I have a treat for you this Thoughty Thursday: a fabulous story from one of my fave online peeps.
For those of you who don’t know Catie Rhodes, she’s one of my favorite bloggers. Imagine how excited I was when I found out one of her spooky tales made it into an anthology! (Squeeeee!!!!)
I’m pretty easy to scare and I read a lot of Catie’s stuff with one hand over my eyes, peeking through my fingers. “Haste” was no exception.
From the first paragraph she had my heart pounding, and I got up twice — once to check that the front door was locked and once to double-check the windows.
I still finished the story, because it was that good.
When I asked Catie what prompted her to write, “HASTE,” she said:
HASTE is about rage and consequences.
I can’t count how many times I’ve wished I could turn back the clock because I let my temper get the best of me. Usually, I wish I could take back something I’ve said. I can be rather sharp-tongued. (This is why internet socializing suits me so well. I have time to think about everything I’m saying before I hit send.)
The main character of HASTE commits a double murder in a fit of rage. As events unfold, she has plenty of time to think about the old saying
Act in haste. Repent at leisure.
Every action has consequence. The legal system metes out a great deal of consequence. However, I also believe in the concept of karma delivering consequences.
It is possible to wiggle out of the legal system’s clutches. But it is impossible to cheat karma when she comes to collect. The main character of HASTE learns this the hard way.
When I asked Catie to include me in her book tour, she asked what I wanted for the post.
A scary story, of course! Here is a true one, for all of us, in honor of Halloween…
[Welcome to Catie, the Siren of Spooky...]
I grew up in a new house. It was a ranch style house, the style typical of the late 70s and early 80s. One on end of the house was a garage with an upstairs rec room, a kitchen, and a large living room. On the other end was a long hallway that led to three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
My daddy and my Uncle Jerry built this house with their own hands. It’s dated now, but it has the kind of craftsmanship you don’t see in a spec house. My daddy built these beautiful pecan stained cabinets. You can see the wood grain running through them. It’s nothing like the junk you see at Lowes or Home Depot.
But hearing me wax nostalgic about the house my daddy built is not why y’all are here, is it? As I recall, ya’ll got out of bed and dragged over here to hear me tell a scary story…that happened to me.
So we were talking about the house where I grew up. You’d think a new house wouldn’t be haunted. But something other than living, breathing people resides in that house. It has scared the holy guacamole out of me more times than I can count.
Stuff I experienced growing up:
- I often had issues with what might be called sleep paralysis. I’d wake to a shadow standing over my bed. If I tried to get up, I’d be pushed back down. My bed would start to shake, and I would feel hands slapping at me.
- I heard voices. It was always a low murmur, right under the volume where I could understand the words. However, I could make out several different men’s voices and sometimes a woman’s voice.
- There is always a menacing presence in that house. It seems to live on the end where the bedrooms are. If I have my back to the hallway that leads to the bedrooms, my skin crawls. I have to keep checking behind me to see if something is hovering there, watching me.
The seven wooded acres on which the house sits has seen a lot over the years.
When my daddy was clearing the land, he found two silver spurs. Both spurs had a serial number on them. One of my parents did some research and learned the spurs were issued to a Confederate soldier during the Civil War.
One spur was found on one end of the property. The other spur was all the way on the other end. My daddy speculates that the spur’s owner was shot and maybe dragged by his scared horse. I have often wondered if this soldier is not still hanging around.
Maybe he and some other soldiers spent the night camping on the property. Maybe they were surprised by highwaymen or Union soldiers. Maybe some sort of deal went wrong.
Anything is possible. Here’s what I know. Whatever haunts my parents’ house is malevolent. It likes to scare people.
After I was grown up and had not lived in my parents’ house for several years, Mom asked me to check on things while she and Daddy took a vacation. I stopped by on my way home from work. I’d feed the cat, make sure nothing had been tampered with, and take a potty break.
It—the ghost or whatever it is—waited until the last evening before my folks came home to scare me. My mother had asked me not to use the hall bathroom—it had a leak or something—but to use the one in the master bedroom instead.
I was leaving the bathroom and had to go through my parents’ bedroom to get back to the hallway. As I walked through my parents’ bedroom, my flight or fight instinct kicked in. Even though I could see nothing, I knew to run as fast as I could.
I pounded down the carpeted hallway and could actually hear footsteps swishing against the carpet behind me. I raced through the living room and exited the house through the dining room. Once I slammed the door behind me, I turned to look at it. I fully expected to see the doorknob turn, just to let me know it almost had me.
That didn’t happen. But I had the sense of something laughing at me. That presence had enjoyed what it had done, how it made me feel.
I had left lights on inside the house, but I couldn’t’ make myself go back inside to turn them off. Too scared. I went to the house I shared with my husband and had him come back with me. It seemed foolish once we got in there and started turning off lights. But it doesn’t feel foolish as I remember it and type this post.
That’s all I’ve got. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jenny for reading Tales From the Mist and for allowing me to take over her blog for the day. I hope some of you decide to check out the anthology. It contains some really good stories by some great authors.
Summary of Catie’s story:
“Haste” by Catie Rhodes
A betrayed wife who murders her cheating husband and his lover in a fit of rage becomes the victim of her own impulsiveness.
I’ve listed the outlets below…the e-copy is a steal at $4.99! (I hope you buy it!!)
Do you love scary stories and/or movies? Are you able to watch alone or do you need someone to hold your hand? Who is your favorite “scary author?” Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!
Now let’s shake those cowbells in the comments for Catie!!
Catie Rhodes is that kid your mother warned you about. She cusses, doesn’t wash her hands after petting the dog, and she tells lies. But in Catie’s family of storytellers, a lie is simply a story you didn’t get people to believe. Traveling through her native land of Texas has given her enough weird, spooky, and funny to write about for this lifetime and the next ten to come. You can find out more about Catie at her website, http://catierhodes.com/ and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.