Flash Fiction

Almost Wordless Wednesday – #14

For this week’s writing prompt, we find ourselves in Waxahachie, Texas, thirty or so miles south of Dallas. (Trivia note: They filmed much of 1984’s “Places in the Heart” around here. This is the movie which garnered Sally Field her second Academy Award, and she uttered the infamous “…you like me… right now, you like me!…” lines during her acceptance speech.)

I am standing in front of what is known as the Catfish Plantation, looking away from the building.

It’s an 1895 Victorian house that was converted into a Cajun-themed restaurant in 1984. The food is delicious, and it’s often deep-fried. (You can order the hushpuppies as an appetizer, as they are that good. And we did.) During this visit, I ordered the crab cakes (the spices were stunning), the coleslaw (just the right creaminess, none of that dry-and-scratchy mess one often encounters) and the rice-and-beans (perfection; it spoke to me with poetic beauty). People come from miles around just to sample the goodness.

And they also come to see the ghosts. Or at least they hope to do so.

You see, the place is haunted.

No, really. It is.

The restaurant has been featured on a number of those “ghost-hunting” television shows, some cheesy and some very professional. All of the shows, even the most skeptical, come to the same general conclusion: Something is not right about this place.

And yes, I’ve had my own experiences there. (Most of them did not involve alcohol, should you be rightly wondering.) These occurrences run the gamut from things not being where I thought I left them on the table to cold spots, murmurings and whispers, and the sense that someone was with me in the bathroom, even though I was alone and the door was locked. (The bathroom is apparently a hot spot, something I didn’t know until I returned to the table, a bit on edge, and I had a chat with the server.)

No visuals, though. Not with me. But others have seen things, many of which are hand-documented in the “guestbook” in the lobby, which you can peruse whilst waiting for a table. (There is often a wait, as there are a limited number of tables, crammed in the various small rooms that are the signature of a Victorian house.) Many of the entries are benign and stupid, riddled with grammar and spelling errors. But some of them? They’ll make you wonder just exactly what you might be messing with here.

Which leads us to our challenge this week:

What the hell is up with that little building I snapped in front of the house? What purpose does it possibly serve? And is that Luminol dripping under the one window? Is this a crime scene? Is there a ghostly killer on the loose? Is he targeting the people who ordered the hushpuppies?

I don’t know.

This is where you step in and break it down for me with a bit of flash fiction in the comments.

Happy Halloween.

And cheers.

 

P.S. Don’t go in the bathroom without a potty buddy. Seriously.

 

22 replies »

  1. Great post, Brian 🙂 I like traveling this way, let others do the work and then read their stories.

    I like the idea that haunted places aren’t haunted, ghosts aren’t ghosts of dead people, those places are where there’s a thinning of the veil between timelines, where the past or future is happening as present in its timeline and it merges with our timeline, our present. So we see people from the past or future while they’re alive going about their life in their timeline and that’s what ghosts are… and they see us too as ghosts.

    So that presence in the bathroom was someone alive like you but in their own timeline… and that someone probably felt you as a presence and it spooked them. If their timeline was in the 80’s after the place became a restaurant, and it had the guestbook in those days too, maybe they wrote down their experience of meeting ghost-you in the bathroom in it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is brilliant.

      I hesitated at saying “haunted”, because that’s not really how I view the dimensional encounters that we have. But I cheated and went with that word so it would fit into the Halloween angle I mentioned at the end. I should have known better.

      I really love your concept of checking the guestbook to see if someone in the past recorded our “future” meeting. (In fact, I think I could get an entire novel out of that, but don’t hold your breath. I have focus issues.) I definitely plan to check the yellowed pages on our next visit, as I’m sure we’ll be back many times. If I see an entry that reads “I felt the presence of a neurotic gay man who babbled about taking old photos and turning them into twisted stories”, surely that’s got to be me. Right?

      Maybe we’ll drive down there tomorrow… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I actually thought about it being a ghost playhouse as well, as one of the “known” spirits folks claim to have seen is a young girl who is quite petulant about all these people being in “her” house.

      If you ever get a chance to visit, it’s really worth it. The food is delicious. The possibility of experiencing something a little strange? That’s just a bonus…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This little building is obviously a kennel for a short dog with a very long neck.
    On another note, I met a ghost once. He looked very much like Bruce Willis and insisted that ghosts didn’t exist. Odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, anupturnedsoul’s comment was terrific. Food for thought.

      As for a hushpuppy, it’s basically a ball of cornmeal that is deep-fried. Some folks are good with this procedure, some not so much, so there is definitely an art to it. At this establishment, they add a variety of spices to the cornmeal, including a touch of jalapeno, and they fry it just right so that the outside is crispy but the inside is soft yumminess. And they serve it with homemade ranch dressing for dipping. It can change your life… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • The ones I’ve been served (didn’t eat ’em as will be explained presently) had a hunk of onion stuck in the middle of the cornball. YUCK! Now I love cornbread and cornbread coating on fish and chicken and I’m a fan of corn bread over all. The puppy sounds delicious BY ITSELF. No sticking of onions or jalapenos in there please. Put some bacon in. Now that would be a TREAT! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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