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The Ghost

by ayushinav


Ravish ended his narration, and the class teacher followed by the whole class broke into applause. He had spoken on how one Sunday, while he was playing cricket in the gully, a shot from him broke the glass window of his house and scared him so bad that he did not go inside till 9 at night, and he almost froze, seeing his mother waiting for him. “It was like breathing bricks,” he had said about his dreadful encounter.

It was followed by Mira’s turn. The teacher called her name, and she walked to the front row of the class. She felt her legs shaking as she turned to face the entire class. She wasn’t really nervous, she was a confident chatty-patty, but when it came to narrating her most dreadful experience, her mouth dried up. She took a deep breath, before finally speaking, “I have written on ‘The scariest experience of my life’.”

She took a glance at the entire class and began reading, “It happened a year ago. It was December 13, 2018. I had just turned 11. I was especially excited about that day because I remember my dad had promised me that after my 11th birthday I would be allowed to go out on my own. I was really happy, and that day I invited all my friends on my own. It was so good to go out like that, no limits, no nagging, and I think I almost danced on my ways to the houses; I felt I was flying in the open skies.

“It was 6 in the evening when birthday celebrations began. I cut my cake, and everyone sang me the birthday song. I blew out the candles and everyone clapped. My uncle had gifted me a gun, he had told me that it would scare any ghost who would frighten me, and my dad laughed. I knew it was a toy gun, but I did not correct the adults, one should perhaps let them enjoy such moments,” Mira did not turn her head, but she felt her class teacher had her eyebrows raised at the moment.

“After all the celebrations, everyone went back to their homes. I saw dad had a mood off, his face was filled with so much anger as though someone had let a ghost inside, I felt that I should better let it that way, for I wanted the day that had gone so well to end well. After some time, mom took me to my room and bade my goodnight. But I wasn’t sleepy at all, I was excited and so after she went to her room, I replayed all the day’s events in my mind. My mom wishing me happy birthday as soon as I woke up, daddy hugging me and lifting me up when I went to him, my first day out on my own, the birthday celebration, and… CRASH! I was lost deep in my reverie when suddenly I heard a noise.

I heard something had fallen, and then I heard my mom shriek. It was not a shriek that you would hear every day. It was a shriek that came out only if you saw a terrifying ghost. I again heard her shriek. I was scared. I got up from my bed and found the gun in the lot of presents beside the bed. I held my gun tighter, a toy gun was better than no gun. Moreover, I knew it was a toy gun, the ghost did not. Equipped with my armament, I crouched in the bed and pointed it towards the door.

As soon as I got into my bed, I heard dad shouting, he was angry and seemed to be fighting somebody. I knew instantly it was a ghost. Somebody had definitely let in a ghost and it was for that reason that he was suddenly angry in the evening, I told myself. My dad, who I knew loved my mom, was fighting the ghost to protect her. I heard a loud bang and knew the fight had intensified. I heard mom shout again, she seemed to be crying, maybe, the ghost had scared her too much. My family was fighting a ghost in the next room, and here I was scared, crouched in my bed, and gun pointing towards the door. I felt so miserable.

It was then that I realised that my hands had gone really sweaty, in fact, my whole body was sweating. My hands were shaking like a ringing telephone, and I wanted to shout, but my throat had gotten so tight that I could not utter a word. I just stared nervously at the door,” Mira paused for a second for her throat got tight again while reading her piece out. She looked at Hima sitting on the first bench; she was looking intently at her. In fact, a hush had fallen over the whole class that was captivated by her story, waiting for what would follow.

She continued her reading, “It was at that moment that I decided to behave myself and act like a grown-up and face the ghost myself. I got up from my bed, and before I could take a step towards the door, I heard my dad. He sounded angry, his foul mood from that night flashed in my mind, and I decided to stay there. I told myself that he must have gotten very angry at the ghost, but I knew that it was his angry face that scared me more, and probably he would have not wanted me there, while he was fighting off the ghost.

Before I could think of anything else, I heard mom shout again, her sobs were audible this time, but they were muffled, maybe the ghost had closed her mouth with his hand. I stood motionless there, totally blank, as though my slightest movement would make the ghost notice me.

Another shriek and shiver ran down my spine. I felt like crying. I felt trapped as my eyes were glued to the door. I felt some drops of sweat roll down my forehead, and then before I could do anything, another drop, of tears, rolled down my cheeks. My throat tightened more as I heard dad shout again, and then I heard someone open their door and slam it close. I thought the ghost had gone, and automatically, I began to cry.”

Mira paused. Her lungs felt heavy and she took a deep breath again before continuing, “What followed was a silence, and it was so silent that I wanted to shout out loud, cry out loud. I looked at the door. It was the door that I so wanted to open and run out of. I put a step forward, and another, and then the door opened, slightly and gently, it opened out wide.

“I expected it to be the ghost. It wasn’t, but the silhouette of my mom in the dark, I ran towards her, and hugged her tight, and cried out loud. She took me by my hand and took me to my bed. She asked me to shush down. I turned on the lamp on the side of my bed, and I saw her face. A deep blue scar was visible on her cheeks, and trails of tears were visible on her cheek. Another scar on her neck broke me down, and I began to cry uncontrollably. She took me in her arms, and even though her sobs, she tried to calm me down, all the while saying, ‘Calm down, dear, calm down, shhh. Mamma’s here now.’ She patted my head and rubbed my back.

After I felt a bit comforted, I asked her, ‘How did you get that scar, mom? Mom, where is that ghost? Has he gone? Did daddy shoo him away?’ She paused, and I could hear her sobs, and her heart beating so fast that it scared me. I pulled myself away and asked her again. I was puzzled over what was taking her so long to answer me. She looked at me, and said, ‘Yeah baby, the ghost has gone. Now come here’, and she held out her hands. I could no longer look at that face and hugged her tight and fell asleep, and for me, the dreadful night came to an end.”


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Sun May 17, 2020 10:21 am
sulagna wrote a review...



hi Ayushinav
I think ur story was great !
The beginning of the story was amazing. I loved the way u started narrating the story from a classroom. this is really a unique way of starting. There was only one mistake which i found was..."mom took me to my room and bade my goodnight. ". I think that it should be like this...
Mom took me to my room and bade me a goodnight"
Another mistake i think was that in some places ur sentences were too long.

So this is it .
Otherwise I thing your story had everything a reader wants while reading.
Best of luck for ur next writing !
From Sulagna




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Wed May 13, 2020 6:44 pm
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Aranya wrote a review...



Hello Ayushinav


I read your story and here's my review.

Which movie does the story remind me of? The Babadook (2014). Your story consists of elements very similar to Jungian Shadow Archetype. A Shadow is a collective of our personality traits that we don't acknowledge ourselves to be associated with. The plot plays similar to this idea by having a character being willfully blind to the situation of domestic violence. The manifestation of ghostly presence being the shadow archetype.

Good thing, you never revealed even through plot twists or other devices whether it was truly a ghost or not.

"I heard a loud bang"

Think of a better word than bang. A bang often provides a mental image of a gunshot.

"I got up from my bed, and before I could take a step towards the door, I heard my dad. He sounded angry, his foul mood from that night flashed in my mind, and I decided to stay there. I told myself that he must have gotten very angry at the ghost, but I knew that it was his angry face that scared me more, and probably he would have not wanted me there, while he was fighting off the ghost."

I like how subtly you have placed the fact that she was often scared of her dad and probably his violent conduct, and was thereby afraid of her dad at that instance more than the ghost itself. It seems to me, kind of a hint to a backdrop laced with some violent incidents that got normalized in her family. Here, you can work a little bit more, many readers would have missed it. But, it's totally up to you. And do put this in a comment if I interpreted it correctly.

"I stood motionless there, totally blank, as though my slightest movement would make the ghost notice me."

Good justification for her inactivity!

"Another shriek and shiver ran down my spine. I felt like crying. I felt trapped as my eyes were glued to the door. I felt some drops of sweat roll down my forehead, and then before I could do anything, another drop, of tears, rolled down my cheeks. My throat tightened more as I heard dad shout again, and then I heard someone open their door and slam it close. I thought the ghost had gone, and automatically, I began to cry."

This paragraph is a potpourri of emotions. I personally find it a bit unsettling. Shriek and shiver simultaneously create an imagery of a seizure. If you intended it to be episodal or momentary, a little bit of work there can do the service. But if you really wish to have a full-fledged seizure, make sure the tension in the plot around the seizure justifies it. Silent tears rolling won't be enough. A seizure demands a full focus, for eg. after her sharp shriek and continuous shivering, the mother got to her, to pick her up from the floor, Or before she knew anything she was drenched in her own sweat. Words like a drop of tear indicate subtle emotions and not very extreme ones. You can choose either set of emotions, or somewhere in between the spectrum and stick to it for the whole paragraph.

"automatically, I began to cry."

Wasn't she already doing that? If she started doing it differently, what was different? Suggestions: I started sobbing with my eyes closed and my gun close to my chest.
And automatically implies we as readers, ought to understand her obvious reason for crying. But I personally couldn't, I am guessing she is relieved and crying helps her to vent out, the ghost is gone. It's optional if you wish to work on the two points I talked about here in this para. Maybe you intentionally wanted to keep it this way, since the narrator is a kid, and you wanted her to talk kid-like.

"I wanted to shout out loud, cry out loud"

Good work, making sure her narration is kid-like.

"A deep blue scar was visible on her cheeks"

Did the scar stretch from one cheek to another?

"even though her sobs"

I guess you meant even though I could hear her sob.

"Has he gone?" -> Is he gone?

Overall, I loved the story, the tension it began with. You played with devices like using tertiary character's emotions to express the tension in the story.

"but she felt her class teacher had her eyebrows raised at the moment."

"She looked at Hima sitting on the first bench; she was looking intently at her."

Good work there, really something new and intuitive to me. The story does entail some scope of improvement. There is a balancing act very subtly placed inside the story where, as a writer, you have to make sure the narration lives up to its standards and at the same time you have to consider the fact that it is being narrated by a kid. Good that you took up this job, it's a really a difficult one, I personally find it very challenging :). A little bit of work here and there will make it perfect. Make characters and situations more vibrant (not joyful but having depth), you can do this with more details and imageries and other literary devices. The suspense played out perfect, it was smooth for me, flowed nicely with the tension of the plot.

Good job, and it's always good to read your work, ayushinav! Totally worth my first read on yws after a really long time.

PS: feel free to ask anything.




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Wed May 13, 2020 6:43 pm
Aranya says...






ayushinav says...


Thanks, @Aranya for taking out time to read and review this.
First of all your relation to the shadow was really impressive. Though I was reading the book "Owning your own shadow", I myself had not related to it initially. Secondly, I intended to put violence in the backdrop, glad that you noticed it. Then you guessed it right that I wanted to create an effect that her emotions broke loose when she felt the ghost had left, still I feel it didn't come out well as I intended it to be from the perspective of a reader. At other places, you pointed it out right the nuances that I should work on.
Thanks for your appreciation and the review.



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Wed May 13, 2020 12:28 pm
Andrewknorpp wrote a review...



It’s good, I like the way you really hammer home that it’s a ghost the entire story and we have to figure out she is in denial about her father.
With the quotation marks you do have to use a new one at the beginning of each paragraph, but not the end. If you use it at the end it’s like the characters has stopped talking. And f you don’t use then at the beginning the audience may forget that it’s someone talking. I don’t know the name of this rule, but I definitely know it’s a rule.
“ “She took a glance at the entire class and began reading, “It happened-I assume that first quotation-mark was unintentional?
But besides that I like it, i like how the narrator has a reason to be a narrator and how we have to figure out that ‘that ain’t no ghost.’




ayushinav says...


Yeah, I tried to follow that rule. And yeah, that one quotation mark you mentioned was unintentional. Have edited it now.
Thanks @Andreknorpp for reading, and your appreciation.



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Tue May 12, 2020 3:06 pm
JesseWrites wrote a review...



Hey! Jesse here to review.

GENERAL OPINION-

This is a short story that has family, some suspense, and a ghost. Interesting, but I'd prefer a bit more. The story was rushed into a couple paragraphs, which began with a quotation, but should've been only on the first and end line.

GRAMMAR AND SPELLING-

Mira paused for a second for her throat got tight again while reading her piece out.


A little jumbled up.

Maybe use to get instead.

I felt some drops of sweat roll down my forehead, and then before I could do anything, another drop, of tears, rolled down my cheeks.


Oh, too many commas.

Especially here, another drop, of tears, rolled down my cheeks.

Remove them.

PUNCTUATION-

I see none, but the commas above count. ^

CHARACTERS-

I see that the main is a young girl. I don't know much about that, so can't say a lot there.

Also, ghosts are my favorite type of creepy thing. I like the way you personalized it to fit this piece.

OTHER-

I could no longer look at that face and hugged her tight and fell asleep, and for me, the dreadful night came to an end.


Love that ending. Really dark with that dreadful part.

Farewell for now,
Jesse.





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