Due to it being October, I have taken a break from working on most of my fantasy and science fiction stories and novels to focus on Gothic fiction. In this case I am working on a couple of short stories and the beginning of a novel. I am in love with Gothic lit, with such books as Dracula, The Phantom Ship, Wuthering Heights, The Haunting of Hill House, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft, just to name a few. I am hoping that I can capture the gloomy and macabre mood of death and decay as these works of art do. Here is the opening I have to my unfinished short story The Music Box.
“Don’t go up into the attic,” Anna’s mom told her sternly.
“Why not?” Anna pouted indignantly.
“Because it’s not safe up there,” her mother answered. “I don’t want you hurt, my love.”
Anna folded her arms in displeasure. Her mother was always so unreasonable. What was the point of living out in a beautiful 19th century Victorian home if she could never explore it all? She had explored the library, the pantry, the living room, and all the bedrooms. She so wanted to see the attic. The fact that her mother was making it off limits just made her all the more curious. It was like a parent telling a child that they couldn’t eat the cookies from the cookie jar. No matter. Anna was determined, one way or another, to go into the attic.
When it was Anna’s bedtime, she tried to sleep but couldn’t. If she had been curious during the day she was even more curious now. What was up there? She had occasionally heard family whispering about it. She once eavesdropped on a conversation between her mom and her grandma debating it over fiercely. Her grandma had been trying to talk her mother into not moving back into the house. “Well, what would you have me do,” her mom had asked Anna’s grandma. “Bulldoze it,” her grandma had said. “Raze it to the ground.” Her uncle had been just as blunt. “The house is cursed, Irene,” he had said to Anna’s mom. “Everyone in the family knows it. The attic is especially cursed.” “It’s not cursed,” her mom had told her uncle. “And it’s a great place to raise a child.”
Frankly, Anna didn’t believe in curses. Maybe she would have if she was six years old. But at eight years old she was old enough to know that adults said all sorts of outlandish things to scare kids. Obviously, there was something unsafe in the attic, though it wasn’t a curse. Maybe it was some lose floorboards or some rusty nails. Nothing she couldn’t handle.
So, dear readers, what do you think? Does the beginning of my short story show potential?