Category Archives: short story

A Halloween Tale

In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the evening, I give you one of my short stories. The cemetery I based this story around is located just west of my hometown.

I chose the particular headstone because it’s set off by itself on a bit of a hill surrounded by trees.

I hope you enjoy this seasonal story.

A Halloween Tale

by

Melanie Robertson-King

Brian and Emily climbed off their bicycles outside a large three-storey, red brick house in the west end of the city. A huge sign bearing a griffin and the words Bed and Breakfast hung from a post in the front yard. “Is this the place, Em?” he asked.

“I think so,” she replied, sliding her heavy rucksack off. She dug into its small outside pocket and pulled out the confirmation e-mail. Scanning it, she looked at the house and sign. “Yes. We’re here.”

Emily slung her pack over one shoulder. They walked their bikes to the side of the house and leaned them against the wall before going to the front door. Just as Emily reached out to ring the bell, the inside door opened. Startled, she jumped back.

“You must be Brian and Emily. I’ve been expecting you,” the grey-haired, bespectacled woman said, craning her neck to see past them. “How did you get here? I don’t see a car.”

“Bicycles,” Brian answered.

“Come in, you must be exhausted. Your room is this way.”

Holding hands, the young couple followed the proprietor to their room.

“Here you are,” she said, opening the door. “I serve breakfast from seven to nine o’clock. You’re on your own for lunches and suppers but there are a number of places to get a good meal further along into town.”

“Thank you, Mrs. … ” Brian began.

“Griffin. Miriam Griffin.”

Meanwhile, Emily had walked to the window and was looking out at the street below. “We passed a couple of cemeteries just west of here,” she commented, turning to face Brian and their hostess. “What can you tell us about them?”

The woman’s face suddenly went pale. “Y-you don’t want to be going to the cemetery on the south side of the road,” she stammered. “Rumour has it, it’s haunted.”

“We do. I think my ancestors are buried there and that’s why we came. We’re doing a bit of genealogical research and want to take some rubbings of the family stones and photograph them for the book we’re writing.”

“If you think you must go there, go early in the day so that you’re away from there well before dark.”

Emily dropped onto the bed and ran her hand over the white duvet. “Tell us more. This sounds intriguing.”

“Well, it was 200 years ago this Halloween that young Emily McPherson disappeared. My, but your name is Emily, too, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Please go on.”

Brian sat down on the bed and put his arm around Emily’s shoulders.

“The story goes that a young girl lost her fiancé – a soldier – in a tragic accident in the early part of the war of 1812. His ship was carrying a load of explosives and it blew up. Everyone on board was killed.”

“What does that have to do with the cemetery?” Emily prodded.

“Well, they say she visited his grave every day until she disappeared and was there as always when a terrible storm blew up and folks never saw hide nor hair of her again. But before she vanished, a blood curdling scream was heard over the thunder – and then nothing. Just silence. The storm cleared as quickly as it had formed and Emily was gone. Alarmed by the terrible scream that came from the direction of the cemetery, some men sprang into action. When they reached the grave where the poor, bereft young woman spent most of her time, she was gone. No sign of a struggle. No sign that she had been dragged off – just the bluish glow that surrounded the headstone. From that night on, no one had ever set foot in that corner of the cemetery. You see why it’s imperative that you’re out of there before dark.”

“What a tragic, yet romantic story. We must find that grave, Brian,” Emily said, her eyes sparkling.

“We will but tomorrow after breakfast. Today, we scope out the town.” Brian stood and helped Emily up from the bed. “Thank you for sharing that, Mrs. Griffin. Em, here, well she’s a sucker for a cemetery and a love story,” he said squeezing her shoulders.

***

Out on the street, Emily wrapped her arms around Brian’s waist. “I wish we didn’t have to wait until tomorrow.”

“Come on, Em. If anything untoward is going to happen in that cemetery, it will be tomorrow on the actual anniversary. Not today.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she muttered.

Brian took her hand and they walked towards the town’s centre, stopping first at the local museum where the genealogical society’s archives were housed.

Emily scanned the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, binders, maps and the society’s own publications. If the McPherson girl’s disappearance were such a big deal, then there had to be something written about it. She found a binder of newspaper clippings dating back to the beginning of 1812, sat down at one of the tables and flipped through it. Emily found the article about the explosion and couldn’t believe how much detail had been included on the crews’ injuries. Still, she took the page from the binder and made a photocopy. A few pages later, she found the other piece including a photo of the alleged haunted grave. halloweenWhile she looked through newspaper clippings, Brian busied himself with the old maps. When Emily photocopied the second article, two older women came down the stairs. They spoke in hushed tones about the anniversary of the McPherson girl’s disappearance.
Having the information she wanted, Emily and Brian left the museum and went to a nearby pub for a late lunch. Over a pint and burger, they shared their findings.

“According to the one article, Emily got engaged on June 1st and her fiancé was killed on June 2nd,” she said, taking a sip of beer.

The longer they stayed in the pub, the more uncomfortable Emily became. She felt as if she were being compared to the long-since missing girl. “Let’s get out of here,” she said, “these people are creeping me out.”

“If you want,” Brian replied, picking up his pint and draining the last of it.

After leaving the pub, they wandered in and out of some of the more eclectic stores on the main street. In a second-hand shop, Emily bought a cherry amber pendant. While she fastened the clasp, another young couple entered the shop, talking about the cemetery. They say that grave is haunted. Emily overheard. Yeah, I know. Even in the daylight people don’t go near it.

When Brian and Emily returned to the Bed and Breakfast, she emptied the contents of her rucksack onto the bed ensuring she had everything she needed for the next day. Camera, extra batteries, blank newsprint, and charcoal sticks in a baggie. She added the photocopies to the essentials and repacked her bag.

***

At breakfast the following morning, Mrs. Griffin begged them to reconsider visiting the cemetery. “It’s just all of the talk about how the poor girl vanished and this being the 200th anniversary,” she moaned, wringing her hands.

“We’re leaving as soon as we’re finished breakfast so will be back long before it gets dark,” Brian reassured her. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stop here before we go to supper.”
Emily slipped on her leather riding gloves and heaved her rucksack onto her back. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back late this afternoon.” Pausing by the front door, Emily turned back. “Bye, Mrs Griffin. We’ll see you later,” she called cheerily as they exited.

It took about five minutes to reach the cemetery’s entrance. After dismounting, they walked their bikes along the narrow road and parked them against a tree near the river. Emily took her camera out and shot a few wide angle shots of the area for comparison later on.
Since they hadn’t gotten away from the Bed and Breakfast as early as they would have liked, Emily decided they should split up in order to cover twice as much territory. She gave Brian some of the sheets of newsprint and a couple of the charcoal crayons. He had a small point and shoot camera so could photograph the stones as well as take rubbings.

A row of white stones, beginning with two substantial ones followed by smaller ones caught Emily’s eye and she walked to them. It appeared to be an entire family – parents, and their ten children. She carefully photographed each one planning on looking into the family at a later date. Emily glanced over her shoulder and saw that Brian had worked his way out to an older section near the highway.

Walking along the narrow road, Emily spotted a flight of stone steps leading to an area sheltered by trees. As she climbed them, she noticed a small headstone next to a bathtub-like sarcophagus. Then she looked up onto the rock about four feet higher than the ground where she stood. A solitary monument occupied the space. Emily pulled the newspaper articles out of her rucksack. This headstone matched the one in the photocopy. The thick canopy of oak, pine, and maple trees kept the area in darkness even at his time of day. A gust of wind rustled through the tree tops overhead and a leaf fluttered to the ground, landing on the carpet of brightly coloured autumn leaves. What was once a stately oak tree stood guard over the site; its trunk and remaining branch denuded of bark and pocked with woodpecker holes.

HalloweenUp close, the headstone didn’t look menacing. Emily walked around it, feeling its roughness under her fingertips, and read the inscription which told the sad tale of a young man who lost his life tragically in a ship’s explosion. She photographed the inscription.

“Brian, come quick,” Emily yelled. She turned and waved her arms to get his attention. “I think I’ve found the haunted monument!”

He looked up and waved back but made no attempt to approach.

When he didn’t respond a second time to her calls, she scampered off the rock, pausing to take more photos then ran to him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Breathless when she reached Brian, Emily found it difficult to tell him she had found the headstone of the young soldier.

“You’ll remember where it was, Em? I’d like to get some rubbings of the stones in this section. Let me finish up here and we’ll head over,” Brian answered. He pulled Emily close and kissed her forehead.

Another stone with a worn but interesting inscription soon held their interest and they became engrossed in it – Emily with her camera and Brian with the newsprint and charcoal. They were so preoccupied that they didn’t notice the skies darkening.

HalloweenNot wanting to leave without a final visit to the haunted grave, Emily ran off towards it, Brian following close behind. It was dusk when they reached the location. As they drew nearer, the hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood on end.

Suddenly, the sky turned pitch black. Not even the glow of the city’s streetlights could be seen. Emily couldn’t see Brian, yet they were only arms length apart. A brilliant flash of lightning and a simultaneous, deafening clap of thunder frightened Emily and she screamed. The pungent smell of ozone filled the air. The headstone now bathed in that ominous bluish glow, made her entire body tingle.

***

The next day, once it was realized they had failed to come back to the Bed and Breakfast the night before, a search party went to the cemetery to look for them. Just as it was when Emily McPherson disappeared all those years ago, there were no signs of a struggle, no signs of the young couple at all. But at the base of the stone, one of the searchers found a pendant – the same one the young woman was last seen wearing when she and her partner left for the cemetery. On the back was an inscription which read, ‘to my Emily June 1st, 1812. All my love BW’. The searchers looked at each other incredulously, then at the headstone. BW – Brian Wolfe. Were these two young people the ghosts of Emily and Brian?

Happy Halloween!halloween

A Halloween Tale

In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the evening, I give you one of my short stories. I hope you enjoy it.

A Halloween Tale

by

Melanie Robertson-King

Brian and Emily climbed off their bicycles outside a large three-storey, red brick house in the west end of the city. A huge sign bearing a griffin and the words Bed and Breakfast hung from a post in the front yard. “Is this the place, Em?” he asked.

“I think so,” she replied, sliding her heavy rucksack off. She dug into its small outside pocket and pulled out the confirmation e-mail. Scanning it, she looked at the house and sign. “Yes. We’re here.”

Emily slung her pack over one shoulder. They walked their bikes to the side of the house and leaned them against the wall before going to the front door. Just as Emily reached out to ring the bell, the inside door opened. Startled, she jumped back.

“You must be Brian and Emily. I’ve been expecting you,” the grey-haired, bespectacled woman said, craning her neck to see past them. “How did you get here? I don’t see a car.”

“Bicycles,” Brian answered.

“Come in, you must be exhausted. Your room is this way.”

Holding hands, the young couple followed the proprietor to their room.

“Here you are,” she said, opening the door. “I serve breakfast from seven to nine o’clock. You’re on your own for lunches and suppers but there are a number of places to get a good meal further along into town.”

“Thank you, Mrs. … ” Brian began.

“Griffin. Miriam Griffin.”

Meanwhile, Emily had walked to the window and was looking out at the street below. “We passed a couple of cemeteries just west of here,” she commented, turning to face Brian and their hostess. “What can you tell us about them?”

The woman’s face suddenly went pale. “Y-you don’t want to be going to the cemetery on the south side of the road,” she stammered. “Rumour has it, it’s haunted.”

“We do. I think my ancestors are buried there and that’s why we came. We’re doing a bit of genealogical research and want to take some rubbings of the family stones and photograph them for the book we’re writing.”

“If you think you must go there, go early in the day so that you’re away from there well before dark.”

Emily dropped onto the bed and ran her hand over the white duvet. “Tell us more. This sounds intriguing.”

“Well, it was 200 years ago this Halloween that young Emily McPherson disappeared. My, but your name is Emily, too, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Please go on.”

Brian sat down on the bed and put his arm around Emily’s shoulders.

“The story goes that a young girl lost her fiancé – a soldier – in a tragic accident in the early part of the war of 1812. His ship was carrying a load of explosives and it blew up. Everyone on board was killed.”

“What does that have to do with the cemetery?” Emily prodded.

“Well, they say she visited his grave every day until she disappeared and was there as always when a terrible storm blew up and folks never saw hide nor hair of her again. But before she vanished, a blood curdling scream was heard over the thunder – and then nothing. Just silence. The storm cleared as quickly as it had formed and Emily was gone. Alarmed by the terrible scream that came from the direction of the cemetery, some men sprang into action. When they reached the grave where the poor, bereft young woman spent most of her time, she was gone. No sign of a struggle. No sign that she had been dragged off – just the bluish glow that surrounded the headstone. From that night on, no one had ever set foot in that corner of the cemetery. You see why it’s imperative that you’re out of there before dark.”

“What a tragic, yet romantic story. We must find that grave, Brian,” Emily said, her eyes sparkling.

“We will but tomorrow after breakfast. Today, we scope out the town.” Brian stood and helped Emily up from the bed. “Thank you for sharing that, Mrs. Griffin. Em, here, well she’s a sucker for a cemetery and a love story,” he said squeezing her shoulders.

***

Out on the street, Emily wrapped her arms around Brian’s waist. “I wish we didn’t have to wait until tomorrow.”

“Come on, Em. If anything untoward is going to happen in that cemetery, it will be tomorrow on the actual anniversary. Not today.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she muttered.

Brian took her hand and they walked towards the town’s centre, stopping first at the local museum where the genealogical society’s archives were housed.

Emily scanned the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, binders, maps and the society’s own publications. If the McPherson girl’s disappearance were such a big deal, then there had to be something written about it. She found a binder of newspaper clippings dating back to the beginning of 1812, sat down at one of the tables and flipped through it. Emily found the article about the explosion and couldn’t believe how much detail had been included on the crews’ injuries. Still, she took the page from the binder and made a photocopy. A few pages later, she found the other piece including a photo of the alleged haunted grave. halloweenWhile she looked through newspaper clippings, Brian busied himself with the old maps. When Emily photocopied the second article, two older women came down the stairs. They spoke in hushed tones about the anniversary of the McPherson girl’s disappearance.
Having the information she wanted, Emily and Brian left the museum and went to a nearby pub for a late lunch. Over a pint and burger, they shared their findings.

“According to the one article, Emily got engaged on June 1st and her fiancé was killed on June 2nd,” she said, taking a sip of beer.

The longer they stayed in the pub, the more uncomfortable Emily became. She felt as if she were being compared to the long-since missing girl. “Let’s get out of here,” she said, “these people are creeping me out.”

“If you want,” Brian replied, picking up his pint and draining the last of it.

After leaving the pub, they wandered in and out of some of the more eclectic stores on the main street. In a second-hand shop, Emily bought a cherry amber pendant. While she fastened the clasp, another young couple entered the shop, talking about the cemetery. They say that grave is haunted. Emily overheard. Yeah, I know. Even in the daylight people don’t go near it.

When Brian and Emily returned to the Bed and Breakfast, she emptied the contents of her rucksack onto the bed ensuring she had everything she needed for the next day. Camera, extra batteries, blank newsprint, and charcoal sticks in a baggie. She added the photocopies to the essentials and repacked her bag.

***

At breakfast the following morning, Mrs. Griffin begged them to reconsider visiting the cemetery. “It’s just all of the talk about how the poor girl vanished and this being the 200th anniversary,” she moaned, wringing her hands.

“We’re leaving as soon as we’re finished breakfast so will be back long before it gets dark,” Brian reassured her. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stop here before we go to supper.”
Emily slipped on her leather riding gloves and heaved her rucksack onto her back. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back late this afternoon.” Pausing by the front door, Emily turned back. “Bye, Mrs Griffin. We’ll see you later,” she called cheerily as they exited.

It took about five minutes to reach the cemetery’s entrance. After dismounting, they walked their bikes along the narrow road and parked them against a tree near the river. Emily took her camera out and shot a few wide angle shots of the area for comparison later on.
Since they hadn’t gotten away from the Bed and Breakfast as early as they would have liked, Emily decided they should split up in order to cover twice as much territory. She gave Brian some of the sheets of newsprint and a couple of the charcoal crayons. He had a small point and shoot camera so could photograph the stones as well as take rubbings.

A row of white stones, beginning with two substantial ones followed by smaller ones caught Emily’s eye and she walked to them. It appeared to be an entire family – parents, and their ten children. She carefully photographed each one planning on looking into the family at a later date. Emily glanced over her shoulder and saw that Brian had worked his way out to an older section near the highway.

Walking along the narrow road, Emily spotted a flight of stone steps leading to an area sheltered by trees. As she climbed them, she noticed a small headstone next to a bathtub-like sarcophagus. Then she looked up onto the rock about four feet higher than the ground where she stood. A solitary monument occupied the space. Emily pulled the newspaper articles out of her rucksack. This headstone matched the one in the photocopy. The thick canopy of oak, pine, and maple trees kept the area in darkness even at his time of day. A gust of wind rustled through the tree tops overhead and a leaf fluttered to the ground, landing on the carpet of brightly coloured autumn leaves. What was once a stately oak tree stood guard over the site; its trunk and remaining branch denuded of bark and pocked with woodpecker holes.

HalloweenUp close, the headstone didn’t look menacing. Emily walked around it, feeling its roughness under her fingertips, and read the inscription which told the sad tale of a young man who lost his life tragically in a ship’s explosion. She photographed the inscription.

“Brian, come quick,” Emily yelled. She turned and waved her arms to get his attention. “I think I’ve found the haunted monument!”

He looked up and waved back but made no attempt to approach.

When he didn’t respond a second time to her calls, she scampered off the rock, pausing to take more photos then ran to him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Breathless when she reached Brian, Emily found it difficult to tell him she had found the headstone of the young soldier.

“You’ll remember where it was, Em? I’d like to get some rubbings of the stones in this section. Let me finish up here and we’ll head over,” Brian answered. He pulled Emily close and kissed her forehead.

Another stone with a worn but interesting inscription soon held their interest and they became engrossed in it – Emily with her camera and Brian with the newsprint and charcoal. They were so preoccupied that they didn’t notice the skies darkening.

HalloweenNot wanting to leave without a final visit to the haunted grave, Emily ran off towards it, Brian following close behind. It was dusk when they reached the location. As they drew nearer, the hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood on end.

Suddenly, the sky turned pitch black. Not even the glow of the city’s streetlights could be seen. Emily couldn’t see Brian, yet they were only arms length apart. A brilliant flash of lightning and a simultaneous, deafening clap of thunder frightened Emily and she screamed. The pungent smell of ozone filled the air. The headstone now bathed in that ominous bluish glow, made her entire body tingle.

***

The next day, once it was realized they had failed to come back to the Bed and Breakfast the night before, a search party went to the cemetery to look for them. Just as it was when Emily McPherson disappeared all those years ago, there were no signs of a struggle, no signs of the young couple at all. But at the base of the stone, one of the searchers found a pendant – the same one the young woman was last seen wearing when she and her partner left for the cemetery. On the back was an inscription which read, ‘to my Emily June 1st, 1812. All my love BW’. The searchers looked at each other incredulously, then at the headstone. BW – Brian Wolfe. Were these two young people the ghosts of Emily and Brian?

#AtoZChallenge – C is for (The) CONSEQUENCES COLLECTION

“If you could see the consequences – would you?”

consequences cover 3 croppedSpecial thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my collection.

Blurb:

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child’s point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman’s body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

Excerpt from the cover story Consequences: But before I get into that, this was written during the one and only storefront writing contest held in Brockville. We all wrote to the same prompt (I think we were thirteen in number) and it was amazing the different ways our stories went.

Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.

Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.

She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.

Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.

She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.

The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.

Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.

She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?

I’m almost Janet Jackson but not quite… but my ‘almost’ reveal was purely accidental. That’s what happens when you sit on the tail of your corset and try to skooch higher up the rock.

Where to buy The Consequences Collection:

Paperback:

Lulu.com

Epub:

Lulu.com

Kindle:

amazon.com

amazon.ca

amazon.co.uk

iBookstore

 

COVER REVEAL + e-launch of The Consequences Collection

“If you could see the consequences – would you?”

Today marks the cover reveal and the e-launch of The Consequences Collection…consequences cover 3 croppedSpecial thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my anthology.

Blurb: 

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child’s point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman’s body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

Excerpt from the cover story Consequences: But before I get into that, this was written during the one and only storefront writing contest held in Brockville. We all wrote to the same prompt (I think we were thirteen in number) and it was amazing the different ways our stories went.

Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.

Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.

She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.

Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.

She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.

The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.

Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.

She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?

And since this piece is about a reveal… well, I have to include this anecdote and photo. Back in early October, hubby and I went out to get some photos of me surrounded by the local fall colour splendour… me wearing my tartan corset that I bought in Glasgow.

almost wardrobe malfunctionI’m almost Janet Jackson but not quite… but my ‘almost’ reveal was purely accidental. That’s what happens when you sit on the tail of your corset and try to skooch higher up the rock.

Where to buy The Consequences Collection:

Paperback:

Lulu.com

Epub:

Lulu.com

Kindle:

amazon.com

amazon.ca

amazon.co.uk

iBookstore

Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook.

Visit these sites, too:

Anneli Purchase

Dayna Leigh Cheser

Gina Dickerson

Janice Horton

Mandy Baggot

Nicky Wells

Pauline Barclay

Sheryl Browne

Stephanie Keyes

Wendy Laharnar

and
Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine

My links:

Website:  www.melanierobertson-king.com

Blog:  Celtic Connexions

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads author page

Amazon author page

Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine author page

Twitter:  @RobertsoKing

The Wedgewood Author Series

The Wedgewood Author Series

Yup, they’re having me back. Go figure, eh? This time, I’m there launching the print version of my short story anthology – The Consequences Collection.

consequences coverIsn’t this a fantastic cover? I have to thank Madliz Coles for allowing me to use her photograph for my anthology. I don’t think I could have found a more perfect image.

Blurb: 

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child’s point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman’s body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Sound intriguing? Well, come out to the Wedgewood Retirement Resort (that is if you live ‘local’ to Brockville), 15 Market Street East, at 2:00 p.m. today. I’ll be talking about the story behind the anthology and the stories contained within the covers as well as reading from one. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy.


View Larger Map

I hope to see you there!

And remember… “If you could see the consequences – would you?”

 

Blowing My Own Trombone Book Launch Blog Tour by Emma Calin

Hello Melanie – thanks so much for letting me visit your blog to tell everyone about my new book

  “THE LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION

Boxed set Kindle

Now, this tour of mine is called the “Blowing my own Trombone Book Launch Blog Tour”.  We have had The Muppets and Cabaret and today – it’s Edelweiss from The Sound of  Music – I’ll leave you to be the judges of that…

The ‘Love in a Hopeless Place Collection‘ is a set of five of my stand-alone titles amalgamated into one. A bargain way for you to get your hands on my gritty tales-with-a-twist.  Initially available for e-books (Kindle, iPad, Android, iPhone, Mac, PC etc on Amazon), the paperback will follow and an audiobook is in production. The titles in the collection are all novelettes or short stories. They stand alone in their own right but are linked by a common theme:  the universal quest for survival, love, passion and respect against the gritty backdrop of working class life.

Sub-Prime – a gritty short story

The Chosen – a short story with a twist

Escape To Love – a novelette, a suspense romance with a twist

Angela – a short story

Love in a Hopeless Place – a novelette, a romance.

The title of one of the books and also the complete collection, “Love in a Hopeless Place”, comes from the song by Rihanna “We Found Love (in a Hopeless Place)”, which  played on the radio at a pivotal point in this individual tale,  but also really expresses the flavour of the collection as a whole.

Here is a small excerpt:

‘To want is easy. To be wanted is a delicious warm bath but with someone else’s hand on the hot tap. Once you’ve jumped the fall takes no courage or talent. I did a parachute jump once for a hospice charity. If you look up where you’ve come from it’s speeding away from you and you can never go back. It’s better to look at the ground because that’s where you’re headed and it’s an obtainable certainty. I knew by inviting her I’d crossed a frontier and as yet the guards hadn’t opened fire.’

LIAHP for vine copy

I am pleased to be able to tell you that during July and August ‘ANGELA‘ the short story from the collection is FREE – so you can even try one before you buy the set!

I would like to thank Melanie for having me on her blog as part of my ‘Blowing My Own Trombone Book Launch Blog Tour’.  If you want to read more excerpts from all the other titles in the collection – or would just like to hear me blow another tune, come along to the other blogs on my tour over the next 10 days:

Blowing Blog logo17th July Anneli Purchase

18th July Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine

and Real Life According to Emma

20th July Sheryl Browne

21st July Nicky Wells

22nd July Melanie Robertson-King

25th July Bonnie Trachtenberg

26th July Patricia Sands

27th Stephanie Keys

28th Linn Halton

31st July Venture Galleries Authors Collection

About Emma Calin:

EmmaCalinrectangular500KEmma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives part of the year in the UK and spends the rest in France. She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national and international prizes for poetry and short stories.

Emma enjoys writing love stories firmly rooted in social realism. She blogs about the contrasts in life on both sides of the English Channel, which she likes to explore on her tandem whenever weather and fitness coincide. She is a Lifestyle Contributor on Loveahappyending Lifestyle.

She defines herself as woman eternally pedaling between Peckham and Pigalle, in search of passion and enduring romance.

Emma Calin Links

The Love in a Hopeless Place Collection on Amazon Worldwide

For more books by Emma Calin:  http://www.viewAuthor.at/EmmaCalin

Emma Calin Blog: http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com

Emma Calin Website: http://www.emmacalin.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emma.calin

Facebook Page for book: https://www.facebook.com/EmmaCalinBoxedSet

Twitter:@Emma Calin

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emmacalin/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4915751.Emma_Calin

Emma Calins 6 titles Medium 1700

A Halloween Tale

In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the evening, I give you a short story that I wrote. I hope you enjoy it.

A Halloween Tale

by

Melanie Robertson-King

Brian and Emily climbed off their bicycles outside a large three-storey, red brick house in the west end of the city. A huge sign bearing a griffin and the words Bed and Breakfast hung from a post in the front yard. “Is this the place, Em?” he asked.

“I think so,” she replied, sliding her heavy rucksack off. She dug into its small outside pocket and pulled out the confirmation e-mail. Scanning it, she looked at the house and sign. “Yes. We’re here.”

Emily slung her pack over one shoulder. They walked their bikes to the side of the house and leaned them against the wall before going to the front door. Just as Emily reached out to ring the bell, the inside door opened. Startled, she jumped back.

“You must be Brian and Emily. I’ve been expecting you,” the grey-haired, bespectacled woman said, craning her neck to see past them. “How did you get here? I don’t see a car.”

“Bicycles,” Brian answered.

“Come in, you must be exhausted. Your room is this way.”

Holding hands, the young couple followed the proprietor to their room.

“Here you are,” she said, opening the door. “I serve breakfast from seven to nine o’clock. You’re on your own for lunches and suppers but there are a number of places to get a good meal further along into town.”

“Thank you, Mrs. … ” Brian began.

“Griffin. Miriam Griffin.”

Meanwhile, Emily had walked to the window and was looking out at the street below. “We passed a couple of cemeteries just west of here,” she commented, turning to face Brian and their hostess. “What can you tell us about them?”

The woman’s face suddenly went pale. “Y-you don’t want to be going to the cemetery on the south side of the road,” she stammered. “Rumour has it, it’s haunted.”

“We do. I think my ancestors are buried there and that’s why we came. We’re doing a bit of genealogical research and want to take some rubbings of the family stones and photograph them for the book we’re writing.”

“If you think you must go there, go early in the day so that you’re away from there well before dark.”

Emily dropped onto the bed and ran her hand over the white duvet. “Tell us more. This sounds intriguing.”

“Well, it was 200 years ago this Halloween that young Emily McPherson disappeared. My, but your name is Emily, too, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Please go on.”

Brian sat down on the bed and put his arm around Emily’s shoulders.

“The story goes that a young girl lost her fiancé – a soldier – in a tragic accident in the early part of the war of 1812. His ship was carrying a load of explosives and it blew up. Everyone on board was killed.”

“What does that have to do with the cemetery?” Emily prodded.

“Well, they say she visited his grave every day until she disappeared and was there as always when a terrible storm blew up and folks never saw hide nor hair of her again. But before she vanished, a blood curdling scream was heard over the thunder – and then nothing. Just silence. The storm cleared as quickly as it had formed and Emily was gone. Alarmed by the terrible scream that came from the direction of the cemetery, some men sprang into action. When they reached the grave where the poor, bereft young woman spent most of her time, she was gone. No sign of a struggle. No sign that she had been dragged off – just the bluish glow that surrounded the headstone. From that night on, no one had ever set foot in that corner of the cemetery. You see why it’s imperative that you’re out of there before dark.”

“What a tragic, yet romantic story. We must find that grave, Brian,” Emily said, her eyes sparkling.

“We will but tomorrow after breakfast. Today, we scope out the town.” Brian stood and helped Emily up from the bed. “Thank you for sharing that, Mrs. Griffin. Em, here, well she’s a sucker for a cemetery and a love story,” he said squeezing her shoulders.

***

Out on the street, Emily wrapped her arms around Brian’s waist. “I wish we didn’t have to wait until tomorrow.”

“Come on, Em. If anything untoward is going to happen in that cemetery, it will be tomorrow on the actual anniversary. Not today.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she muttered.

Brian took her hand and they walked towards the town’s centre, stopping first at the local museum where the genealogical society’s archives were housed.

Emily scanned the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, binders, maps and the society’s own publications. If the McPherson girl’s disappearance were such a big deal, then there had to be something written about it. She found a binder of newspaper clippings dating back to the beginning of 1812, sat down at one of the tables and flipped through it. Emily found the article about the explosion and couldn’t believe how much detail had been included on the crews’ injuries. Still, she took the page from the binder and made a photocopy. A few pages later, she found the other piece including a photo of the alleged haunted grave. While she looked through newspaper clippings, Brian busied himself with the old maps. When Emily photocopied the second article, two older women came down the stairs. They spoke in hushed tones about the anniversary of the McPherson girl’s disappearance.
Having the information she wanted, Emily and Brian left the museum and went to a nearby pub for a late lunch. Over a pint and burger, they shared their findings.

“According to the one article, Emily got engaged on June 1st and her fiancé was killed on June 2nd,” she said, taking a sip of beer.

The longer they stayed in the pub, the more uncomfortable Emily became. She felt as if she were being compared to the long-since missing girl. “Let’s get out of here,” she said, “these people are creeping me out.”

“If you want,” Brian replied, picking up his pint and draining the last of it.

After leaving the pub, they wandered in and out of some of the more eclectic stores on the main street. In a second-hand shop, Emily bought a cherry amber pendant. While she fastened the clasp, another young couple entered the shop, talking about the cemetery. They say that grave is haunted. Emily overheard. Yeah, I know. Even in the daylight people don’t go near it.

When Brian and Emily returned to the Bed and Breakfast, she emptied the contents of her rucksack onto the bed ensuring she had everything she needed for the next day. Camera, extra batteries, blank newsprint, and charcoal sticks in a baggie. She added the photocopies to the essentials and repacked her bag.

***

At breakfast the following morning, Mrs. Griffin begged them to reconsider visiting the cemetery. “It’s just all of the talk about how the poor girl vanished and this being the 200th anniversary,” she moaned, wringing her hands.

“We’re leaving as soon as we’re finished breakfast so will be back long before it gets dark,” Brian reassured her. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stop here before we go to supper.”
Emily slipped on her leather riding gloves and heaved her rucksack onto her back. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back late this afternoon.” Pausing by the front door, Emily turned back. “Bye, Mrs Griffin. We’ll see you later,” she called cheerily as they exited.

It took about five minutes to reach the cemetery’s entrance. After dismounting, they walked their bikes along the narrow road and parked them against a tree near the river. Emily took her camera out and shot a few wide angle shots of the area for comparison later on.
Since they hadn’t gotten away from the Bed and Breakfast as early as they would have liked, Emily decided they should split up in order to cover twice as much territory. She gave Brian some of the sheets of newsprint and a couple of the charcoal crayons. He had a small point and shoot camera so could photograph the stones as well as take rubbings.

A row of white stones, beginning with two substantial ones followed by smaller ones caught Emily’s eye and she walked to them. It appeared to be an entire family – parents, and their ten children. She carefully photographed each one planning on looking into the family at a later date. Emily glanced over her shoulder and saw that Brian had worked his way out to an older section near the highway.

Walking along the narrow road, Emily spotted a flight of stone steps leading to an area sheltered by trees. As she climbed them, she noticed a small headstone next to a bathtub-like sarcophagus. Then she looked up onto the rock about four feet higher than the ground where she stood. A solitary monument occupied the space. Emily pulled the newspaper articles out of her rucksack. This headstone matched the one in the photocopy. The thick canopy of oak, pine, and maple trees kept the area in darkness even at his time of day. A gust of wind rustled through the tree tops overhead and a leaf fluttered to the ground, landing on the carpet of brightly coloured autumn leaves. What was once a stately oak tree stood guard over the site; its trunk and remaining branch denuded of bark and pocked with woodpecker holes.

Up close, the headstone didn’t look menacing. Emily walked around it, feeling its roughness under her fingertips, and read the inscription which told the sad tale of a young man who lost his life tragically in a ship’s explosion. She photographed the inscription.

“Brian, come quick,” Emily yelled. She turned and waved her arms to get his attention. “I think I’ve found the haunted monument!”

He looked up and waved back but made no attempt to approach.

When he didn’t respond a second time to her calls, she scampered off the rock, pausing to take more photos then ran to him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Breathless when she reached Brian, Emily found it difficult to tell him she had found the headstone of the young soldier.

“You’ll remember where it was, Em? I’d like to get some rubbings of the stones in this section. Let me finish up here and we’ll head over,” Brian answered. He pulled Emily close and kissed her forehead.

Another stone with a worn but interesting inscription soon held their interest and they became engrossed in it – Emily with her camera and Brian with the newsprint and charcoal. They were so preoccupied that they didn’t notice the skies darkening.

Not wanting to leave without a final visit to the haunted grave, Emily ran off towards it, Brian following close behind. It was dusk when they reached the location. As they drew nearer, the hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood on end.

Suddenly, the sky turned pitch black. Not even the glow of the city’s streetlights could be seen. Emily couldn’t see Brian, yet they were only arms length apart. A brilliant flash of lightning and a simultaneous, deafening clap of thunder frightened Emily and she screamed. The pungent smell of ozone filled the air. The headstone now bathed in that ominous bluish glow, made her entire body tingle.

***

The next day, once it was realized they had failed to come back to the Bed and Breakfast the night before, a search party went to the cemetery to look for them. Just as it was when Emily McPherson disappeared all those years ago, there were no signs of a struggle, no signs of the young couple at all. But at the base of the stone, one of the searchers found a pendant – the same one the young woman was last seen wearing when she and her partner left for the cemetery. On the back was an inscription which read, ‘to my Emily June 1st, 1812. All my love BW’. The searchers looked at each other incredulously, then at the headstone. BW – Brian Wolfe. Were these two young people the ghosts of Emily and Brian?