Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WRITE, EDIT, PUBLISH CHALLENGE - 'IN THE BACK OF THE DRAWER'





My WEP Challenge entry for February 2017

Once upon a time I really did live in an old house (over 100 years old) on a ranch in Colorado. The house was haunted. I used to see Martin, the ghost who haunted the place and at other times there were strange happenings that I attributed to him.

There really wasn't anything scary about Martin. He was sad, a real lost soul. When I mentioned and described him to the owner of the ranch, he showed me a picture of his grandfather. Sure enough it was Martin. The story was that Martin was shot and killed by his own daughter in the living room of the old ranch homestead house. The owner then showed me a bullet hole with the  stray bullet still lodged in it, in the floor of the parlor. This was right near the spot where I always saw Martin.

The 'rest of the story' is; Martin's mentally unstable daughter shot him after a round of verbal abuse. Apparently, Martin wasn't a very nice man. The woman's brother, Martin's son, took the wrap fearing for his sisters continued mental collapse. It was deemed an accident and the son was acquitted, but as the local district Attorney at the time with friends in high places and higher political aspirations, he forfeited all of after this episode.

While searching for ideas for my third novel, Martin's story kept coming back to me. I felt he was left 'in the back of the drawer' of history, so to speak. I changed some things around, to protect the innocent, of course, and wrote a story surrounding Martin and his haunting of the old ranch house,

My WEP Challenge Entry is an except from that story. A chapter that introduces Everett/Martin.

I hope you enjoy my WEP Challenge entry for February 2017.




EVERETT


Every time they open the earth in this place I feel it, especially in winter. I can smell it, too. It’s as if the rot of all those corpses is slowly leaking out of their boxes. I can’t help myself. I gotta see who it is, even though it’s dangerous. They can see me here. Not like there’s anybody left who might know me. What if somebody wanted to talk? Wanted to know why I came? Answering those questions would be hard.
As dangerous as my bein’ in this place is, it’s nothing compared to that other guy. He’s not even the least settled. My guess is less than twenty-four hours. That first day, some of them do real crazy things. They have no idea where they are or what’s happening. But, he’s in control, comin’ and goin’. Pushing those people and talkin’ to them, that’s risky stuff. Apparently nobody came for him. A real loose cannon. I can tell just by looking at him, he’ll not be hangin’ around long. No unfinished business for him. Maybe this was his unfinished business. He seemed pretty bent on getting a message to that couple.
They all have some last words to be remembered by. Not me, there was no time. All I had time for was a last look of shock. There weren’t no pretty girl held tight at my side. No Ma cryin’ for me. No friends standing around saying nice things. Nope, just a quick end to a short life.
This guy here, the one holdin’ the pretty girl so tight, looks like one of those ranch kids. You can tell by his build he’s used to hard work. His face has seen the sun on it for more than a few harvests. The guy next to him, the same. They look like brothers. Come to think of it, Mr. Loose Cannon looks like another brother. It would fit the picture, because they’re lots more sad than the rest of this crowd.
The girl at his side is always sad,‘cept when she looks at him. I know her. Her Pa’s that horse breeder. The son of the squatter who tricked Emily and took the ranch. Her name is Sandra Baker. I wish some girl had looked at me like she looks at that ranch kid. He’s about my age. I’m a little taller, but the same build. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to hold a girl like that, even Miss Sandra Baker.
I’ve spent the last sixteen years watching her grow up. Not that I wanted to, didn’t have a choice. She and her family live in my space. She lives in my personal space, my room at the ranch. Since she got older, turned into a woman, I spend more time in the attic. It’s only right.
She looked straight at me. Probably wonderin’ about this irreverent guy climbin’ all over a tombstone. This is my space, too. My name is right down there carved in stone. This lonely park and the ranch that Baker guy has the nerve to still be calling the Williams Ranch, are my own private hell. The only places I’m free to roam while I work for my name. I’m startin’ to wonder if it’s worth it.
That ranch kid, the one holding Sandra Baker so close, I recognize him now. He works for her Pa, at least I think he does. He’s always hangin’ around the ranch, doin’ chores and helpin’ out. Now I see him holdin’ Sandra, I think maybe he’s there more for her. He doesn’t touch her like that in front of her Pa. I wonder if Stan Baker knows how it is ‘tween ‘em. I don’t like seein’ him holding her like that. Somewhere in my head I think I want to be holdin’ her. No use crying over split milk, Pa would say. It ain’t never gonna happen. That ranch kid might be like me in a lot of ways, but there’s one big difference ‘tween us. He ain’t dead.



678 words
Full critique accepted. Please, tell me what you think. 

In my haste to get this post written and scheduled for publication, I neglected to give you a link to the other entrants. I had to return this morning to add this. Please click HERE to find the complete list of entrants into this month's Challenge. Give them a read. I'm sure you will find something interesting.



42 comments:

  1. Pretty cool. I've lived with a couple ghosts. Sometimes scary, sometimes sad. Totally harmless though.

    I liked this excerpt. Good voice. I'm getting the sense this Marvin was a little creepy in life. Will be an interesting story I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin was definitely not a nice guy in life. When I met him, he simply seemed sad and lost. Looking for redemption? I dunno. He seemed to be looking for something.

      Thanks for your comment on 'voice' I worked hard on that particular aspect. This story is told from three different POV's. I felt it was important that each have a strong and distinctive voice. You'll have to let me know if I've succeeded.

      Delete
  2. Having to watch and no longer being able to do, has to be tough indeed. Not sure I'd ever want to be on the ghostly plane, unless I suppose if I could be an annoying ghost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I agree. It might be fun to be an annoying ghost for awhile. In the long run, I'm pretty sue I would rather move on.

      Delete
  3. Hi FAE ... I imagine there are many ghosts around - and yes wondering how they look after us, or look down on us as we change and develop our lives. Martin could well have many 'nasty' tales within his life ... fascinating telling - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hilary. Martin wasn't a very nice guy. I tried to make Everett more noble, but none the less he is a lost soul left to wander. Hard to call him a 'good guy'.

      Delete
  4. This is so interesting. I've worked with a couple of ghosts (in a bookstore and in a retirement home) and I've had a couple visit me in various houses. Most have been harmless and interesting experiences. This really made me think about who could be watching us, looking after us, wondering where our lives will go. I definitely want to know more!

    Great entry,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jen, I'm hoping you 'lol have a chance to know more when this soy makes i to publication. I'll try to keep you posted.

      Delete
  5. Great story, I like 'friendly' ghosts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My experience is that ghosts are not really sinister, but rather lost and trying to fulfill a purpose. It's evil spirits (demons) who I also believe are real, that you really want to steer clear of.

      Delete
  6. Great voice! I could see the entire story playout! And the intro, how sad! It would be hard to move on with that kind of ending.

    This is a great entry to the WEP Challenge. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tried to post to Pinterest but the link didn't work. Could be my computer, but wanted to let you know, just in case. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks Yolanda, I really appreciate your comment.

      Don't know what to say about that Pinterest thing,

      Delete
  7. FAE ~
    This was probably my favorite bit of your writing that I have read. Well told. I particularly liked that opening paragraph which pulled me right in (or under?) in an almost darkly poetic way.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Check out my new blog @
    (Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. I've worked hard on this piece and even harder on developing Everett's character and voice.

      Delete
  8. Such an authentic voice you gave to this character. I was engaged from beginning to end. One can feel his frustration at being unable to hold the girl or anyone. The story of Martin is fascinating, as well. Very entertaining, FAE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie, I appreciate you stopping by. I worked hard on this piece and really hoped to hook the reader from the very first sentence. So glad you were entertained.

      Delete
  9. The voice of your main character is strong. I would even say fresh. He's roaming and dissatisfied with what has happened to him. He's dead. We're seeing real life from the eyes of a dead man and you have done a good job of portraying him.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat. so many of you have mentioned 'voice' and for that I'm grateful. The story is told from three different POV's, therefore it is important that they each be strong and distinctive. I worked hard on that. It really encourages me that Everett's voice came through strong and clear. Fresh was a particularly nice way to describe it. Funny I didn't think of him as seeing real life from the eyes of a dead man, but that is a good way to put it. Thanks again.

      Delete
  10. Hello Faraway Eyes! I've been waiting for this, knowing it'd be a treat. And it is. Loved it. Always love a good ghost story. And you've nailed Everett's voice. I read your comment that there's three different POVs. In that case, his voice needs to be unique. Love how you've told it.

    Thanks for adding your excellent extract to the WEP entries this month! Hopefully we'll see you for Peace and Love.

    Denise :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, I'm having so much fun with WEP, I hope to make them all this year. We shall see.

      I've worked hard on this and the lovely feedback I'm receiving here means a lot.

      Delete
  11. I like the writing style in this piece. Comes across very natural. This excerpt entices me to want more.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That, Mr Bird, is exactly what I'm hoping for; the reader wanting more,

      Thanks.

      Delete
  12. I really liked this. It was smooth and easy. It made it feel like ghosts are just a matter-of-fact to life. I like Everett. I'd totally read more of this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear someone say they like Everett. It' important to have your MC be likeable, but a difficult task when working with a ghost.

      Delete
  13. Very nicely done, and lets us see how it might be from the 'other' side. To be there and yet not there is probably a bit frustrating. I grew up in a house built in 1875 and I thought that place was haunted but none of the spirits seemed vengeful. I liked the dialogue in your story - and that last line is a killer. (no pun intended) Glad to see you back in the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks D. G., I'm glad to be here. Having fun with WEP. Glad you lik this piece, it was urn to write.

      Delete
  14. Interesting story. I'm not sure I want to meet that ghost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah Olga, he only seems sinister because he's dead. Everett is really a gentle soul, four a different place and time. Now, Martin was a different story altogether.

      Delete
  15. I love this, it's interesting to read something from a ghost's perspective. A great entry!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Intriguing flash. Not a nice person in real life, doesn't seem any nicer as ghost either. But sad for him that he has to watch someone else doing what he had hoped to do himself, that's hard.

    Enjoyed reading the flash, the closing line esp is just brilliant. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That closing line is getting a lot of love interesting, because I didn't put too much time into that, it just seemed to come natural. Now the rest of it was a labor of love, of course.

      Delete
  17. I love the stories behind the stories. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is intriguing to see where our ideas come from, isn't it?

      Delete
  18. My parents live in a house in Colorado that's over 100 years old. Sadly, no ghosts.

    I really enjoyed this, and like Stephen said, that first paragraph especially just sucks you right in and grabs your attention. I love a good ghost story, as told by the ghost. Great entry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, looks like I finally got you to retinue some of my work, ha!

      Delete
  19. A touching ghost story. The thought of one looking out for my children and becoming jealous over a boyfriend is a little unnerving. Well written.

    Oh, and, I see ghost all the time.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unnerving, oh I like that. A ghost story should be, at the very least, unnerving. Thanks.

      Delete
  20. I do love a good ghost story.

    As others have pointed out, I love the way Everett's voice comes through. I was reading the whole thing in a bit of a drawl. And the true story behind him is pretty intriguing and creepy too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arian, I appreciate you stopping by and this lovely comment.

      Delete
    2. Sorry about that name thing. I'm using an iPad and still trying to get used to the keypad. Plus the auto correct sometimes doesn't kick in until I hit the publish button

      Delete