Spooktacular Week - Guest Author Carol Burnside/Annie Rayburn

REMEMBER! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Carol/Annie's e-book novella, Phantoms & Fantasies to one lucky commenter… 


Having found herself between husbands and houses, Ora took temporary residence in a house next door to her elderly mother. The house had been home for her sister, Minnie, and Ora’s two nieces, until memories of Minnie’s husband had driven them to seek a change of scenery in another state. Now the house lay silent and empty. It had a musty smell from being closed up in the heat of a Texas summer.

Ora shook off feelings of unease, as she opened doors and windows, cleaned floors, then set up her bed and added crisp, cool sheets. By the time she’d gotten her toiletries unpacked and had a light supper with her Mama, it was too dark to see whether the swamp cooler was operational.  No matter. The darn thing wouldn’t be much use in this heat and humidity anyway.

She’d chosen the front bedroom, rather than the master where a massive heart attack had taken her brother-in-law, J.C. Too creepy to think of sleeping there. Besides, the front might get a breeze, if one stirred. Ora lay quietly, awaiting sleep, praying for a puff of air to cool her sweat-moistened skin. Finally, in desperation, she got up and opened both front and back doors though she made sure the screen doors were secured. The moon was out. Prince would bark if anyone tried to get in. He was a good watchdog.

There was some air movement now, but it didn’t reach the bedroom. Ora pulled her mattress off and managed to get it into the empty living room under the windows.  There. That was as close to the flow of air as she could get. She returned to her bed and lay quietly once again, listening to the creaks of the house, the chorus of crickets and Prince padding softly under the window as he made his rounds. Sleep remained elusive. She sighed, the sound broken by a ba-da-bump.

What was that?

Her heart leapt with sudden fright, but no sound came from Prince. She blew out a breath, admitting the empty house had a spooky vibe, as if it were waiting for something or someone. Just her imagination. It was just a house.

Ba-da-Bump, Ba-da-BUMP!

Okay, she did not imagine that. Sounded like it came from the back door. She strained to hear, peering down the hallway, her heart thundering. Something moved, a man, only not. Ora blinked, disbelieving. These things didn’t happen. They weren’t real. Though he seemed to walk, there were no footsteps, more of a glide above the floor. No matter what she told herself, her eyes recorded the man, not quite solid, a white aura around him. Balding. Glasses. Oh, Lord. J.C.

His usual mechanic’s uniform was white as well. He stopped at the entrance to the living room, his gaze searching, traveling over the area though he didn’t seem to see her. That was just fine. Just fine with her. Yes, sirree.

Not that she was scared of him. Frightened to see a ghost? Sure. But what was he looking for? His family? Sadness overcame her fright as he turned and made his way back down the hallway.
As soon as he disappeared around the corner, Ora sprang out of bed, flipping on the lights. All the lights. She even checked the back screen. Still securely latched.

No way she was sleeping here tonight or any night. Tomorrow she would find a house to rent.

At the barest hint of daylight, she slipped out the door and across the yard to her Mama’s house.


O-kay. Are you creeped out yet?

What if I told you that this is a fictionalized account of my aunt’s story?

Prince was our dog, but didn’t bark at family members. He investigated first. He wouldn’t have barked at daddy.

Still not convinced?

What if I told you that, though my aunt wasn’t aware of it, our immediate family knew that if the back screen door was latched we could push it tight against the frame and with a Ba-da-bump or two of our fist at the perfect spot, the latch would fly out of the eyelet, allowing us to enter the house.

Happy Halloween!

Carol Burnside has had several short stories published in books and magazines. Her works have placed and won several romance writing contests. Also writing as Annie Rayburn, she is e-published and self/Indie published. Her latest release from Red Sage is Bittersweet Obsessions (June, 2011), an erotic romance with sci-fi and paranormal elements. Learn more about Annie and her books at www.AnnieRayburn.com. Twitter: Annie_Rayburn  FB page: Annie Rayburn, Author

***Carol/Annie is offering a copy of her e-book novella, Phantoms & Fantasies to one lucky commenter. A perfect gift, since the story starts on Halloween. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.***


A note from Tami: I have to point you over to two reviews for Phantoms & Fantasies.  I posted one here on my blog back in August.  LOVED the book!  Pamela Mason wrote an amazing review for the story last week on her blog.  Pamela writes amazing reviews and even had me rereading the story.  Check them both out when you get a chance. 


Anonymous said...

Cool story, Carol! Scary and a little sad that it's true. My mom had some ghostly things happen to her once upon a time.... but that's for another Halloween.

Okay, the dogs staring into a dark, empty room and growling - so I guess it's time to go to bed!


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Glad you liked it, Darcy. Here's hoping all is well in that dark, empty room! 8)

Tami Brothers said...

I LOVE this! I think I would be just as scared no matter if I knew the guy or not. Don't think I'd be staying there after that either. :)

Tammy Schubert said...

Enjoyed the spooky story. If a ghost appeared to me, even if I knew who it was, I would be freaked out.

Marilyn Baron said...

Loved your story, it was spooky and well written. Tami, thanks for featuring it.

Marilyn Baron

Anonymous said...

Your poor aunt. Interesting about Prince, the dog. I would think his senses would go crazy. Great story Carol.


Maxine Davis said...

Loved the story and love your writing. I was right there with her the whole time! Tami, glad you had Annie visit.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

@Tami: My mother, sister and I only spent one more night in that house. I found myself conflicted, wishing for one more glimpse of my dad and at the same time, unsure I wanted it at all. If he came, it was while we were sleeping.

@Tammy: Thanks. I know exactly what you mean.

@Marilyn: Thanks for stopping by!

@Sia: I know, right? But Prince was a unique dog. He was quite laid back and loyal.

@Maxine: Thank you!

Berta Platas said...

Spooky, Carol! Loved the story. I've had some close encounters, too, but never of a ghost I knew. And I smiled at the screen door trick. We had one just like it!


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Thanks, Berta. :D

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Okay, I'm off to make some persimmon jam. (I was surprised to learn recently that we had persimmon trees.) Will check back for more comments later this evening.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Fantastic scary story, Carol! Thanks for sharing! I grew up listening to ghost stories. And I finally saw a ghost too.

Tamara said...

I loved the story! I think ghosts are so misunderstood. LOL. I think I've seen one or two in my lifetime. It doesn't bother me, but if they wish to stay, they should help with the mortgage. :)

Persimmon jam? Hmm. That sounds interesting.

Happy Halloween!

Pamela Mason said...

It is a bright sunshiny day--
broad daylight-- windows open, everything's good --
And a sweater for the chillbumps.
Spooky story Carol!
This has been the most fun Halloween I've had in yearrrrssss!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I got tired of pushing tiny wild persimmons through a strainer and came to see what's up.

@Vonda: Happy to share. Glad you liked it. :)

@Tamara: LOL on the mortgage help. As for the persimmons, they're not the large variety, and so are a PITA!

@Pamela Mason: Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Sorry about the light bill. ;)

Tami Brothers said...

Hi Everyone! Wasn't this a great story? I personally haven't experienced a ghostly experience, but I do believe in them. Too many people have seen or felt them not to know that something is out there.

Great job Carol/Annie!

Debbie Kaufman said...

OOOH! Scary stuff. Your story really reeled me in!

Linsey Lanier said...

That was spooky, Carol. Good story. Sorry I missed it yesterday,but I'm glad I caught up. :)

Julee J. Adams said...

Glad I stopped by! I really believe in spirits and they're certainly not all evil. Happy Halloween, all!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

@Debbie Kaufman: Glad to hear it. Picture me with a big grin.

@Linsey Lanier: Thanks. Glad you made it over.

@Julee J. Adams: Happy Halloween to you too.

I'm keeping the drawing open through tomorrow night, y'all!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

And the winner is...


Congratulations. I hope you enjoy Phantoms & Fantasies.