Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why Not Fiction? Also, some Horrorphiles

I think I may have mentioned my recent health issues and how that's effected my work AND how excited I was for February and how I was starting to get my energy back. But in my last two posts ( 1 & 2 ), it may have seemed like my energy has only been focused in one direction - art. However, you may be surprised to find out that I am still writing, I've just had to pause The Horrorphiles for awhile. I've been concentrating on Zombie Zorority over on Channillo.com for one.

If you've never hear of Channillo.com, it's a new website/platform that combines 19th century novel serializing with modern day Netflix. For $5 a month, you can subscribe to up to 10 books at a time. There are books of all sorts from genre fiction, like Zombie Zorority, to non-fiction memoirs and personal essays. I love the idea of this platform because I've always wanted to write a serialized novel. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to experiment with even more forms, like combining traditional narration with first person diaries, as well as mixing digital media with physical media.

What's that? How will I mix physical and digital media? Ever since I was a teenager, I've wanted  to combine all sorts of media into my fiction. I wanted to have a hyperlinked text (this was back before that was barely a thing), and printed books that looked like they were worn handwritten text, and, of course, a CD soundtrack. Now, with the already experimental format of Zombie Zorority, I have a lot of freedom to play around anyway I want. I've mentioned my Spotify playlists before, Zombie Zorority definitely has one. Zoey is forced by her government issued psychologist to keep a diary, one I can't wait to make in my mixed media/altered book playtimes. And speaking of the government interference in Zoey's life, you should see the big fat file they have on her, or the Paranormal Agency's safety posters that warn against the very attack that changed Zoey's life forever. Anyway, the list can go on and on but I'll stop there. Each of these items I plan on making, combining with the digital components on Channillo and having all sorts of bonus material and giveaways right here on this blog. So, get ahead of the game and start reading Zombie Zorority today!

Ok, enough of sales pitch, have you missed The Horrorphiles? I sure have. I think the break from it was good because I was very bogged down in those hospital scenes and getting very tired of trying to work my way out. But now, I'm just happy to start writing Ronny again, who's very different from Zoey in Zombie Zorority. So let's get it on - The Horrorphiles, Part 28!

NaNoWriMo 2015
The Horrorphiles, Part 28
By: Stephanie Thompson; Words: 998

Nothing Becky said would change what Ronny felt: who she was before was not who she was now. 

6 months later

Veronica Granger stood outside the door of her Aunt Wanda’s townhouse nervous, for some reason, to open the door. Becky offered to be here, to take a day off work, help her carry the bags, drive her home from the rehab center but Ronny wanted to be alone. She needed to be alone to go home.
Home, the word didn’t feel right or sound right.  The home she remembered, the one she wanted to go back to, didn’t actually exist and this place she could barely remember. Only bits of pieces of afternoons eating big bowls of cereal, or popcorn, or cheese poufs and watching horror movie after horror movie, scraping the barrel in quality and entertainment. Boring, repetitive, depressing. Why should she want to come back to that? The cruel joke, amongst many she’d been the butt of the last six months, was that she had to come back here to get back to the home she really wanted.

Ronny finally turned the key in the lock and pushed open the turquoise door. She limped into the small foyer with a crutch under one arm and a heavy duffle on the other. Becky had collected her mail and stacked it on the small table by the door. A decent layer of dust collected around the stack of junk mail and bills that had already been paid online. Cobwebs between the legs of the table swayed softly from the fresh air that accompanied her entrance. She dropped the the duffle on the floor and hung her jacket on the dusty hook on the other side of the door. There was even dust piled on the hall runner in front of her.
She hadn’t thought about the place needing a cleaning. Becky never mentioned the state of the place, then again, maybe it always looked like that way. Ronny wasn’t the best housekeeper, leaving old magazines and catalogues piled on coffee tables and end tables, on more than one occasion she’d bought new clothes just to avoid doing laundry, or left food in tubberware so long the garbage bin was the only option for them. But she’d clean it up eventually, dusted, vacuumed, recycled the catalogues. But now what was suppose to be her home looked like an abandoned space, empty and unloved. Dust floated down in the beams of light peeking behind the curtains. It got in the furrows of her fingerprints and tickled under her collar. She sneezed once in the dining room, twice in the living room. She didn’t even open the fridge to see what molded take-out horrors were left in there.

Upstairs her bed was left unmade, the sheets and blankets were bunched up like she’d just gotten out of bed. The taps in the bathroom shuttered and spurted when she tested the water. Ronny sighed. She honestly didn’t know where to start, how to start even. All she’d done was walk around the house and felt already that she could use a shower. There was no clean spot to sit and think even.
She opened the final door upstairs, the door to Aunt Wanda’s room. The cobwebs and dust weren’t absent from here either but everything else was neat. The bed was made. Her reading glasses and the last book she was reading were sitting still on the nightstand. Alias Grace. That’s what she was reading when she died. Ronny did not need to walk across the room to know that. Everything has been the same for (however many years). (Okay so I think this next part is going to sound weird and hokey but I’m just going to write it anyway). 
Ronny walked to the bed and pressed her hand on the handmade quilt folded at the foot of the bed. Dust built up here too. She hadn’t even known dust could build on fabric until a few month after Aunt Wanda’s death. Since then she’d cleaned this room more than any other part of the house.  The vanity table was even worse. Her gobs and gobs of beaded necklaeces and bracelets were coated in a dust and adorned with tiny dust bunnies. Even the mirror was obscured by yet more dust.

Finally, in frustrastion, the absolute height of annoyance with the the ever present dust, Ronny wiped her hand across the mirror, sent up a flume of dust particles leading her to cough moments later. When everything settled around her, she could see herself in the mirror and she looked coated in the dust. Grey, pale, and drawn.

She remembered back to Greyson Manor, to the time and place that didn’t exist, and how she’d looked then. Empowered at first, tired and beaten up after one night but she still had . . .moxie. (This is awful and dumb but at least it’s something). She’d looked like Aunt Wanda then. But Aunt never looked the way Ronny did now. Not even on the night she’d died.
Aunt Wanda had climbed the stairs, maybe slower than she usually did, definitely slower than she use to, then she got into bed, read a few pages of Alias Grace, then turned off the light, closed her eyes and never woke up again. Right here in this room. And even cold and dead in the morning Aunt Wand looked better than Ronny, the whole place looked better than Ronny. Her Aunt Wanda would not want this for her, for her home, for her things.

This is where she would start. She’d kept this room too long as a shrine, maybe even stayed too long at the rehab center to avoid coming home. But she wasn’t avoiding it any longer. She was going to be the life living cahone grabbing Ronny she dreamed up at Greyson Manor. She would prove those clattering naked skeletons wrong. She had to start somewhere and that somewhere was here.

Thanks for Reading!