31 Nightmares 2018: The 30th

Those of you that were here for last year’s #31Nightmares are in for something special today. Not only do we have another returning guest, but he’s bringing a Part II of his story from last year.

You may have guessed by now I’m talking about author, Bill Friday.

Anyone giving us the puzzled look right now, get familiar:

31Nightmares 2017: The 30th • A Ghost Story (Part I)


A Second Ghost Story

By: Bill Friday

The angle of the sun was wrong.

Every year around this time, he thought it.  To his closest friends, he even said it.  The last person he ever said it to was her.

But she wasn’t here anymore, so there was no one left he cared enough about to say it to.

By the calendar, it was October the 31st.

Nobody looked at calendars anymore.  Life moved at a slower pace than calendars now.  You wore warm clothes when the weather was cold, and less than that when it got warm.  Life was simpler without calendars.  Like life was simpler without cellphones.  Sure, it took time to adjust, as the people died and there weren’t enough left alive to bury all the bodies.  Still, people made the adjustment.  The people who were left adjusted to almost everything.

He adjusted.

He never thought he would miss people.  And by people, he meant all of humanity.  And by all of humanity, he meant his friends.  And by his friends, he meant everyone who died.

You can never have enough friends, he thought, sometimes.  He didn’t always believe that.  Actually, he believed the opposite.  She believed that.  But that kind of thinking got ruined for him a couple of years before friends became obsolete.  A couple of years before the world went the way of friends.

Right before the world died.

Walking didn’t bother him anymore.  He used to drive everywhere.  He never took public transportation; never had Uber on his phone.  The last car he had was a gas guzzler, and he wouldn’t drive that very far for fear it was going to break down on the side of the freeway and cost him more to repair than the Blue Book value was worth.  He lived a lot of his old life in fear of things beyond his control.  Now that everything was beyond his control, he had little left to be afraid of.  This wasn’t a comic book where the dead got back on their feet to live a zombie version of the Keto Diet.  And for some reason, mosquitoes didn’t carry whatever killed everybody from corpse to corpse.  Time and desiccation did what disbanded municipal services could not.  The world was a swift-rotting string of roadside corpses, a lot like abandoned gas guzzlers from a time long ago.  Plants grew food, wild, for his risk-reward eating pleasure.  If he recognized it, he ate it.  If not, well, maybe he’d be another corpse for the roadside.  His call, because there was hardly anyone to be the boss of him anymore.

And none of them he would call friends.

J.

“Why do we keep having

conversations that end

in the word ‘vulva’?”

 

R.

“Why do I keep getting

offers from companies

online that pay me cash

to try their ‘vulva care’

products?”

 

J.

“Gah!  Vulva AGAIN!”

 

B.

“If men can have

beard oil, women can

have vulva cream.”

 

J.

“Stahhhhp with the

V word!”

 

B.

“I think you’re too

sensitive for this subject.”

 

C.

“Well, it is a

sensitive area.”

 

B.

“That’s because J is

sensitive about not

being able to grow a beard.”

 

J.

“And sensitive about

having to read the word

VULVA in every text.”

 

B.

“Let’s talk baseball.”

 

J.

“I’m done with vulvas.”

 

B.“You shouldn’t talk

like that.  Maybe the

vulva of your dreams

is right around the

next corner.”

 

J.

“I’m muting the

conversation now.”

 

C.

“This is a group text,

not Insta.”

 

R.

“Yeah, you’re stuck

with us.”

 

J.

“Yeah, stuck like

the plague.”

 

C.

“What does that even

mean?  ‘Stuck like

the plague?’”

 

M.

“Hey!  I just got these

texts.  When was this

conversation?”

 

B.

“Three days ago.”

 

M.

“Oh, now it’s a discussion

about time travel?”

 

J.

“How do you know this

conversation happened

three days ago?”

 

B.

“Ask any of us.”

 

C.

“Ask any of us what day

this is?”

 

B.

“Or was?”

 

R.

“I just ordered vulva

cream.”

 

J.

“GAHHHH!”

 

B.

“What do we want?

TIME TRAVEL! When do

we want it…? 

It’s IRRELEVANT!”

 

The crash of the intruder was loud enough to separate the lone man him from his dream.

It was dark.  He only slept in the dark now.  Daylight gave him no cover from the random wanderers who wouldn’t care that he didn’t have anyone to mark the hours that he closed his eyes and, in broken recollections, remembered the life that was.

It was dark.  A thin line of orange in his eyes told him where the sun was rising, and where the boot of the unwelcome visitor kicking in his front door made of wooden pallets came from.  Then there was pain in the sound of a crack in his ribs, and a thud in the side of his head.  His breath left his lungs, and he saw the sunrise no more.

 

C.

“You really ought to

get that looked at.”

R.

“I see Urgent Care

enough, thanks.”

C.

“Seriously, people die

from less.”

R.

“Is anybody hungry…

and local?”

B.

“I could eat… local.”

C.

“Anybody else?”

R.

“Pupusas?!?”

B.

“Pupusas again?  You’re

not the boss of me!”

R.

“Somebody should be.”

J.

“That word always makes

me think I’m in somebody

else’s head.”

C.

“In who else’s head

would you hear the

word ‘pupusa’?”

R.

“I would hear the word

‘pupusa’ in Mama’s head.”

J.

“That’s because she

raised you.”

B.

“With her voice in

your head.”

J.

“Now your voice is in

MY head.”

R.

“Are you saying that

I raised you?”

C.

“I have a date.”

M.

“Bring your date to

pupusas!”

J.

“Remember the last time C

brought a date to pupusas?”

B.

“He was weak.  If the

group text could scare

him…”

R.

“We weren’t scary at all.”

J.

“But he WAS scared.”

B.

“And weak.”

C.

“Hey!  That’s my date

you’re talking about!”

J.

“WAS your date.”

R.

“Now we’re your date.”

J.

“All of us?  I’m her

date?  You’re her date?”

M.

“We’ve been one big

date since the beginning.”

J.

“Who decided that?”

R.

“There needs to be an

emoji for GROUP DATE.”

 

There’s no such thing as ghosts, he regularly told himself.  If there were, she would still be speaking to him.  She’d be telling him he had to get up now, whether he liked it or not.  On some days, he liked that hers was the only voice he remembered.  On this day, his body felt as broken as his soul, and he just wanted to lie there with his eyes closed, waiting for the end to come.  But the end was more fickle than he told himself she had ever been.

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“Who’s asking?”

R.

“Don’t be crazy.”

B.

“Yeah, hallucinating a

text message with a

dead girl crazy.”

R.

“Well?”

B.

“Well what, dead girl?

 

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“You were never this persistent when you were alive.”

R.

“Get up!”

B.

“You’re not the boss of me.”

R.

“You can’t let the ghost

find you like this.”

B.

“There’s no such thing

as ghosts.”

R.

“Oh, yeah?  I said

GET UP!”

 

The pain in three broken ribs woke him from concussion sleep.  The sun was up and not helping the throb behind his eyes.  A brief look around told him that the wooden pallets he had made shelter from were gone, along with his gear.  No pack, no food, no booze, and definitely no water.  Whenever it was that he got mule-kicked to sleep, it could’ve been days by now, didn’t matter anymore, it was all gone.

He laid his head back down and wished himself never to wake up again.

There was a ghost.

He knew he was a ghost because, after a lifetime of seeing no need at all for god or the church, he lived behind a church, on the edge of a graveyard – how ironic on so many levels, being a ghost because… graveyard, and an atheist ghost because… church – but they let him stay as the church folk looked right through him like the rest of the dying did.  And they allowed him to eat left-overs from the shiny dumpster next to the boarded-up back door.  He even slept behind it when the wind blew extra cold some nights, and his overflowing morning newspapers couldn’t seem to keep the wind out of his ghost-self bones. 

Like on this night.

Because this is what ghosts do.

But in a world where everyone is dead, do the ghosts even matter?

R.

“He’s on his way. 

Be ready for him. 

He knows my name,

because we talked.”

B.

“Is there anyone you

won’t talk to?

R.

“Very funny.”

B.

“I guess some things

never change.”

R.

“You have.”

B.

“How would you know? 

You’re dead.”

R.

“That was rude.  And wrong. 

The living don’t really

die, you know?”

B.

“Says the dead girl.”

R.

“Just be ready.  I’ll

be around when you need me.”

B.

“Just like always.”

R.

“Just don’t follow anyone

else into the dark.”

 

He opened his eyes.

 

© Copyright 2018 William s. Friday


This has been

Day 30

of

 

31 Nightmares 2018: The 29th

“Her bitterness. It envelopes me if I let it. Where did she come from? She wasn’t always there. So many questions.

I’m curious about her. Though, not too curious. She seems to feed off of that.

There is one thing. A clue, perhaps.

Maybe it will explain this whole thing. Though, I don’t yet know what it means.

She left a note for me on the mirror. The words on the paper were burned in.

It read:

“You are me and I am you.”

I could never be her. Right? RIGHT?

I don’t know what it all MEANS!”

– Daydreams


This has been

Day 29

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 15th

Iconic Scenes

We’ve talked about a lot here so far, but not about some of the iconic scenes in the horror genre over the years. There are so many. One that stands out to me is that infamous scene in The Omen where the maid…well, you know.

I picked this one today because its stood the test of time. I still hear people talk about it to this day and they aren’t even from my generation. A whole new generation has discovered this modern classic.

What are some of your favorite iconic horror movie scenes?


This has been

Day 15

of

31 Nightmares 2017: The 30th

Alright darlings,

We have another guest today ready to share something right up your alley. Today we welcome author Bill Friday from BillFriday.com. Some of you may remember Bill from my time over at Stories. Others already know him. Some of you are new to Bill completely and those of you that might be are in for a treat.

As we enter this eve of Hallow’s Eve, that some may call “Mischief Night” or the foreboding, even older nickname, “Devil’s Night,” we will take one last nightmarish journey with our guest before our closing day, tomorrow.

This theme is dark and poetic. We hope you enjoy.

 

  • Snapping Turtle Arts

​​​​​A Ghost Story

By: Bill Friday

Not Forgotten

 

I am a ghost.

I, in the beginning of my time here on this plane of existence, I could not understand what it was to be invisible to the world and those living in it, as I still thought myself a part of the world that I still saw before me. I moved, I thought, I felt everything as I did before my transformation. Little seemed to change from one moment to the next. I was me, and the world was the world, and neither of us looked much different as far as I could tell. But it was different. I was different. Because now, the world looked right through me.

Because I am a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because, after what I’m guessing – since there is no clock or calendar in my world – many years of living. I say “living” with some caution because, of course, ghosts aren’t alive. At least not in the way all those around me who don’t see me are alive. But they are alive, every one of them. I can tell by the hurry and worry they carry with themselves everywhere they go. Constantly in motion, even when that motion seems to take them nowhere in particular. Just circles circling other circling circles, always in a rush to go everywhere, but never seeming to go anywhere. Except that none of these concentric living circles ever seem to circle me.

Because I am a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because of something I saw in a movie once when I was still alive. Those who still move in circles can hear me. They hear the same sounds I hear when I make when I choose to make them. They hear the groan, the belch, the occasional fart – although I don’t know where the belch and the fart come from, because as I learned from the same movie, ghosts don’t belch or fart – and also from the moving of objects that are, in my ghostly existence, important to me.

I guess, because that’s what the movie taught me, that objects which were important to me in my previous life are still important to me in this life as well. It makes me question my previous life’s life-choices as to why I didn’t place more importance on a nice car, or maybe a big house, or even on better clothes, because the only things that must have been important to me in that other life seem to be a raggedy overcoat, the morning newspaper, and a shopping cart that wobbles at the wheels and scrapes at the pavement as I walk. Seriously, if I could give just one word of advice to those still living – but I can’t, because to my knowledge, none of them has ever heard a word I have said – it would be to acquire nice things for yourself in life, because one day you might be a ghost and need them.

Yeah, the things you learn the hard way.

Because you are a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because, after a lifetime of seeing no need at all for god or the church, I live behind a church, on the edge of a graveyard – how ironic on so many levels, being a ghost because… graveyard, and an atheist ghost because… church – but they let me stay as the church folk look right through me like the rest of the living do. Oh, and they allow me to eat left-overs from the shiny dumpster next to the boarded-up back door. I even sleep behind it when the wind blows extra cold some nights, and my overflowing morning newspapers can’t seem to keep the wind out of my ghost-self bones.

Like on this night.

Because that’s what ghosts do.

And I am a ghost.

 


You can reach Bill Friday in these places as well:

Twitter: @ThatManFriday

Instagram: @BillFriday

Facebook: facebook.com/thatmanfriday

Website: BillFriday.com


This has been

Day 30

of

 

31 Nightmares 2017: The 11th

Since about January 2016, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of different talents. Concept art has had a way of taking the worlds of indie authors, publishers, artists, game developers and production crews and spilling them all into my lap like one big artsy soup.

One of the indie developers that happened to stumble upon my world was Unfold Games.

This is from their game DARQ.
You can see why it pulled me directly in.

The visuals. The atmosphere. I instantly fell in love.

I hear there’s set to be a release date for this beauty soon.


This has been Day 11

 

 

31 Nightmares 2017: The 8th

The Queen © 2017 Snapping Turtle Arts | cardcastlesinthesky.com
I’ve had the pleasure of designing a lot of different characters this year from all different genres. None has been more fun than “The Queen” though as she’s horror-based and comes directly from, you guessed it—my nightmares.

The first sketches of her were set to be used for another project but I wound up working her into quite a few things, including this year’s 31Nightmares.

She may be pretty, but I assure you, she is a menacing figure in my dreams. Her head floats above her body. She only communicates by moving her hands, and telepathically.

I do hope you enjoy her. You may be seeing others from her realm.


This has been Day 8 of

31 Nightmares 2017: The 7th

One thing we haven’t dived right into here yet during this year’s #31Nightmares is horror in sound, or soundtracks, and even in special effects.
Sound effects have been a hobby of mine since early childhood so this is also another subject right up my alleyways.

The composers that took on the horror genre in film & tv have always taught me quite a bit along my work and training in music over the years. This soundtrack sampling I uploaded to SoundCloud earlier this year (The first few tracks on the soundtrack) featured above was heavily influenced by techniques I’ve learned & experimented with over the years.

Dismissed

If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s to not make hasty announcements. Things can always change down the line, especially when collaborating with others.
Alicia in the Woods, announced here last year was supposed to be just that, a collaborative effort, but things change.
People change and life changes.

I have however had fun working on this project because I got to take a stab at designing a soundtrack and working with sound fx. Later on through the months spent working on this endeavor, aimed at a teen to adult (family-oriented) audience, I got to experiment and learn a lot about a lane that has always interested me—stop motion.

The Backwoods © 2017 cardcastlesinthesky.com | Snapping Turtle Publishing

The project is not canceled completely. We’re just not sure when it will be releasing due to changes with cast & crew. Stop-motion has been a hell of a lot of fun (& work) though and I’ve been happy to work on this storyline and animation/character design as a side project.

The horror genre has influenced me deeply throughout my career as an artist and it helped lead me to the field of concept art.

I cannot wait to see where else it takes me.

 

Alicia

This has been Day 7 of

 

31 Nightmares 2017: The 3rd

Today we are heading directly up my alley toward the genre of psychological horror. To say I’ve been a fan of this vast sub-genre of horror would be a drastic understatement. It’s fueled my passion like not much else in life. I took up writing at an early age because of it, and later, my artwork in the genre helped cement a career for me.

Dreamscape
Dreamscape

Poltergeist (1982) was one of the movies that, at a young age, got the wheels turning. The blaring visuals were like nothing I had seen before. I used to gravitate more toward movies like this after, and still to this day. I owe this passion to men like Tobe Hooper, and many others that helped style this type of horror.

Psychological horror has had a way of seeping into my veins. Growing up, I was often consumed by something belonging to Stephen King, or Dean Koontz. I’m still fascinated by both of them, along with David Lynch and a few others.

The Watcher
The Watcher

When I became friends with Grayson Queen, this was our favorite conversation.

“What makes you scared?”

“What makes the human brain tick?”

“What turns on the fear-receptor?”

—and so on, and so forth.
There is a glaring space with some of these men gone.

But I made a promise to someone.

My generation will carry this on.Flame


This has been Day 3 of

31 Nightmares 2016: The 28th

Not Forgotten
Not Forgotten

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had started with exchanging ghost stories. There’s always the skeptic, the non-believer, and the “on-the-fence” person. Still, a striking amount of people I’ve come into contact with have these stories to share, whether they believe it was something otherworldly or not.

This piece is based off of a story exchanged between friends. My friend was both the skeptic and the storyteller. According to him, whatever it was at the end of his hall, had a staring contest with him for a good thirty seconds before he moved into the next room. When he returned to the hall, whatever it was had departed.


This has been Day 28 of

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