The Girl in the Locket

This is one of my favorite ghosts stories from SCARY MONDAYS. With snow falling here in Oklahoma it seemed appropriate.

Cold slithered under the crack between the back door and floor, snaking its way up the stairs. It wiggled like a side-winder across the landing, through the threshold of Grandma’s bedroom door. There it coiled around Emma’s feet, hissing up her calves. Standing at the window, watching the snow blow in a straight line over the orchard in the distance, Emma drew her arms tight to warm herself. She blew warm breath against the glass, and drew a heart on the fogged pane. In the distance, the peach trees, coated with ice, seemed angry at being left out in the winter storm.

With a bored sigh, she turned, crossed the braided rug to Grandma’s bureau. In the mirror, she watched Grandma’s reflection as she rocked and darned socks. Her dresser was scattered with items Emma had come to associate with old women: a silver plated brush and comb, a carved jewelry box, a paper fan with a balsa wood handle that read “McConnell’s Funeral Home, 1930.” Emma closed her eyes, waved the fan, trying to remember how in the summer the air was so thick, so hot people dreamed of a day like today when the snow fell a half a foot deep. Her Momma said people were never satisfied. When it was hot, they wanted cool. When it was cold, they wanted warm.

Emma sat the fan back in its place, picked up a locket. She opened it and studied the miniature portrait inside. She always wondered about the woman in the picture. She had pretty blue eyes, a peaches and cream complexion, lovely dark hair.

“Who’s this?” Emma finally asked. She’d wanted to know for just about forever.

Grandma glanced up. “That’s my oldest sister, Marylou.”

Frowning, Emma studied her grandmother for a moment, tried to imagine her as young as the woman in the locket. “I didn’t know you had an older sister.”

“Oh, yes, child. I was the youngest of six, all boys except me and Marylou. My Momma used to say a girl in front and a girl in back to keep all the boys in line.”

“What happened to her? You never talk about her?”

Putting her sewing aside, Grandma motioned for Emma to sit in her lap. “She died. And we don’t speak of the dead, child.”

“She was very pretty.” Emma said of the girl in the locket. “What happened to her? Please tell me.”

With a long sigh, Grandma patted Emma’s thigh. “Marylou was in love with a young man, Reginald J.T. Waterbottom.”

“That’s a funny name.” Emma giggled and Grandma pressed her lips together trying not to laugh.

“Yes, it is. But he was very handsome. They elected Mr. Lincoln and the Yankees all came down here. Reggie put on a uniform and went off to be a soldier.” Grandma got a funny, faraway look on her face. “He died, of course. We all knew he would. Not because so many of our brave boys died, but because Marylou said he would. She dreamed of his death, night after night. And when Marylou dreamed about something, we all knew it would come true. One time my daddy lost his pocket watch. Don’t know how a man could lose something as large as a biscuit, but he did. Marylou dreamed he’d find in the chicken coop. ‘Course he scoffed at that. But you know what? He found that watch, right where Marylou said it would be, under Miz Clucky, all warm as she’d been waitin’ for it to hatch.”

“Did Marylou find someone else to love?” It suddenly seemed vital to Emma that Marylou found someone to spend her life with.

“No,” Grandma said with another thick sigh. “She went half mad with grief. She wandered around the house and in the orchard holding hands with thin air. She said Reggie had come back to her and that all she had to do was wait and she’d be with him forever.” Grandma huffed. “She made us set a place for him at the dinner table every night.”

“How did she die?” Emma asked softly.

“The flu. Winter of 1876. I remember because that was the year of the Centennial. But if it hadn’t been the flu, it would’ve been something else. Momma and Daddy always said Marylou wasn’t long for this world. Not after she lost Reggie. ‘Course Emma always said she hadn’t lost him. He was right there with her. Girl was daft.”

Grandma shifted, set Emma on her feet, then went back to darning socks. Emma wandered back over to the window, stared out at the orchard. She thought Marylou’s story was terribly romantic and she couldn’t wait to tell her best friend, Jenny.

Between sheets of blowing snow, Emma caught a movement in the orchard. She leaned forward, hands pressed against the glass. There under green-leafed branches dotted with peach blossoms, a handsome young man uniformed in grey and a woman dressed in pale pink, walked arm in arm. Marylou turned toward the window with eyes that danced, and a smile that promised spring.

The Purple Choice

“Daddy, when will Mommy be back?” Seated at the kitchen table, John’s daughter, Amy, looked up at him with wary blue eyes.

No seven year old should look that fearful, John thought as he cut the mold off the crust from the last four pieces of bread in the house. He’d lost track of the number of times he’d cursed the Regime to Hell, not just for sparking a new civil war, but for stealing the innocence, the trust, the carefree childhood from his daughter and son. The Regime did that—the day men in black suits dragged his wife away. Pam had dared to speak her mind out in the blogosphere. The bastards had had the nerve to send him a bill for the cost of cremating her body. He’d never told the kids about that.

“She’s not coming back,” Wally stated with all the authority of an older brother. John studied his nine year old for a moment. Not just older, he decided, but wiser, more jaded, and damned perceptive.

Pam was the courageous one. She never feared speaking out, and she lost her life. Was he that brave, John wondered, as he set peanut butter sandwiches in front of his children.

“Aren’t you going to eat, Daddy?”

“That’s the last of the food,” he said, working to keep his voice light.

What lay before them, for Wally, Amy and him? If the Regime won the war they’d face enslavement. Everyone who’d stood against the Regime would be imprisoned, they and their families. Yet, if the Regime lost? John dared hope. For a moment, his heart pumped faster. Things would get back to normal. Wally and Amy could go back to school. He’d find a job. They’d have food again without having to stand for hours in line.

Yet, the Regime had power, literally. They controlled all the sources of electricity, and thereby the means to communicate. The Regime controlled the ports, the roads, the rails, and the airports. The other side was losing.

“Daddy, when the war is over can I have a kitten?” Amy asked.

“The war will never be over,” Wally rebuked his sister.

John figured his choices were clear. Live. Face enslavement, but walk on faith that someday the Regime would fall under the weight of its own corruption. Or…?

He offered glasses filled with purple liquid to Wally and Amy. “Drink your kool-aide.”

The Devil May Care

The following post is a short story by KT Somerville

Riley set the tape recorder on the glass tabletop, and straightened his button-up shirt. “This is probably going to be the most…unique, the most unique interview I’ve ever done,” he mumbled to the recorder, running an unsteady hand through his slicked back hair. “These two twins are probably as far apart on the spectrum as they can get. They haven’t even spoken to each other in six years. Here’s hoping I can get them in the same room and discuss the most controversial topics, and make it out alive.” He chuckled to himself, though in the back of his mind he knew this would make or break his career.

There was a knock at the door. “Yes?”

A young woman walked into the room, slipping off her large framed, pink sunglasses. “Riley Grey?”

“Yes Miss Hart, and might I just say that it is such an honor to be able to interview you today.” He stood, and shook hands with the dainty, slim woman.

“Please, call me Billie.” She smiled prettily, slipping into the chair at the desk. “What would you like to talk about? I hope you don’t mind, but I need to leave in about fifteen minutes.”

Riley looked at his watch uneasily. It was 5:45, and her sister would be there any minute. “No of course I don’t mind. Let’s discuss your career, where you’re headed, what influenced you?”

Billie smiled again, and the room seemed a little brighter. She crossed her legs, her denim mini slipping up slightly. She was a slim little thing, almost resembling a Barbie doll or angel. Her white blond hair was cascading down her shoulders in straight locks that reached longer than her pale pink crop top. Even her feet were pretty, in her delicate ballerina pumps. “Well I was definitely influenced by the classic pop stars, ya know, like Britney and Christina.” She shrugged her shoulders, and even that was pretty. “I’m a material girl, and I definitely try to stay up with the trends and things. It’s very important to me. As far as where I’m going now, I’m going to be taking a hiatus for a few months. I actually haven’t told anyone yet, not even my manager, so there’s your scoop.” She blushed slightly.

There was a knock and the door, and Riley about wet himself. “Yes?” Billie’s baby blue eyes were large as she stared down the woman who walked into the room. “Ah, Miss Graves, I’m so happy you could join us.” Riley hoped she wouldn’t drink him dry.

Owen Graves just strode into the room smoothly, like a ghost and sat down. “Please call me Owen,” she said like a mouse from beneath her raven curls. She angled herself so that she could see Billie easily.

“Did you invited her?” Billie’s voice became acidic.

“Yes I wanted to interview both of you, about your careers and your relationship.” Riley found himself sounding much braver than he’d expected.

“Well there is no relationship!” Billie hissed, glaring at her sister.

Owen frowned, her painted black lips turning down. Her bright green eyes peaked out from her shroud of hair shyly. Clad in black from head to toe, she was no slouch next to her sister. She was every bit as curvy and voluptuous as her sister was slim and cute. The large crucifix that hung around her cleavage glinted in the light of the room. “Go ahead, tell me about how I’m a Satanist and that my music promotes suicide, sex, drugs, alcohol, and murder.” There was no venom in her voice, just a quiet acceptance. “Graveyard is a shock rock band. I’m used to this shit.”

“Actually,” Riley looked at her surprised, “I was going to ask you about your new album, One foot in the Grave.” He handed her a copy of the album that had been sitting on his desk.

Owen smirked wryly. “What about it?” Billie was still glaring at her, fuming.

“One song in particular.”

“Yes, Devil May Care is about Billie.” Owen turned her head knowingly to Billie. “It’s about how people change and how images deceive.”

“What do you mean by that?” Billie’s eyes were boring through her sister now.

“I mean that blood isn’t thicker than vodka.” Owen flipped her black hair out of her face.

Billie stood, her face flushed with anger. “I’m leaving!”

Owen was on her feet. “Can I at least have a hug?” She embraced her sister quickly. Billie screamed and pulled herself away, fleeing the room in fury.

Owen sat back down, a sad but accepting look on her face. Riley looked at her, confused. “I really thought you’d be the scary one…” He glanced at his watch. It was 6:00.

————————————————————————————————————
Billie slammed the door behind her, stepping into the alley. She fished a cigarette, lighter from her shirt, and lit up. She sighed, taking a long drag. “Long day?” Billie turned around.

Oh, he was suave. Tall dark and handsome, he was leaning against the wall of the building. “I’m right on time, aren’t I?”

“Please I just want a break from this,” Billie moaned, backing away from him.

“Look at the scar your sister left, and tell me that I can let you quit.” He rolled his black eyes, stepping toward her.

Billie looked down at her chest, moving her long blond hair out of the way. There was a burn on her chest in the shape of a large crucifix. Billie gasped and looked up at Him. “No. Please. No.”

“Billie, Billie, Billie. You quit, and you know what happens.”

“I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the long nights, the drugs, the booze….”

“You’ve tried to end it before and it didn’t work, did it?” He cackled.

“I can’t do this anymore!” Her mascara began to stream down her pretty face.

“Ok.” He smiled.

“Ok?” Billie hesitated, stepping forward. He reached out at patted her head, his hand singed her hair. Billie’s eyes widened as he loomed over her, and let out a scream that no one would hear.

The Devil May Care

The following post is a short story by KT Somerville

Riley set the tape recorder on the glass tabletop, and straightened his button-up shirt. “This is probably going to be the most…unique, the most unique interview I’ve ever done,” he mumbled to the recorder, running an unsteady hand through his slicked back hair. “These two twins are probably as far apart on the spectrum as they can get. They haven’t even spoken to each other in six years. Here’s hoping I can get them in the same room and discuss the most controversial topics, and make it out alive.” He chuckled to himself, though in the back of his mind he knew this would make or break his career.

There was a knock at the door. “Yes?”

A young woman walked into the room, slipping off her large framed, pink sunglasses. “Riley Grey?”

“Yes Miss Hart, and might I just say that it is such an honor to be able to interview you today.” He stood, and shook hands with the dainty, slim woman.

“Please, call me Billie.” She smiled prettily, slipping into the chair at the desk. “What would you like to talk about? I hope you don’t mind, but I need to leave in about fifteen minutes.”

Riley looked at his watch uneasily. It was 5:45, and her sister would be there any minute. “No of course I don’t mind. Let’s discuss your career, where you’re headed, what influenced you?”

Billie smiled again, and the room seemed a little brighter. She crossed her legs, her denim mini slipping up slightly. She was a slim little thing, almost resembling a Barbie doll or angel. Her white blond hair was cascading down her shoulders in straight locks that reached longer than her pale pink crop top. Even her feet were pretty, in her delicate ballerina pumps. “Well I was definitely influenced by the classic pop stars, ya know, like Britney and Christina.” She shrugged her shoulders, and even that was pretty. “I’m a material girl, and I definitely try to stay up with the trends and things. It’s very important to me. As far as where I’m going now, I’m going to be taking a hiatus for a few months. I actually haven’t told anyone yet, not even my manager, so there’s your scoop.” She blushed slightly.

There was a knock and the door, and Riley about wet himself. “Yes?” Billie’s baby blue eyes were large as she stared down the woman who walked into the room. “Ah, Miss Graves, I’m so happy you could join us.” Riley hoped she wouldn’t drink him dry.

Owen Graves just strode into the room smoothly, like a ghost and sat down. “Please call me Owen,” she said like a mouse from beneath her raven curls. She angled herself so that she could see Billie easily.

“Did you invited her?” Billie’s voice became acidic.

“Yes I wanted to interview both of you, about your careers and your relationship.” Riley found himself sounding much braver than he’d expected.

“Well there is no relationship!” Billie hissed, glaring at her sister.

Owen frowned, her painted black lips turning down. Her bright green eyes peaked out from her shroud of hair shyly. Clad in black from head to toe, she was no slouch next to her sister. She was every bit as curvy and voluptuous as her sister was slim and cute. The large crucifix that hung around her cleavage glinted in the light of the room. “Go ahead, tell me about how I’m a Satanist and that my music promotes suicide, sex, drugs, alcohol, and murder.” There was no venom in her voice, just a quiet acceptance. “Graveyard is a shock rock band. I’m used to this shit.”

“Actually,” Riley looked at her surprised, “I was going to ask you about your new album, One foot in the Grave.” He handed her a copy of the album that had been sitting on his desk.

Owen smirked wryly. “What about it?” Billie was still glaring at her, fuming.

“One song in particular.”

“Yes, Devil May Care is about Billie.” Owen turned her head knowingly to Billie. “It’s about how people change and how images deceive.”

“What do you mean by that?” Billie’s eyes were boring through her sister now.

“I mean that blood isn’t thicker than vodka.” Owen flipped her black hair out of her face.

Billie stood, her face flushed with anger. “I’m leaving!”

Owen was on her feet. “Can I at least have a hug?” She embraced her sister quickly. Billie screamed and pulled herself away, fleeing the room in fury.

Owen sat back down, a sad but accepting look on her face. Riley looked at her, confused. “I really thought you’d be the scary one…” He glanced at his watch. It was 6:00.

————————————————————————————————————
Billie slammed the door behind her, stepping into the alley. She fished a cigarette, lighter from her shirt, and lit up. She sighed, taking a long drag. “Long day?” Billie turned around.

Oh, he was suave. Tall dark and handsome, he was leaning against the wall of the building. “I’m right on time, aren’t I?”

“Please I just want a break from this,” Billie moaned, backing away from him.

“Look at the scar your sister left, and tell me that I can let you quit.” He rolled his black eyes, stepping toward her.

Billie looked down at her chest, moving her long blond hair out of the way. There was a burn on her chest in the shape of a large crucifix. Billie gasped and looked up at Him. “No. Please. No.”

“Billie, Billie, Billie. You quit, and you know what happens.”

“I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the long nights, the drugs, the booze….”

“You’ve tried to end it before and it didn’t work, did it?” He cackled.

“I can’t do this anymore!” Her mascara began to stream down her pretty face.

“Ok.” He smiled.

“Ok?” Billie hesitated, stepping forward. He reached out at patted her head, his hand singed her hair. Billie’s eyes widened as he loomed over her, and let out a scream that no one would hear.

Getting it Right

Love a great ghost story? Here’s an scene from GETTING IT RIGHT, part of the anthology, ROMANCE THE SPICE OF LIFE., available now from Amazon and Barnes and Nobles

Once more Sara stood on the fourth floor landing. Even with Wes next to her, she shivered. The air was frigid, frost coated the handrails, the bare steps, even the door. Their breath condensed, making small clouds. Sara eased toward to the door, placing her hands on the wood panels, sensing all that rage, hatred, and pain.

She tried the knob, but it wouldn’t move.

“Let me try.” Wes stepped in front of Sara, nudging her behind him. He jiggled, twisted, and jerked the knob. Still, the door didn’t give. Wes uttered an oath in frustration.

They heard the lock tumblers click. The door slowly opened, the hinges protesting loudly in a long eerie squeal. Wes shuddered visibly. “Well, that’ll raise the hair on your neck.” He offered a nervous grin, cautiously crossing the threshold. She followed him, with a sudden sense of déjà vu, recalling her dream the night she heard, The dead don’t stay dead. Even from the grave, they scheme.

This level was empty, except for cobwebs and dust motes. Scars on the floor showed where walls had once been erected to carve out individual living space, then later knocked down.

Sara closed her eyes, took several steadying breaths. “She’s been betrayed by people she loved. She’s insane with rage. It’s become like a cancer, eating her alive from the inside out.”

A figure emerged from the shadows in the corner. It wore a black mourning dress. Her face was hideous, a gaping wound on the side of her head…

A New Year and a New Resolution

This story is an excerpt from SCARY MONDAYS VOLUME I

Mac stepped on the scale. The dial stopped just short of two-fifty. For a man of his height, that was pushing the limits. He wasn’t as fast or as agile as he used to be. He wheezed when he took the stairs or walked a few blocks. That didn’t do much for his social life or his self-esteem. And his weight made hunting more difficult.

Leaving the bathroom, Mac strode resolute to the kitchen. It was time to change his habits, start eating healthier. He opened the freezer, examined the meat wrapped in butcher paper. Food was his profession, and his obsession. It’d be a shame to waste all these well-marbled cuts. He withdrew one package, then another, and another. Shoulder of Paul, Don Butt, ah, leg of Lonny. Mac closed the freezer door, opened the refrigerator, and took out a slab of bacon he’d made at his shop from a guy named John.

Tomorrow he’d get started on his New Year’s resolution, adding more fruits and vegetables to his diet, choosing leaner cuts of meat.

The New Book is Here!

The cover of Romance the Spice of Life

The dead don’t stay dead. Even from the grave, they scheme. When Wes House buys The Palace Hotel he learns just how true that is. The dead don’t stay dead. Even from the grave, they scheme.

Available on Amazon and B&N as an eBook

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A32Q3KQ

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/romance-x2013-the-spice-of-life-linda-trout/1113753532?ean=2940015909876