The Skeptic

The Skeptic

October 10, 2012 Writing 12

I hadn’t meant to do it. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t touch anything and leave the house exactly as it was when I entered it. Everybody said the old Bosworth house was haunted, but I was a cynic. I’d never met a ghost and the metaphysical is my specialty. Jackson Paranormal Pruitt is my name and ghost hunting and evil beings banishing is my game. Yes, you heard me correctly. Paranormal is my legal middle name. My beautiful mother, God rest her soul, was a medium.  As I grew up, I would watch as her eyes rolled back into her head and she channeled her inner being. She’d utter something in a deep voice I’d come to recognize, and quickly “become” another. It was great fun, and I enjoyed the show and the profits of her meticulous acting. People came from all around the county on a regular basis to pay her to connect with a lost loved one.

Now, here I am in the old Bosworth mansion, with an agenda to prove the rumors false. The sun hadn’t quite set yet, and I’d already kicked over a photographer’s light. Why there was a photographer’s light in the house in the first place was a giant question mark. I intended to find an answer. I had to work swiftly, however, as dusk was quickly approaching. I’d brought no candles with me, only a small flashlight, with almost dead batteries. The mansion was large and I still had a lot of territory to cover before nightfall. I left the light where it fell and moved on, never dreaming that it would play a role in testing my belief system later.

The hour was approaching midnight. I used my flashlight sparingly, not willing to trust the batteries I’d found in an old dust covered footlocker on the second floor. I found myself occupying a corner of the room where I’d kicked the light over because it was the most familiar to me, with a clear exit should I be in need of one. It was a precautionary measure, one I took with every place I visited, but never needed. I wouldn’t need it tonight, either, but the comfort of knowing it was there soothed the anxiety in my gut.

I had just closed my eyes to rest when I heard the scuttle of feet across the floor. I aimed my light out, catching the red glow of a rat’s eye in its beam. I shuddered. Where there was one, there were usually more, and I’d never been fond of rodents of any shape or size. I noticed this particular rat was rather large for its species. I shivered, suddenly regretting my decision to investigate this house. I stood up, preparing to leave when I heard another sound. It was a metal scraping on wood sound, but when I flashed my light around the room, nothing seemed amiss. Just as I’d suspected though, another rat, equally as large, had joined the first. The hair on my body stood on end. I closed my eyes again, willing them to adjust to the darkness. I heard more scuffling on the floor and knew there were now four rats where there had been one. The scraping sound was louder this time too, but when I felt something brush across my leg, I’d had enough. I dropped my flashlight and started running towards the exit. Two steps into my run, and I fell flat on my face. My knee took the brunt of my fall, landing on whatever had tripped me. Sticky warmth on my forehead told me I was bleeding, and within seconds, I felt razor sharp teeth clamping down on other areas of broken flesh. As the rats closed in and began their feasting, and the edges of eternal darkness began creeping on my conscience, it became crystal clear that the object I’d tripped over was the photographer’s light and it was the rats who’d moved it.


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, kgwaite gave me this prompt: You just kicked over the photographer’s light. What now?.

I gave Cheney this prompt: I creeped myself out. I should have stopped looking at the mist but I couldn’t help myself

Bloggy Mom’s Writer’s Workshop issued 5 prompts to keep our muses going all month long. This story meets the requirements of the first prompt: “Everybody said the old Bosworth mansion was haunted…” in 750 words or less.

I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on my writing. I took some liberties with this one, keeping it very first person and informal. Did it work for you? How could I improve? Please share your advice and thoughts in a comment.

Thanks for stopping in!


12 Responses

  1. supermaren says:

    I really liked the tone of the piece; very film noir!

  2. Chelle says:

    Always amazed and even a little envious of your creativity! Enjoyed the story 🙂

  3. I absolutely loved it, and I loved the twist that the rats moved the light. Two thoughts – I was confused when the protagonist seemed about to leave just before sundown but then was still there close to midnight. And You don’t need to say “little did I know” about the light. Just leave it lying there and trust the reader, because you’ve nailed it with that last line.

    • SAM says:

      Hmmm. He’s leaving that room to search the rest of the house, but not planning to leave the house. I will have to read that over again and clarify. Thank you for the feedback!!

  4. kgwaite says:

    Oooh. Creepy. This was very well done. Scary and intense.

  5. lexy3587 says:

    it was the rats who’d moved it… *shudder*… rats. Nicely creepy story!

  6. Carrie says:

    The idea of big SMART rats makes me queasy.

    My only issue is that the light gets mentioned a lot and I’m not sure if you need to. He starts with a desire to find out why the light is there but quickly forgets that since it’s getting dark…I wonder if you could even ditch that “need” to know. Mention the light and its oddness being there but move on, don’t focus so much on it and then the end and what the rats do becomes more of a shock

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