The Irritated Spirit

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No one enjoyed taking the elevator to the morgue. It was silent and depressing. A journey to a very cold hell, hidden in the bowels of the hospital! Dr. Lou Green was no different. He escorted detective Lorraine DeMarco to the gloomy dungeon. In normal circumstances he’d flirt with such a beautiful woman, but even her stunning looks and bright personality couldn’t lift his mood!
“Hi Lou, whats with the long face? Come one give me a smile.”
Lou looked at her. She was an olive-skinned beauty, unmarried, except to her career. Her perfect red lips curved in a smile and her eyes shone with mischief and humility.
“It’s the morgue. I feel defeated every time I come down here. A wall full of drawers, filled with dead folks defeats my purpose in this world.”
“You can’t save them all Lou! If their time’s up, they’re gonna go!”
“And tell me, why would the time be up on a 25-year-old girl? Who decided she should die?”
The elevator doors whooshed open and they stepped into the silent corridor that led to the room of the dead.
“I know, not good, but that’s why I’m here right? To find out what happened to her. You have the post-mortem results don’t you?”
“Not personally. You know I don’t do that, I’m just bringing you down here because Jack was called away. I couldn’t work on the dead, whats the point?”
Lorraine laughed, “Come on Lou, cheer up. A post-mortem helps us find the bastard that killed them.”
Lou opened the door to the morgue and shivered.
“I couldn’t work down here, I’d freeze to death.”
“It does seem colder than normal today,” Lorraine responded pulling her jacket tightly around her.
They walked along the wall of drawers until they found the one labeled Rosa Rosso. Lorraine chuckled.
“Death isn’t funny detective!”
“Oh come on, Rosa Rosso. She sounds like a stripper, where’s your sense of humor?”
Lou couldn’t find humor in the morgue and glowered at her as he slid the oversized drawer open.
The drawer was empty.
“Great, one’s escaped!”
They both turned towards the sound of the door at the end of the room closing, then ran towards it.
On the floor lay a toe tag. Detective DeMarco picked it up and read the name out loud.
“Rosa Rosso, dam Lou, one really did get away!”

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Strangled!

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Sofia and Jean rested on the bed with Bill between them. He drifted into a guilt free sleep and dreamed of women, money and sex. It was his life, all he thought about. Sofia caressed his upper thigh and watched him grow. Jean breathed into his ear. He smiled in his sleep. In his dream his was back in the hotel, straddled by his now dead mistress, enjoying her attention, her body, her money. His dream felt real.

“Room Service!”
The door opened and his dead wife stood there, naked, pale, beautiful. Jean had been a good-looking woman. He beckoned her. She joined Sophia on the bed. Bill watched them kiss and caress each over. Two naked beautiful naked women. Overcome by lust, he pulled them down beside him.
“Shhh, wait, don’t rush it.”
Sophia opened the drawer where the pendant lay, the gift he’d chosen to lure his next mistress. She slipped it over her head it sat between her perfect breasts as she mounted him again. Bill closed his eyes and drifted into ecstasy, the like of which he’d never experienced before…nor would again.

When Bill didn’t show up for work his colleges assumed he was grieving. Jean’s parents were lost in their own grief and days slipped by. Days turned into weeks.

Three weeks after the hotel fire a young police detective called Maria, knocked on the front door of Bill’s home. When there was no answer, she assumed he was at work. As she turned to leave a neighbor approached.
“I think he’s home, I saw him come back on the day of the funeral. I haven’t seen him leave.”
“The funeral was two weeks ago wasn’t it?”
Maria knocked again. The house was silent.
“He was driving a different car, fancy Italian, my husband said it was an Alfa Romeo.”
“Was he alone?” Maria asked
“I think so, but there was a lot of noise in his house that night,” she lowered her eyes, “It came from his bedroom.”
“What sort of noise.”
The neighbor’s face turned bright red, “You know, bedroom noise. Not the sort of noise you wouldn’t expect to hear after a funeral. I never liked him. I saw him once, in a restaurant, a woman draped all over him. It wasn’t Jean! I have a key if you want to go inside. Jean gave it to me so I could water the plants when they were away. Sweet heart she was. Can’t understand why she’d take her own life.”

Maria waited while the nosy, but helpful neighbor to fetch the key. Something wasn’t right. It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek inside.
The smell hit them as soon as Maria opened the front door. Lou, the neighbor took a couple of steps back. “Oh my!”
“Stay here,” Maria hissed. She walked quickly through the clean, tidy house and then returned to the front door to get a mouthful of fresh air. Slowly she walked up the stairs. The first door on the landing stood ajar. Maria didn’t make it past the doorway.

The bedroom was warm and steamy, as though someone had just stepped out of the shower. The stench of decay was overwhelming. The naked corpse lay tied to the bed, eyes bulging in terror. Expensive jewelry adorned the dead man’s purple bruised neck. He’d been strangled.

Something moved in the bathroom. Did Maria hear a voice? Did someone moan in pleasure? Was that the sound of gentle laughter?

She fled downstairs, and called for backup.

Two spirits hovered in the bedroom for a little while, and faded into the atmosphere. Their work was done.

Brompton-on-Swale

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I’d planned to have this book released by Christmas 2017. I know, it didn’t happen. I love writing so much I don’t have time to publish, and I certainly can’t afford a publisher. Oh well, when it eventually does get released later this year it’s going to be a bargain book for those of you who love England, especially the north-east. The stories packed into this book include;

Ghosts on the Sand (set in Blackpool)
Guy at the Bar (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
Camera (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
The Engineer (set in a fictitious village in County Durham)

Why are most of my stories set in the North East? Because it’s the best part of England. Northerners are genuine, down to earth and fun!

I was born in Bishop Aukland, lived in Shildon until I was 4 years old. I then fled with my mam to Etherly and Butterknowle to escape my violent dad. Mam finally found a job and house in Summerhouse, county Durham, where we lived until 1967. When she remarried we moved to Brompton-on-Swale, the village that shaped my life. Even though I live in the United States now (well until I retire to Italy), Brompton-on-Swale is on my mind a great deal. I wish I could become a famous writer. If I did I’d make sure to let everyone know where I came from. I’d tell them about that down to earth little village, where everyone knew everyone else and looked out for their neighbors. Many folks were born there and never moved away. They are the lucky ones. My wandering spirit won’t let me stay in one place too long. I pop back every now and again. Yes, it’s changed, but I still think of it as home.

Eventually

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Monica stomped along the road in her expensive Italian boots. The evening hadn’t turned out as she planned.
“It’s New Years Eve and I was supposed to be enjoying myself with James. Dinner, Dancing and then…”
Things catch up with you eventually
She stopped and turned around “Who said that?”
Silence, nothing moved. “God I’m talking to myself AND hearing things. Someone is going to pay for this.”
Someone always pays eventually
“OK, not funny. I know you’re out there. Did James’s wife put you up to this? He was going to leave her anyway, nothing to do with me. He told me the marriage was over. He’d be with someone else if it wasn’t me.”

The frigid night air was still and silent. “Where the hell am I?” Nothing along the dark misty lane looked familiar.

Monica had been at the Royal Charles hotel, waiting in reception for James, her lover. A handsome and very rich business man who’d made his money in the fashion world, backing and funding new designers. She’d been seeing him for almost six months. Her goal was to entice away from his shrew of a wife and snotty nosed kids by the end of the year. It seemed to be working until tonight. Monica waited for him for over an hour. He wasn’t answering his phone so she decided to just check into the room and wait for him there.

“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake, there isn’t a reservation under that name.”
“Alright, I’d like to reserve a room now please.” Monica said, trying not to be annoyed.
The receptionist didn’t even bother to check availability. She just shook her head. “We’ve been fully booked for months. New Years Eve is popular here. I’m sorry.”
“I’m in the middle of nowhere, what am I supposed to do?”
“If you drive down to the main road, and then head towards town, there’s a B&B on the right, just before the farm. It’s called the Charles Inn, sometimes people get the two places mixed up. Maybe your reservation is.”
“Seriously? A B&B? I highly doubt it. I didn’t drive, I took a taxi!”
The receptionist looked nervous, she didn’t want a scene on New Years Eve while dinner guests arrived. “Let me call you a taxi now.” She frowned as she dialed different cab firms.
“I can’t get anyone here until 8:30” She said apologetically.
Monica looked at her watch. “What, it’s only six o clock!”
“You could always sit in our lounge and enjoy a cocktail while you wait.”
“I don’t drink alone,” she snarled.

Monica picked up her Gucci overnight bag and headed out into the darkness. A five-minute brisk walk put her in on a narrow dark. The only thing that moved in the darkness was a damp luminous mist!

“I wish I’d had that drink now.” She said softly to herself. There was no sign of civilization along the dark country road, but Monica kept walking, what choice did she have. Taking her cell phone out of her pocket, she tried to call James again. “No signal, great!”
She saw headlights approaching and hoped it was him. No luck, the approaching car was battered red Nissan. James drove a silver Maserati. In the distance Monica saw lights, they were smudged by the mist, but she could make out a large dimly lit building. “At last, maybe this is the B&B, if it has a bar I’m going inside. To hell with everything, a drink or two would be wonderful.”

She paused for a moment when she reached the gate. There was nothing indicating this was a B&B. Music and laughter floated temptingly from the open door. Live jazz, lazy, lovely and full of promise. She was mesmerized!

“Sounds like a classy place, maybe I’ll spend the night.”
She took a compact from her purse and re-applied her lipstick. “This face needs a man to appreciate it, a man with deep pockets. I was bored with James anyway.”
Monica took a deep breath, puffed out her chest, opened her coat to show her perfect (implanted) breasts and walked to the front door.
The scene in front of her was warm, exciting, and full of promise.

Evil Shadows!

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When Sam opened his eyes again it was dark and quiet. He tried to move, but he was fastened tightly to whatever he lay on. His body ached from lack of movement. His eyes became accustomed to the dark and he could make out shadows around him, but nothing moved. A huge black caldron sat on the dying embers of the fire. He dreaded to think what might be inside it. Then he felt silly, witches didn’t really exist, this must be a bad dream. He remembered looking for Dirk in the woods, he remembered the cottage, he remembered…

His arms were numb from being tied so tightly so he wriggled his fingers to make sure they were still there.

He was cold, so very cold.

Sadie, I think I’ll be with you soon. Don’t know where I am, but I’m in trouble and I’m not sure I can escape.

Something stirred in the far side of the cabin. Sam strained his eyes to get a better look.

“Who’s there?” He asked. No reply! Dawn approached and a slice of light found its way through the dark drapes that hung across the window. A man sat in a chair, A man with a misshapen head. Sam watched in horror as sky brightened.

“Dirk, is that you.” The head moved slightly. Sam closed his eyes.

This can’t be happening, This is a nightmare. WAKE UP!

He opened his eyes again.

Oh dear sweet Jesus!

A face with flaming red demented eyes hovered over him,  staring hungrily down. A face he recognized!

“Good Morning Sammie, I’m glad you’re awake. I have a surprise for you.”

“Sadie? What have they done to you?”

The face cracked into a grotesque grin as it bore down on him.

Camera!

She’d just gotten to the other side of the road when she heard him call.

“Hey, you left your camera in the car.”

“What? That’s not mine.”

“It must be yours. I haven’t picked anyone else up today.” He shoved it into her hand and walked away. The leather strap felt slick, slimy, but worst of all, it felt alive. Lucy shuddered and almost dropped it.

Camera is a bonus short story in my upcoming book “Ghosts on the Sand”. Watch out for it it’s COMING SOON!

Just an old fashioned brothel!

BrotherlThe creep who’s propositioned me made himself comfortable on a chair next to Janie. Without taking his eyes off me he draped his arm around her and pulled her close. Tears streamed down her face. Push him off Janie, push him away. I knew she couldn’t. He kissed her on her neck, then her lips. He stood her up and pinning her against the wall with his body, he slid down and nuzzled his head between her breasts. She was terrified. I looked at Jack’s face, worried about his reaction. Larry spoke!

“Hey man, leave her alone, I can’t concentrate on the cards while you’re doing that.”

Tom turned around and faced him. “Can’t have that can we!”

He took hold of Janie’s arm and dragged her across the floor. She fell to her knees but he didn’t stop, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. She managed to get to her feet again when they reached the door, her knees were scraped and her blouse torn.

“You want to come too darling? I can handle two of you.”

Go Sheila go, it’ll be OK! He’s strong, but drunk. Go help her. The voices in my head belonged to someone I’d come to know. It was Jacks daughter. Go, we’re here with you. This time it was my gran.

“Sure, let’s have a party.”

The look on Janie’s face was horrific. “No, leave her alone, leave her out of this.”

“Shhh, honey, you can’t keep a mal like this all to yourself” I said, trying to take on the role.

I didn’t look behind me, daren’t see the look on Jack’s face.

The bedroom that Tom led us into wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was clean and sumptuous, reminded me of a saloon brothel from some Western, where the madame would be called Kitty and her girls would wear frilly bloomers and basques. He saw the look on my face. “Like what you see, you’re gonna like what you get too.” He unbuckled his belt and started to unzip his jeans. “Lets play around a little first shall we?”He walked toward me, his belt hanging loose, the top button of his jeans undone and his zipper halfway down. Janie stepped in front of me, trembling, but trying to protect me. She moved towards Tom and draped her arms around his neck. He put his hands on her shoulders, dropped his head and kissed her breasts, then he pushed her to one side and laughed.

“I’ve had you before, its her I want. She’s new, fresh and I don’t think she’s done this before.”

Oh dear god please help me. 

I looked across at the speckled mirror in the old-fashioned dresser and saw four faces looking back at me. My own terrified face was in the forefront, but the faded, determined faces of my gran, and the two souls she’d befriended hovered behind, like fading holograms.

Everything moved very fast. Janie lurched forward and grabbed Tom’s jeans, she yanked them down to his knees and pushed as hard as she could. His legs tangled in his jeans and he went down hard, banging his head on the corner of the dresser as he fell. It knocked him out cold.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuuuuuunnnnnnn! Get away, flee!

The faces in the mirror had disappeared, but the room echoed with their words. I grabbed Janie’s hand and we ran for the door. It opened as we approached and on of Larry’s boys appeared. He looked behind us and saw Tom on the floor, a pool of blood spreading around him.

“This way!”

We fled down the hallway and out of the back door. The old van stood outside, its engine running. We fell inside and the van took off, even before the door was closed.

“You girls OK?”

Janie and I didn’t speak, we just hugged each other!

“What about Jack,” Janie said, “What if they hurt him?”

I put my arm around her, feeling her wet tears on my shoulder. “He’s in good company, I think he’ll be OK!” I replied and hoped I was right.

 

Help ME!

131286-aaa-tests-shine-high-beam-headlight-limitations.2As I walked home, my temples began to throb. Goddam this day! Why don’t I feel good about helping this girl? 

“Give it time!”

It was my Gran’s voice. I was comforted to hear it. Gran who is this girl.? There was no reply. The phone rang as I walked through the front door. I ignored it. After taking a couple of aspirin, I lay down on the sofa and slept. My dreams were a troubled mess of sirens and anxiety. When I finally woke up it was dark and cold. I was disoriented. Where am I?

Looking around, I focused my eyes and thoughts. At home of course. I’d slept for six hours. It was almost time to meet up with Jack and Janie again. Was that really her name? I doubted it. More likely she’d done her research on a poor lonely old man and chosen the name to take advantage him. But why do I feel the presence of his dead wife and daughter?

I washed my face and changed my rumpled clothes. The phone came to life again.

It was Les, “where have you been? I’ve been calling you at work and at home.”

“I stayed home, had an awful nights sleep and just couldn’t face work. I heard the phone ring once here, but I didn’t answer because I was trying to sleep.”

“Once, I rang about six times.”

Maybe the sirens I heard in my dreams was the phone ringing. 

“Well I never heard it.”

“Good news, I will be home this weekend after all. The system isn’t going live until next week.”

“Great,” I said, not sounding the least bit enthusiastic. “Look I’m not feeling well, I’ll call you later.”

I was becoming more agitated by the second. My heart was beating fifty to the dozen. I grabbed my coat, and jumped in the car, almost forgetting to open the garage door before I drove out. Something felt wrong!

Jack’s house was lit up like a beacon, porch light, bedroom lights, and the door stood wide open. As my car crunched along the driveway Jack appeared.

“She’s gone!” he said

“Is anything missing?” I asked without thinking.

He looked hurt. “I didn’t check and I don’t need to. We have to find her.”

“OK, jump in, we’ll go to the barn first.”

“No need, I already checked there, no sign of her.”

I closed my eyes and tried to collect my thoughts. Had she ever really existed? Was she something I’d conjured up? No, Jack has seen her too.

I started to speak, but my words were drowned by the noise of a truck passing by, music blaring from the windows.

“Help me!”

Icy fingers closed around my heart. I looked at Jack.

“Did I imagine that?”

He shook his head and jumped in the passenger seat.

“Go!” He yelled.

 

Dead of July  is my first novel and its available on Amazon for $0.99. It’s set in 1982 in Dortmund, Germany. If you’re enjoying my short blog stories, give it a try.

 

Confusion!

image0012I watched, hypnotized, as Janie and Jack warmed to each other. Janie didn’t say much, but her fear melted away. I became suddenly drowsy, all I wanted to do was sleep. My eyelids were so heavy I could hardly keep them open.

“Are you alright?” Jack asked. “You look exhausted. You can go upstairs and lie down if you want.”

I thought of the voices I’d heard in the bedroom, voices from the past, from the long dead. I wasn’t afraid of them, but I didn’t want to share a room with them. I wanted to be alone. I was tired and confused and I wanted to rest and think. Who was this girl? What was happening. “I’ll go home if it’s all the same to you. I’m tired, didn’t sleep well last night.”

My voice sounded unnatural and distant. It echoed around the room and seemed to hang in the air. Jack wasn’t paying attention anyway. He was focused on his new guest. Did he think she was his daughter? Surely not! His daughter was dead. “Janie do you want to come home with me?” I asked. “You’re more than welcome. You can take a shower and I can find  you some fresh clothes.

She shook her head.

“OK then I’m going.”

Jack walked me to the door. “You know this isn’t your daughter right!” I said, “This is some poor kid living rough, you need to be careful.”

“I know that, but this girl has been sent to me. She’s here to give me a second chance. I know we’re connected somehow. I have to help her. When she’s here I feel Janie, my Janie. I feel Miriam too.”

“Do you hear them or see them?” I asked.

“No I don’t, but I know you do, I’ve seen you looking upstairs. I’ve seen you listening. My family is here and you know it. I wish I could see them too, but I can’t. They are reaching out to me through this girl instead.”

Jack looked unsure of himself, vulnerable. “I don’t know your family Jack, but there is certainly a presence in your home. They’re here for you not me. What if they’re here to warn you about her? Just be careful OK! You know nothing about this girl.”

“I know nothing about you either,” he said, “but I trust you.”

I looked over Jack’s shoulder and saw Janie stand up. She she stood alone in the empty kitchen. A couple of the stairs creaked from the weight of unseen footsteps. A chill passed though my body. Footsteps crunched on the gravel behind me. I turned around, no one was there.

“I’m going home to take a nap, I’ll be back later though, maybe we can grab dinner in the Stagecoach, I’ll drive!”

“Sounds good,” he said, “Stop by around six.”

I walked along the drive way, my legs barely supporting me.

Who is this girl? 

Where did she come from?

What comes next?