Stevie Woods:author of gay romantic fiction

October 10, 2012

Death’s Desire – today’s 25% excerpt!

Today I’m posting an excerpt commencing at the quarter point in my historical ghost novella, DEATH’S DESIRE, available from MLR Press in ebook, or in print as part of the anthology, Past Shadows:

“When did you know you were still trapped here?” The question caught Adam by surprise and it took a moment to recall where he was – when he was. He realized the voice belonged to Hugh Preston, not one of the Walsh brothers.

“I am not sure how much time passed. Hours, days? I had no way of knowing. It was as if I simply awoke in my own bed, yet nothing was the same. The bed was stripped of all linen. There were people in the room, servants I realized, but no one could see me. They were packing things away, and cleaning. One of the maids was complaining that they would never get the rug clean. I knew in an instant that it was Thomas’ blood of which she spoke and I leapt from the bed in a fury. I grabbed her shoulder and shouted something, I know not what, but the maidservant screamed. And so it began.”

“Did she see you, hear you?”

“No. She said she felt a cold grip on her shoulder, and a terrifying presence.” Adam laughed. “I think I was more terrified than she was. She screamed loud enough to bring the roof down and the room cleared in an instant. Over the next few days anyone who entered the room claimed they felt something. I admit my pain and anger made me rage at any who entered, and before long no one would go into the room. After a time I found I could materialize in certain other places. I tried to haunt my wife. That would have given me great pleasure, but she never sensed me. She always was a cold bitch.”

“Did you discover what happened to Thomas?”

“No,” Adam said sadly. “I have never known, and that I think, is my purgatory. I cursed them, promising I would see them in Hell with Thomas at my side. I should never have made such a promise. I condemned both myself and poor Thomas, I believe. I do not think I will be allowed to leave here unless it is with Thomas. After so many years of waiting alone, facing nothingness for so long, I can face that now, going wherever I must, as long as it is with Thomas. I had hoped for Heaven, trusting that any loving God could look down on true love between two people, even if they were of the same gender, but if we are destined for Hell, then at least let us be together.”

“I don’t really know what to say,” Hugh said. “Or even what you expect me to be able to do for you.”

“I am able to materialize in certain rooms within the Hall, this one being the easiest for me. I am also able to appear in the vegetable garden.”

“The vegetable garden?”

Adam gave an odd smile. “Yes, my wife and her family covered up the scandal of my death by claiming I had attacked my valet and killed him. I had then bolted, and my brothers-in-law went after me to bring me back to face justice. During my flight I tried to jump a fence, but fell from my mount, and broke my neck.

“They had carried my poor broken body home to my distraught wife who proceeded to give me a quick and quiet funeral. Only my body was not in the casket that was buried in the family plot in the churchyard. I had been wrapped in a sheet from my bed and given a rough and ready burial in the vegetable garden, at the lower end of the greenhouse. No words were spoken over my graveside; no man of the cloth presided at my funeral.

“As for Thomas, I have searched every place I am able but I cannot find any trace of his last resting place. Wherever they put his body, it is beyond my reach.”

“And you believe it is important to find his body? But why?”

“I believe he is waiting for me. He is as trapped wherever he is, as I am here.”

Hugh stared at him, only in that moment realizing that Adam was no longer a spectre-like form. He looked completely real, alive. Cautiously, he reached out a hand to touch him and though he half-expected it, it was still a shock when his hand passed through Adam..

Adam smiled. “I was right about you,” he said softly.

A thought occurred to Hugh and he glanced at Adam, not sure how, or if, he should voice it.

“What is it, Hugh? I see the quandary in your face. Do you know how expressive your face is?”

Hugh felt the heat rise in his face and was then embarrassed at such a reaction to a ghost.

Adam laughed. “Oh, you are a delight. My Thomas would like you, I know.” His smile faded. “Tell me.”

“I’m sorry, but it occurred to me that maybe they did not bury Thomas.”

“You think that has not occurred to me? There is a large lake in the park; they could have thrown his body in there. Or even have left him in the woods bordering the park, let his sweet body rot. Damn them to Hell! They are waiting for me, I know it. I will find them!”

Ignoring Adam’s angry outburst, Hugh said, “That’s true, but had you also thought they might have burned him?” He hated to say it but he knew it had to be considered.

Adam stared at him with a horrified expression. “They wouldn’t. Even they would not burn a body. They were very religious. They wouldn’t. Dear God, they wouldn’t.”

Regretting causing Adam more pain, Hugh was quick to say, “I’m not saying for certain they did, but…” His voice faded; what else could he say?

“Will you help me by trying to find Thomas?” Adam asked intently.

“If I can find his body, what would you want me to do?”

“Bring him to the vegetable garden, so we can be united.”

<end excerpt>

I do hope you enjoyed this little taster, and if you want to read the whole book, go here

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