Of course, there are a ton more possible scary things: the passenger in the backseat of your car that you just glimpse in the rearview mirror. The footsteps upstairs when you’re alone. The crash in the other room, whether or not you find something on the floor –disturbing- or finding nothing disturbed at all – equally disturbing- when you go to check.
And then there’s touching, and I’m not even talking about something inappropriate. The soft caress across your forehead, the gentle tug on your hair or your clothes. In at least one instance I used an actual slap to the face.
Believe it or not, it’s not necessarily easy to come up with this stuff. Watching paranormal reality shows helps a lot! But sometimes I’ll be looking for just that one kind of disturbing instance, just that one particular thing that will point to supernatural activity, and I struggle to come up with anything. Which is one reason to keep a list. The other is so that I can read it over from time to time and maybe it will help drop a box off a shelf in my head, trigger a story that would be fun to tell.
Sometimes I’ll luck out and the characters will come up with their own hauntings. When I first started writing Cassie, I had no idea she would be able to do what she can do with a picture. I didn’t realize that Michael’s ability would be triggered by Cassie’s presence. As I wrote more and began to realize what these two were actually about, it was amazing for me. I’m still learning about their abilities, just like they are. In my own way, I can’t wait to see what else they can show me, what more they can do. (I don’t think Michael’s too happy about this, but hey, Michael’s not always too happy anyway, so there it is. Sorry, buddy!)
I am currently writing book seven of the Bridgeton Park Cemetery Series and a quick peek at my notebook brought up “imaginary friend” (always a goodie), “the attached entity a person picked up in childhood that never went away”, “coffin plates”, and the word “closet.” Pretty random, but still enough to trigger certain ideas.
What about you? Is there a particular kind of haunt that would bother you the most?