I was having a conversation with another writer about something that happens in her story to her main character. There's a portent in this other writer's story, one of those "bad things will happen" moments - though as is so often the case it's more like "bad things have happened but worse is coming" - and it got me thinking about heeding the warning signs. I write, sort of, within the horror genre and certainly read a fair amount of it. I've seen my share of zombie movies (some good, others not so much), vampire movies (ditto), and werewolf flicks (mostly bad), and know everything I probably ought to know when it comes to dealing with these things, assuming it would ever happen.
For example, there's the horror staple of the spooky shopkeeper. You know, the one that runs the shop in the basement, where it's kind of dark and dusty, or badly lit with flickering bulbs, and even if the shopkeeper looks reasonably normal, you just know something is off. Surely, having written and read enough stories where this is just the beginning of bad things, I'd know better than to buy anything in such a store, right?
Because I have bought things, or at least browsed and wanted to buy, in places just like that. All the time. (Heck, it sums up any number of comic shops I used to frequent in my younger days.) And quite honestly, as these objects are always something slightly old and slightly odd, they are precisely the kind of things I would buy at a flea market or antiques shop, no matter that the purveyor looks like a gypsy who was around selling trinkets for the crusade.
Or zombies. Never actually met one, but I don't own a flamethrower. I don't own a gun. I only nominally know how to fire any weapon, and that would mostly be the kind of weapons without enough firepower to do anything other than annoy a zombie. Assuming zombies get annoyed. Sure, there's the baseball bat... but honestly, my athletic skills are kind of like my combat skills. In other words, they are really limited. I might get in a lucky hit, but odds are, I'm toast.
As for staking a vampire.... Yeah, right. Sure. My best hope would be to keep running until daylight, and hope like heck that works. Which would not be a great hope, because I don't run very well. I'm not a jogger.
Nope, my athletic skills are mostly water-based. I'm great in the pool. Trouble is, all the horror nasties that are in the water are a lot faster than I am. I've see Jaws. Heck, I've even seen Deep Blue Sea. I'd definitely be more Samuel Jackson than LL Cool J in that one. So unless the terror is, oh, say, a sea urchin, or better yet a turtle, I'm probably dead in the water there, too.
And I strongly suspect yoga's absolutely useless as a monster survival skill.
All of which leads me to conclude that in real life, I'd much more likely be a sheep to the slaughter than the last survivor.
Thankfully all the monsters are staying where they belong. For now.