Ghost Walk – Part I

Her pace changed for no one, not a dog or a car, for rain or heat, or for a pile of leaves. Shrouded in dark, flowing fabric, her heavy boots could have slowed her down, yet she skimmed the surface, as if pulled by a string. She walked the circle of our neighborhood to the pulse of an internal metronome. I drove past her on my way to work and again on my way home. It didn’t matter if I were early or late. I saw her so often, I didn’t see her anymore.

And I didn’t see her when I backed out of my driveway. The rain pattered and fogged my windows. I backed up slowly, then Bam. In my rearview mirror, I saw a blur, swirling like a top. At first, I didn’t realize it was her. She had regained her step like she was making up for lost time. I stumbled out of my door, falling on my knee. When I met the sidewalk, she turned down a hill out of my sight. Following at a steady jog, I dropped the hill and she was nowhere. She had vanished.

I reversed course to home. My husband greeted me in our kitchen.

“Karen, what’s the matter? You look beaten up.” Ivan turned away from his Twitter feed.

“I hit her,” I cried. “I didn’t see her. She came out of nowhere. She…”

“Who?” He grabbed my shoulders.

“Her. The walking woman. God, I don’t even know her name,” I peeled off my jacket.

Ivan looked at me blankly. “She’s a strange one.”

“You know her?”

“Well, no. It’s strange what she does. The walking. It’s obviously some kind of therapy,” Ivan grabbed his phone.

“I hope she’s okay.”

“I’m sure she is. She wouldn’t be able to disappear if she were hurt ” he said, stonefaced.

I scowled at him, finding his logic lacking. I imagined the woman in black limping like a wounded rabbit into a bush, not wanting her injury to be discovered.

“And I suppose you wouldn’t look for her anyway.”

He sighed. “You worry too much.”

“No, Ivan. I need to find her. I feel horrible.”

“Why don’t you ask her over for coffee?” he sat on the couch, flipping through channels.

The next time I saw her, I detected no limp. I drove alongside her in my car. She waved me off and told me to get lost. The second time it happened, she shrieked, “Leave me alone, lady.”

She left me feeling freakish, which probably smoothed my transition to stalking her. Being a stalker in your own neighborhood was hazardous to your lifestyle, especially if you were a beginner, like me. My clumsiness was rampant, crunching at leaves and running into hanging branches. The task was further complicated by the hundreds of houses, intersecting streets, and friendly neighbors. So potentially, I could lose her.

“Karen. Look, I’ve got some tomatoes.” It was Sharon, calling from the opposite side of the street, my cover obviously blown.

“Do you know her?” I asked, the tomatoes a forgotten subject.

“Who?” Sharon squinted her eyes into the sunlight. “Dara? Yeah, not the most friendly, but she likes her walking.” She chewed on her toothpick.

To be continued…

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44 thoughts on “Ghost Walk – Part I

  1. Honestly Amy, I search high and low for good unique fiction hereabouts, and from your short bursts, it seemed that you have the skill… and boy do you ever. The sudden turn of hitting that lady to turning into a stalker is masterfully done, and I can’t wait for more. As opposed to Guap, though, that first paragraph didn’t do it for me until the last sentence; something about the second and third sentences took me out of this, as though you were trying too hard to describe her. But after that (and including that last sentence), this felt utterly effortless, as good writing should be. That second paragraph alone, and the way you don’t waste any words… this is really excellent writing.

    Literally can’t wait to see how this continues. Thank you thank you for getting me excited about writing.

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    1. Oh wow, Trent!! Thank you for your wonderful comments. Thank you for this!! As for the intro, I could see why you might think that and I appreciate the honest feedback. This was a 2400 word story count to 1500…for a contest I had no chance of winning, but…I was happy with my story in the end and it got me in gear. Thank you so much. It means the world to me to hear such positive words. I appreciate your honesty. I hope the ending doesn’t disappoint. I have more coming your way! Thanks again.

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      1. Look dude, they aren’t kind words. They’re the truth. I reserve my praise and use it very very very sparingly for fiction. But this is great, and so deserves to be labelled that way.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think that could be a bigger part of this story. I like that part, too. As it is, this story is pretty short.That would be a great part to extend. Thanks for the feedback.

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  2. couple of things:

    1. “I saw her so often, I didn’t see her anymore.” my favorite sentence.

    B. metronome – seems too rigid. maybe just “beat” or “rhythm.” something with more feel to it.

    III. is the rest already written? why not just post the whole thing at once? it’s not too long, so it’s not like we can’t spend the time to read it all.

    4. Ivan looked at Karen blankly. – this is written first person, so it should say “Ivan looked at me blankly.”

    E. Why does Sharon offer some tomatoes?

    about question III – as you know, i’ve posted stories many times, and when they’ve gotten long, i too broke them up for fear of readers not having the patience or time to read it all. but then i got comments asking me to keep it all in one post and not make them have to come back again. that was even for stories reaching 5,000 words. don’t be afraid that it’s too long and we won’t read it all. what you’ve posted is only about a 2-page Word doc. it doesn’t need to be broken up – not for length – but perhaps you have another reason, so i’ll just shut up now.

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    1. Rich, from now on you’re reading all my stories. Thanks for all your comments and feedback. I decided to go ahead and post the rest. Typically, I don’t like my posts to be too long for fear no one will read them. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it. In this case, breaking it up isn’t probably necessary and breaks up the reading too much. So, I took your advice. I hope you can read the next part.

      I’ve run to a metronome before…actually. Ha. It was a fast pace! Thanks for all your feedback. I appreciate it!

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      1. and i’m always happy to read and give feedback for anything. i’m just not good at noticing, so you have to give me a nudge or a wink, and i’ll get right on it.

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    2. Just read it my friend. There is no need for any grammatical assistance, though being such an expert I guess you couldn’t help yourself? Actually, after reading your comment I feel that it is you that needs help with your writing. Ah well never mind.

      Another thing, do not bother replying to me here, if you need to vent use another source. You know, opinions are useful sometimes but your assessment of Amy’s story is not very nice, remember, not everyone in the blogosphere is as perfect as you think you are.

      Andro

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      1. Andro, oh I appreciate you defending me, but there’s no need. Rich is a dear friend and is actually being a big help. His intentions are good. So, no worries about him. I don’t mind the critique at all. It will only help me a better writer.

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      2. mr. dawster,

        i must admit, i admire your courage. the way you stood up to me after i so callously told her which sentence was my favorite. Yeah, that was rude of me. and then, when i pointed out that she had accidentally drifted from first to third person? i can see now how i was really going too far, and you had every right to put me in my place. i deserved it, no doubt. and then – as if i had not already been rude enough – i had the audacity to suggest she post the whole story because i didn’t want to wait. OMG what a selfish oaf i must seem like, and i apologize heartily.

        since you brought it up, i need your help figuring out a few things that confuse me:

        1. right after you kind of unleashed (and of course, deservedly so) on me, you told me not to bother replying here, to use another source. now, i know you’re a stand-up kind of guy. you’d never throw rocks and run. i mean, you’re a man. a man’s man, right? that’s why you chose the name “andro.” but i know that a “man’s man” would always be ready and willing to hear an answer to what he has said. so it’s confusing that you’d think it was okay for you to vent at me, but i’m not allowed to answer you. isnt’ that kind of hypocritcal?

        also, i tried another source. your blog. but it’s private. so i requested permission. i’m sure you’ll grant it, right? because i know that you can take it as well as give it out. that’s fair, and fair is fair. we both know that. everyone does. so i thank you in advance for your permission.

        last, you said that you feel that i’m really the one who could use some help with writing. so, i wanted to thank you for going to my blog and reading about 18 more things i had written. i was wondering what drove up the views yesterday, and i saw it was all during one hour, and it was right about the same time you left this venting – i mean comment here.

        so again, thanks very much for your guidance and for putting me in my place. i can’t find enough words to express just how wrong i was. and i can’t find enough thanks to you for straightening me out.

        happy friday

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  3. Obviously criticism is a one way street…

    I have never been into your Space and quite frankly I never will, you Sir are full of self importance, annoying gesticulation and show a ridiculously overwhelming pomposity, of which is rife in your breakdown of Amy’s story.

    I see a man that enjoys belittling the fine efforts of another writer, someone that has proudly shown an ability to write, after all one isn’t adding perfected scripts for the scrutiny of faultless genius’ such as you believe yourself to be, this is a blog not a draft to a publisher, it does not have to be grammatically perfect.

    You can nitpick as much as you wish Sir but it will not change my view, I have seen all I need to right here on this page and as for granting access to my blog you are not welcome. I do not like your high and mighty attitude towards others, your sarcasm, or you Sir and that is my final word on this subject.

    Andro

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