Prompt: A Ghost Story

First off I’d like to apologize for taking so long between prompts and just overall posting in this blog. I hope to not go that long again, but no promises. Anyway, here’s a new prompt! It was tilted A Ghost Story and these are the words that I had to use for it:

  • Tango
  • Diversify
  • Blog
  • Invisible
  • Missile
  • Glitter
  • Scuff
  • Balloon
  • Birdcage
  • Grizzly Bear

I alternate between first and third person in this prompt and you will figure out why fairly soon. Anyway, this is a fun (for me and hopefully you too!) twist on a ghost story. Please enjoy!


A Ghost Story

There is a ghost in my house. They seem like a friendly ghost; I think. It isn’t like they are actively spooking me or anything. They just… or well, the idea of them spooks me. At first I thought it was just that I live in an old house. I started to hear noises. I have heard people talk about houses settling. Houses creaking. Their old bones doing something. But the noises sounded a little different. Stranger. More moan-like.


Y’all. Remember when I first bought this house? How excited I was? How I showed as many pictures of it as I could? And most of you commented with something akin to: “lol, looks haunted.” “Damn, that house is old.” “ARE THERE GHOSTS?” And I in my naivety scoffed off such concerns and only spoke about the merits of the house being old and unique and not a damn cookie cutter like everything else. Someone commented with “You will regret this. All that work!” So far all you commenters are right. None of y’all were fucking trolling me.


Izzy pushed away from her desk, her chair flying back. She stared at the blog post she had finished. Chewing on her lower lip as she reread the words. Her heart racing as it always did before she hit publish. It didn’t matter how often she published posts; it didn’t matter that she apparently had people who regularly read her words and the adventures she painted with those words. Versions of her truth. There was something terrifying about exposing yourself to the masses. Even if the masses were relatively small.


She stood up. Stretching her body. She glanced at the small clock in the corner of her monitor, squinting her eyes. Likely, she needed new glasses. She sighed, noting the time. Then, without sitting back down, she bent over her desk and published the post. Her shoulders sagging with relief before the dread kicked in.


It was decidedly off brand of her to talk about ghosts. But there really was a ghost living with her. She needed to work up the courage to talk with them.


Y’all. I want to thank both the skeptics and my true believers. Seriously. I tried to take a picture of the ghost. I wasn’t expecting a great shot. We all know that ghosts often come up as blurry things in photos. If they show up at all! It makes proving the existence of them difficult. Neigh on impossible, if you will. I got a picture. It was not blurry! Wee—ell… not blurry in the traditional sense.


What showed up is a mess of glitter. I know. It makes no sense, but it’s true! I’ve uploaded a picture and you will see it at the bottom of this post. There will be the original photo and one I did edit ONLY so that y’all can see the outline of the ghost more clearly. I don’t understand it.


Yes. I did some research. So far no one else has ever had a situation where their ghostly roommates come up as glitter blobs in photos. Just mine!


Izzy needed to gain some confidence. She needed to stroll into the third bedroom, where the ghost liked to hang out. There was a perfectly good, and spooky, attic for the ghost to live in, but of course, they wanted the bedroom that Izzy would have preferred for an office space. It had a wonderful view of her small property, all the trees looking big and beautiful from it. She was glad she hadn’t moved all her stuff into the room. Glad she had planned to paint and fix things first. She figured it would be awkward blogging about her ghost roommate if they shared a space.


But she paid the mortgage! She ought to have dibs on any room in the house! She sighed and tried to clean off a scuff mark on the wall. Her feet stopping of their own accord outside of the room the ghost liked.


Izzy could not believe that she was too shy to talk to a GHOST. She groaned in her head and just barely resisted the urge to bash her head against the wall.


Why had she thought it would be possible to own a house on her own? At least if she had a partner or friend living with her, she could send them into the room to befriend the ghost. Izzy added another tally to her mental list of ways she failed at life.


The ghost’s name is Fredrick. He sounds kind of nasally, which surprised me. I didn’t realize a ghost could be nasally. It isn’t like they have functioning nasal passages, is it? Anyway, Fredrick is nice. My original assessment of him being a friendly ghost seems to still stand. He is obsessed with this birdcage that occupies one corner of the room. I took a picture of it when I first moved in, it’s actually on the blog! Remember how I wanted to do something crafty with it? Now I’m not so sure that it is a good idea.


Fredrick seems too attached to it. I asked if him if he had a pet bird when he was alive. He stared me dead in the eyes (I wonder if that is offensive to say in this situation?) and stated that HE was the living one and I was the ghost. I’ll admit my face must have done something. It turns out he was joking. Apparently, conveying jokes is difficult with a somewhat transparent face. Translucent? I don’t know what word to use. Anyway, he saw the fear in my eyes and hastily tried to reassure me he was kidding.


The bird cage never had a bird in it. The owner just before me brought the cage in (the ghost does not know why the cage was purchased). Fredrick never spoke with that family, he said. They didn’t want to believe in him. I asked him what that meant, and apparently, if you disbelief hard enough then you won’t see a ghost. Ghosts derive their power—power is not exactly the right word—from belief.


My believing makes it so I can see Fredrick. Makes it so I can talk to him. It’s… interesting. It also made me wonder if I’m a little crazy. No, I won’t make a poll on whether y’all think I am crazy. I’ll need to do some more research on ghosts, it appears


Izzy brought the sweaty bottle of beer to her lips. She was seated on the floor with her legs stretched out in front of her. Her back pressed against the wall of the bedroom, she still wanted to turn into her office. Fredrick the Ghost was floating a little way away from her, watching her with an intense expression. She wondered what color eyes he had when he had been living.


“It…” Izzy paused. She took another sip of the beer, her nose wrinkling. She set the beer down. “It tastes better than the other stuff you had me try. But it still tastes like garbage.”


Fredrick’s ghostly shoulders slumped down.


“You really need to diversify your taste buds.”


Izzy rolled her eyes. Of course he would be dramatic about it. And of course her ghostly roommate would be a craft beer enthusiast. She wished he could drink the stuff himself. She had no problems buying him the beer. It was just a pain that he then wanted her to taste it for him and to explain the experience to him.


“They didn’t have all these choices when I was alive,” Fredrick said, and he always said that. She sighed.


“I’m sorry that the way I describe this beer is a disappointment to you. But mostly, I’m sorry for my taste buds.”


I know it has been awhile since I’ve talked about my not-quite-invisible-ghostly-roommate. But this blog is foremost all about my adventures in life! Not necessarily in death, right? Plus, there were some questions y’all had. A lot of you are apparently on the path to homeownership and I would be remiss in my duties as your favorite blogger (and most modest one too!) if I didn’t answer those pressing questions.


Besides, it seems rude to gossip about Fredrick. Even if he isn’t living and breathing, he is still a roommate. I think it is time that I explain to him about this blog and maybe tell him how much I want that third bedroom back. It really would make for a pleasant office. Most of you liked the pictures of it. Remember that massive tree by it? It has flowers on it right now! I’ll need to take a picture. Perhaps one of you readers is a botanist. Or… do I need an arborist? What really is the difference? Don’t slay me for asking that question! Remember, it isn’t a crime to ask questions on this blog.


Izzy was staring out the window of the third bedroom. Her eyes squinting at the large tree. She had her phone in her hand, and she was trying to angle the camera on it to take a decent photo of the flower. She had a sweaty mug of cold brew on the windowsill beside her. Fredrick was nowhere to be seen. It made her wonder where the ghost went when he wasn’t in the room. She was wondering if she should grab one of her other cameras when she heard Fredrick clear his non-existent throat. How did ghosts do that?


“Excuse me, but don’t you have other cameras you could use? I’ve seen them.”


Izzy turned away from the window and shrugged her shoulder. She shoved her phone into her back pocket and picked up her mug of caffeinated necessity. She sipped it. Fredrick was watching her intently.


“I have better cameras, sure.” She squinted at him. “Do you know what a cellphone is?”
“Yes,” Fredrick said in that huffy way he had.


“Were you…?” Here Izzy did a complicated shrugging motion, coupled with a wave. She was trying to convey living. Alive. Without saying the words. A sudden fear that voicing that would be offensive to the dead.


“Was I?” Fredrick asked, wholly confused from what Izzy could read of his ghostly facial expression. She sighed. She seemed to always be sighing these days. Maybe her entire life was just built around sighing.


“Were you living when cellphones were invented?” Izzy spat out. Her face burning with shame. She couldn’t explain it. Why she felt so much shame.


“No,” Fredrick said, simply. He, too, shrugged his shoulders. “You know, talking about being dead or my living past. It doesn’t offend me. You can use those words. But, I’ve seen those phones.” He grew quiet before adding, “technology has advanced a lot in recent years.”


“You are telling me.” Izzy said, mirroring him with her quietness.


She was still embarrassed. Stupidly so.


I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve never been very good at the DIY stuff. And it feels even more difficult to try now that I have an audience of one actually watching me. It is one thing to talk about and show my failed attempts on this blog, but it is an entirely different thing to have someone watching me. Fredrick claims he does not judge me, but still. I don’t like people seeing me fail. You can see the result of the failure, but not the process!


Balloons are the bane of my fucking existence. How do people tie them up with ease? My fingers must not be nimble enough because all they do, all I do, is get them tangled up and stuck as I try to knot the ends. Which is a bummer because I think these lamps will look cool whenever I finish them. They will be the finishing touches to the office space. Anyway, here are some photos of the attempt. Fredrick says I look like an idiot in a lot of them. He is such an uplifting roommate, eh?


“Do you miss eating?”
“All the time.”
“What was your favorite food?”
“Grizzly bear.”


“Gri… Grizzly bear?” Izzy can’t help the disbelief in her voice. She won’t believe what Fredrick just said. Refuses to!


“I was a mountain man when I was a living one.”


“There aren’t any mountains around here,” Izzy pointed out.


“Who said I always lived here?”


“Fredrick!” She glowered at him.


He laughed and held up his hands. “Down, girl, I am teasing. No, my palette when I was alive was rather plain. Much like yours.”


Izzy glared at the dead man. But there was no heat to it.


Fredrick laughed at her. His laugh, though not quite the same as a living person, was still a sound that Izzy enjoyed. She didn’t want to say that she went out of her way to make him laugh, but maybe, maybe she did.


Y’all. My best friend has betrayed me. She wants me to learn the damn tango for her wedding. She has never been the type to do what everyone else does. I remember the two of us making fun of weddings that had choreographed dancing from the wedding party. But she had to fall in love with a dancer. Then fall in love WITH dancing. We were two nonrhythmic souls who met in middle school, awkward bodies and minds, melding into one.


I am happy for her, and I adore her partner. Fredrick thinks I’m being ridiculous. I tell him I’m not. Besides, it isn’t like I’ll boycott the wedding or the dance. She’s signed me up for lessons with her. I have no choice.


It might be fun. I guess. She is my best friend and I love her more than anyone else in the world. She has always dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. Into new experiences that broadened my horizons. Without her, I do not think I would be doing what I am do now.


I didn’t mean to become sentimental trash. Any advice on how to force my body to learn some rhythm? Help a girl out!


It was late when Izzy stumbled into her house. Her feet tired and sore from dancing the night away at her friend’s wedding. She had taken a cab to the venue at six in the morning for hair, makeup, and other pre-wedding shenanigans. It was now well past midnight. Probably nearing three in the morning. She was still drunk and knew that come the morning (the later morning at any rate) she would regret the decision to keep drinking.


But she had fun.


She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed this much with people who were alive, of flesh and blood. No offense to Freddy or anything, she blithely thought. And there had been a guy she had met. She hated the cliche, meeting someone at a goddamn wedding, but there had been sparks. Especially the more she drank. It loosened her up to the idea that maybe flirting was something she could do.


“Wild night?” Fredrick’s voice startled her in the dark.


Her eyes widened, her heart racing. She blushed. Not quiet able to make eye contact with the dead man. She felt almost as if she were a teenager being caught doing something naughty by their parents. It was foolish. She was an adult! And Fredrick, a dead person who lived rent free in her house.


“Perhaps,” she said, her mouth thick with alcohol and sullen sounding.


“Good, you deserve it.” Fredrick said, a hint of laughter in his voice.


Izzy relaxed at those words. She sank down onto the couch and Fredrick floated close to to it. She leaned her head back and sighed.


“I’m going to regret being up this late. And this drunk.”


“You aren’t that old,” Fredrick pointed out, reasonably, but Izzy shook her head.


“Did you meet anyone?” Fredrick asked, his voice light.


She looked at him. Squinted through her drunkenness. And it hit her like a missile. If she brought someone into her life, how was she supposed to introduce her newest best friend? The dead one who lived with her, who supported her with his words, who drove her crazy? It wasn’t love in the traditional sense that she felt for Fredrick, but there was something there.


He was important to her. Anyone who came into her life would need to accept Fredrick. He was more than just part of the house.


“I think so,” she said, quietly. Her throat tightening. Constricting on feelings, she wasn’t quite ready to name.
“You think so?” he asked.


“I did, but I don’t know.. You know, whoever I like, has to like you too?” Her mind was a jumbled mess. She wasn’t sure she was in the right state of mind to talk about this. Didn’t even know what to say. What she wanted to say.
Fredrick smiled. A sad thing, but a smile all the same.


“Few living people do, but I think if this person is someone you think can be important to you… I think they might more than tolerate me.”


“Thank you…” Izzy said, quietly. And then she curled up on the couch. Too drunk and lazy to make the journey up to her room. She could deal with these heavy thoughts in the morning.

2 thoughts on “Prompt: A Ghost Story

  1. Another excellent lead in to a short story. I want to know more. Does she become involved with the guy she met at her friends wedding? Does he find out about and accept her ghostly friend Frederick? I need to know…:)

    Like

    1. I am going to be writing a blog post answering these specific questions! I have a lot of ideas for her and her potential new beau, Spoiler alert: his name is Raffi. I’ll hopefully have it posted this week. 🙂

      Like

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