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Author Topic: Flash: Scarecrow  (Read 7265 times)

Bdoomed

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on: August 15, 2008, 03:50:46 PM
Flash: Scarecrow

By Michele Lee

Read by Ben Phillips

Music by Harmaline

Home? it asks, clothed in black feathers and flesh. A winged messenger come to carry me home.

Yes! I cry silently. I turn towards it, trying to pull my arms from the wooden posts that bind them. The voice caws out in fear, then vanishes in a black blur into the sun.

Another one gone. I’ve lost count, and the math doesn’t matter any more.

They killed me I suppose. That pair of walking pools of hate. What else could have happened? I suppose I’d cry, if I could. If my tear ducts weren’t ash mixed with the glue remains of my eyes.




Listen to this Pseudopod Flash.

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Sylvan

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Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 05:00:15 PM
"Scarecrow" is definitely a horror story.  Unlike some stories that are merely "dark" or sad, it has a degree of disturbing intimacy to it that honestly makes me feel a rush of fear.  This isn't merely because I am gay and identify with the main character.  It's because, despite years of watching films or TV shows with homicidal, stalking scarecrows, we finally get a feel for this iconic word -this mental image- an appropriate emotional sense:  isolation, solitude, and pain.

When Matthew Shephard was beaten, I was sick.  I stayed home from work that weekend, hoping that he'd pull through.  I was awakened -in the predawn hours- by my radio reporting on his death in the hospital.  These events pushed me to my very first candlelight vigil; the only other I attended was for the victims of September 11th.

This story brought back those horrible feelings but that's what horror can do, isn't it?  It forces you to look into the darkness and find...

I'm not sure what.

I find emotion.  It's raw and I don't like visiting it very often, but I appreciate the journey.

My thanks.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)



Sandikal

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Reply #2 on: August 16, 2008, 11:09:54 PM
"Scarecrow" just didn't grab me.  My attention kept wandering during this story.  It seemed like a very long eight minutes. 



Praxis

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Reply #3 on: August 17, 2008, 12:36:23 AM
Bl**dy hell that was a proper Horror story.  So creepy and painful, I felt sorry for the main character but also didn't want to have to listen to his story and couldn't, quite, bring myself to press the 'stop' button on my player, either.

Really very good.



The Dunesteef

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Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008, 02:45:39 AM
I was really impressed with the production values on that one.  Who did the music?  I liked how it went with the story like a real soundtrack.  Good stuff.

Check out some great stories at The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine


Bdoomed

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Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008, 03:26:08 AM

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


eytanz

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Reply #6 on: August 17, 2008, 07:50:20 AM
I was really impressed with the production values on that one.  Who did the music?  I liked how it went with the story like a real soundtrack.  Good stuff.

Really? I wasn't. I found the music too loud and distracting, and it was really difficult for me to hear the story above it. The music was appropriate for the mood, but for me at least, it hurt the story more than it helped.

Steve's outro from this week's EP is relevant here as well - there's a lot of variation in the listening audience, both in people's equipment and in their hearing capabilities. What works for a segment of your audience may harm the experience for another.

(It's not that I always object to music with my narration - the Drabblecast's use of music never bothers me, on the contrary - but this particular episode had the volume balance wrong).



Listener

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Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 12:30:00 PM
Sooooo... Matthew Sheppard meets The Crow?  I'm sorry, it just seemed too emo for me to truly appreciate the horrific elements.  It's like we spent eight minutes that could've better been used on reading this Wikipedia entry.

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MacArthurBug

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Reply #8 on: August 18, 2008, 01:45:40 PM
Sooooo... Matthew Sheppard meets The Crow?  I'm sorry, it just seemed too emo for me to truly appreciate the horrific elements.  It's like we spent eight minutes that could've better been used on reading this Wikipedia entry.

Oooh-kay. Originally, before I knew this ^ - I sort of liked this story it DID reek faintly of something written by someone who'd watched The Crow one too many times. But, I sort of liked The Crow. The overall horror made it perfect for this collection, it was ghastly and grisly, and well paced. But curses- it bothers me that it's based on something so VERY specific. Ick. Now instead of being merrily chilled I've got the willies. Overall I still liked this peice. At first I WAS dissapointed by it's length- a flash piece as a "full" post instead of a filler (as Podcastle does them) between posts. But, after the true proper creepyness of this story I feel my horror quota WAS properly filled this week.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


eytanz

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Reply #9 on: August 18, 2008, 02:53:44 PM
I've been thinking about this story a bit, and I think I hit on one of the points that were bothering me about it. It falls into a pitfall many stories based on real events fall into, which is that they are open to readings that subvery the original purpose.

I *think* the aim of the story was to accentuate the horror of anti-gay hate crimes by making them more visceral and showing the damage they do on the victim. But by making it more horrific, it also twists the point around. The message of the story is "you can send gays to a hell of torment as a scarecrow by beating them up and murdering them". For type of person inclined to commit hate-crimes, this would be the desired result. This story, if taken seriously, would be an encouragement to commit more such crimes. Sure, decent people like myself and everyone else around here, this stoy is horrifying - but then, the real events were horrifing enough.

The story added a creepiness and reality to te horror, but it also added a problematic subtext, and ultimately, whatever the author's intentions, I don't like what this story says.



ieDaddy

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Reply #10 on: August 20, 2008, 07:17:22 PM
Definitely a flash in that there wasn't a lot of plot - and I too kept getting distracted by that thought in the back of my head that I'd already heard of something like this happening in real life - other than the creep factor, I'm not sure what the purpose of the story was.

The I came over here to comment and saw the posts about the Matthew Shepherd story and the penny dropped.

But, I'm still left wondering how this particular piece of flash is telling a story vs. just describing an event.

Might as well have written about Albert Fish sitting down for dinner ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fish)



Zathras

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Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 03:58:23 PM
But, I'm still left wondering how this particular piece of flash is telling a story vs. just describing an event.

Might as well have written about Albert Fish sitting down for dinner ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fish)

Yeah, that was disturbing. 

CSI does this all the time.  It fascinates and depresses me at the same time.



Unblinking

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Reply #12 on: September 02, 2009, 08:23:37 PM
This is more of a scene description than a story.  We're told how terrible the past, the present, and the future are, but there is no arc.  At least it was flash, so a light plot is fine for those, but I do still prefer to have some arc.

I hadn't heard about Matthew Shepherd before reading this.

Although the story was read by a man, I wasn't sure if that was the intended sex of the character.  I assumed at first it was a man, but realized as the story went on that there were no clues (other than the voice itself) whether the character was male or female.  Maybe there were clues and I just missed them.  That's one of the troubles with first person stories, is that the gender is difficult to distinguish.  In the end, I started to wonder if it was supposed to be a woman, and just for giggles was narrated by a man.  After seeing the Matthew Shepherd Wikipedia page, it's clearly meant to be a man, but the story itself didn't seem to tell me that.

And, assuming this is really based on Matthew Shepherd--as a writer I don't think I would have felt right basing this kind of story so closely on real events.  This story implies that not only did the man die painfully, but that his torture is continuing indefinitely even after death.  It's one thing when the person is totally made up, but when he was a real person, I don't feel right about that.



Millenium_King

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Reply #13 on: August 21, 2010, 12:45:43 AM
Gotta say I was pretty disappointed with this one.  I was seriously hoping for some good-old-fashioned Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark-esq. tale about murderous scarecrows or something (there is a story like that in one of the two volumes, I think - anyone remember the title?).  I was bummed when I realized this was basically just a supernatural fictionalizing of the Matthew Sheppherd murder.  I'm not a fan of such "ripped from the headlines"-type stories (I didn't like "I am your Need" either).  So far as I am concerned, the reality of such events is far more horrific than any fictionalized account.

Beyond such meta-analysis, there wasn't much to this story.  Thin plot (just flashbacks) and zero tension.  I didn't even think the concept that original and actually, God forgive me, snickered once or twice when the crow metaphors reminded me of that dreadful movie.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 12:51:43 AM
Although the story was read by a man, I wasn't sure if that was the intended sex of the character.  I assumed at first it was a man, but realized as the story went on that there were no clues (other than the voice itself) whether the character was male or female.

Actually, doesn't he say something about visting a LGBT group to "pick up men?"  Seems like a strange thing for a woman to do.  That's what clued me in.

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Scattercat

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Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 03:04:53 AM
Gotta say I was pretty disappointed with this one.  I was seriously hoping for some good-old-fashioned Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark-esq. tale about murderous scarecrows or something (there is a story like that in one of the two volumes, I think - anyone remember the title?

I'm fairly certain it was "Harold."  That goddamn story used to scare the bejeezus out of me.  The description in the middle of the faint grunt the scarecrow makes when things are just starting to go wrong still haunts my dreams. 

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