A Haunting Story

I am reading a collection of ghost stories by Henry James.

So far everyone has dropped dead after being confronted by ghosts.

Good thing that doesn’t happen in real life

or

I would have died

a long time ago.

Seriously though.

My favorite story in this collection is called ” The Last Of Valerii

This story  is about a woman named Martha  who marries a Count and moves to Italy where she takes up  excavating the grounds of her new home- a somewhat neglected Villa  for antiquities.

After a short spell, Martha excavators disinter   a statue of Juno that enchants her husband.

In one my favorite and the most horrifying part of the story, Martha’s husband takes the statues severed hand ( though I imagined the statue visited him and gave it to him herself- which is creepy visual because what did that involve?  ) from the excavation sight.

At the end of the story you are lead to believe that the spell is finally broken but the Count keeps the hand- and treasures it and proudly shows it to the curious.

There are no ghosts in this story exactly, but the Count is haunted so completely that you would think an entire cemetery full of ghost  are on his heels.

I’m sure everyone who reads this story will have their own takeaway of the ending- but that is what makes a story about ghosts truly haunting.

 

 

Words Matter

I used to go to cool places

like

museums and to the symphony and  book signings

I used to drive miles and miles

for gelato or fun

or just because.

 

Just because-

are the sweetest words

in the world.

 

It’s been ages

since I’ve tasted them

on my tongue.

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Sitting Here

Last week I was on the train to work

and a man, a woman my age and a young woman sat next to me.

They were chit chatting about work- which I believe involved insurance- so I tuned them out and dove into my book  Gwendy’s Box by Stephen King. I love Stephen King and the dialogue in this book really had a great rhythm to it so I was engrossed and then the young woman got giggly and animated.

In a rah, rah cheerleader voice she said,

” I saw the HR person come into the meeting room and I knew she wasn’t supposed to be at this meeting so I told ( name of person ) who was sitting next to me that either someone died or someone was going to get fired. Well I guessed right, you know that guy that sits behind us ( name of department they work in )?  Well . He died.  I was right. I mean, I totally nailed it. He died over the weekend.”

She was positively giddy- look at me I am SO smart she announced to everyone sitting around her.

I looked up from my book and I’m not sure what the expression on my face said, but the woman my age looked at me and  said ” Oh wow, that’s too bad. I mean that’s really sad news.”

The man in the group tossed out a random factoid ( I suppose he was trying to change the subject or shut her up )  about meetings where people had to take a test, if you provide them with water and snacks they relax because we are wired to feel secure if our basic need for things like food are met.

I wanted to ask if their stress levels changed when you closed the door, but really I did not want to take part in the freak show that was happening right in front and right beside me.

So, I put my book back up to my face and I thought, ” you know Stephen King, I think Little Miss Commuter has at least three of your weirdest characters beat- Trash Can Man from ” The Stand “, the lady who wore Elvis’ shades in ” Needful Things ” and Grady from ” The Shining”

I was relieved when they got off a few more stops down the line and when they did  I got up and changed seats.

Why?

I guess in that space, on that train I saw humanity hit a new low and I wanted to get as far away from that spot as I could.

amm