What have we here? It seems Tyr Kieran has shed his mild demeanor, gone beyond mere darkness into the inky black other to drag us deep within his own psyche while thrashing his tail a bit. “Your dinner is in the oven!” Mmm-mmmh – a great flick, and one that for the past few years this particular deviant has brought to mind. I may have to reassess that particular association; I do believe something a bit more sinister is called for in Master Kieran’s case. Shall we trespass on his hallowed ground, learn more about his fascination with horror? After you, damnlings…
It’s difficult to determine whether the darkness was always there, or if a series of events and influences conjured it into being. Am I a tortured soul hanging on to sanity with an ever loosening grip? No… at least I don’t think so. Have I endured humanity’s worst; a life of agony, turmoil, or despair? No. I have a family that I love dearly and some great friends, but it certainly hasn’t been all sunshine and lollipops. I do know pain. I know darkness well and I usually feel more comfortable in the moon’s shadow than the sun’s glare.
One of my oldest influential memories, one that I cherish, is of the first time I heard the sinister, authoritative, riveting voice of Vincent Price. I was no older than eight, sitting in my elementary school class, listening to a reel of Mr. Price reading The Pit And The Pendulum. His iconic voice enthralled me so much that I flinched when the end of the film reel spun free and slapped repeatedly against the player: thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack. I looked around the room to see if everyone else was okay—if they’d miraculously survived as I had—only to find my classmates napping or entertaining themselves with note writing and doodling. I was equally as shocked at the indifference of my peers as I was at the masterpiece I’d just experienced. Needless to say the combination of Edgar Allen Poe and Vincent Price was quite memorable. Did that experience birth my dark interests or had it simply unearthed innate appetites for horror?
It’s possible that the horror boom of the 80’s solidified my desire for darkness. I can remember peeking at a few rated-R films through the flawed veil of my mother’s fingers and sneaking late night viewings of supernatural television shows or flashlight reads of Stephen King. Even children’s entertainment had a dark streak back then; not all punches were pulled, not all endings were rolled in sugar. That resonated with me and I always sought out the grit and the gruesome.
So, looking back, it shouldn’t surprise you that my first school writing project was met with a bleak, violent tale of destruction. I had carefully crafted a story where a merciless alien destroyed city after city, killing countless humans with its bare hands. This shocked my teacher and she promptly called my parents. I was instructed to change the ending to a positive one and I hated it.
That lesson taught me that horror is an unappreciated and misunderstood craft. From that point on, I buried my darkness—imprisoning it like a twin in an iron mask. I carried on for many years as a closet horror fan and I damned near forgot my desire to write.
At times, that dark voice would bubble to the surface, having gained strength from exposure to the stunning works of such artists as Alfred Hitchcock, H.R.Giger, and H.P.Lovecraft. But, life kept getting in the way and so did my self imposed restraints.
Then, on one particularly stressful day at the office, my eyes—partially shuttered against the mounting pain of a migraine headache—popped open in revelation: This isn’t what I want. If I could choose a profession without concern for money, what would make me happy? The darkness within ripped free of its bindings and roared: writing horror was the unmitigated answer.
I began with consumption and practice—reading as much as I could while honing my craft through short stories.
The interaction and accessibility of social media quickly caught my eye and I decided to share my journey. In the spring of 2009, I introduced my first Interactive Fiction Project. Leveraging social media, my internet friends were given the opportunity to read a novel as it was being written. Since each segment was composed within hours of posting, it created a unique environment where everyone was on the same “page” (including the author) at the same time. It also meant that readers could interact with the author before the next segment of the story was conceived. It was fun for all, especially the naming rights contest at the project’s completion.
Then, I became Damned!
In May of 2012, I was invited to write for a new group of horror authors called Pen Of The Damned. It’s been a blast working with such talented writers and delving into the depths of damnation with them week after week: Indie horror at its best! I relish in contributing tales of woe and terror to the POTD. Check out my stories and you’ll get a taste of the dark voice that guides my pen.
So, the question still remains. Is my darkness a product of Nature or Nurture? Arguments could be made for either stance, but rest assured, it’s unleashed and it’s got a whole lot more to say.
About Tyr Kieran – /Tie-er Keer-awn/ is a horror author from the greater Philadelphia Area. He writes vivid tales of darkness for the enjoyment of all the normal (messed up) people out there, just like him.
Tyr conducts his Interactive Fiction Projects on his website and social media profiles twice a week with freshly written segments to an ongoing novel. Learn more about it on his blog. You can also find him on twitter at @TyrKieran, on Facebook, and Google +
Read Tyr’s Latest Post on Pen of the Damned
“That was a crazy night, huh?”
Arthur spoke the words over his shoulder as he groped around the table for his glasses. They were hard to miss with their stereotypical thick black frames and even thicker lenses. Cold against his skin, he shivered while fitting them into place. With the heat of his passion fully dissipated, he was quickly reminded of how cold his room could get.
Now able to see, Arthur spotted his clothes strewn on the floor. He threw on the shirt and started working at the buttons. “I hope you had as much fun as I did, wow. That was incredible.”
He was a man of small stature with a voice that followed suit, high and light. The excitement behind his molar-bearing grin nearly pushed that voice to the cracking point.
The young woman lying behind him with frazzled blonde hair, conversely, remained silent.
“I don’t want you thinking this is a normal practice for me. I’m not a serial one-night stand kinda guy. I just felt a connection between us, you know—a genuine spark that demanded exploration.”
He chuckled and turned to face her. “Usually, I try to get to know a woman before, I uh… Well, usually, that doesn’t work either, especially with a beautiful woman like you… and, never as strangers upon the first meeting, like this.”
A near imperceptible sigh escaped her lips.