School “Spirit”

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It is nearing midnight. We are walking across the street to the field I told you about earlier, the one where you either hear an owl or a something else. I can’t say for certain the spot is haunted, but it is always cold.

We walk up the abandoned side street, past the cracked pavement falling prey to waist high weeds. We step around two boulders, and into the field. A path cuts through the center of the clearing; it is nothing more than cracked earth, trampled grass, and the souls of sunflowers left to wither when the Summer left. Wind whispers entreaties that draw us forward, right into the center of the field. I  stretch one hand out as if to grasp the difference in temperature, while you try to huddle within yourself against the cold.

“How long do we wait?” you ask.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Would you like to hear a ghost story?”

You either of shiver or nod, I can’t tell which, but I start the story anyway.

A Gate into Mary Washington College

Credit snakepliskins, via flickr.

I attended a small liberal arts college that happened to be built on a Civil War Battleground. One of the dorms was used as a hospital, and the road running along the base of the hill upon which the college perched was the repeated scene of bloodshed. What is now a bucolic Campus Walk was once peopled with soldiers but, on the night I’m going to tell you about, I was alone on the mile-long length of brick road.

At about the midpoint of  Campus Walk, there was a bridge. It crossed a stream, and then Campus Walk continued up the hill on the other side. Most of the time, the area was full of students, full of activity. That night it was cold and, at 3 AM, even the partiers had taken refuge. The campus was silent except for my echoing footsteps.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. There was a figure in the distance. It appeared to be moving very quickly, but was not getting any closer and I couldn’t tell if it was moving away from or towards me. I stopped and watched, conscious of my isolation.

I could not see his face, and I still couldn’t tell which direction he was going. His legs moved with a strange stop-animation motion, like a really bad video revving forward and backward in a jerky loop. His long blue coat fluttered around his neither-this-way nor that-way legs, but he didn’t get closer to the other end of the bridge, nor did he recede into the distance. I looked behind me, at the long walk back the way I came. I looked forward, at the soldier – for by now that’s what I thought he was.

I started across the bridge, my heart pounding and my armpits slicking with nervous sweat despite the cold turning my breath into a hazy gray banner announcing my approach.

When I reached the midpoint, the soldier disappeared. I stopped again, just as freaked out by this as I had been by his appearance. I took a deep breath and made a run for it. I got to the philosophy building and I spun to look behind me.

There was no soldier.

In fact, no matter how many late nights I walked that campus alone, I never saw the soldier. To this day, I can still picture the oddity of his movement, the bewildering way in which he went nowhere while moving very fast.

Just as I wrap up my story, you say:

“Listen!”

In the distance, there is something screaming. The air is colder now, almost unbearable. The scream echoes, and is impossible to pinpoint.

We run.

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Dreams, Hauntings

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The Coffin Hop party here at the happy horror writer’s is in full swing. A group of people are bobbing for apples, and the costume contest is about to start. Let me put another log in the chiminea, and then I’ll tell you a story. A scary story. No Halloween party is complete without one, right?

ghost

My sister and I have a long, shared history of supernatural experiences. The most recent one happened earlier this year. We had a girl’s night out, just the two of us. When we came back to my place it was later than we intended, and still we stayed up talking. When we finally went to sleep it was after two AM. She took my little Yorkie into her room, and I put my phone on the charger in the kitchen, washed my face, and tumbled into bed.

I fell into a dark dream. In it, I woke up in my bed. Outside the house, there was what sounded like an eighteen-wheeler idling, followed by the terrible clattering, slamming noise. Someone was trying to get into the house! My sister ran into my room. I could see her silhouette in the door way, back lit by the lava lamp in the living room.

“Someone’s trying to get in,” she said.

I woke up then, for real. Loud clattering noises came from the front of the house. My sister appeared in the doorway.

“Someone’s breaking through the window in my room,” she said.

Together we walked across the house to the guest room where my sister was sleeping. We flicked on the overhead light and gasped. My cell phone – which I left on the charger in the kitchen – was scattered across the room! Battery, backing, rest of the phone – all in separate pieces. Worse though, was the window.

The metal blinds were twisted and tangled. It looked like something huge had fought its way through the blinds, bending and twisting every slat in the struggle. It was mangled, but the window behind it was locked, closed, intact.

My sister told me that what what woke her, even before the blinds went all poltergeist, was my little Yorkie.

“He was crying,” she said. “I’ve never  heard anything sound so terrified in my life.

Well, that costume party is starting! Oh, come on! A little ghost story didn’t scare you, did it?

Remember, even if you don’t have a costume, you can still win. Click here to find out how! Don’t forget to leave a comment with the phrase ‘Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor‘ to win an ebook edition of Stolen Climates!

 

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