Tag Archives: ghost story

October 3, 2018

So here’s my scary story.

I used to live in the town of Goodlettsville, a bedroom community just north of Nashville. It was a pretty typical stretch of suburbia but I was impressed with the local park, which had been carved out of an abandoned plantation and army camp, and the ruins of an exploratory fort. Both still exist after extensive reconstruction, and in addition to public use the space operates as something of a continuous museum, complete with tours and educational events. I fell into the habit of going on runs on the extensive creekside trail that encircled the area.

My favorite time to run was in the evenings come fall and winter, when it would get dark and cold and most people had gone home. A few groundspeople and a patrolman stayed until closing (10:00 PM) but the park sprawled, and sections of the trail branched off into unlit brush. Go deep enough past most of the lights, and you would smell deer musk, and hear distant coyote cries.

One night in late October I didn’t reach the park until a little after nine, so when I ran I did so at a faster clip than usual to make sure I could get back to my car before they locked the gates. A mist from the burbling creek added a chill to the already frosty, and through the trees I could make out bright and garish Halloween decorations. I could hear bats chirping around the special rookeries set up for them by the local Lions Club. It was a great night for a run, and I felt energized.

I had intended to keep it short, and turn back at the halfway point before I reached the unlit stretch the dipped into the woods. But I’d had a long day and wanted to wind down, so I kept running, onto the section of the trail without electric lights.

Sometimes I ran with music, other times I didn’t. It was windy that night though, and I enjoyed the sound of it through the trees. And while I ran I could hear the branches creaking as they swayed and knocked against one another. A storm was coming but it was not yet here.

As I ran I could hear the branches crashing even harder against each other, and after a beat I thought I heard something heavy hit the ground. Assuming a bough had broken, I ignored it, but then there came another heavy thud. And then a few beats later, another heavy sound of impact. And grunting, like a buck would grunt, except…heavier, somehow.

And for whatever reason, I got scared. I generally like the nighttime, and while I’d rather not be in the dark it usually doesn’t bother me. But I started increasing my speed, and my heartrate started going up. I turned down a fork I knew would take me back to the main section of the park, and I ran at top speed. I had no reason to think it but for whatever reason I knew that something. Was. Following. Me.

I let myself slow down once I got within sight of my car, and further away I could see a parked cruiser, near the entrance gate. I was panting when I got to my car, and I let myself calm down before I hopped in for home. I turned to the trees, chuckling softly at how silly I’d been.

The half-leafless trees were perfectly silhouetted by the glowing, cloudy night. I could them swaying against one another, and could hear the scraping of gnarled branches. And I blinked, because where there had been darkness in a distant section of the trees, there was now open space, as though something massive had moved on.

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October 2, 2018

So here’s my ghost story.

Growing up in the country, my granddad and his twin brother Roy saw their fair share of wildlife. They grew up with two other brothers and two sisters, with a widowed mother who was kind and gentle in her tone of voice despite the grueling labor that came with Depression-era subsistence farming. There were plenty of long hot days when the family would built heavy, sturdy fences to keep the few animals they owned safe from the creatures that roamed the pinewoods around their homestead.

One night when my grandad was fourteen, there was a great big scream from outside, and as he told it, he and Roy were they first ones outside, both of them in their underwear, my granddad holding his daddy’s gun and Roy fumbling with a box of bullets, They got a few rounds loaded as they ran around, trying to figure out what was going on. Their mama hollered at them to be careful while she threw on a housecoat. The littler kids stayed inside.

Eventually Granddad and Uncle Roy found a section of the heavy wooden gate that had been completely knocked down, and inside was a wounded goat, jerking around but clearly dying from a nasty bite to the neck. Granddad shot the poor thing and noticed one of its horns had broken off.

The goat was buried out of fear of rabies, and it was a significant loss for such a little farm. The gate was fixed and the two boys took turns for a couple weeks staying up late with the rifle, watching the animals. One night, while prowling around the treeline, Uncle Roy called out to Granddad, and when he met up with him he showed him the carcass of a wild pig, a broken goat horn stuck in its belly. Boars were mean, but Granddad had never thought one would could ever get that mean. They buried the pig, too, just in case.

Granddaddy was quick to dismiss this next part as “horse piss” but Uncle Roy often claimed he would still hear those animals around the property, usually late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. He would hear a screaming goat and a screaming pig, but the animals would be as calm as could be when he would check on them, like they didn’t hear a thing. He said sometimes he could even see dust getting kicked up like there was a scuffle going on, even though there weren’t any animals moving nearby. Granddad didn’t believe a word of it, and would always respond with a disdainful “Aw, come on” whenever Uncle Roy would share his story with the kids.

When Uncle Roy passed he left the house to Granddad. All his kids lived several states away and had no use for it, and Roy’s wife Ruth could comfortably live off her own pension as well as the widow’s benefits from Roy’s. Plus, she was moving into an apartment in a retirement community, and wanted nothing to do with the hassle of selling the property. So it fell to Granddad.

Granddad was always an active man, but by his mid-eighties the two-and-a-half hour drive to the old homestead was a little much, and he asked me to head out one weekend to make sure the house was cleared out and ready for sale. Roy had lived where the old family home had been, but by the early fifties he’d torn down the old house his father had put together and replaced it with a one-story brick home. Most of the farmland had been sold off as lots, so only a half acre remained in the family name. What had once been countryside was now a quaint but populated neighborhood.

So one Saturday afternoon I drove out. Movers had already cleared everything, and whatever Ruth didn’t want she’d either given away or stuck out by the road. I couldn’t see anything that had been left behind, and there was nothing major that was wrong with the place. I took some pictures in case a realtor wanted to see them or something, then spent about ten minutes taking apart a bookshelf I thought I could use in my apartment. This was November, just after Thanksgiving, and by the time I had the pieces in my trunk the sun had gone down. I locked the place up and made my way back to my car. It was silent and cold and dark, and I immediately froze when a scream filled the air. And then another, and then something guttural and angry answering it.

I don’t really know what I heard or where I heard it, because while the area was now a neighborhood it was still plenty country, and there were plenty of wild animals just outside the light of the lone streetlamp. But I thought I could hear shuffling stomps, like maybe the kind made by hooves. And when I jumped into my car and backed out into the street, I thought maybe I saw some dust kicked up from the yard.

But it was dark, and like I said, I don’t really know what I heard.

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New Halloween Twitter Serial: #theywontdie

About three years ago I began running serialized fiction on Twitter, telling my stories one tweet at a time. It was moderately popular, and for about a year I ran a new one each month, some with holiday themes, some without.

It’s been a minute since I was last on Twitter for any significant period of time. Life has been kinda hectic lately, but I’ve begun to realize that life is always kinda hectic. You can’t wait for calm to get creative. You have to get creative to spite the chaos.

So beginning today, I’ll be tweeting a new serial: #theywontdie, from my Twitter handle @TweetTheHorror. Graveyards are places for the dead, but that doesn’t mean the dead are there alone…

Keep them company here: #theywontdie.

Here I sit before my kingdom. Here I am the steward of this land and its decay.

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