Here’s an excerpt from a novel I decided I won’t publish. It has some good scenes, and I anticipate turning excerpts into short stories.
I drag my cloth bag full of groceries into the narrow front hallway of my apartment and ungracefully drop the bag onto the cat-barf-brown carpet. I sigh with relief at the loss of that heavy weight, after carrying the bag for approximately twenty blocks. My elderly cat, Eponine, sniffs me suspiciously, no doubt because I pet a few neighborhood cats, so I pet her before stretching.
Locking the deadlock, I sense an entity other than my cat waiting in the stretch of hallway behind me. I shift and face my great-grandfather glaring at me, hands on hips. He’s short and stout and balding. He wears a dark suit one might expect on an immigrant over a hundred years ago. I see through him, since he’s a ghost. “What kind of a great-granddaughter are you? You’re supposed to have children, so that our spirits can have bodies.”
“Yes.” The ghost of my great-grandmother clutches her hands together. “Until you have children, our spirits will remain restless.”
I cross my arms. “You keep saying that, and I keep not believing you.”
The ghosts gasp and shake their fingers at me as they tightly press their lips together.
“Insolent girl!” my great-grandmother says.
I’m compatible with few of my live relatives, never mind dead ones. I moved to Portland to escape relatives who tried unsuccessfully to kill my spirit and control me. They didn’t consider the fact that, despite their efforts, I have a core personality. Even as a brainwashed child, I kept creating art and using imagination to escape a largely unbearable reality.
I hoped that when I moved to Portland the ghosts of my ancestors stayed behind, but two of them haunted a vintage suitcase my dad gave me after my grandmother died. He said it belonged to her. He didn’t warn me that her parents haunted it.
I recently started a Substack! It’s called Whimsical Words and will feature serialized fantasy and supernatural novels. whimsicalwords.substack.com
You can subscribe (it includes free subscriptions) and read the first chapter of my fantasy novella Witch’s Familiar: