dontravis.com blog post #269
Sorry, but I can’t help myself! DSP Publication notified me they’ve accepted my novel, Abaddon’s Locusts, for publication, probably in the first quarter of 2019.
This week, we continue the eerie story adapted from a Mark Wildyr short story. He called his Apparition. I labeled it Dead Luke.
Here’s part two of three parts.
Adapted from a short story by Mark Wildyr
At nightfall, I picked up a book and began reading. At the first pucker of gooseflesh, I stood and faced the darkest corner of the room. Feeling more than a little silly, I announced, “All right, Luke, I know the score. You’re dead, so dammit, go where dead people go!”
An agitated stirring roiled the corner nearest the fireplace. Not noises, not light or shadow, just a stirring. And that high keening filled the room again. It was not exactly a noise, just a sensation of noise. So help me, my flesh puckered again. Every square inch of my body dimpled. My breathing slowed, and I began to sweat. The temperature in the room dropped three or four degrees.
“Stop it!” I shouted. “Dammit, I didn’t do anything to you. Leave me alone!”
There was a noise like a rat scrabbling that stopped my heartbeat. Then from behind me, there was a clink from the fireplace. I whirled, almost falling over. Was that how he fell? Was he trying to engineer an accident for me, too? Was he spiteful? Vindictive?
Nothing stirred on or near the fireplace, but that clink I’d heard was one sound that was clear and definite and real! Not a figment of my imagination.
Irked, I snapped off the light and started for the bedroom but halted when I heard the clink again…once, twice, three times. Until now I had not been frightened. Worried, nervous, anxious, spooked…but not frightened. I turned to face the fireplace.
Moonlight flooded one end of the room; the other was in darkness. At one corner of the mantle, a shadowy, indistinct impression of a form…something cloudy or amorphous hovered over the hearth, clawing at the mantle. Totally freaked, I flipped on the overhead lights. Nothing there.
My heart beating a thunderous tattoo, I was drawn to inspect the mantle. As I laid my hand on a flat rock on the top, something brushed my hand. Frightened, I flinched…and heard a noise. The grate of stone on stone. My mysterious clink!
Swallowing to lubricate my dry throat, I tugged at the flagstone. It came lose in my hand, revealing a hollow with a dusty book inside. A great sigh filled the room. Me or Luke? I didn’t know, but at that point, my nerve failed. I threw on clothes and fled the apartment, spending the rest of the night in a 24-hour diner swigging coffee.
I waited until daylight before returning home. As soon as the door closed behind me, I inspected the apartment from top to bottom. Everything was normal; except for the mantle. The book still rested in its exposed hiding place.
“Crap, Luke!” I whispered. “I opened the damned thing for you. Why couldn’t you just take it and leave me in peace.” The absurdity of my remark was not lost on me.
The book was a dairy. Figuring that he intruded on my privacy, I sat down and stuck my nose into his. Luke Collins started the dairy about a year before his death. I felt like a thief stealing the private life of another, but I couldn’t put it down. He was a bright kid, witty, happy, and homosexual. He was apparently very sensitive about his orientation and had remained virginal. Most of his entries centered on what he one day hoped to find in a man. Then the nature of his writing changed.
I met him tonight!” he wrote. I knew it was him immediately.
Luke Collins met Drew Knighton at a symphony performance at Crandall University. They talked casually at intermission, as strangers do at such things, and arranged to have a drink afterward. Shy, sensitive Luke made no effort to reveal himself that night. That came later.
I can’t believe it! Drew called and invited me to dinner. We got to know one another so well tonight. He’s twenty-nine and an engineer and absolutely marvelous. We talked for hours about philosophy and music and dance, and even sports! He knows about basketball and football and those things. He’s promised to take me to games and teach me things.
A week later, the teaching began. Luke graphically wrote of the way Drew initiated him into a different lifestyle…foreign to him until then. The daily entries went from astonishment to enthusiastic to downright euphoric.
How happy I am! I think for the first time in my life, I’m really happy! It happened, and it was as wonderful as I knew it would be. Drew says it was great for him, too.
I tried to work up some righteous indignation, but instead of being revolted, I found myself strangely aroused. I’ve never been drawn to men beyond an embarrassing tryst with my best friend once in junior high. Nonetheless, I got a charge out of reading this innocent young man’s account of his first real love affair.
I dropped the book to my lap as a thought struck. Why had Luke been so insistent that I discover his personal diary?
Aha! One mystery solved, and another on the horizon. Why did Luke…dead Luke…want our hero to find his deeply personal diary?
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.
If you feel like dropping me a line, my personal links follow:
Facebook: Don Travis
Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-city-of-rocks-don-travis/1126419974
See you next week.
New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.