Here's a sample!
I had kept an eye on the balcony entrance as best I could between thanking my guests, but I had not seen him step back inside. I tugged his jacket around me tighter as I ventured back out to the balcony. Besides a few potted trees and a sitting bench, I saw nothing and no one at all. I glanced around in hopes of finding my treasure, but there wasn’t a trace. Perhaps Father had collected it and planned to force me to confess the loss. That must be it! He must have it in his possession!
“Father?” I called as I stepped out a bit further. Could I have missed his return? There was no trace of him out here.
Except his shoe. Where would he have gone with one shoe? I picked it up and clutched the leather protectively. Yes, this was certainly his shoe.
I walked to the edge of the stone balcony and looked across the forested area toward Rockville. Strangely enough, the fog had lifted, disappearing as if it had never arrived. Never covered the town. Had an ocean breeze blown it away? Had I dreamed the fog? That could not be true; I wore my father’s jacket, and this was his shoe. That was no dream.
That’s when I heard a scream—a long and terrible blood-curdling scream rose up from the driveway below. A woman by the sound of it. I peered over the side of the balcony and, to my horror, saw my father’s broken body sprawled on the ground. His head was turned around backward, and his eyes stared up at me. His legs and arms were akimbo, flung out wildly like a marionette cut from his strings from a very great height. A scream of my own erupted from my lips and seemed to last forever. I cannot say how long I leaned there, over the side of the balcony staring and screaming at the sight below, but it seemed like forever.
Greetings and Salutations, to quote the world's second most popular spider. Although, in my book, Charlotte is the hands down favorite. (Take that Itsy-Bitsy.) Although the truth be known, I don't care for spiders much, but a lifetime of living in old houses has helped me to grow accustom to their existence and as long as I don't see them, spiders and I get along just fine. (Please don't send me hate mail, spider lovers.)
It's been an early summer here in south Mississippi. The azaleas are long gone, the roses are holding on and my walking schedule has been greatly diminished because of the heat. Oh well, I'll just have to stop binge watching Destination Truth episodes and go to bed on time. Maybe then I can get up early enough to walk without dying of heat exhaustion.
I'm still walking in the evenings, just when it's getting dark. Dark enough for the shadows to come out and play during the last mile home. Even at this age, with all the "knowledge" I have about ghosts and shadows and things that go bump in the night I find I often walk faster after dark. Unlike some, I know things lurk in the shadows. And even in the corners of your bedroom.
I know it for a fact.
Which is why I write ghost stories.
I have had sleep paralysis all my life. It started about the time this photo was taken. Maybe a little before. It has been a horrible unending experience that has shaped my life in ways I could never expect. If you don't know what I'm talking about, count yourself lucky. Older folks call it Old Hag syndrome. Professionals call it Sleep Paralysis. Moms call it Night Terrors. (Except mine. She wasn't much comfort.) Yes, this kind of thing has all kinds of names and none of them are nice.
Imagine falling asleep. You're in that place between awake and asleep and you suddenly become aware that you aren't alone. There's something in your room with you, watching you and it wants you to know it's there. As your eyes become accustomed to the dark, you see it. It's perched between the door and the dresser or it's beside you. It's usually all black but sometimes it has a horrible face. And then it touches you. It chokes you, assaults you in ways I don't want to explain. It's not a ghost story, y'all. It's a real thing. And it happened to me. For years. And I'm not alone. It happens to a lot of us.
I can go for months, even a year or two without a paranormal event and then suddenly, it's there again. Without sleep medication, I know I'd have to face it. I'd have to experience it and I never want to experience it again. Granted, I'm less afraid since I became a Christian. There really is power in the name of Jesus but sometimes, you can't speak during these events and in those cases, I have to think the name of the Lord and even then I have to command the thing to leave repeatedly. And no matter what, I'm always left wondering why.
Why did this happen to me?
Some will say I did this. But this was happening long before I wrote the first ghost story. Before I thought much about the paranormal at all. Some will say, that I brought this on myself. That somehow, I am to blame. Trust me, I've searched my soul. I've pleaded, prayed and I know it's not just me. It just happens. There is a hostile side to the paranormal world. It's not always K2 meters and friendly EVP sessions. (Which I do neither in case you are wondering.)
Maybe this is why I write ghost stories. (I write other things too but people seem to love my ghost stuff the most.) I write about dreams and the past, and family secrets and horrible things because all that happened to me, to people I know and love. I write about hauntings because I have to make sense of it all. Sleep paralysis frightens me. And yet, I can't stop studying and searching for answers, I can't stop trying to understand. I can't stop wondering why it happens at all. Maybe one day, I'll write a book about THAT.
Periodically, I watch documentaries about it. When I'm feeling brave. This one is next on the list.
Chances are, I won't be able to watch the whole thing at once. And I sure won't watch it before bed. But I will watch it. Because I have to know.
Until then, I'll write ghost stories. I'll make my ghosts people, real people not creepy shadow things that want to choke me. I can understand dead people. People, I can relate to. I like ghosts much better than the shadows that swirl beside my bed from time to time.
Yes, I like them much better.
As a kid, I never wanted to be a superhero but I would have traded all my Barbies to be Nancy Drew. That love for mysteries and a total obsession with ghost stories is what led me to become a writer. I just love a mystery!
I'm a true blue Southern girl who loves living on the Gulf Coast. When I'm not playing the trumpet or hanging out with the people I love, I'm probably daydreaming.
It's really what I do best.