A Story A Day Challenge – Sept 6: The Dance

Check out my previous entries for the Story A Day Challenge here. I guess this kind of feeds off of the darker themes and romance shown in my story from yesterday, but on a different level.


The Prompt

Write a story set in an abandoned location. It could be a foreclosed house, a closed-down theme park, a ghost town, or anything else. Think about the location’s past and its story, and use those ideas to fuel your plot.

The Dance

The orchestral sounds and gritty keyboards traveled through the creaking house like a phantom, swirling around the candle-lit living room. Marissa twirled with Mitch, but she preferred to watch their shadows on the weathered walls and the ripped rug below.

The turntable sounded a bit too brassy, but Mitch didn’t seem to mind. All he wanted to do was dance, he said. So they were, hands intertwined as they went round and round the room. Mitch had been surprised when she invited him to the Lynne Manor, but he followed blindly as he always did, despite his protests of it being haunted. Such a fool, but a sweet, lovable fool too. She looked into his bright blue eyes, which were so bright people couldn’t stand to make eye-contact with him. Marissa loved them, though. So perfect.

She let the music steal her away, smiling with each step, feeling Mitch’s heat as she pressed closer to him. She also felt him shiver when she placed her ice-cold hands on his face, smoothing his soft brown hair away from his left eye. It had always been that way, yet he never asked why she was always so cold. She supposed the rumors were true. Each generation was less observant than the last.

He smiled back at her finally, the song changing. “You look beautiful tonight,” he complimented.

Marissa glanced down at her white dress. It is beautiful. “Am I not beautiful every night?” She pressed. “Or am I especially beautiful on this night?”

“You are the most beautiful woman on any night, but especially tonight,” Mitch said. “I just don’t understand why you chose such an odd place.”

“It’s just an old house,” Marissa replied. She giggled. “I take that back. You’ve heard the stories: the last family to live here was murdered, and since then no one has stayed. The Williams fled after seeing things in the 1990s, and no one has occupied the place since.” She motioned to the walls. “Vandalism has left this place in ruins. It’s a shame. It was such a beautiful house.”

“I’ve been here before,” Mitch said. “I went with a bunch of friends, ghost hunting. This place is haunted, I saw it happen. Books fall off of the shelves, windows break, and floor boards creak above. But…somehow I feel safe with you. Don’t you believe in ghosts?”

Marissa couldn’t hold that laugh. “If you want me to.”

They danced for hours, the orange glow outside turned to darkness. The record had ended long ago, but they kept going, Marissa never wanted the night to end. But it must. I promised.

Mitch removed his hands from Marissa’s shoulders. “It’s late. I don’t like the look of this place at night.”

“Are you scared?” She teased him. “Afraid that the ghosts are going to come out and get you?”

As if the magic words had been spoken, the sound of shattering glass made Mitch jump. “What was that?” He’s trembling, Marissa noted. My poor man is terrified and I can do nothing.

“We best get out of here, then,” Marissa said. “Before they eat us.” She grabbed his hand and together they stepped toward the foyer, but not before Mitch stopped dead in his tracks. “What is it?”

“The turntable…” The realization spread across his face as he began to sweat. “This house doesn’t have power. How did it work?”

Smart boy. No one had figured that out before.

The chandelier began to shake above them, and the shelves rattled, books flying off in all directions. The turntable began to play again, the needle returning to the start of side “B.” Then the entire house was illuminated as the lights turned on, then flickered off again. Mitch screamed, and Marissa screamed with him.

Marissa was pulled along as Mitch ran for the front door, nearly tripping over the bulge in the hardwood floor. He reached for the handle and pulled it down, but the door wouldn’t budge. She could hear his heart pounding out of control. The lights flickered again, and the great foyer chandelier crashed down from the vaulted ceiling above, shattering into billions of tiny bits. She had never seem Mitch so afraid. She had taken him for a tough guy at first, but she had discovered his unease towards the supernatural when he first entered the house a year ago.

“It will be okay,” she comforted him, trying to make her voice sound as unsure as possible. She liked it when he was scared. “Hopefully the ghosts will realize that we didn’t murder them.”

The ghastly blue light from the next room was the cue for what Marissa had to do next. She turned and screamed, giving it her all as the figures came into the foyer, transparent and bloodied from the murders in 1976: a man, a woman, and a little boy. The man’s body was pierced with base of a candelabra, and the woman’s throat was slit. The boy, however, did not have any wounds. Mitch’s yelling was out of control. He was pounding at the door, hoping that it would budge.

“It will only open when we tell it to,” the woman said, drifting to them.

“Mitch,” Marissa said, tugging at his sleeve. “It’s alright. They only want your soul.”

He looked at her in horror, and that hurt Marissa the most, but she knew it had to be done. Her skin was a radiant light blue just like her family, her right eye hanging from its socket, and her cheeks cut to the bone, and now Mitch was trying to get as far from her as possible.

“You never asked my permission before you began to date my daughter,” the man accused him, stepping forward. “My answer would have been a ‘no’.”

The door opened he ran down the driveway at light speed, never looking back. She felt her mother’s hand on her shoulder. “Such a handsome young man. Such a shame, but perhaps he should know better than to ask a ghost for a girlfriend.”

“It was such a nice dance,” Marissa whispered, turning away. “The best I have ever had.”

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Author: Chase Charaba

Hello there! I'm Chase, an ambitious, aspiring young novelist and YouTuber who hopes to get a novel published one day. I'm also trying to produce the highest quality YouTube videos by constantly learning new ways to film and edit. I've been involved in journalism for 5 years, including 1 year as co-editor of a national award-winning high school newsmagazine and 1 year as the co-editor of an award-winning college newspaper. I write mainly epic/high fantasy, but I also mess around with science fiction, horror, and realistic fiction.

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