Sunday, January 13, 2013

How I Found a Fuzzy Beaver While Looking for a Kidney

Just like the incident with my Grandma's vibrator, the beaver story takes a little explanation.  "Beaver" and "human kidney" don't often appear in the same sentence, much less be tied together by a haunted house.

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My mom and dad found out about me about three days before I was born.  It wasn't like Mom had no idea she was pregnant.  She just didn't know I was hiding behind my sister.  It wasn't long before the whole family realized two adults, a four-year-old, and a set of newborn twins weren't going to fit into a two-bedroom trailer house.

My grandmother lived in the large ranch house at the time, and she had planned on eventually putting in a new double-wide for herself so my family could move into the seven-bedroom yellow house, what we grew up calling the big house.  She graciously offered to move up her plans to ease the housing squeeze.

My brother, at four years old, noticed that something wasn't quite right in the big ranch house while they were moving in.  My grandmother never went upstairs.  He noticed that the upstairs was full-on creepy:  cobwebs and dust cloths everywhere, the whole nine yards.  Shortly after the house was cleaned and my family moved in the upstairs bedrooms, the noises started.

When my sister and I were still infants, the upstairs hallway had hardwood floors, as well as the closed-in porch.  One night my mom was reading on her bed at the end of the hall.  She heard boots come down the hall, then a voice whispered, "Pat?"

She immediately thought it was weird that Dad would call her "Pat," because he only ever called her, "Patty."  She looked in the hallway and no one was there.  She groused all the way downstairs and asked Dad what he wanted.  He'd actually been downstairs the entire time.

It really creeped my mother out.  The ranch house is twenty miles from the nearest town and at least two miles from the nearest neighbor.  The pack of barking border collies ensures we know if we have visitors.  There wasn't anyone else within several miles that could have slipped in the house and talked to her, and Dad wouldn't lie about something like that.   Doors would often open and shut on their own, and occasionally some freaky-ass noises originated in the attic, but boot steps were the most common noise heard.

Mom carpeted the upstairs to stop the boot steps, but didn't put any on the upstairs porch because it was unheated and mostly unused.  On Thanksgiving Day in '96, everyone but Dad was downstairs, and the steps we heard were heavy enough to shake the chandeliers.  When Dad came back in from outside, we asked him why he'd been on the upstairs porch.  He replied that he'd been feeding calves.

A skeptic could say that Dad was the source of the noises, but in this case he couldn't have slipped by all of us to get upstairs and couldn't have used the outside entrance because the door was frozen shut.

*Insert Twilight Zone theme*

Incidents too numerous to count occurred through the years, to the point of coming home to find every light in the house on and my brother sitting wild-eyed on the couch with a shotgun in his lap.  My family enjoyed regaling visitors with the numerous stories.

All of my nieces and nephews grew up hearing things, and last summer several distant cousins came to stay at the farm.  My nephews took delight in regaling the girls with ghost stories.

Finally, one of the girls asked, "Who's haunting the house?"

My nephew replied, "We think it was Grandpa Art." **

"Why?"

"Because he died in the house.  Right upstairs."

The girls looked around nervously.

I added, "He died of kidney failure.  Wanna see his kidney?"

The girls, naturally intrigued, followed me upstairs to the office.  While looking for Grandpa Art's kidney, I opened the closet door and a fluffy beaver skin fell out.  I had thought I knew all of the oddities contained in the old farmhouse, so I was a little surprised to find the beaver skin.

I confess that I had intentionally mislead the girls into thinking it was his actual kidney, mostly to see the looks on their faces.  After rooting around behind the space previously occupied by the beaver, I found Grandpa Art's artificial kidney.  Dad had kept it after his death because he thought it was pretty cool.  And, it is.  I even took it to show and tell in second grade.

Too bad I didn't know about the beaver when I was in grade school.  I loved to gross out the prissy girls, so the dead beaver skin would have been epic.

**This is the most common theory as to what's causing the haunting.  I honestly don't have a fucking clue.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Guest Post by Rachel Carrington-Enjoy Olive Garden


Enjoy Olive Garden
Guest Post by Rachel Carrington

When my assistant told me I had been graciously allowed to guest post at Cowgirl Contemporary Fantasy, I was excited. I love Scooter's stories and her sense of humor, especially her October 2011 post, Naughty Minds.

So in the interest of keeping with the humor aspect, I thought I'd share my latest faux pas. In the interest of full disclosure, I was extremely busy this holiday season (as most of us are), and I was frantically trying to finish a writing goal I'd set for myself. So I was admittedly a little scatterbrained.

Usually, I sent gift cards to my friends who live out of town because I don't like having to lug big boxes to the post office, and I don't know what they already have in their house. So I stuffed the cards in the envelopes, wrote an appropriately gushy note under the card's sentiment, and stuck the cards in the mail slot to await the forthcoming bouts of gratitude. (Hey, occasionally, my friends do remember to say thanks!)

So on the Friday after Christmas, I received a call from a friend who lives several states away from me. She asked me what my note meant on the card, adding that I'd written "Enjoy Olive Garden." Now, who doesn't enjoy Olive Garden, but it's not a sentiment I would ordinarily write...until I remembered I'd included a gift card. I reminded my friend of that in a somewhat pompous tone of voice since I thought the answer should have been obvious.

My friend's response? You didn't include a gift card. Huh. So I searched through all of my wrapping paper and leftover Christmas tags, looking for that card I'd inadvertently left out. All to no avail. Practically panicked, I headed to my receipts. (Yes, I keep them organized, but that's another story.)

While my friend remained on the phone with me, I discovered not only had I not lost the gift card to Olive Garden, I'd never even made the trip to the restaurant to purchase it. Yet, I had scratched it off my list. My friend thought this was extremely hilarious, especially since I'd been so sure she was the one who was slightly off her rocker.

Needless to say, today, I made a trip to Olive Garden. And at the rate my schedule is going now, she might get the card by mid-January.

About Me

I started writing years ago, and my first attempt was a contemporary romance that will never see the light of day. I think I may even have thrown it away by now. It was absolutely horrific as I knew nothing about well…anything to do with writing.

After that, I started writing fantasy romances about wizards and wizards, and once those took off, I segued to paranormal romances (hello, vampires and ghosts) and romantic suspense. I also write articles for various magazines, including The Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Magazine, Writer’s Weekly, Writing for Dollars, Absolute Write, and Funds for Writers.

I’m fortunate to make my home in historical Charleston, South Carolina. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. When I’m not writing, I love to read paranormal romance, romantic suspense, young adult fantasy and paranormal, create videos, shop, cross-stitch, cook, and drink lots of coffee.

My latest release, Waking Up Immortal, is an adventurous, romantic blend of science fiction and fantasy, and it's available now from several online retailers.

You can find me all over the internet, but here are just a few of the places:
My website: www.dawnrachel.com
Twitter@rcarrington2004
Facebook: rachelcarringtonwrites
Pinterest: rcarrington2004
Goodreads: rcarrington2004
Wattpad: http://wattpad.com/RachelCarrington