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Brandon Scott: On Childhood Nightmares

We asked Brandon Scott, author of Socks in Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed, what inspired him to write the story. This is what he told us –

The Story of Socks

Story inspiration is usually an odd process for me. My mind makes incomprehensible leaps between seemingly unrelated subjects on the path to the final product that becomes a story. Anyone looking in from the outside probably wouldn’t be able to make sense of most of the illogical jumps that happen in there.

The story I wrote for the Childhood Nightmares anthology was out of the norm of me in that regard. It didn’t really follow that strange pattern of loose associations that usually zoom between my ears. Socks was fairly cut and dry when it came to the inspiration.

I knew I wanted to write a story about some kind of boogeyman, but not the standard “monster in the closet” variety. The monster in the closet is such a common theme among stories like this that my tale would end up just blending in with the crowd. I didn’t want that. I wanted a different kind of monster. I needed something just as terrifying, but unique at the same time.

When I thought about what instilled fear in me when I was younger, I thought of only a handful of things. First off was the basement stairs, but that really didn’t say nightmare to me. Although nightmarish things may happen in the basement, that wasn’t what I was looking for in this case. I wanted a story that was set in the bedroom. To me, that’s where true nightmares take place. That left only two things: the closet and my brother’s dresser. My closet was a bit unique in that it didn’t have a door. I don’t know why my parents removed the door, but I had many sleepless nights as a result. Not being able to put a door between yourself and the monsters in your closet can do a number on a kid’s head. But as I already stated, the closet was out from the get go. That left only one possible inspiration for the story: the dresser.

You may be wondering why a dresser scared me as a kid. To be totally honest, I’m not really sure. It was just a beat up old piece of junk with at least 8 layers of paint. Something about all the history that thing had seen lit some sort of weird spark in me. I never liked that thing. I’m glad to be rid of that ugly old eyesore and whatever monsters came into our house with it. I think my brother may still have it somewhere. More power to him. I’ll be happy if I never see that thing again.

From there I had to pinpoint how I would work a boogeyman in with a dresser, a peculiar task to say the least. The hole that used to glare at me where a knob was missing came to mind. The missing knob was on none other than the sock drawer. That was the birth of the Socks.  From there, the story more or less wrote itself. I love when stories do that, though it’s not usually that easy.

***

Those whispered tales of monsters hiding under the bed, or of the demons lurking in the shadowy corner where we dare not glance for fear that seeing them will make them all too real. Oh, how the innocent landscape of a child’s imagination lends fertile soil to horrors ready to be sown on the slightest of sounds; the tales and the terror they wreak on our youthful minds never quite leaves us.

We asked the authors in this collection to reach into the forgotten recesses of their twisted minds and share with us the tales of nightmares that can only thrive in the hidden corners of a child’s imaginings; the bogeyman under the bed, the outlandishly fiendish creature lurking in the dark, the slight murmur of sound coming from the hall… did you close the door completely?

Explore the myriad terrors that only a child can twist from nothing into some ‘thing’ in the span of a single rapid breath. Do you dare delve into your own memories? Perhaps you’ll start sleeping with the lights on again…

Tell us, who is Under the Bed?

Contributing Authors:  Colin F. Barnes, Nina D’Arcangela, Phil Hickes, Amber Keller, Kim Krodel, Lisamarie Lamb, John McIlveen, Kate Monroe, Brandon Scott, Joshua Skye, Julianne Snow, and Jack Wallen

Pick up a copy of Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed as either an eBook or in print format from:

eBook:  Amazon.comAmazon.ukAmazon.deAmazon.frAmazon.es,
Amazon.itSmashwords.com (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, PDF)
Print:     Amazon.comCreatSpace.com

***

Socks is the story of Arthur and how a seemingly innocent and cautionary tale can manifest itself in nefarious ways. The following is a longer look into Brandon’s contribution to the tales contained within Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed –

     Arthur was pulled from a peculiar dream by a slight thumping from across his bedroom.  His drowsy eyes fluttered as he sat up slowly.  He studied the twilight doused room carefully as the inconsistent thumping continued. He cocked his head and listened as he eyed his dresser. The dull thud came again.  The upper right drawer of his old dresser shook ever so slightly in the darkness.  He had forgotten to close it the whole way that morning, but Arthur was convinced it had been pushed further open by at least a fraction of an inch when the thud broke the silence.

     “Mom!” the boy screamed frantically, pressing his back against his headboard so hard he could hear the wooden slats crackling in protest.

     His mother was through his bedroom door within just a few seconds; the longest few seconds, though, of young Arthur’s life.  The thumping within the drawer stopped immediately as bright light from the hallway flooded the room.  Arthur recoiled and squinted at the sudden change in lighting.  He pulled the blanket up over his head as he turned away from the door.

     “What is it, honey? What’s wrong?” his mother asked as she approached the bed in a panic, her heart thundering within her chest.

     Arthur slowly pulled the blanket down, blinking feverishly as his eyes adjusted to the unforgiving light.  He pointed at his dresser anxiously.  His mother looked over her shoulder at the antique dresser passed down from her father.

     “Socks is back,” Arthur fretted.

     “Socks isn’t real, kiddo.  It’s all in your head.  There is no monster living in your sock drawer.  Grandpa was just trying to scare you with that story,” his mother insisted.  “Looks like he did a fine job of it too.”

     “He’s real, Mom!”

     “You just left the drawer open again, Artie, that’s all.”

     A small lump on the floor in front of his grandfather’s old dresser caught his eye.  He hadn’t noticed it when the room had been dim, but with the light from the hallway flooding the room he wasn’t sure how he had missed it before now.

     “What’s that?” he asked cautiously.

     “You need to relax, honey.  It’s just a sock.”  His mother crossed the room to pick it up.

     The small woman pushed the drawer closed and snagged the sock off the floor in one swift motion.  The sock felt slimy and wet in her hand; the unexpected feel of it made the skin on her arm crawl.  She shivered and dropped it back to the floor.

If you’d like to read more from Brandon, here’s a link to his blog.

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