Reveal The Deep

unnamedWhat a lovely game!

I think it’s perfect for a casual player who loves a simple gameplay and creepy atmosphere.

I bought it on sale on the Steam store:

“Reveal The Deep is a short exploration game set in the wreck of a 19th century steamship. Navigate through expansive levels, uncovering the stories of the ship’s demise and it’s passengers. Keep your nerve, your wits about you, and prepare to reveal the secrets of the deep.”

It won’t take too long to complete and it’s not so difficult either, but it was a pleasant surprise.

The graphics is pixelated, minimal but effective.

It’s composed of 3 chapters, but pay attention because you can’t save in the middle of a chapter so if you quit befor completing it you’ll have to start back again, but it doesn’t take long so there’s not much bother.

You can die in some occasions, but you’ll respawn and can get back to play from a certain point. There are some minor jumpscares, but nothing to worry about.

The best part is that if you turn on and off the lights the surroundings will change, and there’s a bit of a lovecraftian theme to it.

If you’ve tried it, let me know!

Please Wake Up [Creepypasta]

Source: Creepypasta Wiki

Wake_UpThis has been around for a while, but yesterday I realized something and I had to write it down.

The original creepypasta is this:

It has been reported that some victims of torture, during the act, would retreat into a fantasy world from which they could not wake up. In this catatonic state, the victim lived in a world just like their normal one, except they weren’t being tortured. The only way that they realized they needed to wake up was a note they found in their fantasy world. It would tell them about their condition, and tell them to wake up. Even then, it would often take months until they were ready to discard their fantasy world and please wake up.

The thing I noticed is that more than once I’ve written in my stories things like “this is not like the movies” or “life is not a fairytale“, and it’s been like a theme, and sometimes I think that my purpose is right there, it’s me passing a note to you while you’re reading something that brings you to another world, and you suspend your disbelief, and then you find a line that tells you that you need to wake up, that it’s not real, that you can dream as much as you want but in the end, you have to wake up and face your real fears.

And i know this kind of goes against all the “writing rules”, because people read just not to think to their grim reality, but that’s how you end up stuck in your own fantasy, and you stop seeing things for what they are, and then you start lying to yourself and to everyone else, you invent a narrative that suits your beliefs and refuse to see the things for what they are. And this is when you need to read that note, the one that says, shit happens and you have to face it, you can’t run away forever.

Please wake up now.

Jurassic World (Because: Dinosaurs)

jurassic-world-poster-dino-chris-prattFor some reason, I’m a big fan of Jurassic Park and dinosaurs.

So I was very excited when I heard about this new movie, and honestly I was not disappointed.

All I could say while watching it was, Omg! How cool is that?

There are so many things I loved about this movie and I have to drop some spoilers here and there.

Bryce Dallas Howard: I love her (and it was nice that her sister was the same actress from the Village, another of my favorite movies).

Hunting with velociraptors must be the best thing ever. Blue was so cute.

Chris Pratt: total badass, perfect for the role.

I love the moments of humor, the hints to the previous movies, but most of all I am totally glad that they didn’t make a reboot and the story was following the original plotline. THANK YOU.

I find a little annoying that to revive a franchise they have to start over and over and over again, like they do with superheroes, I mean there’s no other thing to make them do than to keep showing their origin stories? Origin stories are boring and no one actually cares. We want to see the heroes doing stuff not hear the story of how they grew up. Booo-ring.

I was saying. Yes new movie *_* and the first one was so beautiful that this fits perfectly as a sequel.

The new scary hybrid dinosaur and the final battle with the T-rex and the giantfishosaur (I will never remember its name) made my eyes shine.

In general everything was perfect, no boring moments, a lot of cool action, the right explanations given at the right time* and a story that makes you think about the relationship between men and nature, science and nature, science and men, and all in between.

* As usual people complain because according to recent discoveries the real dinosaurs didn’t look like that, they had feathers and so on, but as it’s said in the movie, those are attractions, their DNA is not pure dinosaur but had to be rebuilt with that of other reptiles, and people want to see that kind of dinos. Plus it’s a movie not a documentary so chill out people.

Conclusion: gimme dinosaurs please.

The Mist

mistMist, fog, nebbia.

I live in a place where there’s a lot of fog in the winter, it’s like walking into nothing, when you can’t see a few feet from where you are standing. All white, like someone has erased the world.

And suddenly you are in Silent Hill.

You don’t know what’s there, in the mist. Driving with such low visibility is a nightmare, you don’t see the road, you don’t see the obstacles until they are very near, you have to make up your mind to figure out where you are going.

But what if there is something else in the mist? Something alien, wild, hungry… Lovecraftian?

You’ll find the answer to this question in Stephen King’s novella and the following movie, The Mist.

By the way, today is Mr. King’s birthday, so let’s celebrate this man who gave us such a great time with his stories! :D

Now, back to the movie.

If there’s one thing that the apocalypse movies have thaught us is this: don’t hide in a freaking supermarket with huge glass windows.

This time the characters didn’t chose to hide there, they were just already there when shit happened, so it’s not their fault. It’s their fault all the stupid things they do after. And they do a lot of stupid things.

But you know what?

That’s the reason why it feels real, because even if you think, oh my god how stupid can you be to set yourself on fire while burning a mop, or why didn’t they cover all the windows instead of just the bottom half, and so on, you realize it’s because that’s what real people who are not prepared to face an apocalypse would do.

Beside that, I really enjoyed the movie, there are a lot of good scenes and I’m glad that there’s a director out there who has finally understood how to make a movie based on a story by Stephen King and make it look good.

However, I think that what strikes the most about this movie and won’t let it pass unnoticed it’s the ending.

I won’t tell how it ends because I don’t want to ruin it for someone (like I unfortunately did for me) but I’ll just say that I think it was very brave to decide to make it end like that. It’s unsettling, it’s unfair, it’s hard to swallow. It is so wrong on so many levels that it becomes good.

So if you didn’t watch the movie and want to give it a try, just know that you’re in for a lot of pain, and probably you won’t be happy when it ends.

That, too, is the power of fiction.

The Chewer – A Vampire of the Plague (Part 2)

Link to part 1.

——————–

“How do we find him?” whispered Anselmo, in the ear of Father Guglielmo. The sun had already set; the last few devotees were preparing to return from the prayer wake on the lonely path that led from the monastery to the village. The two of them were hidden among the vegetation of the surrounding countryside, armed with crucifixes, necklaces of garlic, holy water and pointed sticks.

“It will be on the trail of new preys; this is the only place where he can find them. Nobody gets out in the evening since the outbreak of the plague, and the creatures of the night are not allowed to enter the houses.”

They saw a woman, who, stopping to collect the rosary, fallen from her hands in the darkness, found herself isolated from the rest of the group. They quietly followed her, remaining hidden among the trees that lined the path.

The woman looked around bewildered, as if she had experienced a noise or a presence, then she hurried up and tried to reach the others. It was then that it appeared to bar her way, a black shadow, slender, wrapped in a long cloak.

The woman started to scream, but it hastened to cover her mouth, then stopped on top of her, as to smell her.

Anselmo did not resist and jumped out from the trees, with a cross in his hand, shaking it towards the creature. “Get away from her!”

The monk followed him, reciting, “Vade retro Satan’s beast!”

The creature, caught by surprise, let go of the woman, who just ran away, and turned to the two intruders.

Now, under the crescent moon, its figure was visible: it had the traits and the physicality of a man, tall and thin, with deathly pallor and long hair, matted and black, but its face was deformed in an angry grin. He opened its mouth, showing pointy fangs, and hissing like a cat at the sight of the crosses and the scent of garlic.

Anselmo hesitated, appalled by its appearance. “Who… who are you, demon?”

“Vampire!” said Father Guglielmo, and then he bustled about with a couple of flints to light a torch.

The vampire laughed. “Stupid mortals. You had courage to chase me, only the two of you. I am the Nachzehrer, devourer of the night!” Its accent sounded foreigner.

Anselmo pointed his sharp stick at it. “You’re the one who brought the plague in our country!”

The spark had caught on and Father Guglielmo had managed to light the torch; there was no time to waste on small talk. He sprang toward it, threatening it with fire. The demon walked away, but didn’t run; it was too much the desire to hunt its new preys.

It caught Anselmo from behind, snatched his garlic necklace with a cry of disgust.

The Father took the opportunity to approach it with fire. The flame seared the vampire’s face and alight its long hair, forcing it to give up and gesture to smother the flames. It was only a temporary distraction. The next instant, the demon, furious, jumped on the monk, throwing him to the ground, causing him to drop the torch.

The Father tried to resist, pressing the cross on the vampire’s chest, causing it to scream in pain, burned, but he could not make it desist from it hunger for death.

As the creature flung open its jaws to bite the neck of Father Guglielmo, Anselmo came from behind and pierced its heart with his stick.

The creature screamed into the night, howling at the moon its last groans, then slumped to the ground lifeless.

Anselmo helped the monk to get up. “Do you think he’s dead, Father?”

Father Guglielmo went to pick up the torch, which was still lit. “Ashes to ashes…” he whispered, and then set the vampire’s clothes on fire.

Within a few moments, the body was engulfed in flames.

The two men watched it burn and be consumed slowly, and they made the sign of the cross.

When the fire was extinguished, the monk sprinkled its remains with holy water and put them in a sack. “He will be buried in consecrated ground, so that it could not rise again.”

They walked toward the convent.

“What about that girl who was bitten?” asked Anselmo.

The Nachzehrer is a type of vampire from the German folklore. It was also called the chewer of the shroud, and it was believed to be the cause of the spreading of the plague. It’s a vampire that didn’t complete its transformation and so it stays in a suspended state in its grave, where all it can do is chew on its shroud, feeding on the vital energy of the people around it or eating dead bodies until it gains its full strength. The only way to stop it is to put a brick in its mouth, in order to prevent it from chewing. Photo: Vampire woman found in Venice. Source: http://www.blitzquotidiano.it/opinioni/maria-benedetta-errigo-opinioni/venezia-donna-vampiro-nachzehrer-mattone-1833662/
The Nachzehrer is a type of vampire from the German folklore. It was also called the chewer of the shroud, and it was believed to be the cause of the spreading of the plague. It’s a vampire that didn’t complete its transformation and so it stays in a suspended state in its grave, where all it can do is chew on its shroud, feeding on the vital energy of the people around it or eating dead bodies until it gains its full strength.
The only way to stop it is to put a brick in its mouth, in order to prevent it from chewing.
Photo: Vampire woman found in Venice.
Source: http://www.blitzquotidiano.it/opinioni/maria-benedetta-errigo-opinioni/venezia-donna-vampiro-nachzehrer-mattone-1833662/

“She will die,” replied the monk, somberly. “She will die and then rise again, unless we stop her. The Nachzehrer is also known as shroud chewer. Once infected, the body wakes up after death and, guided by hunger, it start to bite and feed on everything it encounters, to regain its strength and become a true vampire. By doing so, it drains the energies of human beings, exposing them to diseases and plagues. But there is a way to prevent this from happening.”

* * *

A new energy runs through my veins, I feel my body become stronger, my mind is clearer, my eyes penetrate the darkness and I can finally see.

What I bit and devoured greedily is the body of a young woman with alabaster skin and long dark hair. Its aroma of wilted flower intoxicates me.

I feel the strength flowing back into my arms; I can finally move the upper part of my body. I lever with my elbows and try to sit up, raising my back with effort. Now I can look around.

I’m in a crypt dug in the rock, I lie on an altar of stone and there are other bodies here with me, dozens of corpses disfigured by the signs of the plague. They’ve been left this way, haphazardly, thrown with hopeless neglect when the space for the dead was no longer sufficient; the bodies piled on top of each other, abandoned. Like the young girl who has been cast upon me, who has now become my source of nourishment.

I’m not ready, I’m not complete yet. I need more blood, even if it’s as bitter as gall, and more flesh, even if it’s flaccid and rotten; my hunger has not yet subsided.

I grab her with both hands and I maul her white neck as I feel her lymph flowing inside of me. I have everything I need here to rise again.

* * *

Lightning, thunders, and finally the rain.

The water came down from the sky, unstoppable, absorbed by the thirsty and needy earth, cleaning up the streets, purifying the air.

Anselmo greeted it with renewed optimism, while, dressed in his vulture mask, he loaded the girl’s body, wrapped in a blanket, on his cart.

Two days had passed since the night they killed the vampire, and now, inevitably, the bitten girl had perished, overwhelmed by its poison.

The mother said her goodbye with the sign of the cross, while the rain washed away the last tears from her face.

Anselmo spurred his horse without looking back, heading to the graveyard where Father Guglielmo was already waiting for him.

He had dug a hole under the pouring water, his sparse hair plastered to his head, his robe soaked and heavy, with drops flowing from his eyelids and the curves of his face. He felt almost cleansed. He greeted Anselmo’s arrival with a nod.

The doctor came down from the cart, but this time he didn’t took off his outfit. A mixture of fear and anxiety had crept into his heart, but in the end, he trusted the monk and would follow his instructions.

“Place it here,” said Father Guglielmo pointing to the side of the hole.

Anselmo dumped the bundle, trying to deposit it with as much delicacy as possible.

The monk leaned over, and uncovered her face. Only then Anselmo noticed the strange objects he had brought with him: a stone and a hammer.

“What are you going to do to her, Father?”

“To prevent the Nachzehrer from rising, we need to prevent it from feeding. It’s only this way that it can gather the energy to escape its grave.” With his bare hands, he grabbed the girl’s face and opened her mouth, then took the stone, which had the size of a foot, and rested it on her tongue, inserting it into the oral cavity. “We have to stop it from chewing.” He picked up the hammer and with a few blows the stone sank into the young girl’s skull, smashing her jaw.

Anselmo looked away, disturbed; a shudder ran through his ​​spine like icy fingers.

The monk placed a crucifix on the victim’s chest, uttering muffled prayers and then concluded, “We have done everything we could. Now help me.”

Anselmo regained his cool and returned promptly to give his support to the monk as he lifted the body to place it into the hole. The incessant water had soaked the cloth and now that miserable bundle seemed overwhelmingly heavy.

They dropped it to the bottom, and then began to shovel the wet dirt to seal the grave.

The Father ended with a prayer for the dead.

“Have you found other sick people with bite marks, in the village?” he finally asked, startling Anselmo.

“Not that I remember, not this month… all whom I visited had the signs of the plague only.”

“So maybe we are safe. Pray to God that this nightmare has come to an end.”

Anselmo made the sign of the cross.

“Amen.”

* * *

So be it.

The time has come.

I gathered my new energy by feeding on flesh and blood, I feel my power grow, I feel an ancient and dark force pulsate underneath my skin.

Every fiber of my body is throbbing of its essence. My legs are infused with strength and vigor.

I get off from my altar and finally stand in all my stature. I have a strong young body. My clothes are humble, but a new nobility pervades me. I am the Lord of the Night, I hear the call of the moon and the stars.

I hear the call of a new hunger.

This time it will be living blood and healthy flesh.

A new awareness takes over me.

Nothing could stop me anymore.

 

The Chewer – A Vampire of the Plague (Part 1)

This is a short story with a bit of history in it. It’s supposed to be set in an Italian village during one of the plague epidemics (it could be the one of 1630 in the North of Italy), of course most of the details are fictional, but I’ll try to put some real information with pictures here and there.

Since it’s a bit long for a blog post, there will be two parts.

Hope you enjoy :)

————————-

The Chewer

 

The shroud lies on my face like a cobweb, it tickles me, it bothers me. I try to move, but my body is cold and numb. Still, I feel the hunger devouring me from the inside; the craving clouds my mind, fills my every thought.

I open my eyes.

Darkness is complete.

I can smell the rotting flesh, it penetrates my nostrils, my hunger grows turning into pain… I must eat.

I make an effort to regain the control of my limbs; just the lower jaw seems to respond. It goes down, my mouth opens wide, I try to inhale a breath in my wrinkled and deflated lungs. The sheet that covers me is sucked in, I feel the cloth adhere to my tongue. For a moment it’s like suffocating, I gasp, longing for oxygen, but nothing comes inside my body, nothing comes out. I don’t need air. The hunger is the only thing I feel.

I shut my mouth, bite the cloth, I feel it between my teeth. I want to devour everything…

I start to chew inexorably, moistening the shroud with drops of saliva and acids coming from my body.

I bite, I tear, I chew.

 * * *

The morning was gray, shreds of clouds looked like rain, yet a single drop of water hadn’t been seen for weeks. The month of August had been hot and merciless, but finally it had passed and September was bringing along its gloomy promises.

Anselmo looked hopefully from a chink of the window, waiting for a storm that would wash away the filth and the grief from the streets. He had the impression that the pestilential air was stagnating through the roads of the village, leaking in every corner, bringer of infirmity and death.

Death. He had been seeing it every day for a month.

All had started with the miller’s daughter. The most beautiful girls were the privileged victims. It looked like a simple fever, but then day by day it worsened, the swellings appeared, and within a few weeks, other cases showed throughout the village and the inhabitants started to drop like flies.

The plague doctors wore special clothing to protect themselves from the epidemic. Their outfit consisted of an oilskin, black overcoat, gloves, boots, a wooden stick, and a brim hat. On their face, they wore a weird white mask, shaped like the beak of a bird, which was stuffed with herbs and other aromatic substances in order to cover the smell of death and decay. It was a common believing, according to the miasma theory, that the bad smells were the main cause of the disease.
The plague doctors wore special clothing to protect themselves from the epidemic. Their outfit consisted of an oilskin, black overcoat, gloves, boots, a wooden stick, and a brim hat. On their face, they wore a weird white mask, shaped like the beak of a bird, which was stuffed with herbs and other aromatic substances in order to cover the smell of death and decay. It was a common believing, according to the miasma theory, that the bad smells were the main cause of the disease.
Image source: “Doktorschnabel 430px” di Paul Fürst (after J Columbina) – Imagery From the History of Medicine. Public domain licence with Wikimedia Commons.

Anselmo put on his shoulders the black oilcloth, then took the mask with the long beak, stuffed with spices and aromatic herbs, he put it on his face and above it the glasses. He wore the gloves, then completed the figure with the brim hat and the steak.

He went out in the courtyard, stroked his horse, which was already accustomed to seeing him in that outfit and didn’t bother anymore, and then got on his cart for his daily tour.

The roads were calm and quiet; the whole town was in quarantine, just once in a while some lonely soul showed up to go to work in the fields or to confess at Saint Mary’s Chapel, to the Dominicans monks.

When someone met Anselmo, the only doctor left, he crossed himself in fear, moving away his look and running. He, otherwise, didn’t pay attention to these people, but just to the closed doors and barred windows, looking for a white rag informing of the presence of the sick ones. He brought ointments, garlic strings, talismans and some word of hope and sorrow.

He was still wondering if there was some way to dispel that obscure illness, he reasoned about the causes. Once completed his scouring, he promised himself to go back talking to father Guglielmo at the convent.

He was lost in his thoughts when a rag tied to a window drew his attention and made him stop.

He got down from his cart and approached the modest house. He knocked three times to the door.

“It’s the doctor,” he said hoping someone inside would hear him.

After a few moments, a woman came and opened. She was tiny, with gray hair combed in a bun and a sunken face, lined with wrinkles; she crossed herself and whispered, “My daughter is sick,” then she made space to let him enter the house, addressing him to the bed where lay a young woman.

She was covered in sweat and mortally pale, her lips were livid and her breath labored. When she saw him come inside, looking like a crow, she opened her eyes wide in fear, clutching the covers to her chest, and she would have run away if she had had the strength.

Anselmo approached slowly. “Don’t be afraid,” he said with his voice muffled by his grotesque mask.

The young woman’s dark hair was disheveled and sticky on her forehead. She had a very high fever and was delirious.

“She’s been this way since last night,” explained her mother with trembling voice. “Since she came back from the prayer wake, after the sunset…”

Anselmo turned to observe the patient. Something grabbed his attention: a mark was showing under her shirt, on her neck. He removed the clothes to take a closer look, it seemed like a bite, and it was recent. He turned toward the mother. “Is it possible that she was attacked by an animal? A stray dog maybe?”

The girl gasped and started to mumble confused words. “Him… the man… nach… dark man… rer… nach… rer…” then she rolled her eyes backward and lost consciousness.

Anselmo turned to the gray-haired woman, again. “Bring some cold water with vinegar and soak a rag in it, then put it on her forehead. Keep her checked for pustules or swellings, and if you find them, spread this ointment on them. Barr the door. No one must enter nor leave, and no one must have contact with the girl. Each time you touch her, rinse your hands with vinegar. I will be back to check her; leave the rag at the window. And pray.”

The woman thanked him, making again the sign of the cross, murmuring a blessing, and Anselmo went back to his cart.

The sight of the girl had troubled him. The symptoms were similar to those of the plague, but there were no other visible signs, and that bite on her neck was a weird occurrence. He decided to immediately reach Father Guglielmo and dispel his doubts.

The convent was located on a hill, right outside the town. Surrounded by walls and isolated from the world, it occasionally welcomed beggars and pilgrims.

Anselmo stopped the cart tying the horse near the entrance. He took off his mask, his cape, and the rest of his outfit, and slammed the heavy iron knocker.

Father Guglielmo met him in the courtyard, welcoming him with a smile, gentle and sad at the same time. “What brings you here, in such dark days?”

“Father, I need to talk to you about a strange thing,” confessed Anselmo, and told him about his last visit.

“A bite mark, you say?” repeated the monk to himself. “And a mention to a dark-haired man and foreign words…”

Anselmo tortured his hands impatiently. “Father, do you think it could be a plague spreader? Tell me, what could possibly have caused this plague? We are a small village; we do not trade with strangers…”

The monk seemed pondering. “Son, I think there are dark forces at work behind these unfortunate events. There are creatures that roam in the dark of night, feeding on the blood and energy of men, mainly attracted by young girls…”

“Like the miller’s daughter! She was the first!”

“These creatures… the bite is unequivocal,” said the monk as to convince himself. “Wherever they go, they bring pestilence and death, and who’s affected by their bite becomes one of them.”

Anselmo shuddered. “You mean that for that girl there is a fate worse than death itself?”

“Now, let’s not rush to conclusions. First we must make sure who that brown man was, chase him away, or catch him if possible, so we will know what we are facing.”

Anselmo nodded. “Good, I’m going to look for him this very night.”

The monk grabbed his arm. “But you cannot go alone. These creatures have unimaginable powers.”

“And who could I bring with me? The men of the village are scared and many are sick…”

The monk stroked his beard, thoughtfully at first, then more resolute. “Well, I’ll come with you. Now follow me, we’ll need the tools of the Lord to protect us.”

* * *

This is not enough for me; my hunger grows. Now that my shroud is consumed, my tongue wanders around looking for something that satisfies it. I need to find more food.

It’s dark in here, I cannot see.

I feel something above me, a burden that weighs on my chest, something that crushes me.

My sense of smell intensified, I perceive the stench of putrefaction, the scent of flesh and blood. There is something beside me, above me, if I lean just a bit… I force my tendons and the muscles of my neck, they seem to respond, I’m starting to move slowly.

I am guided by my senses and I finally reach it. My nostrils sing the triumph of the next meal: it is a body! A corpse. Dead.

Doesn’t matter, my hunger is too much.

Without hesitation, I open my jaws and take the first bite. My teeth sink into the flesh, I feel the fluids of the creature slipping down my throat, on my chin, they stain my face. My jaws do not stop, I keep my avid chewing, I bite pieces of skin and flesh and I eat… what a wonderful feeling!

* * *

Go to Part 2.

Why we need the horror genre

Dance of death o Danse Macabre was a type of drawings and paintings of the late-medieval period, which depicted dancing skeletons as a reminder of the inevitability of death. Memento mori: remember you have to die. "Danse macabre by Michael Wolgemut". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Dance of death or Danse Macabre was a type of drawings and paintings of the late-medieval period, which depicted dancing skeletons as a reminder of the inevitability of death.
Memento mori: remember you have to die.
Image: “Danse macabre by Michael Wolgemut“. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

… and always will.

Many times in my life I heard people saying, why do you watch those awful things? Why do you like things so bloody and gory? Violence is a bad thing, who likes horror must be some kind of psycho, and so on.

I’ve a few friends who like and write horror fiction and I assure you they are totally nice people. I won’t say normal because who’s normal these days?

Honestly I’m more concerned about people who are very negative towards the genre, it always turns on all my inner alarms and makes me be very careful in dealing with them. Why? Because I don’t trust people that are not able to discern between fiction and reality, and take everything too seriously.

I think we’ve become too sensitive on a lot of matters. Everything seems to be considered offensive and aggressive nowadays. Even written words and made-up stories.

I cringe every time I see someone who wants to ban something, a picture, a book, an idea. That scares me more than any ghost or werewolf in any horror story.

This is my reason why I need the horror genre.

I need a way out. I need a breath of fresh air from a society that has become suffocating. I need violence and blood and death or all this fake goodness will make me crazy.

Have you ever noticed how the creepiest villains are those who think strongly of being virtuous? Because in the end, evil people are not evil for the sake of it. They really believe they’re doing what’s best.

And moreover, some of the most horrible things that happen to people, like accidents, illness, natural disasters, are not evil at all. They’re just fortuity, things that happen for no reason. And we need to know that. Death is a part of life, and we can try to trick it, or pretend it doesn’t exists. But in the end it comes for everyone.

And the horror genre reminds you of that, it tells you that bad things happen and you have to deal with them, like it or not.

It reminds you that your laws, your ethics and moral are just arbitrary constructions, and every light has its shadow.

Don’t take anything for granted.

The monster is inside of us.

Kuchisake Onna – The Slit-Mouthed Woman

3407598Japanese urban legends can be incredibly creepy.

This one is the worst because everything you do you’re basically screwed (pardon my French).

There’s this woman who walks around at night wearing a surgical mask.

In Japan actually it’s quite common that people wear these kind of masks when they are sick, it’s their way to be polite and don’t spread their germs, so you’ll see people with surgical masks all the time on the road, and it’s obvious that an urban legend would come out sooner or later.

So, you’re there walking on the street, minding your own business, when this woman meets you and asks you, “Am I pretty?”

If you say no, she kills you with a pair of scissors. Right away.

You of course say yes, so she removes her mask and shows you her face and you see that she has a deep bloody scar slicing open her mouth from ear to ear, and again she asks, “What about now? Am I still pretty?”

And again you have two possible responses.

If you say no, she kills you. She literally cuts you in half.

You want to be polite and say yes? She slits your mouth like hers.

Who is this woman? Someone says she’s a woman mutilated by her jealous husband.

You can’t run away, she will always reappear. Someone has suggested ways to avoid or confuse her, for example you can say “You look average”, or you can ask if you look pretty or even give her candy.

Just try, but I hope you never meet her.

They even made a few movies and mangas about her, if you want to have some fun ;)

Writing in a Second Language

There was a moment when I decided to run away from my country.

I couldn’t physically move for a lot of reasons (being sick and unemployed were the most important), but I could do so with my writing.

In the past years I got better with my English; I watched American shows and movies, read American books, visited a lot of American websites… A piece of me is and will ever be a little American.

English has now become an international language, a ‘lingua franca’, a language that people from different countries and different cultures use to communicate with each other.

It’s hard to express yourself in a language that it’s not your own. It takes a lot of time, and practice, and hard work.

When I decided to try and translate my stories into English, the first thing I thought was that I would make a fool out of myself. How could I master a language I’m not used to speak? I read and write and listen… and still now I can’t speak it.

I have an awful accent, I’m not able to pronounce some words (how the heck do you say ‘pronounce’?). Italian is a straightforward language. What you see is what you say, with very few exceptions. An A is always pronounced A (like in ‘car’) and not E, Ei, [other sounds I can’t even write]. An I is pronounced I (like “in”) not “AI”, when did someone decided that an “I” should be read that way? For what absurd reason?

Ehm… sorry, I got carried away.

So I was saying, I speak English, but I can’t speak English. Maybe I should say that I understand English. I write English.

Maybe I could even speak it right if I had to practice with someone, but I’m not that kind of girl (the one who likes to talk to strangers). I have very few friends, all from my country, and I’m not being able to befriend other people from around the world, maybe just because I’m shy.

But, back to the point. Writing in a second language is a weird thing.

Yet is very exciting and stimulating. It made me learn a lot, also about my own language, my way of speaking; it made me see some pitfalls in my way of conveying meaning. I noticed how many empty and useless words I used to say the same thing I could say with fewer words. When you use another language and you don’t have the broadest vocabulary, you need to pick the right word that says the right thing you want to say and you don’t have the luxury of wander around using the set phrases that comes out natural when your speak in your native tongue. You have to know exactly what you’re going to say.

And that. That is the most precious thing for a writer.

I come from a land that had no official language until a few centuries ago. Italy was a mosaic of different people and cultures and dialects. Italian as we know it was a language created and standardized by a long tradition of scholars, writers, artists. Italian came to life before Italy even existed.

In the XV century, every region had its own language, all based on ancient Latin, but contaminated by others and very diverse languages from other countries, other people, other times. Greek, Celtic, Arab, Spanish, French, and many others that got lost in time… All of this created a surprising diversity of speech, to the point that a Sicilian and a Lombard could not understand each other. But then in the courts, among the nobles and educated people, this new language begun to move its first step, based mostly on the Tuscan version, all while they kept speaking Latin, even if that was not their native language either.

All of this to say that the most important writers of the Italian tradition, those I’ve studied at school, were all writing in a language that was not their own. They have created their language by writing. And when I thought about that it just blew my mind.

It just opened to me a new perspective on what the art of writing really is.

I’m not comparing myself to them, I wouldn’t dare, but this just gave me a new motivation in pursuing my ‘dreams’.

I made mistakes, I will keep making them and learning from them, and day by day I’m going deep down in the real meaning of the words and our way of expressing our mental processes. And that’s just the most fascinating thing ever. (To me at least XD)

So, no matter how it turns out, it still will be worth the effort.