Tuesday, October 23, 2018

#23 of 31 Days of Halloween: Daylight Ghost Stories

Traditionally, ghosts come out at night. Maybe they like the quiet, or they are just easier to see when the light is less glaring. But I like daylight ghosts, too. Visiting a lonely or abandoned place can feel just as haunted when the sun is shining as when the moonlight does.

That's the thought that struck me when I wrote my own daylight ghost story, "The Girl in the Pool." Why should ghosts only come out at night?

Today is release day and I'm happy to show off the collection here. I'm sharing the pages of this anthology with seven other authors:

If you're looking for a quick bit of scary to brighten your Halloween, I hope you're check out Off the Beaten Path 3. It's available in all the usual places :-)

Here's a teaser for you, (one of my favorite parts of my story, when Becky first appears):

There was a pool in the yard across the street, and I would sit on the swing that my step-dad had hung from the big tree in the yard for me, spinning around in a useless circle and watching the hot, Southern sun sparkling on the empty pool, wishing someone would invite me to go splash around in it.

The people who owned the pool were older, like someone’s grandparents. They kept the pool for their grandchildren, I guess, but the grandchildren weren’t there much. So, most of the time, that pretty blue water sparkled in the sun with no one to play in it.

Stephen wondered why they kept it uncovered when it was used so seldom. The old couple themselves never seemed to get in the water. But the old man was out there every morning, skimming the insects and leaves out of the water with a giant long-handled net that I found fascinating. That and the weird socks he wore. Mom said they were compression socks, meant to help with circulation. I thought they made his real legs look like fake ones. 
After two weeks or so, I had established a lonely pattern of cartoons until my mom kicked me out, then puttering around our yard until she called me in to eat. I was sitting out on the swing reading one of the fairy themed books I was so into that summer when someone called out to me. “Hey, kid!” I looked up. There was a little girl, maybe just a smidge older than me, leaning on the fence around the pool and looking at me. She smiled and waved when she saw me. “I’m Becky! Want to come swim with me?” 
Boy, did I! I ran and got my mom. She was unpacking yet more kitchen stuff. There was a lot to unpack, combining all of our stuff with all of Stephen’s stuff. It was taking a long time to figure out where to put it.

Still, Mom was happy to hear I’d had an invitation, and took a break to help me find the right things. A few minutes later, I was wearing my swimsuit and carrying a towel and we were crossing the street together. Mom knocked on the door. When a tall, slender woman with tall white hair answered, Mom explained that we were the new neighbors from across the street. “My daughter said that Becky invited her over,” Mom said. “Would it be okay if she came over and swam with her?” 
“Becky?” The woman’s voice sounded strangely full of emotion. “Definitely! Please! Come in!”

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