Flash Friday Special: Things That Go Bump In the Night

Since it’s October, and spookiness often abounds, this time of year, I thought I’d ratchet things back just a little bit, and stir up a different kind of energy.

We’re all used to being scared out of our minds by things we don’t understand, but which we have been told are evil or bad for us.  Fear seems to be the universal human reaction to the unknown.  And nowhere is that more underscored than when it comes to the paranormal.

Hollywood has taught us to fear the spirits of the departed.  They’ve taught us that ghosts only come back for revenge, that they’re gruesome and sinister and, above all, dangerous.

Modern society (and Hollywood) have also taught us to fear those things that do not exist on our plane.  They’ve taught us that anything we believe in as children is not real, and is best ignored, and then taught us that what we’ve chosen to blind ourselves to must be evil, and therefore to be feared.

I grew up in an environment very much like that.  As a small child, my senses were fostered as “an active imagination” – which soon turned to “grow up” and “stop telling stories” as I drew nearer to adolescence, and they wanted it all to go away.

It never really did.

I’m here to tell you that ghosts aren’t necessarily evil.  They are the spirits of departed human beings.  Yes, evil people (in life) can return (or never leave) as evil ghosts.  They can do horrible, terrible things from that side – but, then again, they did them from THIS side, too.  However, in much the same way that those evil people are in the minority in our living world, so too are evil spirits of the departed in the minority.  While these are the only ones Hollywood and modern ghost stories usually see fit to tell us about, they make up only a small fraction of the spirit world population.  The vast majority of spiritual presences in this world are benign or even benevolent.  They’re people, just like you and I.  Unless you’re afraid of every person you pass on the street, there’s no reason to be afraid of every ghost who crosses your path.  I’ve shared a number of homes and working establishments quite peacefully with the spirits of the departed.  I treat them as I would wish to be treated (with respect and dignity), and we get along just fine.

I’m also here to tell you that those creatures of myth and legend that you thought weren’t real?  Well, most of them are.

As a child, I lived in England.  And I spent many an afternoon ensconced within the arms of an old oak tree, conversing with creatures – both beautiful and odd – I was later told “didn’t exist.”  I spent nights that I was afraid to go to sleep (not because of what was in the darkness, but because of what haunted my dreams) whispering with the Brownies who lived within the walls of our home.

Many of those creatures and spirits have followed me throughout my life.  They are my friends, and I don’t care if that makes me crazy in the eyes of some people.

However, my very first encounter with a spirit was at the age of two – a young man who’d been killed in combat, and who often came to keep me company while I colored or played – like a watchful older brother or father, intent to keep me safe.  Though it’s been over thirty years since then, and I’ve never encountered him again, those visits formed the foundation for my life, and my understanding that, no matter what others said, there really IS “more to heaven and earth” out there.

Have you ever had an experience with the Other  Side?  If so, and you feel like sharing, I’d be interested to hear. :)

“Dark Alliance” – Excerpt from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus)

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“Dark Alliance” — Excerpted from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus, Book #4)

“This is unacceptable.”  Red Widow seethed with fury as she paced angrily around the small lab.  She hated this goddamned jungle, the heat and humidity.  She hated these people.  She hated everything about this.  She spun toward her gathered minions, ignoring the woman seated at the lab table.  The girl was the one constant reminder of her own failure, and she wasn’t about to acknowledge her existence.

“Why can none of you numbskulls get anything right?”  She fumed, though her glare fixed directly on Rurik Babin.  She’d loose her ire on Lapinov, as well, except the Tarantula Brigade leader wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of a fight.  Most times, she appreciated his icy demeanor, but she was spoiling for a fight.

“I did what I was ordered to do!”  Babin shot back, giving her exactly what she wanted – a target.

“You were supposed to kill her, you incompetent arse!”  She snapped the words out as she stalked the cockroach.  “So, tell me why she’s still breathing.”

“She has more lives than a damned cat, is why.  And the poison’s effectiveness is wearing off, too.”

That was news to her.  Red Widow spun on her heel to confront the scientist who sat in one of the room’s only two chairs.  “Is this true?”

He shrugged.  “It’s possible, at any rate.”

“How?”  Red Widow demanded.

“Hard to say.  There are numerous reasons.  Environmental factors, exposure, incorrect dosing…”

“It is none of those things.”  The room’s other female occupant spoke for the first time, drawing everyone’s attention.  Then, as if she wasn’t the focal point of the room, she made tiny clicking noises as she stroked her fingers over the hairy body of the tarantula crawling slowly across the back of her hand.

“Magdalena,” Lapinov finally spoke, his tone coaxing and indulgent, as if speaking to a child.

“There is a reason the poison is failing.”  Her voice was soft and serene, as if she was in a trance.

Red Widow rolled her eyes with a snort.  Clearly, the centuries had warped the girl’s mind, turning it to sponge.  “Do tell.”

Magdalena didn’t look up, or give any indication she was aware of the sarcasm.  “The Musir built in a failsafe.”

Red Widow’s eyes widened, and her gaze whipped to the scientist in the next chair.  “Did you know about this?”

He nodded.  “But we took care of it.”

Her eyes narrowed.  “How?”
A cold grin split his face as his hand raised to the series of long scars that grooved his cheek from eye to jaw.  The bitch had nearly taken his eye out, but he won in the end.  “We introduced our own ingredient, of course.”

Red Widow leaned back against the table and studied the scientist with interest.  Could she have found the one American capable of actually doing his job?  Rachel hadn’t had the staying power, once Sargon was awakened, and so far, Daniel Cook was proving incompetent beyond compare.

But this man’s icy lack of emotion made him formidable, and gave her the first burst of confidence in his ability to get the job done.  This wasn’t a man easily distracted by personal vendettas, and he bore the evidence of how far he’d go to sate his brutal desires on his face, like a badge of dishonor.  She heard he left the native woman who gave him those scars for dead, deep in the Peruvian jungle.  A chilly smile tugged at her lips.  Aye, this man wouldn’t let anyone get in his way.

Find out how we got to this point.  Get your copies of the first three Project Prometheus books today at www.aspenmountainpress.com !