31 Nightmares 2018: The 30th

Those of you that were here for last year’s #31Nightmares are in for something special today. Not only do we have another returning guest, but he’s bringing a Part II of his story from last year.

You may have guessed by now I’m talking about author, Bill Friday.

Anyone giving us the puzzled look right now, get familiar:

31Nightmares 2017: The 30th • A Ghost Story (Part I)


A Second Ghost Story

By: Bill Friday

The angle of the sun was wrong.

Every year around this time, he thought it.  To his closest friends, he even said it.  The last person he ever said it to was her.

But she wasn’t here anymore, so there was no one left he cared enough about to say it to.

By the calendar, it was October the 31st.

Nobody looked at calendars anymore.  Life moved at a slower pace than calendars now.  You wore warm clothes when the weather was cold, and less than that when it got warm.  Life was simpler without calendars.  Like life was simpler without cellphones.  Sure, it took time to adjust, as the people died and there weren’t enough left alive to bury all the bodies.  Still, people made the adjustment.  The people who were left adjusted to almost everything.

He adjusted.

He never thought he would miss people.  And by people, he meant all of humanity.  And by all of humanity, he meant his friends.  And by his friends, he meant everyone who died.

You can never have enough friends, he thought, sometimes.  He didn’t always believe that.  Actually, he believed the opposite.  She believed that.  But that kind of thinking got ruined for him a couple of years before friends became obsolete.  A couple of years before the world went the way of friends.

Right before the world died.

Walking didn’t bother him anymore.  He used to drive everywhere.  He never took public transportation; never had Uber on his phone.  The last car he had was a gas guzzler, and he wouldn’t drive that very far for fear it was going to break down on the side of the freeway and cost him more to repair than the Blue Book value was worth.  He lived a lot of his old life in fear of things beyond his control.  Now that everything was beyond his control, he had little left to be afraid of.  This wasn’t a comic book where the dead got back on their feet to live a zombie version of the Keto Diet.  And for some reason, mosquitoes didn’t carry whatever killed everybody from corpse to corpse.  Time and desiccation did what disbanded municipal services could not.  The world was a swift-rotting string of roadside corpses, a lot like abandoned gas guzzlers from a time long ago.  Plants grew food, wild, for his risk-reward eating pleasure.  If he recognized it, he ate it.  If not, well, maybe he’d be another corpse for the roadside.  His call, because there was hardly anyone to be the boss of him anymore.

And none of them he would call friends.

J.

“Why do we keep having

conversations that end

in the word ‘vulva’?”

 

R.

“Why do I keep getting

offers from companies

online that pay me cash

to try their ‘vulva care’

products?”

 

J.

“Gah!  Vulva AGAIN!”

 

B.

“If men can have

beard oil, women can

have vulva cream.”

 

J.

“Stahhhhp with the

V word!”

 

B.

“I think you’re too

sensitive for this subject.”

 

C.

“Well, it is a

sensitive area.”

 

B.

“That’s because J is

sensitive about not

being able to grow a beard.”

 

J.

“And sensitive about

having to read the word

VULVA in every text.”

 

B.

“Let’s talk baseball.”

 

J.

“I’m done with vulvas.”

 

B.“You shouldn’t talk

like that.  Maybe the

vulva of your dreams

is right around the

next corner.”

 

J.

“I’m muting the

conversation now.”

 

C.

“This is a group text,

not Insta.”

 

R.

“Yeah, you’re stuck

with us.”

 

J.

“Yeah, stuck like

the plague.”

 

C.

“What does that even

mean?  ‘Stuck like

the plague?’”

 

M.

“Hey!  I just got these

texts.  When was this

conversation?”

 

B.

“Three days ago.”

 

M.

“Oh, now it’s a discussion

about time travel?”

 

J.

“How do you know this

conversation happened

three days ago?”

 

B.

“Ask any of us.”

 

C.

“Ask any of us what day

this is?”

 

B.

“Or was?”

 

R.

“I just ordered vulva

cream.”

 

J.

“GAHHHH!”

 

B.

“What do we want?

TIME TRAVEL! When do

we want it…? 

It’s IRRELEVANT!”

 

The crash of the intruder was loud enough to separate the lone man him from his dream.

It was dark.  He only slept in the dark now.  Daylight gave him no cover from the random wanderers who wouldn’t care that he didn’t have anyone to mark the hours that he closed his eyes and, in broken recollections, remembered the life that was.

It was dark.  A thin line of orange in his eyes told him where the sun was rising, and where the boot of the unwelcome visitor kicking in his front door made of wooden pallets came from.  Then there was pain in the sound of a crack in his ribs, and a thud in the side of his head.  His breath left his lungs, and he saw the sunrise no more.

 

C.

“You really ought to

get that looked at.”

R.

“I see Urgent Care

enough, thanks.”

C.

“Seriously, people die

from less.”

R.

“Is anybody hungry…

and local?”

B.

“I could eat… local.”

C.

“Anybody else?”

R.

“Pupusas?!?”

B.

“Pupusas again?  You’re

not the boss of me!”

R.

“Somebody should be.”

J.

“That word always makes

me think I’m in somebody

else’s head.”

C.

“In who else’s head

would you hear the

word ‘pupusa’?”

R.

“I would hear the word

‘pupusa’ in Mama’s head.”

J.

“That’s because she

raised you.”

B.

“With her voice in

your head.”

J.

“Now your voice is in

MY head.”

R.

“Are you saying that

I raised you?”

C.

“I have a date.”

M.

“Bring your date to

pupusas!”

J.

“Remember the last time C

brought a date to pupusas?”

B.

“He was weak.  If the

group text could scare

him…”

R.

“We weren’t scary at all.”

J.

“But he WAS scared.”

B.

“And weak.”

C.

“Hey!  That’s my date

you’re talking about!”

J.

“WAS your date.”

R.

“Now we’re your date.”

J.

“All of us?  I’m her

date?  You’re her date?”

M.

“We’ve been one big

date since the beginning.”

J.

“Who decided that?”

R.

“There needs to be an

emoji for GROUP DATE.”

 

There’s no such thing as ghosts, he regularly told himself.  If there were, she would still be speaking to him.  She’d be telling him he had to get up now, whether he liked it or not.  On some days, he liked that hers was the only voice he remembered.  On this day, his body felt as broken as his soul, and he just wanted to lie there with his eyes closed, waiting for the end to come.  But the end was more fickle than he told himself she had ever been.

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“Who’s asking?”

R.

“Don’t be crazy.”

B.

“Yeah, hallucinating a

text message with a

dead girl crazy.”

R.

“Well?”

B.

“Well what, dead girl?

 

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“You were never this persistent when you were alive.”

R.

“Get up!”

B.

“You’re not the boss of me.”

R.

“You can’t let the ghost

find you like this.”

B.

“There’s no such thing

as ghosts.”

R.

“Oh, yeah?  I said

GET UP!”

 

The pain in three broken ribs woke him from concussion sleep.  The sun was up and not helping the throb behind his eyes.  A brief look around told him that the wooden pallets he had made shelter from were gone, along with his gear.  No pack, no food, no booze, and definitely no water.  Whenever it was that he got mule-kicked to sleep, it could’ve been days by now, didn’t matter anymore, it was all gone.

He laid his head back down and wished himself never to wake up again.

There was a ghost.

He knew he was a ghost because, after a lifetime of seeing no need at all for god or the church, he lived behind a church, on the edge of a graveyard – how ironic on so many levels, being a ghost because… graveyard, and an atheist ghost because… church – but they let him stay as the church folk looked right through him like the rest of the dying did.  And they allowed him to eat left-overs from the shiny dumpster next to the boarded-up back door.  He even slept behind it when the wind blew extra cold some nights, and his overflowing morning newspapers couldn’t seem to keep the wind out of his ghost-self bones. 

Like on this night.

Because this is what ghosts do.

But in a world where everyone is dead, do the ghosts even matter?

R.

“He’s on his way. 

Be ready for him. 

He knows my name,

because we talked.”

B.

“Is there anyone you

won’t talk to?

R.

“Very funny.”

B.

“I guess some things

never change.”

R.

“You have.”

B.

“How would you know? 

You’re dead.”

R.

“That was rude.  And wrong. 

The living don’t really

die, you know?”

B.

“Says the dead girl.”

R.

“Just be ready.  I’ll

be around when you need me.”

B.

“Just like always.”

R.

“Just don’t follow anyone

else into the dark.”

 

He opened his eyes.

 

© Copyright 2018 William s. Friday


This has been

Day 30

of

 

31 Nightmares 2018: The 28th

There’s been a tear through our world again. I’m not sure what it means this time. She left a stench on my soul. I feel her near lately now more than ever. Though we’ve binded her for now. I wonder why she’s near. I wonder if she’ll return. We’ll just have to wait and see.
– Daydreams


This has been

Day 28

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 26th

We’ve had to make some changes to our slots due to cancellations and actors passing. With that said, we’ve added some fresh new content to our roster.

Featured here on CardCastles once before,

I’d like to reintroduce you to SunBunz.

I really enjoy her commentary at times. In this particular series SunBunz is playing Little Nightmares, a horror/adventure game and that’s what landed her here.

I’ve yet to play this game myself but I hear it’s right up my alley.

And, for your viewing pleasure here is Part 2:


This has been

Day 26

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 24th

We’ve made room for another today as the horror world experienced more loss.

Although maybe not as well known as some of the previous people mentioned, this is definitely still worth highlighting.

Looking back, I find it so strange & very sad that a good number of people from Poltergeist have passed on. Perhaps there is some truth to that supposed curse.


This has been

Day 24

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 23rd

Land of the Birds

This concept started as a photo taken recently. The addition came to my collection when I messed with the lighting & added some textures to match the mood.

The feel was inspired by a very Hitchcock-like nightmare I had recently about the birds in our area.


This has been

Day 23

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 22nd

One of the lovely humans I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these past few years of working in this industry is the beautiful and kind Chantal Laura Handley.

Chantal specializes in pastel art and horror icons. She sells her gorgeous artwork everywhere from Comic Con to RedBubble, and including her own website.

Here are some of my favorite pieces she’s created:

Chantal also has a countdown to Halloween of her own going on right now! Go check her out!


This has been

Day 22

of

 

Sleepy Sundays: Harvest Time

Harvest Time © 2018 Snapping Turtle Arts | cardcastlesinthesky.com

This time of year usually brings in a lot of autumn design requests. This year has been no different. Although my schedule has changed a little, and I’m still in a healing process, I look forward to doing these designs each year as they’ve become sort of a fun tradition. Keep sending in those greeting card requests as well because I love doing prints for as long as I can until my schedule fills up. 🙂

Have a relaxing Sunday!

31 Nightmares 2018: The 19th

It’s time for another trip down Memory Lane…

The following image was first shared in 2013 as part of my Winter Gallery: Part II posting. What wasn’t shared was the interesting story behind it…

Nostalgia
Nostalgia © 2013 Snapping Turtle Arts & Publishing | cardcastlesinthesky.com

I used to live much further from where I currently reside. I’ve bounced around the state of New Jersey throughout my life. In 1995-1996 my grandmother was going through a very messy divorce and she started hinting that we were going to move. Right around that time I started having this recurring dream about this small patch of woods I had never seen before in my waking life or in my dreams. The dreams intrigued me due to their vivid nature.

What I couldn’t shake during this time was the sense that this place existed somewhere in real life. I don’t know how I knew it—I just did.

About a year later, my grandmother found a condo in a quiet little area and informed me this is where we’d be moving. The day we set out to plant our roots in this new home, I was instantly shocked as we neared the entrance. Just around the corner from where we were about to live was the little patch of woods I had seen in my dreams. The place had a foreboding energy about it. The best way I could describe it was “an otherworldly feel” in my eyes. The moment of realization sent chills right through me. I had strange instances of what some would refer to as psychic vision before, but nothing like this. I was rattled to the core.

We moved there anyway and I would up living in that home until 2012. Fun fact? The place was haunted too. Extremely. Like Poltergeist-level haunted.

This image was taken years after I moved in. The area is still untouched to this day. I edited the colors a bit because this was originally going to be used for a book cover of my own. That book later got scrapped after my laptop died and 8 chapters of the novel were not able to be recovered. Soon after, I gave up writing.


This has been

Day 19

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 18th

There is a very soft spot in my heart for this next installment to our 31 Nightmares.

Over the Garden Wall is a family-friendly fascet of the horror genre, with drips of mystery & dark fantasy sprinkled in. Ever since its premiere, the miniseries has been a treasured fall season tradition in our home.

I was lucky enough a few years ago to get a physical copy on DVD to what I consider to be a storytelling masterpiece.

The visuals and sort of retro feel to the entire thing stir up some sort of nostalgic emotions in me. I’m not sure why, but every time we get ready to sit down and watch it this time of year and that gorgeous piano theme starts up, my eyes start to well up a bit. Maybe it’s the fact that it reminds me of pieces of my own childhood. Maybe it’s the adorable characters. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that my son loves it as much as I do.

Whatever the case is, it is definitely worth seeking out.

Oh yes, and my son wants you all to know this is our favorite song from the series:

(We still sing & dance along to it to this day.)


This has been

Day 18

of