Loosely Based on a True Story
by Cherie Reich
You hear all the time about horror stories being based off a true story, such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. Thinking the story you are about to watch or read might be true greatly increases the fear factor when it comes to horror tales. But I am here today to tell you that Once upon a December Nightmare in Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection is loosely based off a true story.
On December 28, 2002, three friends (my best friend, her sister, and her sister’s husband) and I were going to go to a movie and out to dinner. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was sold out, and we couldn’t decide on another movie to go see, so we ended up at Subway for a meal. We chatted for a while, and none of us wanted to return home so early, so we piled into the old truck and rode around. We ended up on one of those one-lane mountain roads in the Jefferson National Forest.
We were having fun, joking around and the like, until a tree blocked our path. No worries. The “James” of the group said he knew a spot we could turn around. All good, right?
In the clearing, some hunter—or hunters—had deposited deer remains. They were very creepy and sent a chill up my spine. I didn’t eat mammals at the time and felt bad for the poor creatures. We didn’t know why the deer were there, but the mood in the truck changed as we headed back the way we’d come.
When the headlights flickered out and plunged us into the dark, I knew our fun night had changed to one of horror. The cell phones didn’t work and we had no way of starting the truck, so we set out to hike toward the main road.
In situations like this, I have to admit I become a great talker, even though I’m typically the shyer, quiet type. I talked about aliens, The X-Files, serial killers, and monsters. I kept saying we had to stick together and keep walking. I could’ve walked home that night, even though it was so cold and we all grew numb. The miles wouldn’t have stopped me. Nothing could.
Eventually, we came out to the main road and found a house. The people wouldn’t let us inside, but they did let us use the phone to call my dad. We stood around there for a while before I said we should keep walking. Dad found us along the road, and we climbed into the car with the heat blasting and went home.
Although our adventure ended much better, I wouldn’t have ever written Once upon a December Nightmare and the other two stories Nightmare Ever After and “Good Nightmare, Scary Monster” without having lived a version of the tale.
As a writer, do you or have you used real life events to inspire your stories?
A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.
Disappearances every ten or so years make little impact on the small town of New Haven, Virginia. Hikers get lost. Hunters lose the trail. Even when a body is discovered, the inhabitants’ memories last about as long as the newspaper articles.
No one connects the cases. No one notices the disappearances go back beyond Civil War times. No one believes a legendary monster roams the forests in Southwestern Virginia.
I don’t either until the truck breaks down on an old mountain trail. Cell phones won’t work in this neck of the woods. It’s amazing how much a person can see by starlight alone. So what if we can’t feel our fingers or toes as we hike toward the main road. How many more miles left to go?
Hear that noise?
Purchase Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich at Amazon. From June 22-28, the collection is only $0.99!
Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction author and library assistant living in Virginia. Visit her website and blog for more information.
[End of Post]
Here are the direct links if you need them: Amazon http://smarturl.it/OuaNKindle, website http://cheriereich.webs.com, and blog http://cheriereich.blogspot.com.