[ rəm-bəs-chəs ]
- Boisterous or unruly.
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, painting, dance move—inspired by the word, rumbustious, where does it take me? Where does it take you? Learn more about “The Word” here.
He tried to ignore them and concentrate on his work, but to say they were intrusive was an understatement.
“Please, listen to us,” Betty said.
“Yes, just listen,” Karl added.
Sam turned around from his computer to face the semi-transparent crowd in his bedroom. They all looked to be from different times. Betty dressed like a quaker from the colonial period, Karl like a medieval knight, and David was a clear sixties hippie. At least, that’s who they were before they all died. Now, the three of them, and the dozen others behind them, were a pure pain in the neck.
“Guys,” Sam said, speaking the words in his head. “I’m not trying to ignore you, but I have real-life stuff to get done.”
“Your homework,” said David, “is hardly a priority compared with what we’re trying to tell you!”
“I heard this already,” Sam spoke in his mind again but groaned aloud. “I’m not some heroic figure. I’m not going to run off to do what my ‘imaginary friends‘ tell me to do. That’s literally what crazy people are known for.”
“But you know,” Betty said in her stern voice, “that we are not imaginary, and we have never led you astray before.”
“Yea,” Karl agreed with Betty, as he always did. “You’ve listened to our lead before, what’s the problem now?”
Behind Karl, Betty, and David, the others all nodded and chimed in with various sentiments of further agreements.
“I don’t know,” Sam pondered with attitude, “what on Earth could be different?” He rolled his eyes, and Betty put her hands on her hips. “Before now, you gave me advice on how to avoid trouble, or directed me towards books I’d love, and now…”
“Sometimes,” David said, “we must answer a call beyond what we planned for our lives. We must rise to what we are truly capable—”
“Damn it, David!” Sam stood up…
… “I’m not leaving home in the middle of my senior year to go chasing after some—”
Sam heard someone climbing the stairs. He sat back at his desk and calmed his breathing. A moment later and his mother was knocking on the door.
“Yea,” Sam called over his shoulder, eyes on the essay he’d been trying to write.
“Honey?” his mother said, and Sam spun in his chair to face her. “Did I hear…”
“Hear what, mom?” Did I say some of that out loud?
“I thought I heard you say… David.”
“Oh…. yea… I was on the phone with someone from school… about the essay.”
“I’m sorry, I just thought… You’re not seeing imaginary friends again, are you?”
“What? Mom, that was like… a decade ago, I don’t even remember it.”
“Sorry, honey,” his mom said, backing away towards the door. “It was just a strange time, but I’m glad you don’t remember. I heard the name David, and it brought it all back up!” She laughed, with still that hint of worry.
“Well, nothing to worry about, mom,” said Sam. “I gotta get back to this essay, though.”
“Of course,” she said with a smile and slowly left the room.
Sam looked over his shoulder to the crowd of semi-transparent people, all feigning quiet and frozen motionless as if anyone else could see or hear them. Sam shook his head and went back to his essay.
Nothing like a cool ghost story! Especially one with “rumbustious” ghosts! lol. For this one, though, I imagine a mix of something like National Treasure, or Indiana Jones, meets A Beautiful Mind, or The Sixth Sense. Not horror, but an adventure story, guided by ghosts. Maybe throw Casper in there for the friendly part!
So, why does Sam see these ghosts? What was his childhood really like, because he clearly remembers? There’s an interesting backstory that we can explore while exploring the mystery of what his friends want him to do.
We can even get some cool backstory on all the individual ghosts protecting Sam and guiding him. What was their life was like? Maybe we’ll also uncover a specific thread they each have in common, a thread that brings them together to help Sam accomplish his goal?
This is sounding more exciting to me by the second!
What do you think of Rumbustious?
Create a new ghost other than Betty, Karl, and David! What’s their name and the time they lived/died?
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did rumbustious or my story take you?
If you liked this story, check out my podcast of short stories, More Than A Story.
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