Today marks the first day of Lady Antimony’s #GhoulsGalore flash fiction challenge. We have four weeks, four paranormal beings, and four key words to integrate somewhere into our 250-word drabbles.
Today, we’re tackling the poltergeist, which Wikipedia defines as “paranormal phenomenon which consists of events alluding to the manifestation of an imperceptible entity” which includes “inanimate objects moving or being thrown about, sentient noises (such as impaired knocking, pounding or banging) and, on some occasions, physical attacks on those witnessing the events.”
The key word is boustrophedonic, which “relates to texts written from left to right and right to left in alternate lines.”
This flash fic piece is inspired by Kohl Mansion, where I attended high school. The mansion itself is rumored to be haunted by Freddy, the original owner, and tales have been passed down over the years about strange sightings and visions occurring after dark. Though I never witnessed such phenomena, I’ve always wanted to venture there after hours to see what I might encounter.
“The Fourth Floor”
Velzie’s heart slammed against her ribs as she confronted the spindly staircase that would lead her to the mansion’s forbidden fourth floor. She had never before ventured there, too frightened of the rumors and the headmistress’ wrath, should she be discovered, but tonight she had little choice. She couldn’t hold back a whimper as the floorboards creaked beneath her feet.
“We shouldn’t be up here, Faye. I’m frightened.”
Faye whirled at her words, green eyes narrowed to thin slits. “You translated that blasted parchment. All of this your fault!”
“I found it in the library,” she mumbled, cheeks stinging with embarrassment. It had seemed so innocuous at the time, the parchment sticking out between a stack of dusty tomes in the rare book section, a boustrophedonic text just waiting to be translated. “I didn’t know it would call him!”
“Quiet,” Faye hissed. “He knows we’re here.”
Just ahead they could see a chair hovering impossibly in the air. Before either of them could speak, it flew across the hall with astonishing speed, slamming into a wall with a crash.
“Oh dear.” Velzie’s hands trembled, clammy with sweat. “I don’t think he’s very happy.”
“That’s the understatement of the year.”
The temperature had dropped precipitously, and the air crackled and snapped with livid insistence. There was a dull glow in the distance, and unbidden, Velzie moved towards it, arm outstretched. The light called to her, soothed her fears, muted Faye’s screams. When it consumed her, his laughter resounded in her head.