There has been yet another writing challenge, this time a 250 word story involving “spirit”, “clapping” and “unconcious”. After discarding all of the obvious stories that come to mind, I focused on the clapping element, and wanted to do something different with it. There are a multitude of ways to interpret and convey clapping, but I settled on the applause angle. And why would there possibly be applause when a spirit is involved? How would one work in unconciousness other than just having someone faint from a ghostly encounter? Eventually, I settled on a ghost that performs to applause but then their costume falls unconcious. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction. Oh, man, that would have been a much better title. Just for reference, it’s called “The Method Actor” and it’s available here on the site.
Of course, once I’m done with a piece of flash fiction, I wonder how it would instead be written in full-length novel form. The ghost would need a fleshed out backstory, a motivation for sticking around a television studio, and a need to possess people so it could have some of the spotlight. The story would start way before the main character became a ghost and then continue through their death and the tribulations of acclamating to the spirit realm. The ghost would have to learn how to even possess someone and control them. What other characters would need to exist to support the story? How did the main character die? Accident, natural causes, murder are all the most obvious possibilities. So, something else happened to her. If you rule out those three types of death, that only leaves suicide and that’s boring. Which brings me to unnatural causes - something from the spirit realm selected her at random, or had some specific intent, or maybe there was a ritual involved. Hell, it could even be a secret project by a nefarious foreign government that went wrong. Or aliens. Let’s get crazy.
Anyway, let’s just say she had a genetic mutation that allowed her to achieve astral projection, and while she was skipping about town in spooky mode, her body was left alone too along and expired. It was a bit like leaving the milk out overnight. Oops.
Leading up to that moment though, she had spent a long few months playing with her ability and every time she used it, she became a little more unhinged. And in her daylife, she was a camera operator at a local television studio, just trying to get her foot in the door and working her way up to being in front of the cameras. She majored in theater production and media management after all.
It was on Halloween when she decided that a normal costume wasn’t sufficient - she really wanted to be someone else and began wondering about body possession. She managed it a few times with varying degrees of success and abject disaster. She had no idea that it would be become an essential part of her story later on.
After the scene where she possesses most of the studio audience, causing permanent damage to many of them in the process, she is revisited by spirits that have been pursuing her this whole time. They brought the muscle this time, too. They have some very unpleasant plans for her afterlife and her only hope is to completely replace the spirit of another person and take over their life permanently. I don’t know who it would be, but it would have to be someone from earlier in the story and she’d have to completely eradicate the displaced spirit, otherwise the afterlife police would be able to locate her.
I’ll certainly never write this novel, but it’s still fun to think what it might have been!