Ah, what to say about weapons. Such a splendiferous array of choices to use to end the life of a hapless character from poisons to guns to chainsaws, and on and on. To date I have shot, poisoned, stabbed, cursed, ripped off heads, cut out hearts, staked, sucked out souls, disemboweled, strangled, blown up, and roasted characters in demon fire. I have also employed various other methods with an odd assortment of weapons, including once using a rubber chicken and a Best Clown Award to bludgeon a character’s uncle.
Yet, despite my intermittent forays into the strange and unusual department for instruments of death, my favorite weapon is a blade, be it knife or sword. There is a certain elegance about sliding a well crafted piece of steel into fictional flesh and describing the gush of blood and occasional guts. It’s classic.
A bladed weapon can stab someone in the back, slice a throat, puncture an artery (and if in the neck, you get spurting blood and a quick death), disembowel, behead a victim, maim a limb (or hack it off), poke out an eye, slice out a tongue, skin someone alive, etc.; a most excellent choice for killing or torture.
Here are a few small excerpts from my writing to illustrate:
Instead, I go to my tool box and select a long slender knife. It will make a nice opening cut. I let him get a good look at my instrument. I love seeing the fear in his eyes. He’s not yelling anymore. Now he’s screaming…
She lunges with the knife, but that’s her mistake. I sidestep, grab her arm and slam her against the wall of the building. With the momentum, it doesn’t take much to rotate the knife and shove into her guts. I give the blade a twist to make sure the job’s done, pull it out, and let her fall.
Hannah unclasped her purse. From its folds, she snatched her knife and stabbed the man several times between the shoulder blades. He cried out, turned, and fell to the ground. He lay there twitching, blood and garbled choking sounds pouring from his mouth, red pools seeping from under his body.
So up and close and personal, isn’t it? A truly hands on approach to killing that makes it so darkly delightful. I think that’s why it’s my favourite. Any scene using a knife or sword has to be visceral, and bloody. It’s never orderly or tidy. It’s messy and intimate.
And that’s what the essence of horror is for me, a messy and intimate walk with readers down the dark, dark path into the world of terror…