Friday, February 24, 2012

October Country: It's the Little Things

I'm still consolidating the Secret Antiquities material into the Society of Torch, Pole and Rope. This first appeared on October 23rd, 2010.

Standing on line last night for a haunted house attraction, a discussion arose regarding preferences for horror films. It quickly became obvious that, of our group anyway, the preference was on “less is more.” There were no gore aficionados amongst us. I’ve stated on a previous occasion that my favorite horror film is the original The Haunting because all the heavy scare work is done by your own imagination and not CGI or foam latex appliqu├ęs.

This morning, I watched The Grudge for the first time. In doing so, I found myself getting caught up in the minutia of the film: the little things that, when placing myself in the same situation, I found more disturbing than all the creepy dead-eyed children and stray follicles. I thought that things like the dropped phone outside the sister’s apartment or the tiny faces tacked to the closet door were much more disturbing because they merely hint that something is amiss.

I touched a little bit on this topic in The Dungeon Alphabet in my entry for “W is for Weird,” but that intended for fantasy genre. Although the October Country does veer into that terrain, it’s more horror & wonder than sword & sorcery. Time for some new entries of high weirdness and subtle terror. So, with that in mind, here are a dozen little things that would make me pause if my PC came across them during the course of an adventure:

1) A tiny spot of blood on a pristine white yet empty crib.
2) A house where all the phone handsets are missing.
3) A desk with a hundred blood-stained staples driven into its service in a seemingly random pattern.
4) A dark basement where the lights don’t work yet the dryer is running. The appliance is thumping as if off-balance and the sound of something heavy banging around inside it is heard.
5) The sound of a radio playing in the middle of an empty field. It seems to be coming from under the ground.
6) A baby book filled with nothing but small locks of delicate hair.
7) A wedding ring half-buried in the sand below the high tide mark on an empty beach.
8) A length of rope tied to a support and leading into a dark hole under a stretch of broken concrete.
9) A bare tree with a half-dozen old fashioned lanterns swinging from its branches.
10) A set of clothes lying discarded next to a still and seemingly empty swimming pool.
11) An open box of razor blades on an immaculate kitchen counter in a silent house.
12) A swarm of flies buzzing around the entrance to a dark doghouse.


Mister Scratch said...

A locked car by the side of the road, it's engine running and the turn signal on.

Mister Scratch said...

Three cups of tea gone cold. One of them has an almost translucent sludge at the bottom.

Tedankhamen said...

A pair of diamond earrings in their box with little gobbets of flesh sandwiched between their pins and backs.

Anonymous said...

@ Mister Scratch- What if only two of the cups are cold?

Erin Smale said...

A hat rack draped with knit caps, the back of each cut with a triangular hole whose edge is stitched with thin steel wire to prevent fraying.

The Badger King said...

A playroom filled with dolls, all of which have had their left eye removed, and a hole cut into the doll's forehead, where the missing left eye has now been glued.