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Gothic Horror & Weird Flash Fiction


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Hello, I’m an author of gothic horror & weird flash fiction and an extreme metal head. I’m here at the forum in search of likeminded individuals who like metal, but also might enjoy reading a dark and twisted tale or two. This is my latest, ‘The Old Man,’ which isn’t exactly horror but it’s weird and mildly disturbing and has freaking goats in it. It’s autobiographical, but most of my work isn’t. Anyways, I write almost exclusively in a poetic form called ‘blank verse,’ and write one or two stories a week. They are extremely short and it’s a form I designed for internet readers. It’s avant-garde and experimental, but something I enjoy working with. Hope you enjoy them, but I will be posting the best ones here as I write them. None of my old work is going to surface, so you can expect everything to be contemporary. Thanks and enjoy the show! 


The Old Man (6/20/2024)

"I need your help," Paul said, when he had come
and got me and had me set my task aside,
where I had been dismantling a car
for parts to sell on an online marketplace.
As we walked out to the back of the lot,
I asked from behind him, "What are we doing?"
He didn't turn, but said, "I need your help
catching The Old Man. He's real hard to catch,
especially when it is just me and him."
‘The Old Man'
 was what we called the old goat,
the patriarch of the entire pigmy herd.
By then we had reached the goat pen, where Paul
pulled up and said, "He's a real pain in the ass
to get out from among the rest of the herd.
But we have to get him separated from
the others and put him in the pen there."
"Why?" I had said and glanced at The Old Man
among the mulling herd. I guess, in one way or
another, they were all part of his offspring,
but I didn't realize what that meant.
"Because he'll breed with anything in sight.
It doesn't matter to him who he mates with.
We don't want him getting the females pregnant."
"Oh," I laughed, "I didn't know he would do that.
How do you plan on getting him out of there?"
"We'll have to chase him around until we
can get him away from the others and grab him."
"Really?" I said and thought about it. "Wait,
I have a lasso. I know how to throw one.
I can probably throw it around his horns.
You want me to try? It'll be easier
than trying to chase him around the pen."
"Sure," Paul said. "If you think you can do it."
Within moments I had my lasso in hand
and was swinging the big loop over my head.
I released it and watched with bated breath
as the loop spun and drifted in the air
and came down perfectly over the goat's horns,
and I gave a quick jerk to secure it.
"Got him!" I said and walked up to the goat.
"First try, even! I told you I could do it!"
Meanwhile, Paul stared in a state of surprise.
We got the old goat safely in the pen.
Afterwards, when we told his wife, Rosie,
Paul was still oddly silent, but then, when
I asked him, "Didn't I? On the first try?"
he had enthusiastically responded,
"Yeah, he did. Got it right around the horns."

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11 hours ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

Hey there and welcome. Just so you’re aware there’s a dedicated self promotion section, if you’re going to keep sharing your work, please keep it there thanks.

Ok, I’ll delete it and move it there. I had a suspicion but it merely seemed too off topic not to be ‘off-topic. How would I go about moving it?

11 hours ago, AlSymerz said:

I like to read weird, dark stuff. I've also written a heap of it over the last few decades so maybe that makes me kind of like minded, but I didn't get anything from that. Anyway good luck with it and welcome to the forums

In this case, I need critiques from people like you. I’m really looking to grow as an artist, and I’d be interested to hear from someone with a history like that.

Until I figure out how to move the thread, I’ll leave this here, as it belongs in the thread. Just let me know what to do. But this is my latest, which I wrote specifically for this site, just to try it out.

 

Phantom Limb (6/21/2024)

Every so often, Jack would peer over
at the glass jar sitting atop his desk
and scrutinize the severed hand inside.
The way it floated in the viscous liquid,
it looked as if it could be animated
in some kind of articulating gesture,
and, even with its slightly gnarled fingers
and its unhealthy-looking cast of color,
it seemed so life-like, as if still alive,
not the dead hunk of bone and flesh it was.
When they had amputated his right hand,
Jack had requested they let him keep it
and had them put it in a jar for him,
so as to take it home as a memento.
That was some years ago, but still the damn
thing captivated him as it always had.
And now it was something of a paperweight
that sat atop his work desk, on display
for both himself and anyone who came in.
He had no shame about it. On the contrary,
he and his clientele found it amusing,
and an interesting conversation piece.
As he glared at it, he imagined that
he still had it and wore it on his person.
Just then, while thinking of his long-lost hand,
he felt it move in response to his will.
Holding the nub in front of him, he stared
at the air where his hand would've been
and wiggled his fingers. Yet, they weren't there!
He knew it must be a trick of the mind,
and yet it thrilled him. He had his hand back,
or, at least, it felt like he did. He tried
it out and the sensation was beautiful!
Hand or no, he was overjoyed at this,
thankful he could at least feel it again.
He glanced back at the hand inside the jar,
and saw that it was moving on its own,
and soon realized he was in control!

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I need to get this out of the way: I suffer from schizoaffective and autism spectrum disorder, so my work is gonna seem a little off at times. Other times it will be surprisingly good. Due to my illness, tho, I can be super consistent. I say this, in that I need people to be patient with me, but also because I may not always respond how people might expect. But I’ve read over 500 books in my life and write regularly. Hope you join me on my quest to become a great flash fiction author. Because in about 3 1/3 years I’m going to attempt writing a book of flash fiction stories in blank verse like this. Thanks for your time, and I hope you find some kind of value in what I write, primarily enjoyment or amusement. But I’m open to constructive criticism, and it’s something I’m very interested in receiving. You won’t hurt my feelings. If I sink four or five hours into a story and no one likes it, I always have another four or five hours to try again. I know very well some of my work is trash. Even then, I could learn from it if people speak up, and it wouldn’t be a complete waste at least.
 

Best wishes, Dizzy.

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I'm not a good critic, I don't pay enough attention to detail any more. But writing, as with all art, is subjective and you should always write for yourself, not for others. Sure the objective is to be heard by others but you're never going to be heard by everyone who is listening, or in this case reading. And as soon as you start changing what you do for a small audience of critics you risk losing a wider audience of people who actually like what you do.

Maybe years ago if I'd have paid attention to others and written more 'acceptable' forms of stories I could have sold those stories, but I chose not to because I was doing it for myself. Whether that was a good move or a bad move I'll never know, but what I do know is the stories that followed were what I wanted to say, not edited to fit some book, magazine or whatever. To my way of thinking you should be doing the same, but that is solely my opinion.

I've never been a huge fan of flash fiction, I've always written on a larger scale. From novella size to large novel size has always been my forte. The only things I've every written that were under 500 words were poems and even some of them waffled on into the 500 word category. But none of that means that what you're writing doesn't have an audience, just that I'm not really one to critique it.

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Thanks for the food for thought. This was my stance when I first started some 8 years ago. But I enjoy writing for others more so than for myself. But I totally agree, because even then I still write the kind of stories I like or want to see. Not to mention I write in blank verse and there’s no shortage of people who speak up to tell me I should write in normal prose fashion. But, today, now that I’m at least a little competent, those complaints come less and less, and my readers might even enjoy the form if I can continue to do it justice. Anyway, thanks for your generous response and I will mull it over a bit more and glean what I can from it. Much appreciated.


Sincerely,

Dizzy

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To be fair I guess we all write for others to some degree. When I was writing and publishing I still had an audience that I kind of wrote for, even though I wrote for myself. Some scenes I would change because I knew a few of them wouldn't like the straight out gore. But I never let those thoughts completely dictate the writing. Sometimes I took it as a challenge, like trying to x rated gore scenes for a PG audience, sometimes I'd write two versions, but the story wouldn't change because of it.

To my way of thinking writing any kind of verse is the hardest writing to get critical thought for. People can be turned off verse writing simply because of the way it's written. For instance if you write a poem where every second line rhymes and its easy to read in a rhythm people see it as a poem and their brains accept it as a poem. Write the same sort of thing in open verse and many people's first judgement is that it doesn't rhyme therefore it's not good. When writing open verse the first hurdle is too often the readers mind, not what they read and that can make it hard to get an honest opinion from someone.

The other difficulty with verse is never having the reader on the same page as the writer. In a book, even a novella there is pages and pages to build the story. Lots of space to build the scene, and build characters. In some cases there is almost no limit of how much time a writer can spend word building. But in your chosen area of flash fiction it's all done quickly and you need to get the reader hooked almost immediately. If you haven't hooked someone in the first few lines you're not gong to get an an appraisal based on the story you'll get an appraisal based on the words. That's part of the reason I don't make a good critique for such writing, my mind set of writing is in a different realm to yours and I have to force myself into yours. Other people may not put that limitation on themselves.

That shouldn't stop you posting here though (in the right place obviously). I'll still read it, I just wont be hugely critical. Or maybe what I should say is that if I do say anything it shouldn't be taken as a critique rather just a personal thought.

 

 

 

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I agree with everything you said, as much as I understand things. You’re discussion on your work and how you feel it necessary or not to alter things. I left twitter for that very reason back in the day. But you reminded me of an old work of mine, that I will bring back for you. It’s got its flaws but it’s intriguing to say the least. But it seems like this guy could be someone like you… in some bizarre other reality.
 

The Novelist

The novelist's death had gained wide notice,
for he had left behind a cryptic message,
found in a desk drawer and soon brought to light.
Once the following letter was published,
it quickly caused a frenzy in the media,
for some had read his books, while others hadn't,
and a genuine concern began to grow.
But it also sparked a broader interest
to read his work despite the author's wishes.
The message left behind upon his death:
"Life was well worth it, though in misery,
for The Demon has given me back my life,
and I never thought I would find such peace.
But I wish to set things right before I die.
Just know that I wrestled this vile creature,
who filled my ear, compelling me to write.
Please, heed my warning: Never read a word
within the pages of those twisted volumes.
They are filled with demonic spells, elusive,
dark magic, that could destroy a person!
Or lead to a life of strictest servitude,
like me, powerless to resist its will!
Regardless, I shall make a sincere effort
to seal these books, if at all possible,
and plead with you to consider the payment:
the cost of my own life, ended in blood!"
[This was the entirety of the note as found
in the desk where he slumped inside his chair.]

 

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You'd never catch me on twitter or FB. I don't have a problem with criticism, in fact some of it is very valuable, but most social media is not valuable criticism it's just bullshit spewed by people who have nothing better to do.

 

Except for the part where his death gained wide notice that could be me 😃

Gawd help the person who goes through all the weird stuff I have written here. If they do read it all at least they'll know I never died alone, all the voices in my head kept me company!

It also reminds a bit of the intro to Clive Barker's Book Of Blood.

I could never write something that short.

I just read it to my wife, who also had the writing bug for years, and she refuses to admit that the voices in her head are demonic but she agrees with the idea of the story.

 

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It was inspired by ‘Spiders,’ and System of a Down… I don’t want to get in the habit of saying what things are really about, but this is for a glimpse into how I work. But this is also a metal forum…

Serj Tankian has expressed his issues with the direction the band went and wanted it to go a different direction. That’s why the song and what the story is about. I simply gave it a veil of gothic horror in ‘The Novelist.’ It’s closer to fan fiction, if the band were an ‘imaginative’ entity that you could play around with as characters and such… but The Curse of King Tut was where I got the gothic horror vibe.

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8 hours ago, AlSymerz said:

You'd never catch me on twitter or FB. I don't have a problem with criticism, in fact some of it is very valuable, but most social media is not valuable criticism it's just bullshit spewed by people who have nothing better to do.

 

Except for the part where his death gained wide notice that could be me 😃

Gawd help the person who goes through all the weird stuff I have written here. If they do read it all at least they'll know I never died alone, all the voices in my head kept me company!

It also reminds a bit of the intro to Clive Barker's Book Of Blood.

I could never write something that short.

I just read it to my wife, who also had the writing bug for years, and she refuses to admit that the voices in her head are demonic but she agrees with the idea of the story.

 

I appreciate your response, but you’re eerily close to the inspiration. That’s why it reminded me of you earlier. Serj had said he wasn’t too involved with the shape the music took and was told how and what to do in ways. Our dilemma would be similar, only the demon would be our fans or platforms or whatever, almost as if these bandmates trying to get on the same page.

So, the end isn’t really an ending of his life, as much as a career choice to quit the band.

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Posted (edited)

A Sudden Break
 

Frank stopped the tape and looked at his colleague.
"You hear what he's mixed up about,” he said.
“How long do you think this will carry on?
Another month or two? Or perhaps longer?"
"His new job was too much for him," Mark said,
tossing his cigarette down in the ashtray.
"That’s what caused him to have a mental break.
I don’t think it’s anything more than that."
"He says someone at work doesn't like him,”
Frank said, looking down at the note he’d made.
“And look how he talks about his colleagues.
What he thinks he might have to resort to,
and how his fellow co-workers will ‘get it’ if..."
"I know what you're implying," Mark stopped him.
"These are common delusions for these types.
And he is no more dangerous than the rest!"
"That," said Frank, "is what scares me about it.
Because there is always that one, small chance…”
"I don't want to hear it," Mark said and stood
up from his seat. “The patient will be released
as soon as he feels like he's ready to leave.
He needs to feel like no one is against him,
and we ought to have that trust in him for now."
"So, that's your answer?" Frank said. "Just trust
in him and hope that he feels all is well?"
"Exactly," Mark said, as he left the room.
Frank called out after him, more so to himself,
"I guess we’ll see if we can make this work."

Edited by dizzybee
edited the story
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The Man Who Never Existed

I stared at my reflection in the mirror.
There was something unusual about it,
Although I couldn't say exactly what.
Surely, nothing had changed; I knew my face.
How could I not, familiar as it was?
But there was something different about it.
Just then, I peered into my eyes a moment.
'This is the source,'
 I thought. 'It is my eyes.'
Something about them was unsettling,
A look that made them seem unreal to me.
The more I gazed, the more I realized
They were hollow: there was an emptiness
Beginning to reveal itself in them—
A lifeless quality they now displayed.
‘What had caused this all of a sudden?'
 I
Began to wonder. They had never looked
This way before; never so truly distant.
No matter how I tried, I couldn't shake
The feeling I was staring at someone
Without a soul. And that someone was me.
'Is this a trick?'
 I asked. 'How could this be?'
Yet, the longer I gazed upon this image,
The clearer in my mind the truth became:
This was a window into reality.
I now stood face to face with the real me—
Something merely mechanical in make,
And nothing more than what I was in body,
Without ever having possessed a soul!
All of these years, I had been living life
As a person who had never existed!

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12 hours ago, AlSymerz said:

You kind of got me back into writing again. I hadn't been too interested in it the last few months but with winter killing a lot of outside stuff I got bored and decided to throw a few words around.

Awesome! I know how much fun I have with it, and I’m glad you’re rediscovering the joy of writing. You’ll have to let me know what comes of it!

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Hope you have fun with it. I usually write for about four hours at a time, and will edit in the following day or two, until I’m okay with setting it aside… here’s my latest entry, which is pretty cursed but maybe likable for that very reason, I don’t know.


Under Surveillance

My friend looked funny in his tinfoil hat,
but, as things were, he was dead serious
when he pressed me to quickly get inside,
a few days' worth of stubble on his face,
the clothes he had on mildly disheveled.
Going to the window, he cracked the blinds
and waved me over so I might have a look.
"You see that car, the one parked by the curb?"
I leaned in for a better look and nodded,
though nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
"What about it, exactly?" I asked him.
My friend continued: "I'm under surveillance.
The gentleman inside is watching the house.
Same as he has been for the last few days.
I don't know what he's waiting for, but something
tells me he might work for the government.
And who knows what they're willing to employ
to get me to comply with their agenda.
That's why the tinfoil hat. Being precautious,
you know. I don't think they're playing around.”
“Ok, but why would they come after you?”
I asked, wanting to know where his mind was,
and if something wasn’t alright with him.
“I must know something they don't want me to..."
he said then closed the blinds and looked at me.
"But it doesn't make any sense," I stated.
"You're just a normal, everyday person.
Why would they want to bother you any?"
He merely stared back at me, so I insisted,
"Are you sure you feel okay? You look tired."
"You're one of them, aren't you?" he said and put
his hand against my chest and pushed me back.
"What are you talking about!?” I tried to argue.
“No one is after you. Not me, and not
anyone else. We need to get you help..."
Before I knew it, he had me out the door
and fleeing from the property. It was
only when I was a ways down the road
that I happened to glance in the rearview
and saw the strange car was following me,
the very one that had my friend at arms!

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7 hours ago, dizzybee said:

Hope you have fun with it. I usually write for about four hours at a time, and will edit in the following day or two, until I’m okay with setting it aside… here’s my latest entry, which is pretty cursed but maybe likable for that very reason, I don’t know.

 

I don't spend a set time writing, certain jobs around the farm are every day jobs whereas others aren't. Some days I might find a few hours but other days I might not find any. Winter is always slower out of the farm and even without rain it's wet and slippery on the hills so it does give me more time inside staying warm and therefore in a position to write more.

 

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On 7/2/2024 at 4:07 PM, AlSymerz said:

I don't spend a set time writing, certain jobs around the farm are every day jobs whereas others aren't. Some days I might find a few hours but other days I might not find any. Winter is always slower out of the farm and even without rain it's wet and slippery on the hills so it does give me more time inside staying warm and therefore in a position to write more.

 

I get that, I do. I don’t usually have a schedule either, just projects that I let run through my head until I’m ready to do one of these writing sessions. And that can come at any time. Sometimes I do force myself to write, but I’m also not afraid to take a break and come back to something if I’m not feeling it.

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My problem is that writing has to be the minor priority because the rest of the stuff has to be the focus. It doesn't worry me and come summer when I'm outside most of the day writing wont often get a second thought. it's just the way it is around here.

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Murdered Love: A Sonnet (Gothic/Horror)
 

I look past the red marks that mar her neck
and waver at her softly parted lips—
which seem almost upon the cusp of moving—
and I imagine I might catch her whisper.
For though she now lies still and doesn't stir,
it looks as if she merely holds her breath
and will soon breathe again and, so, revive,
and the vigor she had return to her once more.

And as I watch and wait to see her off,
I find myself still captivated by her.
And yet, somehow, I feel as if she knows
I wish it didn't have to be this way:
and I can almost see her smile at me—
the way I would want to remember her.

 

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