Tuesday, 1 October 2013

"What's Your Darkness?"

The light of the full moon barely penetrates the rolling clouds and scarcely illuminates the yearly ritual taking place among the trees. A multitude of unwholesome and supernatural creatures abound on this most powerful evening, wreaking their mischief as they sneak from house to house attempting to steal away the contents hoarded therein, be it food or small children. Food is always ravenously consumed with great glee - for some of these creatures have not feasted since last year's eve of celebration. Whereas small children are always sought for corruption and transformation, if the mysterious incantations are uttered successfully the hordes will once again multiply next year on this very eve.

Zealously, the residents of the village guard against the coming of the night and all that it brings. It is, however, a self-defeating and fruitless endeavor as the very lights used to illuminate the night to frighten the creatures only serve as a beacon to the souls ready for harvest. In those homes where transformations afflict the children who have succumbed to the magic, adults try in vain to prevent their beloved darlings from joining the spirits and effecting permanence of the incantations - few rarely succeed. With the gift of evasion granted by goblins, the fledgling haunters flee the house to perpetuate the ritual and hoard their share of provisions to stock until next year's coming. To save their children, parents will brave the night and chase their devilish offspring and attempt to rescue them. But this only means there are fewer family members at home to defend against the onslaught of perpetuating rituals in which it will once again be chanted, "Trick-or-Treat".


There is something about the human condition that makes us want things to be nice and ordered; a new home, a fancy car, safe neighborhoods, or a decent job. We even desire the same in our quest for intangibles like hope, peace, and love. All is right with the world while we look at our clean and sterile creation, but that is only a part of our existence. There is something more to us, something darker. In a dying breath we set it aside for a short while; to pretend that life is gory and frightening. White picket fences deteriorate into haunted houses, our safe havens collapse into chaos and horror, and grandma no longer pinches your cheek with a smile – she wants to rip off your face, and gum to death the grey matter hiding inside your naked skull.

I have been intrigued by this dichotomy of existence for as long as I can remember. As children, our parents want cute and well behaved, but as October approaches, decorations of jack O’ lanterns and witches and begin to appear, fake spider webs materialize, and advertisements for haunted houses echo across the radio. Then there are all manner of costumes adorning the shelves of stores; some mundane, firefighters and princesses; some horrific, with bloody entrails and other dismembered parts. To top it all off, each year there is yet another batch of horror films and books released to titillate our obsession with all the subjects that make us uncomfortable for the other eleven months of the year: Halloween has the dubious honor of being the hook for a large number of these tales. Artists and authors know that last year’s costumes and stories are old news, and we are looking for something never before experienced. Yet, parents wonder why children gravitate towards this holiday. Children are wont to explore, and Halloween grants them license to do so, just like their adult counterparts, all that is hidden and forbidden.

As a reader, a writer, and a publisher, I have to admit I am a huge fan of Halloween. Bring on the monsters. Raise the dead and scare me with your supernatural prowess. Light the streets dimly and stage a chase scene. I am fascinated with this darker side of humanity. It is not a morbid desire or a sick sense of humor. It is an observation of the human condition. It begs the question, what are you hiding the rest of the year? Or as our byline here at Gothic City Press asks, “What’s Your Darkness?”

No, really. Tell us about your darkness. This is not a confessional, but tell us about you. Perhaps you have a secret. It can be anonymous and vague. Elusive is intriguing. You did something you regret? Tell us how you feel about it. Is there a phobia you have? Is it irrational? Probably. Tell us how your body comes apart when confronted with that fear. Been through a terrifying experience? How do you deal with it, or not? We’re all avid readers here. Some of us even put our hand to the pen once in a while, and we want you to do the same. Paint your tale in the other colors of humanity you avoid all year long.

Don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt…much.

For the first day of Halloween, we are having Trick-or-Treat early. We are giving away copies of our latest book, Clerics, Charlatans, and Cultists, to the writers of the best responses to the following questions:

1. What's the scariest event you've lived through (or not)? Best response receives an eBook.

2. What's Your Darkness? Runner up response receives an eBook. Best response receives an eBook AND an uncut cover flat, signed by us here at Gothic City Press.

Erin and Colleen Garlock


  1. My scariest event & my darkness are one & the same. My past contains a real life Bogey man. He still searches - may he never find us.


  2. Ok, So, I'm guessing Mary is probably going to win something here. Maybe she hunted down the competition and is hiding the bodies somewhere.

    We'll go until the end of the month, of course, before we vote.
    Erin - Editor - Gothic City Press

  3. Scariest event is just a mundane accident - was riding in the passenger seat of an older model camper van. We were on our way to Kings Dominion to celebrate on of the kiddies birthdays, and there was an air show at the local air force base. As we were heading into the backed up traffic, one of the rear wheels came off. The van pulled sharply to the side and the driver was able to pull it back and keep from hitting anyone. But as he tried to slow down, the van flipped onto the passenger side. I was not wearing a seatbelt and fell face down towards the door. I was able to brace my hands above the window frame, but my knee slipped out and was dragged down the pavement with the van.

    By the grace of gods, no one was seriously injured. No other vehicles were involved.

    The worst thing of it all, was that the driver had checked the tires before leaving and actually showed his eldest child how to check and tighten the lug nuts. The one that she checked was the one that came off.

    We didn't make it to Kings Dominion, but the kiddies (and adults) will never forget that day!

    1. Calien, I will need your email address to send you the eBook. You can email us directly at: info (at) gothiccitypress (dot) com

    2. Thanks a lot! I'm sending it to you now. :)

  4. The scariest thing that has ever happened to me was when I was 9. I was awakened in the morning to someone saying my name over and over again. Kaci Kaciiiii Kaciiiiii. It sounded like they were really really far away but I thought it was my mother. I remember this so vividly because it scared the CRAP out of me because when I said WHAT! What??? What??? Finally my mom screamed at me from the other room to be quiet she was sleeping so I covered my head with the blanket and heard it again! KACIIIII, it sounded like it was being yelled through a tunnel far away (with echo). I was so scared and my mother had heard nothing at all. I have had so many things happen to me throughout my life, another scary one is starting at a picture on my wall when I was very young and it spinning around and around and around and around. I had a poltergeist! I swear I did. I don't ever share this because ppl look at me like I'm joking around but I am not. I had an episode when I was 3 that my mother told me about that I had been really sick and had a huge fever and sat up in bed one night and said My brother is dying and laid back down and sure enough my half brother was in the hospital. lol Our dryer used to turn on by its self, the radio in my mothers closet. I def. had something following me around that is not here anymore.

    My darkness? I'm not sure I know how to answer that...I don't know what you mean..I guess the best I can answer is depression. I'm not anymore but I used to be in my teens very badly and I loved the way it made me feel, I thought that was what made me above everyone else because I was a deep thinker and pondered everything and it severely depressed me. I still go back from time to time but am glad I'm almost out of that world. =) Thanks

    kaciohio@gmail.com kaci guis.harrison


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