Despite my plans to get a jump of my Halloween writing, I’ve left it until the last moment.
Same for the photo; not up to my usual self-imposed standard, but it will do . . . rather, it will have to do.
First, let me start with my Twitterween (yes, I made that up . . . ain’t it clever?) flash stories.
This is one I did not use; I wrote it, then erased it, but I share it here.
The blade cut and cut, finally resting on bare bone. “Next year, you carve the turkey,” she said, wiping sweat from her brow.
See, it felt more like a Thanksgiving story, and I don’t recall Thanksgiving have a long tradition of horror . . . although it depends on the family one is hanging with. Regardless, not Halloween.
This is the response I offered in response to a Tweet asking why ghost don’t haunt everyday items like spoons and stuff.
In need, she reached behind her, but met only cold steel. “Damn it,” she yelled at the ghost haunting her, “quit taking the toilet paper!”
Non-Twitter people might not realize these stories have to keep to the 140-character limit of Twitter. It makes it a bit of a challenge to elicit horror, and doubly hard to come up with a twist ending in such limited medium. I am, after all, all about the twist ending.
Here’s two that have no twist ending, sort of.
Too late he realized the shadow was no shadow.
She woke to a soothing caress . . . and remembered she lived alone.
I should have used ‘tender’ as opposed to ‘soothing’.
Despite all the warnings, she had invited them in. There was no escape for her now; the Jehovah Witnesses were just starting their spiel.
Her clothes in tatters, she looked at her very own demon from hell. “I really do need a new washing machine,” she thought.
Yeah, I know . . . not that good. I admitted as such on Twitter (not that anyone was reading them, anyway), and they get posted on FaceBook, as well, so I will suffer twice the indifference!
These next two were, in my opinion, the best.
She ran, the beast’s nails clicking on the pavement as it chased her. “I can’t take in another lost puppy,” she thought, picking up speed.
Everywhere she turned, in every room, eyes followed her every move. Oh, how she hated art museums.
Eh . . . perhaps I should have passed this year, like I did last year.
Also, since I said I would, I did write a short story. Not as clever as a few years ago, and probably not as compelling. Certainly nowhere near as great as THIS STORY.
I just finished writing mine five minutes ago, and I’m letting it ‘simmer’ for a few minutes before posting it, you know, in case it’s not perfect, and I need to catch an error or two. However, be forewarned . . . I can’t guarantee that a few errors won’t sneak through.
Copyright E. J. D’Alise 2014
“Don’t worry,” Jane said, “I’ll be fine. Come back in the morning.”
The Miller family’s token expression of concern was replaced with one of hope as they closed the door.
Jane looked around. She had screened their story, and especially liked they had not contacted some phony money-grubbing medium or attention-hungry ghost busters.
The Millers had lived with the haunting for two years, beginning with small events, and building to things with potentially more dangerous ramifications, such as the flame on the stove blowing out last week. Luckily, they had smelled the escaping gas, and had closed the valve.
They had done their research, reaching out to other people suffering from sometime mischievous, sometimes dangerous spirits, and Jane had consistently came up as achieving results. As a bonus, she did not charge anything. They had called her last week.
She opened her bag, and pulled out her dinner, not liking to mooch from her hosts. Plus, as a true ghost hunter, she trusted only what she made for herself.
She sat at the kitchen table, and started eating just as the sun set, the last rays casting a blood-red tint on the clouds and, in turn, her surroundings. It felt cozy.
She was half-dozing on the sofa when she heard it. She glanced at the clock on the wall. Just before the hands started spinning in opposite directions, it marked 10:37 pm.
She did not move, waiting for the next thing to happen. The dishes were next, starting with a slight rattle, and growing to a significant fracas. It lasted maybe 30 seconds before abruptly stopping.
Next, she watched footprints appear on the wood floor, as if left by someone’s wet feet. The prints changed to indentations when they stepped onto the carpet, continuing toward her.
She watched as they circled around the sofa, going behind her. Jane did not stir or look back.
The next thing impressed her . . . spirits could not usually affect material things to a significant degree. This one was powerful. The opposite end of the sofa lifted a few inches before coming back down with a thud.
She felt a coldness about her, but especially off her right shoulder.
“Got you,” she thought!
A gray mist separated from Jane, and in an instant formed into a smoky figure whose arm lashed out and grasped something as yet invisible. At the moment of contact, it coalesced into a rough figure, masculine, and struggling to escape the grip.
She waited until it stopped.
“Can we talk?” She could ‘think at’ the spirit, but preferred going the speech route.
“Who are you? What are you?” The thought came to her mind as if a whisper.
“My name is Jane, and that is Duurien, Aide to The Prime, holding you.”
“That means nothing to me.”
Jane started into her prepared speech.
“Fair enough. Think of a loose assemblage of afterlife domains, all for eons left to themselves. Then, think of The Prime as someone who decided to clean them up, consolidate them, get them all under a unified rule.”
“Okay . . . “
“So, that done, now think of a number of lone wolves, so to speak, roaming around in the realm of the living. Unruly, unfocused, such as yourself.”
“Okaaay . . . “
“Well, we can’t have that, can we? So, here’s the deal. You can either come with us and join one of the afterlife realms, or you can join the Reckoning Brigade.”
“The Reckoning Brigade?”
“Yes . . . you see, The Prime ousted the, ah, previous leader, and decided we should have a more focused purpose.” Duurien ‘let go’ of the spirit who, now curious, remained visible and in place.
“As you might know, every year there are many, many murders of innocent people.”
The spirit glowed; he too had been murdered, years ago, not far from this very house. He held no resentment to the family living here now, but his unfocused anger often manifested into releases of energy that rattled real-world items. Eventually, he got to like this release and the reaction it provoked; it was his only remaining contact with the physical world.
“Your killer is already gone, and is being . . . dealt with; but, there are many killers out there still living, still killing, and their victims are lost, alone, and suffering, not knowing what to do.”
Jane flashed back to her own wanderings before she had been ‘found’. She would now be a mess, her life forever entwined to fear and guilt. Fear of it happening again, and guilt for having survived where so many had not.
Duurien, on behalf of The Prime, had offered her a purpose, protection, and most of all, the chance to help others; not only in this life, but also in the next, if need be.
“You could guide them, train them,” Jane continued, “offer them a purpose.”
“Yes; you can help train them to haunt their killers, perhaps hastening their travel to, ahem, the other side, where we’ll deal with them.”
The spirit floated silent and confused.
Jane understood. Spirits did not, as a rule, think, contemplate the future, or do much of anything, really, beyond try to exist in the present. It took effort, and more important, a purpose, to push the idea of “future” on spirits facing nondescript eternity.
“Many of them are kids . . . “ Jane let the sentence hang.
The spirit suddenly seemed more substantial, better defined. The voice that came into her head was strong, no longer unsure.
“I will teach them.”
Jane rose. She will be getting home early, perhaps even have a nice sleep before the long drive to her next haunted house.
The Miller family, too, will finally also get a good night sleep.
Meh! It’s too late to write something else. This is gonna go live.
However, wouldn’t it be nice of victims could, indeed, haunt their killers? Alas, there is no afterlife, spirits and ghost figments of our own imagination.
Have a safe Halloween, and hope that Zombies and Vampires didn’t wait until tonight to make their move. Before we would realize they were among us, we’d be overrun.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.