Something I've been working on lately is adding the visceral to my manuscript, those moments where the body has a purely internal reaction to what's happening. You get in an accident and your heart beats so hard you can feel it in your fingertips. A pulsating rum-pum-pum-pum against the back of your eyes. Your temples throb so intensely you swear they'll burst open to allow the blood to flow in carmine rivers down the sides of your face.
I had a roller coaster of these responses when I was younger due to my vivid imagination. Since I’m literally crazy, this imagination gave birth to angels, monsters, and demons all around me. Now that I’m writing, my imagination helps. I’m able to think a world into existence and plunge in headfirst. Need a forest? I’m in it. Need a giant scarab? Its wings beat the air above me. As it lands, dry leaves rustle at my feet. I love having a vivid imagination. But when I was a child, it was terrifying. Many a night was spent hiding under the covers.
I remember one night when the angels abandoned me to fight in Colorado. Moonlight illuminated most of the room, but a shadow was cast by the dresser. Within that darkness, red eyes peered back. The hair on my neck and arms stood at attention. I brought the blankets to my chin.
“They’ll be back soon,” I promised, hoping the threat of my protectors’ return would scare the creature off.
A form materialized, its head tilting. It left the shadows as though stepping from one plane of existence to another. It was slumped over and short, a creature with small, curved blades dotting the forehead. It approached the foot of my bed, smooth scales reflecting the moonlight against the walls. A long, spiked tail tore up chunks of carpet. A second pair of eyes opened to glance at the window while the original two remained locked on me. The creature smiled, a zipper of interlocked teeth splitting its face in half. Its mouth opened to reveal three more sets of sharp, pearly whites.
My throat throbbed as though my heart was crawling to put distance between itself and the monster. I could barely breathe, let alone call for help. I had to get away, get out of the room, make a break for the stairs.
I sat up. The creature crouched, preparing to pounce. I dropped, throwing blankets over my head.
Minutes passed. I choked air around the heart that stubbornly clung to the inside of my throat. When nothing happened, I peeked from under the sheets.
The monster was inches from my face. It shook, scales rattling, and opened its mouth again.
I grabbed my blankets firmly, yanking them in the direction of the beast. I bounced to my feet and made two lunging steps for the foot of the bed. I sprang, landed outside my room, and stumbled the final few steps to the stairs. My hands and feet met each step, clambering up. At the top I made a beeline for my parents' room. Not once did I look back. I knew the creature was already free. I knew it was right behind me. Knew it wanted to devour me whole. The moment my feet crossed the barrier to my parents' room, I swung their door shut.
My parents sat straight up in bed.
I pressed my back against the door to brace for the beast’s impact, still unable to call for help.
“Who?" my dad said. "And why?” He didn't yet realize which of his five sons had burst into the room.
“Me!” I answered between gasps. “Demon.”
A lamp on the nightstand flooded the room with light. My mother squinted at me. “It’s a dream. Want one of us to pray with you?”
It became painfully obvious the creature had not followed. It had scared me up the stairs and was probably laughing at me for waking my parents. I looked like a fool pressed firmly against their door. The dread melted into an embarrassed anger. Heat welled behind my eyes and my heart climbed back down to rest behind my rib cage. “I’m fine. Sorry.”
I opened their door and did some praying of my own. I asked God for one favor: “Tear the monster limb from limb. Spike its stupid head outside my room as a warning for all who dare follow.” Okay, two favors.
Over the years, many more did dare. Most failed to leave alive.
Be at peace and keep writing. You can only get better.
~ CR Guardian