Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Stories!

Since today is Halloween, my very favorite holiday, here are some scary stories I wrote for DWChitown's Mary Shelley Story-Telling Party the other week. Warning: neither story is particularly subtle. If you don't like blatant, gory description, these may not be the stories for you. 


The Dreaded Ghost Disease

Once my body was haunted. Not possessed--haunted. Ghosts are the worst kind of disease. They move around, and consequently they are difficult to catch. Even harder to expel. 

My ghost started in my hair. It constantly frizzed up, and random strands stood on end. Pieces of it flew around wildly, even when I was nowhere near a breeze. I tried to wash the ghost out in the shower. I scrubbed the shampoo into my scalp over and over again. I set my blow dryer on the hottest heat. I scraped through the mane with a sharp teasing comb. My hair became brittle and broken. When I ran my hand through it, whole clumps fell out. Perfect strangers insisted that I start using conditioner. I tried to explain that it was all for the best, that it was important to nip my otherworldly infestation in the bud before it spread. But all they saw was a hideous mop of hair, not a haunting. 

Then the pesky ghost migrated to my skin. Sometimes it felt like there were clammy fingertips sliding up my thighs, or over my shoulder, or under my chin. The bumps began after that. It was too cold outside for bugs to bite, but I broke out in itchy hives all the same. My doctor said it was eczema, but I knew better. I tried scratching and picking at them first; it didn’t help. My skin was so irritated that I couldn’t sleep. I kept rubbing my legs against the sheets, wishing they were made of a coarser fabric. I bled and I scarred, but it wasn’t enough. I needed something more abrasive, so I swapped my lotion for nail polish remover. Eventually this new daily regimen started taking the skin right off. That’s when my mother sent me to the hospital.

The night before I left, she asked: “Doesn’t it sting, honey?”  I told her I didn’t mind the stinging if it made my uninvited guest go away. She began to cry and muttered something about how the doctors would help. I suggested that a psychic would be more useful than a psychiatrist. She just cried some more.

Once I was all settled in the stark hospital ward, the ghost settled into my digestive system. It set my stomach churning like boiling water; it made me feel like worms were coiled at the bottom of my throat. I spat spiteful abuses at the nurses filled with words I didn’t know I knew. Of course, I didn’t know them. The ghost did. The ghastly intruder made me bite down on my pills and taste the bitter powder inside them before licking my tongue clean on the dirty mattress. I got so fed up with it all that I began to stick my fingers in my mouth. First one, then two, as far back as they would go, hoping that I would vomit up my unwanted tenant. The doctors didn’t like that one bit. They started giving me shots that made me fall asleep, which I guess I didn’t mind so much, since it made the ghost sleep, too. 

But it was still there when I woke up, and I hated it. And I hated my mother for not believing me, and I hated the doctors for doing nothing to stop it. So one night I stole some Drano from the janitor’s closet. Even as I died, I felt that wretched ghost pacing the slowing chambers of my heart. 

Justification Lullaby 

I’ll tell the truth
I have been sleeping with the lights on
Ever since I left you
--D.M. Stith, “Pity Dance

The thing I remember most is your eyes when I tucked you in. They were harder to close then I thought they’d be—one kept sliding open slowly, as if someone had tried to glue the lids together with an old, expired adhesive. It was like you were peeking to see if I was still there. 

I wasn’t there for long. The forest floor was already a bed of dry brown leaves. They curled and cracked when I quickly swept them over your body. They got stuck in your hair and your sweater. You slept beneath them for weeks until somebody found you. I hope they were comfortable. I swear I do.

I loved you, you know. But I’m sure you understand why I had to leave; there were too many uncomfortable silences, disapproving glances, meals in front of the television. You went to church too often. It just wasn’t pretty anymore. It didn’t smell good. My mouth began to feel sticky whenever I was with you, like there was too much sugar on my teeth.

I suppose I must still love you. That’s why I feel the need to explain all this to you, night after night. It’s like a prayer. It helps me sleep. 

Yay scary stories! If you want to hear another scary story, download this one by Neil Gaiman FOR FREE. Plus, every time a copy of the story is downloaded, Audible donates $1 to charity. That's right. Getting freaked out for a good cause. Can't beat that. 

What are your Halloween plans? I'm going to see Die Antwoord. Things are going to get interesting... 

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