some fantastic artwork

Dark and Bookish

I’ve recently gotten involved with doing some illustrations for some writers. One of the authors, Jay Wilburn, is touring the country with some horror books and he has asked me to feature a story from one of his author friends. Here it is for your reading pleasure:


How to Scare with Care

Max Booth III


People want to be scared. It’s in our blood; whether we want to admit it or not, we like to be scared. It brings something new to the equation. It makes us feel alive. It’s why we keep rotating the level on that Jack-in-the-Box, despite knowing that no matter how much you prepare, that bastard is still going to make you jump. Yet we keep turning it until it jumps out at us.

Quick, look to your neighbor to the left and/or right of you. They want to scream. Do you dare deprive them of this need? No, of course not.

Thus, we shall now offer some valuable strategies on how to scare the pants off your fellow neighbors*.

*Note: do not attempt on those you wish to never see without pants.



1. Practical Pranks: Cup O’ Spider


Skill Level: 2/10

What you’ll need: Spiders, cup


All right, let’s start things off fairly simple. Get a cup, empty it of its contents, then fill it up with spiders. Don’t ask me where you’re supposed to get that many spiders from. Be creative. Visit spider farms. Break into the Crazy Spider Lady’s house. The point is, just get them. The poisonous the better—but make sure they are small enough for hundreds to fit inside the cup.

Got it? Good! Now stick a lid on that baby and go offer your stupid neighbor a drink! If he says he isn’t thirsty, or gets wise and peeks under the lid, then you will be left with no other option but to toss the cup in his face and run like Hell, taking his leaf blower in the process.

It is very important that he drinks the cup, as there are few things on this earth more frightening than a hundreds alive spiders running wild in your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach where it will undoubtedly leave millions of eggs. However, a cup of spiders being thrown in your face is also pretty scary, too.


2. Revenge: Casper the Friendly Ghost (Who Will Also Rob You)


Skill Level: 3/10

What you’ll need: White sheet, scissors


First, you will take the white sheet and cut out two eye holes with the scissors. But be careful, for if these holes are not perfectly circular, no one will believe you are actually a ghost, and then your whole cover will be blown. Take your time, be very concise. Then, when you are finished, throw the sheet over your body, grab the scissors and venture next door.

When your stupid neighbor opens up, you can expect some predictable reactions, such as the obvious declaration that trick-or-treating isn’t even close, and that it’s ten in the morning, and aren’t you way too old for Halloween anyway? Are you drunk again, is that it? If you think you’re going to try to get me to drink those fucking spiders again, you’re out of your mind! I will call the police this time! Also, when are you going to return my leaf blower, you goddamn loser?

Well, by then, you should have already shown him the scissors, so hopefully he decided to shut his big fat stupid trap. Now you tell him to hand over your wallet, or else you’ll cut him. Quickly assure him this is not a joke, you are quite serious. Rent is due, and so is his life. One of them is about to get paid, it’s your choice which one. Hopefully the jerk coughs up his wallet, but if he doesn’t you can always cut off one of his sausage links of a finger. That’ll surely scare him. The bastard. He isn’t ever getting that leaf blower back.


3. How to Deal with a Bad Situation: Holding Your Neighbor For Ransom


Skill Level: 5/10

What you’ll need: Rope, phone, backup cup of spiders


For reasons you can no longer remember, you now find your neighbor curled up in the fetal position at his front door, bleeding from his missing pinkie—which is on the ground next to him, discolored and lifeless. Holy crap, I can’t believe you actually did that.

“Shit!” you may shout, but do not panic! You can work this to your advantage. Quickly get inside his house and lock the door behind you. Make sure to close all blinds. Drag your bleeding neighbor to a chair and tie him up. Tell him if he doesn’t stop screaming you’re going to turn on “Stuck in the Middle with You” and cut off his fucking ear. Then maybe give him a lecture on the importance of tipping.

Good, now that he’s quieted down, demand diamonds. He may try to deny any knowledge of such goods, which is understandable. That is when you bring out your backup cup of spiders and empty it down his crotch. As he withers in spider agony, call up his stupid slut of a wife at her work and tell her the situation, and that if she doesn’t cough up the goddamn diamonds you are going to cut off her stupid husband’s ear, and that you mean it, damn it. To show her you mean business, hold the phone up so she can hear her husband’s screams of awkward spider-crotch pain.

Now settle back on the couch and relax. You’re practically a millionaire. Or, a diamondaire, one could say. Actually, on second thought, one could not say that. One could not say that at all. The point is, you’ve put quite a scare in both Stupid Husband and Stupid Wife and now, to top it all off, you’re going to be rich!


4. Disappointment: Shit, You’re Not Going To Be Rich At All!


Skill Level: 8/10

What you’ll need: Believable Bruce Willis impression, sweet ass dance moves


So, after about ten minutes of daydreaming about making love to dozens of women on your bed of diamonds, you suddenly hear an onslaught of police sirens nearing you, and before you even know what is going on, you are totally surrounded. Suddenly, your cell phone starts ringing. You answer it to some detective, who claims to be outside. You ask him if he is like that black cop from the Die Hard movies, because the rumors are correct, you do indeed share many similarities to John McClane, and if he was like that black cop, then you’d be comfortable in relaying information on the terrorists from inside the building.

“What terrorists?” the cop may ask, to which you will respond that they seem to come in the form of tiny spiders, and love to chop pinkies off their victims; and, for some weird reason, they have this penchant for stealing people’s leaf blowers.

“It’s a mad, mad world,” you conclude.

But by then the SWAT team has already broken through the door, leaving you with one option. You drop the phone and begin to dance crazily, claiming the spider terrorists have infiltrated your crotch region, and will not relent until a million dollars in unmarked cash and a helicopter arrives—and make it pronto, dammit! These spiders mean business!

I should warn you, though, it is probably around this time that you will be tased.


5. Rehabilitation: Never Give Up Scaring


Skill Level: 10/10

What you’ll need: Good contacts on the inside, lots of cigarettes


Right, so now you’re arrested with multiple felonies. So … that sucks. But don’t give up completely! You can still scare people. That was our original goal, correct? Uh, scaring people? Well, you can still do that. There’s even a special program where you are that allows you to scare as many people as you want. But better yet, they aren’t even real people that you’ll be scaring now—but children! Dude, have you not heard of Scared Straight? Hell, why haven’t you done this a lot sooner? Everyone knows that there isn’t anything better than scaring a stupid snot nosed little kid. I have a feeling life is going to get a lot better for you. Sure, you may not have diamonds, but at least you can finally relish in the thrill of frightening others. Plus, look on the up side, at least you haven’t been shanked.


6. Sticking to Traditions: Life After Prison


Skill Level: 1/10

What you’ll need: Abandonment of all hope, TNT, squash


Assuming you haven’t been shanked by now, it is time to celebrate your recent release from the state penitentiary. By now it is most likely Halloween. Yay!

All right, first thing you’re gonna one to do is … you know what? What the Hell is the matter with you? Stop taking my advice, you idiot. Go carve a fucking pumpkin.

And, if you want, I guess you could put a bomb in it when you’re done and maybe leave it on your stupid neighbor’s front porch. Then go back home and dig up your backyard for your leaf blower. No one will be taking it from you anytime soon.

Max is the author of They Might Be Demons, a collection of bizarre fiction out now from Dark Moon Books.


He is also the co-founder of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and edits for Dark Moon Digest and Kraken Press. He is one of the five authors being featured on the Dark and Bookish 2014 Tour, along with Jay Wilburn, Derek Deremer, Adam Millard, and Jessica McHugh. They are currently seeking additional funds to assist them in making a documentary about the modern writing industry.


One response

  1. Pingback: Guest Article on Amy Rims’s Blog (How to Scare with Care) | Tales from the Booth

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