Gripped With Insanity

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Looking for some fun, spooky Halloween terrors? Oops (shakes head), I mean stories to read? I was invited by Valerie Pinkerton Hemlin and Lynette Creswell (thanks ladies!) to join along in the Halloween Story Hop. Hope you have a frightfulicious time reading this season!

To hop along and read more Halloween stories, click here and go back to Lynette’s blog!

Here’s my story for the Halloween Hop (fiction?? yes!):

Gripped With Insanity

The dimly lit room of the abandoned colonial was awash with drifting dust the size of snowflakes, wafting along with the gentle breeze from a nearby window. Sophie tugged on her best friend, Paisley’s, hair, wrapping it in an exquisite braid that draped down to the dent in the middle of her back.

“Owe! You pulled too hard,” Paisley cried, pulling forward in the antique chair away from her friend’s taunting fingers.

Sophie softened her grip. “Careful now, Paisley dear, you wouldn’t want to break grandmother’s chair,” she said, mimicking Paisley’s stepmother’s shrilling voice. Both girls burst into a hale of laughter.

“I wish you were real,” Paisley whispered, her sheer blue eyes glazed over, seeing only sodden looking gray spots before her.

“I am real. You know I am.” Sophie pouted and thrust her hands on her hips. She placed her arctic fingers over Paisley’s eyes forcing them shut and massaged her eyelids. Paisley began to feel the familiar otherworldly warmth that sprang through them. She fluttered her eyes a few times, until they opened like window shades on a shimmering summer day.

“Oh, it’s beautiful!” Paisley looked wide eyed. She stared at her glossy, auburn hair in the timeworn, full length mirror that stood before her.

Sophie bent down in an exaggerated curtsy and then handed her the not-so-princess gown that the All Hallows Eve dance called for. “Now, here’s your droll 2015 black, I’d-rather-go-to-a-funeral dress that old step-mummy wants you to wear.”

Paisley snatched the silky dress and placed it in front of her. She swayed her hips and hummed her favorite tune, Unchained Melodyby the Righteous Brothers.

Sophie sighed, closed her eyes, and then hummed along with her friend for a moment. “You are truly a timeless friend, Paisley. Come with me…you know where…to the other side. Come with me…let go and wish it. Then it will happen. We’ll be friends for all of eternity. It’s lonely here. Look. Look what a good friend I am to you.”

Sophie hurried to the dusty record player nestled on top of the antique oak dresser. She switched on the Tiffany lamp and picked out a record, Little Bitty Pretty Oneby Thurston Harris. “Here’s a song. Much better for a dance. Unchained Melodies? Too slow! Go to your dance in that brain of yours and attempt to make yourself happy, if that’s what you need to do to find closure. Then come with me.”

Paisley stopped, if only for a brief moment, letting her thoughts soar to a place she’d only dared to visit in her wildest dreams. Her thoughts of William, the most beautiful boy in the twelfth grade, with his lake blue eyes and blackened greased back hair, his shining smile that lit up the world, and a laugh that could erase an entity of pain.

~*~

“It’s not a dream, Paisley,” William said. “I’m real, and I’m here, and I think you’re beautiful.” He tightened his arms around Paisley’s midriff, drawing her nearer to him. She could smell a hint of his cologne, along with spearmint breath from newly brushed teeth. The night was filled with an air of youthfulness: only 9:00 p.m., three more hours until the Halloween dance would end at midnight, the bewitching hour. Everything will turn back into a pumpkin or whatever, Paisley laughed to herself.

Sophie walked up airily to Paisley with a cup of freshly made swirling punch in her hand. “Paisley, some punch? Or maybe for you, William?” she asked as she stared at William up and down and then intently up and down again, her eyes slit and uninviting, as if to say, Stay away. Paisley’s mine!

William shot a steely stare back at Sophie, filled with a cold maliciousness. “Leave her alone.” He mouthed the words. “It’s her choice, not yours.”

The sound of music and drums thumped rhythmically in the background, in sync, like a witch’s enticing spell. Paisley’s head began to whirl, an exciting spin at first, one that made her heart flutter and pull William closer to her, but then her stomach flip flopped in a way that made her think she was hungry or sick, maybe. She was unsure.

Paisley eyed the food table. Mr. Greene, the Principal, and one of many chaperones for the night, was standing there looking bored, though he wasn’t really.

Mr. Greene was inadvertently watching William, the star quarterback, while William was dancing with the unknown Paisley. Odd, Mr. Greene thought. William must have brought her from some other school. Her clothes, hair, and make-up look out of date. She looked like a girl he’d known from his younger years. A chill rolled over his skin. It couldn’t be. The dead didn’t come back to life. Or did it?

Mr. Greene had once been a popular football player himself, though not the quarterback. He’d been a linebacker, huge, muscular, and popular. His girlfriend, Patty, had had long, pretty dark-red hair. She’d been a cheerleader, and popular, from a troubled home, though you’d never know it. Her smile lit up the universe. Everyone wanted to be her friend, but then one day sickness coated every living cell in her body. She stayed away, at home, where her stepmother, Sophie, had imprisoned her. Doctors and tutors had been allowed to enter their home, but never friends and especially not a boyfriend.

Tales of terror about Patty and her family were whispered and hushed in every school corner and on the streets of their little town. Then one day it was over. Rumor spread that Patty had died and her family moved away, leaving the old colonial empty and abandoned, a place no new homebuyer wanted to even take a glance at. Eventually, each Halloween night, school kids would dare to enter the grounds, though never inside, and had claimed they’d seen shining lights, heard angry voices, and a young girl screaming. Most people didn’t believe their stories, but still, visiting the old mansion had become an eerie Halloween ritual for local kids.

Paisley pushed William away. Her thoughts went wild. If I had never given in, if I had fought the disease, if I had never listened to my stepmother, if, if, if. Maybe I would still be alive. You have to fight in life. Is it too late? Can I go back?

Mr. Greene moved closer to William and the unusual girl he’d been dancing with. “Is anything the matter?” he asked, noticing that the girl’s eyes were darting about the room like a rabid animal.

Startled, Paisley threw a penetrating stare at Mr. Greene. Her eyes grew wide with renewed recognition. She shook her head, the sound of the music soared, she buckled over. William, Mr. Greene, and Sophie stepped closer to her side. A sinister cackling could be heard, along with Paisley’s stepmother’s shrill voice in the background. All Paisley could hear in her head were chants. You can’t wear that preposterous dress, wear the one I bought you, let go, come to our side, do it!

Paisley fought the chants. She battled the jeering in her head, then passed out.

~*~

Paisley awoke to a dimly lit room, recently polished sparkling clean by the housekeeper. The renovated colonial squeaked when her husband neared the room, as though the home had a language of its own.

“Feeling alright, my dear?” Mr. Greene asked her as he entered in. “You know Halloween tends to be a holiday that puts you into all kinds of strange sorts.”

“I’m fine, William” Paisley answered. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve had bad dreams each year. That’s all. No need to exaggerate.”

Joshua, their son, a senior in high school and a sports star, bounded into the room. “Mom, Dad,” he called. “I”m going out with Patty for a movie. No trick or treating. We’re going to see The Shining. Have you heard of it? It’s from back in the day when you were young,” Joshua laughed.

Paisley nodded to Joshua, uncertain as to why Halloween has always brought her chills of terror. She knew she’d feel better the next day, or at least until the following All Hallow’s Eve season. Then, the nightmares and illusions would regretfully return, and her mind would, once again, feel gripped with irrepressible insanity.

Don’t forget, if you want more ghoulish treats click the link below to hop back to Lynette’s blog, and thanks for stopping by!

https://lynetteecreswell.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/halloween-free-short-stories-and-spooky-book-recommendations/

Happy Halloween!

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About jvcarrwriterauthor

Everybody has realistic dreams, ones that start with a seed in the heart, are watered, then grow. Well...I finally published my dream, my young adult novel entitled Username: Bladen. The idea to write it literally struck me in the darkness of the night. I began this project not too long ago, though now it feels like forever. This book, in its original manuscript form, meandered down a typical publishing path in many ways, until it recently settled (Yay!) on the shelves of cyberspace. Soon, I hope it will find a happy home on the shelves of many book lovers, in a real home not just a virtual one. After all who doesn't like to see their dreams come true? Today, with the technological advances that we enjoy, dreams of publishing are well within a writer's grasp. Every mom, much to their chagrin, experiences sleepless nights. With six kids, I honestly can't remember the last time I slept through the night. Typically, when I wake up and can't fall back to sleep, I think too much about things, meditate, or pray. One night as I was praying, the plot for Username: Bladen literally flooded my thoughts. I got so excited about it that I decided to sit down and write and write and write. I spent a lot of time learning about publishing. I joined forums and writers' groups. When I finished my manuscript, I entered it into The Sandy Writing contest, which was a terrific learning experience. I didn't win, but one judge loved my story and gave me almost a perfect score. That gave me a lot of encouragement. I also queried it a little, and am amazed by how much I learned and loved the process. I know nobody likes rejection letters, but I appreciated the personal letters I received from agents that gave me insight into why they rejected my manuscript. Then finally, after I learned that publishers don't have a lot of shelf room for young adult novels with a male protagonist, I decided to stop querying and publish through Westbow. I found an extremely talented editor, and rather quickly finished the process of publishing my book. I couldn't be happier with the final result. If anyone has a story to tell, are willing to be diligent, and have a dream to be a published author, you can do it! Believe in yourself and make your dream come true!
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9 Responses to Gripped With Insanity

  1. Valerie Hemlin says:

    What a great story! So many layers! I loved it…and wanted so much more! Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Halloween – Free Short Stories And Spooky Book Recommendations | Lynette's Blog

  3. Les Lynam says:

    A crazy braid of complex characters in a short story. Good stuff.

  4. Ohhh, really enjoyed this one! Kept me hooked and guessing what was really going on, but the end really got me. Fantastic work!

  5. Jenny S. Burke says:

    Absolutely terrific, spooky suspense!

  6. Tim Hemlin says:

    A fine piece of writing. Read it, it stayed with me, so I read it again! Thanks.

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