Author’s Note: Hello peeps, I said I’d get some writing in that wasn’t a rant or a review. This is an original short story that I wrote about the character I played at the haunt. I promised the guys there I’d do it… back in March. Then… stuff happened. I don’t want to get into it. Still… enjoy this campfire story.
The Ballad of Horace the Hammer-Wielding Hellbilly
One summer night, four teenagers decided to go camping in the West Virginia hills. Tommy, Gina, Jack and Diane were sitting by the campfire, telling spooky stories based on the local lore. Just stuff about the Flatwoods Monster, Sheepsquatch, the Grafton Monster, and even the Mothman. However, those stories have been told over and over again. That’s when Tommy had an idea.
“Hey you guys know that there’s a less known legend, right?” Tommy asked.
“Tommy, we know you grew up in here. But what legend could we not know?” Gina asked him, not amused.
Both Jack and Diane were curious. Tommy then threw another log into the fire before starting.
“Have you ever heard of Horace?” he started.
Back in the nineteen-eighties, there was a simple man in West Virginia named Horace J. Scarlet. He was a hermit who lived in a shack in the middle of the woods. He made his living by fixing mining hand tools for the locals in town. Though naturally introverted, he tried his best to get along with the locals. Mainly by giving them high-fives when he’d say hello. However, he felt the most at peace with his hammer in hand while fixing things at his shack. As far as he was concerned, that’s all he needed in this era where computers and video games were starting to boom.
However, those peaceful days wouldn’t last forever. No matter what part of the world or what era you live in, there will always be crime. Especially when there’s a profit to be made from it. One day some city boys from the other side of the Ohio River came to town in hopes to find a place to make meth. Despite it being a harmful illegal substance, it was in demand and there would be people willing to pay for it. While scouting the town… they spotted a rusted old pickup truck. Due to a feeling about it, they inquired about the owner. And when they found out that the owner lived by himself in the woods… gears began to turn in their heads.
To them this was an opportunity. If they could convince that man to sell his land, they could use his shack as their base of operations in this Podunk town. So they followed the truck when Horace was done with his rounds of returning the tools he repaired. They offered Horace a good amount of money for his land. However, Horace refused as that land belonged to the Scarlet family even before the Civil War. As they couldn’t convince him with money, they tried to use force. Even with their threats, Horace still refused. Angered with the hillbilly’s refusal, they grabbed pick-axe handles from his spare parts and beat him to death. In order to hide the body, they threw the corpse into a nearby mine-shaft. As far as those city boys were concerned, no one was going to miss one hick. However… not everything would go as planned.
West Virginia is more mysterious than anyone gives it credit for. A lot of things that can’t be explained happen in those hills. No one knows how it happened, but Horace’s story did not end there. It could’ve been the state’s mysticism of the supernatural… or it could’ve been the chemical waste from the Tasty Bio-Meat Corporation that was stored in that mine illegally. But Horace’s story began in that mine when he had arisen from the dead. At first, he was confused. All he felt was pure rage, the anger to smash in the heads of those who wronged him. When finding his way out of that mine, he found an abandoned one-handed sledgehammer. He didn’t know how long he was in there, but it took him a while to find his way out.
Old Horace knew those woods like the back of his hand. He was able to find his way back to the shack, even though he had to kill a few local fauna that attacked him because of his rotting scent. And when he made it back… the city boys were no where to be seen. But his shack had changed. What used to be a crude yet humble home was now filled with chemicals and devices that he knew weren’t for making moonshine. If he wasn’t steamed before… he was now. He smashed everything in the shack and waited outside in hiding for those city boys to return. And when they returned… they were in for a few surprises.
At first, they wondered if they had just gotten competition as everything was smashed up and there was the faint smell of rotting meat. They knew they couldn’t call the sheriff, they were making an illegal substance on land that wasn’t theirs. But before they could figure out what to do… it was too late.
The first victim was the one who went outside for a smoke. Right as he tried to light up his cigarette with the lighter he stole from Horace… the lighter’s former owner came up from behind and swung down that sledgehammer with full force. But he didn’t stop with one swing. When the city boy fell to the ground, he kept swinging until the city boy’s head could easily be mistaken for ground beef.
When wondering why it was taking their friend so long to get back, another one came out of the shack. He screamed in horror when he found the body. The city boy ran back into the shack to tell the other one what he saw. But when they returned… the body was no where to be found. Only the blood and some bits of gray matter were on the ground. Knowing that they couldn’t go to the sheriff as they were still trespassing on a dead man’s land along with the fact that they were still making an illegal substance there, all they could do was go back to town and say that their friend went missing in the woods. But they never made it back to town.
Their first idea was to get back to their car. However… the hood was open and the spark-plug wires were no where to be seen. While standing there like the city boys there were, they heard the engine of a different vehicle start. It was the rusted out pick-up truck of the man they had killed not long ago. And after starting, it was heading their way. One managed to get out of the truck’s path, but the other… was not so lucky. He was sandwiched between the front of Horace’s pick-up and the passenger’s side of the car, coughing up blood and losing the usage of his legs due to his body being crushed. But it wasn’t over. Horace backed up and then rammed the city boy again when he fell. This time the city boy died from when his skull was crushed between Horace’s front bumper and the passenger’s side door.
The last city boy wasn’t dumb enough to stick around. Oh no, he knew that his life was in danger. However… he made the mistake of running into the woods. He thought it would buy him some time as Horace’s truck couldn’t be driven that well through the trees. But he made the mistake of forgetting that they originally threw Horace’s corpse into a mine-shaft in that area. So he fell into said mine-shaft and broke his legs in the process. He screamed in pain, but there was no one around to hear him. No one but old Horace that is.
When the city boy looked up, he saw the rotting hillbilly looking down at him. The city boy cursed at Horace, but it was pointless. Horace just smiled as he dropped something on the city boy. The city boy screamed in horror when he realized that it was a corpse with it’s head mostly missing, it was the corpse of his first friend who went missing that was on top of him. And then Horace threw the corpse of the one who became roadkill. After that, Horace walked away. But as for the city boy… he didn’t know what was in store.
All he could think about was what’s going to happen. Would Horace return? Would Horace abandon him, forcing him to eat the corpses of his friends to survive? No, he wasn’t going to die in that mine. That city boy struggled, but he managed to get the corpses off of him before trying to pull himself along that cold ground. He was determined to get out of that mine, to survive this encounter. But as he made progress, he started to smell something. It smelled like rotting meat. Could some animal had crawled into the mine and died? He didn’t know, he only knew that he had to make it out of there.
But before he could make it much further, he came face first with a boot. He looked up to see overalls before seeing the man wearing them. It was Horace, who was smiling. Before the city boy could scream, Horace picked him up by his hair and threw him down on his back. And then Horace swung down his sledgehammer. Horace started with the legs, and then the arms after making it to the pelvis. The rotting hillbilly systematically broke every bone in the city boy’s body. Though the screams had stopped as the city boy died in the process… it didn’t stop Horace.
About a week later, the sheriff and his deputies made their way to Horace’s shack. It was because no one had heard from Horace in a long time and there were reports of the city boys arriving to town from the direction that Horace normally does. Not to mention no one’s heard from the city boys for a while. But when the sheriff found the mine-shaft, he saw two bodies when he looked down it. And when the sheriff and the deputies searched the mine… they found the third body which couldn’t even be recognized as human anymore. But no matter how hard they looked… they could never find Horace. Just the faint smell of rotting flesh.
“And ever since that day, they say that you shouldn’t stick around if you smell rotting flesh in these woods.” Tommy said with a satisfied grin.
“Tommy, that story is a bunch of bull.” Gina replied with a dissatisfied look.
“Is it?” Tommy asked.
“It has to be. I mean, there’s no way someone named Horace Scarlet could ever exist.” she replied.
“Actually… there really was a Horace J. Scarlet who lived in these woods and disappeared back in the eighties. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask my uncle. He was the sheriff who investigated it back then.” Tommy declared.
“So you made up a story based on someone’s disappearance? Talk about despicable?” Gina replied with even more disgust. But then she asked, “Tommy… did you plant some rotting meat around here?”
“No…” Tommy started before sniffing.
The smell in the area was that of rotting meat. Before anyone could say anything, Jack fell into the fire pit. They looked to see a rotting man in overalls with a bloody hammer in hand. When they screamed, Horace swung down the hammer on the crown of Diane’s head. Despite the blood and gray matter flying all over the place, both Tommy and Gina raised their hands in acceptance of their fates. However… the hammer never came down on them. Horace slapped their hands with his empty hand before walking away into the woods.
After Note: I know, it’s rather campy. I wasn’t really going for scary or else I would’ve been more descriptive of the gore. It’s just recently I’ve had the motivation to work on this and it was on my back burner of things to write. Mainly I just wanted to get Horace’s story out there. I came up with the name because of a work shirt we had in the costumes that once belonged to a guy named Horace. As for the last name… it came from the twitter handle I stole from the Vic Mignogna situation. Some doofus used it for his alternate twitter account for a long time and changed it. So I took it with my alt twitter. I’m planning on changing it as I’m going to use the twitter for my brand in the near future. Speaking of my brand and Horace, click here to visit the RG07 Gaming & Novels Teespring store and either get a “Horace the Hammer-Wielding Hellbilly” shirt or mug.
I was thinking about making a series of stories about Horace… but I decided against it. I want to make a new character for this Halloween season. Thanks to playing Dead by Daylight, I’ve gotten inspired. I also recently watched the 4th Scream movie and started on the TV series. I want to do a masked-killer. Yeah, I find supernatural beings like Jason and Freddy Krueger scary, but it’s the slashers like Micheal Myers, Leatherface, and even Ghostface that really get me. It’s because it’s more real when the killer is human, that’s what really brings on the fear. So I’m going to design a mask and a new costume. Horace was fun, but it’s time for something new.