Sunday, December 4, 2022

Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2022

And then all of the lights simply went on.

It started with the lamp by your bed, its energy-efficient LED flashing on unprompted at 3 a.m. It remained on even as you toggled its switch and flipped the breaker. You eventually slipped a sock over your hand to insulate it and gingerly pried the bulb from its socket — and still it continued to burn.

Then your bedroom's overheads flared on. And the lights in the bathroom. The hall flooded with brilliance, and the darkness was as light in your living room and kitchen and main doorway.

Rushing to the window, you watched the neighborhood flare like a monochrome nebula, your neighbors' homes light like small suns, the condo across the street flare constellation bright.

It's the talk of every 24-hour cable-news channel despite the early hour, and social media is in a full frenzy, status updates and tweets and shakily filmed shorts increasingly dire and panicked. You hear the sounds of argument somewhere across the street, voices raised near to the pitch of shouting in the unnaturally bright, not-so-silent night.

Even without hearing the words, you know what the argument's about. When every dark corner disappears, where can secrets hide — and what stories will come to light?

* * *

Dear writerly friends, welcome to Advent Ghosts 2022, the thirteenth annual shared storytelling event at ISLF. Thirteen may not be an auspicious number in genre fiction, but it represents something of an enduring tradition for this humble little blog. Over the years, a group of us have celebrated that peculiarly British tradition of telling spooky stories right before Christmas. Smithsonian Magazine has an informative article about the practice, and you can learn more yourself by reading selections such as Elizabeth Gaskell's "Old Nurse's Story," Algernon Blackwood's "The Kit-Bag," or E.F. Benson's "Between the Lights." To get more of an idea of what we do here, though, check out Neil Gaiman’s "Nicholas Was ..." This little story clocks in at exactly 100 words — which is exactly what our tales do as well. We welcome anyone, and the rules are simple:
1) Email me at ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com.
2) Pen a scary story that’s exactly 100-words long — no more, no less.
3) Post the story to your blog on Saturday, December 17, and email the link to me. Hosting on ISLF is available for those without blogs or anyone who wants to write under a pseudonym. (Don't worry, you’ll retain copyright!)
4) While you should feel free to write whatever you want to, know that I reserve the right to put a content warning on any story that I think needs it.
If you’re new to the group and would like to see some examples, give last year’s stories a gander.


Ben Mann said...

Thanks for hosting this again, Loren. I'm looking forward to a great read as always!

strugglingwriter said...

I look forward to reading everyone's stuff also! Writing this is always a highlight of my December.

Paul (