Eva - A Ghost Story
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by Mike Emmett
Category: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Description: Death, for the sake of a soul, is sometimes not forever. Eva was a playful little girl whose parents owned a small biweekly newspaper in Stratford, Conn. But her parents hated her -- they had Eva late in life and had no patience for children. Suddenly, in 2006, Eva is reportedly kidnapped while at the Bridgeport Mall with her parents. Hank and Mary Schulz live in Stamford, Conn., and work in the Big Apple. Mary's a book editor and Hank is an ad exec. Both are tired of the commute and rat race. So they buy The Stratford Times from the Hergraves. But then, the hauntings begin. Mary learns a little girl's ghost inhabits the offices. She digs deep into the story and while being plagued by the spirit, she forges on and finds out a deep, dark secret the Hergraves are keeping. A secret that will nearly cost Mary her life, but solve the mystery of the missing girl, Eva. Excerpt: Mary Schulz and her husband, Hank, live in Stamford, Conn., and work in the Big Apple. Mary's a book editor for a publishing firm that still accepts manuscripts directly from authors, causing her the burden of screening dozens of books each week. Hank is an advertising executive on Madison Avenue. They've both had it with the daily commute into New York City and the rat race they both are in. John Hergraves and his wife, Edith, are selling their biweekly newspaper The Stratford (Conn.) Times. They had a daughter named Eva when they moved to Connecticut from West Virginia years ago, but she was allegedly kidnapped at the Bridgeport Mall in 2006. They both are afraid the world will end on 12/21/12, so they are building a concrete bunker out of a mine shaft back home in West Virginia. Hank and Mary buy The Times from the couple and things start out on an eerie note. There's a ghost in the building -- a playful spirit that disrupts life in the office. The hauntings continue and get progressively more violent. Mary calls in a psychic who tells her it's the ghost of a small child. Mary, who has taken on the role of editor, starts digging into the matter. She discovers -- with Mike Masters, the former editor -- that John and Edith Hergraves were very abusive parents. She finally gets enough information for a story and confronts them about their missing daughter, whom they had killed in a fit of rage. The Hergraves try to kidnap and kill Mary. Can Hank and Mike Masters rescue her? And what happens when they find the bones of a little girl buried in the newspaper office's basement?
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Damnation Books, 2012 2012
eBookwise Release Date: April 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [399 KB]
Reading time: 254-356 min.
* * * *
Sometimes, for want of a soul,
death is not forever.
* * * *
The little girl quietly sang her favorite song as she scooted the bright yellow, plastic school bus back and forth on the shiny hardwood floor. She was in the composing room of the Stratford Times in Connecticut.
This was the place where the stories were once printed out on strips of photographic paper called cold type, then waxed and pasted onto cardboard grid sheets in an arrangement that looked like the actual printed pages of a newspaper. The light tables made it easy to line up the type nice and straight against the blue grid. These "boards" were then shot by a huge camera in the corner of the room to produce negatives that created printing plates for the printer.
It was a large area, about 1,000 square feet, with several banks of green metal light tables designed for that printing process of days gone by. The tables were half-foot wells of metal with glass tops and fluorescent lights underneath. Each table had a peg board jutting out the back and rising up two feet like a privacy fence.
Everything in the room was old except for the floor, which had to be rebuilt last year when the rotted wood gave way to the owner's right foot, causing a severe fracture. And this wood floor had just been refinished, making it shine so bright you could stand in there and look down to see your own reflection.
The little girl had taken an old X-Acto knife from one of the trays in front of the light tables and used it to carve a pretend intersection into the beautiful wood. After all, she needed a place for the bus to stop.
The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round, 'round and 'round, 'round and 'round. The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round, All through the town.
Footsteps. Heavy footsteps stomping into the room where she was playing. The little girl couldn't hear them--she was partially deaf. Suddenly, a heavy mahogany stick cut through the air with a sickening whoosh! She didn't hear that either. The sound was followed by Thwack!-Thwack!-Thwack! as the cane repeatedly hammered into the back of the child's head.
"How many goddamn times have I told you not to roll that toy across my nice, polished floor? How many times? How many? And look at what you've done to the wood with my razor knife, you little whore!"
Each question came with another blow.
"You are a bad little girl. Bad, bad, bad! Do you hear me? Bad!"
The blood began to ooze down the back of her neck, adding more stains to a tattered, dirty dress. She didn't cry. She had learned this would only make Mommy more angry.
What did I do to make Mommy so upset with me? Was it because of the bus? Yes, she hates the bus.
A plump foot, tightly confined in a shiny black pump, sailed through the air and landed in the child's rib cage. The force of the kick was so hard, it flipped the girl on her back. Still, she would not cry.
A tall, thin man rushed into the room. He was angry, too.
"What the hell did the little bitch do this time?" he hollered.
"Look at those scratches on the floor!" the woman screamed.
"Why, you little whore!"
The man took his belt off and began to slap the child across her head and chest. Each time the buckle and the leather clapped against her skin, a welt raised out of her pale, malnourished flesh. She tried her best to cover her face and head with her arms, but the belt did its job with a vengeance.
The pain was tremendous, but she didn't scream. She didn't want her parents to be upset with her for bad things like crying, or begging for mercy, or running away.
Her blood-caked hair now drenched her deformed, enlarged skull. She felt a calming sense of tranquility slipping over her body as the belt continued to do its work.
Finally, she began to dream her dream. It was of a place where she was a beautiful little girl, a happy six-year-old child with proud parents, a mommy who hugged her, a daddy who brought her toys. The dream was welcome. It would end the pain and wash away the hate so vividly brimming in her parents' eyes.