Blanketgeist

One recent morning, dark and dreary, as I pondered, weak and weary, after binge-watching vintage noir films (as if one needs more psychological drama on top of taking one’s husband for another ER visit due to his sky-high blood pressure and pains in his still-healing heart, rising pandemic numbers and escalating real-life horrors televised nonstop on the news, hurricane-spawned thunderstorms, demon-possessed Internet connectivity, and Election Year), I’d had enough couch-cocooned passivity. I tossed my safe warm blanket aside. I got up, showered, dressed, fixed my hair and makeup even if I wasn’t going to see another person but my husband and son, who’d taken his dad to pick up new prescriptions. I would face the day and whatever it held, head-on.

Having pulled myself together, feeling quite in command for the first time in a while, strolling back through the living room, picking up random bits of fluff from Dennis the dachshund’s destruction of yet another furred squeaky toy (why do we keep buying these), I noted one of my guys sitting on the couch.

Huh. Could’ve sworn they’d already gone to the pharmacy... barely glancing, bent on my fluff-retrieval mission, I said, “Hey, didn’t know you were—”

Whoever it was, sitting there on the couch, wasn’t.

There were no feet on the rug.

No legs, either.

It was the blanket. Sitting on the couch, right where I tossed it.

Now, this is when it either really pays, or really, really, really doesn’t pay to be a reader/writer/film noir binge-watcher.

Because, voilà! A STORY.

And because, Heaven help me, I know too many, truth is stranger than fiction, brains can’t always process what eyes are seeing, I overdosed on ghost stories and tabloids like National Enquirer and Weekly World News as a youngster, watched too many Twilight Zone marathons as an adult, it’s my fault I’m this wired from excessive cups of coffee, that my mind short-circuits with what and why and how, as in: How could the blanket land exactly like that and look so like a person? Albeit a kind of smallish one? Unless… unless it happens to be covering something heretofore invisible… and how long might it have been sitting here without my knowing?

But it’s only the blanket, right?

I check the driveway. Yeah, my guys are gone. No one’s here. Just me and Dennis, who saw me cleaning up his toy-wreckage and promptly took off for the bedroom to hide under the bed.

I eye this blanket. I walk around it.

All those times I told students to think what if? comes back to haunt me… What if the blanket has taken on a life of its own, after I cocooned myself in it for so long? What if my melancholy has taken form, substance, become a Thing, made manifest by the blanket? What if I’m just, like, finally losing it (would that be so terrible)?

—POP—

I almost come entirely out of my hide to leave it lying beside me as yet another separate Thing. I was beside myself …

It’s just the house popping, does it all the time, you’d think I’d be used to it by now (why is it SO LOUD, it sounds deliberate … what if someone is living in the attic? has been living there for ages and I haven’t known? … don’t be ridiculous, the floor up there is incomplete, no one has fallen through the ceiling… yet…).

Well.

The blanket isn’t moving.

It’s just sitting. Rather benignly.

I decide to take a few photos (proof, you know. In case of… whatever).

That’s what I said I was ready to face, right? The day and whatever it held? Head-on?

Be careful what you wish for…

So silly. Absurd. Over it.

Time to reveal what is and isn’t real. I reach for the edge of the blanket and

—is that faint chuckling I hear?

20 thoughts on “Blanketgeist

  1. Oooh, I love this! It makes me think I should jot down more of my stories almost real. I totally understand your wavering between real/not real and you built up the suspense with all of your specific detail and self-talk perfectly!

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    • Thank you! Went out on a limb a bit – this is not my usual fare – but the blanket would have its story told. I keep thinking of countless ways I could still spin this out … would make fun fiction.

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    • I am happy to know the humor came through along with the weirdness! I really wanted to write around this for the “small fictions” Open Write but I couldn’t get that far in time. I just let myself have fun with the Blanketgeist instead & gave it full rein. Thinking a bit about any good Blanketgeist tales waiting to be conjured… thank you, Margaret!

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  2. Loved the opening. It immediately put me in the state of mind for an “other world” experience. That blanket DOES look like it’s covering a person. Your imagination turned the effect into a great slice. Thanks for sharing it.

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    • It looked SO, SO creepy that I took quite a few photos, knowing I’d write about it as soon as I figured out how. Kind of just let it rip … so glad you enjoyed. Thank you, Diane.

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  3. Okay, this is a bright spot in the morning, and it’s not even a bad morning. Thanks for sharing this–I hope you continue to write about what happens after you get juiced up on coffee and mental over-stimulation! (That said, I hope your day is a good one and your husband’s situation gets under control.)

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    • I think I needed for my Blanketgeist to appear just when it did – it certainly got my mind off everything else at the moment. So weird, but I decided I should have some fun with it. I am relieved that the humor came through and that it was a bright spot – I hoped it would be; we all still need to laugh. And today has been very good – dr. says husband doing well with the Rx adjustment. Each day really has its own set of fluctuating priorities.Thank you, Tim!

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  4. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s condition and hope it improve soon. What a WOW story! You reeled me in from your first sentence. Great tension, foreshadowing, and humor. I also love how the mood changes! Perhaps, you could turn this into a skit, play, or movie script. When I taught reading to 6th-8th graders in a inner-city school, it was a treat for all of us when we read plays aloud. Kids would love this, also! Your photos really do look like a person. Love the ending. Thank you for your treat!

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    • Thank you for all of your thoughts, Gail – my husband is readjusting to meds and all is well at present (he spent a month in the hospital after cardiac arrest and two surgeries last summer. He’s come so far). Thank you for suggesting that I share this post with kids – they DO love anything with a bit of ghostly scariness! So glad & grateful that you enjoyed.

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  5. Love how you channeled Edgar Allen Poe for this Slice of Life! And I am so sorry to hear that your husband hasn’t been feeling well and you’ve been feeling melancholy too. These times have been so sad. I loved reading your words today.

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    • I do adore Poe, truly. My husband is okay; still working on right Rx balance but all is well, thank you, Kathleen! I’ve learned to sift each day for its own priorities. Sad times, yes, so very sad … writing this piece was a diversion for me and thought maybe it might provide a little needed levity for others, too. I am relieved to know it has!

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  6. Oh, the imagined things we see out of the corners of our eyes…or sometimes, right in front of us, as in the case of my son seeing two distinct ghosts in our living room when he was young. (That’s a whole ‘nother story!)
    Do you live in an older home? We do, though not ancient by any standard, built in 1976. But my neck hairs have been raised on many occasion, and I have spoken to whatever spirit is deciding to float on an imaginary line between the nursery room and our bedroom many a time. Too many scary books and movies, or the Gypsy blood in my ancestral DNA…who can know for sure?
    Thanks for the fun and spooky post, Fran!

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    • Our home is not old – we are the only ones who’ve ever lived here but I do occasionally wonder about, say, old unmarked burying grounds … now I need to know the story of your son’s two ghost-sightings and your own spirit conversation! I adored such tales when I was young and always wanted to write a collection of ghost stories. I have, in fact, completed a few … such deliciously creepy fun, And you and your Gypsy DNA! I’m trying not to be envious. 🙂

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