Sarahann’s Shoppe of Earthbound Souls

So who’s up for a bit of challenge? (Quite down Selena, the others can’t hear me over your wicked laughter!) This past March I spent two nights in a place that I’m going say is/was moderately haunted. While the jury is still out on what exactly I may have experienced, I have developed an interest in ghost stories (both real and fictional).

One of the stories I came across, was that of a British soldier that was bound to an antique bed which he was reported to have owned while he walked among the living. It was discovered by a couple that had bought the bed, he had no problem with a woman sleeping in it, but men where strictly NOT welcome at all! All this made me wonder (a dangerous thing I know) how many other earthbound souls remained attached to an object that had once belonged to them?

So here’s the challenge. Write a story about a haunted item. It can be of any length (I have found that good stories often know how long to be). Beyond that, go where the story takes you. Be sad, be dark, be creepy, have the character(s) live happily NEVER after! Then post your stories on your own site and remember to link it back to this challenge. In early November I’ll post the links for each story in one wrap up post.

“1906 Edwardian Lady With Bonnet” shared by ShutterlyHappy (Flickr)

For those who would like a bit of back story, allow me to introduce you to Sarahann. She is the owner of the “Shoppe of Earthbound Souls” which rather conveniently deals in haunted antiques. She knows the story of each piece in the collection, and she is happy to share them with any would be purchasers. She also happens to be a ghost as well. Her store likes to “pop” up here and there, and more than once a patron has returned to the store’s site only to find a burned out shell of a house or vacant lot.

Feel free to use her in any story you might dream up, I only ask that you keep her neutral, she is NOT evil and would never endanger a living soul. She has been known to give warnings to would be buyers of particularly nasty or ill intentioned antiquities which may or may not be heeded by mere mortals. Sometimes those impulse buys come back to haunt us in the end!

Both Sarahann and myself are dying to read your creations! Hope you have a fun Octo”boo”er and good luck wordsmithing.




Summer is gone! It ran its glorious course all too quickly and now the kids are back at school. There is a hint of frost in the air that suggests the weather is starting to change. In some places the leaves are painting the horizon with spectacular  displays. Crops are being brought in and pumpkins are starting to appear. Yes something is definitely in the air.

Try standing in a cornfield during the full moon and watch for fleeting glimpses of figures mounted on brooms flash cross the sky. Or perhaps you may sense a presence just at the edge of your vision, and no matter how fast you turn, you never see what it was. The things in the night are starting to go “bump”. Yep, my time of the year!

“Cosplay Sugar Sugar Rune” by Florian Fromentin (Flickr)

I have always loved this season. You could almost say that I take de”fright’ in it all. Perhaps it’s the muse of a dear friend that has whispered in my ear as of late, but the stories that fill my head have taken a darker turn. I try to fight the darkness, but each happy tale soon comes to a bitter end. I see haunts in the shadows and will-of -the wisps in the night air. So casting “happily ever after” to the wind and the fell beasties, I welcome you to Octo”Boo”er here at the fictional campfire!

I am looking for several guess writers to join my celebration. Here is your chance to write that spooky little tale that keeps asking to be let out. So if you feel up to a walk on the darker side of the street let me know! Not up for that? Then perhaps one of the two, month-long challenges will be something you can sink you teeth into. Any which way, I’m hoping everybody will have a howling good time!

The calendar may still show a few days left in September, but I hear-by declare Octo”Boo”er has begun! I’m hoping to get the word out to all the boys and ghouls who like to write, so if you could be so kind as to pass the word along through the social channels. Watch for the twitter hash tag #Octobooer. Welcome to the happily never after!

“Happy Halloween!” by Schub@ (Flickr)

Picture This

Well a week has passed (quite quickly too!) since I posted up the bridge picture. Time to see how things went.

Thanks again goes to my talented friend Sara Hannaford for both taking the photo and graciously allowing me to use it for a photo prompt. I have to say that when I saw the photo for the first time I could here a gentle whispering calling to me. It was then I knew there was a story in it that needed to get out.

I was also pleased to see that the voices also choose to speak to a couple of other talented people as well! They are listed below;

“Broken” by Selena Wolff

“The Bridges of Fantasy County” by Billie Jo Woods

“The Train” by Knot2Share

 “Bridge” by yours truly

Thank you all for joining in! Now on to this week’s picture. While these challenges are more for myself, all of you are more than welcome to play too. If you feel a story speaking to you from the image (and you have time!), by all means please share it with us. If not, maybe next week’s picture will, so no worries, no stress, no deadlines, remember the object is to have some fun!

Guidelines (not rules),

  1. Have fun. No stressing allowed! If you get stressed I’ll be forced to find you and challenge you to a squirt gun fight! (I am truly awesome at squirt gun fighting so beware)
  2. Write the genre that the picture tells you to. You hear mushy, then write mushy. You hear mystery, then write mystery. And if by chance you hear Alien-Zombie-Werewolf-Apocalypse, I really really want to read that story!!!!!
  3. Word count. Hmmm? More than 1 and less than 1,000,000 will be fine. Seriously let the story decide, they usually know long to be. But if you need a firm number, not more than 1500 words should work well.
  4. Post a link to your wonderful story in the comments below, and I’ll list any on the next weeks posting.
  5. Oh yeah, have fun. Yes I’ve said that already, but its worth saying again!

I thought that I would try something a bit different for the new prompt. Matter of fact, you might say that I could “bearly” control myself this time round.

“Day 164: Cozied Up” by Snugg LePup (Flickr)

So good writing (and listening) to you all, and I’ll see you all back here next week. Same prompt time. Same prompt channel.



… Ben’s head snapped upright, he must have dozed off again.

Riding trains always made him sleepy. Once he had slept clear across the state of Maryland, and as a result had ended up missing his stop by three towns. He felt that the rhythmic clack clack clack and the side to side motion was like riding in a giant cradle. Sitting up straighter, he looked over his fellow passengers in the coach car. There was fair number of people making the trip down from Casper to Denver, and most of the seats in the car were full.

He had been lucky to get a seat at all, given that the #30 train was a over-night “flyer” going straight through to Denver for morning. Sadly he had arrived at the station far too late to secure a spot in the sleeper car. The horrible rain that afternoon had put him behind schedule, so now he could look forward to a long night sitting up, instead of resting in a nice and soft little bunk. Damn his bad luck!

Shifting in the hard seat, he failed to find a comfortable place. Sighing after several minutes of fidgeting he pulled out his pocket watch. The time showed only 8:45 PM, which meant it had barely been ten minutes since the train had pulled out of the Casper station. Hell, this night looked as though it was going to last forever. Standing up, he patted down his pockets to find his cigarettes while he walked down the aisle to the door at the end of the car. Maybe a smoke and some fresh air would help clear his head a bit.

As he lit the cigarette, he stood in the open vestibule between the two coaches and pondered the dark landscape as it slid by. The October air was brisk and it wouldn’t be very long before the snow started to cover the low hills that he was watching travel past. Finishing up the smoke, he cast it off into the night and it quickly vanished from sight. Leaning out from the platform he could feel the train’s speed, and was enjoying the rushing wind as it tugged at his hair and clothing when he heard the screech of the drive wheels locking up, followed by the roar of metal and wood tearing itself apart.

Without warning the train had left the tracks and was now in the process of burying itself in a flooded creek. Standing between the cars was most likely the reason that Ben ended up in the racing water instead of being trapped in the now submerged coaches. Caught in the current, he was thrown around like a rag doll before the raging creek finally pulled him under. With debris spinning everywhere, the muddy fast-moving water dragged him along the creek bottom with the current. Just when his lungs had felt as if they were going to explode, a sudden shift in the water flow sent him bobbing up back to the surface and air.

Gasping in the freezing water he managed to twist around to look back at the rail line. The engine, baggage and coach cars were gone, as was the bridge that had spanned the creek he now found himself racing away in. The last image he saw before the water drove him into a large rock was that of the sleeper car standing nose down in the water. Then darkness claimed him.

He had no idea how long he been lying on the creek bank when he opened his eyes, but the sun was now high in the sky. Rolling over he tried to remember what had happened. Why was he wet? Sitting up he looked at landscape around him and saw nothing that he recognized. Swaying, he stood up and tried to walk, but his feet would not cooperate and he crashed back down into the water.

The water! He had been in the water. Now the memories came flooding back. Oh my god he thought, the train had gone into a creek. There must be people still trapped inside it, he had to find help! Trying to stand again he managed to stay upright this time. He prayed there was a farm someplace close by as he stumbled up the bank, but after a few minutes it was clear nobody lived in this part of the country. In frustration he dropped back to the ground ready to give up. That was when he heard people talking someplace nearby.

“Hello? I need your help” he shouted, but there was no reply.

Listening, he followed the voices and soon came across a woman and a boy standing on a trail looking at a metal sign.

“Hey! Help! There’s been an accident. We need medical help. Do you have a telephone on your farm?” but they paid no attention to him “What the hell is the matter with you? Are you deaf? People need your help!”

The pair just continued looking at the sign. He couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t respond. Faster now he started to walk towards them. The trail they were standing on was right beside the railway tracks. They must be able to see the train wreck and the missing bridge from where they were standing. Did they care that little? Were they that cold that they could just ignore his plea for help?

“For god’s sake there are people hurt” he screamed “don’t you care?”

But, the woman and the boy turned and started to walk away. This was more than Ben could stand. He ran after them, planning to shake the woman and make her answer him. As he caught up to them he grabbed at the woman’s shoulder but his hand passed through it. He tried a second time and again his hand passed through her as though she were a mirage. That didn’t make any sense! He was standing right beside them and they were acting as if he wasn’t there.

Then slowly the truth started to dawn on him. Turning around he looked back towards the creek and saw that there was now a bridge spanning the creek bed, and the lone sleeper car that had stood upright in the water was nowhere to be seen. Not wanting to believe what he was thinking, he walked uncertainly towards the bridge, afraid of what else he might find there. As he reached the sign where he had first seen the woman and the boy, he stopped and looked at it.

October 4th,1923

One hundred persons were drowned when Burlington train No. 30, en route to Denver plunged into Coal Creek with little or no warning.

The train left Casper at 8:35 o’clock and was slipping along through the night. Storms had swept almost the entire state of Wyoming during the day and it is believed that a cloudburst had struck the little stream caled[sic] Coal Creek, forcing its waters to a flood height, which carried away the railroad bridge.

Without an instant’s warning the speeding flyer plunged off into the raging torrent while its muddy waters engulfed the cars, sweeping into eternity the unsuspecting passengers, many of whom already were asleep.

The Denver sleeping car was the last to leave the rails. It tipped off the last link of track and buried its nose into the roof of the chair car just ahead, which already lay submerged.

Fairplay Flume Colorado Newspaper

The weight of truth hit him like a sledge-hammer. The woman and child hadn’t heard him because he hadn’t been there! His eyes flicked back to One hundred persons were drowned. If he wasn’t there, then the only answer he could think of was that he was dead…

… Ben’s head snapped upright, he must have dozed off again.

Riding trains always made him sleepy. Once he had slept clear across the state of Maryland, and as a result had ended up missing his stop by three towns. He felt that the rhythmic clack clack clack and the side to side motion was like riding in a giant cradle. Sitting up straighter, he looked over his fellow passengers in the coach car. There was fair number of people making the trip down from Casper to Denver, and most of the seats in the car were full.