Ghost stories, they have the power to throw us into another world, leading us to not only fear for the characters within the novel but for ourselves as the ghosts seem to follow the reader around weeks afterwards. It is the mastery of description that enslaves our minds as readers. Ghost stories paint vivid pictures inside the mind as they force us to come face to face with our deepest fears. Imagining ourselves as the main characters we become a part of the story, seeing, hearing, and feeling everything that the author is courageous enough to delve into the darker side of his or her subconscious.
The tories give a sense of escape, by allowing the reader to partake on the journey along side the characters, they are given the chance to become larger then life, doing things they would never be able to accomplish in their everyday life. They defeat the monster and come out the conquering hero, never forgetting the memory of their battle. Even after the book is done the scenes replay themselves over and over within the readers mind. They have such an impact over their readers, and that is a true accomplishment, not all genres of novels can succeed in such a feat.
Now, I want you to sit back in your most omfortable chair, pull a blanket up around you, and grab a nice, warm cup of cocoa while I tell you one of my favourite ghost stories. Vivian plunked the last of the dusty, cardboard boxes down on the wooden floor. She breathed heavily as she finally allowed herself to collapse into the burgundy softness of the cushioned chair seated in the far corner of the master bedroom. Thunder tore its way through the silence of the room. Vivian jumped, she didnt like being alone in the dark, musty house, especially during a thunder storm. She remembered when she and her husband, Jake, had first visited the house.
It had been the middle of summer and after reading an article in the paper about the house, they had made the drive out to Osgood to see it. They fell in love with the house from the moment they laid their eyes on it. A large bay window looked out over the front lawn, and next to it were french doors leading out to a wrought iron balcony. A white washed porch encompassed the body of the house, its rails intertwined with red roses that blessed the thick summer air with their sweet aroma. It had seemed so welcoming then, Vivian thought to herself as she rose from the chair, wearily getting ready for bed.
She pulled one of her husbands sweat shirts from one of the many boxes that were spread across the room and put it on. Vivian laughed to herself as she passed by her reflection in the antique vanity mirror, the shirt hung off of her small frame almost reaching all the way down to her knees, and her long auburn hair was piled messily upon her head. Another crash of thunder sent her diving childishly to the safety of the king size, four post bed where she pulled the lavish wine coloured duvet up over her head. Jake will be here tomorrow she repeated after she had turned off the light.
Hell be here tomorrow she kept reassuring herself as she fell into an uneasy sleep. Vivian hadnt spent a night away from her husband since they had been married eighteen months ago, the mere thought of him not being beside her haunted her subconscious as she slept. It was dark outside when Vivian awoke, a wash of pale blue light cast itself over the bedroom. Slowly Vivian eased herself out of the warmth of the immense bed and made her way towards the hallway. The hall was dimly lit with candles and it seemed to go on forever, the glow of amber from the candles fading as you followed them down into a dark cave.
The sound of the enormous, oak door opening followed by a strong gust of crisp, early winter wind sharpened Vivians senses as she began to run down the dark hall towards the top of the staircase. “Jake? ” she called, reaching the top of the stairs. “Oh Jake, honey, is that you? ” she said running down the stairs. When she reached the bottom she let a small sigh escape as her spirit sank, he wasnt there. I couldnt have just imagined the whole thing, Vivian thought to herself, someone came into the house I heard them.
“Jake? Are you here? she yelled stepping into the middle of the foyer, her echo bouncing off the empty alls of the house, resonating inside her head. The house is too quiet Vivian thought to herself as she inched her way back to the staircase. “Jake? ” she whispered desperately. She placed her foot softly onto the first step, a sickening slurp arose from under her foot. Instinctively she looked down, her stomach churned as all the colour drained from her face. A steady stream of blood had made its way down the stairs, it dripped warmly off of each separate step filling the ruby pool on the one below it.
Vivian stood frozen unable to believe the oozing mass that was collecting at her feet. Behind her the heavy wood of the oor crashed open sending icy gasts of harsh, bitter wind spinning through the house. Not able to control her terror any longer Vivian darted up the stairs, the thickening pools of blood sticking to the bottoms of her feet, splashing up over her bare legs with every step. Tears poured down her colourless face as she ascended up the stairs. Turning down the amber hall she collided with a dark, pillar that was blocking the corridor.
She had collided with such force that she had been sent flying backwards, landing in a crumpled heap about four feet away. Vivian rose painfully to a sitting position glancing towards the shadowed igure she had hurtled herself into. Slowly, it started to close in upon her. The figure was a mass of darkness, it draped itself over her, bringing with it the pungent stench of decay. Slowly the figure bent down until what was left of his face rested only inches from hers, the smell invading every pore of her body causing waves of dizzying nausea to roll through her.
The mans pale face moved with cascades of maggots as they fought to escape the deep pits where his eyes should have been. They fell onto Vivians legs, should could feel them crawling all over her. She tried to move but found that she couldnt, a bear-like rasp had clamped itself around her arm effortlessly holding her to the ground. With his free, icy hand he started to caress her cheek, wiping the tears away as they fell from her eyes, he moved in closer, opening his chapped mouth, a black slime poured from it, trickling down over Vivians grey sweat shirt.
The figure climbed on top of her, she was powerless to stop it. She was surrounded by the smell of death, the hungry maggots, and the putrescent black that dripped its cold wetness onto her face. Vivian woke up screaming. Her body trembled with complete and utter terror, her clothes and duvet were soaked with sweat. The dream had been so real, she could still feel the stinging cold from the mans touch, her nostrils still consumed by the odour. Just then she heard a clamor of footsteps racing towards the bedroom, Her muscles stiffened and her stomach lurched, the door burst open.
Viv? Are you all right? ” Jake raced to the side of his convulsing wife and gathered her into his arms. “Oh my god, what happened? ” he cupped her face within his hands and looked into her eyes. “Im so glad youre here. ” she said wrapping her arms tightly around his warm body. “Our first night away from each other and I have a nightmare. I guess it all oes to show how independent I am. ” she joked, adverting her eyes away from her husbands worried gaze. Jake gently pressed his lips to her forehead and smiled, taking her clammy hand within his own and drew her up. Come on, I made us some breakfast. ”
Vivian clutched on to his hand as they entered the hallway, it looked nothing like it had in her dream, it was brightly lit with wall lamps allowing her to see the very last door at the end of the hall. Relief came to her as they reached the inviting smell of bacon in the kitchen. Everything was as it should be, there was no trail of warm, sickly blood dripping ts way steadily down the stairs, there were no wintry breezes that stung her body, and there had been no dark figure waiting for her.
It was for that fact that she was most thankful. Jake set out the white china plates heaped with steaming pancakes and sparkling bacon, as well as rich, dark cups of coffee, filled to the brim. Vivian curled her fingers around the warm walls of her mug and sipped at it sparingly as she told Jake about her dream. She sat in a daze, reliving the whole experience, she couldnt remember a time when she had been so scared. Jakes being there helped her to stay strong, he comforted er through the whole thing, reassuring her that it was just a dream.
When she was done he crouched down beside her chair and looked up at her. “ell Im here now, and Im not going to let anything hurt you, not even in your dreams. ” Vivian knew that he was telling the truth, he wouldnt let anything hurt her, she trusted him with her life. Upstairs in the house a picture frame crashed to the floor, spraying its shards of glass clumsily across the wooden floor. “What was that? ” Vivian had jumped from her chair and now stood clinging to her husbands fleece chest.
“Dont worry, it was probably nothing. he said as he unhinged her fingers and tarted for the stairs. Still shaken from her dream and not wanting to be left alone Vivian followed cautiously behind his sure, steady steps. Jake entered their bedroom leaving Vivian waiting in the doorway. “Damn it! Ahh, god damn. Viv, youre not going to believe this. ” Vivian entered the room warily. Jake was sitting on the burgundy chair nursing a bleeding foot. Blood, Vivian thought as she remembered her dream once more. she began to run over to where her husband was sitting “Careful! ” he shouted.
“Theres glass all over the floor. Vivian stopped dead and looked about her, a silver frame with ine like coils engraved in it lay on the floor, the picture inside it was of their wedding day. They were sitting on a white bench with crimson roses blending into the background of the slowly setting sun. She was wearing a simple ivory gown with tiny pink flowers embroidered carefully onto the bodice, her hair swept upwards with soft wisps hanging loosely across her neck. Jake wore the traditional black tuxedo which complimented his broad shoulders and strong build that he had been naturally blessed with.
The sun danced across his golden hair giving it a reddish glow. That had been the happiest day of her life, ow the picture lay torn in half on the ground. “Viv, can you go find us a broom so we can get this all cleaned up? ” Jake asked trying to hide the pain of his burning foot. “Of course. Are you all right? Want me to get you anything? ” as she drew her attention to the gaping cut in his foot.
“Oh my god, the looks like it needs stitches. ” she was horrified. “I dont even remember unpacking that picture, Im so sorry babe. ” “Just what are you apologizing for? he laughed. “Its my own fault for charging in here without watching where I was going, so dont you even start to blame yourself. Ill e fine, you just go and find that broom, okay? ” he forced a smile, Vivian smiled back and left the room. She ventured out into the hallway, she had run into a storage closet the other day while exploring the house, she was sure shed be able to find something to sweep up the glass in there. She had reached the closet, the knob on the door was ice cold, sending goosebumps immediately up her arm the second she touched it.
Ignoring the small jolt of fear that had passed through her she opened the door, the broom was lying in the corner, a dust pan near by. Bending down to pick up the rusting metal of the dust pan Vivian got the sense that she was not alone, someone was watching her she was sure of it. The heavy glare of eyes was suffocating, causing the air around her to thin until she had to heave in deep breaths. Slowly standing up she saw something move out of the corner of her eye, a quick flash of colour interrupting the stillness of the house for a momentary second before vanishing into the watching air.
Vivian dropped the broom and dust pan, letting them fall thunderously to the ground, as she sprinted down the hallway and into her her husbands arms. “Viv? Whats wrong? ” Jake asked staring down at her on his lap, he stroked the air back from her face. “I swear to god somethings in the house. I saw something out in the hallway. It was there and then it just vanished. ” she cried. “I feel like Im losing my mind, first the nightmare and now this, god, whats wrong with me? ” she wrapped her arms around Jakes waist and buried herself in his chest. “Vivian, look at me. she looked up, her eyes were swollen and red with tears.
“Youre not losing your mind, I promise, youve just been under a lot of stress lately, with the move and all. Heres an idea, Ill clean up this mess and unpack the boxes that are left hile you rest. ” he rose from the chair, Vivian still in his arms. The first step down on his foot caused him to moan in pain. “Oh, Jake your foot, you cant do all that work, you can barely even walk. You lie down while I clean the mess, Im fine now really. ” she said as he plopped her down onto the bed collapsing beside her. “No youre not. ” he laughed. Look at yourself youre trembling.
” Vivian knew that he was not going to give in, she hated it when he became stubborn like this and stood up briskly in protest. Her head spun, the objects in the room became a kalidoscopic blur, he sound of Jakes voice was distant and clouded, everything bled into one another until a curtain of black swept in. Vivian awoke an hour later, her head was pounding and her back felt like someone had thrust a knife into it and twisted the blade so that the wound wouldnt close. Jake raced to her side, his face was creased with worry. “Hey you, how are you feeling?
This,” he said extending his arm to a husky, little man with white curly hair. “is Dr. Myles Jeffery, hes going to take a look at you okay? If you need anything Ill be just outside. ” he squeezed her hand tightly, nodded in the direction of Dr. Jeffery and left the room, the door clicking shut behind him. Jake paced back and forth outside the door, his mind was racing, how could he have let her do all the unpacking by herself? He knew that she had been under a lot of stress. He should have been there for her, not out in Philadelphia wrapping up a business deal that could have been managed over the phone.
I cant believe how stupid I am! ” he scolded himself, he had never been so scared for someone in his entire life. The hallway grew cold, Jake hugged himself absently, still pacing , the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as a shadow swept by him. Jake flung himself around, nothing was there. He laughed, the lonely voice danced down the hall and died. The sound of the bedroom door opening behind him brought Jake back to full attention. Dr. Jeffery was smiling. “You can see your wife now, she has something to tell you. ” he said in his soft, kind voice. “Ill let myself out.
Jake ran into the room, Vivian sat on the bed her arms folded across her stomach, her face soaked with tears. When she saw Jake she drew her palms up and rubbed at her eyes. Jake didnt know what to make of the picture he saw before him and slowly inched his way to the bed, expecting the worst. Vivian patted the duvet beside her and obediently he sat down. She took his hand and looked into his eyes and started to cry. “What is it? ” Jake was couldnt comprehend the look on his wifes face, hed never seen her look this way before. “What did Dr. Jeffery say? ” “He sa… e said. ” she paused choking back her tears and smiled.
“Were going to have a baby. ” she laughed bringing on more waves of tears. Jake could feel his eyes beginning to well up, as he started to laugh. “Were having a baby? ” Vivian nodded as Jake leaned over cupping her face and began to excitedly kiss her face again and again. Were having a baby. I cant believe it. ” he said placing his hand lovingly onto her stomach, brushing his thumb across it soothingly. “Well believe it, in eight months you are going to be a dad. ”
“And you,” he bent down to kiss her stomach. are going to be a mom. ” he kissed her again and again, she reached her hand down and pulled him up to kiss her mouth, the warm weight of his body pressed up against hers. He stopped to pull the navy fleece up over his head exposing his still tanned skin, Vivians hands immediately went to touch the bare flesh, whiles Jakes hand crept its way to the lamp beside the bed. I love you. ” he whispered into her ear as he climbed in-between the covers. Vivian sat in dreamily in the bath tub, letting the steaming water ripple around her body, coaxing her to sleep.
She looked down at her stomach and patted it gently, everything is so perfect now, she thought to herself. A small splash caught her attention, a small, white worm riggled for life in the peaceful water, Vivians stomach sank as more and more of the worms splashed sickeningly into the tub. Leaping out of the water she wrapped herself in a deep red towel slinking away from the crawling bath. She backed up gainst the door, trying to turn the handle but found that it would not budge, tears welled up inside her eyes as she sank helplessly down to the floor.
Stop, please stop. ” she whispered as she banged on the door. Why is this happening to me? She thought. “Please, just go away. ” she pleaded over and over again. The tub was now overflowing with the small ,white worms, they poured onto the floor the pile wriggling over one another. The dark figure she had seen before passed through the door. Vivian drew in a deep, staggered breath, the figure took no notice of her, it walked right past her crumpled form into the middle of the bathroom. He turned, his feet sliding over the masses of maggots and stared right at her.
His face was different this time, his eyes were visible and his mouth didnt drip with the black liquid, it drawn and pale, his eyes communicated a deep sorrow, he tilted his head precariously as he raised a finger to Vivian. He extended his hand, a snake slowly started to coil around it, he looked down his eyes filling with hate then looked back up at Vivian. A shrieking noise assaulted her ears as he viciously whipped the snake against the large, crystal mirror. Vivians eyes shot open. She lay in the comfort of Jakes arms, she was safe.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she carefully slipped out from under Jake trying not to wake him. Out of the bed she reached for her snow white, terry cloth robe and wrapped it around her shivering body. She made her way down to the kitchen, the clock read eight oclock, she and Jake must have slept through the entire evening. She made her way sleepily to the bench seat by the window, outside all that could be seen was the vast array of trees that made up the Osgood forest. Vivian curled up onto the blue checkered cushion tilting her head, resting it against the frame of the window.
She stared out the window watching intently as a cardinal landed in the square soft light from the window, and started to peck the damp ground in search of worms. “Im coming for you. ” the words rang thorough Vivians head like a fog horn blaring through the deadly silence of a warm summers night. She looked up and screamed, the man from her dreams stood four feet from the window. He stared at her, his deep, black eyes didnt move, they just peered through the window. Im dreaming, I have to be dreaming Vivian thought frantically but she knew it was not true. This time she wasnt dreaming, there was no escape.
She sat staring at him, too petrified to turn away, trusting that if she did he would walk through the window and kill her. The cardinal that she had been watching flew up and perched on his shoulder, without tearing his eyes from hers he snapped his hand up and flattened the bird, removing the mutilated ball of feathers from his coat and threw it away. The birds still warm blood could be seen on the dark shoulder of his jacket. His hand too was stained with the blood, Vivian could see it trickle slowly down his arm, he brought it to his mouth and licked the ruby juice away. Vivian felt like she was going to be sick.
He smiled at her. “Soon. ” the silence spoke to her. “Hey gorgeous, how long have you been up? ” Vivian broke the hypnotic trance that the figure had placed upon her and looked away to see Jake walk into the room. A second later, when she looked back through the window, the man was gone. Unable to control her queasy stomach any longer she sprang up and ran to the bathroom just outside the doors of the kitchen. When she finally emerged from the bathroom, twenty minutes later, Jake greeted her with a kiss and a big bowl of steaming chicken noodle soup. “I thought that morning sickness was strictly designated to the mornings. “