Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 13

Unlucky 13? Masquerade prep, full lyrics to Pansy’s song, and deleted scenes!

It’s Friday the twelfth, but let’s go over chapter thirteen! Thirteen is actually my lucky number (my anniversary’s on a thirteenth), and almost every number in “Don’t Date the Haunted” adds up to thirteen. The trailer homes mentioned in chapter one for instance:
14008: 1+4+0+0+8=13
15025: 1+5+0+2+5=13
The time of Sean’s death: 1:48pm: 1+4+8=13
Plus, 1pm is the 13th hour, and that’s when Pansy meets Theo at the library.
The Horror Emigration Law, Section 13.06.3: 1+3+0+6+3=13

Pansy’s apartment number 201 doesn’t add to 13 because Pansy might have moved if it had. Also, 201 was my apartment number freshman year at university.

About this chapter, I get the privilege of talking with my older sister on a regular basis. She’s been one of my biggest supporters since “Don’t Date the Haunted” was published, buying it before anyone else in the family and sharing it with her book club friends.
During her first read through, she said she would read a little before going to bed. I asked her where she was in the book and she said, “Chapter thirteen.” Yeah, she stayed up way too late, because there’s no stopping point after chapter thirteen.

The masquerade was today… The dreaded day was here.

Chapter 13 of “Don’t Date the Haunted”

Quick reminder, if you don’t know what masquerade I’m talking about, go read “Don’t Date the Haunted!” Here’s a link, just in case. >>>

As I mentioned in chapter five, the screaming plumbing in the walls was based on a real-life experience. It was also only included here, at the beginning of chapter 13. I doubled up on the scene to give Pansy a rough introduction to Romance, and also alert the reader: things are about to get scary.

Initially, I had a few more queues to indicate a shift in the story, including a bloody shower (not fruit punch) that’s only in Pansy’s mind, receiving the second threatening letter, and Heather’s dolls temporarily possessed to laugh at her.

I changed it to the way it is now because the book was very split. The first half was all romance, and the second half was all horror. I needed to blend them.
Also, the main reason for all the scares one-right-after-another was to scare Pansy into going to the masquerade. An editor suggested that I instead coax Pansy into safety to develop her character into allowing herself to relax…before everything goes crazy.

So, I moved the final letter threat to the scene with Mr. E at the masquerade, and replaced the screaming pipes, bloody shower, and laughing dolls with dress-up time with Emma and Heather. If you’re curious, I’ll include segments of the deleted scenes below.

But first, a song!

Do you remember in chapter two, when I mentioned the theme song for that chapter that also inspired Pansy’s rap in the shower? It’s Twenty-One Pilots’ “Ode to Sleep.”

Song that inspired Pansy’s shower rap:
I’m pleading, please, oh please
On my knees repeatedly asking
Why it’s got to be like this
Is this living free?
I don’t wanna be the one to have the sun’s blood on my hands
I’ll tell the moon
Take this weapon, forged in darkness
Some see a pen, I see harpoon
I’ll stay awake
‘Cause the dark’s not taking prisoners tonight

For those who are curious, here’s the FULL song/rap that I wrote:

 I slay monsters and demons, Hauntings and Horrors
 Slaughtering laughter from abhorring torturers
 But I'm also a Horror backed in a corner
 Innocence gone, am I also a murderer?

 One 'I'm not scared' in the morning
 I hear my ghosts, they're still mourning
 I musta killed their friend
 This just might be my end

 The night takes no prisoners, leaves no survivors
 No no survivors, even the fighters
 We fight for our lives down like spirals, screwdrivers
 Divers in fire, heat's rising higher
 The heart keeps on beating and bleeding out drier

 Two 'prickly haired' in the morning
 I hear my ghosts, they're still mourning
 I musta killed their friend
 This just might be my end

 Three 'I'm prepared' in the morning
 I hear my ghosts, they're still mourning
 I musta killed their friend
 But I will never bend. 

Though the previous drafts didn’t have Pansy’s song, they continued this way:

Ahhh . . . I needed this.  The warm water fell on my head, seeped to my skull, and tumbled down my back, allowing me to close my eyes and relax. 
Sure, that evening I’d probably have a full blown anxiety attack about being alone, but at that moment, it was all a wash.
I let the shampoo sit in my hair while I loaded a sponge with soap.  After scrubbing myself all over, I put my whole body back under the faucet for rinsing.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as relaxing the second time.  I checked myself for remaining soap suds and choked on my song, stumbling on my own two feet.
Blood washed off me and down the drain.  It was more than if I’d cut myself while shaving; I was drenched in it.  I checked the faucet for red juice powder.  Out came pure water, but as soon as it touched my skin it thickened red.  Instead of sweet fruit, the water smelled metallic.  This wasn’t a college prank.  This was a Haunting sign.
I reached to turn off the faucet knob, but my hands shook.  The shaking spread through me, and my legs wobbled.  The water/blood felt cold on my skin.  Maybe the hot water ran out?  No, steam still rose.  I vomited.
I shook even harder from the heaving.  My sense of stability weakened as my puke mixed with the thick red substance.  A sick memory threatened my mental constitution.  The steamed smell of my regurgitation didn’t help.  I threw up again.
Someone knocked on my shower stall, “Pansy, is that you?  Are you okay?”
It sounded like Emma.  She had to shout over the static of the fan and shower.
“Y-yeah,” I stuttered.  I eventually gripped the knob and turned off the water.  What was I supposed to say?  Yes, everything is fine, I threw up for the fun of it?  No, I’m covered in blood and this shower is condemned?  Both statements were equally unbelievable.  I imagined her reaction if I drew back the curtain and revealed my naked, bloody self.  I probably looked like an insane killer Haunting who bathed in the blood of her enemies.  No, the best way to keep a Haunting from involving others was to keep others from interacting with the Haunting.
“I-I don’t feel well,” I stammered.
“I guess it’s a good thing you’re not coming tonight then,” she said.
I stood in the shower, trying to swipe the blood off of my body with my hands.  How would I keep my roommates from asking questions about the Haunting if my bathroom towel was drenched in blood?  I reached for my towel and touched the corner with my red fingertips.  The blood didn’t spread.  It dried clear like water.

The next deleted scene was Ruby barging in with Pansy’s third threat. Ruby and Heather were excited, thinking it was someone asking her to the dance, and only Pansy knew it was a threat.
The transition here was a bit rough as I needed Pansy to dress up. In these earlier drafts, she dressed up out of boredom.

So this was insanity: a borderline to boredom.  I pulled another clump through the iron.  There was no way I’d spend every morning to do this.
A laugh broke out and I nearly burnt myself with the curling iron.  I checked behind myself, sure that Emma or Heather had walked in on my bizarre attempt to dress up.  The door was still closed and the laughter came from beside me.  I followed the noise to stare at Heather’s bed.
No one was there except her collection of freaky dolls.
There was something eerily familiar about that laugh too.  It was a man’s laugh, and I couldn’t place it, but it reminded me of better times.  I searched through the dolls for the source, but couldn’t find any hidden recorder or a specific demonic doll.
Then, another doll joined.  I stepped back, afraid of whatever it was.  Another doll with the same laugh, and then another.  Soon, they were all laughing as a crowd.
I grabbed the curling iron like a baton, ready to smash every last one of Heather’s “prized possessions.”  Except the laughter was no longer pinpointed to the dolls.  It was also behind me, a group of laughter that grew louder.  Glad I wore my running shoes, I burst from my bedroom, jerking the iron’s chord from the electrical socket.  The laughter from the dolls became distant, but the second group came nearer.  They were closer than the thundering wind outside.  They laughed just around the corner, in the kitchen.
The Haunting was in my dorm and coming closer.  I lifted the still-hot curling iron like a baseball bat.  I would not go down without a fight.

The chapter ended there and chapter fourteen picked up with her running into Heather, Emma, their dates, and Theo. All dressed up for the dance.
To be continued next week!

One reply on “Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 13”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s