Tag Archives: creepy

Keeper of the keys: Day 2

I’ve been advised to start stories not at the beginning but somewhere else, perhaps the middle or the end. I’ll share a few journal notes this week from my experiences as volunteer gatekeeper for a wildlife management area in Hells Canyon. Today is not the first.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been squatting long enough my toe joints hurt but I don’t want to move. Turkeys following in line, spread to a V, marching knees high, advance quickly toward me as I crouch beneath an old black walnut tree. I want to become so much part of the environment they don’t fear me, they forget me and they move closer unaware. I can’t take it any longer. Before bracing my weight with my finger tips I check the ground  in case there is bear scat. Don’t touch ground here without looking. It’s everywhere. All around the house, in the gravel, up the banks beneath the thicket of wild ancient fruit trees. Shit. That’s what it is. Why do we call it scat? Bears shit in orchards. They shit anywhere they please and don’t much think about it. I think. Bearshit. It’s everywhere I look. Or step. Or kneel.

Day 1 – First day living at the ranch to check out keys to the gates. I arrived at 3:30, no staff at the house yet so I took out my camera. The sun was about to go behind the mountain. I love the sounds here, the creek and turkeys and then deep silence in the evening.

Day 2 – evening – Turkeys are somewhat scary the way they walk and peck at each other, wings spread wide and beating the air. When they roost in tall trees over the creek I feel like they might dive at me. But they don’t. But they might. I feel it. Sometimes I am typing this story, these notes, and I see a shadow cruise swiftly past the window out in the yard, the air space over the yard. It’s a turkey, but might it be something else? It’s dusk, what’s the science word for this time of day becoming night? It feels like when I am walking up my road at home and swallows are darting after insects and then for a brief time when it’s almost too dark to detect images as they truly are I sense bats the same size darting among the swallows, all of them feasting on flying insects. It’s a feeding frenzy. And soon the swallows are gone and it’s only the bats and mammoth moths devouring bugs all night. I need monsters flitting about doing the same thing. I need imaginary predators imitating my pets imitating predators, waiting so patiently, so alertly, so ready to snap up their prey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That sound? Has something with wings landed on my roof peak? Is it waiting for me to forget it’s presence, unwary, and go to the wood pile or to my truck for a bucket of paints? Will I forget it’s there, let it be part of the environment until cautionless I walk out into the dark of night, witless and mindless as a turkey, and it swoops down and snaps off my head leaving my neck spurting blood and my legs still walking as though they haven’t yet received the message they have no head managing their performance? It could happen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

BTW I made it to the truck and back fetching a small jar of sourdough starter I had left behind the seat. Still I left the flashlight there. The moon is getting fairly full. No matter. I’m writing horror snippets and at this point something very big with wings is surely perched on the roof patiently waiting like any wise predator for its unwary prey to emerge mindlessly from the door. And I’ve learned that turkeys talking in the night sound something like wolves.

I’d better get back to writing now.

 

 

Advertisements

The watchful corridor

eerie door B & W

eerie hall with windows B & W

Bran Castle in Transylvania had just enough eerie feeling. Some thing seemed to be watching me through doors. Some corridors made me wonder what I might encounter as I approached the unknown round the far away corner.

Weekly photo challenge EERIE.

Hidden passages

In the Tunnel
Up the hidden stairs

Anything can happen

when you take the first steps

into a hidden passageway.

Strange lights appear.

Walls close in on you.

Pretty creepy.

Especially when

stairs are involved.

And if

it’s in the dark part

of an ancient castle

deep in Transylvania

deep in the Carpathian Mountains.

And if you’re alone.

At night.

And it’s Bran Castle,

one of several

that inspired the story

of a cunning vampire.

The setting, they say.

Would you proceed toward an unknow light source?

Would you step

round the corner

toward an unknown light

source?

step up B & W tint

Would you recall

the murderer

creaking

up the old wooden stairs

every night

to your bedroom

when you were a child?

You knew you would be the first one killed,

silently

because you were too scared

to scream.

Next,

your sleeping brothers.

Would Dad wake up

in time

to save his family?

You never found out.

down ancient steps

What ghosts crept down these

primitive planks,

before you?

Did they escape?

Will you?

Will you miss a step

and tumble down head first

screaming

as you see your belly

falling over your face

again and again

like you were a child?

Again and again?

Who will unlatch the door

at the bottom

and hold you

this time?

Keens on stairs 3 colorful

Better carry a lantern

and wear sensible shoes

lest you slip

and break your neck.

Blood wipes up

completely

from polished stones,

they say.

stone staircase

Better yet,

stay away.

Don’t go

into dark passages.

You’ll never be the same if you do.

This poem was inspired by images I made during my experiences at The Horror Writers Workshop Transylvania, in July, 2015. Of the scary photos and writing on my blog for the photo challenge, CREEPY, the post Hidden Passages is the most popular. It doesn’t show images of things created to be scary like a ghost bride racing away on a ghost horse, or a skull with horns over a huge fabric draped in the woods, or animal skulls baring their teeth in a fortress window. No, instead it shows ancient wooden or stone stairs, most of them spiraling, and small dark hallways and strange lights. Those images are more real and we all have fears of the real more than the fantastic art pieces created to scare us.

The Wall

Bran Castle might be one of several structures that inspired Bram Stoker’s setting for his dark novel Dracula. Some of the photos I made here feel eerie. I messed with this image a little in Adobe Photoshop CS4 to see if how I could alter it for this week’s photo challenge, creepy. It’s the shaded north wall of the Transylvanian castle as I approached it. Which of these images creeps you out the most?

Creepy North Wall
Creepy North Wall

This is only slightly adjusted for tone and contrast, mostly the way the picture came out of the camera. I like the glowing light reflected in the windows.

Creepy North Wall 1
Creepy North Wall 1

A little more adjustment brings out some details and enhances the sky slightly. See more shadows in the stones and a brighter whiter wall.

Creep North Wall 2
Creep North Wall 2

A little more monotone look, or black and white.

creepy north wall 3
Creepy North Wall 3

Tinted, oldish look.

Creepy North Wall 4
Creepy North Wall 4

Tint is adjusted and the color range changes. Using the curves tool, now we see contrast between warm and cool tones.

Creepy North Wall 5
Creepy North Wall 5

I adjusted a previous version with the level or straighten tool (in crop menu) to see how it would look if the roofline or floorline were leveled, creating a 90 degree horizon line. With just a very slight adjustment, I can’t see the horizon line much more level, if any. But I like what happened to the cloud effect. From my position on the stone path when I captured the image I doubt if it would have been possible to get a 90 degree horizon. I would have had to climb out the rock wall to get that perspective. Not allowed, I’m sure. The approach perspective was likely an intention of the architect. Cameras were not handy when the fortress was erected atop the rock, but the image in the eye of guests or invaders would have subtly influenced the mood. Yikes!

So, does one of these images strike you as more creepy than the others?