10 Terrifying two-sentence horror stories
10 Terrifying two-sentence horror stories
In your head:
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Ch. 8, p. 100
#Can we just pause for a moment and appreciate how sweet this is? #I mean, it’s something that probably many of us can relate to. #And in the context of the story, with all the great things Harry and Ron are going to do, it’s just so cute that getting down to breakfast was a big accomplishment way back when.
Few things will tick me off faster than improper gun safety in fiction. Unfortunately, many authors fail to properly research guns, gun usage, and gun safety. Guns are so ubiquitous in our culture that many people think that they already know all they need in order to write gun usage into a story, but what one picks up from cultural osmosis is even less accurate than your average summer blockbuster.
Deaths and injuries from gun accidents are distressingly high, and most of them could be prevented by following the three basic rules that every gun user is taught (assuming they go to a professional class).
1. A gun is always loaded. Always. Even if you personally took the magazine out and cleared the chamber, the gun is still loaded. This means you should treat every gun as if it could kill you, all the time, regardless of what you think is in it. It is very, very easy to mistake a loaded gun for an unloaded gun, and it only takes one mistake to get shot in the face. This means: no treating guns like toys, no tossing guns around willy-nilly, and NEVER HAND A GUN TO SOMEONE BY POINTING IT AT THEM. In fact, any weapon being handed from one person to another should be passed handle-first. Guns should always be treated with respect and never with carelessness, because the key here is to built up good habits. You want careful treatment to be your default, the way you act when you’re not thinking, because it only takes one careless moment at the wrong time to kill someone.
2. Never point at something you don’t intend to hit. This ties back to the first rule. If a gun is always loaded, then anything you point at, you should be fully prepared to put a hole in it. This seems obvious for while you’re shooting a gun, but I mean always keep track of your muzzle. When you’re carrying it, when you’re loading it, when you’re transporting it, when you’re walking around, always. People will get careless all the time, standing around with their gun out, and end up pointing it at a neighbor’s foot or back, simply because they’re not watching where their gun is. I’ve seen people put a weapon down on a table and it points at the person sitting across from them, or they’ll be firing at a range and turn to look at something without realizing that the gun they’re holding turns with them. I’ve seen people put on holsters wrong so the gun points at their own foot. And I’m sure we’ve all seen (at least in pictures) the idiots who stick a gun in front of their pants and have the barrel pointed straight at their junk. (If you must stick something in your pants, stick it in the back; you have a better chance of surviving a shot to the butt.)
The part of this rule that most people forget (especially when writing) is that what you’re aiming at is not the only thing you’re pointing at. We call it a backdrop; all the things around and behind your target. Bullets travel through bodies, so if there’s a mom holding her baby right behind the bad guy, don’t shoot the bad guy because you’ve got a good chance of hitting her as well. Also, don’t fire into a crowd. Even the best crack shot in the world can’t count on hitting a bad guy in a crowd without hitting bystanders.
3. Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. It takes very little, especially when you’re scared, to pull that trigger by accident. A good startle, tripping over something, or even simply being too tense can make someone fire off an unintended round. (Putting steady pressure on a trigger, as if getting ready to fire, can make you pull it back far enough to fire without realizing it. It happens a lot.) There are times when you’ll walk around with your finger on the trigger, but generally speaking those are times when you’re ready to hit any bad guy you come across.
Following those three rules, and treating weapons as things that require careful handling and not as things that simply make you cool, will go a long way toward not only making gun-using readers happy, but showing your character as competent. But there’s also a few miscellaneous faux pas that I see all the time in books that drive me nuts:
DISABLING SHOTS ARE NOT A REAL THING. No, stop whatever you were about to say, THEY’RE NOT. Why? Because guns only require one working arm. If your opponent has a firearm and you shoot him anywhere — ANYWHERE — he can still return fire. True, some people will faint or be incapacitated by injuries, but YOU CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT COUNT ON THAT. Besides which, a person distracted by their bleeding leg might only be distracted for however long it takes to put a field tourniquet on it, and then they’re back to firing but you’ve stopped paying attention to them.
SHOOTING EXTREMITIES IS NOT SAFE. I’ll grant you that it’s safer than shooting someone in the head, but it’s entirely possible for someone to bleed out or die from shock after being shot in the arm, shoulder, or leg. Major complications can also arise which cause the person to die later. If they survive, they have a good chance of suffering from nerve damage or other life-long disabling injuries. Now, if your (character’s) only aim is to try not to kill someone, if they want the guy to have the best possible chance of surviving, then fine, shoot at a leg. But it should be treated as ‘best possible chance,’ not a certainty.
SHOOTING THE TORSO IS NOT IMMEDIATELY FATAL. It’ll take several minutes to die, if they die at all. Back when dueling was common, it was often the case that both parties would get shot for just this reason. The first guy to get hit would still be on his feet and going, only now he’s pissed off from being hit so he fires back. This happens in combat a lot, too, especially with combatants hyped up on adrenaline. This is why military and police types are taught to empty their gun into people, not fire once and wait to see what happens. Also, people have survived being shot multiple times in the torso. It’s not as uncommon as you think.
In short, while it may be more common to survive being shot in the leg and die from being shot in the chest, you should never count on a bullet to do any given thing in a body. Bodies + bullets have too many variables, and just about anything can happen. That, really, is the key: don’t have a character expect a specific outcome, because anyone with experience would know better. (Those without experience could still expect movie science, but you don’t have to give it to them.)
STOP TRYING TO GET HEAD SHOTS. Lots of people seem to think that headshots make a character more ‘badass,’ but they’re not what a serious shooter would try and take. Heads present a smaller target, and if you miss them then you miss completely. Military and police types are trained to aim for the center mass, because not only does a torso provide a bigger target, but if you’re slightly off you’ll still at least hit something. Also, a dead target is a dead target, whether you put your bullets in the chest or the head. Don’t try and tell me that your character is just such a good shooter that they never miss; that only works in comic book physics. In the real world, with movie targets and no superpowers, even the best shooters miss. A lot.
DON’T CROSS LANES. If there are multiple shooters on each side (i.e., your character and her buddies), then it is extremely important for the shooters to keep track of each other. If they have trained together, they should know what each other person is going to do so that they don’t run in front of each other. Crossing into another person’s lane is a great way to wind up with friendly fire. If your shooters haven’t trained together, this should be a concern for them, which means they should be talking a lot to keep track of each other. (This is also why emergency responders don’t want bystanders to help, even if they have training. Being trained doesn’t mean you’ve trained with them, and odds are you’ll all just trip over each other.)
Now, obviously, you might have an inexperienced character that doesn’t know all of these rules. They might have no more knowledge than your average movie-watcher. That’s fine. But you, the author, should know all the rules of gun usage so that you can display the consequences of misusing guns.
Hiya, it’s me about the zine again. I’d really appreciate it if you could share this with your followers! Thanks!
OK people this is a call for submissions for my zine from non-binary people (or anyone who considers themselves neither male or female, even if they don’t necessarily use the label “non-binary”)
I am looking for:
- Art and photography - Preferably, but not necessarily, featuring non-binary people or expressing gender related feelings and emotions. It doesn’t have to be new or specifically created for the zine but it does have to be yours. Photography featuring androgynous people/bodies/styles would bee good. NSFW is fine, as long as it’s not porny.
- Writing - short fiction, poems, and in particular personal experiences. Agains, doesn’t have to be brand new, but does have to be yours. It can be as long and detailed or as short and concise as you like. Coming out stories, figuring it out stories, living with it stories, all are welcome!
- Opinions on themed pronouns. I’m going to include a short feature on pronouns and I’d love to have some discussions and opinions. Also…
- What are your pronouns? I’d like to do a bit of a poll on this, to find out what kind of pronouns are popular among the NB community and what kind of range there is.
- Selfies. This can be just one selfie, or you can take a series of selfies over several days to show different presentations, etc.
Please leave your submissions in either my submit or my ask. Both are open, and the anon option is available in my ask.
If you’d like to be referred to by name rather than by Tumblr URL, remember to include your name in your submission/ask.
If you’d like to submit something but not be identified in the zine, let me know and I’ll leave your name/URL out.
Deadline for submissions is midnight GMT on Tuesday 25 Feb 2014
I know that’s not an awfully long time but my deadline is the Thursday and I need time to put it all together.
Submissions from non-binary people only please!
Please signal boost this if you can!
The 5th March everyone will draw or have a “t” on a place where everyone can see it (hands, face, t-shirts or everything you prefer) and when we will go out if anyone see it we will hug eachother and interchange our urls, so after if we want we can keep being in touch.
Who can do it?
Everyone that have a Tumblr. Yes even hipsters, porn and anything else blog.
Why the 5th March?
I don’t know an anon said it but i think it’s a good date.
So reblog this guys and let’s make it happens!
spread this, you guys.
spread it like wildfire.
So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages. Whew. And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.
feel free to add in any links!