After two years of dunking my head in the thick viscous goo that is the introspective process of memoir-writing, I’ve decided to pat my face dry and face plant into a new genre. And I think I have a new calling. Thrillifying revengetastic horror.
Having just finished Frances di Plino’s Bad Moon Rising, waves of a dusty vision – one hiding away in the back of my mind – washed over me. The idea? A sick, twisted and macabre horror/thriller novel called Christmas Puppies.
I know, I know. Sounds innocent enough, but I plan on setting up a sick story. I plan on having a mentally deranged lunatic hack off the legs of babies with scissors. I plan on having a disgustingly disturbed killer gouge the cataract-covered eyes of little old ladies.
But why? Where did this idea come from? Why do I want to introduce a character who would commit such sadistic acts? Well, it all starts with a puppy. A fantastically fluffy fur ball: my dog Richie.
When I met Richie it was at the local pound on a chilled April morning. He weighed just over a kilo and he was wrapped in a blanket, shivering like mad. Big brown beady eyes shot out from a mess of white fur and his wet black dot of a nose completed his cuteness. Richie was handed to my girlfriend and it was love at first bite. You see, the precious package was an absolute head case, damaged goods at just four months.
“He’ll become more relaxed as time goes by,” the worker said. “This one was found wandering round in a national park. Who knows for how many days.”
“What do you mean?” my girlfriend asked.
“He was dumped in a park by his owner. It happens all the time. The puppies are given to people for Christmas, but once the novelty’s worn off they just dump them. Some are even tortured or killed.”
That news blew me away. It lit a fire in my breath. A fire that kaboomed in my belly. I wanted to kick their heads in – break their legs. I wanted to punch these torturers in the face until their faces looked like squashed plums.
That’s why I’ve turned to fiction. I’ve invented a man in my head – a worker at a puppy rescue centre who tracks down these people and punishes them the way they’ve punished their pets. I want to write a story about an everyday man who finally snaps. About an average Joe who can take the mistreatment of poor helpless animals no more.
So what does he do? He gives them a taste of their own bad medicine. For example, if an old lady has drowned a puppy, he breaks her knees and leaves her in a bathtub full of ice cold water to saturate to death. And, if a teenage boy lights a puppy on fire, he forces him to swallow gasoline and flicks matches into his throat.
What I always found scariest about horror novels is a character that is human in his exterior, yet has no passion for human life, rather than being some super-powered extra terrestrial. And the masks. You’ve got to have a freaky mask. But what? A pillow case with one slit? A hessian sack? A ghost face? I’m thinking a paper bag with one slit for one eye.
I want to write a story that follows a handful of people that mistreat Christmas puppies, from cutting their ears off to letting them starve in a cage. And then, once the reader is truly disgusted and pumped full of hatred for these people, our killer will take action. He’ll make the readers salivate with his gory revenge. He’ll inject balance back into the universe. That is, until he targets the wrong person: a woman as sweet as sugar. A woman who has accidentally broken her puppy’s leg. From there a cat and mouse game will ripple through the storyline, with an outcome that disgusts and delights. I’m just not sure which one it will be.
And now more questions begin to plague me. What could thrill, shock and excite the reader? What could keep the reader on his/her toes?
At the end of the day it’s all about turning a genre on its head. You see, there are so many rules to the thriller genre, yet Bad Moon Rising is one that finds an exception – and that’s what makes it shine. Personally, I’m at a loss right now. I guess I must be barking up the wrong tree. All I know is that drawing from personal experiences and everyday rage can help you create a wicked environment and an even wickeder psychopath – one that’s half evil, half you.
Keddy Flett is a twenty-eight year old travelogue writer who resides in Sydney, Australia with his girlfriend Poppy Lin and mutt Richie von Vicious. His delightfully rude stream-of-conscious adventure memoirs Swallow the Swell and Swallow the Sea are out now through Crooked Cat Publishing.
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