This week on The Scariest Part, my guest is Patrick Rutigliano, whose new novella is Wind Chill. Here’s the publisher’s description:
What if you were held captive by your own family?
Emma Rawlins has spent the last year a prisoner. The months following her mother’s death dragged her father into a paranoid spiral of conspiracy theories and doomsday premonitions. Obsessing him, controlling him, they now whisper the end days are finally at hand.
And he doesn’t intend to face them alone.
Emma finds herself drugged and dragged to a secluded cabin, the last refuge from a society supposedly due to collapse. Their cabin a snowbound fortress, her every move controlled, but even that isn’t enough to weather the end of the world.
Everything she knows is out of reach, lost beyond a haze of white. There is no choice but to play her father’s game while she plans her escape.
But there is a force far colder than the freezing drifts. Ancient, ravenous, it knows no mercy. And it’s already had a taste…
And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Patrick Rutigliano:
To me, the scariest part of my new novella Wind Chill is its isolated setting…or maybe just that it appeals to me.
A cabin in the remote wilderness, no matter how well equipped, probably sounds miserable to most people. I think this isn’t so much due to a loss of modern conveniences as the lack of human interaction.
People are social animals by nature. Interdependence has allowed us to survive as a species and serves as the touchstone for society. Virtually every conceivable service a person can’t provide for himself can be found via a phone book or 9-1-1. Free time is often spent going out with friends for a drink, to a party, or to be part of an audience. Live together, love together, mourn together. It’s the human way.
So, why does solitude come off sounding so…enticing?
Introversion is surely part of it (I’m a homebody, and I tend to find gatherings draining), but I think a lot of it is the quiet. Connected as we are now, our tendency for chatter has filled our world to the brim with racket: television, social media, and even the steady pulse of street noise. It’s always there–ambient sounds rattling in your skull–even if you don’t notice it. But when you do, it’s about as piercing as a jackhammer. So much so, that the thought of waking up and finding it gone feels like waking up on another planet. And with all those handy services gone, a far more dangerous one, too. But even that’s part of the draw. Because with that complex system missing, things suddenly become a lot simpler.
All the crap that’s become par for the course in modern life disappears. There’s no time card to punch or traffic jams to traverse. Instead it all boils down to living as well as you can without snuffing it. All the pressure and rewards are on you. I think there’s a freedom and simplicity there that resonates with me. And given the ongoing obsession with post-apocalyptic works in this modern age, I have a feeling I’m probably not alone.
So, I suppose the frozen wastes I wrote about hold a certain glamour for me. A siren song that makes me want to enter despite what would likely be dire consequences. I guess there’s just something to be said for choosing a road entirely of your making, even if the rest of the world never gets to see you walk it. Or if you happen to freeze to death Jack Torrance style along the way.
Patrick Rutigliano: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page
Wind Chill: Amazon / Crystal Lake Publishing
Patrick Rutigliano made his way as a fry cook, cart monkey, and feral cat tamer before going into business for himself. Working as an editor and proofreader in addition to writing, his first independent release, The Untimely Deaths of Daryl Handy, hit Amazon in 2013. His first novel, Surviving the Crash, was released by Retro Rocket Press in 2014. Crystal Lake Publishing put out his newest work, Wind Chill, in January 2015. During his off time, Patrick can usually be found attempting to recreate foreign cuisine, performing the solemn duty of feline waterbed, and having spirited debates with his wife over the failings of Disney villains.