The Curse of Blackwood Hollow: Part Two

For the record, I never believed he was a ghost. That would’ve taken a level of reclusive ignorance that even I, Blackwood Hollow’s teen troglodyte and tea-leaf reader, could not claim to possess. When he showed up two weeks prior to the incident, even if his highly unoriginal “the entire world bores me” air hadn’t announced his mundane humanity, the Hollow’s Tribune did by running a brief profile on Blackwood’s two newest residents: a single mother and her son escaping the bustle of the city. This I considered to be pretty sure proof of nonspirithood.

So you may be wondering why when the kid with the raven black hair and freckled pixie nose sat down at our lunch table I played along. It wasn’t the first time some peer of mine had the brilliant idea to pretend to be some kind of spirit, like I couldn’t tell the difference. When you’ve spent the greater part of your time consorting with spirits, these sorts of occurrences are inevitable. I like to think they keep me grounded to humanity in their harmless devilry, or reaffirm why I choose spirits for company instead of other mortals.

Anyway, Puck is a name for mischievous spirits (which he would know, were he literate enough to read Shakespeare), so maybe this is why I forgave the newcomer. I was slightly disappointed to see him so soon in league with Wesley and George, the two most unoriginal teenage boys imaginable, but something in the earnestness with which he played his ghost-part brought an honor to his impish namesake I could not ignore.

“I’m Sybil,” I said, and extended a hand to shake.

“Puck,” he said, momentarily forgetting himself and his corporeality and stretching his hand forward. He stopped at the last moment, holding his palm up to the cafeteria light over head as though he were seeing it for the first time. “Do I seem…translucent…to you?” he asked.

I heard Jakob whisper something in my ear and forced a straight face. “Yes…yes!” I leaned so close to Puck’s hand that my nose almost touched it, and celebrated in the look of anxious discomfort that seeped through his face. “Yes! You seem very transparent to me.”

Jakob didn’t like Puck from the beginning, but to tell you the truth, I was looking forward to having a flesh-and-blood human friend, for at least a short while, even if it wasn’t a real friendship.

I have been a Seer for as long as I can remember, which exempts me from most monotonous human experiences like Homecoming or studying for SATs, but that also means that I don’t get human friends who I can actually high-five or introduce to the somewhat psychotic aunt who lives in the downstairs bedroom of our two bedroom shack.

See, I didn’t want him to get hurt, just like I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt me by pretending to be a ghost and all. In fact, I didn’t even know he followed me to the graveyard.

I guess now I should explain a bit about Jakob.

Everyone pretends that Coots on his tractor is the oldest resident in Blackwood Hollow, but Jakob is older. He was buried in Blackwood Hollow graveyard before Coots was born, which gives you an idea of how miserable and lonely he gets.

Once a year, he goes to visit his gravestone, and once a year I go with him. Once a year, All Hallow’s Eve gives him back a small part of his fading corporeality, and he can set his spirit hand against the cool gray surface that bears his name, and linger over what it is to feel. Once a year.

Then, one year — this year — Puck is there. And if there’s one thing the spirits of Blackwood Hollow don’t like on All Hallow’s Eve, it’s a spectator.

 

Read Part One by Acton

Happy Halloween!

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From a Recovering Cynic

How many times
can I make this wrong decision?
(it can’t be a mistake
if I do it with such precision)

How many times
will I return to this same sadness?
(who knew thinking rationally
could be riddled with such madness)

How many times
must I long for something more?
(it hurts, knowing what I could’ve had
–it was offered me twice before)

I am tired of disappointment
and I am tired of resistance
(perhaps that is why I must preserve
these idealizations from a distance)

Now many times I wonder if I can
preserve the potential they claimed to see
somehow prove the metaphorical finger I’ve worn so long
isn’t the only thing the world will see of me.

– E

Fading

I am a house with no one inside

but that sole inhabitant that years ago died.

With my ghost voice I called and invited you in

that someone might live in this house again.

 

But the visitors that come never stay

and these ghost gray lips grow grayer gray

till the day they are not heard anymore

though I still sit screaming behind the door.

 

– E

An Image

The light shines through the shutters
revealing the yellow latticework
that is invisible in the daylight
and what if the shadow shapes of what is not there
are the outlines of this invisible world
available only to the waking few?
they feel the latticework on their face
now on their hand
and wait for some small shadow to climb it
a burglar in the night.

-E

Rain

The rain on the windowpane
blurs the girl standing out in the lane
or the face in the window of the train
and the poet would sit here and feign
to contemplate the world’s pain, then — halt
look to a raindrop as to a grain of salt.

Is it not a slight madness
that we take this prescription sadness?
Perhaps if we had had less
of this rain we’d be glad — yes
and not mourn the sky’s vastness, as though every cloud
were draping the world in the blackness of a shroud.

– E

Growing Up

Wouldn’t we all stay in Childhood if we could choose?

Instead we are trapped in reminisces, wishing

they hadn’t fooled us with the words they’d used

“growing up” for a person diminishing.

 

Sure, we are wiser, and not all adults are rotten,

but who doesn’t long for some previous self?

like we could step back into them, if only they hadn’t gotten

so maimed through the years

now sitting there

like shrunken skulls on a forgotten shelf

The False Poet

Stories were so much easier to write
when they had nothing to do with me
when sorrows were concocted to cast upon strangers
and I played Deity.

But even that writer god
must become tormented with age
and come to long for the days when she
extracted her pain from another´s page.

Oh for years she prayed and waited
for some occurrence to punctuate her listless days
but when that fateful moment came
she found that there was nothing to say.

How easy it was, that old false despair,
her voice of mimicry as beautiful as a bird´s;
how difficult now to cut a piece from her own self
send it on the wind, never to be heard.

There is no poetic justice in life
but here is a justice for sure:
all those false sorrows which she spawned
have now returned to become hers

And unless you had heard her before
you would not know of this:
that the silence she now devotedly sings
is the saddest sound to touch those lips.

– E

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!