Tag Archives: eBook

#Ghosts of White Raven Estate . . . and . . . NEW #Book Trailers!

Ghosts! ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts! ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

This has been ‘book trailer’ week at A.V. Harrison Publishing and I’m excited to show You the results!

First of all though, let me announce a BIG Switch in the title and design for my NaNoWriMo novel 2012. Same synopsis, New Orleans poltergeists and apparitions tangle with Haitian Voodoo as Forces from ‘The Other Side’ wrestle over the riches at White Raven Estate in New Orleans’ Garden District.

New title! “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”. New Design! [Thank you Kathi Humphries Design and New Media].  Book trailers that I’ve produced and am thrilled to Premier here on my blog:

#1  –>  click! to view ‘A Classic Ghost Story’  book trailer:

#2  –> click! to view ‘NEW Book Trailer: Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

I’m keeping them both — but which one do YOU prefer?  Let me know!

Polldaddy will keep our tally!

Come back and see if YOUR choice is leading!

~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~

On Amazon ~ Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~

a NaNoWriMo 2012 winner!

1853 New Orleans  ~
The frenzied drumbeats of Voodoo ceremonies vibrate over the city of New Orleans following the 1853 Yellow Fever epidemic.  Ghosts now roam the near-empty halls of White Raven Estate, where nearly all of the members of the wealthy Calais family have died.
Father Vivenzio, an opportunistic New Orleans priest, with VERY close ties to New Orleans’ Voodoo Community scurries back and forth from his parish to White Raven Estate where supernatural forces thwart his attempts at skimming the riches of the estate from the two surviving members of the Calais dynasty–ingenue Victoria Calais and her French-Canadian grandmother.
Frustrated by his inability to gain control over his supernatural nemesis, and hounded by crows, and wild dogs that roam the cemetery across the street from the Calais’ Garden District estate, the priest calls on Widow Paris – New Orleans’ Mambo Queen.
Destiny meets with Death in a carriage-race finish as Faith, Voodoo, and Supernatural Forces collide during Mardi Gras 1853.
☆ Actual Voodoo Spells revealed!
☆ Action and Mystery on every page!
☆ A Beautiful Mambo Queen!
☆ A Death-defying Carriage Race!
☆ Revenge – served New Orleans Hot!
Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, ghosts, Ghosts' Experienced

Chapter 6: “The Mambo Hut” #Ghosts #Free Read

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

Thank you for finding your way to the blog of ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’. As you may know I am running serialized blogs of my most-recently published eNovel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”. I have skipped over Chapter 5 because of the adult content. So! Enjoy ‘Jasmine and The Mambo Queen’, Chapter 6.

•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆

Chapter 6

Jasmine Visits the Mambo Queen

The palmetto fronds scratched Jasmine’s skin as she snuck along the trail leading to Widow Paris’ shanty. Her legs itched unmercifully. Jasmine looked over her shoulder imagining that someone was following her, but only saw the outline of weathered oak trees adorned with Spanish moss that swayed back and forth, fanned by the night air. An eerie yellow, pock-faced, moon followed her–its menacing glow casting long shadows. Crickets chirped, and gators lumbered along the banks of the bayou that night – as they did every night. The musky smell of rot and roots hung in the air as Jasmine glanced around as frightened of her surroundings as she was intimidated by her situation. Jasmine had never been to the home of the Mambo queen at night.

Torch fire from flaming spears set in a circle in front of the shanty flashed heavenward. The outline of the shanty was partially blocked by pine boughs. Rats scurried and snakes slithered across the dried mud in front of her. Step by careful step Jasmine moved forward fending off palmetto fronds and tree branches. Wisps of wind cooled the back of Jasmine’s neck.

From somewhere the hoot of an owl announced her journey. She held her breath. It hooted again, calling out from the spooky depths of the pine woods. The warning traveled deep into the swamps and was mimicked by other owls. It was a different noise that caught Jasmine’s attention—the slap of a paddle out on the water. She stood perfectly still and turned her eyes to the gloomy waterline. She stopped breathing and listened. Silence all of a sudden, complete silence; no katydids chirping, no drone from the cicadas. The only sound Jasmine heard was the deafening roar in her ears. Her heart pounded, her throat constricted to the point where a scream would not have been possible. She wanted the sound to be a paddle hitting the water, but she involuntarily whispered, “Loup Garou.” Even better it be a swamp witch than the beast, Loup Garou. Jasmine’s eyes darted from right to left. Please! Please don’t hurt me!  Stone cold silence prevailed. Torturous nothing. She stood waiting to be torn apart by Loup Garou, trying desperately to push out of her mind the vision of the beast with its sharp fangs and its glowering yellow eyes. If attacked she hoped she would die in the first swipe of the creature’s talons. I’m going to die, she whimpered. Damn Zömbi for not bringing Josie back to me so we could get on our way back to Corbeau Blanc.

If the angry swamp monster was going to pounce, with drool hanging from sharp fangs she wanted her death to be instant. She imagined its yellow eyes burning into her skin as it fixed on her—and her fear. She waited, crouching, and listening. The seconds ticked by. Then she heard a second splash further up the banks and wondered; why am I still standing here unharmed? Jasmine then chuckled at her good fortune. Loup Garou had moved along. She wiped the tears from her eyes, “Lawdy, that was close!”

The katydids took up their song again. Now if only the hum of the cicadas would quiet down so she could reassure herself that indeed the creature was making its way back up the shore away from her. But the cicadas would only be silent if the heat lifted – and that wasn’t going to happen.

Jasmine was now within sight of her destination. As she tiptoed closer a board on Widow Paris’ porch creaked. The noise sent a second shock of fear through her body. She held her breath and peered toward the shanty. A man stood on the porch peering out at the darkness, ready to charge any intruder. She watched him crane to see beyond the bright cast of the torches into the shadows where she hid. “Zömbi,” she whispered. With relief she remembered back to the first time they had met. She was seventeen at the time, years ago. He was now at least twice her age.

* * *

That day at the open-air market was as clear in her mind as if it had happened yesterday:  “Miss Sophie? Is that you?” his rich baritone voice boomed out over the crowded stalls, calling for the attention of her mother. The year was 1840 and Sophie d’le Blanc had been showing her how to select ingredients for the Calais family’s meals.

Jasmine stood aside as he rushed toward them parting the masses of servants and slaves with his stride. Her momma handed her the bushels and packages she had been carrying and held out her arms welcoming the powerfully built man.

“Rasmussen! Oh, my goodness! Look at you dressed all fine and dandy! You’ve stepped up right nicely, haven’t you?”

“My name’s Zömbi now, Miss Sophie. I changed my name when,” and his brash laughter startled those around him who had been disinterested in the raucous exchange until then, “well, when I changed my face. Didn’t you know that?”

“Hmm, that was a bad stretch, wasn’t it – Zömbi?”

He nodded. “Yes’um. It surely was. I’m a carriage driver for a rich widow-lady now.”

“Really now? Are you?” Sophie looked up at Zömbi, shielding her eyes from the morning sun.

“Yes, I most certainly am.”

“How old are you, Zömbi?” Her mother took his hands and leaned in, looking deeply into his eyes.

“Oh, I’d say I’m more’n thirty–maybe,” he surveyed the crowded stalls. “It’s been sixteen years since Mr. Hawkins sold me, Miss Sophie.”

“Hmm. I guess it has been. The only measure of time I have is my sweet little Jasmine, here. Well, not really little no mo’, cause she’s growin’ up faster than a weed.”

Jasmine remembered the terror she felt over the impending introduction. She looked down at her calico dress and bare feet and jostled the packages her mother had handed her so that she could pat her hair. Zömbi appraised her and that look of appraisal stuck for going on fifteen years.

Their age difference making no difference to either one of them, Jasmine and Zömbi jumped the broom at a celebration in Congo Park not long after that introduction. The ceremony was kept a secret from the Calais household, “No reason to bring up Zömbi and all that nasty past, Jasmine,” her mother wagged her finger in warning. “That is, if you don’t want to be separated—or sold.”

Zömbi’s commanding voice brought Jasmine back to the present, “Who out there in those weeds? You want trouble, or you gonna make yo’self known?”

“Zömbi! It’s me!” Jasmine hurried on toward the shanty and stepped into the light of the torches. “Call our daughter out. What’s the matter with you?”

“Jazzy?”

“Don’t you start that cuddle talk. Josie and I gotta’ long ways to walk before dawn. You know the trouble I’ll have if Mr. Boulware discovers I’m not back!”

At that moment Widow Paris stepped onto the porch, backlit from the lanterns placed around her front room. “Jasmine? Is that you, honey?”

“Yes’um. I’m here for my daughter Miz Paris. We needs t’ be gettin back now.”

“Well, I’m pleased you’ve found your way to my doorstep, Jasmine,” Widow Paris extended her arm, sweeping it toward the door in a welcome. “Come in for a little spell, and join the congregation. So you won’t be late for your chores we’ll have Zömbi take you and Josie back to the Calais’ in the carriage. You can rest on the way.”

“Yes’um.” Jasmine stepped around the vèvè and up onto the porch assisted by Zömbi who pulled her close.  They walked through the doorway of Widow Paris’ home together.

* * *

“Shh,” Widow Paris cautioned Jasmine as she entered, “Iwa is with us. We are trying to reach Bondyé.”

Wide-eyed, Jasmine nodded and looked around at the others who had gathered after the celebration. They sat crossed-legged in a semi circle facing the altar.  Josie was sitting off to the side in the semi-darkness, her eyes closed. Some of the worshippers were staring straight ahead; others rocked back and forth humming. Jasmine picked a spot next to Zömbi.

She matched up one person to each of her fingers. There were not quite enough people to fill the fingers on both hands. Besides herself and Josie; Zömbi and Widow Paris; there was Sarah, Atabel, and Edgard. They seemed focused on Josie, but Jasmine couldn’t determine why.

“The séance has not begun,” Zömbi leaned over and whispered into her ear. “Shh,” he advised, although she had not said a word.

She nodded and settled in, picking out the trinkets and other objects on the altar as her eyes adjusted to the candlelight thrown by the white tapers. One shiny charm, placed among the beads and burning candles caught her eye—an amethyst in a silver setting.  She thought it looked familiar, but decided her suspicions not possible. Although it looked like the ring worn by Miss Victoria, she decided her impression must be the result of fatigue and a night of celebration.

A bullfrog belched a deep, repetitious rumble that Jasmine had not heard as she crept toward the shanty. She found the refrain soothing as she relaxed into the call while the mauby gourd was passed around. The stir she had created by stepping through the brush toward the shanty was settling down outside. As she took her swig the sweet root that tasted strongly of rum, burned her throat. She passed the gourd on to Edgard who looked down at her but continued to rock hypnotically. His gnarled fingers wrapped around the neck of the gourd. His thumb was missing—from a machete accident, she’d heard. He balanced the gourd in the cradle of his hand and drank hungrily. The congregation was silent up until the moment Zömbi picked up the agogô and began the entrancing rhythm of the campana. The bells would call Iwa to them. Over and over, the same five-beat pattern, as the congregation rocked back and forth.

Minutes ticked by as the white candles that circled the altar burned down. She heard a whispered prayed off to the side. Oh, all-powerful Iwa, we call on you. Keep hidden from us trials and misfortune. We offer what is now yours, your cigar, and your liquor. In return keep our church safe from any calamity that may wish to cross our path.

In unison the worshippers hummed their assent, and the prayers continued around the room as the single drum beat of the agogô continued.

* * *

It was two or three hours past midnight when Jasmine narrowed her eyes and peeked at her surroundings. Widow Paris’ boa constrictor had wrapped itself around the beam in the far corner of the front room, leaving the worshippers to their conjuring. She stifled a yawn and stared into the flames of the candles. Their wax had spilt over creating puddles on the white altar cloth.

Jasmine felt as though she were still entranced; her only reference to the real world was the repetition of the agogô beat outside the shanty. She was carried far away before she realized that Josie had begun to slap her thighs. Softly at first, rocking all the while, her head thrown back. Jasmine brought herself slowly back taking notice that while she was in her own trance, Zömbi had moved.  He was now sitting behind Josie.

“It might be Ogoun, we’ll see,” whispered Widow Paris. “Ogoun,” was what her congregation whispered in agreement.

The surroundings were unnervingly quiet when Jasmine finally woke up. The earliest beginnings of morning would come within an hour or two. She looked around at the worshippers. Five members of the church were sprawled out on the bare floor, sleeping in a tangle of limbs as gossamers of smoke hung in the air. Jasmine looked around for Widow Paris and saw that she was sleeping under mosquito netting in an alcove at the back of the shack. Thick pillar candles burned on either side of her bed. Her snake had moved along the beams and now wrapped itself around the corner beam above Widow Paris’ bed. It was the first time Jasmine had seen Mambo without her characteristic headwrap. She was beautiful.

“Zömbi,” Jasmine shook her husband awake. With his eyes still shut he reached for her hand and patted it, smiling.

“I’ll get Josie. Let’s get you back,” he reassured her.

As they trundled the fifteen-year old into Widow Paris’ carriage, Zömbi asked. “Were you there? Iwa appeared.”

Jasmine shook her head and climbed into the passenger compartment.

“What did he say?” She whispered.

“You’re going to be free—you and Josie. Mambo said that was his message.”

“That’s not possible, Zömbi. Unless she and I both die.”

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

1 Comment

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, Ghost World Tutorials, ghosts

How ‘White Raven Estate’ Became The Setting for my Newest Novel

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 
╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆

House of the White Raven – La Maison du Corbeau Blanc – is the setting for my newest novel ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’. 

Originally the New Orleans Garden District mansion where heroine Victoria Calais overcomes her rivals was christened, ‘the House of Calais’.

However, there is little intrigue or magic in naming the manor after the family and I mourned this fact as my novel moved toward its publication date.  Even in the hours just before I released ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’ I was still pondering an alternative name for the estate that ancestral spirits would not leave.

In their reluctance for Victoria’s ancestors to depart  it helps that the Calais Cemetery and Mausoleum is situated directly across the boulevard from the Calais manor! At exactly the right moment (as the author) I could conjure any number of Calais ancestors to skim over the graveyard’s lush lawns and back into ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ – which they do each time that Father Vivenzio comes to call!

Throughout the novel I torment Victoria’s enemies with crows and ravens – hmm – for some reason my psyche thought this was just right; but how to ‘tie it all together’ for the reader?

The Calais family members – at this point in the telling — are white Europeans. But I woke up one morning as the last draft of the novel was approved, deciding emphatically that the Calais home should christened ‘The House of The White Raven’ – or in French, ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.  My own ancestors are French Canadian and I loved the autobiographical tie-in with my beloved characters.

In the novel, antagonist Father Vivenzio notes (derisively) that the ‘House of the White Raven’ was financed from the coffers of Victoria Calais’ ancestral grandfather in the late 1600s. To leave the mystery open to interpretation the priest does not specify the exact source of the wealth or how it was derived.

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

Deciding that I liked the ring of ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ I set about researching the significance of the White Raven [Corbeau Blanc] and was even more convinced that my intuition had guided me to an appropriate alternate name for the Calais family estate.

You see, Dear Reader, there are many myths about the raven – and happily many directions an author can go in while devising a prequel as to how the manor came to be named after the white raven.

Some of these myths are contained in Native culture, some in biblical scripture.

* The White Raven as Grandson – in the Tinglit tribe (Alaska) the White Raven is born, in human form, to the daughter of Old Man Grandfather. The relationship between Victoria and her ancestral father figures is made apparent as they come back from the grave to assist her in overcoming her adversaries. (But how would have a French-Canadian 1600s grandfather have come to an association with a Pacific Northwest tribe?)

* The Raven as Trickster and Transformer – If Victoria’s great-grandfather had transformed himself in some way – say from lowly ship crew to wealthy New Orleans liqueur proprietor – and because he is White – he could have used ‘The White Raven’ as a double-entendre.

Additionally, the raven has significance in Bible scripture:

* The Raven as the first animal to depart (and never return) to Noah’s Ark – because scripture does not define a role for the raven, as it does for the dove; Victoria’s great-grandfather (who never returns to his ancestral European home) could logically choose this animal to symbolize his flight from  . . .  France . . . or Sicily, or?

Maybe he was Sicilian and had a French wife; or the converse.  Maybe he encountered – or married – a Native American woman for whom the mythological raven held countenance. Will the process of creative writing make him a shipmate, or a frontiersman?

So, over the next year, as I pen the prequel to ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’, I will have to devise a journey by which the patriarch of a French Canadian family comes to name his 1660s estate ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.

I see Sambuca, Sicily; Nantes, France; and Montreal, Canada in my literary journey.

I hope that you will be along for the trip!

Leave a comment

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, ghosts

Guest Blogger: Dan O’Brien on ‘Water’ a post-Apocalyptic Adventure!

'Water' a post-Apocolyptic Dystopian novella available thru all eBook vendors!

‘Water’ a post-Apocolyptic Dystopian novella available thru all eBook vendors!

Emily, I want to thank you for having me on your blog to promote the release of my latest publication. Water is a novella in the B-Sides universe, which follows people in a post-apocalyptic world. While each story is a standalone adventure, together they form a deeply intricate web of action, drama, and hope. Here is a brief summary of the novella:

The next installment in the B-Sides series follows a father and son living out a quiet life in northern Arizona. A strange occurrence at the border, and a series of events that turns the world upside down, plunges society into a spiral from which it might not be able to recover. Having to flee from their home with a band of unlikely friends in tow, the open road beckons. 

Can they survive? 

And here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

Tuesday

His phone vibrated as it slowly ventured toward the edge of his nightstand. Shaking and spinning, it was a ballet of electronic futility. James had left it behind; it wasn’t even an afterthought as he neared the valley of sand and heat that he had passed through only the night before. There were two reasons to live in the desert: sunsets and sunrises.

This particular morning was no exception.

The valley was formed of a crimson pastel rock that from a distance looked like the mountains at the entrance to some unknown world. But in the morning and just before the wisps of night grab a hold and smother the day, there was an explosion of colors. It was a beautiful cornucopia of blistering and beautiful art.

The sun crawled just above the sand dunes, flooding the valley in sunshine. The splashing light tumbled across the rock formations, and iridescent stones ignited the walls of the basin.

This was the part of the day James loved the most.

This was when his life felt less worthless.

There was purpose here.

The sun came into the valley each day to create this beautiful marvel, and each day he was here to witness it. The twisting serpent of the road wove in and out of the majesty of nature, until the paved parking lot of his daily grind came into view.

A grotesque sign was perched just off the road.

It read: Our Stuff.

The door of the jeep creaked as James closed it. He pulled his red vest over his black t-shirt and ran a hand through his short hair.

The parking lot was mostly empty.

A beat-up Buick had been parked there since the late 90s and had never moved. By this time, it was a makeshift homeless shelter for local transients. It was an important component of his duties for the day, driving off the homeless when they panhandled in front of the store.

Silence permeated the morning––a rare treat James relished in the early mornings. She walked in from the other side of the parking lot. A blue Honda with a dented door and missing hubcaps was parked some distance away. She was his dream girl, of a sort. She was married to––or had been, it was a strange situation to be sure––a local drunk and abuser.

Light brown hair to her chin: It was often combed over one eye, mirroring a childhood memory. There was too much eye shadow to hide indiscretions, long shirts to hide bruises.

She was a broken doll.

“Hey Violet,” James mumbled as he got closer, chancing an awkward wave.

She rarely looked up and when she did, all he was struck by was the wide eyes that looked at him in gratitude for recognizing her existence. This day, she smiled weakly. Dimples in her cheeks deepened as he got closer.

“Hello, James,” she whispered back, her voice small.

He felt protective of her.

As he neared, he smiled widely, invitingly.

“Did you bring Julie with you today?”

Julie was her eight-year old daughter who often frequented work with her mother when her father was away on a binge, or more violent than usual. James felt defensive of her as well, much to his detriment.

She shook her head. Most of the time she wore an over-sized coat with a faux fur lining and hood that was often the barrier of her hidden face.

“Her father took her today.”

James nodded absently, as he could not imagine what that man could do with a child. He could barely take care of himself. Too often, he would barrel into the store––half-drunk and yelling––and would have to be dragged out by the police. The automatic doors at the front of the store did not open as they approached.

Reaching out, James pulled them open and gestured for Violet to go first. She bowed her head, making an already smaller person even more diminutive. The interior of the store was still dark. The echo of the speakers played elevator music, water-downed versions of songs no one wanted to hear. As Violet disappeared into the aisles of the store, James turned and shut the front doors and locked them.

“See you later,” he spoke, trailing off at the end.

*

The morning passed as it often did.

The sun rose.

Heat sweltered in the desert and the fringe humanity of Miranda sought air-conditioned shelter. James was a walker, a transient employee who sauntered through the store. Seeking out customers who required help, he sometimes cleaned the bathrooms. Often, he attended to those duties that fell between the cracks of other employees. As the morning gave way to the afternoon, there was a palpable tension in the air.

Customers were more curt than usual.

People left angry.

It was not until James had the distinct pleasure of interacting with a deranged desert degenerate that he began to understand what it was about that day that was enraging people so.

“Nametag.”

James did not register the cruel tone at first.

“Nametag,” he repeated, this time drawing James’ attention. “Nametag, I’m talking to you. Turn around.”

James turned, his grimace dissipating into an even line.

It was his best attempt at a smile.

The man was a caricature of a person. His chin disappeared into his pocked neck and his bulging brown eyes seemed to be of two different sizes. Crooked teeth were revealed as he opened his mouth to speak once more.

“Hey, what about customer service? C’mon, nametag.”

“What can I help you with, sir?” mustered James.

The man’s face twisted into a sneer.

He was wearing a shirt three sizes too small, his hairy belly exposed from just beneath the dirty white shirt. Putrid breath radiated from the man. It was an odor that could have risen from a trash heap in the Mojave Desert. “Attitude? You giving me attitude now, nametag? Time like this, in a crisis and what not.”

“I’m sorry that you feel I am being discourteous…”

The man sneered again. His voice, though masculine, broke as he spoke again. “Using big words on me now, college dropout. You think you’re hot shit, selling commodities to us lower folk.”

James looked at the man in disbelief, his behavior was deplorable. “Perhaps if you can just calm down, I can help you find whatever it is you are looking for.”

The man moved in closer, the scent of body odor was overpowering. “You some kind of wise guy? Why do you think I’m here? You retarded? Don’t you listen to the news? Don’t you know what’s going on?”

James looked at him, bewildered.

“Sir, I…”

“Water,” the man spoke clearly. “Water, I need water.”

“Bottled water? Is this about the Hernandez thing? The border?” queried James, making a connection slowly, though uncertainly. “Are they peddling hysteria already?”

“Hysteria, boy, you must be living under a rock. It’s coming. That border thing’s old news. Poison is in Texas now, parts of New Mexico. They’re talking about rationing and sanctions on tap water. You believe that shit?”

James looked around the store. “I really don’t.”

It had evaded him previously.

The scampering populace of Miranda bustled about the store, arms full of plastic water bottles and greater containers. One woman had another by the hair, dragging her away from the last water bottles on the shelf. People screamed at each other, pointing accusing fingers, claiming water as their own.

“It would appear you aren’t the only one looking,” replied James, as he pointed to the pandemonium. “Best of luck to you.”

The man glowered at him as he passed by, but James could not believe his eyes. Lines were backed up, people nearly climbing over each other to get water and carry it away in the heat of the day, to survive.

He stalked over to the throng of people who had begun to congregate around the empty shelves. As he approached, the masses turned as one. Their bleary eyes and angry words were upon him before he could even speak.

“Where is the water?” one cried.

“Is there more?” queried an elderly woman shakily.

“What do we do?” screamed another.

James held up his hands, trying to calm them.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, but they continued to bicker. Each voice rose above the others. Some shoved those smaller than themselves, like a rabid mob. He raised his voice. Some mumbles remained, but most had directed their attention at him. “Let’s all calm down for a moment. I will go in the back and see what we have.”

He moved away from them, not giving them time to object or grow ever angrier. The store was packed. Never in his eighteen months there had he seen such a rush on the store. He wondered what it was he had missed to which everyone else was reacting so intensely. Pushing open the double doors that led into the warehouse, James sighed.

The madness was tangible.

It permeated the air, made it thin.

Other employees had congregated in the back, seeking shelter from the madness. Two of them talked loudly with each other. One he knew, the other was a new employee or perhaps someone with whom he had never crossed paths. The first was dressed in a style that could only be described as early fuckup. The other was the kind of person who you would not give another look, as average as they come.

An unevenly mounted nose ring, jagged teeth, and a tone that was filled with ignorance: The younger man James did not know spoke in an overbearing tone.

“This is epic. All these fucking hillbillies running around like the skies are falling in. I’m surprised the fat ones aren’t screaming Chicken Little. Epic.” He held his hands up demonstratively. “Epic.”

Average Bob watched the less-than-eloquent fellow employee with a listless gaze. “The news said it was serious though…”

“The news? You can’t trust the news, man. They are trying to pull some bullshit over our eyes. Always, trying to force your hand,” he continued to rant.

James moved past, making sure not to make eye contact, as he did not wish to engage them in some kind of rhetorical conversation. As he moved out of earshot, he could not help but shake his head at the redundant movie references that took the place of grammar and syntax. There was only the replacement of actual thought with recycled thought. It had become the repetition and regurgitation of the words of another. He was not necessarily bitter toward fan worship, but was simply irritated by the lack of thought most other people his age seemed to show. They were more content in the safety of what other people thought––more concerned with their small shell of a world and not the greater picture.

His face twisted into a scowl as he moved past racks and racks of brown boxes marked in black permanent marker with various numbers designating position, quantity, and retail-related mediocrity. As he reached the back, where normally there were pallets upon pallets of shrink-wrapped water cases, he swore.

Reaching down, he picked up the wayward bunched band of plastic that had once held the pallet in place. There were seven empty pallets, the entire back stock of what the store carried.

Where had he been?

How had he not seen this?

The voice startled him. “Pretty intense, huh?”

James rose slowly, turning to face Violet. “Yeah, wild. How did I not notice all of this water going out?”

She moved next to him, folding her arms across her chest. “You’ve been in a daze lately, moving around as if you didn’t notice anything, anybody.”

They lingered like this for a moment.

Neither spoke––nor breathed really––except in fractured, shallow breaths. Finally, letting out a burst of air and licking his lips, James shifted his feet and ran a hand through his hair. “I should check on those people out there. They were acting like fucking animals.”

Violet nodded, tucking her hands inside her sleeves.

“Yeah, my break is almost over. I should be getting back.”

James nodded again, awkwardly.

Turning away, he disappeared into the racks once more, leaving Violet to her thoughts. He shook his head and mumbled to himself in mock anger. Whenever there was a moment when he and Violet seemed to connect, they both froze, neither making a move. She was scared, but was looking for a way out.

He knew that.

He could be there for her.

Smacking a hand against his forehead, he whispered to himself angrily. “Stupid.”

Dan O'Brien, Author

Dan O’Brien, Author

A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World PlaylistBittenThe JourneyThe Ocean and the HourglassThe Path of the FallenThe Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.

Water (US)

Bitten (US)

End of the World Playlist (US)

Cerulean Dreams (US)

The Journey (US)

The Path of the Fallen (US)

The Twins of Devonshire (US)

Water (UK)

The End of the World Playlist (UK)

Bitten (UK)

Cerulean Dreams (UK)

The Journey (UK)

The Path of the Fallen (UK) 

Follow My Blog

Follow Me On Twitter

Like Me On Facebook

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Blogs

•*¨* ♠ ☆ New Novel: ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ Parties its Way onto The Book Scene

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 
╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

This is a very exciting week for me, and I have All of You to thank.

☆♥*¨*• So, Thank You so Much!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’, my NewEST novel partied its way onto the eBook scene with Mardi Gras spirit!

I am so proud of the production team that helped me bring to my readers the first full-length novel that I’ve published in three years.  (‘The Jenkins of Baltimore’ another family-saga— with Civil War overtones—was my 2010 novel.)

‘‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’’ is a NaNoWriMo 2012 winning submission to the eBook world, published by the A.V. Harrison Publishing team of Linda Hope Lee, editor; and Kathi Humphries Design and New Media as contributing designer.

This wild-ride of a New Orleans Garden District 1800s family broke into the Amazon Kindle TOP 4percent within 48 hours of publishing; ranking 45,300 with dozens of sales around the globe!

‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ is available where books and eBooks are sold.

Kindle

Nook

 Smashwords for iBooks

•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆

And, once again, Thank you for your support and encouragement over this past year as my newest novel took shape.

I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing the story!

2 Comments

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, ghosts