Say what you like about the Daily Mail, but it even beats Fortean Times as a source of horror-story ideas. Yes, it sounds callous and it probably is – but real life stories were the basis for such tales as ‘Hell.net’ and ‘The Transformation Ritual’. Sometimes you can turn tragedy into entertainment. It’s a strange kind of entertainment that scares you into sleepless nights but people seem to like being scared. That’s why they love to be told they can be killed by invisible, odourless smoke. It replaces the hobgoblins of old. And I am only too happy to feed their fears.
The Mail story is a tragedy of NHS bungling – a simple X-ray or ultrasound would have identified the source of the man’s problem. Instead, it took four years for his own false teeth to gnaw through his oesophagus and bite his aorta. Now that right there is the basis of a particularly unpleasant horror story, especially since it will include the horror of bungling doctors.
I won’t write it at once. Give the man’s relatives some time to get over it, and me some time to adjust the idea into ‘something along those lines’. For now I will file it away and mull it over. Eventually, the brain/whisky combination will spark something.
It’s going to be heavily based upon the main character being an antismoker, and the doctors assuming that since he has never smoked and has spent his life avoiding all contact with smokers, there can’t possibly be anything wrong with him.
I don’t know if the real life tragedy happened to an antismoker, but I am sure he was a nonsmoker. If he had been a smoker, the first thing they would have done was check every square inch of his chest. He’d have ben in front of an X-ray machine before he could strike up his Zippo.
It can’t be false teeth though. Too ordinary.
Maybe… the insects as food aspect will work here. It only takes one undercooked egg, you know.
Oh, I feel the writing mood returning at last.
About bloody time too.