Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween? More like Helloween! (Wait that's a band...)

It is that time again, everyone. That time of year in which the godless perform their profane rituals, with their children, on the streets of our cities. That time of year in which Satan and his minions delight, in which the ignorant revel. It is Halloween.

Many will say that it is harmless. Many will say that it is a Christian holiday remembering the martyrs. And some will say that it was another hijacked pagan holiday, because let me tell you, we loved us some holiday-hijacking. But none of that is true. In reality, Halloween is sending you straight on the road to hell.

Halloween teaches our children to be unloving toward the neighbors. It tells children to go door-to-door, insisting that their neighbors give them a gift. A gift is not demanded, but freely given. Clearly Halloween is teaching wrong ideas.

The worst part of Halloween is the blatant idolization of evil spirits. Children dress up in all manner of horrendous costumes.

Adorable Witches:

Adorable Vampires:

Adorable Monsters:

Because the Necronomicon is totally real, right?

This must be stopped. As Christians, we must do something different. Instead, we will hold harvest celebrations. Harvest celebrations include a bonfire, a feast, and gathering pumpkins and other crops, none of which sound anything at all like Samhain. At all.

A/N: If you choose not to celebrate Halloween that's perfectly fine. Just don't be a self-righteous reactionary jerk about it.

A/N: Also if you choose to celebrate Reformation Day, please do not nail anything to the door of your local Catholic church, because then you could get arrested.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

100 Themes Challenge: Questioning

Transcript from police interrogation of Mr. M.A., about a quarter of the way through. Names and locations have been removed for the purposes of this study.

Detective K: Are you ready to answer my questions, Mr. A?

Mr. A: What questions? You saw what happened! Look at me! How could I possibly do that?

Detective K: We’re just trying to arrive at the truth, Mr. A. Where were you the night of March 7th ____, at 1:42 AM?

Mr. A: I told you. I told you before. I don’t remember. It’s all a blank.

Detective K: That’s a big blank to fill, Mr. A.

Mr. A: What else am I supposed to say? I remember nothing! Send me to a headshrinker if you have to but I can’t remember anything!

Detective K: How much of March 7th do you remember, Mr. A?

Mr. A: I…I remember most of it. I know I went to work, and came home, and had dinner with…with S (wife’s name removed).

Detective K: So you remember up to dinner?

Mr. A: I…I know I went upstairs to bed early. And that’s it.

Detective K: No recollection of the night, then?

Mr. A: I told you no! Next thing I know I’m on the lawn covered in blood and you people have your guns pointed at me!

Detective K: Tell me, Mr. A, have you ever had a problem with sleep walking?

Mr. A: …no.

Detective K: Memory loss?

Mr. A: Not till now!

Detective K: This is an interest problem, Mr. A. We no doubt will send a psychiatrist to evaluate you, but until then, let us ask this question. Why did you go to the trouble of scrubbing your fingerprints off everything around your wife’s body yet leave yourself covered in her blood?


Detective K: That’s an interesting assessment, Mr. A. You certainly weren’t wearing gloves when we found you.


Detective K: Your wife was having psychiatric issues of her own, I understand.

Mr. A: What does that have to do with anything?

Detective K: Seeing things, thinking people were following her…

Mr. A: She had a reaction to her blood pressure medication!

Detective K: According to our records, when you were at work she called us several times a week to report a “strange man in a suit” standing outside the living room window. That must have been quite wearing on you.

Mr. A: She just needed a psychiatrist. I told her to go.

Detective K: But she didn’t, did she? And you got increasingly frustrated. Maybe you were even afraid that her problems were “catching”. Being around that all the time…

Mr. A: I wanted to help her! I wouldn’t have done this!

Detective K: Why don’t you try to remember a little harder, Mr. A? It would be the best for everyone.

Mr. A: I told you, I remember absolutely nothing! Except…

Detective K: What is that Mr. A?

Mr. A: Nothing.

Detective K: You’re done talking then?

Mr. A: No, it’s…

(Here there is a brief silence on the recording, along with some static which may be due to a flaw on the tape.)

Mr. A: Well, I woke up around 12:30.

Detective K: Really? But you didn’t remember it before.

Mr. A: You’re going to think I’m crazy.

Detective K: Go on.

Mr. A: I thought I saw the man my wife talked about. In the hallway.

Detective K: Ah. Now you have an alibi. A fictional man in a suit.

(Here, the recording experiences technical issues.)

Detective K: Is it back up?

Unknown Officer: Yep.

Detective K: Okay, to get back to what we were talking about…Mr. A?

Mr. A: No…no not again…

Detective K: Officer (name removed), I think we may need some help.

Mr. A: Please…just leave us alone…I won’t tell anymore…

(There are bursts of static throughout the rest of the recording.)

Detective K: Mr. A, please take your seat…Mr. A…


Detective K: Mr. A, what are you lookin—WHAT IS THAT? WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS THAT?? GET AWAY FROM ME!

Mr. A: No no no no no no…

(Here, the recording becomes too distorted to hear properly, except for some intermittent screaming.)

Mr. A. was charged with first degree murder, both of his wife and of Detective K. It is unknown at this time how he was able to sneak a knife into the interrogation room. Those officers that were on the scene have been questioned thoroughly but none seem to have a connection to Mr. A.

A week later, our division arrived at (Name Removed) Police Department and confiscated all documents relating to the case. The recording, the transcript, and accompanying have been filed under “Unknown Phenomenon”. High-level security only.

Notes: Those working on this case have been experiencing headaches, nosebleeds, and intense paranoia. Dr. G in the psychiatric division has been called in to study the phenomena, and employees involved have been asked to record their physical and mental state for further research. We will most likely have to either hire new employees or transfer from other cases within a few weeks.

-Dr. Y

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

100 Themes Challenge: Silence

     What Breanna liked most about hiking was how quiet it was. Even in large wooded parks, you could still hear the sounds of traffic in the surrounding city. It was a constant, distant thrumming that shattered the illusion of solitude. However, out here, Breanna truly was alone. Well, not entirely alone. There were still daytrippers that used this area, but not many. Most people preferred to stay at the city parks and within easy distance of amenities.
     Breanna had come prepared, of course. She intended this hike to only last the day, but she packed a small tent and some food just in case. It paid to be prepared. She passed a few worn signs that continue to point deeper into the woods. She also began to notice a number of people coming back. It appeared they had turned around; probably didn’t feel like hiking the entire trail.
     It really was very peaceful here now. The air was crisp, the birdsongs seemed clearer, and the dry leaves were alive with squirrels running to and fro. Once or twice, Breanna caught a flash of white; a deer loping away as she approached. She breathed in the smell of heavy vegetation. She felt stress and tension fall away.
     She noticed benches here and there, optimistically hoping people would make it this far. Breanna took advantage of one and pulled out a sandwich. She took her time, savoring it. It was then she noticed it had gotten quieter.
     Not by much, of course. She could still hear some birdcalls, but they seemed somewhat distant. This meant nothing, of course. Perhaps the birds had tired of her company.
     Breanna moved on, and the woods seemed to enclose around her now. It was quiet, and dim, and cool. All in all, she found it rather comforting. But the birdcalls continued to become more distant, and no new ones began. There appeared to be no birds here. She wondered at that; perhaps there had been a fire somewhere around here recently? She also noticed no more benches, although the trees were more heavily marked. She thought perhaps the marks were some sort of letters or pictographs; they looked Native American. Either pranksters, or possibly even done for some sort of event. She knew the area often cultural events at the picnic area near this trail. Breanna stopped to examine one of the carvings.
     The letters didn’t look familiar, but she also noticed trees, and what appeared to be a man, although instead of a head there was a curl like a question mark. She had never seen anything like that, and wondered what it represented. She’d ask around when she got back.
     Breanna moved on, and began to wonder when the trail would end. She had been told it took about five or six hours to get to the end, and then she would have five or six hours to get back. But the trees blocked out the sun now, and when she checked her watch she saw it had stopped. Wonderful. It was all a bit nerve-wracking, and finally Breanna decided it was time to turn back. She was adventured out.
     When she turned, she caught a glimpse of something very large and dark disappeared into the woods.
     She caught her breath, her limbs stiffened, and she felt the hair on her arms prickle. Something had been following her. For how long, she didn’t know. Was it a predator? Breanna reached into her pack and pulled out her cell phone. No signal, of course. She looked around warily, found a large tree branch, and picked it up. She didn’t want to go forward; she couldn’t go back. She waited.
     Absolute silence followed. There were no animal sounds; no wind; she only heard her own quick breathing and pounding heart. She swallowed and tried to calm herself down. It was getting even darker.
     Nothing happened. Breanna knew she could not stand here forever. Perhaps whatever it was, she could scare it off. It was probably a black bear, and unless it was a mother, it would be easily frightened by loud noises and waving arms.
     So she moved forward, starting to wave the branch around, and tried to shout. Instead, her voice came out as a croak.
     That’s when the sound started.
     It was hideous, it was everywhere, a sharp, animalistic howling but something so uncannily human that Breanna almost wondered if maybe there was another person out there, another person who had somehow been caught by this thing, but the howling was so loud
     She dropped the branch and clamped her hands over her ears, trying to shut out the noise…her knees hit the ground…
     The howling grew closer, and a ringing started up in her ears, and she felt something pop, and suddenly, there was silence.
     She pulled her hands away. There was blood trickling from her ears.
     Then she realized something dark was standing over her. She looked up.

    “Question mark” was the last sane thought that went through her mind.

A/N: Look, Derleth wrote a story that isn't an entire regurgitation of Lovecraft's stuff.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Reviews: Two for the Price of One!

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane

When Clay Jannon gets hit by the unemployment slump and loses his place as advertiser for a bakery, he searches for a job, any job. He finds this job at the titular bookstore, a dusty place filled with odd books “checked out” by even odder patrons. Spurred on by his friends, he starts investigating the reason behind these books, and discovers a wild conspiracy behind it.

This book is fun, quirky, and strangely thought-provoking. Much of the book’s theme relates to the current tension between traditional methods of research and reading and the new technology that is changing the face of the world, all wrapped up in a historical mystery. The antagonist represents strict traditional methods; the protagonist new technology; and Mr. Penumbra as a kind of bridge between them both, bringing the old and new together. A secondary theme relates to immortality, and what it actually is.

For a book about secret societies, conspiracies, and general geekery, there is a lot of truly thoughtful sections. Yet it never loses its entertaining aspect, even during all this. It’s a pretty fun, if strange, book.

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Emma Smallwood’s father is a poor tutor whose in-home school is failing. He had previously tutored the two elder sons of a wealthy baronet, and Emma writes to see if the man will send his two younger sons. To her surprise, however, he instead invites them to stay with him for a year while teaching the younger boys. It is with joy and trepidation that she accepts the invitation-joy, because she is still in love with the second son Henry, and trepidation, because the heir Phillip was quite a bully when they taught him. But things have changed, and when Emma arrives at the house, she is surrounded by secrets and must figure out who to trust.

Christian romance has a sliding scale of anviliciousness. On one end of the sliding scale you have Linore Rose Burkard with her SURPRISE COME TO JESUS MOMENTS. On the other end, you have Debra White Smith, who makes Christianity seem like a normal part of life rather than SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT REALLY SIGNIFICANTLY ALL THE TIME. SEE HOW SIGNIFICANT OUR RELIGION IS. Julie Klassen seems to be somewhere in the middle-not quite so contrived and out of place as Linore Rose Burkard, but not quite as natural as Debra White Smith has managed. As such, it’s not such a chore to read through any discussions about religious beliefs.

Also, she does a good job of genuinely setting up the suspense and mystery of the book. She definitely hits the gothic atmosphere just right-a remote mansion by the stormy Cornwall sea, a piano playing in the middle of the night, family conversations cut short when the heroine enters the room-it’s done very well, and keeps one wanting to find out what is going on. Furthermore, Klassen makes her characters very flawed but likable. Even the evil characters (for the most part) have some sympathetic qualities that make you somewhat understand what’s going on with them.

Now, I’ll admit Klassen does have a “come to Jesus” moment, but it’s done in a very natural setting and was a part of the heroine’s struggle with blaming God for her mother’s death.

So, for Regency romances, this is quite a good story.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

100 Themes Challenge: Smile

     Annie’s nickname was “Sunshine”. She liked running, and laughing, and swimming in the creek, and how her mommy pulled her hair up into two puffs every day so it wouldn’t get in her way when she was doing all these things. Annie had lots of friends. They liked to run and play with her every day. Sometimes they even stayed out after dark. Their mommies and daddies all knew each other, so none of them worried.
     One day, it snowed very hard, so hard that the school bus never came. So Annie’s mommy helped her bundle up into her coat and boots and gloves and pink fluffy hat and let her go outside with her friends. The snow on the trees by the creek was piled up on the trunks. Annie thought it looked like a lot of people all looking out at her.
     Annie and her friends had a lot of fun that day. They built a big snowman and took Mr. Sanchez’s coat and hat for it, and then the snowplow came through and the nice man piled up a huge hill of snow for them to play on. They took turns riding their sleds down the snow hill. Then they threw snowballs, and that was a lot of fun. Annie was glad her coat was so big, though, because she was starting to get cold. But she didn’t mind, because then they decided to play hide and seek. Marcus was it, so they all ran off and hid. Annie saw her best friend Cass run into the woods. And then some snow must have dropped from a branch, because Annie thought it looked like one of those trees with the snow on the trunk moved as Cass ran by.
     Annie liked the snow day a lot. But the next day all the snow plows had cleaned the roads up, and now they had to go back to school. When Cass came in, she went to a corner by herself. She was smiling.
     “Cass! Do you want to play in the snow after school?” Cass looked up, still smiling.
     “No, Annie, I have another friend that wants to go play.” Annie felt her own smile leave. Cass always wanted to play with her!
     “Can’t I play with you?”
     “No!” Cass stopped smiling too. “No, you can’t play.” Then she turned and looked out the window.
     Annie sat at her seat and tried not to cry. Cass didn’t want to be friends anymore. It was a long unhappy day for Annie.
     After a week of Annie being unhappy and her mommy trying to cheer her up with cookies and soup and all kinds of fun things, Cass came over to Annie at school.
     “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I just wanted to have fun with my new friend for a while. But now he wants to meet all my friends.”
     “He does?”
     “Yeah. We should all go to the woods tonight and play hide-and-seek.”
     Annie’s smile returned immediately.

     That evening, Annie ran to Cass and grabbed her hand. She was excited for this. Cass must have made a very fun new friend. The other kids were also very excited, and they all followed Cass and Annie into the woods.
     Funny. Annie liked the woods most days. There were always birds and squirrels, even at night. But they were very very quiet tonight. Annie held Cass’ hand a little harder.
     “You don’t need to be nervous, Annie!” Cass said.
     But Annie didn’t like how she was feeling. It was sort of how she felt when she was about to be sick.
     “I don’t feel good, Cass.”
     “You can meet my friend then you can go home. Maybe you’ll feel better after this!” And Cass gave her such a nice smile that Annie kept on going.
     Up ahead Annie saw a tree that still had snow way up high on its trunk. But then she noticed the branches weren’t moving right. They were long and flowing and suddenly Annie felt very bad.
     “Cass, I’m going to be sick! I don’t want to throw up in front of your friend!”
     “Well hurry up! You might feel better.”
     So Annie hurried away behind a bush, wishing she was home and her mommy could put her to bed and give her that pink medicine for tummy aches. But after standing there, she started feeling a little better. It was very quiet; Annie couldn’t even hear her friends now. So she walked on ahead, hoping to catch up to them, starting to smile at the idea of making a new friend.
     She stopped.
     She had gotten to the tree, but now she wasn’t so sure it was a tree, because it had legs and looked like a man, but the snow was still there instead of a face, and the branches were still swinging around but now there was blood on them and blood on her friends who were all lying on the ground not moving and Cass was looking up at her smiling but the rest of her was over by the tree man who was moving toward Annie and Annie turned and walked away back through the dark woods back home still smiling still

     The doctor used a lot of big words that Annie didn’t know. He used them because he wanted to explain why she didn’t stop smiling. But Annie didn’t want to stop smiling, even though her face hurt. Right now, her mommy wouldn’t let her leave the house, because everyone said a very bad person was in the woods, and it was dangerous to go out there. But Annie wanted to go to the woods, so she could keep smiling, just like Cass.

A/N:Well that was dreadful. Slendy made me write this. Really.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: The Ritual by Adam Nevill

The Ritual worked very well as a horror book, until it suddenly didn’t. Let me explain that.

Four old friends decide to get together for a reunion, and have chosen to hike the Scandinavian wilderness. But tensions abound, as protagonist Luke is the only one left single, and with a low-paying job. However, that is the least of their worries when they find a dead animal gutted and left in a sacrificial manner in the forest. After coming upon some ruins, they realize that something is following them. It’s a race to make it out of the forest before an evil being catches up to them.

For the most part, this book was amazing. It was tense, frightening, and thoughtful. The dynamics between Luke and the others was very real. Luke feels left out of the lives his friends lead, while his friends, despite their families and jobs, feel envious of Luke’s “free” single existence. The simmering resentment between them affects how they react to the real problem.

The creature in question isn’t fully described until the end, and even then it’s never truly explained-it’s just a part of the forest, a relic of old days when humans had reason to fear the dark. This made it a truly frightening monster, and the combination of this Lovecraftian suspense and the characters getting picked off one by one made this an excellent read.

Until about halfway through. The next part contains some spoilers, so if you really want to read this book, avoid it. Or not.

At this point, Luke’s friends are dead and he is injured and slowly starving to death, while still being pursued by this dreadful monster. He passes out, and…

WILD CULTISTS APPEAR! Yes, we go from being relentlessly pursued by a terrible creature to some wannabe teenage hipster cultists who make black metal you’ve never heard of, and who want to meet the creature in question. (You’ve never heard of the monster either.) There is a plot reason for them, but it’s so stupid that I can’t even begin to articulate how I feel about it. Like that, the tension snaps, and the author never really regains it. The absolute dissonance of the latter half of the book made it quite frankly boring to read. And this is why The Ritual worked, right up until it didn’t. Nevill would have done better to end it with Luke somehow, than to try to carry the book on like he did.

My suggestion? Read up until Luke passes out, then pretend the monster got him.

Friday, October 25, 2013

100 Themes Challenge: Misfortune

     Accidents tended to happen outside the Halloween Emporium, located in what was once an old antiques shop. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it was merely small incidents that could happen anywhere, but seemed to cluster around the building. Most people made jokes about “curses”, and a few more serious-minded workers worried that the place would go out of business. But it was generally agreed that the problem was nothing more than a group of exceedingly clumsy people.
     And besides, they usually had it coming in some way or another. One day, for example, a woman in the next shop over had gone into quite a fit when she found out they didn’t have a shirt in her size. She stormed out on very tall heels, and just as she passed the door of Halloween Emporium, one heel broke, and she tumbled over, skirt flying up and giving everyone a show. The owners next door came over and jokingly congratulated the Emporium on dealing with a problem.
     Then of course there was that dumb kid who had stolen some lady’s purse. Went careening down the road, and just as he reached the Emporium, a customer left, the door opening right into his face. He fell backward, still clutching the purse, and was taken away dazed by the police who caught up soon afterward. ‘
     But that was months ago. Now the accidents were becoming less…amusing.
     After all, a flower pot to the head might be cartoonish, but landing on a little girl’s head was not. She was knocked out cold and rushed to the hospital with a concussion. Apparently her skull had been fractured by the blow. Then there was the old veteran who had a heart attack right on their door mat, just as he was about to walk in. All he wanted was to buy an army jacket for his grandson so they could match on Halloween.
     The incidents did not remain on the outside of the store. Inside, the workers were getting slightly spooked for real. Ladders broke at horrible times; one stock boy broke his leg when he tripped over a jack o’ lantern bucket that had somehow found its way in the middle of the aisle as he was carrying a box. A cashier’s nose started bleeding for no reason, and she left to go to the doctor. She never came back.
     Finally, business did start slowing down. People murmured about calling an inspector. Phrases such as “faulty foundation” and “Indian graveyard” were thrown around with equal force. No one could figure out if the problem was mundane or supernatural.
     Things came to a head when the lights flickered out one day. It was a clear, cold day, and no one else on the block had lost power. So the manager grabbed a flashlight and headed down into the old building’s basement to flip the breaker switch.
     A moment later he came back up the stairs, screaming in terror. He ran out the door and kept running down the street. When someone finally caught up to him, he had run for two miles and attempted to throw himself into the river.
     This time, the police actually did investigate. A sane man doesn’t go into a basement, then come back out a madman for no reason.
     What they found in that basement was what closed the Halloween Emporium for good.
     The basement was still filled with old boxes that had once belonged to the antique shop before it had gone out of business. In one corner, a box was open, illuminated by a soft glow. That glow came from an odd medallion, clearly old. That medallion was clutched in the hands of a six year old boy that had gone missing months ago. He sat rigid and still, his eyes rolled into the back of his head. One officer approached, muttering half-finished curses. He reached out to touch the boy.
     At that, an entire rafter came loose and fell directly on him.
     That was it. The entire team of officers fled from the premises.

     They say that in the months following, an investigation was made and the place was closed down, citing safety problems with the building. It was promptly demolished by a construction company.

     I hear they’ve turned that space into a new playground. Funny, though. Kids get hurt a lot there.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In celebration of Oktoberfest...

(There's been a picture going around about saying "pumpkin spice latte" and summoning a girl in yoga pants, but I felt this was more appropriate.)


That's right, I'm still watching scary things on YouTube, and astonishingly enough, some of them do not involve Slendy. Amazing!

Keratin Garden-Story just wants to make nail tutorials on YouTube. With the help of her two friends, she gets off to a good start, but then someone sends her fingernails as a gift, and this strange tall guy keeps showing up in odd places…

This has a good build-up, and furthermore gives us an extra mystery. Currently, Story is trying to remember what happened during her period of “psychosis” (read: implied proxification) by following the clues left by the Black Dog, who you need to read about because he is awesome. (I know he’s supposed to be scary but WAGGY-TAILED ELDRITCH HORROR IS WAGGY-TAILED)

Walking with Giants-Jackie and Erin want to showcase the nature trails near their house. Genre savvy viewers know precisely how good an idea this is, and when Erin disappears Jackie must face her fears to save her sister. This is another good one, with connections to the Jack and the Beanstalk story. The acting is a bit…over the top, but overall the series is excellent.

AU Haunt-A group of friends decide to make their own ghost-hunting vlog, showing off the haunted areas around their Australian town. But someone keeps leaving strange notes for them, and they’re starting to get worried…

This has had a very slow build-up, with only a hint here and there as to what is going on. But apart from the fact it is meant to be a Slendy vlog, this is a genuinely interesting look at some of the places in Australia. If one didn’t know what it was supposed to be, it would still be a good “ghost hunter” series.

Also, bonus points for random distraction by lizard.

3 Wolves-Three high school friends film their antics before one has to go off to basic. But hijinks swiftly ensue, Slendy keeps popping up in random places, a mutual friend disappears after babbling about a “garden tool” (lolrakelol), and there are also a lot of nosebleeds. They do a good job of combining jump scares, subtle horror, and an element of mystery.

Whispered Faith-Lee keeps hearing odd noises coming from within his house. He thinks it’s just rats, but it’s something much worse. Throw in some insane cultists and a book that can’t be burned, and you have a recipe for disaster. This one focuses on the Rake and the cult’s attempts at being super-serial about worshipping monsters.


The unnamed narrator was sent a bunch of SD cards and an external hard drive from an old acquaintance of his, dated to shortly before Nick's disappearance. Nick and Austin decided to poke around a local cemetery, despite the warnings of Nick’s brother Mark, and something followed them home. This one has a very tense atmosphere, with very subtle, paranormal activity-style scares. (And there are cultists. There are always cultists.) 

So if you're like me and don't actually want to attend parties on Halloween in which people in stupid costumes get drunk and behave even dumber than usual, then here is something for you to do.

(Or you can dress up as a zombie and chase people down the street. That too.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

100 Themes Challenge: Insanity

     I saw it again last night. It was almost 3 in the morning, and I had decided to try to sleep, and lay there in bed, tossing and turning and trying to make the mattress conform to the contours of my body, cursing at the cold air that never seemed to leave, even during summer, and then it had come.
     The closet opened. I specifically remember the closet door opening, because I always keep the closet door shut, and it opened. It latches, so it couldn’t have accidentally fallen open. It opened.
     Now, now, even if the closet had accidentally fallen open, you can’t explain those claws. There’s nothing in my closet that resembles long claws, and those claws were very long. They clutched the edge of the door, and now how could anything in my closet do that? They clutched the door, and shoved it open farther. That door did not accidentally fall open.
     I decided to pretend to be asleep. I had a feeling it wouldn’t bother me if it thought I was asleep. It stepped out onto the floor, and I heard its claws clicking. I have a hardwood floor, you see, so that clicking was very real. It walked over to the bed, and its claws got stuck in the rug I keep on the floor. You can see the rips, right there, so I can’t have imagined that! It climbed onto the bed and sat there, staring at me.
     God, you should see its eyes. So big, and black, and wrong. It can see in my mind when it looks at me, I know it can. I had my eyes slightly open, like a cat. I’ve learned to sleep like that since the thing started showing up. I don’t know what it wants.
     It whispers to me, though. I…didn’t record that. But how can you question that after everything else I have to prove it’s all true? But it whispers to me. Sometimes I think I know what it's saying, but then I forget right after.
     It sits there, all night, watching me sleep. Sometimes I wonder if it wants me to open my eyes, so it can kill me.

    But I’m not sure. Maybe it’s guarding me? Perhaps, perhaps this thing, this thing wants to protect me from something even worse in the closet? Perhaps it’s my hideous guardian angel? Perhaps I should open my eyes tomorrow night, and see its horrible glory. It wants me to serve it. I will serve it. It’s a beautiful thing, so different from humans, always present, always with me, never turning its back on me. Yes…tomorrow night I will open my eyes, and I will dedicate myself, and I will serve…

Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: The Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Sam McFarlane is a disgraced scientist working as a meteorite hunter. However, in the middle of a search, he is approached by millionaire Palmer Lloyd, who says Sam’s ex-partner found one of the largest meteorites ever discovered on a remote island in Chile. Lloyd wants Sam’s help in studying the meteorite and removing it to Lloyd’s future museum. Along with Eli Glinn, owner of an engineering company specializing in “complicated” problems, they form a plan to remove the meteorite without the Chilean government finding out. However, once down there, they run into several complications-a gung-ho Chilean naval officer and the revelation that the meteorite may be much more than that…
The Ice Limit was written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, the geniuses behind the Pendergast series. They combine their knowledge of seamanship and the ability to write edge-of-your-seat thrillers with a touch of sci-fi for an intriguing book. As with all their books, their characters seem to leap off the page, fully formed, including the secondary characters. They’re also good at nailing the dynamics between characters-from Lloyd’s well-meaning but supercilious treatment of everyone, to the quietly budding romance between Glinn and the ship’s captain, Sally Britton.

As with all their books, we have several connections. Glinn plays a role in their Diogenes trilogy, helping Pendergast uncover his past to defeat his psychotic brother. Palmer Lloyd was a possible employer for Nora, and there is a small ruby meteorite in Pendergast’s inherited New York mansion, indicating that the one in this book is not the only one. The most egregious shout-out is in Still Life with Crows, where Corrie is reading “Return to the Ice Limit”-a book which they say we will soon get in real life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Themes Challenge-Memory

    Cassandra’s memory had been a little spotty lately. She would shut a door, then remember her housemate was walking behind her. The woman would sweep past her with wide eyes, and Cassandra would merely move out of the way. There were other things too. She would grab up a knife, prepared to go make some dinner, then lay it down and forget she had needed it. One time, she even left the stove on.
     She didn’t know where this was coming from. She had always enjoyed a sharp mind before. And she certainly wasn’t old enough to be developing Alzheimer’s. She spent some time searching the Internet for some sort of clue, but her housemate didn’t like her using the computer. She would shout, and Cassandra would flee.
     Once or twice, she tried calling the doctor, but apparently their phone was disconnected. She wasn’t very comfortable going to a different doctor, either.
     Cassandra knew she embarrassed her housemate with this sort of behavior. One time, guests were over, and Cassandra came in to join in on the conversation. Her housemate glared at her, eyes wide once more. Was she afraid Cassandra would say something wrong, forgetting that it was wrong? Cassandra once again retreated. She was becoming used to this.
     Worse than the memory loss were the memories that seemed to come from nowhere, and have no context. Cassandra was sure if she could remember more then they would make better sense. She remember children playing in the yard; she was quite sure of that. She wondered if her housemate had babysat before, or possibly had some nieces and nephews over. Cassandra also remembered someone standing in the doorway, and if she closed her eyes she remembered it being very dark and her being very dizzy.
     Cassandra started writing herself notes, to help her memory loss, but her housemate seemed to think that finding them scattered about the house were quite a nuisance.
     Then, one day, a psychiatrist came. At least, Cassandra was sure of it. Her housemate let her in, and the psychiatrist paused, her eyes roaming the room until they landed on Cassandra. Then she came forward.
     “Why?” she said. “Why do you keep doing this?”
     “I don’t mean to do anything,” Cassandra said. “I’m just trying to remember.”
     The woman paused, then seated herself.
     “What do you want to remember?”
     “I forget little things, like leaving things where they don’t go, or shutting the door when my housemate is coming through. And then I forget where some of my memories are from.”
     “What sort of memories do you have, dear?” The woman was very kind, Cassandra thought.
     “I remember a man in the doorway, and I remember being very dizzy.”
     The woman sighed, stood, and approached her. Cassandra thought she wasn’t dressed very much like a psychiatrist.
     “Do you remember what happened two months ago, when there was a break-in?”
     “A break-in! That must explain it! But why do I have memory loss from that? Why do I feel dizzy when I think of it?”
     The psychiatrist looked at her with sad eyes.

     “The man killed someone in this house. My dear, you are remembering your death.”


Friday, October 18, 2013

Sherlock Season 2 Finale: Reichenbach Falls, or The Title That Wasn't Really Relevant

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THERE ARE MAJOR SUPER SPOILERS INVOLVED, AND IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE THIS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY AVOID THIS BLOG POST. That said, I think this is a pretty accurate summation of this horribly teasy cliffhangery finale.

Sherlock is awesome, and everyone loves him.

Watson: My foreshadowing senses tell me that the press will turn on us soon.




Press Lady: I’m going to be supposedly clever and manipulative yet later on completely believe the worst explanation ever.

Sherlock: NO.


Sherlock: Moriarty is a master criminal!

Judge: How do you know?

Sherlock: Because I’m smarter than you.




Judge: Sounds legit.

Sherlock: *facepalm*


Moriarty: I’m going to squeak again! Fear my squeaky voice.

Sherlock: Just…just go.


Donovan: So he uses a photographic memory and forensics that our guys should be able to do but don’t? That must mean he’s guilty!

Lestrade: Donovan I can’t help but think you are a bit of an idiot.

Da Chief: What do you mean you’ve been letting a civilian look at our cases? That’s stupid.

Donovan: Can we arrest him?

Da Chief: For what?

Donovan: …being smarter than us.

Da Chief: Oh, go on then.



Watson: It might be more effective if you took me hostage instead of yourself.

Sherlock: Like I said…


Press Lady: He says you hired him to be Moriarty and committed those crimes yourself. Because hiring someone to act like a terrorist makes better sense than that person actually being a terrorist.

Watson: *facepalm*


Moriarty: …squeak?


Moriarty: I want to ruin your reputation because reasons.

Sherlock: So I have to jump off this building or your assassins will shoot my friends?

Moriarty: Pretty much so, yeah. And instead of you “taking me with you” or anything, I’ll just kill myself instead of sticking around to continue actually committing crimes. Even though the trial was to show off to potential clients. Wait, why does this make no sense? Ah well. Hi ho Insanity, away! *dies*

Sherlock: *falls off building*

Watson: DO NOT WANT.


Watson: Don’t be dead.

Sherlock: *lurks in shadows*


Doyle: He climbed up farther on the building...?

Audience: …

Doyle: I’ll…I’ll just go read White Fire

Thursday, October 17, 2013

100 Themes Challenge-Breathe Again

     Nerves. Her hands shook. Would it be tonight? Would it even happen at all? She wasn’t sure. Thus, the nerves.
     It seemed like it would. She didn’t imagine his regard. But had she? Uncertainty. Her eyeliner smeared across her face, and she swiped it away. Maybe she should keep it simple.
     It wasn’t as though she was hoping too soon, she thought as she hurried to answer the knock at the door. It had been almost a year. But had it been too long? She didn’t want to be one of those women, always waiting around for what would never come.
     But they usually waited for far longer than a year. So this was okay…right?
     What was she eating? She couldn’t remember ordering. Had she gotten all that eyeliner off? She had to run to the bathroom to make sure.
     No one would stick around this long without some end plan in mind, right? It wasn’t as though he was getting any extra benefit, as some guys did. And he hadn’t tried to wear her down either.
     Or maybe he didn’t want anything more. But why not?
     Now her imagination was running away with her. Time to get back to reality.
    He wasn’t ready to go home just yet. A walk…by the river? On a moonlit night? What could be more perfect?
     Too perfect. Too high expectations?
     But no…he was starting to stutter a bit. Stutter? He had never stuttered. She saw his legs begin to bend…
     A crash. The trash can near the bench fell over. He wobbled, unbalanced...
     The river, she hoped, wasn’t too cold, and she was grabbing at his hand, water starting to soak her as well as he scrambled out. He stood there, dripping wet, and suddenly they were both laughing, the tension broken, and he pulled a box out of his coat jacket to make sure it was okay, and she may have said yes but she was too busy laughing to notice.

     What need was there to put up more obstacles just because others did? They walked on, soaked, hand in hand, while a raccoon peered out from the bushes, curious.

A/N: Getting this one out of the way because IT IS OCTOBER AND EVERYTHING MUST BE SCARY. :D

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Emma Approved-Initial Reaction

After The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the fanbase was frothing at the mouth. Really, I'm sure there are actual pictures of fans frothing at the mouth. In order to allay the frothing, Team GreenSu (shut up, I like name combos) gave us a web adaptation of Sanditon. Sanditon was the last novel Jane Austen worked on before her death, and remained uncompleted. Everyone had high hopes for the series, as its incomplete status gave the creators wiggle room to take the storyline their own way.

Welcome to Sanditon was promptly taken over by badly-done fan videos and rather divergent storylines. While at the end it was clear they only took the book as far as it had been completed by Jane Austen, the reaction was disappointment.

So, when Emma Approved was announced, reactions were mixed. I was excited to see a new Emma adaptation (Emma being one of my favorites-you can't choose just one favorite Austen book, you know), but I was still concerned. Would Domino fan videos take over again? Would the plot be coherent? Would there even be a plot??

So, it was with a mixture of excitement and caution that I watched the first video. I will let the Doctor demonstrate my general reaction, before and after viewing the video.


We've only had two videos and a few blog posts, but so far GreenSu have hit the nail on the head. Emma is bright, charming, and completely egotistical (complete with wink noise every time she winks!) And Knightley has so far come in on both videos for what appears to be the purpose of Trolling EmmaTM.

So far, I'm enjoying this. We're already seeing Emma's best-laid plans falling apart, and with her usual pigheadedness she is completely ignoring it. I suspect this is going to be a very amusing series.

Speaking of Doctor Who, I discovered a twitter known as Hipster Dalek. This is completely unrelated to Emma, except they both believe themselves to be superior lifeforms, and it would be amusing to try to start a crack pairing, call it DalEmma, and see how many people would actually go along with it.

I have a warped imagination.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Movie Review: Oz, the Great and Powerful

Oscar, known as Oz, is an illusionist in a small traveling carnival. He’s great at being a huckster, but not so good at people skills, as evidenced by his need to climb into a hot air balloon and fly away before the Strongman beats him for dallying with his wife. Naturally, a tornado arrives (it’s Kansas-why did you not expect a tornado when it starts storming in Kansas??), and Oz gets swept away to a strange land. There he meets the pretty witch Theodora, who insists he’s the wizard that will save them from the “wicked witch”. Discovering there’s a big reward for going along, he agrees to “save them”, and winds up getting caught in a magic feud where no one is quite what they seem.

This is a good prequel to the Wizard of Oz. We see why the Wizard is “the man behind the curtain”. He is good at using illusion and subterfuge. We also find out why the Wicked Witch is, in fact, wicked, and get even smaller in-jokes, such as why the cowardly lion is cowardly. (It’s called conditioning, although it was the fastest conditioning experiment ever.) Another example is that Oz’s love interest from the beginning is going to marry a “John Gale”, indicating she will eventually be Dorothy’s mother.

The land of Oz is made even brighter than before, thanks to CGI, but it is not the effects that make this movie so good. A lot of Oz’s character development comes from understand that to be great does not mean one cannot be good; and from learning both from his mistakes and about his own capacity for good.

Like the original, a lot of the characters from the “real world” show up in Oz as other characters. Oz’s initial love interest arrives as his love interest in the land of Oz; a little girl shows up as a china doll, and his assistant becomes a monkey. It’s a great nod to the original film, while using some elements of the book as well.

The humor is light and done well (my particular favorite is “sorry I mooed”), and the movie itself, while not the original, does a good job of capturing the spirit of the original. It’s definitely a fun movie, and one perfectly appropriate for the kids as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Odds and Ends

Here are a few micro-reviews too short for a single blog.

The China Bayles series-not near as fluffy and comforting as Albert’s Beatrix Potter series. Intriguing, but definitely not a cozy.

People of the Book-I got through the first couple chapters and started getting bored. Not enough history for me.

Debra White Smith-I still like her Austen series, and they are for the most part pretty good, but after a while, all her novels seem to run together. And her villains are laughably over the top. Like the guy that drinks whiskey after eating ice cream. “He liked to chase his ice with a little heat.” Perhaps they should just take those little Jack Daniels truffles and translate them into ice cream for him, so he can skip a step.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You-The Oatmeal is amazing, and understands cats very well. “Rubbing a cat’s tummy is like frolicking through an angel’s back hair.”


There was totally a tiger. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE ANYTHING ELSE.


Out of the Dark by Brad Steiger-Well, he’s not saying it was other dimensions, but it was other dimensions.

The Code of the Woosters-I…I tried to like this. I really did. I started it three times. And…I just can’t get into it. Maybe it’s the constant slang from the 30’s that I barely understand, maybe it’s just the entire book seems populated by fools, except for Jeeves. I dunno. Maybe I’ll try it again and get into it more. But for now…alas.

Dorothy Sayers-Another one, that I was sure I would love, and I…just…can’t. I dunno what it is. Again, maybe I’ll try it again some day and love it.

August Derleth-Pick a Lovecraft story, any Lovecraft story. Take the elements of it, throw it into a pot, and pull a few out at random. That’s August Derleth. I don’t care about the biggest gripe, which is that he tried to put something like traditional morality into the tales. It just feels like he recycled the same stories over and over (with a few exceptions).

Robert Bloch-Who actually got it. I mean, this is the guy who wrote Psycho, after all. He also wrote a story in which he killed an expy of Lovecraft for the purpose of trolling. Lovecraft, as you can tell by Haunter of the Dark, trolled right back. These weird fiction writers were a trolling lot, they were.

Emma Approved-Blog is going strong, and the show will start soon. So far Emma has given us several generic pieces of advice, most of which talk about how awesome she is at giving advice. JUST AS PLANNED. I can’t wait to see how this pans out.

Mr. CreepyPasta-He reads scary stories on the Youtubez. Here, have a listen.