“Never The Ghost You Want” was written on Christmas morning in 2020. Getting all that misery down on paper served as an exorcism. Cemetery Gates picked it up for inclusion in their anthology, PARANORMAL CONTACT, which felt a bit like last rites. And then, I moved on.
I never even bothered re-reading the story. I couldn’t, then. I have trouble, even now, though I’ve had enough private correspondence regarding the story to make me believe “Never The Ghost You Want” may, in fact, be very good. Readers seem to like it, seem to connect, and those are the notes a writer hopes to hit.
“Never The Ghost You Want” is a non-fiction piece. Now, I have written non-fic in the past, but most all of that has been squarely within the field of journalism (once upon a time, I used to cover the film circuit in Los Angeles). I’d never really written anything terribly personal.
Here’s a few snippets from “Never The Ghost You Want”:
“I do not believe in ghosts but lived in a haunted house, years ago, and it fucking sucked. People just think you’re telling stories, for starters. They imagine you’re going a bit crackers. And maybe you are, but why wouldn’t you be? After all, your house is haunted, goddammit.”
“Why didn’t you just leave?
A fair question, and one often levied at protagonists in these stories. But it’s not that simple. You are legally bound to your house, haunted or not. And, unless you happen to be extremely well off, financially, then you have a loan which dictates that you keep up the relationship. Hotels are expensive. Moving costs lots of money. A friend’s couch is only available for so long. And have you ever had to look at someone and tell them the reason you don’t want to go home is because your house terrifies you? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, your friends and family… do not believe you.”
He had played down his condition, that much was clear to me. Blood on the couch. Blood on the recliner. I broke down at the sight of his bathroom. He knew he was dying, I am sure of that. He wouldn’t tell me that though; he only wished I would have called more often. But, I was a ghost, you see.
I’m including “Never The Ghost You Want” in its entirety in my next newsletter (Sept 27th). I’d love for you to read it! All you have to do is sign up.
Looking forward to hearing what you think of a “real” ghost story.
Thanks for reading! Your continued support is what keeps me punching the keys.