A little while ago I wrote a short story for the L. Ron Hubbard "Writers of the Future Contest". I did not win, and I know why, my story is really more horror than Science Fiction or Fantasy. But I decided that I will post each chapter here on my blog. There are 37 very short chapters, for a total of 15,000 words, about a fifth of a modern novel. Here is the start.
The Crooked House attraction was like nothing Maxwell had ever seen or envisioned as being part of a carnival. A towering manor where nothing seemed to line up straight, the siding alternated between being cocked at negative and positive angles, the pillars were slightly tilted and supporting their burdens miraculously rather than through power of architectural design. The house had a tower bent so extremely that it looked like a lightning bolt striking up from the ground toward the non-existent sky.
Maxwell had loaded the gun from the Kit and carried it in his right hand, the bat held slung over his shoulder with his left. He walked with faux confidence, unsure as to how he was supposed to hide or move stealthily into what he guessed was the den of whatever made all of this.
As he approached the house he felt sick, and off-base. The architecture up close gave him a headache looking at it. When his foot fell on the first step, the nausea and unbalance were amplified as though the stair was angled a few degrees off level. It felt level to stand on, as if the rest of the world were off tilt compared to the horizon that was Maxwell’s current step. When he took the next step, the world seemed to reorient to the new angle. Back and forth the world see-sawed for Maxwell. No matter how sideways he was he always stood as if on level ground and the world hung out, unable to be normal.
He finally stood at the front door. Looking back over his shoulder, the underworld carnival was sideways and far away, somehow whispering to him promises of relative safety. Maxwell looked back to the door, reaching for the knob, and as he did so the door swung open to absolute darkness and Maxwell fell into the pure shadow, pulled by the twisted gravity of the Crooked House. The door slammed shut behind him.
The Carnival seemed to grow slightly darker as the hollow manic laughter of various clowns echoed through the stands and rides.