Monday, February 3, 2014

Ghosts and Lovers excerpt by Jaime Samms

In Ghosts and Lovers by Jaime Samms, Timmy has lost one family member after another, and now he's losing his eyesight, as well. It's no wonder he holds tight to the ghostly lover who always seems to meet him in the park in dead of night when he's tired of being alone.

Lately, though, Tim's been hearing other, less friendly voices out of the dark, and his long-time friend and neighbor, Mark, is worried. When he tries to intervene and suggest Tim start acting more like the blind man he is, Tim refuses his help only to find he can't hang onto his ghosts without paying a very personal price.

When his ghost lover finally says good bye, Tim finds he maybe should have listened to Mark after all, only now, it might be too late.

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she's been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she's never come up with a clear answer.  Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they should also be the stories she wrote.  

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Loveyoudivine Alterotica, Pink Petal Books, Dreamspinner Press and Total E-Bound. 

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, she's probably spending reading, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!) or watching movies. Well. She has a day job or two, as well, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child care responsibilities. 

She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma, with a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all....

Ghosts and Lovers
Jupiter Gardens Press (March 3, 2011)
SKU: 9780983262497


The shapes of books and papers blurred in front of Tim and the ordered bumps under his fingers lost what little meaning he could wrangle from them. Tim's mind wandered, his head drooped. The kitchen clock ticked steadily over his left shoulder, a soft constant orienting him in space. Wind chimes just outside the door lulled him with their delicate metallic tinkle. A breeze blew in through the screen bringing the first taste of evening with it, along with a distant echo of memory.

"Timmy! Throw the ball where I told you to throw it!" His sister's voice came to him, tinny and thin down the tunnel of years. "You're such a dumbass! You can't play anymore!"


He started and raised his head from his book, holding his fingers still so as not to lose his place on the Braille. His father's shadow hovered over him, a dark silhouette against the glare of the overhead light, and for a moment, he couldn't work out why this was wrong. The kitchen garbage can squeaked and made a ghostly piƱata motion, swaying back and forth across the bright white of the tabletop.

"What day is it?" The words slurred through the whining complaint of the trash can.

Tim took the canister to the back porch. Just as he was tying the slick plastic bag closed, the garbage truck lumbered past on the street out front. The sound jerked him from the daydream.  Tim-mothy!"  His father's voice dragged his name out into extra syllables,died away, and he ose from the table and left by the back door.

He stumbled down off the porch and out of the half circle of light into the dark slot between his house and the neighbor's. The screen door banged behind him, the wind chimes out front trickled their sound into the night. He didn't look back, but swallowed until he'd forced his childish heart back down where it belonged. These ghosts he knew shouldn't have the power to wrangle his guts into knots and make his heart skip and jitter. Not anymore.

He hurried through another orange glob of light into the dark belt of trees bordering the park. It was too cold to be out without a coat, but he wasn't going back until the wind died down and the old house quieted. He found a shadowed hollow near the big, central oak tree.

Wind whistled through the broken branches at the top and he waited.

"Hey, Timtim." He barely jumped at the sudden breath on his neck, the hand on his shoulder holding him in place, but he yanked his head away from the wet tongue dragging across his ear lobe. A low hum sang in the air around him, overridden by a soft, velvety chuckle.

"Oh come on. You know you like it."

"Fuck off."

A body dropped down beside him and he could feel focused attention raking over his bare arms, probing to get under the fringe of hair covering his face. "Where's your coat, dumbass?"

"Shut up."

A heavy sigh battered him, and the body leaned away slightly, rustling in the dark. Warm, satiny material brushed over his goose bumps and the weight of a leather coat landed on his shoulders. For a minute, he breathed in the scent of leather soap, the musk of the man who usually wore the coat, the tobacco stink of cigarettes and eventually, his shivering stopped.

"You shouldn't be out here in the dark, Timtim."

Tim pursed his lips and gripped the edges of his over shirt in tight fingers as a different chill trickled down his spine. "The dark kinda goes where I go, Gordie."

"What happened?" Was there concern in the voice? It was hard to tell. Tim closed his eyes and tried to remember what his visitor looked like. He was only a husky voice these days.

Tim could remember his sound, his smell, remembered his name, but how he looked was slipping away. Tim drove his memory back, imagined dark eyes, intense, unwavering, a gaze only for him. It seemed so far away now. "Okay, well," Finality. His visitor was getting ready to leave.

"Nothing happened."

"Then what are you doing out here?"

"Look—" Tim cleared the nerves from his throat and tried again. "Looking for you."

"What makes you think—" The question hung, half asked, in the damp air. Tim wondered if there was fog tonight.

"I would find you?" Tim turned his head to where he imagined he might see the speaker's face, if he could see anything in the dark. "You're always around, Gordie."

"How do you know?" Suspicion? Fear?

Tim leaned away, reached up to find an arm and moved his hand up to the shoulder, not quite daring to go further. "I heard you. You took tomatoes from the neighbor's garden and you slept on our porch with the cat." He gripped the flannel shirt under his fingers and leaned closer, lowered his voice. "You took my father's shirt, and you sometimes climb up into the tree outside my window." His voice was barely a whisper now and Gordon's nearness sent a shiver through him. "I bet you watch me sleep."

There was a snicker, and Gordon jerked Tim's hand free of the fabric, crushed it in a tight fist.

Tim grimaced, but didn't utter any sound.

"I watch you do a lot of things, Timtim."

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Victor J. Banis said...

ooh, that gave me the shivers - very atmospheric. I loves me a good ghost story

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Yikes! I can feel the uncomfortable shakes coming upon me... Good job Jamie ;)

Jon Michaelsen said...

Eerily fantastic, Jaime! Scared the crap out of me just reading this much. You've got a terrific voice for the macabre!