Good Narrative Principles

What Sybil Saw


IMG_4403Sybil’s bread and butter was ghost stories. Despite the fact that she could have kicked back years ago with the money her books pulled in, a highly successful series adapted to TV and action figures, Sybil genuinely liked scaring herself. She collected ideas around creepy situations, locations and characters the way her friends collected friends on FB. She was known for finding the genuinely scary in the ordinary and seemingly innocuous. A school bus, a flower shop, a Crossing Guard had all served as vehicles for fear, fright and ghostly vengeance. With so much money at her disposal, Sybil decided it was high time she moved to a new place. “No haunted castles for me,” she crooned into the moist air of her new co-op overlooking the Hudson River. She never stopped to wonder why an owner of a four bedroom Pre-War apartment was suddenly so eager to sell. Like a character in one of her stories, she took in the sweep of the glittering landscape below and signed eagerly on the dotted line. But that night, her first night in her new place, Sybil witnessed the strange, the unfamiliar and yes, the frightening. Nothing even that exotic, she admitted days later. Doors opened without explanation, a plate or two sailed across the room and crashed. Sybil reacted the way countless of her characters would in similar circumstances. She ran.

The next day, unable to come to grips with the reality of what was until now a product of her active imagination, Sybil retired.

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