Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Off the List: Ticking

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I know the author of the tale I'm about to review, but as you'll soon see, that doesn't really matter. Laura Anderson, writer, editor, blogger, Booter and all-around renaissance woman recently published a piece of flash fiction called Ticking. It's a work of short horror/suspense fiction that's available in ebook format from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The story makes excellent use of both economy of words and suspense - though it's only a few pages long, the tale gets genuinely tense, and also manages to describe a lot with just a few words. Furthermore, the implied setting that reveals itself throughout the story definitely bears further examination. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys tasteful, tense horror or urban fantasy.

RPG notes: The usual warnings about spoilers apply and for goodness' sake, it's a short story. Go read it and come back. I promise it's worth the dollar. All right - done? See? That only took a couple of minutes. The thing that really stuck out to me in Ticking that would make good game setting material is that the vampires* in the setting are both scary predators AND take a mentor/companion relationship with their (former?) victims. It's also pretty strongly implied that they run in a pack. ("They" ripped up the floorboards.) The "why" of that could be used as grist for the story mill quite easily in any setting where vampiric predators are appropriate.

*At least it's implied that's what they are - you'll notice that the word "vampire" is never used and also that HE talks to her and IT is hungry, which could imply either some sort of a third party spread to her by the attack such as a possessing spirit or a parasite of some kind or her loosening grip on her humanity. Not sure which of those options is scarier to me, really...

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