The Daily Death - How I Killed My Co-Workers in 30 Days
Are You A Morbid Person?
Are you guilty of specifically slowing down while driving past a horrible accident seeking out the body lying fully covered in white on the gurney?
Would you watch a live televised execution?
Does films like The Faces of Death intrigue you?
When considering the prospect of death, most folks, when it potentially applies to themselves, have a tendency to slink away, considering the thought to be terrifying and frightful and not something to be welcomed. These specific feelings and thoughts are fully understandable because, after all, when the Grim Reaper does show up, it usually means that you are at your end…that your life has been completed. Sometimes the end is calm and serene. Other times it is wracked with violence and pain. And, it is the later that most horror writers utilize when attempting to terrorize their readers. Why? Because it is much more horrifying to die at the hands of a murderer, or to chomped up by a zombie, or to be shredded to pieces by a machine or…
Now being a horror writer myself, I too want to scare and basically, this is the concept I took as I wrote each death. Nowhere in this book will you find the peaceful death. Each death is distinct and certainly not tranquil. These are horrific scenes that I find scary and truly wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. And, although they are specific to include my dear co-workers, they are not written with ill will. On the contrary, they were written out of respect and admiration by using each person’s nuances and characteristics. But, I’m getting too far ahead of everything, so let’s backtrack a short distance and start at the beginning.
Although I could always feel that writing itch wanting to get out, I kept it locked down tight and never pursued it, choosing a more conservative career route instead primarily with an eye on stability. Well, life can be funny and throw a curve ball from time to time and it was one of those pitches that led me to become a working writer.
In 2006, I accepted a position with an engineering firm in Florida and relocated from Ohio. In 2008, I was downsized and found myself unemployed and not knowing what direction to take. The economy was in the tank, both housing as well as commercial endeavors were constrained to the point of near extinction, and it seemed that my career choice (design) was no longer at the top of the demand list.
Then one day, while exploring the internet job boards, I stumbled across a website seeking SEO (search engine optimization) articles and felt that writing itch tug hard. I applied and was accepted.
Thereafter, each day, along with writing a barrage of employment seeking cover letters, I would also write the articles, submit them, and get paid. These articles were tremendously redundant and repetitive, and each needed to include a certain amount of keywords. However, no matter how boring they were, I was finally allowing that writing itch to be scratched and even getting paid to do it. So, I kept writing away.
Although the subjects constantly changed, the basis did not and I found myself growing stagnant with the tedious subject matter and striving to write what I wanted to write. Of course there was no way I was giving up a paying writing gig either. So, to combat the dilemma I started to branch out a bit and write little personal pieces about things like the time I visited the Evans City graveyard (where Night of the Living Dead was filmed), movies that scared me, opinion articles and all sorts of things. This helped tremendously and I easily fell into a routine of writing the SEO’s in the morning and the personal pieces afterward. These little ditties I posted on various websites, one being American Chronicle.
Well, it was one of those articles that seemed to start the theoretical snowball rolling with a piece called The Daytona Beach Alphabet, a positive piece utilizing the complete alphabet from A to Z, (A is for, B is for, and so on), detailing aspects and events associated with the Daytona Beach area. A few days after posting I received an email requesting to use the piece for the Daytona Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau website blog. Of course, they weren’t willing to pay, but they did offer an email back link and so I gave my blessing.
About this time, an odd little squirrel started showing up at my window daily and I placed a pile of peanuts on the sill for him. This squirrel had a small, square-like portion of his ear tip missing, making him quite recognizable and so I named him “Notch.”
Subsequently, every single morning while I was banging away on the keyboard, he would show up, sit back on his hind haunches, peer in through the window at me and enjoy the peanut treat. Coincidently, this grew into hand feeding and there is even a video of this on YouTube under Notch Comes to Get a Peanut.
Regardless, I wrote about this little rodent and posted the pieces on the Daytona Beach News Journal’s social website, a place offering folks the opportunity to post local happenings, personal tales, find out about the new art exhibit at the library or manatees swimming through the river, and view photographs of ocean sunrises or tourists frolicking in the surf. I might add that the website is no longer.
I then received a telephone call from an editor at the Daytona Beach News Journal wanting to speak with me about potentially becoming a freelance correspondent. We met, I accepted, and along with writing SEO’s and personal pieces, I began covering local events for print as well as that website.
Well, to make a long story short, eventually the newspaper was bought out and I lost that gig. But, I had a taste of what being a writer was all about and knew it was what I wanted to do. I just hadn’t found my genre yet.
Obviously, with the loss of the gig came a loss of income and I needed to find another income source. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise since by now I had been fully immersed in writing for a couple of years and, although there was no way I was going to stop writing, the walls had begun to close in. I needed something that would afford me the opportunity to occasionally get me away from the front of a computer and writing altogether. So, I obtained a job at a grocery store and it was while working at this job that I became focused and began to tap the horror vein.
Growing up, I had always been a fan of fright. I read books and comics, usually Creepy and Eerie, devoured every issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland I could get my hands on and built the old Aurora monster models (Creature from the Black Lagoon, Forgotten Prisoner, Dracula, Frankenstein, and even the Guillotine). However, my all-time favorite was to watch the two scary movies that Pittsburgh’s Chiller Theater and host Chilly Billy offered every Saturday night at 11:30 pm.
Anyways, while working at this grocery store I found my niche, started writing dark tales and entered into horror fiction.
Writing horror seemed to come natural and it is still perplexing to me why I hadn’t explored it from the beginning. Regardless, I wrote and submitted and started being accepted. (For those who are interested; Welcome was my first horror fiction to be accepted and it was with Suspense Magazine. I might also mention that I went on and had Lickety Split, The Horrors of Easter, and Don’t Forget the Fingers: A Guide to the Perfect Zombie Family Picnic accepted by them too, and Twitch, my first novella, is published under their Suspense Publishing imprint).
So, it was at this job that, while working in various departments, I became good friends with a number of people, subsequently and subconsciously learning their characteristics.
Then the idea of The Daily Death fictional concept struck after one of my bosses, (my favorite), had casually mentioned riding his motorcycle at a very high rate of speed without a helmet. As I fearfully considered the prospect of him splattered across a highway, due to this, and even had the tale fleshed out in my mind, I inquired as to his thoughts about me writing his fictional death.
I suppose I was actually sort of thinking that if he was to read a gruesome tale featuring his violently crashing motorcycle death, he might reconsider the repercussions of tempting fate in this manner. This was a man that I cared for as a friend and I certainly didn’t want to see him broken, bloodied and dead scattered across a highway.
Well, he understood my concept (but not the meaning or reasoning) and had no problem with me using him to write the tale. As a matter of fact, he even encouraged. So, even though, in all honesty I was somewhat hesitant (that karma thing) with the exercise, I wrote and posted the scene on my blog http://stayingscared.blogspot.com.
Originally, this death scene was only intended to be a single exercise in creative writing in order to hone my craft. I had no intentions of it becoming a series.
But then the funniest and morbid little thing happened. Many co-workers, who were already familiar with my horror writing, found out about or read the tale and wanted me to kill them too. Talk about creating a deliciously macabre monster! And so, I started killing them off one by one to the daily bombardment of statements like…
Who died today?
I want to die like this, or I want to die like that.
I'm mad at you, you killed them first!
Huh! Who'd a thought?
So, every day for the month of April 2011, I wrote nothing but a grisly little death tale and fictionally killed one of my co-workers. Never did I let anyone know who was going to be the next and therefore, forced them to visit Staying Scared in order to find out, which they did. I always used their actual first names so they would know that the scene was about them, much like those personalized storybooks you can order, but never their last for security purposes. I always included an author’s note at the bottom that included a little personal anecdote and called the series The Daily Death.
There were many extended writing nights lasting well beyond the witching hour and overall it was a very exhausting and blurry time. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Enclosed in the book is all the gruesome morbid tales including the anecdote along with one final exclusive tale…my own death?
So, obviously since you are reading this, you too have a morbid and curious sense of the macabre and therefore…