Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Good to be Afraid -- 01, October

Ah, it's finally here!  We've worked long and hard to make sure this will all be done on time.  I hope everyone can get some enjoyment out of reading it.  We had a great time creating the story, world and characters.  

We're finally at day 1 (only 30 left!), so here we go with:


J. D. Lockhart

01,October - Night

He felt the midnight dewdrops form on his fingertips. The corn stalks rustled around him. There was only a slight breeze, but their swaying amplified it to a hushed whisper. He shivered at the touch of the cool night air. . . and the his eyes snapped open in amazement. He was shivering? And then, even more amazement: He could open his eyes? The scarecrow flitted them left, then right, his shock growing. He was beholding everything around him. Though muted by the darkness, he was seeing everything in a vivid detail he never would have imagined possible. Then, most amazing of all, he drew in a shuddering breath and felt himself gasp. He was breathing.

He pulled one hand from the crossbeam beneath his shoulders. He held it up in front of his face. He counted his fingers, one, two, three, four. . . not quite five. His hands had at one time been constructed of an old damaged pair of simple workmen's gloves, a pair from which the little finger was missing. His body had undergone some change under the light of the moon, though, and that fact was made positive by the tip of bone protruding from the glove, reaching out longingly for where the rest of the digit should have been. Still, though, an incomplete body was so much better than none at all, and he didn't lose the absolute wonderment he felt at the thought of being alive. He breathed in again and watched the fog form from his breath as he exhaled.

The scarecrow was about to raise himself from the wooden stake attached to his back when he heard a noise. There was a small scuttling sound, a scampering of feet, and dimly through the darkness he could make out the stalks of corn parting as something made its passage. Quickly, the scarecrow returned his hand to the beam and remained perfectly still.

He kept his eyes open, however, and watched as a child emerged from the corn rows and then took a seat in the small clearing below the straw man's pole. The scarecrow looked out across the field to the farmhouse, from where the boy must have come. It was entirely dark. Only a dim halo of light reached around, from where a lamp must have burned on the front porch.

Turning his eyes back down, he saw that the boy was still sitting below his feet. He was perfectly silent and seemed to just be staring into the corn rows. The scarecrow wondered if he was going to go to sleep. He would never have a chance to get off this pole if that happened. He waited for some time, but it was clear the child was not going to move without some encouragement.

Gingerly, the scarecrow worked his jaw. He felt that he had a tongue and teeth. He would be capable of speech if only. . . as he tried to open his mouth, he found that it was held tight with at least a dozen thick stitches. He removed his right hand from the crossbar once again and slowly began to work at the stitches, pulling at the loops. Gradually, they became loosened enough that he could part his mouth. It wasn't enough for him to form words yet, but he could do one thing.

He growled.

The boy looked up sharply. The scarecrow growled again and leaned part way off the post, still holding on by his left hand. The boy jumped to his feet and ran away at last. The scarecrow was finally free to drop to the ground. He did so none-so-clumsily, landing with an agility that was quite surprising for something that had only been alive for mere moments.

The boy hadn't gone far. He had his back to the corn. He was trembling, possibly from the cold air. He was holding something out toward the scarecrow-- a farming implement. A sickle, the scarecrow recognized it. It wasn't something that belonged in the hands of a child.

The scarecrow held a hand out for it. The boy backed up until he bumped into a stalk of corn. The scarecrow drew closer, his shadow drawing over the child. He moved his hand ever slowly toward the boy, the four and one-half fingers turned palm up. He exhaled once sharply through his nose. The boy was reminded of a bull about to charge. He released the sickle and it fell neatly into the scarecrow's palm.

The scarecrow drew back quickly, turning partly to the side, and brought the tip of the curved blade up toward his mouth. Working carefully, he cut through the threads that bound him from talking, sawing at each loop one at a time. Once the work was done, he opened his mouth wide and took in a deep breath. He looked at the sickle, then at the boy, who still had not fled.

“Boy,” The scarecrow said. “What are you doing here, in my field? It's late, it's dark, and this is no place for you.”
“What, what are--” The boy stammered. “You're not. . .”
“Alive?” The scarecrow asked. “Real?” A thought came to him suddenly. He could kill the boy in a single move. He could see it in his mind, a single swipe with the sickle, a bloodless gash in the boy's throat quickly turning to red. The thought was unbidden but acute.
“It's our field,” The boy said. “Grampa. . .”
“I am alive,” The scarecrow responded. “I am real, and it is my field I protect from intruders. You have no reason to come here.”
“I do it all the time.” He seemed to be getting over his shock. In fact, the boy was starting to sound angry. “I come out here and I talk to you. Don't you remember?”

The scarecrow was confused by the idea. Could he remember things from a time when he had no mind? He had some foggy notion of things that had come before. He knew what he was, he knew his purpose. And yes, vague as it was, he had the impression of time spent listening to the boy talking, telling him what had happened during the day, and the things he was afraid of.

“Yes,” The scarecrow said. “There is some. . . familiarity. Some nights you came out here, and you kept me company.”
“I always thought you were pretty cool,” the boy admitted.
The scarecrow, who had been leaning in to hear the boy's quiet words, stood up to his full height now. The light breeze made his oversized patchwork flannel shirt shiver in the air around him. He reached up and touched the brim of the straw hat on his head. “Pleased to meet you, finally.”
“Now you're really cool!” Said the boy. “You're alive. You're my friend-- my real friend! What's your name?”
“My name? I am. . . the scarecrow. Do you know a better name?”
The boy thought for a moment. “What about Jack?”
“No. . . I know another Jack. That would be confusing”
“Oh, I didn't know you had other friends.”
“I do. I see them rarely.”
“Oh.” The boy was quiet for a time and seemed to be studying the earth that made up the floor of the field.

“Room for one more, of course,” The scarecrow told him.
The boy looked up suddenly and did the thing that surprised the scarecrow most of anything that night-- he suddenly lurched forward and hugged the scarecrow's leg. The scarecrow was nearly knocked off balance. He pinwheeled his arms wildly, and the tip of the sickle's blade came sickeningly close to the tip of the boy's head. Once he regained his stance, he patted the boy's head with his left hand, and the child released him.

“You really should not be out here so late, though,” He instructed the boy. “It's cold, it's damp, and you're not even properly protected from the weather. Don't you have school tomorrow?”
“No, tomorrow's Saturday. And I hate school, anyway.”
“Hum, Saturday. It always takes so long to get my bearings.”
The boy looked downcast again. “No one is even going to believe me when I tell them about you,” He said sadly.
“Then do not tell them. Do not tell anyone. Not for a while.”
“You're the only one that listens to me, anyway. And that was just because you couldn't get away.”
“I could get away now,” the scarecrow reminded him, “And I haven't. If you go to bed now, and you come back tomorrow with a coat on, we can talk again. And. . . I might even be able to introduce you to a new friend.”
“Really? Well, I do have to get up early. My mom has to work, and I don't want to miss her before she leaves.”
“We all have responsibilities,” The scarecrow told him, “And we must fulfill those responsibilities.”
The boy seemed to consider this. “Another new friend, huh?”
“I can't promise it. But, if Fortune goes as I hope, I think he might be coming by this way. Be good, and don't tell anyone.”
The boy nodded. “Goodnight,” he said, then added, hesitantly, “Good luck at your job tomorrow!” The boy waved, and then disappeared back into the rows of corn.

The scarecrow turned from his new friend and climbed hand over hand back up the pole, then resumed his position. His awareness, his memories, his sense of self was all returning to him as the bleariness of a year's sleep dripped away.

He looked to his right, where a road to the east crested a hill. Could it really be possible, he wondered. Could something so wonderful be happening? But he had a body, didn't he? He had life in the crisp, clean fall air, and just possibly, Fortune was allowing Halloween to come to this small, out of the way town.

01,October– Day

He weathered the entire day on his pole. Mostly he was alone, listening to the swaying of the corn stocks, hearing rodents dashing through the rows. Several times, the old farmer had come near, and he was forced to hold perfectly still in an imitation of lifelessness. The old man was probably looking for the sickle, which was now hidden away in the scarecrow's shirt.

Shortly after the sun rose, his stomach had started growling. Moving around would have been too risky, however, so he stayed put and watched. Providence struck after many hours when a crow was brave enough to land on his crossbar. The scarecrow had moved only his eyes. He could observe the beak of the thing barely in his periphery, and yet the bird vanished in a blur as his hand wrapped around its body with crushing strength. It was gone without a sound, disappeared in only two bites and a spray of feathers into the air.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Talking about the October project!

So, the big day is nearly here.

We've been planning on really celebrating the Halloween season next month here.  All month long, we'll be posting a Halloween tale.  Every single day in October will be another day in the story, and we can watch the events in this small town play out over the course of the month from the safety of our own homes.  

Yikes, what's your opinion on the upcoming project?

I love it. It's all about my favorite things. Creatures of the night shambling out from the shadows, stalking their victims, rising up from the grave, creeping out of the woods, looking for the blood of the innocent and the destruction of all mankind!

Uh, Yikes?

I might be a mankind.


I think I'm a mankind, Yikes!


Lock your doors, folks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Talking About Decorations

It was only $3.  I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The September theme of the month!

It's time. I have consulted the calender, and the theme of September is:


OK, actually, it's a couple days past time, but I needed to actually watch the movie before I posted about it. And yeah, while watching this one, I realized that I had never seen the original Universal's The Mummy, so this was a double pleasant treat for me.

So, The Mummy is a story about an ancient Egyption, Imhotep, who loves the hell out of his girlfriend, Ankh-es-en-amon. Unfortunately for Imhotep, his girlfriend gets sick and dies. She still look pretty healthy in bed, but whatever, maybe she had some kind of fast-acting desert cancer.

Imhotep acts like he's going to go along with the normal funeral stuff, but at the last minute he makes off with the scroll of Thoth. This scroll contains magic words that can be used to bring the dead back to life. Unfortunately, using it apparently pisses off the Gods. But, really, Imhotep just wants his girlfriend back. Is that so bad? Can you blame him?
I would have done the same thing.

So he attempts to use the scroll of Thoth, but at the last minute some guards bust in on him and interrupt it. They escort him away, and for his sacrilege, he is buried in a sarcophagus for 3700 years. They also toss the scroll of Thoth in there, just to be safe, so no one goes on a zombie-raising rampage.

So a bunch of centuries go by, and some archeologists finally dig up Imhotep. They also find the scroll, and one of them decides to give reading it a shot. The words resurrect Imhotep, and he gets the hell out of there-- but not before the sight of him drives the archeologist insane.
At 42 seconds, this guy has what must be the best on-screen freakout of the 30's
Holy shit that's a crazy laugh.

Ten years pass, and a new crew is out there digging around. Imhotep shows up calling himself Ardath Bey and directs them toward digging up his old girlfriend. He secures her mummy, but it seems there's still a snag-- her soul has been trapsing around the world through various bodies over the centuries, and now it's in some girl in Cairo. He tries to summon her with his magic mummy powers, but apparently she also has her own soul, and the two souls are struggling for control of her body.

Wait, so this is how reincarnation works? Are we all just a big bundle of souls from all the past ones? We get reincarnated AND we get a new soul? Why?

I'm not entirely sure you even have one soul, Yikes.

Anyway, as you must have guessed by now, Imhotep isn't what we usually think of when we think of mummies. He's not a gift-wrapped zombie. He's a creepy guy with a powerful stare, and he can give people heart attacks from long distance.

Look at that shit.

Overall, I don't think he's such a bad guy. He endured 3700 years of imprisonment for the sake of love, and yeah, he heart-choked a few guys, but only because they were actively trying to prevent him from getting back together with his girlfriend. Ultimately, I guess it's supposed to be bad that his girlfriend's soul was going to take over this newer girl's body entirely, but why shouldn't the old soul have an equal chance? Is the new, more modern soul a better soul somehow?
Questions for the ages.

Anyway, let's take a look at a few editions of this movie available.

You've got your standard single movie DVD.  It comes at a pretty decent price, and you get what you want-- one dvd, one mummy movie; your lack of the 1932 Universal classic is solved.

Then there's the Legacy Collection.  This is what I own.  Just like the Wolf Man collection, this is the one I prefer.  Here you get 5 movies for like 25 bucks.  That is, The Mummy, Mummy's Hand, Mummy's Tomb, Mummy's Ghost, Mummy's Curse.  That's a lot of mummy. You could have a mummy party, a mummy festival.  

A real mummy bash.
There's also a nice collection of documentaries and features.

There's also a Mummy poster.  I like to throw this in there, because it's the same poster featured on my calendar.  

So yeah, it's a good movie, some creepy atmosphere, and I didn't even mention how good Boris Karloff is in this.  Every movie he's in where he doesn't have an opportunity to use his voice is a waste really-- not that I'm saying I want to trade in his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster, though.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Talking About Important Stuff: Dracula is going to kill you.

I think it's time we all get something straight. Over the years, Dracula has come to be many, many things to the populus at large. A beloved cultural icon, a romantic lead, a cursed and misunderstood antihero, a real star in the horror world and, many times, unfortunately, a joke.

If Dracula were to show back up in the world today, what would be the world's reaction? Lines for autographs? People showing up to pay tribute? Legions presenting themselves to him, offering up blood like groupies trying to get body parts signed by musicians? Probably also lots of laughter with people doing bad accents and making “blah!” noises.

But let us lay it out for you:

Dracula is going to fucking kill you.

From the pages of history to the pages of Bram Stoker's novel, what has he been? A ruthless, bloodthirsty warlord who demonstrates his power through the bloody murder of everyone who gets in his way. When some people want strangers kept off their lawn, they put up a privacy fence. Dracula had the same line of thought, only the fence was made out of people impaled on spikes. He would dip his bread in a bowl of blood while he sat enjoying the sounds of misery emanating from his enemies.

Hundreds of years later, having since awakened as one of the undead, he went to great pains to move to England. Why did he do this? Was he looking for the reincarnation of his lost love? No. Dracula had done all he could in what he came to see as a backwoods part of a growing world, and he wanted to move to the seat of power at the time-- and claim it for his own.

Once in England, he took possession of a home, and a woman, Lucy Westerner.  He made her into a demon of the night who fed on children. Unfortunately for Dracula, Lucy had many people who cared for her. They recognized that Dracula was a force of evil, come to kill them all. They sought out and destroyed his hiding places, forcing the creature to flee back to his homeland-- but not before striking a dreadful blow to the enemies who had united against him. He gave Mina, wife of Jonathan Harker, his deadly curse.

Did he do this thinking he'd found his lost love? Did he refuse to be separated from the beautiful Mina? No. Dracula didn't give a fuck about Mina. He left a message for them, letting the men know he did it because: “Thanks for destroying my coffins. Fuck you. Now Mina can have fun being damned to Hell.”

It was through the friends' desperation at preserving Mina's salvation that they found the will to track the demon down and destroy him before he could safely return to his homeland and disappear.

He's the sociopath from Wallachia.  He doesn't care about anyone or anything except getting what he wants.  So, does the question even really remain?  If Dracula came around, what's going to happen? Is he coming with romance in his heart and the long sought after gift of eternal life? I can tell you, and I see no evidence to the contrary: Dracula is going to leave you a lifeless, bloodless corpse on the floor. He is a dangerous, immortal force for evil, and while you may respect his power, he should be feared.


Dracula is going to kill you. He should be staked on sight, no second thoughts!
I'm surprised to hear you say that, Yikes.   I would think the best course of action would be to hide in your house and protect yourself and your family at all costs. Dracula is a pretty dangerous foe, and I think he's likely beyond the means of your average internet user.
Well, that's not my problem.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talking about movies: Sale alert!

Hey, Yikes, how do you feel about the Final Destination series?
I like that people die. I don't like that it's not me doing it.
That must make you lukewarm on a lot of movies, then? I'm pretty sure I've never seen a movie where you're killing anyone.

We're talking about movies?
Title of the blog post, Yikes. Keep up. The reason I ask is that amazon sent me an e-mail today about a sale they're having with a lot of movies under $10. It's mostly a whole bunch of crap, but there's a collection of the first 4 Final Destination films in one set for 10 bucks. I've only seen the first one and kind of lost interest after that, but I thought getting 4 movies for that price sounded worth it. Do you think it's worth picking up?
Am I paying, or are you?
Well, I'm pretty sure you don't have a job, unless you have an overly complicated Rube Goldberg device that takes money out of my wallet?

No, I don't have one of those. I just have a complicated Rube Goldberg device that gets you to buy DVDs for me. I call it a blog.

Your diabolical plan is unleashed. Also FYI to everyone out there, they also have Gremlins Special Edition for like $8

Don't forget Elmo's Potty Time for $9!
Yikes, that's not. . .I think that's a. . . different demographic. Whu?