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Nights of Hell (standard:horror, 4683 words)
Author: A.M. SneadAdded: Sep 25 2002Views/Reads: 2145/1354Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
When a writer gets trapped within the hellish caverns of his own imagination, he discovers that Hell is not just a place he writes about...but a place that truly exists, whether you believe in it or not.

1- Richard Vaughn wasn't certain he believed the things he wrote because
he'd never really thought about it one way or another.  He just wrote, 
and he was good at it.  People liked horror and Richard liked giving it 
to them.  Oh, they didn't want the horror to be real, but they did 
enjoy being scared with the subconscious understanding that all they 
had to do was close the book to end the nightmare.  But what if the 
horror was real?  What if it wasn't just fiction?  What then?  Richard 
Vaughn wasn't really prepared for such questions when they were 
suddenly, and quite forcibly, presented to him. 

The eerie little man met him on the street.  Stopped him, actually, in
the middle of a busy sidewalk to ask him if he believed that the Hell 
he wrote about in his Nights of Hell series existed.  It wasn't a new 
question, or even an uncommon one for someone such as himself.  
Certainly Stephen King and scores of other horror writers had been 
asked similar questions over the years.  But for Richard, the questions 
had always come at opportune times, when he'd expected and anticipated 
them.  Writers' conventions, book signings, etc..  But the day he'd 
been stopped on the sidewalk and had the question shoved at him, he had 
not been prepared.  He didn't like being unprepared for such questions. 
 He despised those who caused him to falter or appear uncertain about 
anything concerning his literary choices.  But this creepy little man 
had managed to do both. 

"Excuse me?"  Richard met the other man's beady eyes that seemed to
penetrate his soul.  He had to look down to meet those unnerving eyes, 
because the question asker stood barely five feet tall, nearly an 
entire foot shorter than Richard himself. 

"I asked if you believed it was real."  There was a nasal quality to the
pudgy little man's voice that made it sound as if he had a cold.  His 
cheesy suit and pasty skin repulsed Richard Vaughn, a man of impeccable 
taste for finer things.  Image was everything, he had learned early on. 
 Slobbish, unfit people annoyed him.  And this man in front of him was 

"If I believe what is real?"  Of course Richard had heard the question
the first time the bothersome little man had presented it, and 
understood exactly what he meant, but to answer a question- any 
question- without at least minimal speculation of just what, exactly, 
was being asked was, quite frankly, foolish. 

"If you believed what you wrote."  The nasal voiced man repeated
patiently.  "If you believe that such a Hell truly exists." 

Richard stared at him in silence, performing his own quiet speculation
of the question.  He sensed this man was trying to trap him somehow.  
Perhaps get him to admit to something that could damage the image he'd 
worked so carefully at creating.  So he gave him the answer he gave to 
everyone who asked;  "I believe in the possibility." 

The pudgy man just looked at him.  He wasn't satisfied, that much was
clear.  But did Richard Vaughn give a whit?  Absolutely not.  This man 
was not a fan and therefore meant didly to him.  How did he know the 
slobby little man was not a faithful reader?  Well, Richard just knew.  
He'd been long enough in this business, and met enough fans to 
recognize one on the spot.  This creepy little excuse for a human being 
was not one of the millions that flocked the bookstores on release 
dates, lusting for another frightening ride on one of Richard Vaughn's 
horrorcoasters.  Oh, he had no doubt that the short man before him had 
indeed read his books, but not for entertainment.  Rather to collect 
fuel for his attack. 

"I don't believe you."  Nasal voice challenged. 

"I don't care."  Richard started to shove past him, but the annoying man
shuffled in front of him again.  Richard was certain that if he just 
brained the creepy little man up alongside the head with his briefcase 
that he could afford the proper legal counsel to get him off without a 

"You really have no idea, do you?"  The accoster's voice softened
slightly, somewhat reducing the nasal quality. 

Richard was weary of the questions, especially when they made no sense. 

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