Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Excerpt and Guest Post: Grey Skies by William Becker

Title: Grey Skies
Author: William Becker
Publication Date: June 9th 2019
Genre: Horror
Roman Toguri finds himself burying the body of a nun in Boone, North Carolina. As the skies darken and it begins to storm, he is forced to shove the corpse into his trunk and take it home for the night, unaware of the torment that playing God will bestow upon him.

When I came close enough, I grabbed one of the wooden planks and hoisted myself into the next room. Gazing around, this room immediately seemed fairly ‘cozy.’ The entire room was constructed from the worn wooden planks that were around the edge of the hole. Several feet across from the entrance to the tunnel was a lamp whose shade had turned an ancient shade of brown, filling the room with the orange light that I had seen from the underground, signalling that I had returned to civilization, or at least somewhere with working electricity.

Perhaps the most important feature of the room was a red velvet couch right next to the map, on which sat my familiar friend, the homeless man. A blank, soulless expression covered his face, his eyes unblinking in his focus, or lack thereof.

This was the first time I had seen him in clear lighting, and the black spots on his face resembled a growth or a scab, seeming to extend and pile up over the top of his skin like mold. It was truly disgusting.

I slowly moved to a wooden door near the couch, waiting for him to stop me, but he stared off in the distance, as if he was watching something behind me. I took another step towards the door when my foot planted down on top of something with a gentle crunch, and seemed to stick to the sole of my shoe as I bent down to examine in; hundreds of black specks scurried away from my feet. Each of these specks hurried past me in a large pack, then crawled underneath the couch where the man was sitting, disappearing from sight. My body locked up and I was forced to cringe when I realized that these specks were baby spiders, and I had just stepped on a large sac.

Don’t step on those,” the man muttered, his voice sounding hazy and distant, as if the two of us were miles apart.

“What?” I asked, unsure if I had heard him correctly.

Don’t stomp the eggs,” he replied. His eyes were still locked on something behind me. I glared back, half expecting something to be standing there.

“Why not?”

Because I like them, and they like the cold.

I watched several of the baby spiders move through the holes in his clothes, crawling into them and creating tiny bulges beneath the fabric. I shuddered, and then his head began to turn. It was a painfully slow motion that seemed to last decades, until finally, his eyes rested on me.

I’m finally free, you know.

There was a ticking noise, as if the second hand on a clock was moving, then the orange glow of the lamp was replaced with darkness. The light had been turned off. I wasn’t sure how the man had turned it off, or if the light had simply given out, but despite this, more light leaked into the room from the cracks in the wooden door leading outside, giving a dimmed view of the man on the couch. I glanced back to the floor to see that dozens of the eggs had appeared all across the ground. Had I not seem them earlier? They were a milky white color and about the size of baseballs. A handful of the eggs seemed to wriggle every few seconds, as if they were about to hatch. The light reflected off of them, giving them a shiny appearance in the light.

I looked around, shrugged, then decided it was time to leave. I tiptoed to the door in a state of horrified confusion, leaving the man and his eggs behind.
About the Author:
William Becker is an 18-year-old horror author with a mind for weirder sides of the universe. With an emphasis on complex and layered storylines that tug harshly on the reader to search for deeper meanings in the vein of Silent Hill and David Lynch, Becker is a force to be reckoned within the horror world. His works are constantly unfathomable, throwing terror into places never before seen, while also providing compelling storylines that transcend the predictable jumpscares of the popular modern horror.

His first novel, WEEPING OF THE CAVERNS, was written when he was 14. After eight months of writing, editing, and revising, the story arrived soon after his 15th birthday. During the writing sessions for his debut novel, he also wrote an ultra-controversial short story known as THE WHITE SHADE that focused on the horrors of a shooting. Living in a modern climate, it was impossible for THE WHITE SHADE to see the light of day. Following a psychedelic stint that consisted of bingeing David Lynch movies, weird art, and considering the depth of the allegory of the cave wall, he returned to writing with a second story, THE BLACK BOX, and soon after, his second novel, GREY SKIES.

Things That Suck About Being A Young Author
by William Becker

It’s no secret in my community and my family that I started to write when I was fairly young. I was always “that writer kid,” and when I turned 15 and my first (poorly edited) book came out, I became known as “that kid with the book out.” Currently, I am a senior in high school, I’m 18, and my second novel, Grey Skies, is coming out on June 9th. There have been some massively annoying things I’ve experienced because I’m young, here is a list.
Everyone thinks you’re running a lemonade stand, and there’s no way you’re doing it seriously. After my first book came out, I got asked a handful of times what I wanted to do when I grew up. The obvious answer was always that I wanted to write, and that I’m trying to build up my career path. I understand that anything having to do with the arts is a… questionable thing to bank on, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not trying my best. As I’ve become an adult, I’ve had fewer problems with this, but for most of high school, no one older than me took me seriously. Whenever someone asked me how my books were doing, they asked it in a way that made it seem like I was running a lemonade stand on the corner.

No, I don’t want to edit/ read your sh*tty English paper. Stop asking me to. I’m a busy guy. If I’m not a close friend, thinking I want to read whatever garbage you’re pumping out in Standard English 3 is annoying. Do you want to read my paper about how I think Robert Frost is a jackass? No, you probably don’t, and I don’t want to read yours. If you wanna pay me to do your homework, yeah, I’m down for it, but otherwise, f*ck off, seriously.

Why is your writing so dark?” When Stephen King wrote that child orgy in IT, or that rape scene in The Library Policeman, people kind of gobbled it up. I remember messing with my usual themes in a Creative Writing class and getting reported to the school resource officer. A few extended family members have even told me that I needed to write something “less satanic.” Half of the writers my age are on Wattpad writing borderline porn about the members of Why Don’t We and One Direction. Sure, my work is dark, but at least I’m not condoning anything awful and I am using my brain and creativity to funnel emotions. None of my work has been created purely for shock, and it always has some underlying message. I write dark, screwed up stuff because dark, screwed up stuff resonates with me right now. In a few years, you might see me take on a different genre. No, I don’t have some deep childhood trauma fueling my work, I (probably) don’t need any kind of therapy, and I’m not a nihilistic, violence-loving, unpleasant person. I’m not doing it to appeal to an image. I write what I write because it’s what I enjoy doing, simple as that.

Just because I write horror, doesn’t mean I want to/ am going to be the next Stephen King. Stephen King and I are two very different people. He is very talented but he has a very different style that can sometimes be a tad bit bloated, while lacking in eloquent and poetic prose. The King himself even once said “I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac.” He has a tendency to ramble, while I’m more about balance and symmetry. His stories are usually written with a “What if?” question to prompt the novel, while mine are built from strange imagery. I respect the man, but we are very different. Most people compare me to Stephen King because that’s the only horror writer they can think of. It’s like comparing every band with electric guitar to Metallica.

Finding time to write really sucks. I’ll have periods of time where I can’t write for a few months, just because the sheer amounts of school work. I always think that people should try and make time no matter what, but sometimes, it isn’t possible to. I don’t like writing just random trains of thought. Even on first drafts, I’ll spend an hour trying to make a paragraph read decently. I’m sure there are thousands of writers who will argue that being a perfectionist about a first draft is counter productive and that by definition, your first draft will suck, but that isn’t me. Writing is extremely fun for me, but it’s not super easy. It takes a lot of concentration and a lot of energy. I’m a bit of a mood writer, so writing in class with no music and in fluorescent lighting doesn’t always grease my whistle.

Wanna do a collaboration with me?” I know I’ll sound like a pretentious jerk, but getting asked this usually won’t lead to anything good. I love all of my friends and I love anyone who writes and is young, but part of what makes a story good is having a cohesive vision. Too Many Cooks can really make a story go off the rails. If we’re on the same page, it might go good, but I barely have enough time to write the things that I want to write to begin with. It turns hellish if either of us gets arrogant and takes control of editing and the direction of the story. What’s the point then? Shouldn’t we just write our own stuff at that point? I know my ideas are probably going to be vetoed because my vision sometimes has a tendency to go really far out there. The answer is usually going to be no. It’s not nearly as fun as you think it is.

Fiction isn’t always the same as reality. I know that I say here that I vent my emotions through my stories, but it’s never as direct as someone might think. Just a few days ago, someone in my community killed both of his parents by stabbing them to death. Seeing as Grey Skies and The White Shade are being bundled together and coming out just two months after the incident, I’m sure someone out there in my hometown is going to find a way to misconstrue everything I’ve written and find a way to compare it with what just happened. Reality is very different from fiction. Just because I write something violent doesn’t mean that violent urges are just floating through my head. That sort of links back to that whole Creative Writing incident. Sometimes, fiction is just that: fiction. It’s dark, unpleasant, and can be representative of the darker sides of man, but reality is always infinitely more disturbing and of course, actually real. It won’t be me cutting up hookers on the side of the road with an axe in ten years, it’ll be that impressionable kid who listens to NSync in Earth Environmental.

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