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Discussion Starter #1
I write a lot of ghost stories. I love scaring people through my writing and I'm always trying to get better. To that end I'd like to share some of my work in this thread, for the purpose of entertaining you and perhaps getting some constructive feedback.

Since the stories can get pretty long, I won't post them all here. Instead I'll just give a quick summary and provide a link to the full text.

Here are my two most recent ghost stories:

Garringer's Dog
Two friends embark on a harrowing chase through the woods one night, “hounded” by a spectral killer.

Grandma
A young girl follows a strange noise into an empty bedroom where she finds her grandma sitting in a rocking chair, muttering nonsense.

You can read my complete collection here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/

Please enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Good Morning

A man spends the night at a small village inn to memorialize a past tragedy. This year, however, the past has come for him.

Here's an excerpt:

The darkness in front of us splits, and a pair of blinding orbs appears from nowhere. There’s an awful sound: squealing, bellowing, screaming. I feel like knives are stabbing my ears, I can’t tell which way is up.

We aren’t rushing through the darkness anymore. Everything’s perfectly quiet. I think I’m upside down, and there’s something dripping in front of me.

That’s the rest of the dream, just me staring at the source of the dripping, staring and not believing it’s all that’s left of her.


You can read the rest here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hallowdale

This is my first long-form horror story. I had an earlier version of it posted on my site a while ago, but I wasn't happy with it so I took it down. I've since gone back and reworked it, turning it into something longer and, I hope, scarier.

At its core, Hallowdale is a novel about a newlywed couple who get lost on route to their honeymoon. Instead of a cozy resort, they find themselves trapped in a secluded village with a dark past.

After that, I've written a bunch of shorter stories that flesh out the history of Hallowdale and the entities that haunt it.

Everything can be found at the link below. Please enjoy.

Hallowdale
 

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Unit 319

A man moves into a creepy apartment that seems a little too empty. Soon, he wishes it was emptier.

I checked on the closet this morning. Turns out if I tap one of the coat hangers, they all bump into each other and make the exact same noise I heard last night. Can’t think of what might have done it, though. Maybe there’s a draft.

And while I’m talking about the closet, the air freshener isn’t working. It’s just mixing with the stink and making it worse.

More weird stuff. Ever since the snowstorm, I’ve had this wrong feeling, and I’ve finally pinned it down. The cars. They’re all buried, and no one’s dug them out. I’m the only one that comes and goes, mine are the only tire tracks in the parking lot. But there’s more. I realized it while I was staring at the courtyard this evening: no footprints.

That rattling sound’s started up again. I don’t think I’ll get any sleep tonight.


Read the whole thing here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/unit-319
 

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Discussion Starter #5
An overnight stay reveals why a man's grieving brother has become such a recluse:

It’s just a random stain, I thought as I tore the pillowcase off so I could wash it in the morning. Just a coincidence. I let the pillowcase fall to the floor, and that’s when I noticed the footprints.

They meandered in from the hall, came all the way to the bed, then turned around and left the room. They weren’t neat prints with every toe clearly marked; they were smudged and blurred and red.

They had also definitely not been there when I left to wash my face.


Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/amy
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A family moved into an old house, and in that house was a room with strange wallpaper. It was a floral pattern, with human faces peering from between the leaves and flowers.

The family had a young boy who became fixated on one of the faces. He’d sit in that room and stare at a particular spot on the wall. When asked what he was looking at, he’d answer, “That one has a bad smile.” The parents inspected the face, but couldn’t find anything to set it apart from the others. They attributed it to childhood imagination, and weren’t very concerned.

They were concerned, however, when they found the boy in a different room, one without wallpaper, staring into space.

Like before, they asked him what he was looking at. He answered, “It got out.”
You can read the full story here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/wallpaper
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This next story was inspired the The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. It's about two friends that go exploring in the woods. They find some old ruins and a nearby cave. Inside, they meet an abomination. Here's an excerpt:

He saw it a second before it struck. Another of those ghastly hands shot out of the darkness. Luke tried to dodge it, but he’d seen it too late. The thing latched onto his face, and he nearly passed out as his nose was buried in its spongy palm. Luke had never actually smelled rotten meat before, but he guessed this was what it was like. His screams were muffled by the thing’s putrid skin.

“Luke! Luke!” Nivia was carrying on. Then she stopped. Luke also stopped struggling, because he heard it too. The scrape of dirt, the rattle of stones. Something else was moving in the cave.
You can read the whole thing here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/dead-hand
 

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Help Me:

The sounds became clearer as I progressed. At first I’d thought the thumping was footsteps, but it was too hollow and didn’t have the right rhythm. I followed the glowing circle carved by my flashlight as it led me through the house, revealing just a tiny slice at a time. Around that circle, the darkness looked solid. The illusion took hold of my body, and I felt like I was swimming through thick, black water. I could feel it filling my nose with each breath and trickling into my ears.

The thumping got louder, and I found myself before a door. I remembered what Jake and his dad had said. This was definitely the door they’d been talking about. But as I mentioned, I was never very good at obeying orders. I tried the knob, which resisted me at first, then turned with more noise than I’d have liked. The door fell open to reveal—
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/help-me
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A father tries to comfort his son against irrational nightmares, but he may need more comforting than the child.

I’m awake, but it feels like a dream. Light creeps in from the hallway, and there’s a small voice making unintelligable noises. But I left the light on, I think. Why’s he still scared?

Did I imagine it? Did the light just flicker?

My son’s voice gets louder, and I hear the terror. I feel it. My wife’s warmth is a tether; I cling to it because I know what will happen if I get up to check on our boy.

The light from his room flickers again, no mistaking it this time. His chanting turns desperate, and I recognize the lullaby he sings to himself. It won’t do him any good. Tears ride his voice, corrupting the melody’s soothing purpose. He doesn’t need lullabies; he needs a firm shoulder to curl against, a strong arm to ward off his nightmares. He needs his father.

I relinquish my wife’s warmth and cross the hall. My son’s door is halfway open, as I left it, and I can see the child in his bed. The lamp on his dresser buzzes like a fly in its struggle to stay alive. The strobe effect deceives my eyes and causes the blackness to creep in at the edges, and my son sits at the center, staring across the room at something I can’t see as he sings pitifully to himself.

He hears my footstep, turns to face me. “Daddy—”

The light goes out.
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/red-handed
 

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("...see if you can change your signature into having that link with the "to read more" clause to it..." suggested the goblin liking both the work and the penmanship too, then adding "...post out and around, remember that the more you post across forums the more those readers will find you now...")
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Glasses

A man who has worn glasses his entire life discovers a new, terrifying world when he takes them off:

I wasn’t alone out there; that much I could tell. I could hear them breathing around me, moving with me. Their footsteps escorted me down the driveway. I can’t see you anymore, I thought. Now leave me alone!

It was hard to gauge how far I’d walked. It seemed an eternity ago that I’d stepped outside my home, but I was taking tiny steps. Although I couldn’t see them, it felt like my tormentors were pressing in, standing as close as they could without actually touching me. I wanted to run back to my house, but I had to prove to them that they were invisible to me. I had to keep going until I was sure they were gone—
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/glasses
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Asher Road

A man gets in a wreck and tries to give his girlfriend directions over the phone so she can pick him up. A third party has other plans:

A deep groan rumbled through the night, and my stomach tied itself in a knot. She’s going to kill me. For good measure, I turned the key one last time, but the car still wouldn’t start. It just made that unhealthy groaning sound before falling utterly quiet.

I gave myself a moment to calm down and think. I was stranded. The car—her car—had veered off the road and flattened its front end against a tree. I hadn’t sustained any injuries, save for a bruise on my forehead, so I wasn’t in any real danger.

You sure about that?
Read the rest of Asher Road here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/asher-road
 

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Runaway

A boy runs away from home after breaking a family heirloom. He takes shelter in an abandoned house, but it might not be abandoned after all.

A thumping noise woke me up. I opened my eyes and looked around, slowly remembering where I was. Why I’d come here. That’s right. The doll. Rain continued to fall; I could hear it rattling against the windows. Was Mom still looking for me, out in the rain? I had no idea what time it was. Maybe she’d given up. I’d broken her grandmother’s doll; what did she care if I was missing?

The thumping which had woken me continued. It came from above, moving across the ceiling. My eyes followed it, eventually coming to rest on a staircase across the hall.

I bit back a whimper and burrowed under the sheet. What was I thinking, coming here? My sofa was scratchy and full of holes, and it stank like pond scum. I lay there waiting for the thumping noise to come down the stairs, but it didn’t. I listened. Nothing. Just quiet darkness, air so still I could feel it squeezing me, so quiet it hurt my ears. Don’t be such a baby. It’s just an empty house. It was probably just an animal trying to get out of the rain. Oh, why did I run away? I kept listening and wondering until my eyes grew heavy, and I remembered how sleepy I was…
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/runaway
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Don't Let the Light Go Out

A man stays at the office late to get some work done. He thinks he's alone, but who's playing with the lights?

The lights went out again. I sat perfectly still, my eyes wide in the darkness. I could feel something on the other side of my door staring back at me through the metal. I could hear something giggle, high-pitched like a woman—no, not a woman; a child. It was a mean laugh, a knowing laugh, a laugh that seemed to say, “I know where you are. Now I have you.”
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/dont-let-the-light-go-out
 

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The Babysitter

Two brothers get in a fight while their parents are away, and punishment follows.

I could feel the floor dropping away beneath the bed, and the bed itself falling away next. My blankets were the last to go, and I was up, walking toward the open door into the hallway.

Mother and Father were in the living room with the television playing softly. They smiled at the screen, didn’t even glance at me as I walked by.

Then I was in the kitchen. The dark kitchen, staring down into the dark basement where no one went anymore. My body carried me down without so much as a pause on the top step. My mind, however, clawed at the back of my skull, desperate for the clean air upstairs. But down, down, down I went. Down into that darkness where the dust settled over everything and orphaned noises drifted without cause.

In the basement, the rest of the house was muted. All I could hear was my own breathing, my bare feet against the carpet. There were no working lights down there, just the moon- and lamplight from outside through the glass block windows. All I could see was the space in front of me. Everything else was a black funnel directing me forward, toward the door that we always kept shut.

I reached that door and placed my hand on the knob. Now even my body rebelled. My joints locked up. My hand felt like lead, my veins like tangles of rusty wire. I knew what waited in that empty bedroom; I wasn’t sure I could take seeing it one more time.

But I knew the rules, and my fear could only keep me paralyzed for so long.

I went inside.
Read the rest: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/the-babysitter
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The Track

Two teenagers explore an abandoned train track and make a grisly discovery.

I always wondered why the track was abandoned. It had been that way all my life, and all my dad’s life as far as he could remember. My grandpa always said it was because the tunnel collapsed, but I’d never gone for myself to find out if that was true. Mom was always telling us to stay away from there on account of rusty nails we wouldn’t see until they were stuck two inches into our feet.

Of course, she could have said anything to ten-year-old me and I’d have listened. Fifteen-year-old me, on the other hand? Nothing she said could have kept me away. That’s how Mark and I ended up in the woods one August afternoon. School was starting in a week, and we were making the most of our summer freedom while it lasted.

The track was easy enough to find. After ten minutes of crashing through the undergrowth, we emerged into a tunnel of trees. To our left, the walls of leaves and bark stretched on in eternal greenery, canopied by a web of emerald branches. To our right, those same walls ran for several hundred feet before melting into the mountainside, their branches curling around a point of black made tiny by the distance. The track itself was just a jumble of almost-parallel wooden ties and a pair of metal rails still hopelessly trying to carve a straight path through the forest. Weeds draped themselves over the track, rendering it invisible to anyone who wasn’t paying attention.
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/the-track
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The Dough Wife

A lonely man creates a model of his ideal wife, never suspecting that he might have created more than just a sculpture.
The baker woke up a few hours later. There was a soft thumping sound coming from downstairs. The baker rolled over in his bedsheets and thought, “It’s just the wind rattling the shutters.”

He’d almost fallen back asleep when the thumping came again, louder. There was no mistaking this time that it was coming from inside the bakery, and that it was moving toward the stairs that led to his apartment.

“Who’s there?” the baker called. The thumping continued. If it was someone walking up the stairs, they were very clumsy; it sounded like they kept tripping and banging against the walls.

“Whoever you are, you should leave now,” the baker called. “I’m warning you; I’m armed!”
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/ghost-stories/the-dough-wife
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Anniversary

It's been a while, but I'm back with more ghost stories. This one's about an aging couple whose wedding anniversary is interrupted by a nasty surprise. Instead of celebrating the past thirty years, they find themselves tormented by an unseen intruder who seems bent on destroying their marriage and their lives.

For the thirtieth time, they pulled the book from its place on the shelf. He blew a year’s worth of dust from the cover before smiling at her and leading her to the sofa. They sank into the tired cushions, wiggling closer to each other as together they pried the cover open.

“Zero,” she said, as she always did. They stared up at themselves from the page, he in black, she in white. Smiles from the past reflected in the present. He turned the page and said, “One.”

More reflections. The backdrop of the church was replaced with a country scene, a river cutting through the greenery. This time she wore a pink blouse, he a blue shirt. Her hair was shorter. They clasped hands, both then and now, displaying the bands around their fingers. The ones in the photo were shockingly pristine compared with their tarnished, modern counterparts.

“Two.” So they continued. Page after page chronicled the transformation of present into memory. The faces smiling up at them, though perfect facsimiles from the start, somehow became truer, more familiar—and yet less at the same time. On “eighteen”, he thought for sure his head didn’t sport quite that much gray.

When they finally reached “twenty-nine”, he took a polaroid camera from the coffee table. There’d be no romantic background this year. Their health wasn’t what it used to be, and they both felt it was time for a quiet celebration at home. They huddled together, she resting her head on his shoulder as he held the camera out and snapped the photo.

When it was done, they both grasped the corner of the page. “Thirty,” she breathed. They turned the page.

He stared at it, blinking. She leaned forward for a closer look, the sofa creaking beneath her, before asking, “Did you put it there?”

In the center of the page, in the sleeve that should have been waiting emptily for memory number thirty, was another photo.

He shook his head in answer to her.

“I don’t even remember taking this,” she said. “Who do you suppose that is?”

It was a picture of some rural road. Dirt crept up through the cracked remnants of pavement. Trees crowded against one side while an overgrown field spread out from the other. On the far right of the photo, barely in frame so it seemed to have slipped in by mistake, was a running figure. A dirty sheet draped and wound over the person, completely hiding his face, tangling with his arms and legs.
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/library/anniversary/
 

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Discussion Starter #20
An Open Door to Belief or Doubt

A boy hears ghostly noises at night. But when he tells his parents, they offer warnings instead of comfort. Raised in a household of dread, the boy’s only consolation comes in the form of the family cat.

I guess I was five or six when I first really believed in ghosts. The belief must have been growing for some while before then, but only in the form of stories I tried not to think about too close to bedtime. Never as something that would ever show up in my house.

But show up it did, one dark night.

I didn’t think much of the noise at first. It was such a natural sound. But around the time it passed through the hall outside my bedroom door, my mind connected the facts that until then I’d taken for granted. Mom and Dad were in their bed, I was in my bed, and something else was outside. Its weight caused the floor to creak as it paced the hall. The creak caused my heart to race. I counted over and over the occupants of the house: Mom, Dad, me. One, two three. One, two, three.

Four, creaked the footsteps outside my door.
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoctrium.com/library/an-open-door-to-belief-or-doubt/
 
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