wandering spirits

river mill bridge landscape wallpaper background
Image Credit: WallpaperUp.com

The wooden paddles dip gently into the stream and then pull free, droplets splashing from every surface, as the wheel spins around and around.  The near silent passing of the water beneath the mill tickles the air with its whispered murmurings.  The creaking of the tired joints is the only sound out of place in an otherwise serene setting.

Splotches of scattered clouds, small but stretching high into the heavens, race across the sky and leave a checkerboard of shade in the waving grasses along the stream.  The sun winks playfully as the game transpires.  The trees at the far edges of the rolling meadow sway ever so slightly while birds sing to the day and squirrels bicker teasingly.

Ghosts walk through the tall grass and dip their hands in the cool water.  They can’t be seen but are felt when eyes close and minds open to the wonders of the world.  Their lingering presence caresses the physical life they’ve left behind, in all forms and warmths, in a nostalgic fawning for what they remember but can no longer grasp.

There’s no need to fear these wandering spirits.  They cannot leach your energy or vitality.  They cannot usurp your dreams or flesh.  They simply envy that which they’ve lost and they enjoy the fleeting moments they can sense while passing nearby.  Their emotion, however, is as transient as their being and quickly dissolves and changes.

flares

(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dvortygirl)
Image Credit: Dvortygirl

The flares, sputtering red, shoved across the unbroken white line, are the only evidence that remain of the early morning tragedy.  Their harsh bursts of splotchy fire defy the tranquil darkness, daring the passersby to remember their own mortality, to ponder the recently departed.  They demand attention, and they receive it as the road slows to a crawl.  One by one, we all pay homage, for those few minutes, until the light of the flares fades to nothingness in our rear-view mirrors, and then we forget and speed along on our separate journeys through shared space and time.

We must forget.  It is the only way we can maintain our tenuously grasped shred of sanity in a world spinning farther and faster away from our control every aging second.  If we ever fully admit and realize our mortality, we will surely be crushed by the enormity of that truth.  It hovers above us at all times, a mass of risks and eventualities with dagger edged arms known as “fear” and “doubt” that swing chaotically around us hoping to pierce our hearts.

Outlines of ghost cars, mangled, misshapen and mauled, flash briefly and faintly in the scattered lights.  The trail of dying flares run through where the shimmering husks once rested, our eyes showing us a glimpse of how things were before we arrived.  We don’t see the accident itself, we don’t hear the screams or see the blood, but we see the aftermath.  We see how the vehicles had been pushed to the edge of the road so that progress could go on.

Progress must go on.  We cannot be inconvenienced by the unfortunate events that befall others.  We cannot spare them more time from our own dwindling reserves than we have already given in our slow hat-tipping pass by their final resting places.  There are bills to buy and junk to pay.  We have families that pretend to depend on us.  We have careers that pretend to value us.  The world is topsy-turvy and we have to hurry along our paths before we get left behind and fall off.

Four cars collided one dark and mist soaked morning in December hours before the sun would rise and the bulk of southern California’s humanity would flock in search of their daily worms.  Time slowed for their fellow commuters as they gawked at the chaos and aftermath, stuck on the thermals of their morbid curiosity.  The sirens came and tended to the injured and cleared the scene in some semblance of an importance based order.  Time played its normal tricks, from too slow to too fast, and the day moved on.

Four lives were forced to face their mortality, and all those who drove by the spot of turmoil, for a time, were required to briefly join their journey of contemplation.  But the power of the tragedy waned as the hours passed, and eventually no trace, not even the flickering of a dying flare, was left as a portal to deathly thoughts.  Another day, another tragedy, and it was quickly brushed aside, except for those four lives who could never forget again.

a windy night

I feel the cool caress of the sheets, twisted about my contorted body, and the sensation helps me stumble from my thin sleep.   My eyes blink away the vivid colors of my dream and absorb the darkness of the room.  All is quiet, all is still… except for the demons loosed from my imagination.  They stir in the shadows and their nightmarish whispers swirl around me.  The monsters are at the window trying to get in.  My breath sticks in my throat.

There are no monsters, there is just the wind, singing bawdy sea shanties, dancing across the window.

The normal, though jubilant, ocean breeze running its course from the sea to the inland foothills shouldn’t be enough to coax forth the worst of my demons.  It is harmless.  It is playful.  Alone, it poses no threat.  But, it is never alone.

Anytime the winds come wandering up from the coast to browse voyeurishly through my neighborhood, they bring the past with them.  They bring the memories of the harsh and biting desert winds from my youth.  They bring the monsters that haunted my nights then.

I try to breathe normally but the air rattles in my lungs and I’ll can manage is a sharp gasping.  My pulse races after drinking heavily of the intoxicating adrenalin that has flooded my body.  My gaze frantically searches the shadows for the threat I know is there.   I don’t dare move.  I don’t dare close my eyes.

The room suddenly explodes into contrasting angles, wrought by my distorted depth perception and rampant fear.  The shadows are larger and closer than they should be.  The pools of light sneaking through the cracks in the blinds shrink away until they seem more like the forgotten tangent of a false memory than something concretely real I could cling to in my terror.

The darkness presses down on me, suffocating me, and I’m six again.  Blown sand, picked up from the miles of empty desert and carried to my house by an unseen force, taps at the window, urgently seeking ingress.  Does it want to escape the horrors of the night?  Or is it the horror trying to get to me?  The pressure of the storm sucks at the same window and the moans and groans echo in my mind.  The demons are calling for me.  Their giant maw wants to strip the flesh from my bones and devour my soul.  The long shadow arms break free of the corners and reach for me.  I can feel the twisted talons inches from my body, preparing to rake across my skin.

I turn my eyes away from the window, towards my only possible exit to safety, towards my last hope of surviving the nightmare and my gaze is met by the ghost from the hallway stepping through the open door into the room.

I want to scream.

I turn, the sheets no longer cool against me, and assess the clock to determine how much of the night is left.  I ignore the ocean breeze and the haunted memories that traveled in its wake.  I close my eyes and focus on calming my heart, on deep breaths, and on trying to salvage some peace and rest.  When all but a small tremor of fear have been banished, I drift back into a thin sleep, awaiting the hint of rising sun that will set me free.

they were not amused

She could see them clearly flitting around from the corner of her eye, flashes of white against the darkness.  They rattled their chains and voiced flesh chilling moans that echoed through the deserted hallways.  She wasn’t happy about their presence, and knew just who to call.

They saw her reaching for the phone and recognized the pattern of numbers being pressed.  She was calling for reinforcements in the form of their arch-enemies.  They tried to scare her away from the phone but she wouldn’t budge.  The louder they screamed at her to stop the more resolute in her actions she seemed.

They could sense more than hear that her call had gone through and they knew their time was short.  Very unhappy with how the haunting had gone, they gathered together and shaking their heads, slowly, went “boo” before disappearing into their home realm.

By the time the Ghostbusters arrived there was no trace of the ghosts ever having been there.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Word Count: 161

Written for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge:

On now to our weekly prompt.  It’s our last Halloween-inspired prompt of 2013, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us.  Please remember that we are looking for the third definition of our prompt word.  Please also note that we need the word exactly as it appears below.  No tense changes allowed. Good luck!
boo

1 (interjection) used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten
2 (noun) a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something
3 (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly
Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

Let’s Win!

Kozo has kicked off discussions on how we should/could re-claim humanity. I was honored to offer my simple solution: we need to look to ourselves and make sure we are doing the good we want to see in others first and now Rara has added her own spin on the discussion. It includes video games, pirates, and ghosts. Go check it out!

everyday gurus

For those of you who don’t know already, I have a blog crush. Every time this blogger hits publish, my heart flutters. Like the boy who finally gets the nerve to ask the girl who has been dancing all night for a dance, I usually get turned down when I approach these triple Freshly Pressed celebrities. But this blogger has more heart than the average dancing queen, so she agreed to guest blog for EverydayGurus. I can’t think of a more appropriate guest blogger, since this blog is about spreading the peace and her blog is about spreading the love. I’m so honored to present the incredible Rarasaur.

p.s. The related articles links below are my doing, not Rarasaur trying to drum up traffic which she doesn’t need. Please check out the magic in these other posts by the most popular dinosaur on wordpress.

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