#Thriller Thursday: The Haunting of Chatum House

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Thriller Thursday, and I'm doing something different. Here's a little paranormal suspense flash fiction for you. Enjoy and feedback is appreciated!

This had to be one of the stupidest things Nari had ever done. The chilly fall wind whipped her hair and goose flesh erupted over her cold skin. She gazed up at the night stars as she tromped through the overgrown yard lugging her equipment. What was she doing, coming here alone? She should have gone to bed when her partner cancelled. But like an idiot, she'd moved forward with the mission.

Nari had investigated hauntings throughout the southeastern United States, but she’d avoided the Chatum place the same way she avoided committed relationships. Her best friend had been murdered here. What if her ghost waited to greet Nari? What if a residual haunting played out the murder in gruesome detail?

She couldn't avoid the house any longer. Her dreams were full of dark scenes: a terrified woman running through dark halls and screaming for help, sinister laughter, and the awful, gurgling sound of a victim as she bled out.

Her best friend was trying to tell her something, and Nari had to find out what it was. That's why she was standing on a rickety front porch of an old Victorian at midnight and freezing her ass off.

The hulking, abandoned Victorian loomed before her. The Chatum place had been empty for the last five years, the hundred-year-old house crumbling beneath the rumors. They had started as soon as the bodies were wheeled out of the old house.

Six months after the murders, a family with two young children had moved in. They lasted less than three months. Neighbors reported hearing terrible cries in the middle of the night. A man walking his dog insisted the lights in the house turned on and off despite the fact the power had been shut off.

She hefted the bag onto her shoulder and slid her lock picking kit out of her pocket. Nari hadn’t bothered to get permission to enter the Chatum house. She didn’t want anyone in town to know what she was doing. Cape Charles, Virginia was a sleepy town that enjoyed the status quo. Hearing that Nari was searching for her best friend’s ghost would send them into a gossiping frenzy.

The door opened without fanfare. Darkness greeted her. The fine hairs on the back of Nari’s neck flared up, and her pulse raced. She always got an adrenaline rush the first time she entered a place with supposed paranormal activity, but as she stood on the threshold of the home she’d spent so much time in as a child, a new kind of chill went through her. There was no turning back now.

Nari flicked on her Mag-Lite and cast the beam around. The foyer was just as she remembered, its oak floor coated with dust. To her right, a narrow, spiral staircase waited. Hannah had been murdered in the upstairs hallway, the last family member to lose their life to John Chatum. The prodigal son had turned out to be a psycho with a knack for gutting people.

She stepped forward and then stalled. A whisper ran through the air. It could have been the wind or something far worse. A heavy stillness settled over Nari. The miserable feeling was one she knew well, and it took her breath away.

This house wasn’t empty.

What do you guys think? Should I continue Nari's story for Thriller Thursday?


Anonymous said...

The improvements you made are great! I love getting a sneak preview of your work. LOL

I like Nari, and I'd like to know more about this story. You've hinted at the backstory just enough to get me terribly curious. Who murdered Nari's best friend? Were they caught?

Bravo. Way to build suspense and interest.

Stacy said...

Thanks for your help. I'm thinking of continuing it as a webfic. Would something fun and different to work on.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE keep going.... :) What a teaser.

Marcia Meier said...

Visiting from SheWrites: Great beginning, and yes, the reader wants to know more! What happens to Nari? Keep writing. :) (And hop over to visit my blog if you like: www.marciameier.com)>

Stacy said...

Thanks, Tiffany. I'm thinking of having Chatum House as a fun webfic. Glad you liked it.

Thanks so much. I've definitely got some ideas for Nari. Will check out your blog:)

Renee said...

Very nice. The ambiguous ending forces the mind to ponder various scenarios. I immediately felt as if she felt the presence of her friend.

Stacy said...

Thank you. There are definitely a few ways the story can go from here, and Nari did feel a presence.


Kelly Hashway said...

Hi, Stacy. I'm stopping by for the She Writes Blog Hop. I'm on my way out but I'll check out your flash fiction later when I don't have to rush.

Stacy said...

Thanks, Kelly. I hope you enjoy it. Have a great day:)

Laura Pauling said...

Love it. Def. continue! :)

Stacy said...

Thanks, Laura. Glad you enjoyed it!

Shelley Workinger said...

Yes, I think you should absolutely continue with this for TT.
That being said, I really enjoy what you used to do with the theme - topics like body snatching!
Maybe you could split them into 2 memes?
True Tuesday for your research-ish topics and Thrilling Thursday for Nari's story?

Jill Kemerer said...

Ooo, love it! I like that it's suspenseful, yet not too foreboding. It has a fun flair--from your writing style. Tori Carrington writes this great series called Sofie Metropolis about a Greek female PI (she's slowly learning the ropes), and one of the reasons I love it is the fun author voice. Your piece reminded me of it!

Shelley Workinger said...

And I think that house is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen :)

Stacy said...

Thanks, Shelly. I like doing doing the theme as well. True Tuesday - I like that a lot! I'm just trying to decide how much of Nari's story to put on the blog. I doubt it's something I'd want to publish, but you never know. I'm always paranoid about that. Thanks so much:)

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll have to check out the Sofie Metropolis series. I've never heard of it. Thanks for the compliment!

Anne Michaud said...

Oh I think you have plenty more to write about this GORGEOUS house! Can't wait for next week...

Stacy said...

The house is cool, isn't it? So glad you liked the story. Thanks!

amy kennedy said...

Yes! I definately want to know what happens with Nari.

Stacy said...

Glad you liked it, Amy. Thanks for commenting!

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