In horror, we expect a few things: fear, action and violence. Usually, the writing is straightforward and sometimes even graphic. But can it also be poetic, even lyrical? It would seem unlikely, incongruous to the material. Flowery prose, heavy description, or lengthy ruminations would only distract from the action, right?
However, in Toneye Eyenot’s book, Wolvz Whispers of War (Project 26) this notion is challenged. Below is a small section that illustrates that point.
(Set up: The main Lycan character, Shona recalls the slaughter of her mother, Pharo.)
“I recall how once Pharo strode proudly through the forest, her head held high, eyes bright with intelligence and her chest tight with emotions that some think we don’t feel: pride, loyalty, regret, and affection. When she was slaughtered, she held back her whimpers of agonizing pain and locked rage-filled eyes on her predator, brave and beautiful to the end, her gaze promising retribution of the most terrible sort. When it carried her up in the air as if she were its personal trophy, Pharo was lifeless, her fur incinerated, eyes closed on the severed head resting precariously on her chest, and without the spark of fearlessness she was known for. She was just a bag of charred flesh and no more; she was no longer splendid.”
This shows why this writing style works in horror; it twists the emotional knife. The second rule in horror is make your readers care about the characters—especially the victims. Pharo died before the book even started, yet you feel a pang of regret at her passing, you feel the cruelty, and instantly understand Shona’s blood lust as she tears apart her first human victim:
“My snarling breath hot on its face, it gags on a scream, as saliva drips from my jaw to fall and slide down the back of its throat. I always like to revel in their fear and inhale it, but I have spent enough time gloating with this prize. One by one, my claws penetrate the chest and then slowly, I drag down, opening the body up from neck to groin. It screams. Its final vision is of my gaping maw, descending to tear away its head from the struggling body.”
Which brings us to the first rule of horror: Make the reader feel the horror!
Wolvz Whispers of War (Project 26) is an unforgettable horror tale and I give it five stars.