Archive Tag:ghost stories

Drabble 188 – Lemures

A photo of a person from behind surrounded by smoke.

It’s been a while. Every time I sat down to write a drabble my brain turned to static. That’s the nature of burnout, which I’ll write more about in my newsletter. I’m trying to be a little more patient with myself and let go of the things that nobody’s waiting on, so drabbles fell to the wayside for a bit. That’s okay—when I sat down to write this one, it didn’t feel like work. It felt like opening a shaken can of soda, maybe. There was too much of it, but it was a joyous sort of mess.

Anyway, here’s a drabble. Maybe I’ll be more consistent in the future. Maybe I won’t. But I’ll come back eventually.

Drabble 84 – Wight

Convection by Rebecca Siegel

Sometimes objects in my house rattle. I haven’t yet found a reason to explain this, but every few days a picture frame will shake a bit, or a plant will wobble while I’m working. This might have scared me in the past, but right now I just accept it as a quirk of my house. Objects shake. Floors creak. The blackberry bushes climb the fence. It’s our normal.

The concept of ghosts still scares me, don’t get me wrong. I don’t play with Ouija boards or dare spirits to show themselves, in part because, by daylight hours, I’m a skeptic. But every time an object shakes or I read a horror story at night, I wonder, and wondering is enough to convince me that I don’t need to know everything, actually.

So I’ll let my plants and picture frames keep wobbling. It’s like a little hello from beyond the veil, a reminder that the world is interesting and wide and mysterious.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 75 – Spirare

Markus Krispler

I have never really decided whether or not I want to know the future.

Let’s be clear–I love tarot. I have a deck I sometimes use if I’m feeling inspired, and I have at least one memorably uncanny experience where I kept asking the same question and pulling the exact same card in response, no matter how much I shuffled. It was a bad card, but my analysis of it never came true.

In my own personal philosophy, the future is always changing. When I pulled that card again and again (it was swords, I remember, but the actual card escapes me), by my reading, it was because that was the path I was on. I was obsessing about one thing, and continuing to do so would result in disaster. I stopped, I moved on, and so disaster never came to pass.

Predicting the future, I would imagine, is an imprecise art unless you ascribe to our destinies being, in some sense, predetermined. I’m not a big fan of that, myself; the idea that I don’t have free will, that there’s someone out there pulling the strings, makes me want to find them and give them a good piece of my mind. I’m comfortable not knowing. Uncertainty may be frightening, but it also gives me a sense of comfort to think that it’s chaos all the way down.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 48 – Phasmophany

Phasmophany. Well, breakfast. You can't see the ghosts.
David Malouf

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.

Drabble 46 – Scripturient

Diary Writing by Fredrik Rubensson

The first story I wrote down was in fourth grade. It was based on a dream I had, some kind of mishmash of a normal day at school and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. It wasn’t good and I never finished it.

The next was an adventure story about my cat, which involved a plane ride to Egypt and a trip through the pyramids. I finished that one and still have it. It’s not very good either, but my young cousin once reportedly said it was the best story she’d ever read, so I’m counting that one as a win.

After that, there are too many stories to count. My childhood home burned down a few years ago and most of my writing survived, for better or worse. It’s hard not to see that as a sign, and  I can’t seem to stop writing, no matter how discouraged I get or how many rejection letters I receive. I don’t want to stop; writing is something that’s kept me going in my lowest moments. I have to see how the story ends even if I’m the one writing it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 30 – Kodama

Forest Light by broombesoom.

The moment anything goes wrong in my life, I have an instinct to run away to the woods. There’s no good reason for this–I have no wilderness survival skills, no particular instinct for directions, and no idea what sorts of things forest-dwellers eat.

It’s not even that I want to be some kind of quiet forest hermit. I imagine myself existing not as a fixed person, but as some kind of spirit-like entity that shows up to guide lost folk out of the woods. Given my lack of wilderness skills and my general lack of magical ability, this is not likely.

Maybe sometimes I’m a vengeful spirit, wreaking subtle havoc on the lives of those who disrespect my home. Mostly I’m kind, but what spirit can exist without a hint of darkness?

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

I Am Scared of Literally Everything

HorrorI find that I can blame a lot of things about myself on books. My love of horror is, I think, one of them.

My first memory of reading something scary was my cousin locking me in the bathroom and forcing me to read a glow-in-the-dark book of ghost stories with her by flashlight. I did not enjoy the experience.

But then, at a formative age (I can’t remember precisely when, only that I was of just the right age), I read Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Headless Cupid. The book concerns, among other things, a young girl trying to impose some order on the world through witchcraft and studying the occult. She also happens to be of poltergeisting age–which, if you’re not familiar, is puberty.

Drabble 10 – Nukekubi

“Nukekubi” from the Bakemono-Dukushi Yumoto-C.

Whoops. After a night of not sleeping well thanks to a thunderstorm and thunderstorm-inspired nightmares, I spent most of yesterday in a haze. At 12:30 a.m., I woke up and realized I’d forgotten to post this, but decided for once in my life I would prioritize sleep over anything else. So it’s late, but it’s here.

I absolutely love ghost stories of all kinds. Somewhere on my list of blog topics to eventually tackle is one on my weird relationship with horror—specifically that I simultaneously love and crave it, while also being petrified of the dark, of weird noises at night, of mirrors.

Somehow I stumbled onto Japanese yōkai, a class of creature that falls toward the ghost end of the supernatural spectrum. When reading about yōkai, I learned I have a weird thing about long-necked people, the thing being that, for some reason, it completely terrifies me.

These long-necked spirits (calling them ‘long-necked’ defangs them a bit for me—I get more of a giraffe vibe than sheer terror) are called rokurokubi. They are one-hundred percent not okay, and looking at these old paintings of them gives me a serious case of the creeps. Somehow the word nukekubi ended up on my vocabulary list and hey, what do you know? There’s a creepier, more violent version of rokurokubi out there.

Anyway, a drabble.