Happy Halloween! We’ve had a great Halloween season this year with nearly 30 featured horror and Halloween themed pieces. To end the season, I wanted to write a horror story that was unsettling, yet had a literary flair to it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything suitable for the occasion. But then, I remembered I already wrote that story!
Many years ago I wrote my first real story. And by real, I mean my first serious go at fiction. I’ve always dabbled in fiction writing since I was a kid, but never took it seriously. I never finished the stories I started and had no direction in where I wanted to take my writing.
Years later, after a long hiatus from all forms of writing, I decided to get back in the game. Slowly, I got involved in the freelance writing business. Non-fiction work, of course. But after a few years, I started to feel the creative urges I had when I was a kid creep back up. Only this time, my writing skills were on the same level as my imagination.
I decided to take fiction writing seriously, and that’s when the idea for my first good horror story came to me. As a kid, I was always infatuated with the idea of being buried alive. Even now I think it would be one of the most frightening things a person could go through. The lonely helplessness you’d feel as you lie prone on your back, stuck in pitch blackness where you’d slowly suffocate. It would be unbearable. It still gives me the heebeegeebees just thinking about it.
Anyway, I wrote a story about a boy who wakes up in the dark. He’s trapped in a box of some sort and fights his emotions to piece together what had happened to him. Of course, there’s a bit of a twist to this story. Most of my work has some sort of twist. And I was very pleased with how this story came out. The problem was, I didn’t have anywhere to publish it at the time.
The story—which would end up being named Sleeping Wide Awake—isn’t a straight horror story, so I couldn’t submit it to many horror publications. It also isn’t full on literary fiction, so I couldn’t send it to any lit mags either (though, I did try but nobody picked it up, unsurprisingly). Eventually, the story ended up in writer’s limbo.
I forgot all about it until just the other day. That’s no exaggeration, either. I was watching a movie over the weekend and it had a part where a guy gets buried alive. That’s when the bells in my head started ringing. I did have a story for Halloween! So, I decided to share the story with you awesome folks.
My writing style has grown a lot since I wrote this, but I think you’ll find the story interesting. It was a lot of fun to write, and I may explore the themes of this story sometime in the future. Until then, I hope you all enjoy!
Caleb James K.