On Saturday, October 27th, the third annual Haunted Inkwell writing event took place at the Penn Yan Public Library. This year, we started by asking participants to tell us what they fear. We came up with a pretty impressive list:
Next, we each picked a fear from the board and spent 5-7 minutes writing about it. We then shared our stories out loud, challenging our fellow writers to guess our fear(s). Check out a story from each of our Haunted Inkwell writers below… if you dare!
Close Encounter by Sally L. White
I’ve always enjoyed cemeteries—even when I was young. I’d go for the poetry. But, really, only in the daytime.
Then I met the ghost hunters. How did I get talked into going with them that night? Dan… it was all Dan’s fault. I wouldn’t have been there otherwise; it’s hard enough to make out the inscriptions in the daylight!
So there we all were, standing around in a remote cemetery. Pitch dark. Dowsing for spirits. This was a cemetery where not all the graves are marked. Overgrown, uneven footing, a lumpy landscape of ancient death.
They talked to the departed, those ghost hunters. Called them to come and tell their stories. The dowsing rod swung back and forth, then turned toward me. “He wants to talk to YOU,” she said, handing me the dowsing rod. That’s when I heard the voice. Inside my head.
At the time, I didn’t know he planned on staying.
Writer’s Block by Nicole Landers
It was bound to happen one of these day, writer’s block. I had been sitting at the computer for what seemed like hours, staring at the screen, cursor blinking. I look out the window to see the snow steadily coming down. Start with the white stuff, I thought, and began typing my creation. The scene was set, a young woman rents a cabin in the woods to get away from her crazy life over the holidays. She settles down by the fire with a big glass of red and suddenly there’s a knock on the door. Wait, what was that sound behind ME? Did the cat knock something off the shelf? I spin around to find no cat, nothing dropped off the shelf. Turning back to the computer, I get a sinking feeling as I read off the screen, “Nicole sat writing at her computer on a snowy winters day when there was a knock on the door.” I gasp and turn around again to see a darkened figure holding my lifeless cat by the neck.
Haunted by Peter Gamba
Charlie and Mary were driving in the rural United States. Their plan was to visit many old towns and cities over a three-month period in the fall of 1955.
They slept in the car on farms, and in parking places in little towns. They got their food from farmers and small-town grocery stores.
Sleeping outside near buildings and in rural areas close to nature and was free.
Charlie was afraid of being with others, and Mary was open to sharing thoughts and feelings.
Charlie would hide under the blanket while Mary talked to others with the car window down, or she would step out of the car and chat. She would share her interactions with Charlie, and he became a little relaxed, and he decided to go with her the next time she interacted. The next time, they were outside an old building that was a crematory that burned bodies to be buried.
Charlie joined Mary that evening outside of the car. He heard her talking to someone, and Charlie saw or heard nothing. She was talking like there was someone responding to her. Was it a ghost, or was Mary crazy?
The Sensing by Alex Andrasik
He couldn’t understand why they didn’t seem to care. Couldn’t they hear it? Couldn’t they smell it? It was so obvious—a rattling, ratchety sound from deep in the timbers of the house, and an acrid, metallic tang on the air. It was driving him crazy.
But this was always the way with his roommates. Idiots. They were nice enough—they had dinner together almost every night, and there was a definite sense of camaraderie when they’d spend the evening on the couch together, talking about their days. The jobs, the lovers, the neighborhood pests. But they were so depressingly obtuse.
There they were, sitting on the couch without him, spaced out in front of the boob tube, while he paced back and forth in the kitchen, listening to the sounds coming closer, the smell growing stronger. Sometimes he felt the world vibrate in the space just past the edges of his eyes. His heart beat faster, and something deep within him started to slaver, some part of his mind that knew to wait quietly despite his growing alarm.
It was the house itself. Ever since he’d moved in here, he’d felt it coming. Things were better in his old life. Well, that wasn’t true. He used to be cold and wet and hungry all the time. His roommates had changed that. But that’s why he had to protect them. This house, this damn, drafty, noisy, blood-red house—why couldn’t they sense it? Why couldn’t they feel it?
He heard a new sound, a shifting from the couch. One of his roommates came into the kitchen holding an empty glass. “Hey Ronnie, the cat’s staring at that corner in the ceiling again,” he said.
“Creepy,” called the other one. The first refilled his glass at the sink and went out, oblivious.
Sweet Baby would have screamed if he’d had the voice.
Stuck by Bethany Snyder
I always knew I’d be one of those people who gets stuck in an elevator. I’ve been a little claustrophobic since I was a kid, and it’s always people who hate tight spaces that get stuck in them, right?
It’s past midnight, so no one’s going to hear me banging on the doors, but I do it anyway. I can’t stop myself. My breathing gets fast and shallow, and I’m about a second from having a full-blown panic attack. Then—of course—the lights go out.
I slide down to the floor and pull my knees up. I try to slow my breathing. I’m sweating so much, my palms are damp.
The voice is next to me, close.
He’s warm—I can feel the heat coming off him.
“You don’t have to be afraid of it. Or the dark.”
I pick my head up and laugh a little, between panting breaths. I can’t see him—the dark is too pure—but I remember him when I got into the elevator: green janitor’s jumpsuit, tool belt, shiny knife in his hand.
I feel the blade slide in between my ribs.
“Be afraid of me,” he says, and he pulls me to him as my blood pools between us.