So, for “Horror Week” on Goodreads.com, they sent questions to authors requesting a two-sentence horror story. So, here’s the question and my response, then a little analysis of the Edgy Catholic nature of this concise example:
Goodreads: Can you tell us a two-sentence horror story?
Joseph Cillo Jr: Ok, but it will be dark, Poe-like, with a Catholic edge, and I will need to use commas in a way that some may view as cheating to keep it to two-sentences…
The More Infernal Hell
By Joseph Cillo, Jr.
And I wondered, as I felt the life draining out of me, why, if there were no God, why was it that I so delighted to see her suffer at my hand, why any of it should matter, why anything should be so important, in this random, accidental universe? Feeling the heat of the eternal flames as my soul made its hellward descent, I pondered whether there were, indeed, saints who pass the test, who have faith enough to not cross the point of this hidden God’s mercy, and if perhaps I had not done her a favor in cutting off her path to that point, when my blade slit her throat, condemning my soul to a hell more infernal than the flames meant for my torment.
So, what’s so Edgy and what’s so Catholic about our two sentence story?
1) A first-person murder confession is a bit edgy, putting the reader in the place of the murderer. Also, very Poe-like.
2) The idea that the narrator “delighted” in causing suffering? Well, sure, that is edgy, especially in the first person.
3) The Catholic writer’s advantage of eternal consequences raises the stakes. Imagine this story without the existence of an afterlife and a judgment. The first sentence still works and is a bit edgy, but the eternal stakes adds power and intricacy, a whole new dimension to the story.
4) The discovery of the truth of a God and a judgement is very Catholic. The edginess of the character will often lead to a discovery of some truth that confounds their edgy worldview, which they may accept and change to accommodate in a redemption story, or, as in this story, be made more miserable by the revelation.
5) The idea that there is a merciful God is very Catholic
6) The idea that a murderer may have done his victim a favor in killing her, well that’s Edgy, and likely only makes sense in a Catholic context.
7) The idea of lack of repentance making Hell more infernal, I’d say that’s Edgy-Catholic.
When you find these kinds of elements in literature or movies, especially the unexpected discovery of the truth of something Catholic’s believe, no matter what the primary genre, you are likely experiencing something that we would consider Edgy-Catholic. The degree of edginess typically depends on the character’s worldview before discovering the Catholic moral truth.
So, that’s your edgy-Catholic lesson for today. Keep an eye out for the Edgy-Catholic! It’s coming for you!