31 Days

Day 2: GHOSTS

{Before I get started, we try to keep these writing exercises to 30 minutes maximum. And I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 15 to 30 minute time, I have created a playlist on Spotify that allows me to put together songs that come close to 30 minutes. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing. And, as always, the details of the prompt are at the end of my post}

{start}

The Transition

“The first few days are the worst,” Whista was saying as Clare wandered aimlessly about the oversized living room whooshing her hand through each piece of furniture.

“Uh-huh,” Clare said, not looking at Whista.

“They call it the Transition Phase,” Whista explained knowingly, almost smugly. “Right after I died, I had no idea what was happening.” Whista shrugged. “You get used to it.”

“I don’t want to get used to it,” Clare said. She wondered if she could float and was just about to experiment with this idea when she heard voices outside, just below the window.

Whista joined her at the window and the two girls peered down at the front lawn where a sharply dressed woman wearing a straight skirt and matching blouse gestured toward the house to a young couple standing in front of the weathered For Sale sign.

“She’s been trying to sell this dump for at least two years,” Whista said, mostly to herself.

“Two years!” Clare turned to Whista with disbelief. “You’ve been here, here, for two years?”

Whista shrugged.

Clare looked down at the young couple. The woman held a baby in her arms and Clare instinctively ran a hand over her stomach. Already she hoped that they would buy the house and wondered if she could influence their decision in any way. The woman guided them toward the door and Clare moved into the hall.

“They look too easy,” Whista said as she moved past Clare. “Oh well, there’s not much else to do. Watch and learn, Clara.”

“It’s Clare.”

Whista shrugged and perched herself on the top step of the old clapboard house and stared down toward the front door with dull eyes.

Clare paced the hall, one hand rubbing her belly that was shimmery and fluttery in this new life. Oh, how she yearned to hear that baby’s coos, hear it’s soft laugh, maybe even smooth her hand over its head.

“Whista.” Clare paused next to her guide. “Have you ever wondered if there were other, I don’t know, options, I guess?”

“Other options?” Whista glanced at her for only a moment as the click of the key in the lock downstairs announced the couple’s entrance.

Clare paced faster now.

“Yeah, you know, like maybe it would be more…” Clare paused as she caught sight of the little bundle of pink cradled in its mother’s arms. The mother alternately nodded and kissed the baby’s head and ears. “Like maybe it would be more, fun if someone actually lived here.”

Whista’s expression indicated so clearly that this thought had never crossed her mind and Clare rushed on. “There’d be somebody, and something more for you to do than just wait around.”

Whista nodded. “I hadn’t considered that before.” Whista’s eyes glowed and Clare absently stroked her shimmery, flimsy belly.

She knew of course, even if this was just her transition, she already knew that she would have her work cut out for her to protect this family from Whista’s tried and true tricks. But no matter what else, she’d get time, a little time, with that sweet babe downstairs.

“Let’s help them in their buying process,” Whista whispered, her breath a tremor in the air around them. Clearly, her charge was stronger already. Clare followed her down the stairs, making faces at the baby who smiled at her and trembled with excitement at the sight of her.

{stop}

Writing Prompt: GHOSTS – write a story about a ghost who is bored by the immensities of time and timelessness. Or write a story about a ghost who is embarrassed by the intimacies she is able to achieve with perfect strangers over and over again. Start your fragment of fiction with a phrase something like, “After I was dead…” Make the ghost (or ghosts) the central sympathetic figure of the narrative you create. {Exercise 101 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley; note, this is an affiliate link}

And, as with Writing Sprint Wednesdays, feel free to link up to this post by clicking the little blue frog below.

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4 thoughts on “The Transition

  1. I love what you did with this, and I could definitely see this expanding into a longer story. Both of the ghosts were great, and I liked the fact that the baby can see them. I wonder if you intended that as a perk of innocent childhood, or if you think the baby might still be able to see ghosts as she grows up? That might be something interesting to explore.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Meagan. I had more fun than I anticipated with this one and I’m looking forward to collecting all of the exercises and considering which ones to play with more at a later date. I like the idea that she might still be able to see ghosts as she grows up; we’ll see what the characters have to say about that 🙂

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