Every life has a little bit of horror in it. It’s something that maybe only the most morbid of us like to discuss, but it’s there for everyone. If you prick us, we all bleed. And we’ve all been pricked one time or another, and we’ve all spilled a little blood.
Once I attended a panel of thriller writers in this white marble room at the Decatur Book Festival. I found out the room – now used for weddings and other happy events – was once the main courtroom for all of Dekalb County. When we stood there, the room was 95 years old, no longer the home of any trials or screaming, passion or fighting. Its colors are all cold, but I’ve never been in that room without sweating. It lacks air conditioning. It’s formal. It’s all worn. It’s uncomfortable, haunted.
To me, it is one of the creepiest rooms in the area.
So there I was with writers like Amanda Kyle Williams and Peter Farris, and I asked them to consider the history of the room, the murderers it likely saw, the dark stories it contained within its white walls. Then I asked them to describe the room the way they would in a thriller. Farris spoke up and called the room an abbatoir.
Grant Jerkins was also in the room, and he told me that he liked my question. He agreed the room’s history gave it a haunted feel. It called out for fresh blood on the wall, he said.
So, to commence Gutwrench Journal’s beginning, we invite you to look at the photos of that very courtroom and spill some fictional blood.
For our first official story prompt and call-to-action, write a story – any kind of narrative you want – with at least one scene in that marble room.
Again, remember that this room has housed many kinds of events throughout its history, so that gives you free range to write whatever kind of narrative you want. Maybe it’s a love story, maybe it’s a ballad, maybe it’s a dark tale of crime.
When you’re done, send us your completed, final draft to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll consider including it on the site or in our first issue.