Note: If any of you are reading this, I'm honored because one, I've been a bad absent fanfic writer, and two, Harvest Moon and horror/supernatural isn't a popular combo. But having been persuaded by the boyfriend, and watching one too many episodes of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, I realize I want to explore the supernatural and horror genres. This idea has been stewing for a good month, rewritten over and over, and now I can safely say I like where the story is headed.
So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the first part of the first arc of my fic:
"When one creates phantoms for oneself, one puts vampires into the world, and one must nourish these children of a voluntary nightmare with one's blood, one's life, one's intelligence, and one's reason, without ever satisfying them."
Her breathing starts out slow, like the beginning of a love song. She shuts her eyes and the room disappears, transforming into a world where footsteps don't follow you and tomorrow's always sunny. She's shuddering. She knows she shouldn't be.
What a pure, perfect body.
Eyes snap open. She's facing that old mirror once again, and ocean eyes stare back at her, eyes that once sparkled with life. Now they're hollow. They shouldn't be. Behind her there's nothing, just mocking shadows. Still, she keeps turning behind her, breath caught in her throat. No one stands there. Just that pale, lanky woman in the mirror. Where's the blood in this white body? Why are only those trembling lips blood red? She's the same girl she was yesterday.
…She should be.
What a disgustingly perfect body. Like a doll.
There's nothing behind her, nothing beside her. Big blue eyes dart back and forth—no, just her in the mirror, but it's not her, because in that mirror her hands are moving. She's the same girl she was yesterday, smiling and laughing with her hands by her sides…or clasped before her…but never clasped about her—
Let's play a game, little doll.
The scream dies as those long, perfect fingers wrap about her throat. The woman in the mirror is smiling, laughing, her hands by her sides as they should be. The girl in the room crumples to the floor, face as blue as eyes brimming with tears.
Oh, my poor little dolly. Did I drop you?
The Ghost Arc:
I don't know if I believe in fate. At the same time, I can tell you I believe in luck, and I can tell you that Mineral Town has showered with me it since my arrival. Maybe not the kind of luck you always think of—like winning the lottery, or something—but you've probably never known small town living. "Man, you're in for hell," some told me, but they haven't woken up to dawn over rolling hills or a breakfast of freshly squeezed milk. "If this is hell," I'd laughed back, "sign me up for damnation."
"You got yourself situated?" my assistant asks, and I turn to see Ann stretching her arms. "I swear, you city boys and your junk."
"You know you love me."
"Yeah, yeah. I'll love not having to clean up after you anymore." After rooming at the Inn for a good week, the innkeeper's daughter had become all too familiar with my messy habits and laundry. I can still hear the scream from the first cleaning day—"Good Goddess, he's an animal! A filthy piggish animal!" Luckily, even animals have their uses, and Ann had learned she could shove a broom or two on this particular pig. "So. Nice place you got here, huh?"
I snort. "Sort of?"
"You've got four walls, a bed, a kitchen, and…y'know, a giant mound of dirt that could almost be a field. Pretty nice, all things considered."
"Uh huh. Sure."
I start to shove my clothes into drawers and ignore her. "Where did you put my boxers?"
"Oh for Goddess's sake, I tried to block those from my memory…"
I squint at the sunlight pouring in from the window. Ann's kinda right, it's not such a bad place. Mahogany furniture, nice wood floors, and could there be anything softer than this bed? Sure, the kitchen ware leaves a little something to be desired, but… "Oh, hey." I stand up and tilt my head; yes, there's something in the corner, definitely. Something shiny, reflective. "Ann, could you tell me--?"
Boxers slap me in the face. "Found them," she chirps.
"Never. Mind." Deadpan, I yank the stupid thing from my face and hurl it into the drawer as Ann falls onto the floor giggling in delight. Typical. "How old are we? Five?"
"Y-you, you're just so fun to tease, honestly! So easy to make the city boy puff up." I roll my eyes, and she skips over, pinching my cheek. "You know you love me," she mimics me, and I swat her away as she begins giggling again. "Oh, come on, Jack—"
I return to that corner, and the light blinds me again. Hand covering my eyes, I stumble forward and reach for something cold, metallic—"Holy shit!" My shriek echoes off the walls and drags a terrified Ann to my side. Something's wrong in both our voices, broken. I can hear our heartbeats synchronizing: thump…thump…thumpthumpthump—!
"What the hell, Jack?!" Ann screams into my ear. "What was that for?" She points with a single finger before us. "You want me to have a heart attack and die over a mirror?"
It's true. It's just a mirror. Ann's reflection looks just as ready to kill me as her face does up close, and, sweating, I try to offer her a smile. "Er. It looked like someone was there, is all."
"Did he happen to look like an idiot in a baseball cap?"
"City boys!" Ann yanks my hat down over my eyes. "Blind, all of you! Blind and senseless."
I adjust my cap as she stomps over to my boxes to continue unpacking. Her arms are still trembling. In fact, her whole body is shaking. I swallow and try to pretend I don't want to steady her. "Hey, uh."
Her head snaps up to look at me. "What?"
She turns away again. "Great."
"Yep." I cough.
"You could, uh, say something to me now."
"Like I forgive you?" For the final time, Ann swerves to face me. Those blue eyes harden on me for just a moment, and the whole room goes still before she begins to laugh. It sounds inappropriate, almost. Off-key and tasteless. "You're funny, you know that, Jack? Funny as hell."
Gray pisses me off. Maybe he shouldn't, but the blacksmith gets on my nerves in a way very few people can. Quiet people. Grumpy people. "You want another round?" I ask him when Ann comes by, and he grunts again, a broken record. "Damn, with that kind of eloquence the ladies must love you."
"Not everyone listens to boys who cry wolf," the waitress quips, and is it my imagination, or does Ann knock the pepper onto my lap on purpose? "Excuse me, I'll go get a napkin to clean that right up."
"And what I find funny is that he's the one insulting my charm and appeal," Gray says with a smirk. I just could smack him right now. I really could. At the same time, I'm not willing to engage in any fistfight with a guy who handles hammers all day long.
My salvation comes in the form of a purple bandana and a melodic laugh: Kai saunters into the Inn and plops himself beside us both with his cocky signature smile. "Hey boys, how's the evening? Still young, I hope?" I know it's a cliché, but I swear, that boy's eyes twinkle.
"If that rascal over there has any more drinks, probably not," Ann interjects, who has reappeared with a napkin and the same smirk I saw Gray wearing a while ago. "Jack, I swear, you are just the messiest boy. Pepper? Really?"
"What! But you're the one who—"
"Blaming a girl. Nice," Gray comments. "Bet that nets you all sorts of women."
"Oh, go to hell!" I look to Kai for assistance and he just smiles.
"Not your day, eh, bro?"
"Understatement," I respond. "I've gotten two people pissed at me at once."
A clink of silverware on the table, and Ann curtly responds, "Maybe you shouldn't give us reasons to be." Gray nods. I wonder if they're exchanging notes under the table, theorizing ways to demonize me more. "Drink, Kai?"
"Wine's fine," the cook says easily. He looks at me and grins. "Eh, it's all sour grapes until you turn it into wine, my friend. Drink it up."
"I hate you all."
They all laugh. Even Gray, the morose lump of misery we've all come to know and (almost) love. "Get another drink for my friend, too," Kai throws in.
Ann hesitates. "Well…"
"I'll walk him out if he's a little unstable," the traveler assures her. I open my mouth to protest—I was a frat boy once, and my stomach wasn't called iron for nothing—but Kai shakes his head at me.
"I don't like this, but okay." The redhead sighs and slings over two bottles for our drinking pleasure. "If you kill yourself blame Kai, not me."
"I've got no skeletons in my closet, lady," Kai laughs. "But hey, I could shelter one if needed. There's room enough."
"I'm not going to die over a stupid bottle of wine!"
The waitress ruffles my hair affectionately. "Which is a true shame, Jack. Imagine how much quieter our life would be without you."
Glaring at her, I guzzle the whole sucker down just to spite her.
That's when the room gets a little bit fuzzy.
"Man, you gotta lose some weight. I can't do this every night." Kai's lilting laughter brings me to reality and I duck my head in shame. My frat days are long over and whatever happened in the Inn, I couldn't tell you now. But my head hurts like a real sick mofo. "You're a real piece of work, eh?"
"Where are we going?" I groan.
"Somewhere far away from kitchen tables. You hit your head pretty bad, bro."
I lick my lips and taste a little bit of blood. "Damn Ann."
"You'd probably be stuck in hell with her, so be careful 'bout wishing that." The little farm comes into view, and Kai dumps me in front of the door with no ceremony at all. "You got the keys, man?"
I fumble about my pockets. "Yeah."
"See you later. Don't do anything stupid tomorrow, my friend."
"I'll see what I can do." The bandana'd silhouette slowly tapers off into the distance, and I wipe my face. Gah, sweat. Gross. The keys slip and slide in my hands and I accidentally use the wrong one before I get the door unlocked. The room's a pit of darkness when I creep in, and the door slams behind me loud enough to wake the dead. I blame my nerves on the alcohol. My hands peel off my shirt and begin to unbutton my overalls when another loud sound assaults my ears. "Shit." I try to ignore it, but the sound intensifies, and I can't pretend that someone isn't knocking on my door. "Alright, hold on, hold on." I shuffle my overalls back on and open the door wide. "Yeah?"
"Hello. You're Jack, right?" And I don't know if it's the alcohol, I'm sleepwalking, or what, but some gorgeous blonde girl is standing at my door, smiling at me like the very angel of heaven. "Nice to meet you. I'm Claire."