“Characters! They just won’t leave me alone!” #FourthWallFriday with Eric Garrison @erichris
It’s raining in Alaska, pouring rain and down in the lower-48 you guys are freezing but lets face it, authors can write whatever they want for weather, especially when they need to get away from it all. Eric decided he needed a break and just wanted to read some books, me? I wish someone would send winter back, yes you heard me right. So I think I will skip this camping trip and read my book under my squirrel infested roof under my blanket with a hot cop of cocoa. Welcome Eric Garrison for another Fourth-Wall Friday!
You know, sometimes my characters just won’t leave me alone. They cry, “Write about me!” and other unsolicited suggestions about their lives. Usually while I’m trying to write something that doesn’t involve them. I appreciate the help, especially when ideas aren’t flowing otherwise, but it can be distracting.
So, I went camping, alone. It was so peaceful. I didn’t bring a laptop or my word processor. My plan was a simple one, I’d just catch up on my reading for a change. A couple of paperbacks, some pulp science fiction magazines, and my Kindle. I set up my tent in a clearing and built a fire. Just as darkness began to fall, I was roasting a couple of hot dogs over the fire. I heard footsteps, and voices, coming nearer.
I groaned, I knew who it’d be.
“Chico! Look, it’s another camper! Hi Mister Camper!” Liz bounced into the circle of firelight. She seemed smaller than I had imagined, and the shock of spiked up dark hair didn’t quite fit my image, either. But her squeaky, cartoonish voice couldn’t be anyone else’s.
I coughed to hide a laugh.
She was followed by a sandy-haired guy of below average height, wearing glasses. His face clouded with a sullen, wary look. He waved at me, peered around my campsite, his eyes everywhere but on me.
I set the half-cooked hot dogs down on my paper plate and stood to greet the two of them. “Hey. I’m Eric. I just came out to the woods to get away from it all. What brings you two here?“
Brett met my eyes. “I’m Brett, and this is Liz. We won’t bother you, we’re just passing through.“
Liz looked at me and smiled. “We’re paranormal enthusiasts, checking out a claim we found on the Internet. I’m sure it’s nothing, but be careful about leaving food out, okay?“
Brett shifted from foot to foot. “Someone sighted a chupacabra in these woods.” He met my eyes finally. “It could be a coyote, or maybe it’s a prank.“
I nodded. “Gotcha. I’ll be careful.“
Brett’s eyes narrowed just a moment, then a hint of a smile touched his lips. “Most people would think we’re crazy. The rest would be freaked out. Are you a ghost hunter, like us?“
I shrugged. “Used to be. Still do, sometimes, if I’m invited. But that’s not why I’m here. Only spirits I’m interested in are in these books,” I patted a stack of urban fantasy novels. “And this bottle of my homemade mead. Want some? I’ll share.“
Brett and Liz looked at each other and shook their heads as one. Liz said, “Thanks, Mister Camper, it sounds tasty, but we don’t drink on investigations. It’d mess up our credibility.“
I smiled. “Good rule to have.“
Brett nodded. “Well, we’d better get back to our tent. Might be a long night.“
The couple disappeared into the dark of the woods, and I finished cooking my hot dogs. I sipped mead from a mug to hold off the chill night air. I flicked on my Kindle, reading by the soft glow of its screen. I read no more than a full paragraph when I heard the sound of boots crunching on twigs nearby.
I shut off the Kindle and said, “Okay, now who’s out there?“
A tall man wearing a leather cowboy hat and trench coat stepped into the firelight.
“Larry,” I said.
“Now, how would you know my name?” he said with a drawl.
“You, ah, just look like a Larry,” I said.
“Well, lots of folks know me, I’m kind of famous down in Memphis. I run a haunted tour.“
I nodded. “Yep, that must be it.“
“Say, friend, have you seen a cute little gal and a dork with glasses go past here?“
I shrugged. “You a friend of theirs?“
I can’t think of a better word for the grin that split Larry’s face other than wicked. “Sure. I’m her friend, leastways. I don’t think her new fella likes me much. I suppose he’s got his reasons. Insecure little fella. If he’s that worried about me, maybe she’s not happy, hmm?“
I sighed. “Can’t say it’s my business.“
He winked at me, which I found creepy. “Heh, well, have it your way, I’ll find ’em.“
“Be careful out there, Larry. There’s more than you think going on.”
He patted his long coat with one hand and touched the brim of his hat with the other. “Don’t you worry about me, stranger. I’m ready. And I think I got you figured out, anyways.”
“Oh yeah?” I poured some mead into another mug and offered it to him.
He took it and sipped. “Thanks. Tasty stuff, and it’s got a kick. My gut says you’re more than you seem. Are you behind this chupacabra stuff?“
I raised my mug in toast and he clinked his against mine. “In a way, I guess I am. I wrote about it, at least.“
He drank down the rest of his mug in one gulp. “Whoa. That’s the stuff. I knew it. Can you tell me more? I like every edge I can get.“
I shook my head. “Spoilers, Larry. You’ll get there.“
He set down the mug and shrugged. “Yeah, I don’t need your help, just thought I’d ask. Gotta go now, I’ve got a date with my ex.“
“Not that you’ll listen to me, but you’d be best off leaving them be.“
“You’re right about that.” His evil grin reappeared. “I’m not listening. Have a good one.“
I settled back in, and when I could no longer hear his footsteps, I shook my head and turned my attention to my dinner.
Before I could take a bite, I spotted a pair of eyes, low to the ground, gleaming in the dying firelight. I sighed. “Come on, little one, don’t be afraid.“
It took a few minutes, but a small figure with ashen skin shuffled into my camp. She grunted and whined and sniffed the air. Her greasy, stringy hair fell across her eyes and she swatted it back. She smelled of decay and rotting meat.
I put an uncooked hot dog on a paper plate and slid it toward her, as far as my arm could reach. She looked at the hot dog and sniffed the air like an animal, and then she looked at me with sad, lost eyes.
“Go on, take it,” I said, and took a bite out of my own cooked hot dog to show her it was okay.
The Little Ghoul mashed the hot dog into her face and gobbled it up in a messy show of feasting.
“You know,” I told her, “you first came to me in a dream. In the dream, a nice lady with short dark hair takes you home and cleans you up and feeds you out of a McDonald’s dumpster, because that’s all you’d eat. I woke up laughing.“
She stared at me and snorted, hiccupped and then ran off into the night, using her hands as much as her feet to move.
I sighed and let their story unfold without my help. I had another drink to ease my mind and said to myself, “Characters! They just won’t leave me alone!“
Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. He also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.
Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.
His supernatural fantasy novels include the Road Ghosts trilogy, published by Seventh Star Press. The first two books in the series, Four ’til Late and Sinking Down, were released in 2013. His novels are dark supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession and even sinister fairy folk.
Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology.
They have to save the Little Ghoul to save themselves.
Poor Little Ghoul
Sinking Down (Road Ghosts #2)
by Eric Garrison
Published by Seventh Star Press
Amazon • Book Depository •
Paranormal investigators Brett and Liz find themselves back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a little surprise. Back home with their ghoulish house guest, it becomes clear there’s more to this investigation than either of them thought. Worse than that, Brett’s own fate is linked to the little ghoul’s.
So it’s back out on the road, with plenty of time for pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and even drinking and fighting alongside good ole Uncle Gonzo. But as the investigation goes deeper, and unseen connections come to light, Brett finds there’s much more at stake than getting through a rough patch with Liz.
A rescue mission. A race for a cure. New friends and old adversaries. Unbreakable bonds and supernatural danger. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can the friends save the nearly undead tween? Can she and Brett stop themselves from …Sinking Down?
Fourth-Wall Friday – January – June 2014 Signups now open
Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…
Interested in being part of Cabin Goddesses Fourth-Wall Friday? Sign up for a limited amount of spots open today. (Sign ups for January-June 2014). The 3rd Friday of each month is open for special events, such as book releases and tours. Contact me at email@example.com for more info. I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds! Or check out the PINTEREST board with every Fourth-Wall Friday pinned!
Allow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…