Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2015

The mercury is falling, and with it deadbolts drop all across the city, doors swinging shut as frost crawls across concrete. They aren’t closed solely against the cold, a bulwark between us and the creeping chill. Something is different this year. Something stalks the streets in the midnight hour. A few have claimed to see a man in white moving from house to house, apartment to apartment, stooping here and there to trail his red right hand across a sill. Others say they’ve beheld a woman clothed in garments darker than night who simply breathes on late-night theatergoers, on drunkards, on the homeless as they pass, her eyes the color of tarnished silver. Still more whisper of secret experiments gone awry, odd lights in the sky, and a strange sheen no one can quite describe that tints the water sluicing from the city’s faucets. The way things are going, we might not have time to sift the truth from the rumors, the innuendos, the flat-out lies. Airwaves are abuzz with news of a new contagion, news anchors discuss duct tape and plastic sheeting, and online message boards recount crippling fevers, livid pustules, violent seizures—or they were. No one’s posting now. The television is showing cutlery and home exercise equipment. And the radio slides from one pop single to the next.

Is that a tickle you feel in the back of your throat?

Welcome to Advent Ghosts 2015, ISLF’s seventh annual shared storytelling event. Every year, friends of this blog gather to recognize an old Advent tradition. Like M.R. James, Charles Dickens, and countless families around countless hearths down countless years, we share creepy tales with one another in the days before Christmas. But rather than go the traditional route with long stories told on Christmas Eve, we post 100-word drabbles on the weekend prior to the holiday. Everyone is invited, and the details of how to join in are as follows:
1) Email me at ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com if you’d like to participate.
2) Pen a story that’s creepy or scary or somehow makes your spine want to detach itself from your neck. Just make sure it’s exactly 100-words long—no more, no less.
3) Post the story to your blog on Saturday, December 19 and email the link to me. Hosting on ISLF is available for those without blogs or anyone who wants to write under a pseudonym.
4) Though I’ll never censor someone else’s work, I reserve the right to place a content warning on more extreme tales. Just so you know.
Despite the title, you don’t have to include any ghostly content in your story. Write a mystery. Write a bizarre domestic drama. Write about the farthest reaches of space. Write something so abnormal, accursed, and eldritch that its indescribably foetid loathsomeness would make Lovecraft himself shake in his boots. Just write. Or better yet, start by checking out last year’s event to get an idea of what others have contributed in the past. Who knows what lies out beyond the quarantine’s cordon ...

(Picture: CC 2009 by Loïc Dupasquier)


Phil W said...

Heh. I thought it was tomorrow. It's good I got it done early.

Loren Eaton said...

I'm glad I have an extra day! I've got one pretty much done, but I'd like to pen a second.