Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Ghouls Galore: Poltergeist

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.

An old photograph of Kohl Mansion in California


“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.


  1. So creepy! Well done- i promise to never translate anything

    • Thanks, Alica! I watched The Mummy the night before I wrote this, and I think the whole ‘translating the Book of the Dead’ thing was in my head. 😉

  2. Oh yes, library rule number one – never never never translate anything on parchment!
    Great ending Lena.

    • Yup, you’re right — definitely the first rule everyone should learn. 😀 I love libraries so much, though, and I have always dreamed of finding something supernatural and/or slightly dangerous in one. I think that’s why I like stories about scholars digging about in dusty archives so much!

  3. Awesome – I love creepy stories. I’m so jealous about your school: I want to go there sometimes and meet Freddy (well, from a safe distance)!

    • Thanks, Angela. I haven’t written anything creepy in a long while, so I’m excited to dig into this flash fiction challenge. And I have to say, my high school is kind of awesome. The Spanish classroom and foreign language study center are housed in what used to be Freddy’s old bedroom — definitely cool and creepy and fun, especially days when we had to stay late. 😉

  4. def. never translate old parchment – goes along side never volunteer – good one

  5. also what do you call your ‘find us on facebook box’ in facebooks social plugins I can’t find it and I do so want one!!

  6. What a great Flash Fiction challenge for October; I loved the air’s “livid insistence.” 🙂

    • Isn’t it a fantastic idea? I’ve never been much for Halloween, but this writing challenge has definitely gotten me into the mood.

      Thanks for swinging by, Shelley!

  7. Eeek! Sounds like that didn’t work out! Wonder what they thought they could do on the 4th Floor? Really creepy… Also feel bad for the innocent intellectual types that always seem to get caught up in these messes. Really, if it’s sitting there untranslated, translating something seems like such a reasonable thing to do.

    • Haha, no, it didn’t work out at all. I somehow imagine that Faye, being the bossier of the two, decided that there would be some way they could fix whatever Velzie managed to “break” through her translation, but… tactical error, to be sure.

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