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Month: October 2019

Russian Sorcery

Another piece of flash fiction “Grigori” has been posted here on the site. This is a small seed based on a simple concept that occurred to me long ago: What if Grigori Rasputin actually survived all of the murderous methods used on him? I wanted to figure out how he would have possibly lived through that and then where would we have gone to avoid further attempts on his life? Faking his own death would have been a good choice, considering none of the killers would have believed that he lived anyway. And having him survive at all would definitely involve some of the “sorcery” that he was often accused of.

This story required a little bit of historical research, as I wanted to know what else was going on in the timeline that could be tied in. As it turns out, he was killed just before New Year’s Eve in 1916 in Saint Petersburg. And since 1917 was a breakout year for Joseph Stalin, I decided that Grigori managed to fake his death and take over Stalin’s life. To work in the rumors of sorcery, I landed on the idea that Rasputin did a literal body transference using the mysterious spiritual hangups he had with horses. In actual historical tales, he had an uncanny ability to heal horses just through touch alone. He also apparently had a serious way with women and had captivating eyes that were almost lupine. Good stuff.

Taking all of those ingredients, I wrote a story about Grigori pulling himself from the river where he supposedly drowned. He encounters a young Joseph Stalin and uses his horse to partial heal himself before transferring his spirit and taking over the country beginning in 1917. If this were to be expanded into a novel length work, I’d probably figure out how he exited Stalin’s life and where he went next, over and over, all the way into the near future where he had worked his way to the top of the global shadow governments. It’s probably not going to happen for me, but maybe someone else would be interested in writing it!

Ghostly Flash

There has been yet another writing challenge, this time a 250 word story involving “spirit”, “clapping” and “unconcious”. After discarding all of the obvious stories that come to mind, I focused on the clapping element, and wanted to do something different with it. There are a multitude of ways to interpret and convey clapping, but I settled on the applause angle. And why would there possibly be applause when a spirit is involved? How would one work in unconciousness other than just having someone faint from a ghostly encounter? Eventually, I settled on a ghost that performs to applause but then their costume falls unconcious. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction. Oh, man, that would have been a much better title. Just for reference, it’s called “The Method Actor” and it’s available here on the site.

Of course, once I’m done with a piece of flash fiction, I wonder how it would instead be written in full-length novel form. The ghost would need a fleshed out backstory, a motivation for sticking around a television studio, and a need to possess people so it could have some of the spotlight. The story would start way before the main character became a ghost and then continue through their death and the tribulations of acclamating to the spirit realm. The ghost would have to learn how to even possess someone and control them. What other characters would need to exist to support the story? How did the main character die? Accident, natural causes, murder are all the most obvious possibilities. So, something else happened to her. If you rule out those three types of death, that only leaves suicide and that’s boring. Which brings me to unnatural causes – something from the spirit realm selected her at random, or had some specific intent, or maybe there was a ritual involved. Hell, it could even be a secret project by a nefarious foreign government that went wrong. Or aliens. Let’s get crazy.

Anyway, let’s just say she had a genetic mutation that allowed her to achieve astral projection, and while she was skipping about town in spooky mode, her body was left alone too along and expired. It was a bit like leaving the milk out overnight. Oops.

Leading up to that moment though, she had spent a long few months playing with her ability and every time she used it, she became a little more unhinged. And in her daylife, she was a camera operator at a local television studio, just trying to get her foot in the door and working her way up to being in front of the cameras. She majored in theater production and media management after all.

It was on Halloween when she decided that a normal costume wasn’t sufficient – she really wanted to be someone else and began wondering about body possession. She managed it a few times with varying degrees of success and abject disaster. She had no idea that it would be become an essential part of her story later on.

After the scene where she possesses most of the studio audience, causing permanent damage to many of them in the process, she is revisited by spirits that have been pursuing her this whole time. They brought the muscle this time, too. They have some very unpleasant plans for her afterlife and her only hope is to completely replace the spirit of another person and take over their life permanently. I don’t know who it would be, but it would have to be someone from earlier in the story and she’d have to completely eradicate the displaced spirit, otherwise the afterlife police would be able to locate her.

I’ll certainly never write this novel, but it’s still fun to think what it might have been!