Have you ever owned an item that could be evil? Have you ever picked something up and immediately felt a bad energy, a sinking feeling, or just absolute dread? These are the questions that run through my head when I sit down to write a story.
For the past six years, I’ve sold vintage and antique items online. I’ve spent some serious time at estate sales, antique shops, and yard sales. I’ve been to sales that are unorganized and others that are run by professionals. Some days I found myself rummaging through people’s possessions in a darkened basement or going into an upstairs bedroom that hadn’t been touched since the 1980s, complete with Alf school folders and Star Wars bedsheets.
If it was a good day, I’d find things that I’d fall in love with and need to add to my collection. But there are times I have left things behind, because it just didn’t feel right. I’ve skipped rooms that made me shiver.
One time, in a near empty home nestled in the woods, there was a Ouija board in a child’s bedroom closet on the top shelf. It was one of the classic boards from the 60s and it was in perfect condition. But it felt off to me and I felt like I needed to leave the bedroom. The woman running the sale smiled and said, “No one wants this.” I gave a shrug as I backed out of the house. I didn’t want to take it home. Or maybe IT didn’t want me to take it home.
So when I start to brainstorm a story that is about an evil object, I think about the character too. Is the object really evil or has the character been evil all along? How does the item change the person? Does it trick them? Does it make them believe that it’s going to help them? Is the character using the object? Or is the object using the character?
I can’t help but think that we own our items, but our items also own us too. And maybe there’s a little bit of good in everything. And maybe a little bit of evil too.