I Bird Boxed My Imagination or How I Scared Myself Sh*tless to Get Ideas for Spooky Scenes.
I tried three different ideas, and they all worked.
1. Blindfolded in a Cemetery
I visited a cemetery during a chilling wind storm (not an electrical storm!) and blindfolded myself. With my strongest sense out of commission, I listened to all the sounds the wind and dry leaves made. I took mental note of how a granite tombstone felt when it was devoid of warmth, how the lifeless ground moved under my bare feet (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I was barefoot), and how the freshly turned soil smelled.
Safety and respect: I wasn’t alone. Also, I didn’t want to visit any new graves where grieving relatives might show up and be offended, so I went to the older section where people were buried 100-plus years ago.
The dead, winter grass pressed against my skin. It felt like desiccated hair from an old corpse.
2. An e-Book in the Dark
I read a chapter of a scary e-book in the dark so that the only light was from my little screen. I couldn’t see anything beyond about four feet. Then I stared into a shadowed corner and asked myself what lurked there, a creature from the book I was reading? What exactly was the creature about to do? Why was it hiding in the dark and not making itself known in the daylight?
2.1. A Variation
I read from a scary e-book in the dark, but this time I lay on the floor so that my toes were poking five-and-a-half feet behind me into the darkness. Then I asked myself what non-human entity was about to nip at my toes? Or will it claw at my toes? Why now, why not last week?
A sound like oversized toenails clicked on the floor behind me. The hairless sloth was back. A creature the color of fog. The legend said the half-spirit, half-mammal hissed in pleasure just before it clawed you to death.
3. The What-If Game
I play this game often. When I’m walking or driving around and see something out of place, say, a solitary shoe in the ditch, I make up a story of how it got there. Nefarious and paranormal explanations are the best.
Teenaged offspring love this game, mother-daughter bonding time.:-) But if you have carpool duty, don’t play this game when other kids are in the car, kids who aren’t used to your imagination. Not that I ever have. That would get the parents irritated with me. Just sayin’.