The Ghosts of Novels Past

I have written three entire novels.

I thought I was unique until I joined Scribophile. There I discovered that I was not the only person on the planet to plan a Trilogy of Very Imaginative and Lengthy Fantasy Novels.

Mine weren’t a trilogy, however (though the first one tried). My ghosts came to me one at a time.
I have done some horrendous writing. I have even sent some of it out to publishers. A Box of Shame sits on my closet shelf, whispering to me, “Capable of Doing Better…”

Each attempt was better than the last, but none should have been sent out. I’m sure no one remembers my Space Opera, with a name I’m too embarrassed to tell you. (Okay, I have been, and always will be a Trekkie; but that is no excuse to be cliche.) When printed, it ran over 500 pages, which impressed me greatly at the time. But 500 pages of tripe is still tripe.

I resolved to boldly go beyond that sad effort. More


Cally liked being the first one downstairs on Christmas morning. If she tiptoed down the stairs quietly enough, she might catch a glimpse of Santa. But no matter how early she got up, she never did. There were crumbs on the cookie plate, and the milk was gone, and once he even left behind a sleigh bell. She found it when she went outside to look for reindeer tracks in the snow. There never were any hoofprints. Her father wouldn’t let her up on the roof to check for boot prints, so she had to take his word that they were there. But that was scant evidence. Still, she wrote Santa a letter each year and burned it in the fireplace. “That’s how Santa gets mail,” her father explained.

One Christmas Santa brought Cally and her sister hats. They were berets, presumably crocheted by Santa’s elves; Cally got a red one and Nancy got a green one.

As soon as she saw her hat, Nancy started whining that she didn’t like green. “It looks like a girl scout beanie,” she said.

Then something happened that changed everything. More


ghost alleyI saw a ghost today. I was walking up High Street, towards the Blue Moon Café and Wine Shop, when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone hoist himself out of a dumpster in the alley between 15th and 16th Streets. When he hit the pavement, I saw that he had scored several bagels, which he stuffed into the pockets of his gray hoody. I didn’t recognize him at first, but something about the way he swung his legs over the side of the dumpster, the way he landed – something arrested my attention. I stopped and watched, holding my breath. After concealing his prize, he turned and began to walk towards me. He had a limp, I noticed. He was a good ten yards away from me, and it was getting dark, but I suddenly knew who it was.

He looked right at me. Narrow face, red-rimmed eyes, wild, dirty hair and a week’s growth of beard. Our gazes met and we stared at one another for a moment. Then he turned and limped away.

I hadn’t said a word to him. When someone has been dead for over ten years, there isn’t much to say.

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