Really, I don’t. People are already scared. It’s a normal biological reaction to living in a world full of lunacy and danger. So, when I write a scary story and people complain they were scared by it (uh, that was kind of the point but yes, some people have complained) it’s not me who’s scaring you.
You were already scared. All I did was point out the monster behind the sofa.
People are scared all the time but that fear is unfocused. Their bodies are telling them they’re scared but there’s nothing tangible or immediate to focus that fear on. We’re set up to be scared of tigers and such, things we can see, but in the modern world there is no fixed point of reference. We just know it’s wrong and we’re scared but there’s no tiger.
All you need do as a horror story teller (and general prank playing bastard) is to give them a focus. The fear is already there for you to play with. It just needs you to give it a direction.
When I worked at Local Shop, Obelix the storeman (a veritable giant who was scared of everything) once mentioned his worry about something emerging from the toilet while he was sat on it.
I helpfully explained plumbing – the water in the toilet is only in the U-bend and the pipe after that is only wet during a flush. So a rat could easily get up to the back of the toilet and, since rats can swim, would have no difficulty popping under that bend for a quick nip of the danglies.
No evil smile, no cruel looks, just plain, calm, quiet speaking. I don’t think Obelix has shit since that day.
It does happen. Rats have appeared in toilet bowls – but it is exceedingly rare and the chances of one popping in while your tasty meaty arse is poised for a snack is very, very small indeed.
Actually it might not be that rare. Maybe rats pop into toilets all the time but finding them unoccupied and foodless, just pop back down again. Schrodinger’s rat, or maybe quantum rats. Who knows?
Probably best not to dwell on it though, eh? 😉
How about an anaconda or, more likely in America than here, a flushed alligator? Nah, the alligator won’t fit back up once it’s grown. The anaconda could do it. So could a cobra or an Australian brown snake. Maybe a funnel-web spider has moved into the bowl of the outside dunny…
You’d need a very, very good friend to suck the poison out.
Horror tales don’t need to be filled with violence and gore. Often, it’s the quiet explanation of plausible nonsense that works best.
I have told hand-waving antismokers that all the grey dust they see is 400 years of cigarette ash. They believe it. Why? Because the antismokers have told them that the residues of smoking never degrade and are in the environment forever. It’s rubbish of course but add up 400 years of smoking plus ASH propaganda and there you go. A plausible fabrication. Very scary bogeyman. It doesn’t exist but hey, they’re already terrified of smoking and that’s not my fault. I just nudge the fear a little further. The difference is, I don’t do it for money. I do it because it’s funny.
The plausible fabrication is the main technique of the antismoker. I see no issue with using their own weapons against them. All’s fair in smoking and war – and this is war. Okay, they don’t have snipers picking us off outside pubs so far, but many of them would like to. They even made a video game of exactly that. One Twatter user even said he wanted us taken out and shot in front of our families. Maybe ASH should become ISIS (International Smoker Inquisition of Spite), there’s not that much difference now.
So far, the war is mostly words and I’m fine with that. Words are the only weapon I’m very good at. I’m pretty good with a takedown recurve bow as long as you’re willing to take a seat and have a cup of tea while I put it together but otherwise, I fight with words.
Oh I have some big words. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychyndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch. So there. That’s like Conan with a dictionary instead of a broadsword. Yes, I’ve been there and no, I didn’t look it up first.
The antismokers tried training children to snatch cigarettes from the mouths of smokers in the street. They really did. With no regard to how fast those children would subsequently cross the road among rush hour traffic. That went abruptly quiet. They tried having gullible idiots testing smokers for breath CO levels on busy streets (never on quiet streets). That went quiet too. Presumably the gullible idiots eventually tested themselves and found their CO levels were the same. Exhaust fumes *cough*.
It’s all been a lie. Right from the outset, it was all lies. So why not lie back? You will never beat these people with the truth, they have already denied the existence of truth. Atruthists. You cannot fight them with the weapon of truth, they do not believe in it.
So fight them with horror. Fight them with fiction, the same weapon they use on the rest of the drones. The drones are disturbingly easy to manipulate and honour and decency says we shouldn’t – but we are not fighting an honourable and decent enemy. We are up against ‘anything goes’ bastards. We can only fight on their terms, we won’t win on ours.
Push the drones to the absurdity horizon. Some will cross and carry on to the Stupidity Singularity, some will stop and say ‘Hang on a minute…’
They call us ‘witch’. Be one. They call us ‘demon’. Be one.
Use absurdity. Use horror. Use the calm explanation of the terrible imaginary lumpy death they must surely face now they have encountered your unholy existence. Use fiction. The other side does and they dismiss our statements of reality with more fiction. You cannot beat that with truth. Use their own weapons against them. Make use of the dopey drones they have created.
Yes it is cruel. Yes it is immoral. We will be lying to people. But the enemy has shown that this works and it’s down to this. Do you want to die a moral hero in a death camp?
Not me. I will torment the antis and their drones right up until that walk in the woods where I get an accidental deer hunter bullet ion the back of my head.
Until then I will scare the drones harder than ASH do. it’s the only weapon I can reliably use. The weapon of words.