Category Archives: Horrordailies

October Rubble

I had the best of intentions for Horrordailies. I had the time because I didn’t have to commute. I was writing morning pages and clearing my head of all the static that accumulates there so I could be creative later in the day. The building was quiet because it’s only about 60% occupancy.

And then it started.

The jackhammering.

Some genius in the company that owns my apartment building decided that now would be a great time to renovate the pool, and every day, Monday through Friday, for eight hours, I get to hear jackhammering right outside my window.

This is with my windows closed. Turn your amp all the way to 11 and you’ll have an idea.

Oh, they say they “have” to do it now. It’s a “small window” before the ground freezes. The concierge mumbled something about permits, budgeting, and contractors, and how if they didn’t do the renovations now, they wouldn’t be able to open the pool next summer.

Which is a steaming dogpile, because the tenants weren’t informed of this until October 1, and the work started on October 5. If they got the permits quickly, then they could get them just as quickly next September. If they knew several months in advance, they should have canceled the work and then rescheduled it for next September, when the majority of tenants would most likely be back to working in offices.

I raised an unholy stink, as did other tenants, and this week we heard all about this fabulous new “hospitality suite” on the 17th floor where the noise doesn’t reach. Then I learned that this hospitality squite can hold seven people.

No. Not even with social distancing. I live in a youngish area. I see how people rip off their masks as soon as they leave the building. I also see how some people, like my next-door neighbor, never wear a mask even though they know very well that it’s required in the building. I know she has one, because I slipped one under her door. She’s just too vain to wear it. She likes to pretend she doesn’t understand English—except that I know how to tell her in Russian that she needs to wear the damn thing because I don’t feel like dying for her vanity.

The building management has given me permission to work in an empty apartment, but I need to try it out and see if I can use my organization’s VPN via their internet access. If I can’t, I will have to schlep to my office in D.C. I did that last week and it was peaceful, but I don’t feel safe taking Metro so I have been taking Uber in and walking the 4.5 miles home in the evening for some exercise. I can’t do that every day, however, because I don’t feel like paying $75 a week to Uber and dealing with a hike home every day.

At any rate, it’s a miserable situation and it will continue through the end of the month, after which they will be laying the tiles down and then the annoyance will go from sound to smell. I may have to send Inigo to birdie camp because although he seems to be okay with the noise, fumes can kill a bird very quickly.

Point is, I’m pretty exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically from this fresh hell, so turning on my computer in the evening and writing even more on top of the writing I do for my job is the last thing I want to do.

I suppose there’s always National Blog Posting Month, which is November, and then we’re into Holidailies for December. That is, if I’m not packing up to move out of this horror show.

Maybe they’ll find a body. Then I’ll have something to write about, boy howdy.

Lead Legs

I’m generally not one to believe in ghosts, but every once in a while I’ll have a physical reaction to a place–a historic site, a field, a house, a grave. It’s the same kind of reaction every time. I’ll stop to look at something, and out of nowhere it will feel like my legs are being pulled down into the earth. The first time I felt it I was six or seven years old. My Brownie troop was going to march in a parade, and the starting point was a cemetery. We gathered on the pavement at the entrance gate, and when a car game through, we had to step off to the side onto the grass. My legs got so heavy I just froze, and when the troop leader told us to come back onto the sidewalk, I said I was stuck.

She came over to me and asked me what was wrong.

“I can’t move. I’m stuck.”

She looked down around my shoes.

“It’s just grass. You’re on a grave. Someone is buried there and you’re standing over them. They can’t hurt you. Come along now.”

She put her hand on my shoulder and boom, just like that, the feeling went away, like someone had replaced the cement in my legs with air. I felt so light I could have floated down Main Street.

It happened again at the Alamo. I normally don’t get creeped out by sites where a lot of people died, but the Alamo has a very bad vibe to it, for me at least. I felt uneasy almost from the second I stepped onto the grounds. At one point it started to rain, and everyone dashed inside. I dropped my umbrella and when I leaned down to get it, I put my hand on a wall and my legs felt like someone had turned on a giant magnet. One of the other tourists, a middle-aged man, asked me if I was okay.

“You look like you’re going to pass out.”

“I don’t like this place. It’s…bloody.”

His wife nodded and gently touched my arm. “Yes, it’s unsettling.”

As soon as she touched me, boom, just like that, the feeling went away. I thanked them for their kindness, put my umbrella up, and got out of there. I was creeped out for days after that.

Image of The Alamo by Ron Houtman on Unsplash.

Same with Gettysburg. I had taken a bike ride around the battlefield with friends, and we stopped for a water break. I stepped off the pavement onto the grass to retie my sneakers and the feeling was so strong, I fell to my knees.

“Lead legs?” one of the guys said.

I nodded.

“Maybe use a lower gear. The next part is uphill.”

He held a hand out to help me up, and when I put my hand in his, boom, just like that, the feeling went away.

It most recently happened to me at a cemetery in Spokane, Washington, but that’s a tale for another day.

Ever experience anything like that? What happened? Where were you when it happened?

Virulent Parrots and Hooded Goats

It’s October, and that can mean only one thing: A failed attempt at Horrordailies. I haven’t touched this website in quite some time, but as long as we have several long-running horror shows–civil unrest, a deadly global pandemic, and the Trump administration, to name a few–I might as well make some use of the time that I’m not commuting to the office. Bear with me as I try to figure out the dashboard. It seems WordPress changed it while I was gone. Gotta be honest, not a fan.

I was clicking around earlier and saw a fun horror plot generator. Here is the result:

The Curse of the Red Candle
A Horror Story
by Zenzalei

Whilst investigating the death of a local tarot reader, a fiery journalist called Tess Violetta uncovers a legend about a supernaturally cursed, red candle circulating throughout Washington, D.C. As soon as anyone uses the candle, he or she has exactly 162 days left to live.

The doomed few appear to be ordinary people during day to day life, but when photographed, they look hazy. A marked person feels like a virulent parrot to touch.

Tess gets hold of the candle, refusing to believe the superstition. A collage of images flash into her mind: an astute bat balancing on a magnificent tarot reader, an old newspaper headline about an electrocution accident, a hooded goat ranting about ribcages and a drinking well located in a godforsaken place.

When Tess notices her throat has parrot-like properties, she realises that the curse of the red candle is true and calls in her son, a physician called Inigo Violetta, to help.

Inigo examines the candle and willingly submits himself to the curse. He finds that the same visions flash before his eyes. He finds the astute bat balancing on a magnificent tarot reader particularly chilling. He joins the queue for a supernatural death.

Tess and Inigo pursue a quest to uncover the meaning of the visions, starting with a search for the hooded goat. Will they be able to stop the curse before their time is up?

The reviews are priceless:

“This is actually pretty scary. I’ll never be able to look at another red candle for as long as I live.” – The Daily Tale

“Oh please! There’s nothing scary about an astute bat balancing on a magnificent tarot reader. Are we supposed to feel spooked?” – Enid Kibbler

“The hooded goat really freaked me out.” – Hit the Spoof

“I hope Tess and Inigo get married.” – Zob Gloop

It appears Zob Gloop is a sicko, because Inigo is Tess’ son.

Looking forward to the next 30 evenings of fun-filled horror. Or horror-filled fun. Or maybe just some lame vampire haiku. Not sure which. It’s a mystery, that.

This guy would have me write about bananas.