So I know I’m a little late to the party in posting this, but IT’S OCTOBER! YAAAAAYYYY! October is one of my favorite months, and kicks off what I call the Trifecta of Holiday Magic, which occurs in October, November, and December. The Trifecta of Holiday Magic is my absolute favorite time of the year. There’s Halloween and my birthday, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. Perfect.
Since I was an almost Halloween baby (I was born October 30th), my birthday celebrations growing up always had an underlying Halloween theme, which endeared the holiday to me even more. I love everything about Halloween, from the cheesy yard decorations to the special edition orange and black M&M’s. I also love to indulge in the scarier side by watching The Exorcist, reading scary ghost stories, and, sometimes, writing them too.
Before I started writing stupid stuff on the internet, I primarily wrote fiction. DON’T GET EXCITED, I was never published. But from the fourth grade until college, I churned out a steady stream of short stories. Some of it was scary, some of it wasn’t, less than a handful I would consider as being actually good. That’s the way it goes. Not every oyster has a pearl, folks. But as I was writing, I found that I liked writing about really fucked-up things the best, whether they were ghosts or just people whose lives made you want to go cry for the fate of humanity. The darker side of life fascinates me, and when I write stories that tend to venture in that direction, it excites me.
Back in college, at around this time of year, my roommates and I were obsessed with the Sunland Mental Institution in Tallahassee. It first started off as a tuberculosis hospital, then as a questionable hospital for mentally-challenged children. It was officially shut down in 1983, but stayed alive in local folklore when people started reporting that it was haunted. It was probably the best real-life horror story any of us had ever heard, so for about a week or so, we were glued to our computer screens reading anything and everything related to Sunland we could find. I was so fascinated that I wrote a short story about it. I re-read the story tonight, and since it didn’t make me cringe, I thought I would share it here, keeping in the Halloween spirit and all. Not sure if it’s all that scary, but I remember having fun writing it–I think I stayed up until like one in the morning or something.
Unfortunately, Sunland is no longer, having been torn down a few years ago in order to build apartments. At first I was like, “Who the HELL would want to live there?” but then my sister said the complex had a coffee bar and now I totally want to live there. I’ve run races for coffee, I’d probably put up with ghosts for it, too.