As I am sure you are aware, today is Wednesday. But you may be shocked to find, I don’t have a story up at Indies Unlimited for their flash fiction challenge this week. What craziness is this you ask?
Well, I could say I dropped the ball. Or maybe I could say I wasn’t interested in the challenge. Or I could say I was invaded by martians and didn’t have a chance to get involved this week. But really it was none of the above.
I have a story to share of sorts but the way I want to share it does not allow it to fall into the standard format for this week’s challenge. I like to keep within the spirit of a game when I play it and such.
So before we get into the story I have in mind I want to explain a bit of what the challenge was this week. In honor of Mother’s day they were looking for an anecdote or small story pertaining to your mother. Seems like a fairly straight forward approach to the challenge. This is also where I slip a little into the strange space that is my mind.
You see when I first heard the challenge the only thing that came to mind is something I think I have spoken of in a different forum in the past. For me and this challenge I like to have new stories that have only been shared within this framework. Seems like a limitation but we gots to have rules. The rules are what keep us from anarchy… or something.
I am sure I could have made something up. I mean as story tellers it is in our better interest to lie about things (unless you really believe the One Ring exists and such, if so we should talk). But that didn’t seem right either in this instance.
So ya, maybe I am just making this whole thing more complicated than it needs to be…
Or maybe I should just get on with it.
This Old House
The house I grew up in, the house my parents still live in, is designed sort of like an L. It started out as a rancher but had an addition that became what is currently their dining room. This room has gone through several different changes through the years, between living room and dining room.
When you first walk in the front door you enter the room directly across from their current dining room. This is currently their living room. These two rooms are separated by the kitchen and back door and the door that leads to the basement. I might be making this difficult to picture.
Imagine a 13 by 13 room connected to a 8 by 13 room, which in turn is connected to a 13 by 13 room again. This forms the bottom of the L. The top of the L is where you will find 4 bedrooms and the bathroom, all connected by a long hallway. (wow, describing the place seems disconnected to me, imagine growing up here). There is a reason all of this is important but you have to be patient.
The house itself was built in the 70s and I don’t think my parents were the first occupants but I could be wrong. The stories of ghosts and such in my neighborhood growing up were common. We all spent time telling these different stories as part of our own lore and such.
It’s normal to have that house in your neighborhood that is the haunted one right? You know, the one where no one is willing to go inside and you dare each other just to ring the doorbell and all that. This particular house was on the block next to ours, basically across a large yard. Had a broken down barn in the back yard that we liked to play around in. I think I might be making a side trip here, sorry…
So ya, the neighborhood had its own lore and history of the supernatural variety. We grow up in such things. It seems the right of passage.
Anyway, my parents house… I was always terrified of our basement (which will never help explain why my room was there when I was older). It was the same layout as the original house, but there were rooms and walls. This meant tons of places for creepy crawlies to hide. (wow, my parent’s house is a child’s nightmare home really).
So here we are with the layout of the place and the idea that ghosts and such are part of the neighborhood and then add in that my parent’s house is just plain freaky. Still with me? You sure are a trooper for putting up with all this.
I can’t remember exactly how old I was, maybe 7 or 8. Shows the power of this one memory that I can still see it as clear as I do. I was in the living room, near the entrance to the house. I think I might have been playing with with some toys on the floor.
My mother comes through the kitchen and walks past me, down the hall to the bedrooms. I remember the breeze as she passed me. We had wood stoves for heat so there was always a chill in the air but this room had the main stove for the whole house so it was warmer than anywhere else. There was definitely a chill when she passed me.
After she was gone she called me. Her voice came from the dining room, the bottom of the L. There was no way she could have gotten there without passing by me. The apparition that went to the bedrooms was no where to be found. It was the only time I ever saw it.
Why it took the form of my mother I will never know. But I can still feel that chill today. Funny thing, this wasn’t anywhere near Mother’s day. Pretty much has nothing to do with it, but it is one of those strange memories that stays with you.