Horror Writer’s Corner
Here’s the place for articles, opinions, and pictures of cemeteries. What do some of today’s active horror writers think about? What is life like in the small-press horror world? Are they worried they might make too much money? What about all the groupies? Where are they going to be buried? These are all pressing questions begging for an answer.
Dig deep, and you might find a treasure worth taking home…
The hardest thing about trying to make it as a writer is trying to make it as a writer. The writing itself is the fun part; having ideas and seeing how they can work is exhilarating. Actually getting these ideas typed up can be arduous, but ultimately satisfying. But then, upon finishing a novel that’s been part of your life for months or years (six years in the case of my painstakingly slow debut), comes the nasty part. The part where your precious work of art becomes a cheap whore, and you become its avaricious pimp.
It is now nearly a year since I finished my first novel The Dead Shall Feed. I was supposed to be a full time professional writer by now; well respected if not a household name. Halfway through the sequel perhaps; maybe even negotiating the film rights for a blockbuster adaptation.
The reality? I am still working in a tax office, having never been a paid a penny for anything I’ve written, and write what I can in my lunch break at work or at home when my son’s gone to bed. Far from ideal. So why no agent or publisher yet?
Maybe my writing’s not as good as Ghastly Door thinks it is (see my introduction on the Horror Short Story archive), maybe the whore needs a makeover to become more attractive (in the form of a partial rewrite), or maybe it’s the pimp who’s not doing his job.
I do try to get publicity, but it’s not easy without spending money I don’t have. I slap links to my work all over facebook, but only have 60 friends and if any of those are agents or publishers, they must have hundreds or thousands of other budding authors doing the same. I’ve plagued Kelley Armstrong so much that I’m in danger of becoming a cyberstalker, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled out of March’s World Horror Convention in England rather than have to meet me in person.
There are horror sites that are helpful; I use http://horrorwriters.net and have made contact with some very good writers there. But we’re all selling not buying, and what we need are fans, not contacts. We’ve got together to try and publish an anthology of our short stories, but it’s not easy and has met delay after delay, and I’m not sure it’s ever going to happen.
Still I look to the internet then, but the soccer fan and student forums I post in only draw in a couple of hundred readers, and a limited number of those will follow the links to my website. Finding me on Google isn’t easy either (unless you add the suffix dark and depressing!) thanks to the other Jason Whittle, the one who was born 13 days before me and played offensive line for the New York Giants. If he wasn’t 6 foot 4 and 300lbs, I’d hunt him down and kick his ass!
So maybe good old-fashioned face to face contact is the way, after all. I’m lucky that the World Horror Convention is coming so close to my home this year, and will give me a chance to sell myself and my work in person. So I’m preparing to suck the metaphorical cock of publishers and agents. Hell, the actual cock if it gets me the deal. All I have to do before then is decide what image to portray. My usual speaking voice is a crazy mish-mash of three different accents – posh private schoolboy, cheeky cockney rebel and carrot-crunching farmer. Should I choose one beforehand or just let them battle it out?
And then there’s choosing what to wear. The wife thinks I should try to look smart, I think I should try to look cool, but I’m not sure if I can pull off either. My favourite Atticus t-shirt was really designed for someone much younger and slimmer, and when I wear it my belly seems to enter a room two seconds before the rest of me. But if I put on a white shirt and black tie I’ll probably be mistaken for staff. Still, that might not be too bad if I spin it right – “James Herbert invited me for drinks and gave me a small grant towards my writing” sounds better than “James Herbert thought I was a waiter and tipped me a fiver”.
And if I walk away from the convention still unknown and unpublished, I have an idea that will combine face to face contact with media exposure…dress up as a zombie and sing badly in front of Simon Cowell. Sure, my clip would be juxtaposed in a montage with all the other freaks, geeks and weirdoes, but at least I’d be on TV! “I’m a writer!” you’d hear me shout as the security man grabs me “Buy my book!” And then, as I’m thrown out the door “Take me seriously!”
© Jason Whittle 2010
Ryan Stagg’s World of the Strange: Pretty Scary
So there she was, Miss Argentina, wiggling around the stage with a special sexy smile that felt as if it was just for me. Lovely! I sat back a little bit, and took my eyes off her just for a second so I could tip a little wink at the guy sat next to me. He didn’t wink back, or even smile – he was taking it all a bit too seriously if you ask me. Was I bothered? Was I not! I couldn’t believe my luck. Me, Ryan Stagg, in a VIP seat at Miss World! Get in!
Let me just fill you in on how I came to be there in Johannesburg with the most beautiful women in the world. It was a bit of a fluke really. I was a columnist and reporter for Top Boyz magazine, the fifth best selling lads mag in Britain dontcha know, and I had my own page called Stagg Nites. Geddit? Yeah well, alls I ever had to do was go off somewhere and enjoy myself, sometimes at Ministry of Sound or wherever; sometimes at film premieres; often at gigs and music festivals. Then, as soon as I got past the hangover, write in a couple of hundred words, stick in some pictures and pick up my payslip. Money for old rope, right? Right.
The editor thought so too, as it happened. Reckoned I should “diversify my portfolio” or something. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Anyway, the upshot was that he put me on sports coverage as well. Yawn! The first thing he sent me to do was cover a football match – Fulham against Bolton! Double yawn! Triple fucking yawn! It didn’t get any better. He told me I was up for cricket next. Cricket?! Five days of pure boredom, praying for rain so I can bugger off! I almost told him where to stick it. Glad I didn’t, though. It turned out to be not so bad.
It was a whole tour, see. Not just one match. So they sent me over to South Africa. And it wasn’t just about reporting on the matches. It was about going around with the Barmy Army, living the lifestyle, pissing it up, ‘aving it large! I was happy enough with that, to say the least. These are the very principles upon which Stagg Nites was founded! Get in, I say, get in! Gentlemen, let us have it then.
So there I was, and I’d just covered the ODIs. That’s One Day Internationals by the way, not the dog from Garfield (good quip that, one for the notebook). England somehow won the series, but more to the point, I’d pampered myself for a couple of nights in Sun City, taken in the club scene in Cape Town, baked on the beach in Durban, and chased lions around the Kalahari in a fucking big dune buggy! Get. The. Fuck. In! This is what it’s all about! And all the time I was with a bunch of cricket fans who was giving it the Oi Oi!s and partying just as hard as I was. Great lads. I thought cricket fans were all toffee-nosed Eton types, but these guys were sound. They liked the booze, liked the birds and stayed out all night every night. They were just like football fans really, but with less fighting.
So it was pretty much the time of my life all in all, and I was sorry to have to come home again. But then I got a call from the editor saying I didn’t have to. Apparently the readers were enjoying my writing more than ever, so he decided that I should stay out there and do the test series as well.
“I’m really sorry.” he said. “But that will mean spending Christmas and New Year away from home. We’ll double your salary over the festive fortnight to compensate.”
Result! Another six weeks in the sun on expenses, and two of them on double bubble wages! And I hadn’t even heard the best bit yet.
“The test series doesn’t start for a week and a half, so would it be okay if you covered something else until then? This year’s Miss World pageant is in Jo’burg next Saturday.”
Never one to shirk an important assignment, and true to my journalistic oath, I took one for the team. Soon I was swapping Steyn, Strauss and Swann for…well I never knew any of their real names actually, but you get the picture. They were all Miss Wherever, that’s all that matters.
I met Miss United Kingdom for an interview before the pageant. To be honest, I didn’t know what to say to her. I don’t know how to speak to beauty queens. I’m not even very good at talking to normal birds unless I’ve got a few pints in me. So I asked whereabouts in the UK she was from and she said “Lanarkshire”.
This was where I tried to play it all smooth and I said: “Well, you certainly are a hotpot!”
She gave me a right dirty look – I hoped she wouldn’t show the judges that sort of face. She obviously didn’t get the joke, and I didn‘t bother explaining it to her. Waste of time me expecting her to have a brain as well. Never mind though. I still definitely would.
On to the contest itself, and they wheeled the girls out in alphabetical order. Miss Albania and Angola were nice enough, but it was when the babe from Argentina came out that I felt the first little stirring. Gave the mush next door the old nudge, nudge wink, wink and settled down to enjoy the rest of the show. Next up was Miss Aruba (no, I’ve never heard of it either!), and after her came Miss Australia. But it was at this point that everything went tits up, and not in a good way.
First the lights went out, just for a moment, and when they came back on there was this bloke flying around over the stage. Of course we all thought it was some weird part of the show. I for one was impressed. You couldn’t see the wires or anything. And if the Aussie bird was in on it, she must have been a good actress, because she certainly looked frightened and confused.
Then this bloke landed. He was all done up like Dracula, cape and everything. Then he starts talking. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologise for breaking up this little show. My name is Vincent, and I am the leader of The Family. We are here to recruit new members.”
And then he smiled, and instead of the normal pearly whites like you and me have got, he’s flashing a right nifty set of fangs!
“Hang on,” I thought. “This is the Transvaal, not Transylvania.” (good quip that, one for the notebook), but the geezer was still talking.
He said: “You have the finest women in the world here. Women who have the youth and beauty that I crave. They will belong to me, and become valuable additions to my family. Do not try to stop us. You will suffer terribly if you do.”
I turned round to the guy next to me to ask if he knew if this was for real, but when I did he looked different. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but then I realised. He’d grown a beard. I’m just an entertainment journalist as you know, not one of these investigative types, but even I knew that growing a beard in five minutes is quite unusual. And it wasn’t just his face anyway. His arms were all covered in hair as well, and at the end of them his hands looked more like…well, paws. When I looked at his face again his head was bigger and longer, and he had even more sharp teeth than the dude up on stage. Oh my God, he was a fucking werewolf!
I looked back up at the stage again waiting for Beadle to come out (yeah, I know he’s dead but it was one of those nights!) and I was just in time to see Vincent the Vampire sink his teeth into Miss Australia’s neck. At that moment all these other bloodsuckers came pouring out of nowhere. They weren’t dressed the same way as Vincent, but I could tell they were vampires too by the way they kept biting the fuck out of everyone. Next thing I knew, Wolfgang next to me was up out of his seat as well, bounding up to the stage with half a dozen other werewolves.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not usually the hero sort, but something inside stopped me running for the exit and made me stay and fight. I was having the trip of a lifetime, and there was no way I was going to let it get ruined by weirdo creatures of the night. Besides, if you’re going to do something really dangerous and heroic, it might as well be when the Miss World contestants and millions of TV viewers worldwide are watching!
I ran around for a bit looking for someone to rescue, specifically, Miss United States of America. I figured that would be a good place to become a national hero. But after a few minutes looking for her, during which time I’m sorry to say, a lot of people were brutally massacred, someone told me that I was stood in what was left of her. I then considered Miss Canada as the next best thing, but quickly gave up on that idea. Besides, the way she was kicking vampire ass suggested she didn’t need any help. And she was a little bit hairier than the average beauty contestant. Fuck me sideways if she wasn’t a werewolf too! (although still fit in a peculiar way).
“Right then,” I said to myself (although not out loud because that would be weird). “Let’s be a hero in my own country instead!”
I broke one of the legs off a wooden chair to make a stake, and I went looking for Miss UK. When I found her, one of the vampires was closing in, but he couldn’t see me sneaking up on him while he was sneaking up on her. Then I got right up close, shitting myself but still going through with it, and with all my strength focused into one thrust I stuck this thing right in him, so hard it came out the other side. He gave this terrible scream, almost deafening, and he turned his head all the way round 180 degrees to glare at me as he yelled his pain. Then he just sort of turned to dust and fell into a little heap of ashes on the floor. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been.
I felt all triumphant for about one, maybe two seconds. Then I noticed that the screaming was still going on, only it was coming from every other vampire in the place. It was like they all felt his pain, and they were not happy about it. Suddenly every one was after me, all out for revenge. They zoomed towards me as one; I was fucked and I knew it, so I closed my eyes and said goodbye to life, holding up the chair leg as I did so in the vain hope that they’d all impale themselves on it.
Next thing I know, I’m being swept up by a creature of incredible strength, but without the expected biting and blood loss and death. Instead, I see Canada and Wolfgang battling Vincent and his cronies while another werewolf bundles me and UK through a doorway.
“Here, watch it mate!” he said, knocking the chair leg out of my hand. “You nearly had me bloody eye out with that thing! Anyway, duty calls. I’d barricade that door if I were you.”
And with that, he was back out again to rejoin the fight. I must admit that I was a little bit surprised at his Brummie accent, but then again, if Ozzy can come from there, anything can. Anyway, I agreed with his suggestion to barricade the doorway, so I looked for something to put in the way, and saw a lovely pink dressing table. That’s when I realised that this was the changing room. I know!! Me, Ryan Stagg from Top Boyz Monthly, in the Miss World changing room with Miss UK…
She cleared her throat loudly and fixed me again with that withering stare of hers. I was beginning to feel my chances with her receding.
“Shouldn’t we move this over to the door?” she suggested. “You know, before the vampires come flooding through it.”
I didn’t much like her tone to be honest. I had just saved her life, after all. But she was right of course, so I dragged it over to block the doorway, refusing her help so I could appear all manly and noble. And once we were safely holed up inside I’d have all night to win her over…
A few minutes passed. It was a few minutes of awkward silence, laced with tension. Unfortunately, not sexual tension. Just plain old tension tension. I had to say something. Anything. So I went with an easy opener: “So, how did you become Miss United Kingdom, then?”
She answered me with an exasperated boredom, the way mums do when their kids keep asking stupid questions. “I won a contest. And I’m Miss Scotland, not Miss UK!”
Then she showed me her sash (ooh-er!), and sure enough, it said Miss Scotland. Oh! She was Scottish! No wonder her voice sounded weird. I thought she was just thick. And then I realised.
“So if you’re Miss Scotland,” I said. “Does that mean there are other British girls out there, a Miss England and a Miss Wales?”
She gave me that look again. “Did you not even read your programme? Of course they are, plus Miss Ireland and Miss Northern Ireland too.”
Yes, I know that’s not really part of Britain, but I didn’t want to waste any time explaining that to her. She obviously wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Anyway, I was too busy being all macho and heroic again to worry about anything like that.
“Well, if they’re out there,” I said, puffing out my chest and sticking out my chin. “I’m going out to save them! Umm…could you give me a hand with this dressing table please? I nearly put my back out last time.”
I emerged back into the chaos of the stage and audience area with no specific plan in mind. I just wandered around, brandishing my chair leg and calling out: “Miss England! Miss England!” To my surprise, it soon paid off.
“I’m Miss England,” answered a well-tanned fit blonde, appearing from her hiding place behind an overturned table. “My name’s Chloe, I’m a nineteen year old apprentice hairdresser from Chigwell, and my interests are keep fit and looking after animals.”
Ooo-kay then. I don’t if she was in a state of shock or what, or if that’s just how (good) beauty contestants learn to introduce themselves. Anyway, I responded in kind. “My name’s Ryan, I’m twenty…four years old,” (I was actually 29, but didn’t want to present a ten year age gap just yet), “I write a page called Stagg Nites for Top Boyz magazine, and my interests are…” Drinking and shagging! Drinking and shagging! Drinking and shagging!“…eating out and socialising.”
Then she held out her hand, for a handshake I think, but I kissed it instead. Whatever the situation, you know, best to make a good first impression.
“I’ve got a safe place we can hide out,” I told her. “Miss Scotland’s already in there, and we can take Miss Wales too if she’s nearby.”
“Yeah, she’s just over there,” she replied, pointing over towards the corner. “The Irelands are with her too.”
I decided I’d let the Irish birds tag along with us if they wanted to, even though they didn’t really belong, and they’d have to look after themselves if we came under attack. But I changed my mind once I saw them. Wow! These dusky, raven-haired beauties were not what I was expecting at all! They were even better than Argentina! Having reminded myself of her, I took a quick look around to see if she was in the vicinity, but there was no sign of her. Anyway, surely rescuing the five contestants from the home nations was enough for one night? So I pointed out the doors to the four girls and we started making our way over there.
We made it about halfway before two of the vampires swooped down on us. I still had my chair leg but I couldn’t stake both of them, so I thought we were goners, but little Miss England wasn’t as helpless as I thought. When she said one of her interests was keep fit, what she didn’t mention was that she was a black belt in karate! She just tore into these two poor vampire bastards before they even saw her coming. She was unleashing all manner of punches and kicks, high and low, every one of them landing with a resounding crack. She looked just like a young Cynthia Rothrock, only even fitter. I was completely mesmerised. I just stood there watching her, and it made me feel all tingly downstairs, I don’t mind admitting.
I snapped out of it when one of them hit the deck. He didn’t know what had hit him! So I staked him before he had a chance to get up. Job done. And the other one just scarpered. Bottled it! Legged it and ran away – well, winged it and flew away to be precise. Chances were he’d be back with reinforcements soon enough though, so we ran over to the changing room doors as quick as we could. Thankfully the lycanthropes (I looked that word up after the event) were still keeping the vampires busy but there was still no time to waste.
“Open up, Scotland!” I yelled, pounding on the door, but nothing happened for ages. I’m sorry everyone, but at this point I had to abandon chivalry and get tough with her. “For fuck’s sake, what are you doing?! We’re sitting ducks out here! Open the fucking door!!”
“I’m trying to move the table,” she complained
“Well, put your fucking back into it then!” I snapped. I pretty much figured I’d blown it with her by this point anyway, so I didn’t need to play nice anymore. I’d try my luck with the others once we were all locked up safe and sound.
I heard huffing and puffing and bumping and scraping from behind the door, until it eventually opened and we bundled our way through without looking back. Then we slammed it shut behind us and I dragged the dressing table back into place, helped by all the girls except Scotland, who flopped exhausted into a chair. Once it was done, the rest of us sat down too, and at least this time there were no awkward silences. Trouble was, they were talking amongst themselves and leaving me out. Listening to them comparing make up and beauty tips was mildly arousing in a way, but then the conversation turned to the boring topic of vampires and werewolves. As if we hadn’t had enough of that already!
“Look,” began Miss Wales. “There are werewolves and vampires out there. Loads of supernatural beings with superhuman strength, and sooner or later they’re going to want to come in here. And what’s keeping them out? A hardwood door with a flimsy bolt, backed up with a table that one woman managed to move single handed! It won’t keep them out for long.”
“It’s weapons we need,” remarked England, possibly still pumped up with aggression after her wicked cool piece of vampire bashing earlier on. “You know, wooden stakes, garlic, holy water, crucifixes, silver bullets…”
“We don’t need silver bullets,” interrupted Scotland. “The werewolves are on our side. One of them rescued us earlier on, didn’t he?”
Now there was a spell of silence, until I finally realised that she was actually talking to me. “Uh, yeah…” I stuttered, shocked to be suddenly included in things. “Yeah, it was one of them what pushed us in here in the first place.” I stopped to think for a moment before adding, “Still don’t know if I trust ’em though.”
“Why not?” demanded Scotland. “You‘d be dead if it wasn‘t for them!” She sounded a little bit too fond of the hairy ones if you ask me, but I wasn’t so sure. Yes, one of them had saved my life, but the one I sat next to had no sense of humour and seemed right up himself, so you know, six of one, baker’s dozen of the other. And besides, as I said to the Scottish lass: “For all we know, they’ve only hidden us in here so they can come back and eat us later. You know, like when a dog buries a bone.”
There were grunts of disagreement from Scotland, and little gasps of fear from the others, even England, who I now knew was hard as nails despite being a nineteen year old whatever from wherever. I couldn’t bear to see her looking so frightened, so I tried to make her feel better.
“Look, I’m sure that won’t happen,” I said, trying to decide whether it would be okay to put my arm round her as I did so. “I’m just saying, we shouldn’t trust them too much, that’s all. So we don’t go out there looking for them, do we? As long as we stay in here we’ll be safe, right? We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
“And all the vampires and werewolves,” observed Northern Ireland.
I avoided giving her the sort of look that Scotland kept giving me. It was hard to be mad at her when I gazed into those deep soulful eyes. So I rectified my speech as gently as I could. “Well, obviously the vampires and werewolves. I was taking them as a given. What I’m trying to say is, apart from all the vampires and werewolves, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!” And I think that made everybody feel a whole lot better.
Anyway, once we’d gotten all that out of the way, we started to look at things we could use as weapons. Whether or not we trusted the werewolves, we had neither silver bullets, nor a gun with which to fire them, so we could forget all that and concentrate on things that would repel or kill the vampires. There wasn’t a lot, unfortunately. The changing room for a beauty contest is not the sort of place you’d usually find a priest, so crucifixes and holy water were out of the question. Nor did beauty contestants like to enjoy a hearty meal immediately before going on stage, so it was odds against finding any garlic either. Stakes we could do, though. All we had to do was break the legs off the wooden chairs and they’d work a treat. I’d proved that earlier. And if we took two each, we could make a cross with them if we needed to. But this course of action would have a massive down side. It would mean we all had to sit on the floor for the rest of the night.
Most important thing was we all got tooled up though, so we had to sacrifice our comfort. Well, I did. While my poor arse was perched on the cold, hard floor, they were all sat happily on top on the tanning bed, swinging their lovely legs to and fro. I’d have been right pissed off if I wasn’t enjoying watching them so much, and – hang on! “That is a tanning bed, right?” I asked.
“Of course, I snapped” giggled England. “Every girl likes to top up her tan before she goes out on stage. I was on it myself earlier on.”
“So that’ll give off UV rays then, yeah?” I continued. “Which is the one thing guaranteed to kill a vampire!”
So this was a breakthrough, but once again it meant making the girls give up their seats. I felt bad about that, but hey, it’s their lives I was saving. And they could all try to squeeze on my lap if the floor wasn’t comfortable enough for them…
Anyway, at least we were starting to feel more comfortable about our survival once we had the tanning bed in place, switched on with the lid open and pointed at the doorway. There were still some pretty scary sounds coming from out there, though. Crashes and bangs, screams and howls, scratching and scraping, grunting and growling…and then it went quiet. Our hopes started to rise that this was really all over, but then came the scariest noises of all – the vicious thumping on our door, and worse, the sound of the wood starting to give way.
Suddenly I was less confident about staking my life on our meagre defences, and the girls agreed, so we wanted somewhere else to hide out. But since the vampires were coming through the only door, finding another escape route would require some very creative thinking. I looked to the skies for inspiration, but saw only a painted ceiling adorned with decorative imitation chandelier lighting. Oh, and a loft hatch too. That was lucky! So being the man and the hero, I selflessly stood tall strong and firm(!) while the young beauty contestants climbed up me and into the attic.
In the meantime, the door had been smashed away to nothing, but the UV rays were repelling the vampires. It didn’t kill them like real proper sunlight would, but they obviously didn’t like it. I doubted that it would keep them at bay for much longer, and figured they’d be mightily pissed off when they did get through. But by then we’d be hiding somewhere else and counting the minutes down till dawn.
Unfortunately, no sooner had I finished thinking that than the machine suddenly sparked and turned off, and there stood by it was Miss Australia. She looked good, I mean real good, way better than she did when she was on stage. When she smiled, and those moist red lips parted to show her teasing tongue running over the outline of her new fangs, it made me think that being bitten by her might not be so bad after all. And then when she spoke, the haunting melody of her soft voice had me in rapture.
“There’s a wonderful two-hour window,” she said, although the meaning of her words was less important to me than their flowing rhythm. “When you get the fangs but haven’t developed the intolerance of UV yet. You get the best of both worlds.”
She slowly began walking towards me, and I wanted to turn and run away, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to take my eyes off her. She was too perfect.
“You can be perfect too,” she said.
I don’t know if she’d read my mind or if I’d said that out loud, and I was too busy worshipping her to think about it.
“It doesn’t hurt at all, Ryan,” she continued (how did she know my name?) “This can be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you. You can join our family and live forever…at my side.”
And with that, she gave me this look that penetrated into my very soul and unlocked every desire I had. Her words had a hypnotic power, and made me realise I’d been crazy to run away from this miraculous gift that was being bestowed upon us. And now the most beautiful and graceful woman I had ever laid eyes upon wanted me for all eternity, together forever, and forever young. Well, what would you have done?
I closed my eyes and presented my neck, waiting for the exquisite sensual prick from her luscious love bite that would change my life forever. But then I was shaken from my reverie by a sudden scream, and opened my eyes to see Miss Australia looking not beautiful but terrifying. Her face was contorted, eyes bulging with anger and pain, and there seemed to be a chair leg sticking out of her chest. Then she collapsed into powder, and at the other end of the chair leg was Miss Ireland giving me a very accusing look.
“You derrty bastard! You were going to let her…!”
“No, no way!” I protested hastily. “I knew you was there so I was like, lulling her into a false sense of…you know?”
“If you say so,” she replied, but she didn’t look convinced. “Now let’s get out of here, yeah? And we’ll see if we can find somewhere you can take a cold shower!”
I took a look down and could see what she meant. Australia would have stayed thirsty if she’d drank from my neck, because all my blood had migrated south. The Staggosaurus had returned from extinction. The Ryanoceras was flourishing his horn. On the one hand I was embarrassed and ashamed, but on the other at least they all knew now that I wasn’t impotent. So you know, the swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune, as William Wordsworth would say…
Anyway, there was just enough blood still flowing to my other extremities to allow me to climb up into the loft, and we crawled around up there until we found another hatch, which we opened and dropped down into a small office. We blocked the door and watched the clock while we sat in silence. We continued to hear scary noises, but only at a distance, and they finally stopped at about 5am. Dawn was looming, so the vampires had fled and we were safe! So now I could finally set my targets higher than mere survival. I was locked in a confined space with these incredibly sexy young women whose lives I had saved in a selfless and heroic way! They would want to celebrate their survival and show their gratitude, and I was very much looking forward to finding out how…
And that’s when the fucking rescue squad finally turned up! Thanks lads! Rescued me from the chance of a beauty queen sixsome, that’s all! Bastards! And when I say “rescue squad” I mean “cover up squad”, because it seemed like they were more concerned with hiding evidence than saving lives.
Once they’d got us out of there, and it seemed like we were the only survivors, they set about torching the place so they could claim the contest had been hit by a tragic fire. Apparently, the vampires had cut the television lines before they stormed the place, so the viewers never had a clue what had really happened. But they would when my shocking story reached the world…
But it probably never will. The only TV interview I did was stopped as soon as I said the V-word, and never got shown. The girls were paid hush money to go along with the fire story and they all keep ignoring my calls. Worst of all, I got sacked from Top Boyz, and no decent magazine would touch me or my story, and the only place I could get into was this website, Ghastly Door.com, with all content free to view! I know! How’s a boy supposed to make a living? And here’s the saddest thing. See how my last assignment was to South Africa for Miss World? My next is to Sussex for the World Horror Convention! Brighton won’t have seen a bigger collection of freaks, geeks and weirdoes since the last Labour Party Conference! (good quip that, one for the notebook) But here’s a thought, though. See how Miss World got invaded by vampires and werewolves? Maybe the World Horror Convention will be invaded by beauty queens! Now that would make a really good story…