The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Monday, October 31, 2011

[A Daft Scots Lass]

[A Daft Scots Lass]

Wallpaper Dreams: The Messenger

Chck out this spooky story for Halloween from the demented mind of Garden Summerland :)

Wallpaper Dreams: The Messenger: Nadia cautiously pulled back the heavy dark drapery and squinted her eyes, anxiously scrutinizing the darkness. She wiped the moisture from ...

Quote of the day 10-31

It's not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas

Edwin Land   

 

 

 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dream Home by Willow Cross (From 'Haunted')

In the fall of 1999, I moved into my dream home. By then, our family had grown substantially. We had three girls and a two year-old boy. After living inside city limits for many years, it felt good to be back in the country. The two story
house had five bedrooms, an enormous living room, dining room, and
kitchen. The downstairs rooms had massive pocket doors that slid in
and out of the walls.
Directly in the middle of farmland, the nearest neighbor was a small church down the road. Every day at noon and 6pm the church chimes played. It was small piece of heaven.
One would think by then, I’d had enough experiences with ghosts to notice a house was haunted before we moved in. Honestly, I had a ‘feeling’ something was up. However, it wasn’t a bad feeling. In fact, it reminded me tremendously of my protector. So without any reservations whatsoever, we moved in.
We noticed things right away. Our ‘friends’ weren’t even remotely shy. The very first night, around one in the morning, my husband and I were just drifting off to sleep. A strange scraping noise, like wood rubbing together, floated up the
stairs. Both of us sat up in bed. We traded glances and headed for the stairs. Before we reached the stairs, we heard the door to the back porch open and shut.
My husband took off like a madman and I stayed close behind him. Of course there was no one there when we arrived, and the back door that we’d distinctly heard shut stood wide open. He went outside and wandered around the exterior of the house for a bit. Finding nothing at all, he returned. We locked the door, laughed a bit about the strangeness of it, and went back to bed.
The next morning, I awoke and headed down to make coffee. As soon as I entered the kitchen, I stopped short. Once again, the back door stood wide open. Confused, and a little rattled, I checked the downstairs rooms before going outside. No one was anywhere to be found.
By the time my husband had made his way to the kitchen, the coffee was ready, and the door shut. I stayed pretty quiet that morning. And although he could tell something was wrong, he didn’t press me. He’d learned several years before to leave me (and my meditative states) alone.
After the kids were dressed and off to school, I did some investigating. I locked the back door and went to the living room. Other than the sounds of the wind chimes I’d hung across the front porch, it remained completely silent. For
nearly an hour I waited and listened. Absolutely nothing happened. Feeling foolish, but still certain something out of the ordinary had occurred; I went about unpacking and putting things away.
Late that night, after the kids were in bed and asleep, we heard the scraping noise again. My husband started to get out of bed, but I stopped him. Shaking my head, I put a finger to my mouth before pointing to my ear.
He cocked his head to the side and gave me a “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look.” I returned his expression with my best “shut-up-and-listen-to-me glare.”
The soft pad of footfalls headed up the stairs. Slowly, as if taking one step at a time, the footsteps reached the top and moved towards our bedroom. With the hall light on and the door open, we had a good view of the entire foyer. What our eyes saw, didn’t process with what our ears heard. There was absolutely nothing there. The footsteps came right up to our door and just stopped.
One eyebrow pulled up as he said, “Okay?”
I smiled. “I knew we weren’t alone here. I just had this feeling…”
His eyes rolled and he shook his head. “Don’t start that crap again. We are not moving.”
Laughing, I answered, “Of course we’re not moving. Don’t be ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with this house.
As the days passed, the nightly sliding of the pocket doors and the footsteps on the stairs continued. Occasionally the back door would be open in the morning, but thankfully, as fall moved into winter, that rarely happened.
However, it wasn’t all sweet and roses. The two oldest children refused to go upstairs unless I was with them. Even if all four were up there together, they couldn’t stay up there long. I was slightly concerned, but they weren’t telling me ‘ghost’ stories, so I let it go. In December of that year, my next-oldest child saw the first apparition.
A loud scream followed by, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” jolted me from a deep sleep. I recognized Miranda’s voice instantly and headed to her room. As soon as the light was switched on, she bolted out of her bed and wrapped her arms around me. Tears poured from her eyes as she sputtered between sobs and tried to tell me what had happened.
Nearly a half hour later, she’d finally calmed enough to give me details. She’d been asleep, but a strange noise woke her. Her eyes snapped open and across the room from her in the wingback chair, an old woman sat watching a small boy play with a train. Her description of both the woman and the boy were extremely vivid. She said the boy was about Samantha’s size (My youngest daughter), and wore striped pajamas with a blue plaid robe over them. He had dark hair and was extremely pale.
The woman wore her hair in a bun and had a long old-timey dress on. At first she was just shocked, but when the woman looked away from the boy to glare at her, it terrified her. She opened her mouth to scream for me, and the lady bent forward and raised her finger to her lips. At that point she screamed her head off, and I had come running.
The poor darling was so badly shaken she ended up sleeping with us that night. From that point on, she refused to sleep alone. I had no choice but to move her in with her older sister.
It wasn’t long after that I saw my first apparition in the house. My experience was completely different, and the way it came about coupled with the small event from earlier that day, leads me to believe the ghost I saw had nothing to do with the house per say. I believe that particular ghost was attached to a thing instead of a place.
The kids had left for school and I’d decided to do some digging around. There were two attics in the house. One was a walk in attached to my bedroom, and the other could be entered through a small door in the upstairs closet. Both were absolutely full. Being the nosey person I was, I decided to rummage around and see what sort of trinkets had been left behind from previous tenants.
Coffee in hand, I entered the attic attached to my bedroom. Neatly stacked boxes covered the floor making it difficult to maneuver. So I started with the boxes closest to the door and worked my way back. Most were filled with junk. Old newspapers, magazines, left over door knobs and brick-a-brack. Those went to the side. Several boxes contained moth or mouse eaten children’s clothing. Those went right out to the burning barrel.
About midway through the small room, I’d just moved a stack of boxes and noticed the back of a rather large picture. I turned it around and let out a gasp.
A young girl, who looked about Samantha’s age, stared back at me with the saddest blue eyes I’d ever seen. She had long light blond corkscrew curls and was dressed in a knee length blue winter coat that matched her eye color exactly. Her tiny pink lips were pulled up in a pout. It was adorable and I loved it. It was easy to see it was hand painted and the canvas looked old, but the frame was gold plastic with large ornate scrolling prevalent in the 70s. It didn’t seem to fit with the look or age of the painting.
I took it downstairs and got to work on it right away. After removing the canvas from the frame, I used the softest cloth I could find and meticulously ran it over every inch of the painting. It took at least an hour and four cloth diapers to bring it back to its original sheen. Then I got to work on the frame. After dusting and scrubbing, the plastic frame still looked like cheap gold plastic. That would not do for this gorgeous piece of art. So I sanded it a bit and carefully spray painted it black.
After the paint dried and the two pieces had been fitted back together, I hung it on a wall in the upstairs hallway. I was terribly proud of how well it turned out. The now black frame looked like old wrought iron. I couldn’t wait to do some research and find out how old the painting really was.
Unfortunately, the children and my husband weren’t nearly as thrilled with my find. All of them said it creeped them out. A little bummed at their less and desired reactions, I insisted the blue girl (as I’d dubbed it) would remain in the upstairs hallway.
That night, after the usual complaints about not wanting to sleep upstairs, I finally fell asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night I felt a finger poking my shoulder. I was so tired, I didn’t even bother to open my eyes. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Mommy.” Recognizing Samantha’s voice, yet still unable to force my eyes open, I repeated, “What’s wrong, baby?” The poking began again. Three distinct pokes to my shoulder. Each punctuated with, “Mommy!” My eyes snapped open. “What in the world do you--” Befuddled, confused, and wondering if I was even awake, I stared into the blue eyes of the girl from the painting. It lasted mere seconds before she completely dissolved. I jumped out of bed and looked around the room. I must have been half asleep. I had to have been dreaming. Slowly making my way across the hall, I tiptoed into Samantha’s room to see if she was still asleep. Maybe it was her, and I was so out of it I just thought I saw the painting girl.
Curled on her side, her eyes moved back and forth behind her lids. Rem sleep. There was no way she’d been in my room. As I made my way back to my bed, I stopped in front of the picture. “Was that you?” I asked. “Did you come for a visit?” Laughing at myself for being such a goofball, I returned to bed and went right to sleep.
My little visitor didn’t bother me again that night, but somehow--and I wonder now if it wasn’t the care of her painting that brought it on--she’d attached to me. From that point on, I saw her nearly every day. Not full on, like the first time. Here and there I’d catch a glimpse of blonde streak across my peripheral vision. Sometimes, when the house was completely empty, I’d hear her softly call out, “Mommy?” Over the years we lived there, I’d taken to speaking to her outright.
At times I’d catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye and soon after hear a soft twinkle of laughter as if she were playing hide and seek. Sometimes I’d play along, and other times I’d say, “Not right now, dear. I’m busy. Wait till the children come home.” Of course it all sounds rather crazy now, but I enjoyed it.
At one point I invited a gifted psychic to visit. She walked in and smiled, saying, “This house is brimming with supernatural life.”
I smiled and nodded. “Pretty cool, huh?”
“It doesn’t bother you,” she asked.
Shaking my head, my smile grew wider. “They feel like family.”
She closed her eyes and was silent for a moment before speaking. “You feel like family to them too.”
There were numerous little things that happened in that house. Disembodied whispers, the sound of a child’s laughter and scampering feet, the heavier footsteps on the stairs, and doors that opened and closed of their own accord.
Now that my children are grown, they still think of that house as home. And even though they were afraid of it when they were small, all of them would jump at the chance to move back there.
Ten years have passed since we moved to Arkansas. To this day I have no idea what happened to my beloved picture of my sad little adopted ghost. Somehow it never made here with the rest of our stuff. I smile a bit when I think about it. Maybe the movers lost it, or maybe she just wanted to stay there.
Someday I hope to live in that house again. And hopefully, stuck behind some old boxes, or hidden in one of the closets, I’ll find the Blue Girl again. With a little luck, she’ll find me too.


Other Willow Cross books
The Dark Gifts: Birthright
The Dark Gifts: Inheritance
Oceans of Red volume one

Willow’s haunts:



Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Legend of West Fork By JT Lewis


“This has to be the worst day ever,” John Bailey exclaimed as he kicked at a stone in the well worn gravel road.
It had all started with the English paper, the C+ English paper. He had put his heart into that short story, working on it for a week.
“Why is it always the spelling?” he lamented, his weakness dragging him down again. He would kick himself if he could, he should have given more effort to spelling in grade school. Now it was a recurring problem, made even worse by the fact that his family couldn’t afford a dictionary.
“How does a dictionary feed the animals, or plant the crops?” his Pa would pipe in every time he brought the subject up. His Ma was sympathetic,  hoping he would continue on to college when he graduated high school, but there was only so much money to be had. He was the only one in the whole family that had even gone to high school, and he was proud of that, even though it meant he had to work part time to afford it. But work left him no time for the school library, or their dictionary, so he had to do his work at night at home.
Work, another piece of the puzzle that had made this day one he couldn’t wait to end. His job was working with the janitor after school, and this was floor scrubbing day, the worst day of the week. Every week Mr. Beazley would pick one room to scrub, which meant that he would have to scrub it while Mr. Beazley would go off to do the more important work of the school. Apparently, gin had something to do with the important work, for he always returned smelling of it.
John had gotten busy, scrubbing the floor with a brush on his hands and knees, hurrying through the task as it always made him late for chores. Every scrubbing day he heard it from his Pa about getting home in time to feed the cows and the mangy horse.
Finishing after two hours, he nonetheless felt proud of the job he had done, for about two minutes. That’s how long it had taken him to carry the dirty water bucket down the hall and accidentally dump its contents throughout the long wooden corridor. Mr. Beazley was livid, shouting at John to get some clean water and clean up the mess before turning back toward the furnace room for more gin.
Forty-five minutes later it was done. Putting everything away and shouting goodbye to the janitor, he gathered his books and ran out of the building…into the dark. It was already Halloween and the nights were getting darker earlier. Boy would his Pa be angry.
He started up the three mile trek for home over the rutted gravel road, angry at himself over spelling and spilled swill. Leaving town, he passed under the railroad trestle as a locomotive chugged by overhead, a hot ember from its stack falling down upon him, slipping into his collar and sliding down his back. He dropped his books and did a dance in the middle of the road as he quickly tried to work the burning cinder away from his skin and out from the inside of the shirt. Finally pulling out the tail of his shirt released the cinder onto the road, but his relief was short lived when upon tucking it back in he felt the hole that had burned through the back.
“Jeepers, now Ma’s gonna be mad!...DARNIT!” he shouted at the receding train as it rounded the bend out of sight.
Picking up his books, he kicked at another stone and continued on his way, anxious to get home. As he walked, he noticed the waning moon partially covered with swiftly moving black clouds, causing the shadows to move around him. Gulping loudly, his anger drained away, but had been replaced by a creepy feeling that crawled up his spine; the back of his neck was tingling.
Shaking off the feeling with a nervous laugh, he continued on his way, but a little more alert to his surroundings. Rounding the next curve however revealed a sight he hadn’t given a thought to until now…and one he suddenly dreaded beyond belief.
West Fork Cemetery was the oldest cemetery around, with graves going back to the 1700’s. He normally didn’t give it a thought when he passed by the sprawling graveyard, but he usually passed by it during the day.
“Kid stuff,” he said to himself when he realized he was creeping himself out. After all, he was almost fifteen! Resuming his walk with determination, he found that this determination that he had only moments ago summoned was quickly waning the closer he got to the boundary fence.
His grandma had always said ‘when you is scared and there ain’t no moon, stare at the ground and hum a loud tune’, so he concentrated on the pebbles passing his feet as he hummed a song, but all he could think of to hum was Mary had a little lamb! He was certainly glad no one was around to see him…or hear him for that matter.
As he approached even closer to the boundary fence, another thought crept into his head…and his soul.
Ol Red Eyes!
“That’s just a story,” he said out loud, but his mind was racing, reliving the local legend that he had heard his whole life. Seven feet tall, with a huge black shadowlike body, he carried a massive double-headed ax. Supposedly, he had an eerie growl like that of a wolf, but lacking a head, his glowing red eyes floated over where his neck would be. The chilling image was forming in his head, so he snuck a peek along the road ahead, seeing nothing. He was chilled now as his skin became clammy with fear.
His grandma had told him the story years ago, before she died, her body now buried in this very cemetery. On ‘All Hallows Eve’ the ghost would come out of the cemetery, to take the head of some unwary traveler for himself. According to his grandma, there were supposedly several instances over the years of finding headless bodies in the area on November 1st. No one would admit that they believed the story, but everyone avoided the cemetery on that night.
“Bunkum!” he said, stopping in place and taking a breath, trying to calm his nerves. He was too old to believe in a kid’s ghost story. Nevertheless, he looked down onto the road and continued his humming as he continued on his way.
“Hello.”
He had heard it, his heart had skipped a beat when he had heard it, but he kept walking determinedly forward. It had been a figment of his imagination he was sure, and he didn’t want to stop anyway.
Then there were footsteps, beside him, gravel crunching, more than his own. He hummed louder.
“When you is scared and there ain’t no moon, stare at the ground and hum a loud tune.”
He froze, his feet would no longer move, his eyes squeezed shut. His teeth were chattering from the chill and the fear he now felt.
He felt a hand suddenly in his, a comfortable hand. Opening his eyes, he was looking into those of a little girl in a gabardine dress, a smile spread across her freckled face.
“Hello Johnnie.”
“Who are you, and what are you doing here in this spooky cemetery in the middle of the night? Do your parents know you are here?”
“My name is Mary, I’ve come to help you as we don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Help me do what?” John asked, calmer now, but confused.
“Why, to help you get through of course, silly,” she answered.
“Through...?” the question hung in the air, unanswered until the little girl pointed on down the road, a serious look now on her face.
Glancing down the road, the icy chill returned as the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. Two dim red orbs seemed to be staring at him. The large flowing shape of a man dressed in black fog could be made out below the glowing spheres, a humongous ax head down in one hand.
He realized that he had forgotten to take a breath, inhaling sharply now, the breath loud on the dark road.
“I thought it was just a story, he really exists?”
 “Yes, he is real, but we must hurry, his powers are stronger as it approaches midnight. Walk with me,” the girl finished as she pulled John into the cemetery. As they made their way through the stones, Red Eyes could be seen following on a parallel course, a low growl marking its way across the gravestones.
“Listen to me,” Mary whispered, “there are a couple of things you need to know.”
She leaned into him, pushing him slightly to the side to miss a stone that had appeared before them.
“Firstly, he is not very fast, so your escape needs to be quick, as quick as you can run!”
“Ok,” John answered, not feeling as confident as his response indicated.
“Secondly, you can’t look at him, his eyes are hypnotic, if you look at him when you are close, you’re a headless corpse.”
John cringed.
“Last thing you need to know, he can only go to the boundary fence, once you get past that, you’re free.”
She leaned up on her tiptoes and gave him a peck on the cheek. “Are you ready Johnnie? We’ll turn around quickly, and run like the wind back to the road and past the fence. If he gets close, I’ll try to distract him, he can’t hurt me.”
“Ok,” John whispers, tensed up and ready to run.
She looked at him, “Ready….NOW!”
They turned and ran, he as hard as he could, she seeming to float above the ground, pulling his hand and they made their way through the stones. An angry growl came from behind him to the right as the black apparition came quickly on an intersecting course.
With three rows of stones left, Mary pulled him to the right, angling through the stones toward the boundary fence, the growls now just behind him.
He was on the road then, running for all he was worth, his legs pounding on the gravel, Mary still tugging at his arm. Looking over her shoulder, she sees the red eyes closely behind them.
“Keep going Johnnie!” she shouted as she let go of his hand and reversed course. He heard a commotion behind him, but put on a spurt of speed without looking back.  
 Clearing the fence, he kept running for a hundred feet before chancing a glance back…nothing. He dared to stop and catch his breath, warily watching behind him, ready to run in an instant.
“No one is going to believe this!” he thought excitedly to himself, the adrenalin still flowing through his body. Thinking about it more,  he realized that, no one would believe it, especially his Pa, thinking it just an excuse to get out of chores.
Looking back once more, he could see nothing, no Mary, no Red Eyes. Picking up his books from where he had dropped them on the ground, he started for home, never so anxious to be with his family as he was tonight. Although he had truly felt the fear of death tonight, he was happy to be alive, and it had changed him in ways he couldn’t yet fathom.
After about a quarter of a mile, he was almost certain he had heard Mary calling after him.
“Bye Johnnie, it was great seeing you again!”
He wasn’t sure if he had heard it, but the thought pleased him. But why had she called him Johnnie? And what would she have meant by it was great seeing him again?
There was only one person in this world that had ever called him Johnnie, and she was…
A smile formed on his lips and his steps were more lighthearted as he continued on his way to home, the thought striking him a moment ago changing everything.
His grandma’s name had been Mary.

JT Lewis

















Copyright 2011 JT Lewis

Friday, October 28, 2011

Excerpt From ‘Haunted’ by Willow Cross


The House on Rivermet

In September of 1992, just seven days after my second bio-child was born, we had to move from our apartment into a small duplex on Rivermet. Things were pretty tough back then. I’d been working at a local bar as a bartender/waitress and my boss felt it was too dangerous for me to continue once I’d really started showing. With only my husband’s income, we couldn’t afford the expensive apartment. We went house hunting and found this quaint little duplex. It was definitely a fixer upper, but the price was right.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the place. It was dingy and small, but with two bedrooms and a decent sized living room, it was good enough. Except for the smell.
The air was thick with must. I knew I had some major cleaning ahead of me, and just seven days after having a baby, I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. We signed the lease, took the kids to his parents, and went back to clean. By the end of the day, we were
ready to move in.

Now I have to admit that the place was really cute once the layers of dust and crud had been removed. It had all kinds of potential. Or so I thought. I was uneasy being there, but
who actually likes being in an empty, dirty house? I sloughed it off and the next morning we moved in.

Looking back (because we all know the hind sight adage), the strange happenings began that very first day. My oldest daughter refused to sleep in her room. She was only 3, so
that’s to be expected in a new place. However, she also refused to play in her room. And that was pretty weird. I didn’t like that room either. I can’t tell you why, I just didn’t. It made me terribly uncomfortable to be in there. So much so, that I wouldn’t
put the baby in there either.

I tried a few times, but found myself continuously checking on her to make sure she was still breathing. Probably normal behavior for a new mom, but then again, I wasn’t
the freaking out kind of person.

The disappearances started immediately. The baby’s pacifier, bottles, everyone’s shoes, and even silverware came up missing all the time. I mean every day, ten times or more a
day, something would go missing. I could lay the baby down, stick her pacifier in her mouth and go to the kitchen. I’d go to the sink, or fridge, or wherever, and the pacifier I’d just given her would be sitting right in front of me. The first few times it happened, I laughed about it. Maybe post partum or something?

Obviously, my mind wasn’t working right.

Five days after we moved in, the scary stuff  began. Chrissy, my friend’s 3 year-old, had come for a sleep over. My husband had left to bowl with his brother, leaving just me and
the three little ones at home. The baby napped on the couch while the toddlers and I played. Both sat on my lap as we practiced the alphabet song. All of a sudden, Chrissy glanced over my shoulder toward the door. She stopped singing and her face went white.

She looked terrified. I turned to see what she was looking at, and the face of a man peered through the small window in the front room door. His shaggy, dirty-blond hair hung limply around his narrow face. The dark circles under his eyes could have been bruises. His face was really pale. I mean hadn’t seen the sunlight in 100 years white. Unblinking, he stared at me.

Then he was gone. Poof.

Nothing.

The girls had already started crying, but before I could put them down and get my gun (which was what I had every intention of doing), his face appeared in my living room
window. I was stunned and couldn’t move. He disappeared again, and my body went into overdrive. I shoved the girls behind the couch, grabbed the phone and dialed 911, and headed into my bedroom to grab our gun. By the time dispatch answered I was locked, loaded, and back in the living room with the children.

Standing in the middle of the room gave me a clear view of the kitchen and the back door. That’s what I was waiting for. I figured he’d try to kick in the back door if he
intended to enter. As expected, his face appeared in the kitchen window. He looked right me. Now a normal person, even a peeping Tom, doesn’t just stand there and stare at you when you have a loaded 45 pointed at their head. But this guy did. No expression on
his face whatsoever. No fear, no recognition that I was about to shoot him, nothing. And then he was gone.

I still had the phone to my ear and the dispatch officer told me the police had arrived out front and that I was to secure the weapon.

My reply?

“No way! You tell them to get someone around back and when they knock on my door, I’ll put it away. Hell, I’ll hand it to them, but there is NO way I’m putting this down until one of them is in the house.”

When they knocked, I released the chambered round, dropped the clip, and opened the door. I handed the officer the gun butt first. He came in and I was finally able to sooth the
terrified 3 year olds.

Several minutes went by, and the other 3 policemen called the one talking to me outside. They were out there a long time. Finally, he returned and looked like he was trying not
to laugh. He asked me again exactly what I’d seen. Frustrated, I repeated the story.

When I’d finished, he laughed. “Mamm, have you taken a good look at the outside of this building?”

“No, we haven’t lived here that long.”

“Well, I’ll tell ya what. I’m not sure what you thought you saw, but the ground on the west side over here slopes down. The man you think you saw would have been 9 feet tall
to look in those windows. There’s no footprints out there anywhere.”

My jaw dropped. I wasn’t crazy. And it wasn’t just me! The girls saw him too!

“When will your husband get home?”

“He’s on his way now,” I answered.

“Okay, that’s good. Now you need to put the gun away, and I’ll wait outside until he gets here.”

It was blatantly obvious he thought I was a whack job. But what could I do? He was right about the slope. I hadn’t thought of it when I’d seen the man, but it was there.

After that, it got weirder.

***
For the next several days, different items continued to disappear. Now I want to make sure I’m very clear about these so-called disappearances. We could be sitting at the
table eating, put down a fork or spoon, reach to pick it back up--and it would be gone. I realize this does happen from time to time. Especially when there’s a 3 year-old around. However, when it is occurring during every meal, and you can’t find the utensil on the floor or stuck in the high chair, it’s a bit unnerving. In addition to the silverware, shoes, clothing, and other things would go missing too.

Our visitor (and by that time I was certain we had an unseen visitor) seemed particularly fond of my makeup. But it only messed with it, while I was putting it on. If I put down an eye shadow, and went to check on the children, it would be gone when I returned.

Except for the man in the window, most of the activities seemed playful and childlike. At times I nearly convinced myself that it must be the ghost of a youngster playing pranks.

Other times, it was difficult to live in that delusion. The overwhelming feeling of dread and fear that emanated from the bedroom could be completely debilitating. The feelings weren’t subtle and came on quickly. I could walk by the bedroom door 10 times and feel
nothing. The eleventh time? It would hit me full force, stopping me in my tracks. Almost like I’d ran into a tractor beam or force field. In an instant, I’d be freezing and paralyzed with fear. My racing heart would thud against my chest so hard it was actually physically painful. It only lasted a few seconds, but that was long enough to scare the crap out of me.

On Friday, we’d lived there two weeks. By then, our ghost had added something new to his bag of tricks. No matter which room I was in, I would see this white mist in my
peripheral vision. As soon as I’d realize it was there, I’d turn to look and it would be gone.

I got smart after a while. I stopped looking head on and would watch it from the corner of my eye. The mist itself was nearly transparent. Almost like a sphere shaped cloud of smoke, it hovered about a foot from the floor. As long as I didn’t look at it directly, it would stay for several minutes at a time. Floating in and out of my blind spot as if it were trying to get my attention.

Friday night we decided to get out and have some fun. My nerves were wrangled and my husband was sick of hearing me gripe about the haunted house. It’s not that he didn’t
believe me, he saw the mist too. He was there when things disappeared. He just didn’t believe there was anything to be afraid of. And if it weren’t for that occasional heart pounding fear, I’d have agreed with him.

We took the kids to his parents for the night  and went out on the town. The next morning, he was working on the bathroom floor. I walked up to the door to ask him a few questions. He started to answer me and abruptly stopped talking. His eyes locked on something over my shoulder and his jaw dropped.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked.

He didn’t say a word but all the color drained from his face. I spun around to see what he was looking at.

A tall shadow, shaped like a man, paced along the kitchen wall. I gasped and the shadow stopped and turned to face me. It looked as if it were staring right at me. Within seconds it took off and went down the wall disappearing into the pantry.

Both of us were silent for a moment. “Did you see that?” he finally asked.

“I told you.”

“I know. But did you SEE that?”

“Yes, I saw it. This house is haunted!”
He shook his head and pulled himself to a standing position. “Now honey,” he said. “Don’t get all freaked out. It’s just a ghost. They can’t hurt you.”

But he was very wrong. Very very wrong.
***
It was dark and stormy that night. (Okay no it wasn’t, but it should have been!) I jest, but truly it was a horrifying experience. Even now, it freaks me out to think about it. Worse, the fear that most folks will believe I’ve completely flipped my lid after telling of those awful events, nearly throws me into a panic attack. Exactly one week after we saw the shadow, things escalated again.

My 3 year-old was asleep on a palate on the floor and the baby was snug in her crib. My husband’s rhythmic snoring irritated me at first, but finally lulled me to sleep. I don’t know what woke me up. One minute I was sound asleep, and the next sitting straight up in bed. I listened intently for a noise or some sign of what was wrong. Something had to be wrong. I could feel the wrongness of the situation deep within me. My heart raced
so fast and hard that it made it difficult to hear much of anything.

From my bed, I watched the rise and fall of the baby’s chest, making sure she was still breathing. Then my eyes moved to her sister. As with the baby, her breath came in normal intervals. Still afraid, and feeling like a complete idiot, I took a few deep breaths closed my eyes, and laid back down. Seconds turned to minutes as I waited for my thudding heart to still. Instead of diminishing, the feeling of wrongness amplified. Fear grew and blossomed into full blown terror as I listened to the quiet house.

Nothing. Not one sound that wasn’t completely ordinary and easily explained. The refrigerator fan kicked on, making me jump. A creak from a windowsill here and
there. Even a muffled sound of the electric icemaker dumping its next batch, but nothing strange or unusual. And yet, I was so tightly wound, I would have leapt from the bed in an instant.

Sleep eluded me completely. The dark feeling would not go away. I don’t know how long I laid there before I noticed that I was clenching my eyes shut. Almost instantaneously,
I realized I didn’t want to open them. Not at all, for any reason. It was like I was six again, waiting for the monster under my bed to reach out and grab me. Without a second thought, I pulled the blanket up over my head and opened my eyes.

You can imagine how ridiculous I felt. I was
a 23 year-old woman for Pete’s sake! And a mother. What kind of Mom hides under a blanket while her children are out in the room with whatever it was that scared her in the first place?

Determined to be a good mother and protector, I pushed the blanket away and surveyed the dark room. The heavy blinds over the window let in just enough light to leave dark
shadows in the corners of the room. The rocking chair, piled high with clean clothes I had yet to fold and put away--sat unmoving. Not one solitary thing was added or out of place.

Sighing, I placed my hands behind my head, and contemplated my insanity. I must be nuts, right? I mean who acts like that? Sheesh!

I watched the ceiling fan go round and round, hoping that at some point it would hypnotize me and put me to sleep. Above the fan the ceiling itself was so black I could only see the outside edges. I rubbed my eyes as the darkness seemed to grow larger than the fan. It stretched and elongated until it was oval shaped. My breathing became labored. And as badly as I wanted to close my eyes, they would not even allow me to blink.
I was frozen. Paralyzed. Not by fear, although the fear was definitely there and very real. I tried to move. I tried to reach out and grab my husband. With every ounce of
strength I had, I tried to put my hand on his shoulder and shake him.

My body refused to obey the mind’s commands. The darkness retreated slowly, and once again the shadow above the fan was the size and shape it should have been. Tears streamed down my face, and not wanting to wake the children, I choked back sobs.

My husband finally woke and rolled over to face me. “What’s wrong,” he asked.
I couldn’t speak. All I could do was curl up in his arms and cry, and that’s what I did.
The next morning, I told him what had happened and that we had to move. He, of course, told me I was crazy. “It must have been a dream. Maybe a night terror or something. I saw a show about how in different levels of REM sleep you can think you’re awake, and paralyzed, but really you’re sleeping. It has to be something like that!”

But it wasn’t something like that. I knew it wasn’t anything like that! I’d made my mind up, and regardless of whether he was willing or not, I was moving. There was no way I
would keep my children in that house for any longer than necessary.

He went on to work that morning as if nothing ever happened. I went apartment hunting. There were 3 complexes in town running move in deals. No deposit, first month’s rent free. I hit all of them, signed a lease with one, and came home to start packing. It didn’t take me long. I still had boxed stuff in closets from the move.

As soon as I had a truck load, I filled up my old orange ford and took it to the new place. Unloaded and went back for more. The last load I could do alone had about 12 boxes.
The couch, coffee table, and love seat were covered with them. Each box was full, but the tape gun we’d used when we’d moved last was missing. Killing the proverbial 2 birds, I called my husband.

I hadn’t told him about the new apartment, or moving, no matter what he’d said--I knew he’d go wherever we were. (Now I know you’re going to think I’m crazy,
but I SWEAR this is true)

He answered on the third or fourth ring.

“Yeah, babe. What’s up?”

“We’re moving. I’ve already rented an apartment and have almost everything moved in. All you’ll have to move is the furniture. Do you think you can get Rod, or Dave to
help?”
“Have you lost your mind? We can’t afford to move again!” he exclaimed.

“It didn’t cost anything and it’s a very nice complex. It’ll be closer to your job too.”
He let out an exasperated breath and didn’t say another word. “Look hun. I can’t live here. Something’s very wrong with this place. It’s not safe for the kids! If it can
do what it did to me last night, what can it do to them?”

Surprisingly, he answered with a chuckle. “Well it’s not like I can do anything about it now, right?”

Relief settled over me. I’d been somewhat afraid we’d fight, but it was one I’d been willing to have if needed. “Hey, where’s that tape gun? I only have a few boxes left
and I don’t want to just fold the tops in.”

“Should be in the pantry on the shelf. That’s where I put it.”

“Okay, great! I love you, and I’ll be at the new place when you get off work. Meet me there.”

“Love you too.”

I hung up the phone and walked into the living room. The tape gun was sitting dead center on the coffee table. All of the boxes were stacked by the door. No one had come
in, and there’s no way my 3 year-old could have done it. That was all the pushing I needed. I grabbed up my kids and purse, put them in the truck, and went to the new house.

I NEVER stepped foot in that house again. That night, my husband moved the rest of our
things with a friend. He said when he got there; every box in the room was stacked in two columns, one on top of the other, all the way to the ceiling.

After everything I’d been through, I totally believed him.


Follow the links below to buy this awesome book, ‘Haunted’, and to read about the author…Willow Cross






Quote of the day 10-28

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea

Robert A. Heinlein

 

 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of Bad Blood by John Sandford

Bad Blood
By
John Sandford

“That F**kin Flowers!”

Anyone that has ever read a John Sandford novel probably recognizes this unique moniker, the dubious nickname for Virgil Flowers, of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

I was familiar with Virgil’s character from previous books featuring Lucas Davenport, but was surprised to learn that John Sandford had created a series featuring Flowers.

Ingenious!

‘F**kin Flowers’ is the loose cannon of the BCA. Wearing cowboy boots daily and dragging his fishing boat around with him as he travels the state on his investigations, he is nonetheless nobody to be trifled with if someone goes against the rule of law.

Synopsys:

One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator- and a young man hits him on the head with a steel bar, drops him into the grain bin, waits until he's sure he's dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the "accident."
 Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers to head the investigation. As Virgil investigates, he begins to uncover a multigenerational, multifamily conspiracy- a series of crimes of such monstrosity that, though he's seen an awful lot in his life, even he has difficulty in comprehending it...and in figuring out what to do next.

A well liked young man suddenly takes a life, before they can get his story out of him, he is found hanging in his cell, dead. Suicide? There are a couple of clues that indicate that it may not be, but before they can prove it one way or the other, the head of the jail also ends up dead, maybe by his own hand also.

What the hell?

The investigation moves slowly through the next few days as the tightlipped people of the county yield little information. There are rumors, however, that this is all tied to a religious group that owns most of the farms on one end of the county.

Closer investigation reveals that they might be more than a little freethinking toward sex…and not just between the adults!

An exhaustive investigation and a sting confirms their fears, and as the sheriff takes a warrant to the first house to gather evidence, she is surrounded by the rifle carrying men of the World of Spirit (the name the religion goes by, (WOS)).

Soon enough the sheriff, her deputy, and a teenage girl are hiding in the bathtub as bullets fly through the walls and floor of the house. Virgil and another investigator have to fight their way in, shooting many of the WOS in the process.

The next 24 hours see many of the homes of the WOS set ablaze by their owners in an attempt to hide evidence, including the dead of their faith.

This action packed novel is full of twists and turns, building through the whole story to the exciting ending.

And…Virgil beds the sheriff! Who, as it happens, is female!

I definitely recommend this Virgil Flowers novel, John Sandford has definitely outdone himself on this one!

JT Lewis




Wallpaper Dreams: The Muse

Check out Garden Summerland's muse!

Wallpaper Dreams: The Muse: Lily opened the dishwasher and began putting the dishes away. The flashbacks started, and she stood motionless for a moment, thinking about ...

Quote of the day 10-27

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets

D.H. Lawrence

 

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Scary Story in Honor of the Season...Enjoy!

Black Aggie

A Maryland Ghost Story
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
When Felix Agnus put up the life-sized shrouded bronze statue of a grieving angel, seated on a pedestal, in the Agnus family plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, he had no idea what he had started. The statue was a rather eerie figure by day, frozen in a moment of grief and terrible pain. At night, the figure was almost unbelievably creepy; the shroud over its head obscuring the face until you were up close to it. There was a living air about the grieving angel, as if its arms could really reach out and grab you if you weren't careful.
It didn't take long for rumors to sweep through the town and surrounding countryside. They said that the statue - nicknamed Black Aggie - was haunted by the spirit of a mistreated wife who lay beneath her feet. The statue's eyes would glow red at the stroke of midnight, and any living person who returned the statues gaze would instantly be struck blind. Any pregnant woman who passed through her shadow would miscarry. If you sat on her lap at night, the statue would come to life and crush you to death in her dark embrace. If you spoke Black Aggie's name three times at midnight in front of a dark mirror, the evil angel would appear and pull you down to hell. They also said that spirits of the dead would rise from their graves on dark nights to gather around the statue at night.
People began visiting the cemetery just to see the statue, and it was then that the local fraternity decided to make the statue of Grief part of their initiation rites. "Black Aggie" sitting, where candidates for membership had to spend the night crouched beneath the statue with their backs to the grave of General Agnus, became popular.
One dark night, two fraternity members accompanied new hopeful to the cemetery and watched while he took his place underneath the creepy statue. The clouds had obscured the moon that night, and the whole area surrounding the dark statue was filled with a sense of anger and malice. It felt as if a storm were brewing in that part of the cemetery, and to their chagrin, the two fraternity members noticed that gray shadows seemed to be clustering around the body of the frightened fraternity candidate crouching in front of the statue.
What had been a funny initiation rite suddenly took on an air of danger. One of the fraternity brothers stepped forward in alarm to call out to the initiate. As he did, the statue above the boy stirred ominously. The two fraternity brothers froze in shock as the shrouded head turned toward the new candidate. They saw the gleam of glowing red eyes beneath the concealing hood as the statue's arms reached out toward the cowering boy.
With shouts of alarm, the fraternity brothers leapt forward to rescue the new initiate. But it was too late. The initiate gave one horrified yell, and then his body disappeared into the embrace of the dark angel. The fraternity brothers skidded to a halt as the statue thoughtfully rested its glowing eyes upon them. With gasps of terror, the boys fled from the cemetery before the statue could grab them too.
Hearing the screams, a night watchman hurried to the Agnus plot. To his chagrin, he discovered the body of a young man lying at the foot of the statue. The young man had apparently died of fright.
The disruption caused by the statue grew so acute that the Agnus family finally donated it to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C.. The grieving angel sat for many years in storage there, never again to plague the citizens visiting the Druid Hill Park Cemetery.

Quote of the day 10-26

I seek forgiveness, not because of my need to be right, rather, the realization that I have been so wrong. 

 

J Scholle

 

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote of the day 10-25

A book is like a mirror. If a fool looks in, you can't expect a genius to look out

J.K. Rowling

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Honor of the Season, an Old, Spooky Story ...The Old Witch

The Old Witch

by The Brothers Grimm
There was once a little girl who was very willful and who never obeyed when her elders spoke to her - so how could she be happy?
One day she said to her parents, "I have heard so much of the old witch that I will go and see her. People say she is a wonderful old woman, and has many marvelous things in her house, and I am very curious to see them."'
But her parents forbade her going, saying, "The witch is a wicked old woman, who performs many godless deeds - and if you go near her, you are no longer a child of ours."
The girl, however, would not turn back at her parents' command, but went to the witch's house. When she arrived there the old woman asked her:
"Why are you so pale?"
"Ah," she replied, trembling all over, "I have frightened myself so with what I have just seen."
"And what did you see?" inquired the old witch.
"I saw a black man on your steps."
"That was a collier," replied she.
"Then I saw a gray man."
"That was a sportsman," said the old woman.
"After him I saw a blood-red man."
"That was a butcher," replied the old woman.
"But, oh, I was most terrified," continued the girl, "when I peeped through your window, and saw not you, but a creature with a fiery head."
"Then you have seen the witch in her proper dress," said the old woman. "For you I have long waited, and now you shall give me light."
So saying the witch changed the little girl into a block of wood, and then threw it on the fire. When it was fully alight, she sat down on the hearth and warmed herself, saying:
"How good I feel! The fire has not burned like this for a long time!"

Quote of the day 10-24

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen

Winston Churchill

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wallpaper Dreams: Inconsolable

Check out this awesome vampire story!

Wallpaper Dreams: Inconsolable: Dead eyes stared ahead; crystal blue and once full of life, now lifeless and cold. Dane had loved her, in his own way; his sweet troubled Al...

Fine China

A fine china bowl, intricate in the detail of its design, sturdy in the functionality it was designed for, delicate to the touch. No dishwasher or microwave here, there are no shortcuts to its use and care. Is it the cost, or the beauty that prompts one to display it proudly instead of storing it in the cupboard?
In anger, thrown against the wall, it will shatter. Immediately grabbing for the pieces, sorrow fills the soul as every piece is collected. Glue and time will piece it back together; turning precisely hides the missing chip or two that have disappeared into the ether.
It is once again a beautiful display piece, but no longer functional. It doesn’t hold water; the cracks are there below the surface, tugging at the finger as it is caressed.
It is but a shadow of what it once was.
Your love…it will never be the same.


JT Lewis

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wallpaper Dreams: Wanted

Here is a story by G Summerland of love lost and found again....enjoy

Wallpaper Dreams: Wanted: It only lasted a few seconds; but they were timeless seconds that made me forget everything and everyone except the hotness of his mouth upo...

Quote of the day 10-20

I am easily satisfied with the very best

Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1st Author Interviews: Premium Interview with Garden Summerland Author of...

Get to know my friend Garden Summerland in this interview from 1st Books!

1st Author Interviews: Premium Interview with Garden Summerland Author of...: Brief summary: Flash Fiction Addiction Volume I is a collection of twenty-two flash fiction stories of several different genres; light...

Quote of the day 10-19

If women ran the World we wouldn't have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days

Robin Williams

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Excerpt from The Ghost Murders by JT Lewis

The now familiar beep of the monitors was relaxing to the man handcuffed to the bed. Jacob John Wesley, the ‘Ghost’ had been groggily coming in and out of consciousness for a few hours, feeling agonizing pain throughout his body until the next injection of pain killers.

He had been confused the first few times he had opened his eyes, not knowing where he was or how he got there. The chase and the resultant wreck finally started working its way though the haze that was his memory at the moment. The realization that he was in a hospital and that he had been apprehended had finally sunk in with the glimpse of the deputy guarding him outside his room.

Coming to grips with his current situation, an insight had occurred to him through the pain and the haze. Yes, he was caught, but he was still famous, people would want to know his thoughts, books would be written, movies made. The ‘Ghost’ was still here, and he was the ‘Ghost’.

A smile spread on his lips through the pain, true happiness seeming to be achieved in his life.

A nurse enters the room carrying a tray. Through half opened eyes he sees a shapely blond woman in a short white nurse’s uniform and tortoise shell glasses. She is turned away, filling a syringe from a bottle. He notices her tight ass in the white dress and wishes he could say something snide as she turns around and gives him a big smile.
“Time for your pain shot, Mr. Wesley” she said in a southern draw, her nametag revealing her name to be ‘Jasmine’. “This will fix you right up.”

‘Jasmine? It’s her!’ He thought to himself, ‘his mentor’. Thumping the needle to clear the air, she inserts it in the IV and slowly pushes the contents into the line, taking the empty hypodermic and laying it again on the tray across the room.

Coming back to the side of the bed, she smiles down on him now, informing him that “It shouldn’t be long now before the desired effects take hold.”

Still smiling, she leans down close to his face, suddenly talking close to his ear in the now familiar raspy whisper, “You should have listened to me, Mr. Wesley; you should have listened to me.”

Standing up again and still smiling, she turns to leave the room. “You all have a nice day now.”

Wesley is now confused, ‘what did she mean by that’  he wonders. The initial confusion is quickly replaced by a searing pain radiating from his arm, then traveling throughout his body. A scream formed in his throat as he tried to open his mouth to release it, but neither the scream nor the pain would exit his body.

It felt like his veins were burning with acid as his eyes now opened wide. There was a darkness creeping into his vision that seemed alive as it quickly moved around the room. While he helplessly watched its progress, the darkness moved closer and started to envelop him, like tentacles attaching to his soul. Before the last breath escapes his lungs, he is staring into the face of his fate; two red eye-like slits stare at him from inches away as screams of a thousand souls enter his head.

“Welcome,” the apparition says, the tentacles pulling the soul from his body as his screams join the others in eternal pain.

I Love Books: Haunted Halloween Bash Day 17 Urban Legends

check out these Halloween Legends!

I Love Books: Haunted Halloween Bash Day 17 Urban Legends: For today's post I'm going to post a few urban legends that I think make great creepy stories for Halloween :) All these stories came from ...

Quote of the day 10-18

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the day 10-17

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug

Mark Twain

 

 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wallpaper Dreams: Morning on Fire

Check out this intense and moving story!

Wallpaper Dreams: Morning on Fire: The light of daybreak pours into the room through massive panoramic windows imbuing the pristine whiteness of the room with a golden hue. Yo...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Makes a Hero?

Or
How Do You Make A Character In A Book Stand Out, Making Men Envious And Women Swoon?

Writing a book, one needs to develop many characters, hopefully interesting ones that your readers can identify with. In almost every book though, there are one or two main characters, the protagonists….the hero.
What goes into the making of a hero? How do you portray the heretofore unnamed character that you have thought up in your head, out of the blue, and written down on a piece of paper?
Everyone that has ever written anything knows that once you write that name down, they become real, at least to you. And we can only hope that we can portray them interestingly enough so that others may also find them real in their minds.
Put big shoulders on a man, a thin waist, and a Stetson. Give him snappy quips, a winning smile, and sparkling eyes. The ladies will swoon and the men turn in defeat when he enters the room.
Or for the women, how about a thin waist (a must), large…umm…breasts, and luxurious hair that flows over her shoulders. Add large (pick a color) eyes, a perky nose and a pouty mouth. Wrap her up in a skin-tight one-piece suit with a weapon on her hip. Men will drool when she comes on scene, and the lesser women of the story will bite their lip until blood is drawn.
There! A complete recipe for dressing up a hero of either sex.
Right?
Well….maybe.
But something is missing…hmm.
I know, let's give them a noble cause! That’s the ticket!
Ok, a mob of interplanetary ruffians lands on earth, demanding the world leaders bow down before them, or face certain annihilation. The governments of the world stand with their collective mouths agape and ajar. What ever shall they do?
“I know,” one enterprising world leader says aloud, (we all know which one he is), "We’ll call in Jim and Bridget!" (*Note* we gave our heroes unassuming names at the beginning of our story so as not to tip our hat. (There is a Stetson involved of course))
So Jim and Bridget are whisked away in black government SUV’s to the lair of the alien ruffians, where they make their way into the bowels of the ‘New World Power’ building (the alien ruffian’s are not very imaginative).
They stealthily get into the attic, making their way over the throne room, before they drop down through the ceiling in a hail of plaster dust and insulation. Quickly pulling their weapons, they make ready to kill the lead alien ruffian as Jim snappily quips, “Bite me you green haired bast….”
Ohhhhhh….they just got blasted by some kind of plasma thingy! If only Jim could have gotten his quip started a little earlier!
So, I guess the look and the noble cause could make a character a hero, but it’s really not enough. So what’s missing? What elusive characteristic should we put into our character to bring him or her around to truly being a hero?
Keep in mind that many real heroes don’t actually want to be heroes. They are an unassuming bunch that just wants to be left alone to go their own way, and only respond to a situation when it forced upon them. They may be homely, broke, or shy. No great costumes, no snappy quips, no big… (Sigh).
What makes a hero?
I don’t know.
I know, I know...so why have you been reading this stupid story if I don’t even have an answer?
Well….for one thing, when I started this, I thought I did have an answer. But working through this has led me to the belief that maybe there isn’t just one answer. After all, the mother that rushes into a burning building to save her baby has a totally different reasoning than the cop who pulls the unconscious mother from a burning car. Yet something stirred in both of them to make them act.
In the Green Lantern, it was said that one's will was the most powerful force in the universe; and that you could overcome any fear with your willpower (I loved the Green Lantern).
So yeah, one's will must have something to do with it, your will to live, the will to save your kids, the will to save someone that can’t help themselves.
But this is in extreme circumstances, life and death. The heroes of our stories need to pull babies out of fires, shoot the bad guy, and file papers at the office when needed. Fear is not a constant consideration in our story. So what makes the detective (for example) in our story, a hero? What hero-like qualities keep the reader glued to the pages of your book, while the hero is crawling through a dumpster or reading through a stack of files?
I’m thinking now that one of the key ingredients needs to be a sense of purpose, a sense of right and wrong. They know what’s right, and they know they need to get it done. Clive Cussler had a great quote in ‘The Silent Sea’: “Do the right thing; the consequences are easier to deal with, no matter what you think (at the time).”
Another ingredient, I believe, is that the hero needs to be comfortable with their own self; they need to fit into their skin, so to speak. Even more, they need to fit into their soul. This doesn’t mean they are always comfortable, or even always confident in a situation. A hero may stare into a gun barrel and not flinch, but stumbles over words when in the presence of a pretty girl.
Fitting into their soul means they know themselves, whether they accept all that that entails can be questionable, but they know what they can do. And, even if they don’t like it, they will do what’s right, because they have a purpose in life.
The final ingredient would be heart...for they care what happens, and they are not just robots blindly following some internal signal. They worry about things, they fall in love, and they get hurt, pretty much like the rest of the world does it.
So, these are my ingredients for a hero. A man (or woman): that has a purpose and knows right from wrong, who knows themselves and their limitations, and who has a heart and cares about what happens.
Is this the ultimate guideline for creating a hero?
Pfff…probably not.
Would it even be easy to inject all of these attributes into a character?
That I can answer!
NO!
Bringing a character to life is never easy, not a good one.
I will say that this is my take on what makes a heroic character and one that I will strive to fulfill as I progress in my writing.
One more thing, if your character continues on into other books, it will develop a history. Not just a history that you have created as a back story, but a history that you have lived along with your hero as your writing progresses through different stories. He or she will have good times and bad, but will overcome the diversity because of the attributes you instill in the character now.
However you see your hero, make sure it is something you can live with for a long time. They tend to end up leading a life of their own.

"I’ve had an unusual life...in the usual way."
Gabriel Celtic (from Gabriel’s Revenge)

Copyright J.T. Lewis