Greetings everyone and welcome to another installment of the WE ARE INFINITE stories and giveaway! I'm so grateful to be able to do this and to share stories that remind us all of connection and our intrinsic worth.
Now, before we dive into today's tale, let's have a quick refresher on what's happenin' 'round here:
1. Contest is simple: you send me (email@example.com) your INFINITE STORIES and I post 'em. I also promote them, so if you want to include a link to a novel you wrote, an etsy shop, or other such awesomeness, then by all means, include that in your entry! I want to share the love!
2. INFINITE STORIES are tales that remind us of connection: ghost stories, past lives, prophetic dreams, a moment that changed your life, how you found faith, how you found love, how you recovered from heartache, a friend who saved your life, a dog that meant the world, a cat that knew too much, a feeling that spared you or a loved one from pain, a feeling that hooked up a pair of friends for marriage, kids, and life. Anything and everything goes!
All the details about what I'm looking for and how to play are found HERE.
3. Each story enters you for the grand prize. What is it, you ask? Well it's Amazon cash, artwork, and a book!
4. Don't have a story you want to share? No problem! Sharing information about the contest also constitutes an entry for the grand prize! More details about that are right HERE.
5. More questions? Check out the FAQ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And last but not least, don't forget to check out the always-accumulating-ever-impressive-oh-so-powerful WE ARE INFINITE STORIES INDEX, where all the contest entries will be linked for you to peruse anytime you need a reminder that you are never, ever alone!
Today's entry is one of mine. I love the chance to be publicly grateful for all the incredible ways the people in my life and the Universe at large has helped me out over the years.
I'll be posting my entries mixed in with others as the contest rolls on.
Deadline for all entries is FEBRUARY 8, 2015!
Much love, many thanks, and light and love to you and yours.
Mind the Dead Guy Part I
"Well," I said after three days of moving in and setting up my first apartment, "home crap home."
"It does sort of lack something, doesn't it?" my mother asked, eying the windows that never quite shut because there were too many coats of paint slathered onto their metal frames. The gas stove never quite shut off, either, so there was always a faint aroma of gas and fire in the air. The heating system was a mysterious metal box attached to one wall. Both the box and the wall were also generously coated in paint, as was the metal "string" that was supposed to "adjust" the heating levels in the winter. Nobody ever figured out how the thing worked. The box blasted blistering heat from September through the beginning of April, despite the fact that September was usually still hot and April was usually still chilly.
Other apartment features included a tall window in the shower. There were technically blinds, but the window frames were stone and brick. So there was nothing for the cheap-ass blinds to "bite" into. One good tug on the up-down string and the whole mechanism would fall out, along with a generous chunk of paint crumbles and mortar. I took the blinds down the first week I lived in my tiny efficiency apartment. I stacked shampoo bottles on the ledge and figured anyone who took the time to find binoculars and a good angle to watch me shower probably deserved the show.
My mother, however, did not share my lackadaisical attitude about showering. Or about the rest of the apartment, really.
But when one needs to get out of a living situation fast, one cannot be too picky. My freshman college roommate and I were on the outs at the time, and if we'd lived together for another week, we probably would have resorted to throwing one another out the window. Considering our dorm window was decorative not functional, you can see how serious this was getting.
I found a tiny apartment in a building that was technically on campus, but privately owned, and I snagged the cheapest option they had. It was one room with a hiccough of a galley kitchen, a changing room, and a bathroom. There was enough space in the main section for my loft bed, a loveseat, a table, chairs, and a rug to cover the dingy once-beige-now-brown carpet. The rent was ridiculous, but it included utilities, and it was my home for two years of undergrad. Mostly because I am a sucker for punishment and locational convenience.
The place was haunted as hell.
The building was shaped like a "U." The bottom of the "U" was the longest side, and that was where I lived, on the third floor. The hallways were straight out of a horror movie. Dingy, flickering lights, mysterious stains, horrible old carpet, narrow corridors. My boyfriend and his roommates lived on one of the shorter sides of the "U," just down the hallway and around the corner from me. They had warned me that the place got a little weird at night. I figured it wouldn't be anything I couldn't handle.
Ha. Haha. Ha.
The first month or so, not much happened. Then, one day, I came home from class and discovered all my drawers and cabinets were open. Now, I mean all the drawers. My chest of drawers in the changing area was open, exposing sweaters and socks. The kitchen drawers were all open, the cabinets all flung wide. Nothing was disturbed or stolen, so far as I could tell, and not that I had a damned thing anybody trying to steal valuables would want. Even my computer was an antique. In my haste to conjure rational explanation, I figured the exterminator guy must have done it. For some strange reason. The apartment complex had keys to all our rooms, and we'd signed forms that allowed maintenance and the bug guy to come in at any given time to do their thing. Usually there as a flyer under the door offering warning. I thought I'd just missed it.
Later, when I asked my boyfriend's roommates if it'd been Bug Day, they said, "No, don't think so." And then when I ran into the security guard who worked night shift and asked him, he said the bug guy didn't come until end of the month.
I had no explanation for the drawers and cabinets being open that time. Nor for the other dozen times I came home to find my apartment rummaged.
Surprisingly, it didn't bother me that much. What's a little curiosity between living apartment occupant and dead apartment occupant, after all? I mean, it wasn't like anything had been moved or covered in ectoplasm or shredded in evil warning. I wrote it off and carried on with life like the good little main character destined for a violent, grisly death in any reasonable Stephen King novel.
Then one day, the boyfriend and I had a fight. One of those truly epic fights that ended with me pulling my famous Throw Shit To Make Myself Feel Better stunts. Don't worry; he ducked and dodged the shoes and whatever else I picked up. He said he'd leave to let me cool off, I said something appropriate in retort, and then I went to take a shower after I heard him go. When I got out, I dried off and got dressed in the changing room. When I went into the main part of the apartment, I was still alone, but stuff had been moved.
The cushions, which usually lived on the couch, were on the bed, and when I went into the kitchen, I discovered that the shoes I'd thrown were sitting side-by-side in front of the sink. I wondered at this for a moment and then called the boyfriend.
"Did you tidy up before you left?" I asked.
"Did you come back and clean up while I was in the shower?"
"Then what the hell?"
He came over to survey the strangeness, smiled at me and said, "Well, at least yours is a tidy ghost."
Perhaps he was, even if his idea of where to put things was a bit unusual, but the ghost also lived in the bathroom. Or perhaps it'd be more accurate to say he had died there, and he really didn't like sharing his personal space.
I used to be a habitual night-shower taker. Basking in steam relaxed me before I went to sleep, and I'd grown up with the ritual. After six months of living with my ghost, however, I had become a strict daytime bather.
If one bathed at night, it more or less went like this:
The bathroom was tiled in black and white. There was barely enough room for the door to open and close. The sink and toilet were right next to the door and the bathtub/shower combo took up the wall farthest away from the door. One of the only perks to living in that building was the endless, scalding hot water. I could close the door, blast the hot, and in seconds, the room would be full of steam. It was fantastic in the cold months; sort of served as a makeshift sauna.
It also meant, however, that in moments after closing the door and curtaining oneself off in the tub, there was a thick, white fog marring one's vision. In the beginning, this wasn't a problem.
The first time I felt and heard the curtain move while I had my eyes closed under the shower spray, however, I changed my mind.
Every time I'd shut my eyes in the shower, the hair all over my body stood on end. I broke out in goosebumps. I had to resist the urge to let go of what I'll describe as a brave warcry but might have sounded more like a terrified yelp.
I would feel someone directly behind me. I'd flail to wipe my eyes, glance around, and of course, nobody would be there. The sensation was so powerful, that the one time my poor boyfriend made the mistake of actually coming into the bathroom while I was in the shower and reaching around the curtain to warn me he was there, I screamed and lashed out, landing an elbow to his face and bloodying his nose.
"What the fuck?" I screamed at him.
"Whaf meh fuh-ing fuh!?" he yelled back, hands cupped to catch the blood.
He never made that mistake again. I'd wager he's never tried to enter a bathroom without knocking and using a blowhorn since, actually. And I did feel rather ashamed of myself as he stood in the tub, fully clothed and bleeding down the drain.
Clearly, I needed to make allowances for shower terror or my boyfriend was going to need a nosejob by the time he finished school.
My first shower curtain was opaque. After two weeks, I spent $5.99 and bought one of those clear shower liners to replace my curtain because I hated flailing in the shower to confirm nobody was directly behind me and then having to work up the courage to peek around the curtain to see if anybody was in the room. At least with the clear curtain, I'd know quickly how loudly I needed to scream if I ever saw somebody in the bathroom with me.
I read somewhere that the brain has the ability to sense when somebody is watching you. It's some sort of leftover survival instinct, and it never fails you. The article also said if you felt that sensation and saw nobody around, then beware. It didn't specify if one should become beware of one's own mental state or if one should beware of ghosts and aliens. Perhaps all of the above.
I also read somewhere that it's a common phobia not to like closing one's eyes in the shower. We've all seen Psycho one too many times. You're naked, wet, and vulnerable in the shower. This is not the moment for a home invasion to happen. Or for the aliens to pay a visit. Or for the damned ghost to decide to assert his claim over his preferred stomping ground.
However, I'd been bathing alone at night for years. Even when my dad had left and my mom had night classes, it didn't bother me. After I moved out of that apartment and lived by myself in another one, showering was never such an ordeal, during the day or the night. It was just that one apartment.
The boyfriend was right; he was a very tidy ghost. He liked the shower and the bathroom.
Even with the clear curtain and the shower door open so the fog wouldn't obscure my vision, I still got tremendously creeped out closing my eyes while bathing. More than once I heard the whisper of the curtain and knew, absolutely knew that somebody was standing behind me. I learned how to take an entire shower without closing my eyes. Soap and shampoo in the eyeballs be damned, I wasn't going to get jumped by a territorial, perverted spirit.
A few months of these trials trained me to bathe during the day, when the sunlight seemed to banish most of the uneasy factor. If I did have to bathe at night, I started inviting company along. The boyfriend didn't seem to mind that in the least.
The first year more or less went like that: me explaining the moving objects and taking showers with a chaperone. Over the summer, I moved home, and I returned to the apartment in the fall for my third year of school. For the first month or two, things were pleasantly normal. No open cabinets, no weirdness in the bathroom, nothing.
Then the ghost upped the ante.
Much love & ghostly anticipation,
Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she's here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She's written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She's a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.
Meet Me at the Gates by Kelly Wyre
Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they've ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn't remember her. It's up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there's one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood's sometime-infamous badboy. Hydee's hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.
Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate's giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee's despair and Theo's fear keep them apart forever.
Connect with Kelly