This Story Is F*cking Crazy (CHROMOPHOBIA TOC pt.18)

Don't forget your towel, because things are about to get a little messy in Christine Makepeace's CHROMOPHOBIA entry.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022, and today we are showcasing the 18th entry in the CHROMOPHOBIA table of contents. What to even say about this one? Dread-fueled? Gore epic? How about “a rollercoaster where the stomach-drop sensation doesn’t stop till the ride is over?” A quick, gnarly ride that will probably stick with you.

Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.

Today’s story:

“Greetings from Sunny Daytona Beach!”

by Christine Makepeace

An excerpt:

It was half-buried in the sand. One tip protruded proudly, funneling the sunlight to throw dizzying refractions across the low dunes. The object twinkled merrily from its place by a large formation of rocks. The waves dashed against them, slowly whittling away their mass. Slowly chewing at their bones.

Felicia saw the uncovered corner from very far away. She sat on her blanket, brushing away errant grains of sand, staring at it. Prisms of light crawled across the dust. The sea grass. Her towel.

When she stood, her long legs unfolding like a spider’s, she wasn’t sure exactly where she headed. But she couldn’t stop herself from chasing down the strange patterns of color and light.

Felicia padded down the beach, the sand almost too hot against the soft skin of her bare feet. The prisms dissipated, dissolved like a rainbow, and she stood, confused, watching the hulking mass of rocks in the near distance.

It caught her eye then, the corner and not the lights it exuded, and she shuffled over to it. With her toe, the nail painted a fresh, bright peachy-pink, she kicked it loose.

She thought it might be a bottle. Maybe metal. Something faceted and bright enough to steal the sun. But it was just a small piece of wood. No, she thought. Something else. She picked it up and balanced it in her palm.

Not a plain piece of wood, but a statue or figurine. “An idol,” she said to no one at all. Only the rushing waves and frothy sea could hear her.

Felicia carried the small figure—about as big as a soda can—back to her blanket. She settled in and threw an absent-minded glance over her shoulder to see if any light still danced across the sand. It didn’t and she rolled the strange, smoothly carved piece of wood between her hands. It was cool to the touch, almost like a tumbled stone—but it was wood, she was sure of it. It had the weight and quality of driftwood—the salty finish. But the ocean hadn’t carved the curves and slashes into its face. No, that had been done by a human hand. She studied it and decided it must’ve been a lost or discarded souvenir. A crude approximation of some tiki mask or doll. Except it looked nothing like the rictus-grinned, hollow-eyed things she’d seen in bars and on goofy, tropical t-shirts. The figure held an approximation of a face, and an impression of eyes and teeth and expression. But when she held it aloft, away from her face and toward the sun, all she could see was the image that she’d first seen: a tiki mask, just like the one hung behind the register of the bar in her hotel.

She slipped it into her bag before checking the time. She was late.

Christine Makepeace’s “Greetings from Sunny Daytona Beach!” is, let’s say, rather disarming. And we will leave it at that. Sometimes, you just have to read a story and know as little as possible going into it. Cyclical and, in the best way a horror story can be, sickening. Reading this was like getting into an elevator, realizing the cables have snapped, and then waiting for the ride to be over.

It’s not often that we finish reading a story, lean back, and say, “Damn,” but here we are.

Check out Christine Makepeace’s website HERE.

Want to read the previous CHROMOPHOBIA showcases? Click a title:

“Hei Xian (The Black Thread)” by Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito

“Stygian Blue” by Jo Kaplan

“Eat Your Colors” by Sonora Taylor

“Nesting” by Ali Seay

“Toxic Shock” by Chelsea Pumpkins

“Achromatica” by Pippa Bailey

“Hollow Bones” by Jess Koch

“The Gray’ by G.G. Silverman

“Red Light/Green Light” by EV Knight

“Golden Hour” by Kathryn E. McGee

“The Dyer and the Dressmakers” by Bindia Persaud

“The Copper Lady” by Jaye Wells

“Gray Rock Method” by Lauren C. Teffeau

“Double Happiness” by Geneve Flynn

“Tangerine Sky” by Red Lagoe

“The Color of Friendship” by KC Grifant

“The Oasis” by Christa Wojciechowski

Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.

Check out part three of editor Sara Tantlinger’s CHROMOPHOBIA roundtable HERE.


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