Monday, October 15, 2018

The Case of the Sunken Spirit – Fiction Writing: S. H. Marpel

The Case of the Sunken Spirit - Fiction Writing: S. H. MarpelTo rescue a 12,000 year old ghost, you have to learn to breathe water.

Our next mystery to solve was the toughest yet. We thought ourselves prepared to deal with being submerged several hundred feet below the surface.

My question was how to communicate with something who was older than all civilization as we knew it. What did it have in common with our modern culture? How to talk through an energy shield built to withstand the pressures of that depth?

I didn’t have long to wait after we arrived.

Because something pulled me out of that shield and wanted to talk with meright now – deep underwater, ready or not…

(Part 1 of 3: contains cliffhanger ending…)

The Case of the Sunken Spirit – Fiction Writing: S. H. Marpel


I woke soaking wet. Putting my tongue to my lips tasted – salt water.

That made sense to the dream I woke up from, but the nearest ocean was thousands of miles away.

So I did the next best thing I could think of. Reaching up for the turquoise stone around my neck, I called for Sal and Jude.

And they arrived. Also soaking wet, dripping on my tiny cabin floor.

Good thing I stayed in bed to give them room to move. At least my bed was keeping my own third puddle contained.

I had to smile, though. Both of those girls were usually so neat and tidy. Now their hair hung down in long, soggy strands. Their blouses were plastered to their skin. And they were not amused.

“What the hell, John?” Jude was first to vent, as expected. “I was nice and asleep, and then you had to have an underwater dream and put us two into it?!?”

“What Jude is trying to understand is how you pulled us out of bed, fully dressed, underwater – only to have a nightmare where we can’t do anything to save you?”

I just had to smile. We were all just too ridiculous standing or laying in our salt water pools. “Sorry. But I didn’t think I could do that. Are you sure it was me?”

“Well who else could it be?” Jude put her head to the side and bumped her head, trying to get the water out of her ears.

Sal smiled back at me, and then looked over at Jude’s wet black leather outfit and down to her own soggy off-white business suit with gold pin-stripe. And the growing puddle beneath her squishy tan dress pumps.

That made her smile turn into a grin.

A simple gesture and we were all three dry again, as if we’d never been in water at all. Which meant was was wearing my work clothes, including boots, while still in bed. A dry bed, now.

“Thanks, Sal.”

She just nodded.

Jude stopped bumping her head and straightened up, tugging her leathers into position again, the way she liked them – tight and revealing.

Sal just adjusted her cuffs and made sure her hair was in a blond bun with two carved ivory hair pins, as usual. “What do you remember of that nightmare, John?”

“We were somewhere deep, really deep underwater inside one of your force shields. An ancient set of columns showed up. We had some glow lights showing or something – when it looked like a girl or mermaid came right toward us. She wasn’t swimming, but more like walking as if the water wasn’t there. Straight ahead, right to the side of the force shield and then reached right through it to grab my arm and pull me out of it – right into the water. That’s when I woke up.”

Jude looked over at Sal. “That scans. Same thing I remembered.”

Sal frowned. “Definitely got a mystery on our hands. Time to see Ben. Stand up, John.”

I just got to my feet when we shimmered off to somewhere else…

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Harpy Redux – New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel

Harpy Redux - New Fiction Writing by S. H. MarpelAn old enemy found me, and left me powerless – when I was only trying to help her.

We’d met year ago, and she became trapped in the mystic world she’d created, on of evil and retribution for imagined offenses.

I had my own problems at the time, so became the target of her wrath.

When she disappeared, and became trapped for thousands of years, I had almost forgotten her.

Meanwhile, life had changed. Lessons had been learned. People moved on.

Then she showed up again – even more bitter and vile than ever.

She left me to die. But karma was on my side. And payback, well…

(Part 2 of 3: contains cliffhanger ending…)

Harpy Redux – New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel


One thing I knew. We had released an evil priestess to roam the earth after 12,000 years secured in an underwater trap.

OK, that’s a bit thick for our day and age. She was in charge of worshiping old gods when she sank with Atlantis. And “evil” is always in question (particularly in our PC days, and what politicians think they can get away with – and often seem to.) Let’s say “ethically-challenged”. It just means we let someone loose who didn’t have a lot of respect for the rights and beliefs of others. In a dangerous way. Like, might be on the side of terrorists if she gets a chance.

So we needed to find her and somehow fix what we had done. How, I hadn’t a clue.

All I knew was that I was in the Ghost Hunters Library and everyone else had left to go research or hunt down our missing priestess.

As much I wanted to go research, I only knew a handful of paths inside that maze of shelves. A few wrong turns and I’d be completely lost. And unable to get anyone to find me.

For the moment I sat here. Comfortable dark leather cushions on this mission-style couch. Unfortunately, I was down to the last of the delicious brownies and a few swallows of spiced cocoa that Granger had left for us.

And no books to read, not that I wanted to focus on anything besides the problem we had. Because I had helped to create that mess. That priestess had gotten into my dreams.

How to find this priestess was the next question. Gaia was somewhere in the stacks doing research, Sal and Jude were already on the hunt – I didn’t want to bother any of them.

Then I thought of the other one person who had the power of a goddess and maybe even as long a history – Harpy.

So I touched the turquoise stone on a lanyard around my neck and thought of her.

One unexpected side effect, though. Instead of Harpy appearing before me, I began shimmering out of the Library…

– – – –

And found myself in a dark dungeon room, very close if not the same room as Harpy had originally brought me to. Dark, with a tall ceiling and vertical slits for windows, all in the dark gray hewn rocks. Thick columns rose to a ceiling far above, lost in the shadows there. Where the thin light was coming from, I still didn’t know.

“Harpy? You there?”

I heard a rustling over to my side.


And a quiet whimper returned. Whatever that was, it wasn’t in good shape. My humanity made me go to find out, for maybe it was something or someone in need.

I kept calling and listening. Either whimper or rustling sounded in reply, or by just being quiet and listening. I closed the distance by trial and error. At last, rounding a corner, I found a huddled shape in a dark corner.

“Shhh. There, there. It’s OK. I’m only here to help you. Can you show me your face?”

And she did. Tears, blood, scratches and all.

Shock was an understatement of how I felt.

It was Harpy…

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The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine – Fiction Writing – Marpel

The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine - Fiction Writing - S. H. MarpelHarpy and I were born from the union between a goddess of nature and a god of humans.

She was the black sheep of the family, I was the shining star who could do no wrong.

Opposite twins, our whole long lives.

Through history, you may have heard of us. Mostly written as hags, foul-smelling man-killers.

Of course, you can never believe the press. They only partially report the facts. The bits that suit them.

Our longer history was one of constant effort to remain on-guard as humankind consistently killed their gods and goddesses. Until my sister and I were the the tiny minority of powerful beings, hiding to preserve what left of our long lives.

If you could call constant hiding a life.

And now I had to reveal myself just to rescue the sister I hated.

(Part 3 of 3…)

The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine – Fiction Writing – S. H. Marpel


Harpy and I were born twin sisters, hatched from the union of a god of humans and a goddess of nature.

We were always polar opposites. She was the black sheep and I was the shining star who could do no wrong. So, too often when either of us would get into trouble for some prank, she was the one who got blamed.

I always came out smelling like a rose. And that name stuck: Rose. Simple, direct, innocent. My sister took our family name for her own, and never wanted to be called by her real first name.

Our hi-jinks didn’t get us any good press with the humans we could deal with though. Even that little Odessey episode that was written-up with us as the horrible-looking and worse-smelling evil creatures that haunted “poor” Ulysses, his primitive boat and crew.

The real story was that we took pity on them, and protected them from all sorts of really stupid situations they got themselves into – by being so damned bull-headed. Anyone else would have given up after the first or second impossible challenge. But they just had to steal that golden fleece for some personal gain of a king who would be dead in a few years with or without their help.

Mortals are called that for a reason. And it’s not a compliment coming from us goddesses.

But that was then, and here is now.

Somehow, Harpy had run onto the bad side of a 12,000 year old priestess that was trapped when Atlantis sank. That priestess finally figured out how to escape, by duping a human and the Earth goddess Gaia (who herself had slept most of the intervening years.)

One of the first things that priestess had done was to run across my sister Harpy and cast a spell on her that made her half-human. And then beat that human half to a pulp.

Yes, I felt all that. But couldn’t do anything without giving myself away. Besides, it was over so quick, I could hardly unfold my wings before it was too late.

That priestess didn’t know that all this did was to strengthen my resolve to end her as permanently as possible, just as soon as I could arrange it…

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