Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Getting Ready for Halloween

Besides the costumes for the kids and a couple shopping bags full of candy, what do you do to get ready for Halloween?

We love Halloween at our house, and every year we start thinking of the new prank we'll play on the neighbourhood. We always plan the scene carefully, lots of spooky decorations and scary music and the kids love it.

But now I'm talking about a different kind of preparation. The mental kind. Putting yourself in the right frame of mind for blood and guts and murderous doings (all in good fun, remember). For the rest of the month, in between my promotional events for the release of The Trouble With Destiny, I'll be focusing on Halloween and posting snippets and clips and pics from all my favourite scary things.

Today: What do you read when you want that scary thrill? For me, it's always Stephen King (big surprise). Here are the opening lines from one of my favourite scary Stephen King tales:

Autopsy Room Four

It's so dark that for awhile—just how long I don’t know—I think I’m still unconscious. Then, slowly, it comes to me that unconscious people don’t have a sensation of movement through the dark, accompanied by a faint, rhythmic sound that can only be a squeaky wheel. And I can feel contact, from the top of my head to the balls of my heels. I can smell something that might be rubber or vinyl. This is not unconsciousness, and there is something too...too what? Too rational about these sensations for it to be a dream.

Then what is it?

Who am I?

And what’s happening to me?

The squeaky wheel quits its stupid rhythm and I stop moving. There is a crackle around me from the rubber-smelling stuff.

A voice: "Which one did they say?"

A pause.

Second voice: "Four, I think. Yeah, four."

We start to move again, but more slowly. I can hear the faint scuff of feet now, probably in soft-soled shoes, maybe sneakers. The owners of the voices are the owners of the shoes. They stop me again. There’s a thump followed by a faint whoosh. It is, I think, the sound of a door with a pneumatic hinge being opened.

What’s going on here? I yell, but the yell is only in my head. My lips don’t move. I can feel them—and my tongue, lying on the floor of my mouth like a stunned mole—but I can’t move them.

The thing I’m on starts rolling again. A moving bed? Yes. A gurney, in other words. I’ve had some experience with them, a long time ago in Lynden Johnson’s shitty little Asian adventure. It comes to me that I’m in a hospital, that something bad has happened to me, something like the explosion that almost neutered me twenty-three years before, and that I’m going to be operated on. There are a lot of answers in that idea, sensible ones, for the most art, but I don’t hurt anywhere. Except for the minor matter of being scared out of my wits, I feel fine. And if these are orderlies wheeling me into an operating room, why can’t I see? Why can’t I talk?

He sets it up perfectly, don't you think? You've already read the title. In the first scene you get a very clear picture that this guy is lying on a bed, confused about what's going on, and more importantly-unable to move or speak.

As this poor guy becomes aware of the fact that he's actually in the autopsy room, he starts to worry:

Surely they won’t really cut me up, will they? Pete is no veteran, but he has had training; surely he’ll see the marks of whatever bit me while I was looking for my ball in the rough, and then they’ll at least suspect. They’ll have to suspect.

Yet I keep seeing the scissors with their heartless satin shine—jumped-up poultry shears—and I keep wondering if I will still be alive when he takes my heart out of my chest cavity and holds it up, dripping, in front of my locked gaze for a moment before turning to plop it into the weighing pan. I could be, it seems to me; I really could be. Don’t they say the brain can remain conscious for up to three minutes after the heart stops?

"Ready, doctor," Pete says, and now he sounds almost formal. Somewhere, tape is rolling.

The autopsy procedure has begun.


terrio said...

This would be why I DO NOT read Stephen King. *shiver*

J.K. Coi said...

LOL, Terri you have to at least read something scary for HALLOWEEN!

Amy Ruttan said...

OMG dejavu, I totally posted about getting ready for Halloween.

For a thrill I read The Shining by Stephen King.

For me though on Halloween I like all the fun Halloween classics. Sleepy Hollow, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Beetlejuice, The Simpson Tree House of Terror, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Garfield.

I got a butt load of stuff that was on sale at Walmart. I add to the graveyard I build every Halloween in my front garden. :)

Shelley Munro said...

That's easy. I don't do scary. *grin*

J.K. Coi said...

Good for you Amy! I love Sleepy Hollow too and all the other classic Halloween scary stuff.

Shelley, you and Terri are missing out. Scary can be fun!

Kelly Krysten said...

Ok, that was an excellent excerpt. It's obvious why King is the King.(Sorry, I had to go
But that really is very scary. Is that guy the main character? Because I'm thinking if he is it will be a pretty short book...
But YAY for Halloween!
I'm going to have to do a Halloween post...:)

J.K. Coi said...

Yep, Kelly. It's actually a short story of his, but just as creepy as anything full length.