I listened to a horror story over the weekend so bleak and graphic that I felt a little sick afterward.
It wasn’t a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. It was well written and poignant, with great thematic depth alongside its disturbing and grotesque elements. The things that scare us are often unpleasant, but the story didn’t sit well with me, regardless.
What I like about horror is not the reminder that the world sucks and I have to live in it. I am all too aware of the fact that life is difficult and often full of shadows and fear. I like horror that turns those shadows inside out, like sock puppets, and makes them dance for us.
There’s a lot to be afraid of, but I prefer my horror to be a triumph in the end, the heroine stumbling, bloody and wild-eyed, from whatever carnage she’s survived. It doesn’t always work out that way, and that’s fine–there’s enough other elements of horror to satisfy me, like exploring the world’s darkness through fictions and myth. Horror is powerful because fear is powerful, but I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(Noun: Greek phasma for ghost and phainein for to show)
The visual manifestation of a ghost or spirit.
The first time Melody sees the ghost she rubs her eyelids and swears she’ll start sleeping more. Even as it persists, a stubborn smear of whiteness like a thumbprint on her glasses, she’s sure she just needs sleep.
But the ghost is not easily forgotten—she throws things, clangs pipes, whispers frosty breath in Melody’s ear as she tries to sleep. “I’ll get the window fixed tomorrow,” she whines.
Eventually, she accepts her. They eat breakfast together, or Melody eats while the ghost watches with sad eyes and a warm smile, hair stirring in a breeze that only touches her.