Where the Muse Takes You
by Silver RavenWolf
Morning. A bit chilly out there. Sun’s up. That’s good. I stare at the computer. Check Facebook. Wander into the kitchen. Make my father breakfast. Sit at the dining room table and realize that this morning is totally unusual. The day lies before me unblemished with errands, or doctor appointments for my father, or… whatever.
A day to myself.
Coffee. Okay, two cups.
Okay, now what? I’m so stunned with a no-do-day that I don’t know precisely what I want to do with it. I could…nah. Or, maybe…nope.
I could go to the historical society and cruise through the newspapers — do a little research. Funny thing about looking through those old papers. If you thought murder, death, and mayhem are only a product of our times, try reading through a 1928 city newspaper! That’s an eye-opener for you, let-me-tell-ya. There’s fodder there for a thousand stories.
I walk aimlessly into my office. Okay, so we call it the Rat Room because my pet rodent lives there in his spacious cage; but, most people look at me weird when I call it the RAT ROOM, so I don’t usually mention it outside the family. I give Chi (the rat) a treat, then plop in front of my computer desk.
Old newspapers… I swing my creaking chair around (darned thing has been with me since my first book twenty years ago) and my knee knocks over a box I stuck under my desk months ago. My collection of vintage photos dumps onto the hardwood floor, slipping and sliding in various directions.
Old newspapers… I begin picking up the photos, looking at the familiar faces — folks without names still waiting to be included in one of my art projects. These unknown souls are my treasures from flea-markets and antique shops. I gave them a home, albeit a dusty box at the moment; but, eventually they will make their way into post card or art trading card designs.
When I’m in the mood or not too busy.
I hold up one sepia picture in particular. The young woman looks like she didn’t get enough sleep the night before her image made its way into the earthly form of a photograph, that a hundred years later, I would hold in my hand.
Old newspapers… She reminds me of a story I read in the Carlisle Sentinel. A fairly gory one, actually. Around 1928 a young lady of the city was engaged to be married; but, a family friend insisted on pursuing her. Finally, she broke down and accepted a theater invitation from the gentleman. Upon returning home from their evening out, she seated the fellow in the parlor. When he once again announced his passion for her, she sternly reminded him of her love for her fiancée. Furious at her uncaring dismissal of his feelings, the family friend flew into a shouting rage, whipped out a hunting knife, slit her throat and ran screaming from the house into the night. They never found the bugger. She, however, amazingly enough, did survive.
You couldn’t write fiction any better.
Lost in the memory of the article, I slid the vintage photo I held in my hand into my scanner…and the art began.
That was days ago.
Welcome to Raven Hollow, Pennsylvania. Its a strange place. The newspapers here are full of macabre and ghostly tales sure to titillate the reader with ghastly news on Halloween night — a particularly potent time in this odd little town — when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and the residents grasp the full power of eccentricity and make it their own.