Tag Archives: Twilight Zone

The Smilers: A Horror Story About Happy People

The first incident happened at the liquor store.

I had a bottle of pinot noir in one hand and tub of Peppermint Bon Bon in the other. I had taken my time settling on the wine. The ice cream had melted down my palm and puddled on the floor. It seeped through my slipper and pooled between my toes. By the time I felt it I’d already slipped.

The bottle rolled down my hand and up my fingers in an arch. I dove to catch it. It clinked on the linoleum, but it didn’t crack. It would’ve been a great save had it not been for the shelf I’d knocked over in the process. Cans popped out of six packs, rolled down the aisle, and spouted leaks.

I crawled around in my pajama pants collecting craft beers into my hooded sweatshirt. I wobbled up to the front counter with arms overloaded with aluminum and pockets oozing with ice cream and beer foam. Continue reading The Smilers: A Horror Story About Happy People

Black Noise Podcast Episode 1: Red Flags

Welcome to the inaugural episode of my Podcast: Drew Chial’s Black Noise, where I premiere short stories in the spirit of the Twilight Zone. Unlike my previous audio shorts I plan on prefacing these recordings with informal thoughts on my writing process.

This first episode is largely unstructured. I’ve yet to develop any bits beyond the reading and an artist statement. So I winged it. Maybe next time I’ll have a checklist.

Feel free to share your ideas for future episodes in the comments.

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My audiobook Terms and Conditions is now free on Bandcamp. You can listen to it right here!

Shop Dropping: A Spooky Story about People Who Put Things on Retail Shelves

I worked in one of the last bookstores in town. Print wasn’t dead, but it was on life support. The neighboring restaurants drew in most of our business. The bulk of our sales were made while customers were waiting to be seated elsewhere.

Parents paged through new releases as their children collected all the trinkets we’d placed at eye level. Millennials turned all the political biographies around, teens stole glimpses at artful nudes, and couples bickered about Playboy’s newfound presence at the checkout counter.

The bad element snuck in with the dinner rush. They couldn’t look me in the eye on their way in, but they looked out for me the further they went. I’d catch them craning their necks over the shelves and ducking back down once I’d made them.

I’d walk by and they’d say, “Browsing.” before I got one word in.

It’s store policy not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, but there was no such thing as too much costumer service when one of them was around. I made sure these people had a chance to meet everyone that was on staff at the time.

Troublemakers weren’t hard to spot hunched over in their cardigans with their hands in their pajama bottoms. They came from all walks of life, but they’d devolved into gaunt, pale faced ghouls, with cherry red eyes, and plum purple eyelids. Each one stinking of nicotine, body odor, and box wine.

I’d go back to the section they’d been “browsing” in, scan the shelves, and try to find what they’d done. There were always subtle signs. I’d find a stack of front facing hardcovers repositioned with their spines out, a title set atop the row, or a handful of books on the floor.

Troublemakers had to make room for their additions to our inventory. You see they weren’t shoplifting. They were shop dropping. Continue reading Shop Dropping: A Spooky Story about People Who Put Things on Retail Shelves

My Audiobook is now on Bandcamp

My horror novella Terms and Conditions is now on Bandcamp! Find out what happens when an artist accidentally sells his inspiration to the devil.

Download the audio from Bandcamp:

Continue reading My Audiobook is now on Bandcamp

The Narration An Audio Drama By Drew Chial

Check out this audio drama based on my short story The Narration produced by the good folks at Fancy Pants Gangsters.

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Every person has an internal monologue, a place where they can speak their innermost desires and private thoughts. But what if those secret musings didn’t stay secret? Find out as four friends encounter The Narration by Drew Chial.

Find it here:

Redshift Season 1 Episode 3 – The Narration by Drew Chial

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The Gremlin on My Wing

Someone has a bad idea
Someone has a bad idea

(If SoundCloud is down, download the track)

Submitted for your approval a radio play of sorts; a conversation between a pilot and the passenger that’s taken him hostage. One part drama, one part essay, and one part rant. All three fit the scenario, because the stowaway is the captain’s depression, and their argument is internal.

This was originally posted under the name The Depression on My Shoulder, but since the gremlin metaphor factored in so heavily I changed it to reflect the Twilight Zone episode that inspired it.

I’m always looking for new ways to articulate what it’s like to function with depression. Thank you for listening and passing the piece along.

Instadamn: A Twilight Zone Audio Short

Insta Damn

(If SoundCloud is down, download the track)
(Download the instrumental version here)

Instagram finally has some competition: an image sharing application programed by demons, setting out to torment users through touch screens, cursing cameras, and casting voodoo onto viewfinders. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this photo viewer sees exactly what makes users so impure.

This is an invitation to hear a sales pitch from another dimension. A place where the technology we take for granted takes more than we bargained for. A place of vanity and disappear. Tune in, because the advertisement you’re about to listen to is coming straight from the Twilight Zone.

My Best Photoshop Costumes for Halloween

I’ve done a lot of digital dress up for horror themed articles on my site. Here’s a collection of my best computer generated costumes for Halloween.

Selfies from the Twilight Zone

Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

Submitted for your approval, a photo application with a very unique function. Through its lens, you’ll see into another world. A world not too far from our own, where vanity is condemned with words but embraced with pictures, where self esteem depends on the perception of one’s peers. There’s only one subtle difference; this app goes beneath the skin to bring our true selves to the surface.

The subject can try to hide, show their most symmetrical side, cock their hip to look slender, but our digital mirror will make the facts clear. It erases slight squints, sucked in cheeks, and upturned chins. It takes fish lips, frog tongues, and duck faces off the menu. It shows the cracks beneath the glamour, the sadness beneath the humor, and the cowardice beneath the peacock feathers. It expands the frame to show the whole picture.

While most photo applications are exhibitions of vacant expressions, ours is a gallery full of empathy. Each portrait invites the viewer to peer through the windows of the subject’s soul, to see through the eyes of their storm, to get lost in the surrealistic cyclones swirling in their thought clouds. Other platforms distill those dark spots, ours shines a light on them, our only filter is the truth.

To Serve Man
To Serve Man

While Instagram has users staging candids, rehearsing off the cuff poses, and engineering their all natural looks, Insta-Damn shows their spirits. They can go through the chore of looking like they’re having fun, pain themselves to seem laid back, inflate themselves to seem down to earth, but Insta-Damn shows users for what they really are.

These are not the aura pictures you get at the fair. These portraits lay all of your personality’s deformities bare.

Early adopters have little reason to embrace the humiliation, but when they see everyone in their feeds using it, they’ll come. If peer pressure doesn’t get to them, curiosity will. Who doesn’t want to know what they look like on the inside? Who doesn’t want to see their ideas take shape? Who doesn’t want the purity of their heart graded?

It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Insta-Damn sees you with eyes that are utterly clear.

Submitted for your perusal: your dirty little soul. Look upon it at your own risk, because these selfies come straight from the Twilight Zone.

Eye of the Beholder
Eye of the Beholder

Obscure Horror Movie Suggestions: Part 2

2. Monocle Man

May I present Part 2 of my Obscure Horror movies suggestions series:

Reality Warping Reels and
Romance from the Twilight Zone

Hardcore horror movies can be a little too spicy for some viewers. That’s why I put together a list of suggestions that are more cerebral than gory, and for those of you with a zero tolerance policy for all things scary, I’ve put together a list of obscure supernatural romantic movies.

If you’re brave enough to explore the spicier side of horror check out Part 1:

Real World Horror and
Supernatural Horror

Next week, I’ll be exploring the best obscure Found Footage and Mockumentary movies so stay tuned. Continue reading Obscure Horror Movie Suggestions: Part 2