They Still Haunt Me


WP Daily Prompt asks: List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

My 5th grade teacher used to give out prizes if you scored enough high points on our Spelling Tests- you got extra points if you scored better on the final test then the pre-test and you got bonus points if you got the hard words which were always brain benders.

One month I was nailing those bonus points so I had enough to be awarded  three books of my choice at the book fair that was coming up.

The librarian who ran the book fair knew about my love of all books ghostly, so she recommended this book:

After I read  ” Ghosts I Have Been ” I started to write stories where the hero was a girl-in fact, I started to write more girls as the lead characters all across the board. Nowadays that’s no big thing, but  when I won this book back in 1975  women ( and that included my Mom ) had only been allowed to open their own bank accounts  since 1974 so these were less then enlightened times- even in the world of make believe.


When I used to babysit I had a pretty good work ethic going on. I had this routine where I played board games with the kids, let them watch a show on tv before bedtime and I even read to them.

I never raided the fridge, used the phone and shut the tv off after the kids went to bed.

Back then nobody thought twice about hiring 12 year olds to babysit their kids, but it was a different world back then.  The practical side to this schedule was that if I had a routine my little charges didn’t have time to figure out I was maybe only a couple of years older then some of them and it kept them from acting up.


One night I had forgotten to bring my homework and something to read after,  so I pulled one off of the shelf next to the tv  and read it.

I think I noticed it because of the title ( I liked the name ).

That night I read ” Carrie ” by Stephen King and the next day I went out and bought my own copy of Carrie as well as King’s new book called ” Salem’s Lot “.

Funny note- I  bought my first two Stephen King books a week after I got ” Ghosts I Have Been. ” and I’ve wanted to be a writer like them ever since.

My Mom and Dad and his cousin went to see this scary movie that had people freaking out in the theatres.

My parents and my Dad’s cousin  went because they were caught up in the hype and the next morning I asked if people had run out of the theater screaming for a Priest and my Dad looked really disgusted- ” No. ” he told me.

Take my word on this- my Dad and his Cousin probably only went because they wanted to see people freaking out. I’m from that kind of family.

Is it true the girl in the movie peed on the floor?

” Yeah. ” My Dad said.

I laughed. ” Really? She peed on the floor? ”

My Dad tried to save the moment and steer me away from talking about pee. ” Well. Yes. She was telling an astronaut he was going to die in Space. ”

” While she was peeing on the floor? ”

I went into hysterics.

In my defense I was like 11 years old at the time.

” Can I see ” The Exorcist? ” I asked my parents after I pulled myself together.

This is what my Mom said. ” Not if you’re going to just sit there and laugh through the entire thing. How would that look? ”

When my Mom said no like that I knew better then to push the point, so I went and bought the book.

So there you have it, three books that had an impact on me and every fall around Halloween I read them again.

I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming ( wink ).


Inspired by RDP Tuesday’s Prompt: SYMBIOTIC

Abandoned house
Matteo Montaperto2019


The woman with dark hair  frosted with dust

sat across from her friend with his manicured nails and  smelling of after shave that

that reminded her  bit like the water at the bottom of a flower vase clotted with rose

petals and crispy  curled dark green leaves.


She pressed her finger to her lips and looked at the spot between his eyes. After a

second she looked away and waited for him to speak first.


” I’ll only be gone for a little while, ” he promised ” I’ll be back before you know it ”

Despair reached for Hope  and grasped her cool hands in his warm ones. He  told

her ” I’m lost without you. ”


He brought her hands to his face and pushed his cheek  against her small cool fingers.

She said, ” I know . I know.  I’ll be waiting. I promise. ”


He opened his hands and freed her.


Hope leaned back in her chair and waited for  the last rays of the sun setting outside of

their window to carry scour Despair away and she took a little breath, just one sad

little breath because she knew he would be back.


No matter how far away he traveled, no matter how many locked doors he was trapped

behind, Despair always came back to Hope and she was always there waiting for him.


Like she promised.

The Monster

WP Daily Prompt asks What fears have you overcome and how?

Photo A.M. Moscoso

I used to have panic attacks and during these panic attacks I was convinced that I was going to die.

I couldn’t breath, I had tunnel vision and my chest felt so tight I was sure that not only could I not be breathing, I was sure my ribs were going to crack.

Nothing triggered my attacks, I could be having a great day and then all of the sudden my heart would start to race and before I knew it I was looking down a long dark tunnel and then I couldn’t take a breathe.

It was like drowning on dry land.

It was a terrible way to live- it was like Death was sneaking up on me and just giving me a taste of what was in store for me.

After one attack where I ended up in the hospital,  the Doctor showed me my blood work results which showed my blood was getting enough oxygen. He showed me the results of my EKG- not only was my heart not racing during my panic attack, it was actually strong and doing what it should be doing when you are a healthy 25 year old woman  and my blood pressure? You’d think it would be through the roof, but it wasn’t.

Of course the writer in me was curious- if this wasn’t death that was playing with my head, what was? Was it me? Was there a monster with no name living in my head?

After that day I immersed myself in learning about funeral customs, I read book after book about forensics, forensic anthropolgy and of course I gave myself a crash course in what the body went through as it was dying.

Now you would think this would make my condition worse, but it didn’t. I felt like if I knew what Death was, I could separate that  from whatever it was that was causing my anxiety attacks.

It worked. About two years after giving myself a crash course in Death and what it looked like to people in different cultures and what they did to understand it, I never had another panick attack again.

I wouldn’t recommend that someone who is having panic attacks where they think they’re going to die go about things the way I did. I think this process worked for me because I am a writer and the writer in me who wrote about monsters understood that the best way to bring a monster down was to drag it into the sunlight and pound a stake through it’s heart.

So that’s what I did.

Stephen King has said that “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

The truth is sometimes they lose and we win and those victories are the sweetest victories of all.