Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt

Creepy Ghost Lady

April 27, 2021 Susan Quilty Season 1 Episode 8
Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt
Creepy Ghost Lady
Chapters
Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt
Creepy Ghost Lady
Apr 27, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Susan Quilty

This week's writing prompt, Creepy Ghost Lady, was inspired by Susan's recent appearance on Meanwhile at the Podcast, a show about comics and pop culture with hosts Georga Hanna, Kristin Gollhofer, and Rodney Roberts (aka the ArtNerrd). 

Listen to Episode 103 of Meanwhile at the Podcast to learn more about Susan's writing and hear some freely written stories shared by George and Hanna. 

Suggestions for writing prompts are always welcome! Otherwise, prompts are chosen in random ways.

More about Susan Quilty

Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society.  Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.

Website:  SusanQuilty.com
Patreon: Patreon.com/SusanQuilty

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/SusanQuilty)

Show Notes Transcript

This week's writing prompt, Creepy Ghost Lady, was inspired by Susan's recent appearance on Meanwhile at the Podcast, a show about comics and pop culture with hosts Georga Hanna, Kristin Gollhofer, and Rodney Roberts (aka the ArtNerrd). 

Listen to Episode 103 of Meanwhile at the Podcast to learn more about Susan's writing and hear some freely written stories shared by George and Hanna. 

Suggestions for writing prompts are always welcome! Otherwise, prompts are chosen in random ways.

More about Susan Quilty

Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society.  Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.

Website:  SusanQuilty.com
Patreon: Patreon.com/SusanQuilty

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/SusanQuilty)

Below is the transcript for Season 1, Episode 8 of Freely Written, a podcast by author Susan Quilty: 

Welcome to Freely Written where a simple prompt leads to a little unplanned fiction.

[Light piano music] 

Hi, friends! I’m Susan Quilty and today’s prompt is Creepy Ghost Lady

As usual, I’ve written a short story based on a writing prompt with no planning and very little editing, and now I’m ready to share that story with you.

This week’s prompt was inspired by my recent appearance on Meanwhile at the Podcast, which is a comics and pop culture show created by my friends George, Kristin, and Rodney. They had me on to talk about my writing, including this podcast. They also shared some stories they’d written with me, which led to today’s prompt. I’ll add a link to the episode in today’s show notes if you’d like to check it out.  

First, here’s the story inspired by my visit on Meanwhile at the Podcast.   

 

Creepy Ghost Lady

Tabitha sat at the desk in her room. Though it was a space meant for studying, she’d hung a mirror so it could double as a vanity table. At the moment it was being used for both. Tabitha fussed with a few wayward curls, ignoring her open textbook and notes. 

As she gave her hair a final spritz of finishing spray, there was a knock at the door. 

“Oh, hey,” Tabitha greeted Kate casually, striving to seem at ease here in her private room. 

Kate turned in a slow circle, taking in the extra space where Tabitha’s parents had set up a reading chair and a small chest of drawers topped by framed photographs. The room was smaller than the double or triple rooms but felt calm and cozy without the jumble of roommates’ mismatched belongings. 

Tabitha surreptitiously studied Kate’s expression. Kate was the only person she knew at school, but she’d turned down her offer to sign up as roommates. 

“You’re all settled in,” Kate said simply, before moving a throw pillow to sit in the chair. 

“Yes,” Tabitha smiled, glanced at all the trinkets her parents had brought to make this cramped dorm room feel like home. 

“How’s your room?” Tabitha asked politely. “And your roommate?”

“Great,” Kate laughed, obviously struck by a funny memory. “When we met… Oh, well, never mind. It’s hard to explain. But Mia’s great.”

Despite the cement walls, they heard a blast of music in the common area, followed by shrieks of laughter. Kate glanced toward the closed door, laughing along as if she knew what was happening on the other side. Tabitha shifted uncomfortably, lightly twirling one of her perfect curls. 

“Coming to the sleepover?” Kate asked off-handedly. 

“What sleepover?” Tabitha felt a prickling sensation in her chest. It was the same worrisome twitch she’d felt each night as she closed herself into her lovely room and tried to ignore the social noise outside her door. 

“In the common room tonight,” Kate clarified. “You know, we’re all going to bring piles of pillows and blankets and keep watch for the creepy ghost lady.”

She’d switched to a spooky voice and seemed surprised when Tabitha didn’t get the joke. 

“Come on,” Kate persisted. “You’ve heard of the creepy ghost lady, right? Everyone’s been talking about her all week!”

Tabitha flushed, unsure how to explain that she wouldn’t know what “everyone” had been talking about because no one had been talking to her. In the three weeks since college began, she’d had a few polite exchanges with other students on their floor, then quickly slipped off to the serenity of her private room.

After an awkward silence, Kate sat forward with narrowed eyes.

“Tabby, have you made any friends here yet?” 

The sound of her old nickname brought a rush of tears. Tabitha grabbed a tissue to quickly blot her eyes before her mascara could run. 

“But… you’re so… good with people!” Kate exclaimed softly. “You were so popular in high school… When I didn’t see you around here, I thought you were just out with some other group of friends…”

Taking a deep breath, Tabitha blinked away her tears. 

“I was popular in high school, maybe,” she began slowly. “But did you ever see me at a party, or out with friends, or whatever…?”

“Huh.” Kate’s brow furrowed. “You were at school dances. Hell, you were Homecoming Queen and Prom Queen!”

“Yeah,” Tabitha sighed, examining her nail polish. “My parents thought school dances were important.”

“Well…” Kate tried again, clearly bothered. “You were busy modeling a lot.”

“Yeah,” Tabitha agreed again. “That was important to my parents, too.” 

Tabitha’s parents had started her in modeling when she was a toddler, and they’d found her steady work all the way through high school. 

“We went to the movies once,” Kate suddenly remembered. “When we were working on that lab project and went out after.”

“Yeah,” Tabitha agreed more wistfully, giving Kate the unpleasant feeling that their one afternoon at the movies had meant more to Tabitha than she’d realized. 

In a flash, Kate saw Tabitha’s real reason for having a private dorm room. She hadn’t been too good to room with someone, she’d been too afraid. 

“Well, you’re coming to the sleepover with me,” Kate decided. “You’ll meet Mia and the others, and you’ll start hanging out with us. And I’ll be with you the whole time.”

Seeing the hope and fear mingled in Tabitha’s eyes sent a shot of pity through Kate’s heart. She felt fiercely protective of Tabby and silently vowed to be her new best friend. 

“I don’t know…” Tabitha hesitated, though she wanted to say yes. 

“You have to come,” Kate insisted. “We’ll watch movies, and eat junk food, and see if the creepy ghost lady makes an appearance.” She finished with an ominous, “Mwa ha ha!”

“Okay, fine!” Tabitha laughed, letting out a shaky sigh. “What is this creepy ghost lady thing?”

“Oh, it’s so stupid,” Kate snickered, ready to change the subject. “People are swearing our floor is haunted and, like, four of them claim to have woken up to see a creepy ghost lady in their doorways. And when they screamed or her, or whatever, she just closed the door and floated away.”

“Wow,” Tabitha laughed. “That’s pretty lame. Is there, like, a whole ghost backstory? Like, it’s some student who died here?”

“No,” Kate shrugged. “Older students say this is the first they’ve heard of it. And those who saw her say she’s an old lady. Her face is super white, her hair is in rollers, and she wears this old-fashioned pink, quilted bathrobe.”

Tabitha stopped laughing. Her hands shook as she crossed to the closet and pulled out a hanger.

“Like this?” She asked, holding up a quilted, pink bathrobe. 

“What the—?” Kate’s eyes were huge as she watched Tabitha drop the bathrobe on her bed and pull out a plastic bag filled with soft rollers. 

“I sleep in them at night,” she said, dropping the rollers on her bed. “And the bathrobe was my grandmother’s… and I’ve been taking sleeping pills which could make me sleepwalk… And I use this thick, white night cream…”

Kate covered her open mouth with both hands. 

“Kate,” Tabitha wailed, tossing the pot of night cream to the bed. “I’m the creepy ghost lady!”

They stared at each other, letting the realization settle in, and then laughed until tears ran down their cheeks. When they calmed down, Kate shook her head in disbelief. 

“You can’t tell!” Tabitha begged her.

“Never!” Kate promised. “But you’ve gotta hide that bathrobe.”

“And stop taking sleeping pills!” Tabitha agreed.

“And stop sleeping in night cream and rollers,” Kate suggested. 

“Definitely,” Tabitha nodded in embarrassment. After a moment, she added, “Actually, I’ve always wanted to try short hair. Like up to my chin.”

“That would look great on you,” Kate encouraged. 

“My mom would hate it,” Tabitha confessed, looking around her perfect room with a shade of scorn.  

“It’s your hair,” Kate told her, putting more meaning into the words. 

Tabitha grinned archly. 

“Wanna come with me to the salon?” 

Kate’s eyes brightened. 

“Let’s go!”

 

The End

 

Thanks for listening. If you want to hear the creepier story that inspired that prompt, tune in to my visit on Meanwhile at the Podcast (episode 103). And stick around for some of their other entertaining discussions, too. 

You can learn more about me and my books, visit my website, SusanQuilty.com. You can find me on social media or support me through my Patreon page. Until next time, try a little free writing of your own. Let go of any planning and see where your imagination takes you. 

[Light piano music]