I love ghost stories.
But I’m also fascinated by story ghosts.
Not just ghosts in stories, but the ghosts of stories, and the ghosts of characters who no longer have a story. There are far more of these to be found in the Perilous Realm than one would think. Every time a story is no longer told by anyone, or gets swallowed up by a story that has grown large and popular, the old story doesn’t just vanish suddenly but slowly fades away, remaining as a ghostly trace of what it once was, in the memories of storytellers and in other stories, too. Everyone believes that the big, new, important story is the only one that matters, but if you look carefully, you can still see the story ghosts hovering on the edges of the tale.
I’ve visited storylands where I’ve had the distinct feeling that there were other stories lurking inside this one, stories that had almost been forgotten. And then there are the story ghosts of “what might have been.” A story will be going along just fine, but every so often, you get a glimpse of the story that might have happened if things had gone a little differently, or if the storyteller had explored a little deeper in the shadowy corners of her own story rather than going down the same well-worn paths that she had always taken.