As a writer with an internet connection that beats speed test ratings from third world countries and anything to do with the Sprint cellular network – there are literally a bazillion tools, tips, trade secrets at my disposal. The only tip I have found so far, other than the red squiggly line that tells me that I have viciously misspelled a word that is worth more than the calories burned to read or figure it out, is this:
That being said; I’ve decided to revisit an old post that I don’t think I did justice to the first time around.
This post, like a lot of others, started off as a fledgling idea in the back of my brain somewhere, and as it fought its way through the mud and the muck of my thought process, it went from one thing into another. It became intensely specific. It was like needing a flashlight and using a laser beam. Alas, these are the joys of creating: what starts as an idea and grows into a collection of words, becomes its own little monster along the way. Imagine getting on a horse with a destination in mind, and then someone blindfolds you and gets the horse drunk: THAT is what it is like to write.
SO. Instead of just removing the old post because I am not crazy about it, I’ve decided to write it again – Because what good am I as a writer if I try to improve on something by just deleting the failures?
Here we go:
Me and These Ghosts V2.0
Staring into the dying light of a dwindling fire, huddled against the cold, my mind wanders out into the surrounding woods. The thin light stretches no more than a few feet from my hunched form and casts small dancing shadows. Embers drip from the burning logs and send sparks skyward like half-assed rocket ships that burn out in the atmosphere.
In the distance, a twig breaks and my consciousness snaps back into place like a magnet to steel. That little animal part of your brain that seems to activate when youâ€™re alone in the dark starts to stretch its wings, as I remind myself, “It’s the woods, jackass – there are noises.” Shaking off the flash of senseless panic, I shake my head and smile at my jumpiness. I am alone.
It starts as a prickling at the back of my neck. Silent whispering lips brushing the edges of my hairline. Furtively, I reach a quivering hand out from under my coat and brush away the sensation of an icy breath. As my eyes glance up from the ground between my boots, I look over the tops of the last flames of a near-dead fire and realize with a dizzying level of certainty: I am not alone.
In the inkiness outside of my halo of firelight, almost imperceptive, something moves. Not a darting or a dashing movement. A subtle shift – like someone who has been standing still finally transitioning their weight from right foot to left. Something blacker than the night and shadow around it. I blink away my disbelief and hold my hand palm down towards the fire to staunch the glare, and peer into the darkness.
Again, there is a shift. Closer. A head above shoulders clear now, tilting slightly as my realization dawns; almost like my widening eyes and initial pounding heartbeat are confusing to the opaque mass. Instinctively I freeze, refusing my desire to bolt into the darkness and away from whatever it is staring at me from the far side of the waning light.
Muscles tight, I slowly start to stand, and in the first measurable movement of my body, there is a whisper – not as much IN but ON my ear. Close enough to feel air moving across skin.
Air escapes my lungs with a whoosh and adrenaline floods from glands in my brain. I spin on the voice; one hand cocked to throw a punch at whoever has snuck up on me- only to find the space behind me empty.
“I am always here.” comes the voice again, in a frigid blast to the opposite ear.
Again, I reel at the unseen voice, again there is nothing.
“You are never alone,” the darkness declares as icy fingertips trace my spine.
Whirling around once again, I only find that same darker than darkness; staring judiciously from the other side of my fire. Shifting its weight back and forth between assumed amorphous feet. Before my unblinking, fear-sharpened eyes, another dark shape shifts its weight. And then another.
The words ringing in my head, “I am always here.”
And so it’s just me…
Me and these ghosts.