In honor of this occasion, I'm going to post one of my ghost stories, which is also an excerpt from my soon to be released non-fiction, The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. Enjoy the read.
How Ghosts Have Helped My Writing Career
“No tears in the writer. No tears in the reader.
No surprise in the writer. No surprise in the reader." ~Robert Frost,Sentiments of Blake Crouch, Best selling author of Abandon and Serial
The night crept upon me like a shadow. The house was quiet and I felt the need to listen to ELO, a pop culture group that dates me but that I'm proud to say I knew well. I slipped away from my family and headed downstairs where my oldest brother's turntable sat, crying out for me to spin a sheet of vinyl under its melodic needle.
I placed the album on the record player, gingerly avoiding discovery. If I had scratched any of my brother's albums, I would've surely died. I knew that. I had learned the hard way. I had the bruises to prove it.
Mr. Blue Sky started drumming hip quarter notes and I hid under big brother's bed, feet tucked into sticky cobwebs and my hands under my chin, basking in the glory of big bro's collection of soul food... music from the 70's and 80's. The room was dark of course; I had to keep a low profile less I be found out and quickly dragged outside where I'd receive a proper thumping.
Our home was a typical tri-level from the 70's. I lay at the bottom, the rear, the caboose, the small room in the basement on the backside with a convenient set of double doors that frequently allowed us boys to escape late in the night.
I was in keyboard heaven, loving the solitude, taking in the soul food.
My eyes adjusted to the darkness that filled the room and everything took on a navy-blue sheen.
Looking straight ahead, daydreaming, as usual, something caught my attention. The adjacent room had been vacant and black. No one had entered or exited for the twenty minutes or more that I had been down there… until the shadow moved.
I lifted my eyes to see a form step out of the darkness. A full-bodied figure silently walked in front me looking forward and then abruptly turned to the right, staring down at me. There were no eyes, no face, no teeth glimmering in the darkness. The figure was made of midnight and quiet as the morning. He took another step and his body faded into eternity.
I felt cold. My heart raced. I swallowed a lump of fear so thick I nearly choked.
The music continued, Mr. Blue Sky ended, followed by Turn to Stone, which I did. I shivered as if I had been dumped in a vat of ice. I waited to hear the figure call to me, to come back, but it didn't. It had already left my world.
I tried to make sense of what had happened. I tried to convince myself that it wasn't real. But I couldn't hide from the truth; I had seen a ghost; a real G-H-O-S-T. He appeared and vanished out of thin air, lost as it were, between where he should've been and where I lay.
The realization scared the bejeepers out of me and I bolted out from under the bed, rounded the corner and raced upstairs where big brother and mom and dad sat in the living room watching a re-run of Three's Company.
I plopped down on the couch next to my mom. The color returned to my skin, but my heart continued throbbing under my ribs. I never told a soul until recently. And now you are one of the privileged few.
• • •
Looking back on that day, I've concluded that experiences like this make writing enjoyable for me. Understanding fear allows me to communicate what my characters feel and in some way, what I have felt during the creepiest of circumstances. I have a firm belief that what we see with our eyes is not all there is.
There's more to this life than living and dying. There's more to this life than laughing and crying. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who's had the privilege of tasting the afterlife. There's dark and there's light. When I die I want to see the light. I don't think eternal darkness and wandering would be all that enjoyable.
All to say, it's no wonder I've chosen to write about the supernatural. Doesn't everyone see dead people? They're everywhere.
What do you see? What has inspired you? What gives you the chills? These are the things that you should write about. Just don’t start until after you’ve read this book.
Thanks for reading. Follow The Bomb by email to stay up to date on the release of
The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. ~ Jeff Bennington