Monday, June 18, 2018

The Ghost Who Loved – New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel

The Ghost Who Loved - New Fiction Writing by S. H. MarpelThe Ghost Who Loved – New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel

Rose doesn’t know why she survived the accident and everyone else was dead.  
 
It was horrible. And she hasn’t been able to cry since. Even at the graveyard where she was now.
 
And then she looked over a few rows and saw a guy standing in front of a grave marker of his own. He looked too sad for someone that good looking.
 
She came over to see if she could console him, help him somehow. His name was Tom, and he had the most amazing eyes she’d ever seen.
 
But something was different about him, something that would haunt even her.
 
Excerpt: 
 
It was Father’s Day. They were all still dead, and I was again dry-eyed over their grave.
 
I came this way every year, for the past few, as it was also my birthday. Such as it was. 
 
Growing older just meant more sadness for me.
 
Father, Mother, and younger sister all passed that night. Horrific car accident. All decapitated or crushed instantly, head on collision with another car, that seemed to come out of nowhere.
 
I was the only one remaining. 
 
And I couldn’t even cry anymore. 
 
Of course my heart ached. But it was more like the dull, screeching squeal of some massive pump whose bearings were failing and overheated from lack of grease. The grease of kindness, of human love.
 
Why was I still here? What reason did I have for existing? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I kept going from day to day, month in, month out, and then showed up back here again – once a year.
 
Graveyards are funny things. Why they exist is such a morbid concept. Small and huge monuments erected to incite the memory of the fallen. Like it was the old Japanese ancestor worship. But just because they weren’t remembered after a few centruries, didn’t mean the ache went away. Only the persons who had the ache. To their own plot of earth and monument – or not. 
 
People visited. And opened up that ache fresh to the sting of memory once again, like a wound opened to the air. Painful, abrupt. The ache continuing long after the bandage was re-applied.
 
Like that guy over there, a few rows over. Downcast young face. Blue jeans, black sweater jacket, high-top basketball sneakers. And that cute brown hair, those nice cheekbones. Why did he come here? Did it ever help him move on – or was he like me, a magnet for more punishment?
– – – –
“Well, sis, how did this year go for you – wherever you are?” I visited my sister every chance I got, knowing that it wasn’t really her. She was long gone, only some ashes remained now. Buried under ground somewhere near that stone. 
 
She was the only one who had left, and the rest of us carried on. Somehow. 
 
So I came to talk to her, tell her all the things I’d learned in college, of the people I’d met, of the charities I worked for in her memory. Just to live her life as well as mine.
 
But it never seemed to help. That stone just sat there and looked back at me. It wasn’t alive, neither was she, so what was the use.
 
“Hey.” A girl came to stand beside me. I’d seen her earlier, a couple of rows over. “I just thought that I should come talk to you. Of course you can’t see or hear me, but you looked like you could use some comfort. Some people feel that. And it feels good giving it, at least to me.” She was wearing dark brown slacks and with thick off-white shawl collar sweater and sensible flats. Her blond hair center-parted and naturally curled in long waves. A looker for sure.
 
“Who says I can’t hear or see you?” I asked, looking directly at her.
 
She was shocked, “Wait, really? No, this can’t be.”
 
“Yes, it can. But I know why you think you’re invisible to everyone. You’re a ghost.”
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Monday, June 11, 2018

The Tunnel People – New Fiction Writing by R. L. Saunders

The Tunnel People - New Fiction Writing by R. L. SaundersWhile Marj is helping urban archeologists, she discovers a secret map that she has to hide from the authorities.

It tells of an underground system of tunnels that cross through mazes of paths under North America, using old limestone caves and aquifers, even connecting to the old ICBM missle bases.

It had been a long and brutal war. At the end, one side was banished underground, long decades ago. If this was true, the war may not be as over as they thought.

She enlisted Rob to help her decipher this map and explore this underground world. They have to work in secret as many of their “finds” have been known to disappear, along with the discoverers.

These two lone researchers find in each other more than they expected. And that just adds to the problems of decyphering and accessing the underground secrets of the Tunnel People…

Excerpt: 

We only had a half-hour or so before it would be too dark to make our way down the trails without stumbling. And from these heights you used the existing light, or you set yourself up to be spotted from your flashlight beams.

So maybe 15 minutes to talk was all the chance I was going to get. And he knew it.

“So? You are up here to either seduce me or hire me or blackmail me – or some combination of the above,” Rob said.

I just smiled, “Or some combination of the above.”

The clouds were slowly turning from red through violet into black as we sat there. Patient watching would almost let you see the changes.

“OK, five minutes. Make your pitch, Marj, and then I leave,” Rob said.

“Well, that leaves out seduction…” I smiled. “Here’s the job offer: I’ve got some maps that show how I can get from one coast to the other all underground, using existing tube rails. All automated, self sustained.”

“But…?” Rob asked.

“I need one of your hacks,” I repied.

“Not just any hack, you want top-level transport ID clearance,” he answered.

“Pay is no problem – whatever you want,” I said.

“Sorry, I don’t do government stings. Find another lackey.” Rob pushed the the four remaining brews back at me, and becan to rise.

I put my hand on his arm to stop him, and the feeling was electric. It’s a hard thing to describe, and I’d only read about this in some old paperback romances my mom used to read. But it’s real. Very real. I just proved it to myself.

And I could tell in his eyes that he had felt it, too. He also stopped moving completely. He stared at my hand on his arm and back to my eyes again. “I though you said seduction wasn’t possible in 5 minutes.”

I moved my hand away and looked back at the sky. “That wasn’t intentional, I’m sorry. Go ahead and walk away. This won’t work out.”

But he didn’t move. That meant either bad or good. But I wasn’t looking for either outcome. I crossed my arms in front of me. “This wasn’t a good idea. Again, I’m sorry.”

“So am I,” he said.

Rob pulled another beer out of the plastic holder, popped it and drank a swig while I was getting my thoughts together.

“Look, neither of us seem ready for some relationship out of this. You got a card with contact data on it?” Rob said.

I pulled out a laminated card from my top and checked it. “Yup, still sweat free. Go ahead and scan it, though. No chip in it.”

Rob held up the card to the fading light and peered at it before stuffing it into the right chest pocket of his faded jeans jacket.

“OK, I’ll be in touch.” With that, he rose, turned, and left.

I waited. And watched the sunlight turn golden and then ruddy. Down the hill behind us, I heard his engine start, and the slip of wheels against the gravel as he started out.

But I still waited some more, and felt old emotions wash over me. N0ne I was prepared for. None I really had any defense against. “Good thing he didn’t want a relationship,” I said quietly to no one. And chewed my lower lip in some sort of weird reflex…

The Tunnel People – New Fiction Writing by R. L. Saunders

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Faith – New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel

Faith - New Fiction Writing by S. H. Marpel

A Countess who had a problem – she wasn’t real. Not even in death.

Ghost Hunters trying to solve her mystery were plummited to their doom before they could solve her problem.

As was going to happen to John and his female spirit-guides Sal and Jude. But that ghost didn’t count on the two gals having their own talents. All three escaped their doom this time, but worked out separately how to solve the ghost who stood on nothing real.

The personal relationships between these three Ghost Hunters take another twist as well, as John is reminded in the surprise ending…

Excerpt:

“I don’t like this, not one bit,” Jude said aloud once the shimmering stopped.

We were in a large room, typically murky. A dank, gray stone floor with matching walls that soared to heights above us to an impenetrable gloom overhead.

Jude was to one side, Sal on the other. I was the center target, as usual. (Sigh.)

“You two haven’t already been here before?” I asked.

“No, this is one off Ben’s list of specters we need to address. All we have a location and a star by the name. Ben’s memory gets foggy about some of these, and you can’t blame him after the second or third thousand on the list.” Sal said.

“No idea what the star is for?” I asked.

“Dangerous.” Jude replied.

“Oh, great.” I said

At that a specter appeared, all in white with dark hair off her shoulders, two criss-crossed pearl-laden straps held it on her light-colored shoulders. Sweeping arms met in front where her two hands held a single short-stemmed red rose.

That was my cue. “Say, miss? Could you tell me where we are and what date it is?”

The misty, blank look came off her face at that point, and she focused on me.

“YOU! How dare you?!?” The specter was screaming at me. And then just started a long wail of screaming. She looked to the dark ceiling and raised her arms over her head, separating them so that only one held the rose now. The screaming raised in volume until we all covered our ears to try to lower its extreme intensity.

Then the floor caved in, and we all fell into another murky impenetrable gloom below…

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