What if? That’s how it always starts—with that imperative tug inside the fiction writer’s head, pulling them persistently out of what we call the real world and into that other one. The romance writer may well imagine a tale of unrequited love. The literary novelist might be stirred by the idea of an Oedipus-type of story with a different twist.
Me, I wonder what would happen in the moments after one of the wings is sheared away from the airplane I’m flying in, ripped from the fuselage like a crispy Thanksgiving turkey wing and flung out into space, the broken bird with the screaming people inside spinning toward the earth, and death.
Why? What might happen to cause such a thing? Well, one of the maintenance guys forgot to tighten a screw, or check a rivet, or whatever, because he was thinking about the argument he had with his wife that morning.
Again, why? Well, it seems she’s been acting pretty weird lately, and he suspects her of screwing around on him. What he doesn’t know—but what I do—is that his wife is not having an affair at all, but a quiet nervous breakdown because she keeps seeing her dead brother’s ghost flitting around the house.
And so now we’re all going to die.
I think about the elevator cable snapping, the car plunging thirty floors, and looking into the other bloodless, stricken faces while my mind gibbers all the way down. Because pink rain has begun falling from a gray sky, and it burns like acid. It’s already eaten a hole in the roof and, as luck would have it, found its way to the cable pulley.
Consequently, they’re going to be picking us up with spatulas.
Train wrecks. Car crashes. Murder and general mayhem.
Why do I think about this stuff? Moreover, what would ever possess me to write about it?
Actually, I think the second question springs from the first. If you eliminate the ghost and the caustic rain from the aforementioned scenarios, what’s left are real fears. My fears. I live with them every single day. Maybe you do too.
So I write, and that chases away the ghosts, so to speak. It keeps me sane. Mostly. And anyway, it’s cheaper than therapy. Maybe I include an element of fantasy in my work because it helps me keep it together in a world with more than enough real problems to go around. It creates a counterbalance.
Because really, at the end of the day, when the screws start to come lose—and they always do, eventually—it’s what goes on out there in that place we call the real world that scares the hell out of me.
K.G. Arndell is a writer of suspense, fantasy, science fiction and horror, essentially anything that falls under the speculative fiction umbrella.
K.G. has had a life-long love affair with books. He was weaned on authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Arthur C. Clarke and H.G. Wells. Books were always strewn everywhere about the big white house in Indiana where he grew up. Though he loves literary works (Dickens and Twain, for instance), his main fascination lies in the fantastic and the macabre, probably because he was so heavily exposed to it early on.
Later, he discovered Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, Dan Simmons, Ramsey Campbell, and (God help us, everyone) Stephen Edwin King, as well as several others, and the die was indelibly cast.
K.G. now lives with his wife in southern California.
Buy all of his books here. Do it. Do it now.