Thursday, October 14, 2010

SOMETHING BRAND NEW (#fridayflash)

Please click play for some mood music

My five year-old daughter Lexi and I were making a fresh start.

With her mother finally out of the picture, I wanted to make sure she had nothing but tranquility around her. We needed to get out of our urban jungle and enjoy our newfound freedom.

There needed to be trees and grass. I wanted her to smell wet leaves in the fall and charred wood from cozy neighborhood hearths all winter long. I managed to find a an old fixer-upper buried deep within wooded Northern New Jersey, far removed from the industrial smokestacks Lexi had come to recognize.

The new house, located in an old town known for its revolutionary lore came complete with a charming mailbox by the small road and a babbling brook near the back porch.

# # #

I don't think we were there two weeks before I noticed it. I was in my study unpacking books (Lovecraft, in this case) when I heard Lexi's voice. She was laughing and utterly engaged in a conversation. I smiled at her sweet voice and basked in the comfort of our new home.

The next night, Lexi was at it again and I called her into the study.

"What'cha laughing at, sweetie?"

"He taught me something funny, Daddy," she answered.

"Who did?"

"The ghost... He taught me a funny dance. Wanna see?"

Keeping my cool, I instantly chalked up her new buddy as an imaginary friend as she showed me some silly contortion.

I laughed it off and she went back to her room. I heard her giggling some more, super engaged in a conversation. One that I was even able to follow. I called her back into the study and a few seconds later she came bopping in.

"Honey..." I said trying to play along, "Why don't you ask your ghost friend his name."

After a moment she returned and said, "Regulus..."

That was no ghost name.

We were in the land where Washington marched his patriot army and if it were a ghost, shouldn't it have been something like "William" or "Thomas" or some old fuckin' name like "Nathanial"?

I shrugged it off and told her that she should hang out with me for a while and she helped me with my books.

# # #
I didn't sleep that night.

The rain kept me awake while the wind whipped against the house. That's when the footsteps started. It wasn't Lexi because she was with me in bed snuggled in a ball.

They didn't start from far away but from right outside my bedroom door. Chronic creaking. Floorboards wailing. A door squeaking. This happened all night.

At dawn, I got up and opened a few hallway lights, thinking that could possibly matter and as I walked by my study, I saw them -- all of my books on the floor - except that Hawthorne.

# # #
"Why are you moving," the realtor asked me. "This house is just so..."

"Charming..." I said nodding. "It's just too damned quiet up here."

"Where you headed," she asked plunking the sign into the dirt.

"Back to the city," I said. "Something brand new..."

ART: Courtesy of morguefile. MUSIC: Composed by choplin, can down be downloaded HERE.


  1. Great take on a classic ghost story. Done in your direct, no-nonsense style it's got a fresh jab to it. :)

  2. Fantastic. City folks always think the country will be safe and peaceful... little do they know.

  3. The ghost taught her a dance? No matter what you say, I'm taking that as allusion and compliment, Anthony.

    I dug your take on the ghost story, too.

  4. A ghost story, eh? You certainly pulled it off mate. Well done!

  5. Great stuff, Ant! Safer in the city? I feel that way at times -- better the evil I know. Peace...

  6. So glad that it's a ghost story with a happy ending! They will be safe in the city (I'm a city girl myself and it IS better).

    Music was a wonderful chilling accompaniment!

  7. The photos are perfect for this. So perfect my skin is crawling. I like this one a lot Anthony, I think mostly because I like what he's trying to do for his daughter and all the possibilities for the house--good and bad. I want to read the rest of the book. Heh.

  8. The evil of smoke stacks is no match for the good old country evil of ghosts. Nice creeoy feel to this one.

  9. So it's a gloomy day here in L.A. I'm reading and listening to the music and I have bonafide goosebumps.

    This just proves that you really can write anything, Ant.

    Excellent and SPOOOKYYY.

  10. This works wonderfully from start to finish.. and what became of Reguius? Maybe he's in the moving van going to the city too..

    Great job here!!

  11. Loved your take on a ghost story. Subtle and creepy. Excellent!

  12. This may be a different venue for you Ant, but your distinctive voice still shines through. Great creepy ghost story and the photos are downright scary.

  13. I LOVED IT! There are a few reasons. It isn't a love gone wrong story. It's haunting, but we never see the ghost - love that. And, the writing is excellent. =D

  14. That accompanying music really added to the unease I felt while reading the story. I'd love to live a haunted house. Well, maybe for a night...

  15. Ant - You're the winner of the pdf copy of the Chinese Whisperings, The Yin Book, on my blog. Congrats! I'll be emailing it to you shortly.

  16. Ghost stories like these always make my blood run cold, when children talk to something the adults can't see it always makes me think of Jodie the pig in the Amityville horror, and that scared the pants off me!

  17. Great writing; and a great reason to buy a modern house (although I personally think they're soulless; I'd prefer a haunted house!)
    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

  18. Best short story I've read in while! Maybe that's because it I got the chills while reading it. "those" chills...

  19. Nicely done, Mr. Smooth. But no one screamed? Not even a little? Pfft. Amateur ghosts. :p

  20. Great ghost story. Reminds me of one of my friend's "imaginary" friend who her mom discounted until it asked M to step into the wall with her!

    Moving was a very good choice.

  21. Yes, much safer in the city!
    I have a (fairly) new build appartment - sometimes it woul dbe quite nice to have a few nooks and crannies and things that creak!

  22. Good one, Ant, I'm sufficiently nervous. Your story is creepy, yes, but like Jen those accompanying photos make it downright scary.

  23. At laest in the city when you haer the footsteps tapping on the cieling you know they are coming from the poeple in the apt above! Ant does ghost story- a rael traet.

  24. I liked the demon's name. It gave me a good laugh. You could definitely do more with this story.


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