Word of the Day: Poltergeist

Word of the Day: Poltergeist

In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it.  My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations.  It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!

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By Alex Seise

If I don’t catch at least forty winks tonight, there’ll be Hell to pay, Ingrid seethed into the basin of soapy dishwater. She plunged her thick potato-like fingers into the suds and grabbed another plate to scrub off the bits of dried scrambled eggs from breakfast. I didn’t move all the way up here to the cultural asylum that is Fort Kent, Maine only to be kept up all night by banging and hollering and flying fry pans. If I wanted that kind of a ruckus in the middle of the night, I’d have just stayed down in Bangor.

She glared at the black cast iron skillet that had become embedded in the cabin’s wall the night before. It’d been a hand-me-down from her grandmother, a rotund Scandinavian dame who’d used the pan to fry up sausages and lignonberries to start mornings off right back in the old country.

But not this morning, thanks to the previous evening’s commotion. With a loud crash that woke even deaf old Smoky from his slumber on the rug by the hearth, the tool’d suddenly found itself wedged into the home’s wooden beams just a few minutes shy of three o’clock, four o’clock Canadian. Ingrid had been forced to use her lousy Kmart nonstick skillet with the peeling black chemical coating to fry up some victuals for the boys.

Now, the thick black handle of her best pan jutted out so as to point toward her knee as she stood at the sink, quietly menacing the human with promises of invalidity and torment. Ingrid rolled her big, blue eyes in its direction.

“Come at me, poltergeist. Just try me.” Ingrid snorted as she taunted the angry spirit, spraying a thin film of misty saliva over the grubby faucet. “You ain’t never messed with a big girl like me with Swedish blood in her veins. I’ll teach you a thing or two about haunting, but only if you’re brave enough to face me, which you ain’t.”

Inside the well-stocked pantry, a thin trickle of invisible ghostly urine trickled out along the worn pine floorboards, a chilling spectral sight that sent old Smoky to barking. Ingrid hollered at him to shaddap, and despite the ancient hound’s deafness, he listened.

He always listened to Ingrid, even when he could no longer hear her. Everyone did.

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