For me, it began around 1984, when I was in fourth grade. I was a finalist in my hometown newspaper's annual Halloween story contest. So in honor of the budding writers who've won The Star's annual Ghost Writer's contest, I present my gory fourth-grade story, "Something Beat Him Home:"
One day while I was walking home I noticed that the door was open. I knew it should have been locked, because I remember locking it. Worried, I looked around, finding the room in some disarray, things missing and the lock all scratched up. Then all of a sudden, there was this loud crash.
I looked behind the door. There was a tall mean-looking man standing in the doorway, blocking any exit attempt I might make. I noticed there was something strange about this man — something not quite human. He was carrying a large array of guns, including a 9mm, a .357 magnum, and a miniaturized, sawed-off two barrel elephant gun, all of which were pointing directly at me.
Then he fired one of them and hit my knee-cap, but by some incredible feat, I stood up and ran upstairs. He was right behind me; so on a second's thought, I grabbed the swordfish off the wall and swung it, but missed. He laughed and fired. BAM! Right between the eyes.
Then for some strange reason, he went downstairs and started watching TV. That's when I made my move.
I sprang up and ran downstairs as fast as my feet would carry me out the door, with my stalker close on my trail.
I went inside the garage and grabbed one of my father's many inventions. (As you probably know, my father was an inventor, although most of his toys don't work.) It was a chainsaw with retractable blades.
With a fury I never thought possible, I began to swing it madly, striking him several times. It was a gruesome sight to behold. Still very upset, I rolled him into a huge garbage bag and buried him in the garden.
After I thought the last shovel of dirt was on his grave, I went inside to pick up and start my homework. Right after I was through, my mother walked in and asked me how my day went. While still unknown to either of us, my perpetrator opened his eyes …
Yep, even used the ellipses, a habit I've yet to break. I don't remember writing the story or where the idea came from, but I do remember the sense of pride that came with seeing my name below something that didn't exist before I wrote it.
It's a feeling I still get.
Oh, and in case you're wondering … the second thing I had published was in sixth grade. It was a Letter to the Editor in response to the 1986 article "Bon Jovi concert spurs juvenile crime" — a concert I attended. My letter was titled, "In defense of Bon Jovi," and included the lines, "I enjoy rock 'n' roll music very much. I don't use drugs or alcohol, and I'm tired of people blaming rock 'n' roll for the world's problems."
Now that's scary.