howls and moans

The ghosts danced across the road,
Barely perceived except the occasional shimmering glint,
Caught in my headlights.

They flitted across the corners of my vision,
Only visible when I wasn’t looking for them,
And didn’t want to see them.

They surrounded my car, a swirling mass of shouting voices,
Rocking my frame, lashing against the windshield,
And then vanishing into the darkness.

Their howls and moans rising and falling,
Their swarms attacking in waves,
Their terror never fading.

The ghosts had other motorists to haunt,
As they flew loose and free about the world,
Driven by the wind.

I hate the wind…

the crossing

 photo bridge_zps85a89e14.jpg

Despite its infrequent use, the bridge remained free of debris.  The elders said it was part of the magic of the place.  The spirits that guarded the bridge wanted it to seem well taken care of, inviting, safe.

He’d doubted the existence of those spirits, and magic in general, since the medicine man had failed to save his dying father.  After watching the bridge for several days, he theorized that the falling leaves failed to settle on it because of the constant breeze that blew down the close canyon.  He would find out soon enough, though.

The death of his father had just been the first blow to his faith and trust in the teachings of his tribe.  Over the five years since, he had grown more distant, more weary, of their customs and beliefs.  He continued to say the words and practice the rites because he didn’t want to stand out, but they no longer held any meaning for him.

After completing his coming of age ceremony he hiked to the bridge for the first time.  He admired the cool dark water flowing out of the valley.  He wondered where the river was headed.  He longed to cross the bridge and see what else the world had to offer.  The sun shining downstream called to him, warmed his heart and set his resolve.

As he gathered his needed supplies he returned to the bridge each afternoon.  He watched for the spirits but never saw any.  He looked for other travelers too, but he knew their camp was isolated enough that nobody had found it in generations.  Again, the elders stated that was because the spirits hadn’t deemed anyone worthy of crossing.  Again, he no longer believed that.

He shouldered his pack and walked boldly out of camp.  Some of the tribe called to him and asked where he was going, but he carried on as if he hadn’t heard.  When they saw what direction he was headed, none of them followed.  In their minds he was already dead.

That didn’t bother him one bit.  Once he crossed the bridge he never planned on coming back anyway.

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This post brought to you by moi’s Picture Writing Prompt for the week.

What do you see?

Write it, link it, post it!

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.

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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.

I ain’t afraid of no…

Bumps in the night.  Footsteps when nobody else is home.  A book flung from a shelf to open on the same page over and over.  Cold.  Shivers.

I ain’t afraid of no ghost?

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Word Count: 33

Hooray for Friday.  Hooray for silliness and scariness.  Hooray for Trifextra:

“On now to our quick little Trifextra prompt.  Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, wrote, “It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.”  We are looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you (or your character).  We already know you’re intelligent, so, according to Paterson, you should have no shortage of potential subject matter.

Good luck.  Have fun.

This weekend’s challenge is community judged.

  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone.
  • You have 14 hours to vote. It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The winners will be announced in the comments of Monday’s post and will be posted in our typical fashion in the post on the following Friday.”

haunting

The house at the end up his street stood vacant and condemned for as long as he could remember.  The neighbors had tried to keep it nice, mowing the lawns, replacing broken windows, and painting over graffiti, until they felt the pinch of the times and left.  One managed to get a short sale done before leaving and the other was forced out by the Sheriff several months after being foreclosed upon.  Since then, while the banks owning the deeds to the neighboring homes did some minimal wrk to keep them looking nice, the one between them, the one at the very center of the cul-de-sac, had very quickly descended into a state of disrepair.

None of the remaining home owners on the block were surprised when the authorities came out and nailed the “Condemned” and “Do Not Enter” signs about the windows and doors.  The white boards and brilliant red lettering stood out in sharp contrast for only a few months before they faded into the dingy gray and black background that had swallowed the rest of the house.  Everyone knew the signs were still there but you couldn’t see them anymore when you hurriedly swept your gaze across its frontage.  The weeds had overtaken the lawn, gone to flower, and died off so many times that the front yard had turned into a miniature tangled forest.

As the eldest of four siblings, it had been Colin’s job to ensure that his younger brother (Arnie) and sisters (Beth and Ruth) knew all the terrible stories concerning the abandoned house.  Some of the stories he passed on he had heard from other kids on the block and some were bits of imagination he had crafted just to torture them with.  It was his duty, his responsibility, to scare them into staying far, far, away.  And, if he got a little enjoyment out of seeing them wide-eyed in terror, what of it?  Wasn’t that also part of being the first-born?

The stories became local legends. The adults had even picked them up and passed them along at their own local gatherings.  As the children would meet up, on their bikes and boards on the corner under the grand elm that guarded the entrance to their cul-de-sac to swap stories, baseball cards, comic books, and jokes, so too would the adults meet up in the evenings in this house or that to do their own swapping over a glass of wine and a fine cheese plate.

However, while the adults talked of figuring out a way to get it torn down by the city or pooling some resources to work on restoring it themselves, the children eventually got around to daring one another to breach the wrought-iron gate, march up to the front door, and knock three times to see who, or what, was still inside.  It took several years for that dare to finally get accomplished, but Jake, two doors down and a year younger, had risen to the challenge.

Colin, not one to be outdone by someone younger than him, and not wanting his image of toughest kid on the street to be tarnished, let alone to think that Arnie, Ruth and Beth could look up to someone other than him, decided on a course of action.  He would not only prove his bravery, regain his crown as toughest kid, but he would also make it impossible for anyone to ever top him again.

With a bag packed, and a note left for his parents that he was spending the night down the block at Jake’s house, he walked up the street towards the decaying building.  The graffiti had returned shortly after the neighbors had moved out but it, like the signs added by the city, had faded into the building.  Almost all of the windows had been smashed by a rock or a missile fired from a slingshot or pellet gun.  Only two remained intact, one on either side of the front door.  They looked like eyes watching him as he steadily approached the gate.

His feet wanted to stop his progress but he couldn’t let any fear show.  He tried to convince himself that he didn’t believe any of the ghost stories he had told about the place.  He knew he had made up half of them anyway.  But, he had told them all some many times he had grown to believe them too.  He was worried that he spoken them into being.

Enough of his mind didn’t believe that was possible to give him the will to keep walking towards the place, the house of his brother and sisters’ nightmares, the vacant home that haunted their street.  His will was strong enough to carry him all the way to the black gate.

The roof was missing shingles in places.  The yard was a mess.  There were visible cracks across the crumbling walls.  The whole thing seemed to lean towards the front.  Then he saw movement behind one of the broken windows upstairs.  The fluttering of a drape caught his eye and he snapped his view quickly up to it.  His knees nearly buckled when he realized there was no drape hanging behind the cracked and shattered glass.

A quick glance over his shoulder confirmed that every kid on the block was either in front of their homes or standing behind a front window.  He could see his little brother, Arnie, clutching his blanket with one hand, and clinging to the hem of Ruth’s dress with the other.

He squeezed through the iron bars of the gate and waded through the sea of dead weeds.  He reached the door faster than he was happy about, turned the knob (and cringed internally) when it allowed him to open the door and swing it inward.  He felt, more than heard, the collective intake of breath from everyone watching his progress.  He didn’t dare turn around and see them again.

Colin stepped across the threshold and the door closed behind him.

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Word Count: 1,000

Written in response to “Open Ended” – this week’s Flash Fiction Friday writing challenge.

You’ve still got some time left to submit something of your own.  All you have to do is create a tense scene with an open ending that leaves us wanting to know what happens next.