I basically never have nightmares, and I attribute the nightmarish episode of last night entirely to spending a good deal of time yesterday reading Apex and ChiZine. Curiously, I don't normally read dark fiction, but those two 'zines are, at least for the moment, the only short fiction markets I can tolerate. (Tolerate reading, that is. I have absolutely no scruples, principles, or reservations when it comes to trying to be published in a 'zine).
Alas, reading dark and spooky stuff is typically not a good course of action for me. This one time, I read an entire book of H. P. Lovecraft's tales on a trip down to New Jersey to visit my girlfriend's family. She lived in this old (*cough* circa 1970) house in the middle of the woods, with a really creepy upper story involving not one but two attics attached directly to the bedrooms and hallway. Suffice to say, I slept little, too worried about cosmic ventricles and interdimensional tentacles to do anything but stare wide-eyed at the closet door...
Anyway, long story short, reading dark fiction made me decide to pony-up and finish a darkly-inspired short story called "The Revenant." The Revenant isn't really very dark, actually; it's kind of more of a tongue-in-cheek story about a zombie-desperado.
That's right. A zombie-desperado.
But it's still working outside my normal parameters, especially since the characters that the story focuses on - since the revenant him/it-self is more of a ghostly menace than an actual protagonist - are just normal human beings (barring variously cosmic malignities and gross perversions). This means that I'm dwelling a lot more on character, and in particular creating characters that have a lot of vices - since dark fiction tends to take its darkness from human traits and weaknesses, even more than vicious or evil creatures.
|tuberculoid most severe|
Close inspection reveals that the skin colour of this poor fellow has been altered from its originally bilious orange (on the album cover) to a more pugnacious green. My revenant, on the other hand, doesn't look quite so... leprous. Rather, he has a six-gun and a ten-gallon hat (metaphorically speaking, at least).