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Grace/Not Grace

An unexpected uncovering challenge entry in rhyme

By Jenna CallowayPublished about a year ago 3 min read
4
Grace/Not Grace
Photo by Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

The room plunges into darkness as a tempest drives the rain. Grace shivers by the window, the wind pummeling the pane.

She waits for Dennis to light candles. She feels intensely on edge - paralyzed while the curtains shake, and rusted nails turn along the ledge.

Terrified, Grace sees the spikes jump. One carves into her palm! Dennis sees her blood and wills her to be calm.

"You cut yourself by accident," Dennis wraps gauze around her wounds. "Just frightened by shadows, that's it. You'll be all right," he croons.

"No! Your house is...haunted! I saw that nail spin. Moreover, there's been gossip. I don't know where to begin!"

His Victorian home - full of unfounded rumors. Thank you, Norman Bates! Dennis taps his foot while Grace yaks on. This hasn't been the most humorous of their dates.

What an excitable idiot, Dennis thinks but doesn’t say. Instead, he hugs Grace tightly, hoping that tonight finally goes his way.

“Old homes cause speculation. There's no need to be concerned.” Dennis lies and kisses her forehead, her trust he hopes he earned.

“This storm holds you here and housebound, so I’ll help you find your peace. I promise to look after you while we wait for it to cease.”

Grace sighs and accepts his comfort - save where her memory is fresh. For she is absolutely certain, the word "LEAVE!" formed across her flesh.

***

Grace yawns, overwhelmingly tired, and curls up on the chair. She's unaware that inside the darkness, sunken eyes continue to glare.

“It’s very late,” Dennis says, “I can show you to a room.” He slips an arm around her; she senses a foreboding of doom.

Up the stairs and around a passage, Dennis shows her to a door. Following in the shadows, a ghost crawls slowly across the floor.

The guest room is cozy, reminiscent of a grandmotherly decorated space. Dennis lights more candles and ignores the slightly rotten scent that fills the place.

Expressing concern over Grace's shivering, Dennis leaves to make her tea. Grace listens as his steps descend, grateful for a moment to be free.

She chastises herself, tries to seek bravery inside her head. But, despite all his assurances, she rocks with fear on the bed.

The mattress feels lumpy, but Grace doesn’t care. Until out blow the candles, and electricity fills the air.

The room cascades into darkness and Grace is paralyzed with dread. Feeling gooseflesh creep up her skin, she now knows she’s with the dead.

A twisted specter crawls up and places cold hands on her hips. The empty eyes examine her, the pale face moves its’ lips.

“Well, I'm sorry ‘bout your hand, luv, and the quantity you bled. I just was wantin’ to warn ya - your tea’ll be poisoned. I know 'cause that’s my butchered corpse inside the bed.”

Grace trembles, feeling the mattress for a seam. Ripping away sheets and stitching, the mummified body makes her scream.

But a phantasmal hand muffles it, describing how impatient they have been. They want revenge on Dennis. It’s their turn to be mean.

Grace sobs, "I'm too weak to fight, I find it difficult to move." The ghost says, "No problem, luv. Here's my idea. I think you will approve."

Grace agrees and moves her soul aside, watching through an ethereal door. Her body, now much stronger, slips off the bed and her feet pound along the floor.

***

Dennis jumps at the heavy footfalls. He drops his tray of tea. Not-Grace grins widely, and whispers, "Luv, you should flee!"

"Grace...darling..., what are you playing at?" Dennis reaches for her hand. Not-Grace allows it, giggling maniacally, and draws a knee up as planned.

Dennis groans, then drops. He makes a whining plea. Not-Grace picks up a shard of the broken teacup. It's her turn for a cutting spree.

Heart racing, Dennis staggers to his feet and tears around his darkened abode. But Not-Grace happily chases and relishes slashing the toad.

***

"Looks like a clear cut case of self-defense," the officers later tell Grace. "With poison and the mummified body, much evidence exists in this place.

From a corner, the ghost debates moving on- partially content with their gain. But, there's far more enjoyment watching Dennis' spirit writhe as he's tortured in the otherworldly plain.

Humor
4

About the Creator

Jenna Calloway

An insatiably curious and ordinary human who enjoys a good rabbit hole and writing.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (3)

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  • Rosie Ford about a year ago

    That was a hell of an ending and your prose is beautiful! Great work!

  • Heather Zieffle about a year ago

    I liked the turn of events!

  • Lana V Lynxabout a year ago

    This is an interesting form, I like it.

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