How do you set up and tell a story with a satisfying conclusion in so few words?
It has been a fascinating exercise. It makes you focus on how much each word matters. If it isn't essential, it's gone!
What chills us?I've thought a lot about what I find chilling. It's certainly not just haunted houses. This first story, Monkey, harks right back to one of my oldest fears, and as I wrote the story, I found that it still frightens me now.
I also thought hard about what stories to include. The idea is to thrill and entertain. There is enough in this world that is distressing, and some things that chill us seem too close to the bone. I had to come at the fear factor from a different angle, raising some interesting questions.
Here's the first story. I would love to read your own 100 word stories.
|Courtesy of blogs.ucl.ac.uk|
‘Hush, go to sleep, baby. Here’s cuddly monkey.’
When she went out, the room went dark and hard. Soon it was cold as death. And monkey was not cuddly like in the day. He squatted in the corner of the cot with his black lips grinning. I could see his teeth.
Footsteps. The door clicked and a golden light came in. I smelled her milky warmth.
‘Shhh, baby, go to sleep’. The door closed.
Monkey chattered and shrieked. He ran up and down the cot, his claws scrabbling over my arms and face.
I screamed, but nobody came.
Where the story came from
When I was a baby, there was a cute little rabbit painted on the headboard of my cot. I was a child who hated to be left alone in the dark. In my memory, once night fell, the rabbit came to life. It grew great long scary legs and it walked all over me. Apparently, I screamed every night until I was taken out of that cot and put to sleep in a bed. Thinking about this while searching for 100 word chillers, I thought about a baby's vulnerability. It doesn't even have the physical control to avoid what frightens it, and it can't tell anyone what is wrong. All it can do is cry - and babies all cry, don't they?