In honor of Halloween and of my finding this wonderful little mag/blog MicroHorror, I decided to make one of the entries in the 2013 Contest our Story of the Week. MicroHorror is a neat website run by Nathan Rosen that has striven to be “the Web’s premier free repository for horror microfiction” since 2006. That sounds pretty awesome, and the stories on the site definitely live up to expectations.
The story I’m looking at this week is called “Morning Aroma,” by Noah C. Patterson. The thing I love most about this story is how Noah captures the innocence of childhood in so few words and yet maintains this overly creepy tone. Horror fiction written from a child’s perspective, when done well, can be really fucked up — and Noah’s piece is definitely that. His use of onomatopoeia is key to establishing the childlike tone and also adds a nice bit of that old adage “show, don’t tell” to the story. And just the innocent way the child looks at the world:
His feet were instantly on the floor and created a rhythm of light pitter-patters as he dodged across the colorful toy-infested floor. His small hand gripped the brass handle and gingerly held the door open a crack. He audibly sniffed the intoxication in the air, rising to his tippy toes as he did. Then with a satisfied sigh his feet clomped back to the floor, euphoria encompassing his demeanor.
The food made everything better, like a peace offering to the gods. Stephen thought of his urgent prayers the night before and was content that they had been answered. He hopped down the stairs, balancing on each step as he went. Hop. His father wouldn’t disappear to work. Hop. His mother wouldn’t sneak forbidden candies from the strange white bottle. Hop. No more threatening voices echoing through the halls. Hop. And they would all play Hungry Hungry Hippos together. He took one final leap and landed at the bottom of the stairs. Thump!
And then the story takes us for a loop and I love it. Great read.
Check it out!