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The house came cheap; I wasn’t surprised. It was getting on in years, not run down yet but probably requiring a little more attention than it did in its youth. And then, of course, there were the rumors.

Haunted, said some of the locals.

No such thing, argued others, but even they admitted that there had been a mysterious disappearance a couple decades ago, and the new owners hadn’t been able to keep a renter there for more than half a year since. The most recent tenants lasted barely a month before hightailing it out without a backwards glance.

“What form does this ‘haunting’ take?” I asked my cashier as I picked up some groceries.

“I’ve never seen it,” he admitted, “but I’ve heard it’s mostly things like flickering lights, things turning themselves on or off, that sort of stuff.”

“Faulty wiring,” said an older man standing behind me in the line, “mark my words. It was built long enough ago to start with, and maybe whoever did the installation did a rotten job.”

“You couldn’t pay me to live there,” the cashier insisted.

--

The lights did flicker, mostly with the faint spastic buzz of old electrical lines. I learned to ignore it, for the most part. Once I was brushing my teeth and the bathroom was plunged into sudden darkness, jolting my heart into my throat and making me swallow half the toothpaste.

When I replaced the bulb, I found that the old one didn’t rattle, and the new still didn’t work. Then I flipped the switch to ‘off’ on a whim, and the light came back.

I’d never heard of a circuit doing that before. But then, I wasn’t an electrician, and ghosts didn’t exist, of course.

--

The house had come furnished. Nothing fancy; most of it was worn and well-used, flowered curtains and corduroy couch and an older television in the living room. Mostly I preferred my laptop for mindless entertainment, but the house wasn’t wired for the internet, and the closest neighbor’s spotty open connection didn’t do me much good. In the end, it was boredom and curiosity that had me powering the TV up and browsing through what was available as part of the utilities package.

Not much, it turned out, but to my pleasant surprise the TV performed far better than any other appliance, switch, or outlet in the house, never fuzzing or cutting out. It was, despite its relative age, impeccable, with sound and picture quality as crisp and real as if I was simply looking through a window into the images beyond - easily as good as most modern flatscreens I’d seen.

It nearly made up for owning a toaster which always popped too early or else far, far too late and light switches that changed off to on every other day.

--

“Tell me about the person who disappeared.”

“Not much to tell. Grace Adams, lived there with her parents. One night they went to bed, and the next day she was gone. Nothing of hers missing but the clothes on her back, all the windows shut and the doors still locked on the inside, according to them. Plenty of rumors of course, but nothing ever got proven.”

“So then they sold the house…”

“Yep. Couldn’t stand living there anymore, apparently. Mrs. Adams was having some kind of mental breakdown over it. Most of the furniture there used to be theirs; new owners just tried to turn it around into a short-lease rental place for students or vacationers. Probably regret buying it every time someone skips out on their lease because they got spooked.”

“What kind of spooks? Anything aside from the faulty wiring?”

He leaned forward and whispered with relish:

“Some say they hear the girl on the phone lines.”

--

There was a landline in the house, though it was disconnected; I had my cell, and that was enough. After hearing the old man’s story, I made sure the line was unplugged as well. I didn’t believe in ghosts, but since it wasn’t necessary anyhow it didn’t need to drain any power. Bad enough that various lights got tripped and ran when I didn’t want them to.

I watched the local news that night, which was mostly weather reports and a piece on the upcoming farmer’s market season. Once again, the quality was excellent. It was almost as if they were in the room itself. One girl in the background of a shot looked right at the camera. It felt as though our gazes met. I glanced away, and when I looked back she had left the frame.

Lucky shot, I thought. I turned the TV off and went to bed, though it took me a long time to fall asleep. Her eyes had been grey.

--

The landline was ringing. I answered. No one was on the other end.

It was still unplugged.

--

Another night, another local news hour, another glimpse of the grey-eyed girl in the background of a shot. She must’ve been someone who lived in town, someone very good at finding the camera and looking into its lens at just the right angle. This time she smiled and beckoned before vanishing into the crowd.

I almost felt as though I could reach out and touch them, looking at the screen. I caught myself with my fingers an inch from the glass.

I lay in bed until the morning birds began to sing.

--

The phone rang again. I ignored it. My cell rang, plugged in to charge, and I answered.

“Will you come?” asked a girl’s voice. I didn’t recognize her. I hung up. The lights flicked on and off, and the microwave hummed in the kitchen.

--

I turned on the TV and she stood right in front of the camera, smiling at me. She reached forward. The depth was amazing; she almost seemed to be reaching out of the device itself.

Unthinking, I reached back.

Her touch was like static, and the house was gone.
Challenge: Technohorror Genre.

Must use a randomly generated weapon and trope. I got TV for a weapon (loosely interpreted as such), and TV Portal for a trope. They just went together.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2018-08-10
Static by Oreramar ( Suggested by TheSkaBoss and Featured by BeccaJS )
:iconjessamar:
JessaMar Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
For some reason, I find myself thinking that the girl is not hostile and the narrator's new adventure will be something wonderful.
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:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2018   Digital Artist
That would be a twist.
Reply
:icondenlm:
denlm Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2018
I can forgive the slight nod to Poltergeist because the POV and visuals are so clean and compelling. What worked the best for me? What I feel is your true strength? Your pacing, the rhythm, the short direct sentences that pull a reader along--it's almost irresistible. Simple wording, sophisticated technique. Nothing to intimidate a reader, or make them shy away for fear a piece will be pompous or overblown. Makes me want to read more of your work, which is a huge plus for an author.  
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:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2018   Digital Artist
If there seemed to be a nod to anything, I can promise it was unintentional. I don't watch or read horror myself - I can't handle it. It scares me too much.

And thank you so much for the comment and the kind words! You just made my day.
Reply
:icondenlm:
denlm Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2018
You’re welcome. And it was my pleasure totally.
Reply
:iconlindartz:
LindArtz Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nicely done! :clap:!!!

Congratulations on your much deserved DD!  :)
For My Personal Use DO NOT USE!!! by LindArtz
Reply
:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018
An excellent read!
Reply
:iconsilkej:
SilkeJ Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2018
Great work :)
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2018   Writer
Great story, and great tension-building. Congratulations on the DD!
Reply
:icon20yilgy12:
20yilGy12 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018
Wow please let there be a part two
Reply
:iconexplosionmare:
ExplosionMare Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cool story!
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
:)
Reply
:iconbanatkd:
Banatkd Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Does this have a part two? I'd love to read more of this story.
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Nope, afraid not. I intended it to end here for good; I think continuing it in any way might just spoil the effect somewhat. But thank you!
Reply
:iconbanatkd:
Banatkd Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
:' ( I can respect that. : )
Reply
:iconchampionx91:
Championx91 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconchampionx91:
Championx91 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2018
You're welcome! :love:
Reply
:iconchikendoodlesup:
ChikenDoodleSup Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Student
Congrats on the DD, n woahh this is beautifull n fun to read 👏👏👏🙂😁
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconchikendoodlesup:
ChikenDoodleSup Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Student
You’re welcome!! 😊👍👍
Reply
:iconlipsterleo:
LipsterLeo Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Well done, and clever use of a trope. Congrats on the DD. Well deserved. Clap Clap Clap Clap 
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:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconlindartz:
LindArtz Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nicely done!! :clap:!!
Congratulations on your much deserved DD!  :)
For My Personal Use DO NOT USE!!! by LindArtz
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Thanks so much!
Reply
:iconlukasfractalizator:
LukasFractalizator Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, what a read! Congratulations on your DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2018   Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icontheskaboss:
TheSkaBoss Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
oooooooooooooooooooooo I LOVED this! Such well-paced creepy horror! :la: :la:

-Lyrrie
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:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018   Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconjes6ica:
jes6ica Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017
Oh oh oh! Would you be willing to submit this for the Myths, Monsters, Mutations anthology? :)
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017   Digital Artist
I would! I also have The Spirit of the Tower and perhaps The Dragon's Curse from this year's batch which might fit the monsters theme as well, though I'd understand if these two aren't quite what you're after. :)
Reply
:iconjes6ica:
jes6ica Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017
Oh, great! I'll have a look! I'm being pretty flexible with theme, because I want to encourage creativity.
Reply
:iconwindysilver:
WindySilver Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Whoa, what a story! I love how the things started escalating! And this was my favourite line: I’d never heard of a circuit doing that before. But then, I wasn’t an electrician, and ghosts didn’t exist, of course.

The narrator's so convinced ghosts don't exist :lol:
Reply
:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2017   Digital Artist
So very, very convinced. Or maybe trying to be convinced? :D
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:iconwindysilver:
WindySilver Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Perhaps :'D
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:iconvigour-mortis:
vigour-mortis Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Very well done. The narrative style works well.
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017
The scary parts are really effective. :no: Good job creeping me out.
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:iconoreramar:
Oreramar Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017   Digital Artist
I nearly creeped myself out writing it, so thank you!
Reply
:iconbookcrusher:
bookcrusher Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Student Writer
Wow, that was... great. I was really sucked into the scenes, and though I never really learned about the narrator but I could somehow connect with his (or her) thoughts.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017   Writer
I could more or less see where this was going, but all the same the rising atmosphere of creepiness is very effective. It was still unplugged is my favourite line.
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