Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Favorite Monsters by Trevor HendersonWe previously already looked at over a dozen monsters by Trevor from his Slimyswampghost blog, but I'd like to get a sequel post out before this Halloween II draws to a close. Trevor's monsters have even gained enough notoriety to inspire a Micro-length "game," or basically an "interactive scenario" starring Siren Head! As for some more of my personal favorites...
"Is that...Is that a sewing dummy? What IS that, man!? I think we bett...OH *static*-" - tape ends"
This is one of those I find effectively terrifying for its believable subtlety. Maybe that thing is just a lopsided sewing dummy, but I think I'd be creeped out to find it in an abandoned building even if that were exactly the case. Of course, it's presumably more than that, presumably the reason why the recording is cut short, and we can only imagine what horrible things this figure was capable of doing to intruders.
"A whole classroom of kids disappeared, just like that. When people realized what had happened, there was a manhunt. Not one of those kids ever turned up. People started seeing things. Started to say that all those kids never left this room. Started saying, they’re still here."
This one has a more fleshed out story to it than usual, and would be essentially your classic ghostly haunting story if not for the fact that the children only vanished, rather than explicitly dying of any known cause. That one difference makes this entity significantly more horrific than it would have been if it were merely some sort of supernatural apparition.
"Sometimes when i walk home at night, i take a shortcut by the playground. Sometimes there’s an extra slide that’s not there during the day."
A mimic-like predator in the form of an entire playground structure is a great concept I've never seen before, and while other monsters here provide subtler, more realistic chills, this is really one that tosses subtlety aside in favor of the fantastic.
"I’m glad he’s gone. He was a disgusting old peeping tom, and i hope what’s left of his shitty house burns down."
Now, this one does feel much more like a "ghost," but whether or not that's what it is, it's extraordinarily unpleasant, especially given his whole motivation for continuing his existence in this form.
"it was already coming apart as it slipped into the old water, eager to be near them."
"Eager to be near them" is the line that propels this one into something special. We don't know that it's going to hurt anybody, we just know that it wants to be close by. There could be any number of explanations for this, and it feels as though they're equally likely to be horrifying or surprisingly touching. This may or may not be a malevolent entity at all, but it's even more unnerving to just not know for sure.
"Someone is laughing in the yard"
I guess there's an obvious pattern to which of these I tend to love the most. Entities posing an immediately obvious danger are kind of overplayed, and I think I'd be much more confused and distraught to find this thing just rolling around laughing about god only knows what than I would be if it hissed at me through some mouthful of fangs. At that point the encounter isn't too different from one with an angry mountain lion...and a mountain lion would also be a hell of a lot scarier if it was lying on the ground emitting human laughs.
"They say he died inside the suit, and they didn’t find him for days after. The humidity...It made the body...Well, it was really difficult performing an autopsy, let’s just say that."
So we've got a guy who died inside some sort of hilarious muppety mascot costume, and is quite possibly possessing it as his body rots into a stew...though what's really alarming here is how much bigger the suit is than the human body it's dragging. That's a detail that's pretty easy to miss, and raises some disturbing new questions. Much more has happened here than the mere haunting of an inanimate object.
"The all-clear came through and they cracked the doors, air-tight and covered in decades old rust, and found the occupants striding out to meet them."
The horror here comes from the implication of several possibilities. These beings may have once been human, and something changed them over decades of being sealed away in this underground facility. Another possibility is that they were something unnatural to begin with, and deliberately trapped there for some forgotten reason. Yet another possibility is that whatever changed them is still down there with them, and now it's been let out.
...But, the way this is worded, it's kind of impossible for me not to find them sweet. They're coming out to say hello! I don't get the impression that they mean any harm or are even capable of any harm themselves. Whatever's wrong, I don't think it's their fault.
"OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR"
This is one of those that works without any world-building or story speculation. This is just a masterfully disturbing looking being, and it might also be one of the most convincing images Trevor has done. It really looks like a natural, physical part of this photograph.
This is one of my favorites in terms of sheer creature design concept. We can surmise that this is an abandoned school, and for whatever reason, a single dissected frog not only didn't die but just kept on growing and growing. Even the needles got bigger! I get the impression is now treats its open chest cavity more as its "face" or "mouth" as well, possibly reeling food right into its stomach with that tongue-like intestine.
"The whole “huntin’ for cryptids” thing had just been an excuse to get friendlier with Julia, and i think even she knew it. Things started going wrong right from the start. Equipment missing, noises in the brush. It was a weird vibe, but in the end, we stayed. I woke that night to Julia yelling for help, somewhere in the woods, and i was already running before i was fully awake. With no sign of her, I was about to head back and get help when I heard Julia calling to me from camp. She’d never left. A hand closed around my ankle."
This is one of the longest captions, and it's a solid but fairly typical little monster encounter...except, of course, for the image. The fact that this is some sort of messed-up lagomorph changes the entire feeling of the story from your standard "there was a ghoulie of some sort" to "what the hell went wrong with the local wildlife?!"
"Sometimes i dream about that red space, tucked away in some part of some city, in the back of some warehouse. And i can see what’s been left in there, and i can see why it can never be let out. And i wake up and I know it’s all true."
The text and image combination here might form one of my favorite micro-narratives in a long time. It's the kind of Unknowable Terror story Lovecraft was always chasing, but in only three sentences it manages to succeed where he so often failed. You don't need 50,000 words to communicate this kind of dread. This is just pure, distilled cosmic horror.
FOR MORE, VISIT SLIMY SWAMP GHOST!
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