The Monsters In My Mind (Why I Started Writing Horror Stories)

 

*Note:  This is a very personal story that is subject to change.  Please keep that in mind as you read this.*

*Artwork by Lil Sketchy, @ALonleyNote on Twitter*



    As this past year has come to a close, I would like to share a story of mine that is true and is as accurate as it can be to the best of my ability. Seeing as how last year, in particular, was amongst the worst in recent memory for many of us at this time, I figured that it would be timely and appropriate to share this story, as I may not have such opportunities in the future to explain the contents of this story. Unlike most other stories that you might hear about or read on the internet, this story is an ongoing one and is subject to change for as long as I am still alive.  As I’m sure many authors have written something to this effect, “A story is never truly over until the author who wrote it dies.” This story is no exception to that rule and is especially subject to it, as this is more than your typical story about why an author began to write what they write. Rather, this story should be considered as somewhat of a section from a living autobiography, which contents may be subject to change with future evidence proving certain parts of the story to be contrary. The reason I lay out these guidelines will become clearer as I dive into the meat of this story. And with that, what better place to start than right here.


    Living in my small hometown along the border of the United States of America and Mexico, I lived as comfortable of a life as one could probably find in such an area without coming from a family of millionaires or other forms of wealthy aristocracies. I was the firstborn of a family of four, with both of my parents being present throughout my life and my sister being born just a few years after me.  Throughout my younger years, I was always thought to be quite imaginative and would see and experience things that I couldn’t explain back then, let alone now. Many people have chalked up my experiences from back then to simply be the products of a hyperactive imagination, which I agreed with for a long time. It wasn’t until I ended up having a series of bad experiences as a child at a church my family would attend that I started to look at what I was experiencing as being less the product of imagination and a learning mind and was taught to view what I experienced as the products of Satan. Not every church I have been into throughout my life has viewed my experiences this way, nor have even the majority of them preach their sermons in the manner that this one did. This particular church, or rather I should say the children’s section of this church, had placed a heavy focus on frightening and disciplining children through the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire at the hands of Satan for having sinned. And as misguided as they might have been, one of the members of this subsect of the church told me and continued to tell me for weeks after that what I was seeing, and hearing were demons. They would scold me and tell me to stop imagining such things, lest I be taken by Satan himself and forced to suffer in Hell for all eternity.         


    This went on for some time and I would bring up what I would see and hear from time to time, often without the intent of trying to raise the attention of this person. To me, sharing such experiences was as normal as when children would say that they saw angels in their dreams and was something that I wanted to participate in as well. As these conversations occurred more and more, the other adults responsible for that part of the church felt that it was necessary to take action and to try and scare the children so that they wouldn’t forget what they were supposed to avoid come time for their death, that being hellfire and damnation. One Sunday morning, we were all gathered to sit down in front of a television that showed a videotape of what appeared to be a puppet show. They had shown us clips involving these same puppets on occasion, but this was the first time where we were asked to sit down and view this particular tape. However, this tape in particular was not meant to be fun or entertaining for the children watching. It was made solely with the intent of scaring the children who watched it into repenting for their sins and force them to develop a fear of hell, a fear of damnation, and a fear of anything that depicted Satanic imagery.  The clip was short and only showed two puppets that were positioned in front of footage of a burning fire that had what appeared to be shadows in the background of people that were assumed to be burned. The clip was loud and was full of recorded screams that played as the two main characters in this tape talked about why they were placed in hell after their death.  They talked about how they wished they had known God and had feared him enough to love him and love his son, Jesus Christ. The clip ended with puppets that depicted demons being upset over unseen angels pouring holy water down onto the residents of hell, suppressing the flames for mere moments before the flames rose again. This tape was played louder than usual so that the adults who ran this part of the church would be sure that it frightened us. For me, it had the effect of giving me nightmares, night terrors, and generally frightening me for weeks on end. This is as far back as I can remember where many of what I would consider my nighttime hallucinations emerged.


    Some professionals in the field of mental health and probably even some armchair psychologists may speculate as to when my experiences with what I would later know to be psychosis started, but for me, I often remember this part of my life, in particular, being where a lot of this started. I told my mother about what I was shown in the church only after I had several nightmares and night terrors. We were told not to bring up the clip, so as to not make God angry. For many nights and days after that, a lot of the things that I would imagine or experience became warped, to the point where I would hear random people speaking. It started with just my parents’ voices being what I would hear, but then quickly began to devolve into other voices that I had not recognized before being heard. I would often see monsters behind the couch and emerging from beyond my bed at night that made it hard for me to fall asleep and stay asleep after witnessing them in a nightmare and waking up. For many years, I was afraid of damn near everything and would hide away from things that were scary or were surprising. Everything from my cousins jumping out from behind a couch to even the most basic scary things like clowns or paper ghosts would scare me immensely. I would often try to dismiss some of the less scary things I would see as being angels or friendly spirits who wanted to help me and tried to spin my experiences in that way, so as to not see clips like that puppet show again. As my fears grew, I became more and more devoted to my Christian faith and tried to learn and read more and more about scripture, so as to try and lessen my fears and make myself feel somewhat safer. This is how I spent the next several years of my life.  I avoided talking about what I would experience outside of times where I got to talk to and play games with a close childhood friend of mine. She would often hear what I had to say and wouldn’t try and twist things on me like so many others. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and grew distant when I moved to another school. I ended up suppressing a lot of these experiences for years on later, pushing them so far out of the way until about the age of 14.  


    There was an event where I was sexually assaulted that left me a bit scarred afterward and is the only prominent point at which I can remember where a lot of my more vivid hallucinations and delusions arose. I won’t be diving into the details of that event, as I don’t feel that it’s relevant to this story. What made this event significant is a lot of the delusions about other related things that arose that would haunt me for years after. A lot of uncertainty was cast upon my memory from back then, where a lot of my mind was shrouded in horrible delusions that I had believed to be true for years but had little to no evidence to back up, leading to me staying silent on them. One of those was a delusion that I had been sexually assaulted by someone I would consider an acquaintance at best and had zero memory of it outside of someone from my class telling me how such a delusion would be the best thing to happen to someone like me. Granted, that could have been a delusion as well, but still. What remained was an unsubstantial and relatively insignificant piece of information that didn’t serve as evidence, hence why I only brought it up once after that time had passed, which I will get to later.


    For now, I would like to talk to the most frequent and vivid of my hallucinations, that being the man known to me as Joseph Murdoch. This particular entity only existed in the hallucinations that I would have of him from time to time, and he would always come to break me down mentally. His excuse was that he wanted to make me stronger and that his view of the world was the only correct one. The voices seemed to listen in tandem to him and would repeat words that he would tell me. His favorite attire was always a World War II-era military dress uniform with white gloves that were stained with blood as he twirled around either a golden fountain pen or a bowie knife with a gold hilt. His appearance was cold. His skin was almost pale white, and his form was tall and thin with just enough muscle on his body to tell that he was toned. He had wavy hair that he typically would keep hidden beneath his hat and would only reveal if he became furious and it fell off, which happened on a few occasions. Unfortunately for me, those were the worst moments. He would always tell me about how the world would eat me alive if I didn’t become stronger and that those who did not fight hard enough would end up dead.  He told me how I needed to have bulletproof skin for what the world would throw at me and still be willing to fight those who stood in my way. His view of the world was one where I had to be on top to survive. Every time he would get like this, he would get right in my face as a red color clouded my vision and flashing images of dead bodies and skeletons littered the background that materialized behind him.  He was ruthless and refused to leave me be. This haunted me for many years after and persisted into my years at college.  I made a few attempts on my life, but after a failed attempt at getting a firearm to do what my hands couldn’t, I decided to try and hide everything the best that I could, up until I couldn’t seem to live the way that I used to.


    My grades in school began to decline significantly and I found it harder and harder to be motivated to succeed as the voices I would hear would kill much of the motivation that I had to try and complete projects. Auditory hallucinations became more akin to white noise for some time and it was easier to tune them out with music, which became a common stereotype for me. It was often a joke amongst my classmates and the school that I would always have headphones on and would be listening to music, good or bad. I fed into many different trends and would try to fit in wherever possible.  Unfortunately, all that led me to do was to often lie or allow myself to believe delusions that weren’t true so that I would seem cooler. It was an unhealthy habit that I had a hard time breaking and still deeply regret allowing to happen, as this type of behavior is damaging, whether people see the damage or not. If I could apologize for any period of my life or ask for forgiveness for the kind of person I was at this point in my life, I would easily ask for it to be this part. Not all of it was fueled by my psychosis, but a lot of it played directly into my psychosis and vice versa. As I grew older and started to make my way towards the end of my high school years, I found myself in an awkward position where I tried to solve a lot of the issues from before but found myself incapable of remembering most things accurately without some assistance. I could recall various amounts of information that I had gathered just from listening in on various conversations to drown out the other things I was experiencing, but could rarely recall memories from my childhood, let alone what happened the day before. It was around this time that everything that would lead me to where I am now would truly begin to take shape.  


    My routine during high school in the morning was almost always the same. I would wake up at five in the morning, get dressed, and brush my teeth before making a quick breakfast. I did this all so early before I left for the bus at seven because of one particular and unfortunate part of my symptoms often taking a firm hold around this time.  Almost every day after eating breakfast, I would sit down in front of the television screen in my living room.  At first, it started as just a time for watching shows that I missed from the night before, but it slowly became a period where my brain would simply lapse out of conscious awareness and all that would come after would be a call from my mother to get my backpack and to be ready to head to the bus stop. Sometimes it would be just a few minutes, and other times it would be nearly an hour spent in front of the television in pure and utter silence as I looked on at a black television screen and processed absolutely nothing. My brain would be void of any thoughts, recollections, or anything resembling something akin to a physical response. My mother told me once that I often stared at the television like this and would have my mouth open and wouldn’t blink. This is what I would later learn from medical professionals was likely a form of catatonia. 


    I made a habit out of preparing so early in the day due to this being such a common occurrence after I would wake up. After months of this happening, it felt almost weird when I didn’t do this, almost as if it was some form of ritual to cleanse my mind before I left the house for the day. I do remember experiencing fewer hallucinations during the day on average during this time, which was why I seemed to be a little bit happier, despite my appearance being so serious or grim. It felt even worse when I didn’t expect my mother to call me or would be scared by her yelling at me to break out of this trance so I could leave for the bus. It was around this time that I started to take a more genuine look into things that were related to horror and were what led me to where I am today.  I had been afraid of zombies for years due to having watched some of the Resident Evil movies at my aunt’s house and being horrified by the zombies. My fear of horror was so bad that my mother, who used to love watching horror movies like the Alien vs Predator films would stop watching them around me due to my intense fear of horror. During middle school and high school, I spent hours during the summer trying to desensitize myself to things like zombies by playing video games like Call of Duty:  Black Ops 2, where I would spend hours playing the zombie mode online and offline. I hated hearing the zombies at first and would often mute the game and play some calming music in the background when I started, just so it was less scary for me to play. Over time, this seemed to work, as I spent entire days playing this game so that I would stop fearing something that otherwise would likely not affect me ever during my life. Things like this helped me to open up to the prospect of looking into horror and helped me to try and overcome some of my fears. This is what led me to finally reading horror literature and sparked my passion for it.  


    It was back in early high school during one of my English classes and my teacher decided to have us read The Telltale Heart by the Romance-Era American author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe. For some reason, reading his story disturbed several of my classmates but left me completely enamored by the gruesome details and how Poe had written the story. I went up to my teacher and asked if I could have a copy of the story to take home with me, as the copies that she gave us were meant to stay at the school. She saw my interest and immediately went and printed out the story for me so that I could take it home. It was an interesting topic of discussion when I came home and told my parents about how excited I was to have this story in my possession from an author who had been dead for nearly 150 years and it no less is a horror story. I will admit that, despite my immense fears, I loved mystery novels and would often read ones that were suitable for children when I was in elementary school, and this interest for the macabre and the unknown ignited a sense of curiosity and excitement in me. I later found several other stories and poems by Poe and would spend hours rereading them. If my memory was any good, I would be able to recite “The Raven” by heart, with how many times I read it in my room at night. Mystery books were my first favorite form of literature, and Poe was my favorite author of all by the time I had read through several of his stories. Poe was the gateway that I needed to grow an appreciation for horror and to help me conquer my fears, which was exactly what came after I graduated from high school and entered college.


    During my first semester away from home at a major college in San Antonio, Texas, I found myself deeply struggling with my studies, having been scheduled a very tough semester full of STEM courses that were set during parts of the day that made studying and finding rest difficult. What made matters worse was how the stress contributed to the resurgence of my hallucinations and delusions, to the point where I would find myself breaking down in tears at least once a week due to the constant barrage of hallucinations. I remember asking my best friend for advice on what I should do. I found myself listening to narrations of creepypasta stories on YouTube from YouTubers like MrCreepyPasta as a way of trying to overcome my fears. The first one I remember listening to was one simply titled “Satan’s Playlist”. This one stuck out to me the most, due to the nature of the title and my fascination with music. I sat on my bed for nearly twenty minutes, contemplating whether or not I should click on the video and play it. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I clicked the “play” button. As I listened to this story, it reminded me a bit of the stories I would read from Edgar Allan Poe, and the sense of wonder and joy I had reading those stories helped me to overcome the overwhelming fear that I had from my childhood or even entertaining the thought of listening to anything that explicitly associated anything with Satan. I found myself listening to stories like this for hours after night after class, to the point where I contemplated writing some of these stories myself. I had been known throughout high school to be a very good writer and had been writing basic poetry since about the age of seven or eight. My best friend recommended that I give writing a try and consider trying to write horror stories like the ones that I listened to as a way of overcoming the terrifying things I would experience through my hallucinations. At first, I was terrified of the prospect. At the time, I could never picture myself to be an author, let alone an author of horror. I only saw myself as a student who would one day enter medical school and become a doctor. I had wanted to be a psychiatrist, due to my fascination with psychology and my parents pushing me in the direction of wanting me to be a doctor. Seeing as how a psychiatrist also needed to be a medical doctor, I thought that this was the perfect compromise and later was what I thought would be my dream job. I didn’t see myself as someone who would even be able to entertain the thought of writing horror. The best I could tell my friend at the time was that I would think about it. Not long after I sent that message, I set a test for myself. If I was going to use writing as a form of therapy, I wanted to write something that I enjoyed writing and would be somewhat good at. So, I set out a test for myself.


    My first piece of horror that I wrote was an experiment. I wanted to write a poem that was written from the perspective of a lover who had grown too obsessive over their partner and would end up leading to a tragic breakup.  It was meant to be a story of love, romance, and heartbreak. What I didn’t realize until I had finished the poem was how much it resembled the horror stories that I had been accustomed to reading up until this point.  I felt sick after reading it aloud to myself and went and hid inside my apartment bathroom for what felt like an hour afterward. When I finally emerged from the bathroom, I sent the poem to my friend and received an enthusiastic reply that was full of praise and encouragement for me to do more writing like this. I reluctantly agreed to write more stories like this and tried to find my groove in writing horror. I then posted that poem to a blog that I had been using up until that point for bland and boring opinion posts. This would become my first notable piece of horror writing and was named after the main repeating phrase that defined the poem, “Because I Love You”. At first, I felt disgusted with my stories, and the first few that I wrote after this poem were so terrible that I deleted them from my hard drive and everywhere that I posted them on the internet. I felt like I couldn’t manage to write anything convincing enough to myself to be even decent in composition. I then managed to write a story that I would continue to revise but felt somewhat proud of its concept, that being the story that featured a character that was heavily influenced by Joseph Murdoch called “Stay Calm, We’ve Only Just Begun”. I felt physically ill while writing the first version of that story and dry heaved during parts of the writing of the story. I wasn’t used to writing anything like this before and felt disgusted with myself for even agreeing to write these stories in the first place. I questioned myself for a long time after that story was posted why I even allowed myself to release it and why I would torture myself to make it. I later got my answer as I found inspiration for a story that would serve somewhat as a minor breakthrough moment for me.  


    I wrote a few stories after this one that I would later submit into a contest that was being hosted by the same YouTuber who had narrated so many of the stories I had listened to and enjoyed at the time. The YouTuber known to many as MrCreepyPasta was hosting what was supposed to be a small contest on a new social media application for horror. I will not be mentioning that application, as I advise most people who are already aware of it to steer clear of it. Regardless, I entered the contest and submitted several of the past stories that I had written in hopes that one of them would be selected as the winning story. Nearing the end of the competition and end date for submissions, an idea for a story came to me, one which I wrote frantically to try and capture every aspect of the idea before it was too late. The story was quite rough by the time I finished it, but it felt like I had finally written something that, at the moment I finished it, was truly proud of. At that time, I felt like I had reached a peak, a peak from which I felt that I could stop writing horror and felt satisfied in overcoming many of my deepest fears up until this point. And then, the unexpected happened.  


    During the following week, around one or two in the morning, a video was posted to MrCreepyPasta’s channel that was two hours long and contained the winning stories from the contest. What was expected to be only one story to be narrated for YouTube turned out to be three, and out of the three that were featured, mine happened to show up last. To some aspiring authors, something like this might seem trivial, but for me, it was the point at which I realized that I might be onto something greater than I had ever given credence to. I listened to the first two stories, feeling a bit sad that I thought I had lost and froze when I heard the title of my story come up. I immediately paused the video and checked the description for the video and saw that my story had been linked in the description. In disbelief, I read through three of the four parts of the story before my mind had finally accepted what had happened and realized that I was one of the winners. I immediately called my best friend, as he was the main person, I had been talking to about this story up until this point about the contest. I feel bad looking back on it now, having called him at three in the morning, but I couldn’t contain the excitement that I felt at that moment. 


    I had received offers from a few other narrators to have some of my stories read on YouTube and accepted the offers from one of them the night before the winners were announced, that way I would at least feel accomplished in knowing that someone at least wanted to share what I had written with the world aside from myself. My best friend was groggy as he woke up from sleep to answer my call and became as excited as I was when he realized why I called him in the frantic state that I was. For him, it was a shining moment in helping me to overcome a massive obstacle from my past.  It was a moment that most friends would often write stories about, in and of themselves. For me, it was the start of a new beginning, one where I felt more confident in what I wrote and tried new things.


    At first, not everything panned out and I had to experiment and improve my writing style more. I listened to stories from other authors often as I wrote, trying to improve the way I phrased things and trying to gain new inspiration from others. I found myself writing story after story, hoping that I could strike the magic that I did with that one. I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on the media I was consuming, to the point where some of the videos involving true crime or true horror that I was listening to directly influenced which stories I wrote. This culminated in me writing a story one night that sounded too similar to a story written by another author. It was a truly embarrassing moment, especially considering that I wrote this story for someone else to serve as an “origin story” for the character they were performing as for their own YouTube channel. I often wrote stories that were considered to be original for YouTube narrators and other YouTubers at their request and would do so for free. But after being approached and made aware of the contents of this story and being made aware of the similarities, I grew very embarrassed over the situation and tried to remove it everywhere that it was public. It took years before it was fully removed, but the damage in my mind had already been done.  


    I stopped listening to stories from other authors regularly and stopped listening to YouTube creepypasta stories outside of the ones my friends would recommend me. I stopped looking for inspiration from other authors and started to only look for things in life that I found to be inspiring enough to write about. I avoided writing down ideas that seemed too similar, as I wanted to avoid things like this from happening again and would only write down stories that either was spur-of-the-moment ideas or were ideas that would stick in my head until I wrote them down. I felt guilty for telling my narrator friends that I would listen to their videos when I would often just mute their videos and play them in the background if I watched them at all so that they would feel satisfied that someone watched them and so I wouldn’t end up making the mistake that I had before. 


    After this event came to pass, I began to experience more and more hallucinations that made doing everyday tasks and studying far more difficult. From hallucinating massive terrifying and faceless figures while I went out to take care of my laundry on a Wednesday night to having hallucinations akin to the famous scene from the movie “Get Out” where the main character feels like he is falling through his chair into another scene, things were becoming more and more difficult for me to deal with.  Eventually, my grades had suffered so much that I couldn’t stay at my university and had to head home and attend a community college. This was a very hard time for me, as I felt like I had failed at being a basic young adult and couldn’t seem to do anything right. I went home in shame and realized that my symptoms only seemed to be getting worse. This was when I decided to try and talk about it with my family.  


    After dismissing what I had experienced for many years and even going to therapy before to try and sort out some of the discomforts I had in college, I just didn’t feel that enough was being done. So, I opened up about a few experiences that I had with hallucinations and delusions. One of the more dangerous ones was a time where I hallucinated a twelve-point buck in the middle of the highway on my way home from college on the weekend. I had been hallucinating a lot that week and my symptoms were only worse, given that it was during midterms. I ended up swerving off of the highway and nearly ended up rolling the old Toyota Camry that I used to drive. A man driving an old white pickup truck ended up pulling over behind me off of the side of the road and asked if I was ok. I asked him if he had seen the deer that I saw and told me in disbelief that there was no deer in front of me. Embarrassed, I quickly hopped back in my car and drove off before I ended up looking even more foolish and quickly made it home without saying a word about the incident up until the point, I had asked my parents for further help. After mentioning this story and mentioning an event in high school that I later learned to be a delusion involving a supposed sexual assault I had experienced, my parents were convinced and allowed me to see a psychiatrist.  


    I remember being so uncomfortable with the idea of seeing a psychiatrist myself and didn’t want to see myself as being someone with issues or being seen as a crazy homeless person that others would either fear or assault on the street. I am aware now of how harmful these stereotypes are and am only explaining this part to further drive home why I had these thoughts. To me, only the most mentally disturbed or deeply ill people needed to see a psychiatrist, but I felt that I had no other option. I did what my mother told me to do and avoided mentioning anything exaggerated, as I still had a bit of a tendency to exaggerate like I did when I was a teenager. So, I stuck with the cold-hard truth and explained the basics of what I experienced and mentioned stories that were of note like the deer hallucination.  We went through the possibilities and I explained my lack of any notable periods of depression or any other telltale signs of depression-related mental health symptoms. Not long after, the physician’s assistant that I was speaking to went and spoke with the lead psychiatrist who ran the clinic and had him come back to the room I was sitting in. They asked for me to move out of the chair that I had been sitting in, which happened to be right next to a metal lamp and some other things on a nearby table. (I later learned that they did this because some people who receive the diagnosis that I received reacted badly and tried to throw things at the psychiatrist before.) I did as they ask and felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was then that the psychiatrist diagnosed me with Schizophrenia. I teared up hearing the words and swallowed the lump I felt in my throat. They both tried to explain to me how there were options for me and how it would be wisest to consider medication to help me with my symptoms. Despite how scared I felt at the time, I immediately agreed to take a prescription. The psychiatrist told me that in all of the years he had been working with this clinic, he had never seen someone so cooperative and as calm as I was about the situation. I appeared teary-eyed and calm on the outside, but on the inside, I was fearing my family’s reaction, which I would later feel was a bit justified. I fought with my family for months over the diagnosis and felt that I had to hide any discussion about it from them or others. My parents denied that I showed any signs of my diagnosis and refused to accept it for a long time after.  Regardless of what the official diagnosis was and what it might become, as Schizophrenia as a diagnosis itself is subject to change right as I write this story, there was no denying that I was experiencing symptoms of psychosis and had been for quite some time. After more and more visits and more and more stories and college semesters came to pass, my diagnosis seemed to stick more and more. I finally seemed to have an answer to all of the experiences I had before and felt somewhat more at peace with myself, despite how my family felt about it. I finally had an answer for what I experienced and felt like I could take better control over it and found myself writing more sophisticated stories, stories that I’m still proud of to this day and no longer look back at and cringe at how poorly they were written or how terrible the characters or story plots were.  


    Up until now, I have only told brief parts of this story to close friends and those who I felt needed to hear this story and needed to hear what led me to the point that I’m at now. Since then, many things have changed. My parents learned of my writing and, while not reading all of what I’ve written, were proud of me for having a short story of mine published on my own and for publishing my first book, of which they bought a few copies to send as special gifts. I finally felt vindicated in my writing and felt like I had something that I felt I could call my own. I’ve developed other talents and found myself slowly growing more and more distant from writing, but every time I find myself stuck working on another project, another song, or another script for someone else, I always felt the nagging sensation that I needed to go back to writing. It truly felt like I had found a calling. I’m still doing work outside of writing, of course. I changed career paths from wanting to be a doctor and now am working on becoming a counselor and a psychologist, which I found a keen passion for as well. Yet, despite how my parents used to feel about it is taking up too much of my time and distracted me from the time I could've used to study more, they still admit from time to time that they’re proud of my writing and are happy that I have something that I feel I’m at least somewhat good at. And as much as my mother appreciated some of the videos I managed to edit and make, I still think that I prefer writing just a bit more. After all, it is the skill I started working on first, right where my fears and hopes for the future truly began. I don’t think that I could have asked for a passion greater than the one I have for writing mysteries, thrillers, and horror that I have now. I know that I probably wouldn’t still be around without it, much less would I have managed to beat back hallucinations like Joseph Murdoch. Thanks to the support of my friends and my family, I’ve managed to get to a point where, despite how bad things can sometimes get, I still feel like I’ll be able to survive the worst and thrive when better times come. Despite the fears that I’ve overcome, I always feel like there’s more to explore and stories to tell. After all, the scariest monsters aren’t the ones in the movies or on our television screens.  The scariest monsters are the monsters we knew as kids, for the monsters that scared us as children are often the only ones that cared enough to stick around.   



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