Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Theme Thursday: Ghost

Disembodied heads glow in the dark. I learned this at a pretty young age, not that I spent time with many of them. Only a few. Growing up on a hill surrounded by family, both alive and dead, will do that to you.

Piercing the recesses of my sleep, his stare pulled me back from restful bliss. Awakening, all air was sucked from my lungs, no sound to draw it near. The thin sheath of cloth pulled under my nose became my shield as shivers ran down my spine. Atop my bureau, the glowing head just stared.

My young imagination pulled back fearful memories...

Laying prone in the shadow of the well house, we schemed our ways to slip passed the hunter to base. Inky blackness under the crescent moon, drew cousins to our yard for Midnight in the Graveyard, a variation of Hide and Seek. No one ever really hid in the family graveyard, not since a friend fell in an open grave at my birthday party. Crying under the freezing spectre of death until rescued, we steered clear now. Especially in the dark. Never know what you might find, or what might find you.

About to dash for base, our solemn revelry shattered as the ghostly figure floated between the stones, ambling he paused at the foot of a plot. Hearts seized, strangling our voices, our eyes froze in frame. Long moments, so brief, before he disappeared into the earth. Wildly we ran for the comforting tag of "it", games having reached their end, for the evening.

Was this thing atop my bookshelf what the apparition had been seeking, any minute to burst through my door to reclaim it's crown. Deep within my bowels, forcing it's way past tongue and throat, a scream erupted...Dad!

Rushing feet could not come quick enough as I buried myself in the covers expecting my doom. Instant white light, the flick of the switch, I peered out...to see my brother's Halloween mask propped neatly against the knick knacks upon the dresser.

What we fear in the dark loses it's power when brought into the light.

Sleep did not find me again that evening, not in the shadow of the tombstones.

43 comments:

lakeviewer said...

Brian, I'm curious about your style, British-like, full of descriptive phrases.

Betsy said...

Oh, this brings back memories! There's nothing like being scared as a child while playing Ghost in the Graveyard...that anxious but excited feeling!

We used to tell ghost stories until everyone had shivers up their spines! And who hasn't hid under the blankets...sweaty and hot...thinking that thin piece of cloth was somehow going to protect us! LOL

Can't believe some child fell in a grave hole! Yikes!

Nancy said...

Wow you really fell into the empty grave? Where was the occupant?

Your style of writing is terrific.

Michael said...

"Crying under the freezing spectre of death until rescued, we steered clear now."

I love you, Cousin, but you are the Danielle Steel of blogs.

Of course that doesn't mean I won't continue reading them. They're brilliant.

You had me at Hello, big Guy. You had me at Hello.

-DF

Jill said...

Ah, Brian...you managed to bring back the ABSOLUTE TERROR I felt many times as a child...over something as simple as a child's mask...or a flapping curtain.
Most excellent!

Zip n Tizzy said...

I used to negotiate with the ghosts at night... "Don't let yourself be known and you can stay."
It mostly worked.

This is great!

John said...

That does bring back memories. I to thought I was protected by a thin sheet,I was afraid to be yhe last one up.Thanks for retreiving old buried memories.LOL Very interesting the way you word your blogs.In hooked.
JOHN

Elisabeth's bright side said...

That was really spooky, now I'm awake. Thanks for comments on my photos!

Ronda Laveen said...

Cracked me up at the end. Something so ordinary as a mask can give way to the macabre.

Valerie said...

Gee thanks, Brian, for refreshing the awfulness of scaredy childhood. Two ornaments, lambs covered with fluorescent paint and reflected in mirrors, gave me a whole herd that scared me witless as I lay shivering in the dark, head buried beneath the covers, too scared even to scream out. Gee thanks, Brian. Loved your post though :)

subtorp77 said...

Brian I remember your other post about living next to a cemetary. Neat( I think ). Big obscure "Porky's" reference....I'm sure you know the one, if you've seen it ;). Will have to go exploring the many grave-yards, round here. But only in the day time. The local constabulary frowns upon "night-time" hi-jinks in them!

otin said...

Why do all of us crazy kids like to play in grave yards? Do we really like scaring ourselves?

Baino said...

Brian! You're posting too fast, I can't keep up. Yeh. When I stayed at my gran's, I'd be given my Aunty's room and she had this awful paisley wallpaper so if I found myself waking facing the wall, I'd have a caniption. . something about the wallpaper. I never understood it but could never sleep 'facing' it.

J A Harnett-Hargrove said...

Hi Brian,
I enjoyed this. Reminded me of living as a youngster in NJ and exploring graveyards. It was so very fun to get scared. Nothing much changes! -Jayne

Lorraine said...

you're such an awesome writer Brian

Poetikat said...

That would be some birthday party - having a kid fall into an open grave.

That quote is spot on!

Kat

Kate Hanley said...

That first line: Disembodied heads glow in the dark. I learned this at a very young age - beautiful, it really sucked me into the story immediately.

Kate Hanley said...

That first line: Disembodied heads glow in the dark. I learned this at a very young age - beautiful, it really sucked me into the story immediately.

willow said...

My uncle, more like a brother actually because he was just six years older, had a glow-in-the dark, full body skeleton Halloween costume one year. We went into the dark storage room to check it out. Only the bones and skull floated in the darkness. I have never been so scared in my life.

mary said...

Love your writing - your sentence structure. And did you really have a family graveyard where you were raised ? Write more about it - or have I just missed that ?

The Dark Lord said...

My first visit... certainly won't be the last! Love your skillful writing..specially all the vivid descriptions.. You've got great style...

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I knew to read your ghostly post in the morning....you got my heart pounding with fear!

you have such a flair for imagery and twists!

VE said...

My friend lived next to a cemetary growing up too. We used to crawl through the hedge but never had the guts to spend the night there even though we tried numerous times. Great story as always!

Debo Hobo said...

Reading this post, I can easily recall many a times I was paralyzed with fear in the dark of my mother's house in Ct. To this day I am still scared of the dark. BOO! Yikes!!

Candie Bracci said...

Just great!Love it!Intense and that sentence about what we fear in the dark ends when brought to daylight,yeah that is so true in every senses of it!Nice one!;)

Wings said...

So very true, about the dark giving ordinary objects a stronger power than they could ever achieve in the daylight.

Love it, Brian!

Brad said...

Great post Brian, How is that book comming along?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Such a universal experience.

Brian Miller said...

I will be back tomorrow to catch up on comments. with the computer busted, i get small windows of time popping into the library! thanks for reading check in with you tomorrow!

Carletta said...

Hi Brian,
Came by to thank you for your visit to my Playground Memories POTD and I've been rewarded again -to read your wonderful blog! :)

May I just say you certainly have a way with words. I enjoyed my visit and will be returning often.

Marianna said...

So true what you say about fear and its realation to light and darkness...it's just the unknown that makes absense of light so damn...spooky :)

Happy TT
xoxo

Verily I go. said...

Closet doors must always always be closed. I spent an entire terrorized night awake. In the Light, it was a slip..pushed out from being strapped around the dress on the hanger.

Kris said...

Disembodied heads can be such a pain...

Daniel said...

I think I just peed a little. Gulp.

Liza said...

lol...great childhood memory...this reminds me of a house military man and I looked into buying in CT...it was a 1930's gramble with an old cemetary next door. Of course, I loved it's charm, however, he only envisioned our oldest, under the age of two at the time, playing hide and go seek in the graveyard. Go figure.

Sandra Leigh said...

Sometimes I wonder why we look back so fondly at childhood, when we seem to have spent so much of it in a state of abject terror. I remember being terrified of whatever might be lurking under my bed or in the closet. I lived next to a graveyard, but I don't remember thinking of it as a playground. You and your friends were brave.

Mrsupole said...

ROFLMAO!!!

Oh that was so funny, I love all of your cemetary stories and wish you would do more. The fears of childhood are nothing compared to the daily fears we must face as adults.

But the childhood ones are so much fun to talk and write about when one is an adult. The things we did to cause fear in others sometimes backfired on us. We always feared our parents more than we could ever fear any ghost. Crap, we still fear our mom. No matter how grown we get, we still want to please.

Great story. Loved it. Thanks for it.

God bless.

The Silver Fox said...

Rough couple of days, still catching up on TT entries. Only six or so left, and I'm glad I saved yours until (almost) the end. Excellent & gripping. Even the ending wasn't amusing, because I'd been sucked into the whole childhood vibe, it was just a feeling of "Whew! That was close!"

Dot-Com said...

That was really good! Young minds wander so much, and sleep can be difficult once awake or afraid.

Brian Miller said...

@lakeviewer - it has really just developed over time through what i read...i am not british though, not that i would mind being...just a poor country boy from virginia...

@Betsy - smiles. too many ghost stories!

@nancy - for some reason there were two empty graves in the graveyard. they had concrete walls, but were empty...yeah my friend fell in at my birthday during a mad game of hide and sek. gave himself away with all the screaming.

@michael - i must say this is my first danielle steele comparison. she sold a lot of books right? hello.

@jill - think we all lived through that at some point in our life. smiles.

@zip - lol. thats a riot.

@john - ty.

@elisabeths - lol. hope you get some sleep

@ronda- too true. our eyes play such tricks on us.

@valerie - lambs covered in flourescent paint...no wonder you were scared.

@ subby - smiling at the reference. lots of mischief in the graveyards after dark, from the living and the dead.

@otin - playing with fire?

@baino - sorry. limit myself to once a day. times have been funky witht he computer problems...spooky wallpaper...i can see it!

@jayne - yeah, i think kids love to scare themselves, and not much does change...

@lorraine - too much!

@poetikat - ty. smiles

@kate - ty. i try

@willow - haha. can totally see it...freaky!

@mary - truly did. did a post on it in the past, will try to dig it up, no pun intended.

@dark lord - ty for stopping by. have seen you around lorraines. will be by.

California Girl said...

Hey Brian: I now remember those feelings of fear as a child. I especially recall being afraid to let my arm hang over the side of teh mattress, as tho' some thing wuld grab it.

lettuce said...

ha, absolutely! like a dressing gown hanging on the door....

the things lose their power in the light - but the fear can linger on and on

Jaime said...

that sounds like something my sister would do to me. and, come to think of it, i'm kind of surprised i didn't do something like this to her!