A surprising number of teenagers in 2019 (some them, no doubt, encouraged by hit films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman) are fans of 70’s and 80’s rock. So, too, is Alyx, the Feisty Teenage Heroine of This Wasted Land, my latest young adult dark fantasy novel.
To go along with that, I set up the table of contents for TWL as a “playlist,” and named each chapter after a hard rock song. Each relates to their chapter in some way, whether it evokes the mood, mirrors events, reiterates themes, or simply inspired it. You can find posts about other songs on the playlist here.
Track 3 of TWL is “Ladies Room,” by KISS, which first appeared on Rock and Roll Over, their fifth studio album. Like most other KISS songs (especially of that era), it’s about…umm…having a very personal encounter with a young lady, this time in a restroom.
You’re such a jewel in the rough
You wanna show me your stuff
For my money, you can’t be too soon
Meet, meet you in the ladies room
Of course, being a Gene (“The Demon”) Simmons song, it has a hint of menace to it:
You say you like to play
Well, it’s too late for you to get away
And you’ve gotta believe me, when I say
The song dovetails nicely with the third chapter of TWL, in which our Feisty Teenage Heroine, having recently arrived in the ashen desert where most of the book takes place, uses a restroom–and is approached by some thing with malicious intent:
skeeeeeeeee of the women’s room door opening. Quiet as I can, I yank up my jeans, button them. Sit on the seat and pull up my feet so whoever it is can’t see them.
Little boy? he asks. At least I think it’s a he. Deep voice, sorta slurred, more like croaking than talking. Slow, panting, like talking wasn’t easy. Shuffling. There’s no little boy here, you freak. Why would there be one in the women’s bathroom?
Little boy? Shuffling, coming closer. Did he see me? Hear me?
Are you there? Stops in front of my stall.
I want you, little boy.
As for what happens after that…well, you’ll just have to read the book. Chapter 3 cranks up the scariness from Chapters 1 and 2, and I smile when people tell me how much it disturbed them. Whereas the previous chapters are very shocking, very in-your-face, Chapter 3 is very creepy: just what is outside the bathroom stall, trying to get in, and get Alyx?
I’ll meet, meet you in the ladies room
Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults and adults who are still young. In his latest novel, This Wasted Land, high-school senior Alyx Williams learns that witches are real when one attacks her and her boyfriend Sam, dragging him off to a nightmare world where Alyx must go to get him back.
Kenton is the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog. He also wrote Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons! With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature. Kenton also published Hand-Selling Books to help authors better their sales.
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