Trifecta Writing Challenge: The Most Ghastly Phantom of All

The reason I could fall in love with so many women, so many times, was because I could fall out of it just as quickly. The concept of any permanence in a shared lifelong relationship seemed pretty mundane to me. I invented my ideal soul mate to be an unobtainable phantom of perfection I was sure I could only envision in my mind, a sensual conglomeration of all the very best traits I liked most about each of my other temporal partners, while utterly void of all their irritating annoyances. The beauty to my madness was that I knew I’d never allow myself to get strapped down to any one of them for too long – nobody except the one I was sure didn’t actually exist.

Then the day came when I was hit like a revolving door nicking my heel, causing me to trip up about the time I decided I was going to use it and then didn’t move in sync with the motion of its rhythm. She’d been right there, right in front of me, for most of my self-vexed life. She’d even stood back along the fringes of my bond-free destruction for the past handful of years, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses. Meanwhile, I’d tried every way I could to justify why she was all wrong for me. By the time I understood she was the epitome of everything I’d ever wanted, of everything right in my life, she vanished. She became every bit as intangible as I’d ever thought my phantasmal version of her was. Except…the more elusive she became, the more my desire to be with her was inflamed. As wretched as that sounds, the saddest part is, I gave up. Yep.  I was too tired from chasing my own fantastical version of her and too complacent to pursue authenticity with her. I settled, instead. Funny word. Settling. You see, when you do it, there’s nothing very settling about it at all, is there?


Now, onto this week’s prompt. We’re still not totally spooked out by you guys yet and we’re a little way from Halloween proper so get your ghoul glad rags on again this week. If there’s anyone who puts the ghoul in ghoulish, it’s you lot. Have fun and, as always, make sure you use the THIRD definition. This week we are back to entries of 33-333 words.

PHANTOM (noun)

1   a :  something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence :  APPARITION      b :  something elusive or visionary      c :  an object of continual dread or abhorrence

2 :  something existing in appearance only

3 :  a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

 – See more at:


22 thoughts on “Trifecta Writing Challenge: The Most Ghastly Phantom of All

  1. Liked the whole internal dialogue, especially the last part – “I settled, instead. Funny word. Settling. You see, when you do it, there’s nothing very settling about it at all, is there?” Such an invisible punch!

  2. Fantastic use of the prompt word – really great. Your first paragraph is really strong, especially the opening line. The bit about the revolving door, while a perfect image, came across a little “purple prose” to me. If you could simplify the metaphor a bit it would be great. All in all, nice job!

    • funny that you bring that up – that’s the one spot that I wanted the reader to feel but couldn’t quite get it to come out the way I wanted. And, here, I always liked the color purple…hehe

      • I think you can trim the language a bit and trust the reader to know how it feels – it’s happened to all of us, after all! It really is a great image for that part of the piece.

    • Kymm, you are so astute! Just hoping you all can forgive me for my own vanishing acts as my travel has been in the way of my presence as of late. 🙂 (oh, that it would bring better ventures than work-related ones! ha!)

    • So glad you like these too. 🙂 I always like imagining what complete strangers must be thinking! (I tried to entertain my hiking partner last weekend by making up stories of the people we passed coming down the mountain as we were going up & what they were all thinking about one another. I’m sick – I know! These are the kinds of things that make my life worthwhile! ha!)

  3. The opening paragraph is so amazing-how one deceives oneself ,giving excuses escape one’s inherent weaknesses but one can never escape destiny or Karma which boomerangs -wham and there one is back full circle!Loved the irony in here Jody and of course the perfectly poised writing of your’s 🙂

  4. oh I like this one. Sometimes they come back around. My boyfriend and I have known each other since we were 11. We both got married, had children, got divorced and have now been living together for the past two years. We wonder why we didn’t get together to begin with

    • I heard someone bemoan a similar circumstance once (the “what if” of not getting together with someone during an earlier time in life) & then I heard the other person make the very wise remark that, if they had, the hurt they had suffered might actually have come at the hands of one another (which truly would’ve been tragic). All good things happen in their own time. At least, I like to hold onto that belief. 🙂 So glad good things are happening for the two of you! May you enjoy it to the fullest!!!! 🙂

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