Ghost Story

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While I await on my partner to feed me chapters, I work on other stuff.

Last night we chatted – which implies RJ and I actually speak when I’m not in Minneapolis, but in fact only keep in touch via rapid-fire text – about things I wanted to explore in my writing. I’ve got my novels, which edge closer to completion and a handful of stories I’d really like to stick a fork in and call done. I’ve written about Fae and insanity and Organized/nonsocial serial killers and spur of the moment spree murders. All of these have made me happy, but I think I’m missing something. I think I want to delve a little deeper and write about something that has always made me a little quivery. I think I’m ready to write bout my first real love.


My first love was not a boy.

It was a ghost, several of them in fact, and while I can’t remember the faces of my first loves like I can remember my first kiss or my first accident that required a trip to the hospital, the passion is still there. I get excited when I hear about ghosts. I know the origins of lots of famous haunted places and have wonderful books on the subject. Ghost stories are the lovers that never disappoint, the steak that’s always medium rare, the shot of bourbon just before the one that’s one too many.

Bad ghost stories, like bad lovers, are just as much fun. Sure they’re sloppy, uncoordinated, predictable, and finish entirely too soon, but those are but minor flaws. The thrill is still there, the anticipation of what’s to come (heh), and if nothing else, the fertile imagination can fill in the blanks making what would be an ordinary encounter something transcendental.

One of my earliest memories was watching the scariest thing my parents would allow – and let’s face it, my dad’s sense of parenting was a little underdeveloped – which was a Saturday afternoon double-feature on network television. It was called “The Skull”. It had Peter Cushing in it and a haunted skull. I don’t remember any of the details of this film, only the title and Peter Cushing’s name, and that’s not even a stretch since practically every film they showed during the Thriller Double feature on Channel 20 was a Hammer Film, an American International release, or had Peter Cushing. It was a constant in my childhood I could bank on. The movies were older, had very little blood, but fed my little imagination with scary, bitey things, some with zippers, some with wires, all at some point coming out of the fog.

At one point in this movie, for reasons I either can’t remember or have blocked out due to trauma, a disembodied skull floats down a staircase. I don’t scream when I’m scared, but I become paralyzed. It’s not as funny as it sounds. I couldn’t hide my eyes or run from the room. I watched this scary skull float down the stairs and then do something equally scary, like kill someone. The moment is branded on my brain.

Scared the hell out of my me. I even documented it in my First Grade Journal:

First Grade Journal drawing of The Skull

When I was older I begged my mother to take me to my first non-G movie, Poltergeist. I spent the last twenty minutes under my seat, but I loved it.

I don’t look in mirrors in the dark for fear I may see a fetch come to take me away or a ghost just staring back at me.

See the Pretty Girl in the Mirror there (what mirror where?)
See the pretty girl in the mirror there? (what mirror where)

I’ve always wanted to join paranormal societies, but actually seeing a ghost might put me over the edge. I’ve been offered and declined several invitations to tramp around Eloise Sanitarium, which is where Isle of Shadows is partially based.

I’ve always wanted to visit Dudleytown in CT. Seriously. The letter to gain permission to the property has been sitting on my desktop for over two years. I’m just afraid they might say yes.

It’s my dream to spend a weekend at Myrtle’s Plantation, but I always find an excuse to not travel to Louisiana. I’d love to take a ghost flashlight tour in Gettysburg, but again, I can usually find something else to do.

I have a lover that terrifies me and I can’t get enough. I want so do something special for this lover that only I can do, and that’s write a nice, creepy tale that proves my love for it in a way that doesn’t require me to take my clothes off. I don’t mind getting to second, but I’d like to keep this a little more pure.

I have some preliminary sketchwork laid our for it, and it’s running as a background process while I concentrate on the other projects before me. I want my first time with it to be special without any distractions.

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Just this fox. I'm a writer of horror and dark fantasy. I totally don't brag about it. The latter statement is an utter lie.
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