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Viewing blog entries in category: Horror

  • Iain Aschendale
    If you aren't familiar with the movie The Polar Express, this isn't going to make a heck of a lot of sense to you. Merry Christmas!

    It was a tough run, but we made it, we finally made it. With five minutes to spare, but time runs funny up here.

    The boss promised me that this would be my final run, take one last load of Unbelievers up North and I'd be out, with a new identity and a fat bank account. Half a mile more and I'd be done.

    As the train passed slowly through the city, the kids yammered on about elves. Elves and the Big Guy, all they ever thought they wanted to see.

    They didn't know.

    I felt bad about what was going to happen to them, but that was the price of Unbelief. I knew all about that, I'd paid it myself. To look at me, I was in my fifties, but on the calendar, I wasn't even seventeen. Heck, by Easter these kids will be in their early thirties. How else do you think the Man in Red can make all those presents every year?

    "Ellllvesss!" For a moment I hoped that the kid had just seen some of the loaders. Older workers looked a bit like elves; decades of hard labor and a diet of nothing but reindeer meat and hot cocoa did funny things to the body. Elves, on the other hand, were bad news. I'd seen one once; it had gotten in through the sewers when I was about forty. They finally captured it, but at a cost. At the next roll call we all had to watch as it literally shredded seven of the flightless culls before being hosed down with napalm. And that was after it had been de-fanged. That demonstration had ended any talk of escape.

    For obvious reasons, Mrs. C (yeah, she handled the dirty work. Surprised?) always gassed the sleigh loaders last, but these weren't redshirts, these were Elves, real Elves, a mob of them boiling up one of the side streets. Must have breached the Wall. I heard a reassuring thump from overhead, and knew that my partner had seen them too. "You: four-eyes!" I barked.

    "My name's not four-eyes, it's --"

    "Don't care. You know who Ma Deuce is?"

    His eyes lit up behind his glasses. "Yes, sir! The M2 Browning fifty caliber machine gun is a heavy --"

    "Thought you would. Ghost is setting one up on the roof. Now get on up there, he'll tell you what to do. Pigtails! You're pretty smart, think you're smart enough to work a flamethrower?" She stared, uncomprehending. "It's like one of those super soaky squirt guns, but it shoots fire. There's one in the last car. Get to the platform on the back and hose down anything that gets close." She gaped again. "For the love of Mike, GO!"

    Who else? The kid from Edbrooke was already toast, curled up on the floor in a puddle of his own piss, but where was the other one, the troublemaker?

    Smart kid, he was right behind me. "Listen, young man," I said, taking one of the M4 carbines down from the concealed overhead rack, "we're in some serious jelly, but we've got to protect this train. This," showing him the gun, "kills Elves. Help is on the way, and if we're lucky, we'll live to see it."

    Of course, if the Elves didn't get him, the little Unbeliever would spend the rest of his year-long life in the Workshop, but the least I could do was give him the chance of a painless death. "If not, don't try to be a hero, boy. Those things out there will make you wish you'd never heard of Christmas. If they get on board, save the last one," I ejected a single round and dropped it into the pocket of his robe, "for yourself."

    Me? I locked myself in the cleaning closet. Didn't get out of the Workshop and into the Conductor job through self-sacrifice now, did I?
  • Iain Aschendale
    I just got back from Hereditary. No spoilers, but I found this movie very enjoyable in the classic horror sense of things. There are a couple scenes involving a cell phone, but they don't need to be there, and the rest of the movie could have been done anytime in the last forty or fifty years. That's a compliment, if you enjoy films like The Exorcist and The Omen, you may enjoy this film. There are no wisecracking evil menaces, no terrified teenagers in swimsuits or underwear, and no gratuitous jump scares, just a pure supernatural evil and a family's attempt to deal with it.

    On the critical side, there was one scene that I think may have had a set-dressing mistake, and I wasn't a fan of casting 68-year old Gabriel Byrne as the father of a thirteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old (when my father was my age [forty-seven] I had already been honorably discharged from the Marines and would have graduated college if I'd taken that path). It's not a complaint about how he plays the role, it's just Hollywood's typical pattern of letting leading men play roles well into their, ahem, late middle age that should really be going to younger men. Toni Collette, on the other hand, is 46, which fits the character better and is fucking outstanding in this role. Kudos to the rest of the casting decisions as well, the younger actors and actresses look like, well, average teenage kids. The "beautiful girl" love interest is pretty attractive, but doesn't come across as having fallen off a Maybelline package or anything.

    So anyway, if you like the old style of horror, I'd recommend this film. If boobs and splatter and jump-scares that were only the cat are more your thing, I won't judge, but you'll probably be bored to death.
  • Iain Aschendale
    My alarm wakes me from dreams of Weimar street fighting, but these take place no on old sped-up black and white newsreels but the vivid colors and shaky cellphone cams of YouTube, police hovercraft spilling their skirts to blast protester and counter-protester alike down the street, thugs in makeshift riot gear tapping their shields to an internal rhythm before exploding against their opposite numbers their opponents their enemies them a man using the American flag as a spear a club bashing some cowering wretch into the pavement and I've been awake seven minutes now and it's Thursday again just Thursday but I don't want to check the news, not just yet.

    Foxxx, Oscar Leigh and Some Guy like this.
  • Iain Aschendale
    I remember one night when there was a minor earthquake. The train had pulled forward only a meter or two and was well within the ends of the platform when the safeties kicked in and stopped it.

    The doors stayed closed for forty minutes during evening rush hour before the driver got permission to back up that short distance and release his passengers to seek other means of transport.

    Luckily for me, I'd missed that train and there was a beer vending machine on the platform, so my buddies and I just got drunk and watched the windows of the carriages get foggier and foggier as the mass of sweating passengers overwhelmed the ventilation systems.

    Air Gradia 452 has arrived, please remain in your seat until the captain turns off the seatbelt sign.
  • Iain Aschendale
    I don't know if I can say "published," but this was the first thing I wrote that a complete stranger offered a one-time, non-exclusive license to post on a now-defunct website for the pleasure of the exposure. As such, it's pretty special to me, I hope you enjoy it.

    Jen had soon found out that living and working downtown wasn't the endless parade of designer shoes and smorgasbord of attractive men that the Sex and the City reruns had made it out to be. Life as a paralegal was an endless loop of long hours and high stress; her salary, after the bills had been paid, usually left just enough money for her to head to Fifth Avenue for a day of window shopping.

    Her social life was limited; her love life was non-existent. Dating coworkers was dangerous, not to mention against company policy, and her limited budget and wardrobe made the idea of clubbing seem foolish. As for her, well... She'd had to make compromises. Even before she'd heard about phthalates, the idea of trying to satisfy herself with one of those awful 'toys,' which always somehow reminded her of giant, mutant pacifiers, had turned her stomach.

    The first time she'd gone shopping at the supermarket, she'd been so sure her purpose was obvious that she'd put two kinds of lettuce, dressing, even croutons in her shopping basket before choosing a cucumber, and still ended up blushing furiously at the checkout. Once she'd realized that no one noticed or cared what she bought, she'd become the produce section's best customer, stopping in every few days for cucumbers, carrots, even a squash once. That hadn't gone well. You just haven't had a man in way too long, girly, she'd said to herself, and blushed.

    And so earlier today she'd found herself in a cafe, one of two dozen singles looking for love at a speed dating event. What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon, she'd thought ruefully. It hadn't started off well, either, the room was full of people in whose eyes she could see a certain desperation, hoping that the look wasn't mirrored in her own eyes, knowing that it probably was. The event was a string of blandly anonymous faces and strained small talk, punctuated every five minutes by the bell, and a new face. Halfway through, however, he had sat down in front of her, darkly confident, stunningly handsome, and before she knew what she was doing, she'd scrawled her cell number on the scorecard and slid it across the table to him.

    “Um, miss?” It was one of the hostesses, “You aren't supposed to provide your information directly...”

    “Jen,” she'd told him, standing, oblivious to the woman's consternation, “Call me. Soon.” It wasn't until she got home that she realized she hadn't even gotten his name.

    His call, an hour later, had asked, no, had summoned her to dinner, and she'd found herself dressing to be undressed. Down, girl! Had it been that long? Just the sight of a nice face and the sound of a deep, masculine... Stoppit!!

    At dinner, however, she'd found herself mesmerized again, with no idea what she was talking about with him, just a sensation of warmth flowing from her core every time he spoke. You, girly, are practically drooling for this guy, and you know what I mean. She never noticed the food, never seemed to see him eat but somehow, the check had arrived and been paid. In a cab together then, thighs touching, lips touching, walking up the steps to her apartment. Magically, it seemed, their clothes were on the floor, her marveling at his rigid perfection. Much better than a cucumber, she thought, and pushed him back onto the bed, straddled him, oh god it has been soo long...

    She gasped when she felt his teeth graze her neck, and a chuckle rose from deep in his chest, a chuckle that rapidly changed to a high-pitched scream of terror and pain as he felt her teeth, the teeth of her ravenous nether mouth, biting down, and beginning to chew...

    So much better than a cucumber.
    Some Guy, Lifeline and Mumble Bee like this.