Post-Midnight Drive, Part 3
A Story Prompted by Storymatic
As a way of encouraging (or forcing) myself to be creative while quarantined, and while I procrastinate on revising my work in progress, I busted out my Storymatic cards. I figure a daily writing prompt for my blog will help me commit to writing every day without the pressure that comes along with working on a manuscript that I actually care about. The premise is simple: I have to draw two character cards and two scenario cards, and I have to use those to create some kind of narrative in approximately 500 words. I'll use tomorrow's prompt to continue what I start today. I can't guarantee the story will be any good, but at least it's one more way for me to stay creative when inspiration and motivation are hard to find. (Read Part 1 of the story here and read Part 2 of the story here.)
The next thing Paul knew, he was continuing on his midnight ride with Boo in the passenger seat.
“So…” Paul began, unsure exactly of how to continue their conversation, “what exactly does a spirit guardian do?”
“As I said,” Boo told him, “we’re like ghostly babysitters. We are each assigned a mortal in need of being watched. I’ve been waiting for a mortal to come along for quite some time.”
“And you know that I’m your mortal because…how?”
Boo gave what sounded like a little laugh, though Paul wasn’t sure exactly what the sound was supposed to be. It sounded almost melodic or musical. “Because we made contact.”
Paul cast side-eye at the spirit, which was hovering—not exactly sitting—in the passenger seat beside him. “Ah.”
“I waited at that gas station for weeks,” Boo continued. “I followed another mortal there because I thought she was meant to be my charge.”
“Really?” Paul muttered, not exactly listening. He had never expected this to happen just because he stopped for gas. It was really pretty terrible for his anxiety.
“I followed her from the graveyard,” Boo explained. “I wasn’t able to tell much about her because I didn’t spend much time around her. But her name was Katelyn, and she was an investigative journalist. She was previously a performer of some kind when she was young, but she chose a different career path as she got older.”
“Her mind was much easier to read than yours is,” Boo added. “She must have known I was following her because she pulled over at that parking lot with the intention of leaving me. She didn’t want me following her home.”
Well, that part Paul could definitely relate to. He didn’t want a ghostly babysitter following him home either.
“So, does everyone have a spirit guardian?” he asked.
“Oh, no, not at all,” Boo replied. “Only certain mortals, those who need someone looking out for them.”
“I don’t mean to be rude,” Paul said. “But I’m better off on my own.”
“That’s what you might think,” Boo replied. “But I cannot betray my duty to guard you. At least until you no longer need me.”
Paul ignored this last part as he looked in his rearview mirror. There was another car following him. How long had it been behind him? He couldn’t remember when it was that he first noticed it, but it might have been following them since they had left the rest stop parking lot.
What he couldn’t have known—what even Boo couldn’t have known—was that it was Katelyn who was in the car trailing them. She had been on her beat that night when she saw the man and the ghost make contact. Her late-night attempt to scout out Martian spacecrafts and UFOs for Paranormal Weekly had been going on since midnight and proving completely futile.
As she came out of the cornfield where she’d been watching the skies (Martian spacecrafts and UFOs were always best witnessed from cornfields, she assumed), she saw the young man and the spirit in the parking lot. She stopped to watch them.
Katelyn recognized the spirit. It had tried to follow her home from an investigation of a haunted graveyard a few weeks prior. As much as she loved the supernatural, she wasn’t interested in being haunted, so she had done what any wise person would have done: She made a stop along the way to get the spirit off her trail and prevent it from following her home.
When she was watching the young man and the ghost talk in the parking lot, she realized that she might have been witnessing her next big break in paranormal investigation. She hadn’t had a good story pan out ever since she ventured down this career path, and to say she was having trouble making ends meet would be an understatement.
“This might be it,” she told herself as she watched the young man and ghost drive off together. “If there’s a story here, I might actually be able to afford cable.”