She said, laviciously
There is no such word as lavicious. It doesn’t matter that I hear it in my head or that the real word, "lascivious" seems completely made up. The reality is that only the "urban dictionary" has an entry for lavicious and only people in odd forums and on angry blogs ("Obamas live laviciously while jobs are lost and soldiers die") use the word. And me. Lascivious means what I thought my made up word meant: inclined to lustfulness or inspiring sexual desire. But now I can’t use either one because I’m too confused.
I’m writing the scary novella. I should have stayed up late and finished it Tuesday, because now I have to write with one eye closed. On Tuesday it felt like a miracle; today it is clearly on drugs. It is, in many ways, Miles 2.0, not so much in theme (though there’s some of that too) as form. It’s coming out with whole pieces missing, and I can tell this is another one which will end up feeling like I wrote every word backwards. This story’s fondest desire is to contradict itself and make no sense, but any attempts to inflict logic upon it make the narrative stop. I just got done writing a two thousand word flashback, which is wrong on ten levels. Except it was more like time travel. I dunno. Probably it will work just like they all end up doing, but it’s possible that my freak out and doubt is essential to the process, so I’ll just keep on keeping on.
It is snowing here. Again. There is so much snow on the ground I can’t even talk about it. I have irrational anger with the focus on the snow on the east coast because I feel the real story is here, where we’ve had that shit since December and it never stops. It’s not true, because it’s not USUAL for them to get that much snow, but here it’s just a bad winter. Still. It makes me feel like I’m suffering in the dark alone while someone with a boo-boo gets ice cream. I mean, we have snow AND ice AND hideous cold. Today we are 15 but with a windchill of 6. That’s practically a heat wave. My eaves are going to fall off my house from the ice dams at any second. Also, if you see a woman running naked down the street with a machete, screaming, that’s me. Because I just can’t take this anymore. And yet, I must. Minnesotans and Canadians, go ahead and tell me I’m a baby. I know. I am. I’m just tired. Media coverage wouldn’t make it any better, but it would stroke my ego, I suppose. Sigh.
So back to the novella I go. Want to peek? Here’s a bit from a part that as far as I can tell makes some sense.
There was a ghost standing beside Pete.
He tried to tell himself that he was just seeing things, but after what had happened first in the dining room and now to the front door, at this point Pete acknowledged either these things were actually happening or hallucinations had taken over to the point they might as well be. It might have been something he could have worked with, if the walls still weren’t heaving and growling around him.
The ghost’s hand was cold on Pete’s arm, but it was definitely there. It squeezed gently in reassurance. “Can you carry him? Because we need to get out of here, and we’re going to need him.”
Pete nodded woodenly and hefted Clarke up. He was a big guy, but Pete was no slouch, and it was only a little strain to heft the man over his shoulder. Clarke groaned, but other than that he stayed quiet. Feeling only marginally bad for knocking him out, Pete turned back to the ghost, waiting for further instructions.
It was looking at Pete, clearly impressed. “You’re stronger than I thought you’d be.”
Pete knew better than to ask what that meant. “You said you knew a way out?”
“Of the house? No. That’s not going to happen now. But I can get us somewhere safe, and we can talk. Can you get him upstairs?”
Pete looked in apprehension at the dilapidated stairway.
“They’re in better shape than they look to you, I promise,” the ghost said. “Can you?”
It wasn’t just the construction that was upsetting Pete. He felt silly, even with all that had happened, and he couldn’t look at the ghost while he said the words. “There’s something bad up there.”
The ghost didn’t seem to find him silly at all. “Yes. There’s something very bad up there. But I promise I won’t let you go to those places.” He held out his hand. “Will you trust me?”
Pete did, almost completely, and that unsettled him. “Why couldn’t I see you before?”
“Because I was hiding.” He looked sad, but also curious as he tipped his head to the side. “You can really see the wounds?”
Wounds? “You mean the gashes in the walls?” The ghost nodded, and Pete looked around him. The walls were heaving, moving in and out like lungs. And yes, the gashes were here too, though they weren’t as deep and not half as upsetting as the ones in the dining room. They were random like the ones in the parlor, and they barely cut through the paper. “I see them. How’d they get there?” Why do you call them wounds?
The growling started up again, and the ghost reached out and took Pete’s hand. “Come on. We can’t stay here. It’s mostly bluster, but it can do damage enough.”
Pete wondered what “it” was, but as soon as the ghost led him forward, the feeling of foreboding increased. He stiffened, and the ghost glanced over his shoulder to give him a gentle smile.
“Just up the stairs and down the hall.” He tugged and ran a cold thumb across the back of Pete’s hand. “Come along, Peter.”
“Pete,” Pete whispered, but he came along, heart pounding and a cold sweat breaking across his brow.
The stairs did hold them just fine, but Pete did notice that the ghost didn’t touch either the railing or the walls. In fact, he kept very firmly to the middle.
“Do you—do you have a name?” Pete asked.
“Everybody has a name,” the ghost said. But it was five more steps before he said, “Why don’t you call me Ara.”
The careful phrasing caught Pete’s attention. “Is that your name?”
“You have some pointed thinking for someone who wants everyone to think he’s just a clusmy laborer.” The ghost paused on the stair and gave Pete a rather focused look over his shoulder. His thumb moved absently over Pete’s hand, and he smiled a slow, knowing sort of smile that did funny things to Pete’s insides.