My newest WIP, which I’m lovingly calling the GhostlyYA, is the first thing I’ve written that actually HAS a ghost in the story. So today, for brainstorming purposes, I’m writing something with ghosts.
Note: Neither of these ghosts has a name. Neither of these ghosts are necessarily important to the GhostlyYA. This is something I would normally drop in my idea journal to help myself think about the world my characters inhabit. Enjoy.
He hovered over the low rock wall on the street and watched the new people empty the moving truck into the home he grew up in. It had changed a lot since his death, actually. His parents lasted about three months in the house before they had to sell it. He hoped he was tethered to his parents, that his unfinished business was with them. But either that wasn’t the case or his death didn’t work like the movies. Because he was free to come and go wherever he wanted and sometimes he just wanted to see the house.
The people who bought it after his parents made a lot of changes. They put a new roof on, covered the walls in a new shade of paint, put down some kind of tile wood looking floor, and installed a bigger ceiling fan in the living room. Technically, the house was built as a duplex. But his parents had always used both sides of the house. In fact, when they lived there, there was a door connecting the two back rooms of the house. They used to joke about him inheriting the house when he was old enough to live on his own. But the new owners took out the door, turned it back into a duplex, and rented them separately.
This started the period of time he remembers as The March of Renters. There was the couple who fought constantly, the young children who broke the windows on the opposite side of the duplex, the baseball player who used to practice in the backyard, and the grumpy old man who hated everyone and everything.
Now, apparently, there’s these two. Two women, one younger than the other, who look a lot alike. He assumes they are mother and daughter, but he can’t be sure.
“What’s new, kid?”
He turns to look at the spectre that has appeared on his right. This guy, who was in his sixties when he died, followed in a couple who rented the house for a month or two. They insisted it was haunted and moved out, but he stayed.
“Mother and daughter, I think,” the kid answers, pointing at the house.
There’s a sigh from the old man. “Why can’t they just let us have our house?”
“It’s my house,” the kid corrects.
“Hey, I fell in love with it at first sight, what can I say?” He swings his foot and a rock skitters into the road.
“They’re gonna see that. No influencing the world right now,” the kid chides. “Why do I always have to be the adult here?”
There’s a chuckle from the old man. “Technically, you’ve been dead longer than me. That makes you the elder ghost, ages be damned.”
They watch the two women in silence for a few minutes. Long enough to watch the older one take a lamp out of the truck and head inside. Long enough to watch the younger one pause, box in her arms, and stare up at the house. “She’s in love with it, too. You can see it in her face already. That girl is never gonna wanna leave our house.” The old man smacks his leg. “I knew this was gonna happen.” He lays his hand on the kid’s shoulder and the kid turns to face him. “You should let me haunt them, scare them off.”
The kid’s eyebrows raise. “No.”
The man shakes his head, grunts. “Stupid. Look, no one has ever shown up to give us rules. We’re on our own out here. We don’t answer to anyone. If that house is empty, we can interact with the world all we want inside there.” He’s swinging his arms around, gesturing as he talks. “It’ll be like we’re really alive again, kid.”
The kid shakes his head again, but he feels his resolve slipping. What if he’s right? What if they really can take their house back? What if it really is that easy? His doubt must show in his face, because the man jumps up off the wall and does a little happy dance. “You’re thinking about it. I can see the wheels turning.” He’s dancing in circles, moving his arms around and shaking his hips. The boy laughs and shakes his head.
Then his eyes land on the girl. She’s standing in the yard, squinting in their direction. Instinctively, his eyes go down to the ground. The man’s feet are kicking up rocks, sending them skittering and shaking. “Stop,” the kid commands. Something in his voice betrays his sincerity and the dance halts, the man frozen in place with his arms up on either side of his head and his hip cocked.
“She saw you. She’s watching. Don’t move.”
Across the street, the girl shakes her head and goes back to the truck. The kid smacks the man on the arm. “That was too close. Don’t do that again.”
“You’re the boss, boss.”As always, this is my original work. Don’t steal.
That’s it for today. As you can see, when I write background things like this they don’t have to be complete character arcs or thoughts. I’m usually writing them simply to find a few important things. In this case I was searching for:
- How other people see my MC (she’s the girl they spot moving in)
- Background on the setting (in this case, the new house)
- Rules that govern the ghosts (which was my main detail I wanted to play with here)
Anyway, this is (obviously) a zero draft of a scene that will never be in the book with no editing. Feel free to drop comments because I genuinely LOVE your insights and input. Just don’t pick apart the grammar … it wasn’t edited, I know it’s bad.
Thanks for reading.
Note: I just realized I made the claim this will NEVER be in the book. I shouldn’t say NEVER. I said that about a scene I posted here for the MagicalYA and then, guess what, it ended up in the book after all because you all LOVED that scene. See, your opinions do matter!