Have you ever read something so scary or gross or disturbing that it haunted you? I’m not talking about nonfictional, real-world stuff. I mean fiction. An author wrote a scene and you had this visceral reaction to it. You put the book down and walked away for a while. Or you kept reading, but that scene stuck with you.
Here’s a partial list of scenes (authors and books helpfully listed) that got to me:
Stephen King, It: During the fire at the Black Spot, one of the members of the Maine Legion of White Decency is carried away by a huge bird held aloft by balloons. (I don’t know, something about that part scared the bejeebers out of me.)
Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted: One of the characters decides to, um, utilize the suction capabilities of a swimming pool’s water intake by sitting on it, and his lower intestines get pulled out. (Gross. Interesting tidbit: Palahniuk read this scene, “Guts”, aloud while on a book tour. As of 2007, a total of 65 people had fainted during the reading.)
Fred Gipson, Old Yeller: Right, the part where the dog dies. Only in the book, Old Yeller is shot right away, not left to develop rabies. (I did not expect that ending when I picked up the book at the tender age of nine. I had expected the movie ending.)
John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things: The whole book. I love it, but it’s sad.