A Ghost Story

As you will see from the widget on the homepage I’ve made a fair amount of progress on my novel since my previous post two days ago, but I’m still behind and today has been a waste.  I’ve only managed five hundred words and I’m almost certain they’re not going to survive long enough to make the second draft.  At least my stats page now predicts my novel (or the first 50k) will still be completed this year, which gives me hope, kind off.

Sadly, I’ll also be missing tomorrow’s Writing Marathon as I’m again attending a workshop, this time in counselling traumatised children.  Maybe I’ll grab a six pack of Red Bull on the way home and join the marathon in the virtual sphere as it starts in the US.  I’ll see.

I know I’ve been neglecting the blog as well, not delivering the stellar content that you, my dear readers, have grown used to.  Deal with it.  I’m writing a novel here.  However, I will give you a little something to make up for it: an extract from my brand new novel.  Keep in mind, it’s only a first draft, so it still needs a lot of work.  You can also read a brief synopsis of the novel if you visit my NaNo author page.  Then come back here and tell me what you think of the story.

The Legend of the Ghost of the Magoebaskloof

“Once, many years ago, there lived an old woodcutter in this very cabin with his daughter, Katy, and his son, Danny-boy.”

“Hey, that’s my name!”

“No it isn’t.  Your name’s Daniel.”

“Dad calls me Danny-boy sometimes.”

“Shut up, twerp.  I’m trying to tell a scary story here.”

“Sorry, Cat.”

“Whatever.  Now, where was I?  The woodcutter…”

“What was his name?”

“I don’t know what he was called, okay?  I didn’t make up this story.”

As a matter of fact, she did, but she knew ghost stories were always scarier if the listeners believed they were true.

“The three of them lived here very happily.  The woodcutter would cut down trees and sell the wood in town so they could buy what they needed.  Katy would cook and clean the house and Danny-boy would hunt small animals they could eat with his slingshot.”

“What types of animals?”

“Rabbits, birds, sometimes giant rats.”

“Eewwwww!”

“Everything went well, until one day, Danny-boy never returned from the hunt.  When he wasn’t back by sunset, the woodcutter took up his axe and went out to look for his son.  He told Katy to bar the door and not to open it for anyone before the sun was up again.

“Katy sat up all night at the kitchen table.  She must have fallen asleep at one point, cause when she woke up the candle was burned down to a stub.  The wind was blowing fiercely outside and she thought she heard someone calling her name from very far away.”

Outside, the wind began to blow, sending a chill down Cat’s spine.  Don’t be silly, you idiot, she told herself.  The wind always blows at night up here.

“Then what happened?”

Daniel spoke in a whisper.  He had pulled the covers up to his face again and was watching her with wide eyes.

“Katy thought her father might have fallen off a cliff and was calling out for help.  Ignoring his warnings about staying inside, she wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, took a poker from the fireplace, and went out the front door.

“The moon was full, so she could see just fine, but the wind threatened to tear her blanket from her hands and she had to strain to walk against it.  She disappeared into the forest, calling out for her father and brother.

“The next day, some people from town came to the cabin to make sure the woodcutter and his children were okay after the previous night’s storm.  They arrived to find the front door open and the cabin deserted.  They searched the mountains for days, but the woodcutter and his children were never seen again.”

Cat leaned closer, causing Daniel to sink back into his pillows.

“They say that, on windy nights like this, you can sometimes hear the woodcutter and his daughter calling out for each other in the night, searching for each other and Danny-boy in the dark.  Sometimes, you might hear them call your own name.  When that happens, whatever you do, don’t open the door until sunrise, or they will lure you out into the dark to search the mountain with them forever.”

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok

9 thoughts on “A Ghost Story

    1. It was. I’m seriously considering enrolling for an internship in TIR so I can become fully accredited. Very shortly, it’s a technique to help people face past traumatic incidents and basically discharge the fear, grief, anger and other emotions that cling to it. The technique has been used with great success on people suffering from PTSD, and it’s effects, according to our trainers, are permanent – to date there has apparently not been anyone who had successfully completed a TIR who had experienced that same trauma being triggered again. I’ll try to explain more fully in a future post.

      1. No one really knew how to handle trauma in children back when I was in school. My counsellors were incompetent and didn’t seem to care. If they had attended such workshop like you, I wonder if I would have turned out any different/ better now. I’ll look forward to your post.

      2. Trauma with children is a whole other kettle of fish. TIR doesn’t work with small children, as you need a certain level of cognitive development. That’s also a problem in regular “talking therapies”, as children often cannot verbalise what they feel. One of the best techniques to use with children is play therapy, but it has only become a popular form of therapy in the past two decades or so, so it wasn’t really around when we were kids and it requires very extensive training – an unlicensed person cannot do play therapy.

        But if you, for example, experienced a traumatic incident as child which was never properly discharged, doing TIR now can actually help. During the workshop they showed us videos of actual sessions. In one video a guy remembered and successfully dealt with an incident that happened when he was three which he didn’t even remembered but which still affected his life. The behaviour patterns caused by your reaction to trauma won’t go away instantly and will probably require further therapy, but the effect of the trauma itself will.

        You can get more info at http://www.tir.org/ if you’re interested.

      3. Recurring nightmares more than six months after the incident is one of the symptoms of PTSD, so I’d say it’s a lasting effect of the trauma. It’s typically one of the things for which TIR is supposed to be helpful.

      4. Then I doubt the effects will completely go away, as you say, no matter how good TIR can be. I’ll look into the site. Good luck with the internship if you do decide to go ahead.

    1. It’s slow-going, but I’ve roped in a friend who lives in Minnesota and in the hours we’re both up we egg each other on. It helps to keep me accountable in terms of writing in the times I’m not in the mood to write.

      I’ve seen a lot of bloggers criticising NaNoWriMo, some of them even got FPed, but it really is a great motivation to start writing and keep writing. I’ll be disappointed in myself if I don’t finish it.

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