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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: An Abnormal Happening
By Mary Lou Cook


The sound of rain on the tin roof and the cold wind surrounded the old farm house. The fire in the stone fireplace didn’t take away the dampness of the night. In the small living room I sat in a wooden rocker watching my sister Beth. At a table covered with electronic equipment Beth studied the monitors. After looking at her watch she would write down the time and the readings of the equipment.

Sipping a cup of hot herbal tea I said, “Beth, this is not what I would call a fun weekend.”

“Spending a Saturday night alone eating cold cereal out of the box and watching reruns you consider fun? The reason I dragged you along with me was to get you out of that apartment.” Beth never raised her eyes off the screens.

“When does the paranormal team arrive? The two of us here by ourselves makes this place spooky.”

“Not enough bars on my cell, I couldn’t call out. With this storm I’m not sure they can get out here. They should have arrived an hour ago.” Beth continued to study the monitors.

“There’s safety in numbers and two does not make us a group. I cannot believe I agreed to spend a weekend with you in this haunted house.” Staring into the dark corners of the room I waited for the arrival of ghosts and ghouls.

Beth turned to give me a reassuring smile. “Because a few abnormal happenings don’t make a place haunted.”

“What abnormal happenings? Was this house built over an Indian burial ground or a cemetery? Was there a civil war battle filling this place with restless spirits of dead soldiers?” It felt as if a dark chill had filled the room. I threw another log onto the fire.

“Lauren, you’re letting your imagination get the best of you. The team and I want to prove there was a reason for these abnormal happenings.”

“You didn’t answer my question. What abnormal happenings?”

“The family who previously lived here said there were two spirits, a woman with a gentle spirit and a man with a restless spirit. In the upstairs hall was where they saw the apparition. On the wooden floor a boot print appeared in red clay followed by the vision of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Before their eyes the boot print and the man both disappeared. Afterward they would hear a woman crying.”

“What do you mean by a restless spirit? Any minute now things will start flying across the room? What about these spirits as you call them?” Staring up at the ceiling I looked for flying objects.

“Married couple, husband with a violent temper. Story goes the husband wore his work boots into the house tracking in red clay. When the wife complained it sent him into a blinding rage, strangling her with his own hands. Filled with remorse of what he had done he laid her on their bed. Then lying beside her he shot himself. I need to go upstairs and take an activity reading. Watch the monitors for me.” Picking up a small device Beth hurried up the stairs leaving me alone.

Staring at the monitors in complete confusion I heard the sound of heavy footsteps. I looked up to see the front door open and a man enter the foyer. With his face hidden underneath a hooded sweatshirt I saw he wore work boots covered in thick red clay. Leaving behind boot prints he walked to the bottom of the stairs. When he turned to face me my heart pounded in my chest. I tried to call out to Beth but no sound came out. As he hurried toward me I stood petrified in total fear. He brought his large hands up and pulled back the dark hood.

“Hi, I’m Nick. The rest of the team will be in soon, busy gathering up their gear. This wasn’t the easiest place to find. The road out here was nothing but muddy clay. A couple of times I thought we would end up in the ditch. Not a nice night, freezing rain out there. You must be Beth’s sister, Lauren. She mentioned you were joining us for the weekend, said you’re not comfortable with paranormal teams, abnormal happenings, and anything that goes bump in the night.

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This article has been read 393 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Alice Bowles10/09/09
Exciting story and I could not quit reading once I started..I was scared right along with Lauren..
Jan Ackerson 10/09/09
Fun twist toward the end of your story.

I felt as if this was unfinished--it seems chopped off, with no hint at resolution. And the ghost aspect made me uneasy, on this site.

I really like the character of your narrator, and would have liked to read more.
Allen Stark10/09/09
I enjoyed where the story was going and felt it did get chopped off without providing resolution for the main character who did a great job creating suspense.
Rachel Phelps10/12/09
Unusual topic choice for this site, but I wanted to follow the story to see where it would take me. Sounds like a great start with some interesting places to take it.

Some of the dialogue felt a little stilted to me, but the atmosphere was excellent!
Shilo Goodson10/13/09
I liked the story and enjoyed the ending. Sometimes we can scared ourselves a lot just by letting our imaginations get the better of us. Some of your dialogue felt fake, though. I'd read over it and see if that's the way people really talk. Dialogue can be hard, because what sounds good in your head may feel forced to others when it is in writing.