Lenny Petrakas is worried about her skin. Not the way you're thinking. Not like that at all. While most people spend time concerned about dirt and elasticity, temperature and moisture, Lenny has a more pressing problem. Something is after her. Something evil that won't stop until it has peeled every last inch of skin from the teen's body. And then, it may end her misery quickly, or it may dump her body in the woods. Let infection and dehydration run its course.
Lenny is just your normal sixteen-year-old girl. Was. Was just your normal sixteen-year-old girl. Quiet and polite. Petite. Introspective, but not to the point of isolation. Loyal? Fiercely so. Outstanding? Noteworthy? Different? No, no, and no. Or so she thought. What started as an eerie feeling, a certainty that someone had been in her room while she slept, has spiraled into something far worse. Something was in her room. Something that finds her highly different, extremely noteworthy, and intensely outstanding.
Game over? Wrong. Lenny's a fighter, and she isn't about to lie down and take what's coming to her. Enlisting the help of her best friend, a not-so-secret admirer, the hottest guy in school, one odious cheerleader, and a paranormalist teacher, Lenny is facing her fears head on, in a battle she knows can only end in death.
And now, David is going to tell us a little about his scariest experience!I never intended for The Boo Hag to be a scary book. That may sound stupid when you read the synopsis, but I’m serious. Even now, I have a hard time wrapping my brain, which is admittedly small and difficult to wrap, around the idea that I might be creeping people out. I am, all jokes aside, the least well-equipped person I know for writing a scary story. In my mind, a writer needs to be immune to the fear he or she is inflicting upon the reader. Immune to fear, I am not.
It started early for me. As a five-year-old, I spent a peaceful night of sleep tucked clandestinely behind my parents’ bedroom door, safe from whatever haunts flitted about my room. I was afraid of aliens, sure they were headed to my bedroom window to whisk me away for scientific experimentation. The list of things that terrified me is endless really. If you can think of it, at some point in my life I have probably been afraid of it. Burn victims? Check. The elephant man? Check. Little people? My sister’s bedroom closet? Going down at night by myself to get a stuffed animal that sat right at the foot of the stairs? Check, check, and check. No joke, the list could go on for hours. I once saw a baby with progeria, a disease that makes people age faster than normal, and was convinced that she was going to crawl into my room when I was sleeping. What she would have done there once she made it in is beyond me, but her mere inevitable arrival was enough to have me tucked firmly beneath my blanket, palms sweaty, praying for relief.
It’s gotten better. Marginally. I’m an adult. A grown man. But still, after watching an episode of The Walking Dead, I am sometimes wary of going down into my basement alone. I mean, I’ll do it, but I don’t like it. And I make sure the lights are all on. And I constantly whip my head around to make sure there are no zombies on my tail, poised to eat my flesh. I have an unhealthy fear of things, and I don’t think it’s normal.
For instance, a few weeks ago I was asleep when, at a little after 4 am, my wife tapped me and insisted that she heard someone in the house. Did I fly into action? No. No, I did not. Now, usually, fear or not, I would have run to my daughters’ room at the smallest of sounds. I would, and I have, but this morning was different; the girls were across the street at a sleepover with their aunts. All the living creatures in the house were in my bedroom, and I had no intention of leaving. My wife urged me to go check it out, but I insisted, through chattering teeth, that it was just the house settling. Houses do that right? Of course they do. But then we heard a footstep in the hall by our door. Man, that sucked. I wanted to send my wife to check it out. I mean it. It didn’t make sense for me to go out there; I didn’t even have a weapon. I do have a nice, solid flashlight that sits by my bed now, but at the time it was in the closet downstairs.
…Can I just say that, as I am writing this, I heard a loud thump over my head upstairs? I did. It wasn’t so scary though because it was followed by a short sleepy cry, and I guessed correctly that one of my daughters had fallen out of bed. That’s it. I just thought it was funny timing…
Anyway, back to me in the bedroom. So, I was looking for weapons down by my bed and all I have over there are like paperback books and somehow less imposing items. In the end, I don’t even know if I took anything with me, but I did finally make it out into the hall, heart pounding. I flipped on the light and was relieved to find nothing more than an empty hallway, but I didn’t really feel that relieved. I mean, there was that footstep, so I was still freaking out. Muscles clenched tightly, ready to pounce on the intruder, I stepped into my girls’ room and hit the lights. And came face to face with…my two-year-
old. She had woken up in the wee hours and wanted to come home. My sister-in-law had gotten her back into her bed in near silence. But near silence wasn’t enough to stop me from dispelling any notion that I wasn’t afraid anymore.
See what I mean? Do I laugh in the face of fear? No, I do not.
Instead I inflict frightening situations on my characters and see how they deal with them. That idea was at the heart of the beginnings of The Boo Hag. It wasn’t everything, but it was important. The idea of Lenny, a normal, sweet girl, who gets to face something horrible and prove how incredibly tough she is, was in place well before her actual nemesis was decided upon. And I’m happy with how it turned out. Lenny proves to be the anti-David Morgan when it comes to all things terrifying.
Thank you so much for the spot on your blog. I hope I didn’t take too much of the pretty out!
Ha! Thanks so much for sharing your scary story with us, David. Guess you wouldn't stand a chance against the Boo Hag, huh?
And check out David's book, The Boo Hag, to find out some of the scary experiences Lenny goes through.