An inktober story
For Inktober this year I wanted to practice my storytelling and my character consistency. To be honest, ink was just an afterthought. I enjoyed working with ink for the first couple of weeks and went full on black and white this year – but the second half of the month was a struggle.
I didn’t seem to get any better with my ink washes or my brush pen so fell back on the old faithful microns to do most of the heavy lifting.
While I didn’t really enjoy working with ink, or with such a monotone palette, I did really love watching my story of Bell, the world’s youngest paranormal investigator come to life on the pages of my sketchbook.
I wrote a cut down version of the story for my instagram posts this year, but really liked the longer version I started with – so thought I’d pop it in the blog for future reference.
Bell, Bear and Baguette
Meet Bell, the youngest and most esteemed ghost hunter of her generation. But Bell did not liked to be called a ghost hunter. She didn’t hunt ghosts, or harm them or capture them to harness their energy for evil.
She helped them.
Bell was named after the infamous Bell Witch poltergeist. While she didn’t particularly appreciate being named after a malevolent spirit, she had to admit, Bell was a pleasant sounding name.
Bell came from a long long line of paranormal investigators. Her mother and father were the famous Ghost Hunters Meryl and Deryl Von Ipshwich. (Their real names were Steve and Janet Morris, which simply hadn’t fit their exciting lifestyle, so they had them legally changed in the 70s.)
Bell did not hunt the common poltergeist.
She did not ever meet a ghost with unfinished business.
She never came across someone stuck in purgatory, between life and death.
No. bell’s ghosts were different. They were MUCH MORE erratic, MUCH MORE unexpected. MUCH MORE… cute. Bells job was to help the spirits of lost pets reunite with their owners, for one last goodbye before they passed on to the animal afterworld.
Bell had helped many many pet ghosts in the past. Too may dogs to count.
A den of bunnies and a cluck of chickens.
Even an aquarium of fish that made her quite dizzy.
In all her 8 years Bell thought she had seen it all. All the strange and wonderful animals a person could be friends with. There was the goat that ate everything.
Birds that sang without a sound.
The octopus that hugged too tight with too many arms.
The skunk that, thankfully, couldn’t be smelt.
But today, on a Tuesday in May, Bell came across her biggest challenge yet. A pet bear.
“You can’t possibly be a pet” Bell said. but Bear said nothing, because the dead don’t speak. And neither do bears.
Bell did not know what to do. Bear had flummoxed her. She consulted her “Manual for the Contemporary Pursuit of the Paranormal Arts.” and then her “A-Z of animal Spirits for the Young Paranormal Investigator”. But not a single bear was mentioned.
“I guess we’re on our own” Bell told Bear. “How hard could it be to find the owner of a bear as large as yourself?” Bear still said nothing. Bell looked for clues. Her infrared camera picked up Bear’s pawprints – but they just went round in circles.
Her night vision binoculars didn’t find the glint of a name tag or collar. But still, they did look pretty cool on her, so it wasn’t a total waste.
Her thermographic photos didn’t show the aura of owners like they normally did – but showed where birds and squirrels and leaves had been instead.
Her compass swung round and round, back and forth and couldn’t decide which way to take her.
By Sunday Bear was still following Bell, who was feeling like a little alone time. She put up posters all over town. But no one rang. Bear was looking sadder and sadder. With each passing day Bell could see through him a little more and that was bad news. Other ghosts came and went but Bear was still there.
Bell didn’t know what to do. So she started walking.
Bell walked and walked and the bear plodded behind her. She walked until the edge of the city became the centre of the city, but Bear did not look up.
Bell walked out of the city and through tree lined streets with large houses on either side. Children played in the gardens, adults walked with dogs or ran past in bright colours. But Bear did not look up.
Bell and Bear walked into the country and past rows of corn where the wild birds flew high and the air smelt like leaves and rain. But Bear did not look up.
The farms turned into woods and surrounded Bell and Bear. The branches met each other high up and hid the sun. The ground turned soft and damp beneath their feet and paws. And Bear looked up.
Bear turned suddenly and trampled through the woods. Bell ran behind, her gadgets and gizmos wobbled and clanged around her. And through a gap in the trees, stood a house. A small wooden house with white smoke curling upwards and on the porch there was a man watching the squirrels. Bear stopped and lifted one great paw towards the man.
“Is that your owner?” Bell asked, but Bear said nothing. Bell and Bear walked towards the house.
“hello sir” said Bell, and got right to the point “Have you recently lost your pet bear?” The man smiled but his eyes were sad. “I don’t have a pet bear, but there is one who visits me often. He watches me from the woods but I haven’t seen him in a long time and I miss him greatly”
And then Bear did something quite unexpected. He grinned for the first time, flopped on the porch next to the man, and squeezed him in a big bear hug. Because Bear was a ghost, an ethereal spirit made from energy and pixie dust, the man felt nothing, except perhaps a twitch in his moustache.
“The Bear would like to say goodbye to you, before he goes” Bell told the man. “I think he loved you very much”
“And I loved him too.” Said the man.
And Bear, who had finally found his pet human, drifted off to sleep and into the great animal beyond.
Bell, whose feet were very sore and tired, and who wanted badly to go home and take a nap, saw another ghost walk out of the woods.
“Oh Deer” She said.
I hope you enjoyed reading the extended version of Bell’s story. If you would like to see the process check out the process video’s on my YouTube channel.