|Posted by [email protected] on March 31, 2011 at 8:28 PM||comments (0)|
Check it out at the Untreed Reads store, by searching for The Ghost Hunter or P.A. Bees.
When the townspeople hire The Ghost Hunter to tell them whether or not a spectre haunts a mansion on the edge of town, they get more than they bargained for. In the end, the town would have been wiser to have read the fine print. A work of short horror from our Spectres line and the author of The Clarent Pin.
People in town swore the house was haunted. I have known many places where ghosts roam. This was not one of them. Not, yet.
To be fair to the curious, the imaginative, the limited, the house did have a personality. I stood on the gravel driveway and eyed her. The coldness of the night seeped through my black wool coat, through the soles of my boots. The wind attacked my neck. I was glad for the felted heftiness of my hat. My hands were buried deep in the pockets of my coat to keep the plummeting temperature from singeing them.
I thought the house must not have been pleasant to look at even when it was just built. The flat mansard front had an eave overhang of several feet more than necessary. It gave the house a Cro-Magnon, carnivorous, and slacking look. The windows were deep set into heavy wood frames. They were black painted sores against a dark brown, peeling paint shingle face. It was a brooding hulk of a visage in dark skin colors.
Each of my steps from the driveway to the door fell in worn cups of limestone. It was as if another had trod the same exact spaces, pacing back and forth, driveway to door and door to driveway, waiting for the right time. In my estimation, the house was no more than eighty or ninety years old. I wondered whose soles, night after night, could have polished the rough grit stone to its buttery concave bed.
As I raised the knocker in hand a vision came to me of the dankest corner of a hand-dug cellar. I would tell you of the white mold that chokes and point out the bride’s veil of dust-covered cob webs that clung to damp stone blocks. Entering such a space and poking the corners for red-eyed mice would only begin to describe the creep of malevolence I felt as the ring landed on the dull strike plate.
|Posted by [email protected] on March 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM||comments (0)|
The packet was given to her with a smile, an unspoken paragraph of meaning. She didn’t feel herself to be a good judge of people; she wanted people to be virtuous and kind. She could not remember ever really getting what she wanted.
She sat on her porch with a glass of iced tea, raspberry iced tea, with a teaspoon of real sugar in it. Early evening often brought calm to any breeze that had stirred during the day, tonight was no different.
She puzzled over the envelope. It was so different than opening an email. She realized she had no virus protection against this sealed communiqué, this dispatch, this hand-delivered missive. She balanced the envelope on her upturned palm and felt the weight of it. A slight tremor of nerves caused the unopened envelope to flutter like a silver maple leaf in a breeze.
Her mind replayed the scene of her neighbor handing her the envelope. What did he say in his half-smile, “We’ll see how smug you are after you read what is hidden in the virginal whiteness of this envelope?” She had always secretly despised the man. When he shoveled snow he made mounds of it in the small space that separated their driveways, the icy piles lingered when other snow melted. When he cut his grass he mowed so that the clippings were thrown into the air in the direction of her car.
She thought of these things and more as she sipped her tea and looked anxiously at the envelope. Surely someone handing you important documents, papers that might alter your life, wouldn’t just pass them off without a word. Wouldn’t they forewarn you? Isn’t there a rule? Something in the way humans are programmed that says the giver must signal, through words or body language, when there is weighty sobriety to the situation? Her mind was distracted by the bees that hummed in the spice bushes on the other side of the screen.
It was warm for the first of June. She caressed the coolness of her glass. She wondered if she imagined the sneer and raised brow. She thought that the documents could be good news. But then, why not an inkling, a word of cheer from the man? Why would he not want to share in her happiness with a clap to the back or knowing wink? The envelope and its contents could not be good. Sludge of somber, reddish copper sunk to the bottom of her glass. The ice melted and transformed the liquid near the top to a dewy saturate of pink hue as her mind worked over the possibilities. She stared at it and thought of things that could sink her to the sweet, opaque abyss.
Were these documents of her family history? Was there evidence of some rampant neurosis that strikes unwittingly, but skips generations? Was it that her proclivity for prolonged sour periods was spawned hundreds of years ago and passed, like rolls at dinner, across the table and through the generations? Now, here to own her? Did the papers speak of things to come? Was he, the one who passed the papers, the recipient of news so catastrophic that he could not speak when he handed her the sentence? Was he so shocked that his lip curled in dreaded relief at being done with them and she mistook it for a smile? Perhaps she should pity him for the toll on his soul to pass on such sumac news.
Like a blind woman, she ran her fingers over the envelope’s edges. She Brailled through the thin covering. Was that the edge of a picture? What had she done that was caught by paparazzi of sneak and snare? That would now be her ruin and her shame? That would cause whispers and sidelong glances even among people she thought were her friends? She thought of the few friends she had and imagined their disloyalty.
She swirled the tea with her spoon and caused a mini tornado to spin counter-clockwise. The bits of ice that remained were too weak to clink against the glass. The raspberry gave off an infirm fetor, the sickly sweetness of artificial berry-like flavor. Was this perfumed drink her last supper before opening the warrant before her? Glassy droplets of water rolled off the stem to splotch the envelope. An omen of tears, of requested atonement.
Perhaps there was another way to be rid of this insanity. She thought that if she was ever asked, she could say that it blew away on the wind before she saw the contents. She could say it was lost among the sheets of the Sunday paper and given to the recycling gods where it was shredded, reprinted, and unwittingly became the blacker news of tomorrow.
She considered whether it was better to burn it unopened. She could take the white sheathe and sear it to bubbling black. Then pour water into the wastebasket and make a slurry of freedom. She’d empty it out onto her rose beds. But, then she could never enjoy an inhale of their coral fragrance again without wondering.
In a sane world she had no choice.
She slipped her finger under the glued edge of the triangle flap. Her eyes settled on her iced tea. More tears of condensation welled and then slid slowly down the sides of the glass to melt into the tablecloth. She couldn’t bear to watch her own supposed destruction. She closed her eyes to the fluke of disaster.
With nothing and with all to lose, her thumb and forefinger reached in and pulled out a stiff piece of paper. Blindly, she removed a second, smaller shape. Her thumb slid over one slick side and recoiled at the ruffled edge. Her heartbeat hammered the inside of her chest. Her breath was held against constricted lungs. She was on her feet without knowing that she had stood ready to make for the woods.
She felt the coolness of the glass on the back of her hand and knew that she had rocked it off its center of gravity. Her eyes flashed open in time to wince as the liquid escaped in one obliterating rush to stain the tablecloth and oval rug. Her eyes flew to the documents. Too late to lose, or shred, or burn the contents. Instead, they were washed in a rosy glow of sugar berry that raised water welts on the face in the photograph.
She peeled the sodden high school graduation invitation and picture of her neighbor’s son from the table. Where was the simplicity of Occam’s razor perception when needed?
|Posted by [email protected] on March 31, 2011 at 8:19 PM||comments (0)|
Have you heard of Kiva? Kiva is on a mission to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. Years ago our family had tried the "I'll give to your favorite charity if you give to mine" as an alternative to Christmas presents. Problems popped up because, well, we're a family. That's what we do, we argue at Christmas. This year our daughters in Nashville gave us gift certificates to Kiva (www.kiva.org). We use our gift certificates to LEND money to people and they PAY US BACK so we can lend it again! The best part was, they gave us each our own gift certificate. I could, and did, search the site for women so my gift could be gender specific. I have a feeling my husband will be less inclined to sort by gender and be more interested in the risk factor (probability of pay back) and time constraints. He is an accountant, after all. I'll be whooping it up if either of our small contributions makes a difference. But, no matter. I am whooping it up anyway to think that we have raised a daughter, and in turn gained a daughter-in-law, who are socially conscious. Who think that helping someone else, before themselves, is the way to live. Who would include us in their life mission. Could we be prouder? I don't think so!
|Posted by [email protected] on March 31, 2011 at 8:17 PM||comments (0)|
Two mild February days and we thought that Spring was here. How foolish of us! The snow is back. The grotesque piles of jagged, dirt and exhaust covered black have melted and were replaced with a gentle covering of white. We have a gnome who guards are front door in the winter. We bring him out of the attic about the same time we take in the porch furniture. He has an ever lasting battery that gives his lantern a warm flickering glow. It is a silent reminder that we are still here. He doesn't look all that happy, a full white beard hangs below a red pointed cap that droops so that his eyes are hidden. Perhaps he is just tired of looking at the snow too. He carries a sturdy pole in one hand, but has never taken a step off the porch. Except for when he knows Spring is here and then he marches back up to the attic to languish until next winter. He was a gift from the women who work with my husband. He was a birthday present many years ago. I don't know what possessed them to buy him a gnome, but we are ever grateful. Coming home on a cold night to his yellow light flickering welcome on the porch is truly knowing you have reached the door of home. Hope you all reach the door to your homes safely tonight.
|Posted by [email protected] on January 15, 2011 at 3:22 PM||comments (0)|
Just received a notice from eBook Addict Review regarding my short story, The Clarent Pin. They know how to make a short story sound interesting!
If you'd like to read about it, go to: http://www.ebookaddictreviews.com/2011/01/15/the-clarent-pin-by-p-a-bees/
|Posted by [email protected] on January 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM||comments (0)|
And like so many others I have resolved to lose weight this year. I have a good incentive. Son Brian and fiancée, Aimee, are talking wedding dates. No sooner than October and possibly later. No matter, just more time to lose more weight.
When we visited Nashville over Christmas I found a pair of short, lined walking boots. Our community (while short on sidewalks) has few cars and plenty of woodsy walking trails. All of the pieces are in place.
All I need to do is get out there. Maybe tomorrow if the weather rises out of the teens. Or the day after, for sure.
|Posted by [email protected] on November 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM||comments (4)|
Thanksgiving is behind us. I read today about the considerable quantity of food that Americans waste. I am determined to eat every last bit of that turkey, stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes, and green beans that are, at this very minute, trying to hide themselves behind the milk in the refrigerator. I know you are there. I will find and consume you. There is no escape.
I am sure I will feel less guilt by finishing off those morsels in odd sized plastic and glass containers than by throwing them away. Turkey pot pie, turkey fajitas, and turkey salad are all on next week's menu.
If I reach my goal of an empty refrigerator in the next few weeks, I may think twice before buying big for Christmas and New Year's! If I purchase ten per cent less, I'll save money, eat less, gain less, add less to the refuse and landfills, live longer, die happier, and I doubt that anyone in my family will go hungry.
This is the year of 10% Less! Anyone care to join me?
|Posted by [email protected] on October 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM||comments (0)|
We just returned from a visit to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. It was a great ten days. We enjoyed the yodeling, schnitzel, and beer. We also had an opportunity to look into my family's ancestry in Germany and were enlightened by a ninety-five year old man who has done considerable research into Germany's history and specifically the history of two small towns, Gissigheim and Konigheim. My family hails from there so it was quite a treat to speak with him.
On my return, I learned that my short story Daniel was published in the Midwest Literary Magazine in their fall issue, Green. There are quite a few good stories in this issue, Daniel is near the back on page 331.
I hope you enjoy reading a light story of Geocaching, contentious relationships, and discoveries!
|Posted by [email protected] on September 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM||comments (0)|
Here is a direct link to The Clarent Pin:
Good news from my publisher! Waterstone in the UK has been selling The Clarent Pin at a steady pace. Does it have something to do with the tie in to King Arthur's sword?
|Posted by [email protected] on August 12, 2010 at 2:02 PM||comments (0)|
In honor of the personal computer, today (Thursday, August 12, 2010) is the 29th anniversary of the IBM invention that changed the way the world would get things done, Untreedreads is celebrating and they want you to join in!
In honor of the anniversary, Untreed Reads is offering 29% off all titles at UntreedReads.com from 12 am PST to 11:59 pm PST. Here's the pertinent info:
1. The sale is good at UntreedReads.com ONLY
2. Customers need to enter coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAYPC in their shopping cart to receive the discount.
3. All titles are eligible for the discount.
Please spread the word on your blogs/forums/foreheads where ever you can!*
*Information supplied by Jay Hartmann of UntreedReads.com