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Hello visitors. On my blog I'm talking about my books, but also about what I'm currently working on and, maybe, some other stuff. Browse through my posts and don't forget to check out my older posts in the archives. If you are interested in my books, please, visit my website Fictitious Tales for more information and a few excerpts. You'll find more excerpts in my old website Herbert's World. Also, take a look at my second blog Herbert Grosshans, where I talk about fun-stuff and things that concern me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Taste of Paradise

I'm almost finished with my story 'A Taste of Paradise', which I'm writing for the digest 'Men of Eros', due to be published in March 2007 by Midnight Showcase. It turns out it will be a little longer than anticipated. I'm up to 15,200 words now. That happens sometimes. At first it seems I don't know what to write, but once I start with the story it begins to almost write itself. It's weird. I had this one already laid out in my head, but it went its own way. The basic outline is still the same, but the story changed. I think it turned out better.

Here is an excerpt:

Parker followed her as she gingerly walked across the overgrown sidewalk, careful not step into the cracks with her high-heeled red shoes. The wooden steps creaked dangerously when they climbed them. While Ms. Hanover fiddled with the rusted lock, Parker studied the veranda, which ran along the front of the whole house. The boards looked rotten, also in need of repair, as did the railing.
The rusty hinges of the entrance door screamed in protest when Ms. Hanover pushed it open.
“Nothing a few drops of DW40 can’t fix,” she said and stepped across the threshold into the vestibule.
A tepid odor assaulted Parker’s nose and even Ms. Hanover held her breath.
“When was the last time a living being set foot into this place?” Parker asked.
Ms. Hanover shrugged. “Fifteen years?” She let out a little yelp and clawed at the spider web covering her face.
“Just kidding.” She spit something out of her mouth and laughed bravely. The couple I told you about lived here about ten years ago. After they left it stood empty. The River East Holding Company sends someone to check it over at least once every couple of months.” She shrieked when something ran across her foot.
“They must have missed it for the last few months, possibly years,” Parker commented dryly.
Ms. Hanover flicked a light-witch, but nothing happened. “I haven’t been inside the house ever since Mrs. Applebee died.” She smiled uncomfortably. “You’ll have to look past the dust and spider webs. Like I said, we can have this place cleaned up in no time at all.”
“I’m not worried about cleaning it up,” Parker said. “How long until the whole place collapses on top of me?”
“I don’t believe that will happen. These homes are well built. They used good lumber in those days.” Ms. Hanover peered into the next room, reluctant to enter it. “I think the kitchen is through this door. I was told it has new cabinets.”
“New? How new?”
“Mrs. Applebee had them installed just before she passed away. So I’m told.” She sighed. “Poor woman. Didn’t even have time to enjoy them. What a bummer.”
“In other words they’re at least sixteen years old. Who knows what has taken up residence in those drawers.” Parker shook his head. “I don’t know. I had something more modern in mind.”
Ms. Hanover gave a little laugh. With a sudden movement she slapped at something on her neck. “You won’t find it in this town. Unless you want to move into one of those condos down by the river.”
“No, thank you. No condo for me. I want to get away from people. I need some solitude for my work.”
“Your work? I never asked what you did for a living. What do you do, Darrin?”
“I’m a writer. I write horror stories.” He chuckled. “This house could be a great setting for one of my stories. Does it have any ghosts?”
Ms. Hanover threw him a quick glance. He couldn’t miss the slight tremor in her voice when she answered. “Would you like to have some ghosts in this house?”
“Not particularly, but as it happens, I don’t really believe in ghosts, even though I write about them.”
“Good, because rumors have it, there are strange things going on in this old house. At least there were until a few years ago. Haven’t heard anything lately.” She forced a little laugh. “Those are just rumors. Teenagers, you know. And Mrs. Dawson, your neighbor. But she’s old and a little crazy, anyway. Wouldn’t put much faith into her stories.”
Parker stepped over some debris on the floor. When he looked down he thought they were dried-up sausages. He didn’t want to think what else they could be. “I’ll have a look around in the kitchen.”
The cabinets did actually look quite descent. Dusty, but solid. He couldn’t see many details because of the dark curtains on the window. There was a door at the end of the kitchen. “I guess there is a basement?” he called over his shoulder.
“Yes, there is. I don’t know where the door is, though.”
“I believe I found it, but I won’t go down there. We should have brought a flashlight.”
“How about checking out the bedrooms upstairs?” Ms. Hanover called. Her voice sounded strained.
“Alright.” Parker left the kitchen and joined her in the foyer.
Every step creaked when they climbed the stairs, but they seemed solid enough.
“The wood is dry,” Ms. Hanover commented. “Once you live in the house and create some humidity, I’m sure the wood will come alive again.”
It’ll take more than humidity, Parker thought, but kept it to himself.
The bedrooms were actually quite large, with built-in closets. Many of these old homes had small bedrooms without closets.
I could use this one as my study, Peter thought as he inspected one of the smaller rooms. Walking to the window, he peered through the spider webs and dust. He saw large apple trees in the back yard, laden with fruit. Beyond them a number of tall, stately Elm trees.
A fence surrounded the small orchard. The boards looked gray and weathered, some of them broken, pushed in by someone from the other side. Most likely vandals.

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