Original Title: The Lives We Fear
Author: Dan Otsuki
Publisher: Mbedzi Publishing
Release Date: April 2, 2015
Genre: Horror, Short Stories
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Fear. From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.
What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?
From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.
It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.
Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.
Really dead. Not like the movies.
A DAY WITH DAN OTSUKI
- GUEST POST BY DAN OTSUKI
There are two types of days, if I’m being broadly general, that I have. One is when I’m in school, and the other is when I’m on break.
When I’m in school largely studying and reading for classes consume my life. Double majoring and minoring (along with a part time job as a floor lead and barista at a café) surprisingly don’t make for a ton of spare time. I have also found that, when in school, not only do I have less time to write, but what I do write is bogged down and generally worse. I have a hard time simultaneously writing fiction while writing a thesis paper on the ethics of teaching world religions in public schools—from a purely secular, non-academic standpoint. Just too much back and forth from creativity to arguments. My weeks are filled with class, work, and homework (along with some gym time), and weekends are filled with more homework, some friend time, and if I’m lucky to get a decent chunk of alone time, a bit of writing.
When I’m on break, however, my life changes rather radically. By and large, I’ll sleep in everyday, go the gym, work, and writing a minimum one thousand words on whatever collection of short stories or novel I happen to choose for that day. Being able to close the café and then just sit in there while it’s completely empty and write is a really cool and sobering feeling. I’m not hugely into the outdoors, but give me an empty space in a chill, laid back environment (like a coffee shop) and I’m sold.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.
The author is giving away e-copies of THE LIVES WE FEAR for 4 winners of the Rafflecopter.