This #fridayflash story is inspired by my main character Juliette in Paranormal Junkies, a YA Horror novel I plan to write for NaNoWriMo 2012.
The old farm house loomed over me, and I clutched my Harry Potter book closer to my chest. I didn’t want to live here. This was Steve’s house, not mine. I would’ve rather lived with dad, but his one-bedroom apartment had no room for me. He didn’t have room for me.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. Tears clouded my vision, and I wanted to stomp, throw my book down, give a temper tantrum, but I couldn’t. Mom counted on me being nice. To Steve. I wouldn’t call him step-dad and definitely not dad. So not happening.
Steve poked his head from above a large box. “Want to see your room, Juliette? You can decorate it anyway you like.”
“Maybe later.” I scuffed my sneaker against a clump of dirt.
Mom exited the house to get another box. “Jules, why don’t you go play on the swing? You always wanted a tree swing.”
“Okay, Mom.” I didn’t care for Steve’s tree swing, but I wanted to get away from the house, the boxes, the entire moving in.
A giant oak tree stood at the edge of the backyard and the fields and forest. It looked lonely by itself. I could relate. The Harry Potter book dropped from my hands at the base of the tree’s trunk. How old was this tree? I tilted my head back and still couldn’t see the tip-top leaves. Not even Steve’s arms could encircle the tree’s trunk.
I stepped to the swing and ran my fingers over the rough rope. The swing would hold me, so I sank down upon the wooden board. My feet dangled over the grass. Laughter floated from the house, and I cringed. Why did they have to be so happy? Mom could’ve still loved Dad if she tried. Didn’t she tell me not to quit? Why did she?
“I’ve never seen such a sad girl on a swing before.” The man’s gravelly voice sent chills down my spine. The summer-like air turned cold, as if someone ran a popsicle along my back.
I wiped the tears from my cheeks and glanced around. Then, I saw him beside the tree. He was a darkened shadow, nearly transparent. My fingers tightened around the ropes. “W-who are you?”
“Name’s George. And you are?” His body swung as if a light breeze brushed against him. I could just make out the outline of a rope around his neck.
“Juliette.” I should’ve been more afraid of him, but he looked sad too, like the tree, like me. My feet kicked against the dirt, and the swing pushed me higher. “I’ve never seen a ghost before.”
George smiled. “I guess we’re even then, isn’t that right, Miss Juliette?”
“Yes, sir.” I smiled back.
Spectacular! Wonderfully written and nice ending. I can't wait until you write this story now. :)
Bet the house just became more interesting for her!
Terrific! I haven't written flash fiction yet, but you make me want to give it a try. Just as soon as I get this novel edited.
I think Juliette is going to find life a lot more interesting all of a sudden. ;-)
Brrr. That gave me the chills.
Love that ending. I got chills too.
Oooh! I *like* this a lot, Cherie :) Very spooky & intriguing!
I wasn't really expecting a ghost- something to do with the tree yes. LOL good story.
The little girl I once was (that's still somewhere in there!) is rather jealous of Juliette's ghost friend
Oh no, the swing rope isn't the very same rope is it? Very nicely done :)
Also, love all the references to Steve XD Sounds familiar in my life.
I love the twist at the end! Unexpected--and it makes me wonder if there are any other ghosts by the farm house.
Cherie, you've expertly captured in Juliette all the feelings I worried would arise in my son if I'd ever dated when he was so young...now that he's a wiseguy teen, of course, I needn't worry the little monster have any feelings at all! ;-) J/K. But seriously, that was beautifully built, with just the right pacing and suspense...and that ending! Great job.
Some Dark Romantic
I wasn't expecting that in the end. I loved the innocent eeriness to it. Great flash! :)
This was a wonderful story, full of innocence and then...not so full of it after all. The way you almost casually mention the rope around the ghost's neck makes it so much more spine-tingling than it otherwise could have been, and the fact that the girl doesn't flinch so much is a great observation: kids take so much in their stride. Chilling and uplifting.
This left me wanting to know more about George. Hmmm.....
Love this! What a wonderful opening to a longer piece. George and Juliette... there are many stories to be told here...(:
I wonder what he meant by that last line. This was nicely done and the voice was convincing. Would definitely like to know more about George! Good luck with Nano!
Stopping in to pass on a Versatile Blogger Award and a Lucky 7 Meme. Love your blog!
Can't say I saw that ending coming. Sounds like a great playground for writing a novel on, good luck to you!
Amazingly written and the ending is done well. Made me want to read more!
Very nice, Cherie. The characters & setting hint at romance (of a sort) to go along with the horror.
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