Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Alone with the Unknown - A WEP Flash

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears - Halloween Nights when the veil thins between this world and that other one. . .

Don't listen, don't look, don't turn around. . .


Paris - An Old Cemetery, by DG Hudson

A child sleepwalks, unbeknownst to the rest of the family. Out the door, and into a nearby cemetery, stepping gingerly, not feeling the cold night air.  She halts amid the dark stone tombs of yesteryear, eye closed and hands sensing her path and her active mind guiding her tiny feet.

A cat growls and hisses in the shadows of a nearby tomb and the child awakens. There is fear in her eyes yet she knows not what caused her to awaken. She looks around, feeling an aura of restlessness in the spirits biding in the place. All the things around her are dark and foreboding. . .she screams, breaking the stillness of the night. . .

Back in her own home, a few houses away, a mother hears the scream through her sleep and awakens panicked.  She knows her child walks at night. What calls her? She is up in a minute knowing where to find the little one. The child is always drawn to the cemetery, as if for a purpose. A shiver runs down the mother's spine.

***

I woke up sweating, looking about me and trying to determine where I was. In the dark, my sleepy eyes could still make out some things by the light of the moon shining outside, its light beaming in the window. I tried to calm myself, this was familiar, not like the dream from which I had woken. A dream where I was alone in the dark, in the middle of a cemetery hundreds of years old, with no idea why I was there nor how I had gotten there. I drifted back into sleep and the dream continued. . .

I didn't recognize the place at all, and there was a feeling of very old things lurking. Why was I standing still, why did I feel like something was getting closer, something I didn't want to see. Why wasn't I running or at least moving away? 

I turned, hearing something behind me. There was nothing there. I looked for my house, but I couldn't see anything, the fog has rolled in, damp, cloying and thick enough to smell. An earthy smell, like earth freshly turned.  Or, musty like a grave. What am I doing here? How did I get here?

***

The doorbell rang, and I nearly fell off the couch. I had fallen asleep again, Was that really a bell I heard or did I dream that too?  There was no way I was answering a door after midnight.. .especially on Samhain, All Hallows Eve, when the spirits can cross over.  No way.

***
WEP

Minor feedback acceptable Or MPA
WC=449


That's my entry for this October Challenge of WEP, Write...Edit...Publish, hosted by Denise and Yolanda at the WEP site. This is Flash Fiction using your creative turn of mind in the form of prose, poetry, non-fiction, art, or photos. 


Check the WEP site for details

The prompt: Tell us about the horror that stalked you in the night. Write about it for this challenge and turn those childhood fears into a scare-fest like no other. . .but then leave your night light on when you go to bed.  It's supposed to prevent the spirits coming in under cover of darkness, or so my friend's Italian grandmother told her.  . .

***

Do you dislike being in dark dank places, especially cemeteries? Do you feel an affinity to the spirit world, walking dead or otherwise?

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by and I'll respond.  Don't forget to check the list for DL (Direct Link) at the WEP site to read more Halloween tales. It's your treat for Samhain.

***

53 comments:

  1. Hi D.G.

    I liked your flash, how worrying for the mother! to know that a child sleepwalks. I'd be totally freaked out.

    Really evocative photo there, loved it. Cemeteries showcase architecture and history in such a poignant manner. But no I wouldn't go to one after dark, not that I believe in ghosts and stuff, but why take a risk? :)

    The only cemeteries I have been to are the WWII memorials, in broad daylight, and they are sombre and sobering and heart-breaking really, freaked me out in a totally different non-creepy way.

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    1. WWII cemeteries are heartbreaking because of the numbers. . I didn't like civil war cemeteries - visited one as a child and the stone slabs were starting to cave in. . .Glad you enjoyed the post, Nila!

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  2. Powerful and nasty. Strongly reminiscent of those 'rational dreams' which it is so hard to escape from.
    This, despite the fact that I like the night - and cemeteries, particularly old ones.

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    1. Glad you liked it, EC! Our own thoughts contribute to our fear, but some do seem more sensitive to the otherworld.

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  3. I could feel the flat gravestones beneath my feet while I was reading this. I think I'll put my lights on now... just in case!

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    1. Ooh, good, Annalisa, but I hope you don't walk on the actual gravestone. . .that could annoy the resident in that place. . .

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  4. Hello D.G. Great, scary story. What a terrifying thought...a young girl sleepwalking in a cemetery on All Hallows Eve. Love your descriptions of my favourite city. Subtle at times, but creepy.

    Thank you for sharing your story with WEP, D.G. It's another great addition to the masterful collection we're seeing in our rounds.

    Denise :-)

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    1. This is a great collection of stories in the WEP challenge this month. I'm slowly getting through them all, I love the quality of the writing which shows up.

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  5. I love cemeteries. So much history and creepy :) when I was a kid, my brother and I used to hold our breath driving pass cemeteries because someone told us we'd breath in souls if we didn't. After a while of that I started almost hyperventilating myself to freak him out haha

    I like your story. It feels sorta clunky, could maybe do for a little expansion, but I liked it. The panic in the mother whose child sleep walks, which is scary to think about myself as a mother. Also, I'd never answer the door after midnight, Samhain or no!

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    1. That's one I hadn't heard, Madilyn. Creepy thought for a kid. . .and yes, no sense inviting trouble in the door. Visitors should call first.

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  6. I wonder why she was drawn to the graveyard? I can't imagine how scary it would be to suddenly wake up in one in the middle of the night. Great piece!

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    1. Perhaps another child was buried there, perhaps a grandmother, then again, perhaps just the calling form the spirits who hope a sensitive will hear them.

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  7. Story dreams rock! And who can deny the subconscious emotions that fuel them? Although, I'll admit I find graveyards more peaceful than creepy. *shrugs*

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    1. Peaceful perhaps in the day, but I think the ghosts get active at night. It's their time. . .

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  8. That was a great, and creepy story! I enjoy cemeteries during the day. One of my friends lived next door to one and sometimes we'd play in it at night, near the road, until inevitably we succeeded in scaring each other to death...I remember we were clinging to each other frozen in fear looking at a tree that was growing at a strange angle, which we'd never noticed during the day. Silhouetted black against the night sky. We were terrified and finally were able to run back to the house!

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    1. I remember civil war cemeteries that had not been tended and had cracked flat tombstones. I assumed as a child that is how the spirits would escape. You have a good imagination, JoJo. . .

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  9. Cities of the Dead is what they call the cemeteries in New Orleans. Being built beneath sea level, New Orleans must bury their dead in crypts, for you can't keep a good man down -- or a bad one! Great flash fiction. :-)

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    1. New Orleans was one of those place where I wanted to visit the cemetery, but didn't know how the tombs would fare after Katrina. I called Pere Lachaise a City of the Dead also since it's so huge.

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  10. I've visited a few cemeteries looking for ancestor's graves, but only during the day. My boyfriend tried to get me to go 'parking' in a cemetery one night and I was so frightened I began crying and he couldn't get the car turned around fast enough! LOL Spooky, spooky places – and I don't want to invite trouble. 

    Loved your flash, if I were that mom I'd be putting a lock on her door and a chamber pot under the bed. Very creepy to go wandering into a graveyard, especially as a sleepwalker, what evils calls to her? Shiver!

    What a horrid memory/nightmare to experience too as an adult, and I agree, never, ever answer the door on Halloween night.

    Would love to know more, like did the girl grow up to 'see ghosts' communicate with them? Now that's one talent I would never want!

    This is a wonderful addition to the WEP Halloween Challenge, thank you for participating. Excellent!
    Happy Halloween!

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    1. A lock on the door doesn't always stop a child if she knows how to unlock it in the daytime...In general I don't answer the door when I'm alone after 8pm or so (especially in winter when it's dark) That's unless I'm expecting someone and I check first.

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  11. I liked your depiction of the child sleep walking and the mothers reaction. That would be just how a mother would react. I liked the story about the dream and going from waking to sleeping, back and forth into the dream and then finally not knowing what is real.

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    1. That's what happens to me when I nap in the daytime. I don't do it often. Thanks, Deborah.

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  12. A blend of reality and horror. Wonderful.

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    1. Thanks, and it's based on truth from a former sleepwalker, me.

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    2. Sorry I cannot comment on your blog as I don't belong to Google +. But I sure liked your fairy story and the gorgeous images you used.

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  13. I love old cemeteries during the day, but see no reason to ever visit one at night. Not that I'm afraid of the dead, walking or not. No, of course not, lol.

    I wouldn't open my door either, especially after that dream.

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    1. I think I might be afraid of some of the cemeteries like Pere Lachaise where all the Communards were executed against one of the walls. . .spirits that endure a painful death or have not been set to peace do tend to linger. . .

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  14. When I was a child, I used to get up at night, unlock the door and go for walks.I was awake though. My poor parents worried and so they bought a specially trained dog to keep me safe. It seems as if the creepy something still lingered close enough to disturb your heroine. Loved it.
    Nancy

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    1. I don't think I could have done that, N.R., you must have lived in a safe place and liked the peaceful quiet. I could see that, but not do that. And, Thanks.

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  15. What a wonderful and beautifully written story that I enjoyed even though All Hallows Eve does nothing for me. I have no idea why I remain so unimpressed by it all, ancient legends and kids out for trick or treat. It's my friend Rachael's most favorite holiday and I just received a witch card from her. Go figure, maybe too rational a Swede, but I don't think so.....Good to hear from you and of course I know that we read the same books in our youth. You made it to Paris, I did not. And I'm sorry now.

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    1. You've done things I didn't do either, Inger, like drive on Route 66 across country and live in California. I wanted to live in Frisco, but chose Vancouver instead. Glad you like the story!

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  16. Got my skin cold and clammy. Not sure I could handle reading further to discover the horror that awaits. I'm just too damn chicken. Thanks

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    1. It could be horror or just perceived horror. Sometimes we just feel spooked, but why is the question? Is it that part of our brain we don't control?

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  17. Sleepwalking, not knowing where you are when you wake up and then you wake up in the comfort of your own home, was it a dream or not? Great writing.

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    1. It's the uncertainty of it, you know, when you wake up but you don't know what woke you up?

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  18. I enjoyed your creepy flash fiction, a blend of imagination and reality.
    Wonderful photograph... love the blue(ish)/gray tinge which really lends a cool, foreboding atmosphere...

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    1. Glad you like the photo, it's one of those centuries old cemeteries in Paris, Pere Lachaise.

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  19. That was chilling. I could imagine a child really wandering through the cold stones, encountering the restless spirits. Excellent.

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    1. I think the worst part would be the mother hearing the child's screams. . .I don't think I'd like to live near a cemetery. . .

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  20. Love this. First of all, fantastic writing here. Secondly, it almost scared me to the point of no return. GAH. But I would love to read more. I used to sleep walk. My parents would have to always be aware. Many times they caught me heading outside. P.S.I loved your ending. The perfect end to such an electrifying tale.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, I had to program myself to think: don't worry, this is only a dream. It worked too. I had a bad habit of screaming in bad dreams. Too much imagination as a child. . .

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  21. I really like these stories. Sleepwalking and waking in a graveyard sounds especially horrific. Just this idea that you're not in control, and something is carrying you to a dark, dangerous place without you knowing... and then lets you resume awareness, only now you realize you're still not in control of the situation because you're far from home.

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    1. I did sleepwalk as a child and was always afraid of where I'd wake up. My mother told me she had woken up outside as a child but still near her home. Not sure what was making me do that. . .

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  22. I wonder what dark purpose drew the child to the cemetery?

    Wonderfully creepy tale. I was drawn in by the beginning, the second part made me wonder if this was based on real life, and by the end, I wasn't sure if it was an entirely fictional piece. Made it all the more spooky.

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    1. This was fictional, based on sleepwalking and the dream state in general. I did sleepwalk for a time as a child, but never had any horrific experiences like that.

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  23. My eldest daughter used to sleepwalk, but she always came to our bedroom. That in itself was unnerving, can't imagine finding your child in a cemetery--yikes! I like cemeteries, never found them to be creepy in my experience, only peaceful.

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    1. Some are peaceful, others I find creepy, maybe it's the history surrounding them. . .

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  24. Ah, very nice. I enjoyed this read. I'm glad you shared it.

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    1. Merci, and congrats to you, Challenge winner!

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  25. http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/2015/10/halloween-thoughts.html

    Hello my friend, I don't know if you follow Hilary's blog, but I thought you might find today's post interesting. She writes a bit about the Haida islands and some other fun stuff. If you don't know Hilary, I think you will find her posts most interesting. They always are so well researched and fun too. Happy Halloween to you and yours. ~ Inger

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    1. Of course I know Hilary, Inger, I do like her posts on almost everything. Thanks for the alert about a great post. I'll check it out. Glad to see you visiting my blog, too!

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  26. Hi DG - thanks for visiting ... mortuaries included in my post too - inadvertent. Great scary story ... thankfully I don't seem to go that route - though it's easy to scare oneself at times. I seem to have spent the last 2 weeks or so looking at various graves, churches etc ... but I shall think of your little girl ... I hope you can add to her collection - cheers Hilary

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    1. I don't normally go the horror route either, but I've just finished reading Don't Look Behind You, a collection of murder stories by Anne Rice. Will review soon. I did find Pere Lachaise peaceful in the daytime, but I didn't want to be there at night. . .

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