October 23, 2019

Free Fiction Friday: The Second Coming of Stephen King

This week, we though we’d give you a short tale between Solar Winds adventures… so short, in fact, that it fits into just one short 1,000-odd word post. You can read this story and other original sci-fi tales like ‘em via Kindle, if you prefer. Ever wonder who the next Stephen King might be? Be careful, and don’t take that idea too literally…

 

The Second Coming of Stephen King

By

David A. Dickinson

 

Once there was a writer who thought that he was the Second Coming of Stephen King.

“I’m going to write horror stories,” he announced to the unsuspecting world one day. “I’m going to write great horror stories, and people are going to pay me shitloads of money for them.”

So he wrote stories. Many, many, many stories. He knew that if he really, really, REALLY wanted to be the real Second Coming of Stephen King, he would have to write lots and lots, and faster than most people could read. He also knew that he would have to move to Maine (or at least New England) to get the spooky vibe juuust right, much to the consternation of his girlfriend and his dog, but to the relief of everyone else.

“I’ll show them,” he said, as he cranked out stories about zombies. And werewolves. And vampires. And zombies that turned into werewolves and fought vampires. And psychopaths. Lots of psychopaths. If there was a technical name for a ‘flock of psychopaths,’ then you could apply it to the stories that he wrote about them.

Needless to say, our would-be writer ran in to problems with editors. He quickly found that there was a big difference between just thinking that he was the Second Coming of Stephen King and actually convincing editors that he was… a VERY big difference.

“We’ve already got more than enough stories about vampires,” they said. “And apocalyptic plagues, and possessed demonic cars.  And vampires that drive possessed demonic cars during post-apocalyptic plagues. We’re full up. We’re just not interested… but better luck next time!” The rejection slips, which were piling up around the writer and filling his inbox, always echoed this same sentiment.

But this would not do for our not-so-friendly, would-be writer. For he was the Second Coming of Stephen King, and he just knew it. In reply, he wrote heart-felt series of tales about psychopaths who tied up and slowly dismembered would-be editors in original and creative ways. Or about editors who were swallowed up whole by shimmering visions of insanity. He knew that some folks wrote as a sort of  therapy — he was pretty sure that he’d read that in an interview with Stephen King somewhere — and hey, this was his shtick, his way of exorcising his collective demons .

But the mounting rejections only made our not-so-friendly horror writer write more and more. And oh, how twisted his stories became. He hated the very idea of writers workshops, because he just knew what sort of drivel they turned out: mindless corporate writers who had the same thing stamped on each of their brains. Exposition was bad. Dialogue was good. Time travel was really bad, especially if said time travelers were going back to kill Hitler. Build your brand. Do the ‘Con circuit. Start a blog. Write heartfelt exposés on just what your cat did this morning as he strolled across your keyboard. (Plus, he didn’t even own a cat.) He’d have none of it, and he was sure that Stephen King wouldn’t stand for any of this nonsense, either.

So it was with a great reluctance that our Second Coming of Stephen King sought out the mysterious Mentor. Oh, don’t look for him online; our would-be author knew that Real Writing Coaches never hang out their shingles there, and they certainly don’t blog out in the open about “the craft” for the entire world to see.

Of course, it’s a very deep trade secret as to how to get a hold of said Mentor. Maybe our fledgling horror master found his ad in the yellowed pages of an obscure stapled together fanzine; or maybe he said the forbidden verses from some banished edition of the Necronomicon backwards during a total lunar eclipse on All Hallows Eve juuusst right. Suffice to say, the actions of our aspiring writer led him to a back alley meeting place in a seedy basement tavern that he’d never even known existed in this tiny Maine town. The first meeting took place in a corner booth that was suitably dark and musty, as such a gathering had to be. He wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been a “dark and stormy night,” to boot.

“I’m the Second Coming of Stephen King,” he said to the shadowy hooded figure that sat across from him at the table.

He was met with silence.

He thought of leaving, but just then the Mentor began to speak.

“I’ve been watching you,” he said. “You’ve been looking for horror in the wrong places.”

Our would-be horror writer listened, fascinated.

“Horror is in the everyday, the ordinary.” The hooded figure said.

The writer leaned in closer, like the so many of the cliché characters that met in darkened bar rooms that he desperately tried to avoid writing about.

“Horror is the mole you discover in the mirror that has changed shape.” The Mentor continued.

“Horror is the fear of being found out and exposed for what you really are.”

“Horror is ridicule, scorn, and denial.”

“Horror is the muffled sound, the flit of the unreal across the edge of vision.”

“Horror is the fear of loss, of being an unwilling passenger of life.”

“Horror is the uncertainty that the voices in your ear may not be heard by others.”

“Horror is a sense of slipping, losing your ability to fend off those who circle your tiny fiefdom and want what you hoarde.”

“Horror is the sound crickets when we hope for applause or scorn.”

“Horror is a fear of the mundane, the everyday, the fecund.” The Mentor finally said.

Now, our would-be writer had to look up that last one, but by now he’d gotten the point. Why try to scare folks with imaginary beasties straight out of the public domain, when that had been beaten to death, anyway? Especially when he had lots of fodder, lurking right in the well-heeled psyche of mid-class America to work with?

He couldn’t wait to get back to his keyboard.

He now knew what must be done.

And our Second Coming of Stephen King wrote and wrote, and wrote, far into the night. He wrote tales not of monsters and goblins, but of terrifying loss, tales of the worst the fears of suburbanites come to pass; tales that struck just a little too close to home.

And the sales, how they soared. Readers found they just couldn’t pry themselves away from the terrifying exhilaration that his stories stirred within them. They couldn’t admit even to themselves that they loved his work like they loved to slow down as they passed a car crash, both excited and fearing to see a loved one’s mangled face staring back at them from the wreckage.

And the book deals came in. And he did the ‘Con circuit. And the fans wrote, and they told him how much THEY wanted to write like him, and oh could he give them just a few tips on starting out, and where DO you get your ideas?

And all during this time, our novice horror writer kept meeting with the Mentor in the same wretched booth in the same wretched bar, plying him for one new idea after another. He’d sit in the both knocking back bourbon after bourbon while the Mentor just sat there, never touching his.

“I’ve got a big movie deal coming up,” the writer said while tossing back the last of his drink and slamming it to the table. A sharp, unexpected sweetness blossomed on the tip of his tongue.

“Thoughts?”

“No need,” the Mentor said, “My work here is finished.”

An uneasy silence ensued.

“Couldn’t you be a little more archetype and less stereotype?” the impatient writer finally said. He thought he could just make out the glint of spectacles underneath the Mentor’s hood in the dim tavern light.

“You’re…” The wannabe writer gasped, as he finally got a good look at the Mentor’s face.

The writer’s head hit the table with a resounding thump.

The dark world of the tavern fell out of focus, as the writer realized for one brief final moment that he was indeed the Second Coming of Stephen King in more ways than one.

 

The End

 

Read The Second Coming of Stephen King and other original tales over on Dave Dickinson’s author page.

 

Speak Your Mind

*