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Ghost Stories Essay, Research Paper
Ghost stories, they have the power to throw us into another world, leading us to
not only fear for the characters within the novel but for ourselves as the ghosts seem
to follow the reader around weeks afterwards. It is the mastery of description that
enslaves our minds as readers. Ghost stories paint vivid pictures inside the mind as they
force us to come face to face with our deepest fears. Imagining ourselves as the main
characters we become a part of the story, seeing, hearing, and feeling everything that the
author is courageous enough to delve into the darker side of his or her subconscious. The
stories give a sense of escape, by allowing the reader to partake on the journey along side
the characters, they are given the chance to become larger then life, doing things they
would never be able to accomplish in their everyday life. They defeat the monster and
come out the conquering hero, never forgetting the memory of their battle. Even after the
book is done the scenes replay themselves over and over within the reader?s mind. They
have such an impact over their reader?s, and that is a true accomplishment, not all genres
of novels can succeed in such a feat. Now, I want you to sit back in your most
comfortable chair, pull a blanket up around you, and grab a nice, warm cup of cocoa while
I tell you one of my favourite ghost stories.
Vivian plunked the last of the dusty, cardboard boxes down on the wooden floor.
She breathed heavily as she finally allowed herself to collapse into the burgundy softness
of the cushioned chair seated in the far corner of the master bedroom. Thunder tore its
way through the silence of the room. Vivian jumped, she didn?t like being alone in
the dark, musty house, especially during a thunder storm. She remembered when she and
her husband, Jake, had first visited the house. It had been the middle of summer and after
reading an article in the paper about the house, they had made the drive out to Osgood to
see it. They fell in love with the house from the moment they laid their eyes on it. A large
bay window looked out over the front lawn, and next to it were french doors leading out
to a wrought iron balcony. A white washed porch encompassed the body of the house, it?s
rails intertwined with red roses that blessed the thick summer air with their sweet aroma.
It had seemed so welcoming then, Vivian thought to
herself as she rose from the chair, wearily getting ready for bed. She pulled one of
her husbands sweat shirts from one of the many boxes that were spread across the room
and put it on. Vivian laughed to herself as she passed by her reflection in the antique
vanity mirror, the shirt hung off of her small frame almost reaching all the way down to
her knees, and her long auburn hair was piled messily upon her head. Another crash of
thunder sent her diving childishly to the safety of the king size, four post bed where she
pulled the lavish wine coloured duvet up over her head. Jake will be here tomorrow she
repeated after she had turned off the light. He?ll be here tomorrow she kept reassuring
herself as she fell into an uneasy sleep. Vivian hadn?t spent a night away from her husband
since they had been married eighteen months ago, the mere thought of him not being
beside her haunted her subconscious as she slept.
It was dark outside when Vivian awoke, a wash of pale blue light cast itself over
the bedroom. Slowly Vivian eased herself out of the warmth of the immense bed and made
her way towards the hallway. The hall was dimly lit with candles and it seemed to go on
forever, the glow of amber from the candles fading as you followed them down into a dark
cave. The sound of the enormous, oak door opening followed by a strong gust of crisp,
early winter wind sharpened Vivian?s senses as she began to run down the dark hall
towards the top of the staircase.
?Jake?? she called, reaching the top of the stairs. ?Oh Jake, honey, is that
you?? she said running down the stairs. When she reached the bottom she let a small sigh
escape as her spirit sank, he wasn?t there. I couldn?t have just imagined the whole thing,
Vivian thought to herself, someone came into the house I heard them. ?Jake? Are you
here?? she yelled stepping into the middle of the foyer, her echo bouncing off the empty
walls of the house, resonating inside her head. The house is too quiet Vivian thought to
herself as she inched her way back to the staircase. ?Jake?? she whispered desperately.
She placed her foot softly onto the first step, a sickening slurp arose from under her foot.
Instinctively she looked down, her stomach churned as all the colour drained from her
face. A steady stream of blood had made its way down the stairs, it dripped warmly off of
each separate step filling the ruby pool on the one below it. Vivian stood frozen unable to
believe the oozing mass that was collecting at her feet. Behind her the heavy wood of the
door crashed open sending icy gasts of harsh, bitter wind spinning through the house. Not
able to control her terror any longer Vivian darted up the stairs, the thickening pools of
blood sticking to the bottoms of her feet, splashing up over her bare legs with every step.
Tears poured down her colourless face as she ascended up the stairs. Turning down the
amber hall she collided with a dark, pillar that was blocking the corridor. She had collided
with such force that she had been sent flying backwards, landing in a crumpled heap about
four feet away. Vivian rose painfully to a sitting position glancing towards the shadowed
figure she had hurtled herself into. Slowly, it started to close in upon her. The figure was a
mass of darkness, it draped itself over her, bringing with it the pungent stench of decay.
Slowly the figure bent down until what was left of his face rested only inches from hers,
the smell invading every pore of her body causing waves of dizzying nausea to roll
through her. The mans pale face moved with cascades of maggots as they fought to escape
the deep pits where his eyes should have been. They fell onto Vivian?s legs, should could
feel them crawling all over her. She tried to move but found that she couldn?t, a bear-like
grasp had clamped itself around her arm effortlessly holding her to the ground. With his
free, icy hand he started to caress her cheek, wiping the tears away as they fell from her
eyes, he moved in closer, opening his chapped mouth, a black slime poured from it,
trickling down over Vivian?s grey sweat shirt. The figure climbed on top of her, she was
powerless to stop it. She was surrounded by the smell of death, the hungry maggots, and
the putrescent black that dripped its cold wetness onto her face.
Vivian woke up screaming. Her body trembled with complete and utter terror, her
clothes and duvet were soaked with sweat. The dream had been so real, she could still feel
the stinging cold from the man?s touch, her nostrils still consumed by the odour. Just then
she heard a clamor of footsteps racing towards the bedroom, Her muscles stiffened and
her stomach lurched, the door burst open.
?Viv? Are you all right?? Jake raced to the side of his convulsing wife and
her into his arms. ?Oh my god, what happened?? he cupped her face within his hands and
looked into her eyes.
?I?m so glad you?re here.? she said wrapping her arms tightly around his
warm body. ?Our first night away from each other and I have a nightmare. I guess it all
goes to show how independent I am.? she joked, adverting her eyes away from her
husband?s worried gaze. Jake gently pressed his lips to her forehead and smiled, taking her
clammy hand within his own and drew her up.
?Come on, I made us some breakfast.?
Vivian clutched on to his hand as they entered the hallway, it looked nothing like it
had in her dream, it was brightly lit with wall lamps allowing her to see the very last door
at the end of the hall. Relief came to her as they reached the inviting smell of bacon in the
kitchen. Everything was as it should be, there was no trail of warm, sickly blood dripping
its way steadily down the stairs, there were no wintry breezes that stung her body, and
there had been no dark figure waiting for her. It was for that fact that she was most
thankful. Jake set out the white china plates heaped with steaming pancakes and sparkling
bacon, as well as rich, dark cups of coffee, filled to the brim. Vivian curled her fingers
around the warm walls of her mug and sipped at it sparingly as she told Jake about her
dream. She sat in a daze, reliving the whole experience, she couldn?t remember a time
when she had been so scared. Jake?s being there helped her to stay strong, he comforted
her through the whole thing, reassuring her that it was just a dream. When she was done
he crouched down beside her chair and looked up at her.
?ell I?m here now, and I?m not going to let anything hurt you, not even in your
dreams.? Vivian knew that he was telling the truth, he wouldn?t let anything hurt her,
she trusted him with her life. Upstairs in the house a picture frame crashed to the floor,
spraying it?s shards of glass clumsily across the wooden floor.
?What was that?? Vivian had jumped from her chair and now stood clinging to her
husband?s fleece chest.
?Don?t worry, it was probably nothing.? he said as he unhinged her fingers and
started for the stairs. Still shaken from her dream and not wanting to be left alone Vivian
followed cautiously behind his sure, steady steps. Jake entered their bedroom leaving
Vivian waiting in the doorway. ?Damn it! Ahh, god damn. Viv, you?re not going to
believe this.? Vivian entered the room warily. Jake was sitting on the burgundy chair
nursing a bleeding foot. Blood, Vivian thought as she remembered her dream once more.
she began to run over to where her husband was sitting ?Careful!? he shouted. ?There?s
glass all over the floor.? Vivian stopped dead and looked about her, a silver frame with
vine like coils engraved in it lay on the floor, the picture inside it was of their wedding day.
They were sitting on a white bench with crimson roses blending into the background of
the slowly setting sun. She was wearing a simple ivory gown with tiny pink flowers
embroidered carefully onto the bodice, her hair swept upwards with soft wisps hanging
loosely across her neck. Jake wore the traditional black tuxedo which complimented his
broad shoulders and strong build that he had been naturally blessed with. The sun danced
across his golden hair giving it a reddish glow. That had been the happiest day of her life,
now the picture lay torn in half on the ground. ?Viv, can you go find us a broom so we
can get this all cleaned up?? Jake asked trying to hide the pain of his burning foot.
?Of course. Are you all right? Want me to get you anything?? as she drew her
attention to the gaping cut in his foot. ?Oh my god, the looks like it needs stitches.? she
was horrified. ?I don?t even remember unpacking that picture, I?m so sorry babe.?
?Just what are you apologizing for?? he laughed. ?It?s my own fault for charging in
here without watching where I was going, so don?t you even start to blame yourself. I?ll
be fine, you just go and find that broom, okay?? he forced a smile, Vivian smiled back and
left the room. She ventured out into the hallway, she had run into a storage closet the
other day while exploring the house, she was sure she?d be able to find something to
sweep up the glass in there. She had reached the closet, the knob on the door was ice cold,
sending goosebumps immediately up her arm the second she touched it. Ignoring the small
jolt of fear that had passed through her she opened the door, the broom was lying in the
corner, a dust pan near by. Bending down to pick up the rusting metal of the dust pan
Vivian got the sense that she was not alone, someone was watching her she was sure of
it. The heavy glare of eyes was suffocating, causing the air around her to thin until she had
to heave in deep breaths. Slowly standing up she saw something move out of the corner of
her eye, a quick flash of colour interrupting the stillness of the house for a momentary
second before vanishing into the watching air. Vivian dropped the broom and dust pan,
letting them fall thunderously to the ground, as she sprinted down the hallway and into her
her husbands arms.
?Viv? What?s wrong?? Jake asked staring down at her on his lap, he stroked the
hair back from her face.
?I swear to god something?s in the house. I saw something out in the hallway. It
was there and then it just vanished.? she cried. ?I feel like I?m losing my mind, first the
nightmare and now this, god, what?s wrong with me?? she wrapped her arms around
waist and buried herself in his chest.
?Vivian, look at me.? she looked up, her eyes were swollen and red with tears.
?You?re not losing your mind, I promise, you?ve just been under a lot of stress lately, with
the move and all. Here?s an idea, I?ll clean up this mess and unpack the boxes that are left
while you rest.? he rose from the chair, Vivian still in his arms. The first step down on his
foot caused him to moan in pain.
?Oh, Jake your foot, you can?t do all that work, you can barely even walk. You lie
down while I clean the mess, I?m fine now really.? she said as he plopped her down onto
the bed collapsing beside her.
?No you?re not.? he laughed. ?Look at yourself you?re trembling.? Vivian knew
that he was not going to give in, she hated it when he became stubborn like this and stood
up briskly in protest. Her head spun, the objects in the room became a kalidoscopic blur,
the sound of Jake?s voice was distant and clouded, everything bled into one another until a
curtain of black swept in.
Vivian awoke an hour later, her head was pounding and her back felt like
someone had thrust a knife into it and twisted the blade so that the wound wouldn?t close.
Jake raced to her side, his face was creased with worry. ?Hey you, how are you feeling?
This,? he said extending his arm to a husky, little man with white curly hair. ?is Dr. Myles
Jeffery, he?s going to take a look at you okay? If you need anything I?ll be just outside.?
he squeezed her hand tightly, nodded in the direction of Dr. Jeffery and left the room, the
door clicking shut behind him. Jake paced back and forth outside the door, his mind was
racing, how could he have let her do all the unpacking by herself? He knew that she had
been under a lot of stress. He should have been there for her, not out in Philadelphia
wrapping up a business deal that could have been managed over the phone. ?I can?t
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