Everyone, get out your favorite brand of candy corn (with the pumpkins mixed in, love the pumpkins) and pumpkin spice whatever. Wrap your autumn blankets around you, and prepare to be terrified. Welcome back to our lovely Ayla Ruse!
Thank you, Aurelia, for having me here today. I loved stopping by and visiting with you and your amazing readers. (Rubs hands together) And I’m really looking forward to talking about horror.
I love a good horror story. One that has chills and things that go bump in the night. Something that makes me bite my nails and wonder if it’s a good guy or bad guy around the corner. Will the hero or heroine survive? Who or what is causing all the havoc? How in the hell can the story possibly have any kind of “good” ending with so much…horror occurring? All these elements combine to pique my curiosity, and I must continue until the very end.
But this comes to me only in books. I am a wimp when it comes to watching horror movies. No, I don’t mean the hack-and-slash type. I’m not into gore. But even the spine-tingling, hair-raising movies I cannot watch. It makes me too scared. Yes, I am the type to hide my eyes behind closed fingers—but I do not peek. Strangely, give me the same story in a book, and I’ll gobble it up. I wonder why? (shrug) I have no idea, but please, give me more horror stories to read.
It is because I love to read horror so much that I decided to try my hand at writing one a couple years ago. I tossed in some heavy erotic elements and had a lot of grotesque fun in The Fires of Beltane. It’s short, but it has those elements I love, in that the true horror is trying to figure out who or what is the cause of all the “problems.”
Since that time, I’ve opened a couple of documents to write more horror—even straight horror (without the heavy erotic element)—and to my greatest shame, I am having a terribly difficult time doing so. The reason? I’m scaring myself. Okay, go ahead and laugh, but to me, thinking horror and writing horror is analogous to reading horror and watching it.
Hmmm…it makes its own kind of sense. When I write something that has more drama, I feel my mood shift and become more intense. When I write sexy, I become more passionate. And I’ve discovered when I try to let myself go and write scary, I fear those places my muse takes me. Yes, be very afraid.
I’m determined, however, and continue to write down those frightening words. Now I simply do so in smaller doses. In addition, I have a great respect for all those who pen the midnight tales—with elements of any genre. It truly takes courage to survive a tale you’re writing that involves scaring the pants off others.
In the meantime, please enjoy a taste of The Fires of Beltane. Against the backdrop of an orgiastic private festival, there are those whose plans are of a darker nature.
The Fires of Beltane by Ayla Ruse
From the Scared Stiff Collection
The crowd’s movements snapped her attention back to her surroundings. Everyone slipped masks over their faces. She pulled hers from the hood of her cloak and stretched the elastic band over her ears and behind her head.
Celtic music filled the air. Subtle at first then picking up in volume, it was deep, melodious and hypnotic.
As she stood with everyone else, waiting and wondering what would happen next, the music hit a steady drum beat. Soon, a woman appeared, dressed in loose, white material from head to toe. Her hair, her face, and her costume were stark white, and her facial features were highlighted smoothly with black.
“May I present your May Queen,” came the announcement. The woman danced provocative and sensual. Natalie found herself growing jealous of the dancing. Activity might ease the aches building in her body.
Her wishes were granted a few moments later when everyone began to move. The groups followed the May Queen, dancing and moving behind her as she weaved around the bonfires, the May Pole, and the many corners of their enclosure. Natalie had come here this evening expecting to be a spectator. She was just being supportive of her best friend. She never imagined herself actively participating, but with her body overly sensitised and her mask in place, Natalie began to feel her anonymity. She drifted as if in another time.
These were no longer contemporary times. There were no cars or highways or universities just miles away. There was only the ground beneath her feet, the sky above her head, the fires burning bright to keep them warm and the cloaks to unify them. In turn, she was no longer Natalie Devonshire—graduate student and proper young lady. Through the procession she became a creature of the Earth—a flame of fire and a vessel yearning to be filled.
As they danced, there was periodic chanting during the softer lulls in the music.
“Renounce…” he would call out. “Swear to…new ruler,” he would intone. “Devote…to…true being…” he would encourage.
She didn’t catch all his words, wasn’t paying attention really, but he sounded so ritualistic and serious. Some of the crowd shouted back assent, but she worked to block out his voice. Although melodious with the pounding music, it annoyed her—it was an interruption. Just give me the music and the night and a warm body to press against to ease my growing aches, then I can die happy.
She noticed people in black cloaks with white masks carrying trays of fruit and small bites to eat or drink. Although tempting, she didn’t want to eat. She didn’t want to sip whatever they were serving to drink. Truthfully, she wanted to fuck. Her skin was so heated she figured anybody could make her happy.
Her mindset was slipping beyond rational, but who needed this to make sense? Celebrations rarely made sense, she countered.
She had no idea how long they danced, but it was fully dark when the music slowed. No moon graced their group and the bonfire’s light flickered brightly. It wasn’t enough to cast completely in light the middle area where the May Pole stood, but it sent flickering shadows to dance around the area.
At the May Pole, the Queen came forward to the announcer. She danced around him, pulling and plucking until his cloak parted and fell into her hands. His body beneath was bare, tanned, and stronger-looking than she’d imagined. Natalie’s eyes remained riveted on the couple.
He pulled off the Queen’s gauzy skirt and untied her thin top, revealing her in all her naked glory. His hands trailed over her body while she moaned and writhed against the pole.
Natalie moaned herself, wanting the same touch.
She glanced around and saw bodies moving against one another. She didn’t think anyone was actually fucking, but there was definitely touching going on. Seeing this, she decided she’d waited long enough and would do the deed herself. Beneath her cloak, she stroked her manicured hand over the damp silk covering her pussy. She whimpered and rubbed herself again. Her attention consumed by her surroundings and sensations, she screamed when a huge body pushed up against her back.