Innocence (fiction)


The curtains had already parted and the blackened room was silent.  There was no Maestro leading an orchestra to fill the deafening reticence.  He was pushed forward onto the stage and he sat in the still, invisible air, straining to hear any signs of movement or shallow, clandestine breathing.  The scraping sound of the rusting pulley system startled him as the curtains were drawn closed behind him.

 Although he was not bound to his chair, he was unable to move.  The bright stage lights abruptly came to life and blinded him, etching his likeness into the velvet material behind him.  He could not see the crowd that sat only yards away from him but he could feel them.  He could feel their hatred and the anger in the myriad pairs of eyes burning into every fiber of his being.  

The energy in the theater rose to a climax and the chanting of the crowd became almost ritualistic.  The three-dimensional quality of his body seemed to dissolve under the pressure of their angst.  His tortured screams filled the hallowed space.  They came to reap what he had taken from them.  They wanted their souls back.  One by one he felt the energies being ripped from his body and his cries slowly muted into whispers.  His physical body became lifeless and transparent and his screaming could no longer be heard.

His own soul had been the last to leave his body.  His mouth is forever open, frozen in a scream of repentance and regret.

7, January 1655


“Do you believe any of that, Marcus?”   Danielle continued to read the information in the tour brochure.

The tickets to the historical theater are sold for $10.00 each.  Those who really want to impress their friends say they can still see his shadow on the curtain but those who come looking for their lost soul can still hear him screaming, fighting to get back the essence of the souls he had taken.

Marcus shrugged and didn’t know what else to say.  “Maybe Pope Innocent X wasn’t so innocent after all.”  He subconsciously rubbed his fingers on his ears to silence the sound of the more than century-old screams.



Written for the 2nd challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  I love that this new challenge is greasing my writing wheels!  The challenge was to write a story based on the above picture and the following word prompt:

Reap (verb):
Receive (something, especially something beneficial) as a consequence of one’s own or another’s actions.

There is always a little movement in the shadows


I was 12 years old when I first saw the movie “The Changeling”.  True to its title, it altered some metaphysical part of my being.  I was a relatively normal child, as normal as kids could be in the 70’s and 80’s, but I still remember my reaction to that movie and the subsequent “change” that happened in me.  I knew from the moment that story ended that I would never be the same.  I didn’t sleep in my own bed for at least three days and I vowed I would never play with that same tri-coloured rubber ball again.  To this day, it still haunts me to see the Pepsi emblem. It reminds me of the horror I felt watching those scenes of a bouncing ball take on a life of its own and subject George C. Scott to interminable terror.

If I were a recurring patient at a psychiatrist’s office (perhaps I should be), I undoubtedly would be told that the reason I prefer a shower to a bath was a direct result of Russell Hunter’s tale of a haunted house and the fury that a spirit could unleash on living, breathing human beings.  If I pause for a moment to put myself back into that mind space, I can still hear that young, disabled boy beating on the sides of that claw-footed bathtub as he was drowned by his father.

This is the feeling that a good horror movie is meant to elicit from its viewers.  That lingering terror, although irrational, invades the deepest reaches of our psyche and makes us second guess relatively commonplace parts of our existence.  Human beings, by nature, are fundamentally flawed, and we seek the terror in the shadows.  The horror genre only adds fuel to that fire.

Although Carol Kane starred in “When A Stranger Calls” in 1979, I did not see that movie until years after I had moved on from The Changeling.  Regrettably, for me, I watched that madness on a big screen during my tenable years as a babysitter!!   I took my role as guardian very seriously, but nearly jumped out of my skin each time the phone rang while the children I had sworn to protect were in the next room.  If anyone had called and asked “have you checked the children”, I would have come completely unglued!!

As the years have unfolded, I have been able to detach most of the parallels of movie horrors from my own perception of reality.  Although my current basement resembles something akin to the “Red Room” in the Amityville Horror, I nonetheless regard the creativity of the horror film genre as it is mean to be portrayed. It is nothing more than scary entertainment meant to ensure I still look for movement in the shadows.

I do believe in spirits, but I am not going to be consumed by the notion that they hold any ill will towards me, nor are they bent on doing me bodily harm.  There are no ghost writings on my walls, nor do I hear evil voices or things that go bump in the night (except the squirrels in my attic).   The only admission I will make is that I will NEVER have a Ouija board in my house – EVER.   Even though I don’t believe I will come to any harm from spirits lingering in between worlds, I am not going to entertain the chance that I open a portal and tempt  a forbidden soul with the vestigial energy contained in that board.  (Watch the movie Witchboard and you’ll understand my paranoia)

What scary movies left a lingering impression on you when you were younger?