash my glasses in my locker, put in my earbuds, and spend the hour blissfully alone. That one time, I was heading back to the changing...

Spirits Whisper Their Pleas to Be Saved…

Spirits Whisper Their Pleas to Be Saved…

Ghosts! Demons! Fluffy little kittens! One of those is not scary. I leave it to you to determine which, dear reader. Meanwhile, let me tell you about haunted houses. Every town has at least one. In England, they are everywhere. It is rare to find a large building that has stood for more than a generation without its ghost. Usually, they are harmless enough. Many hotels and pubs advertise their resident ghost. But sometimes, ghosts are less than benign. For the second of the six books in the...

This Is Their World, We’re Just Playing in It…

This Is Their World, We’re Just Playing in It…

As seems to be a common tradition, I used to dabble with the occult. It wasn’t anything outlandish. Just the odd Ouija board at slumber parties, a bit of voodoo doll stabbing, and trying to summon the murderous spirit of Bloody Mary to see if she’d kill me or not. You know, girly things. Most of these nights ended with us giving up and watching some horror movies instead. Nothing remarkable but a lot of fun. Lately, I was reminiscing, and it occurred to me; while we were all giddy waiting for...

Darkness Isn’t Always the Scariest Thing Out There…

Darkness Isn’t Always the Scariest Thing Out There…

I grew up in a relatively boring suburb. One day, I walked my dog to the shops, keeping to our usual route. We were on our way back when my dog randomly glanced behind. I turned and found that a man was walking close beside me. I had never seen him before, but he beamed at me like I was an old friend. He slowly drew closer to me. When our shoulders were almost touching, he reached out and grabbed the back of my neck. He didn’t hurt me. But I realized in that moment how easily he could have. It...