Martin’s Ghost: The Tickler Version
by William Mellen
Martin. Age 39, married, no kids. He’s a professional who works hard and worries harder. Recently, life has taken a terrifying and surreal twist.
It’s as though someone has imposed an incomprehensible dimension onto the routine of everyday life. It comes in the form of a malignant spirit that haunts him from photos of his younger days and reflections of the looking glass. It’s the jack-in-the-box from hell, a horrifying specter; and Martin’s about to find out its purpose.
(click the blue arrows in the center to turn pages)
The Tickler Version begins here at Part Seven (Abridged).
Leah quietly completed her bedtime routine and turned in. After adjusting her pillow, she rubbed Martin’s back gently. He rolled over in a fetal position and hugged her tight. It was odd for him not to lay face up with his body stretched out and draw her to him, but Leah couldn’t bring herself to say anything more than a gentle, “I love you, Martin.”
“I love you, Leah. Forever.” The word ‘forever’ carried an ominous tone in his voice, but Leah couldn’t put her finger on it. It rested unevenly in her mind. It was not a typical Martin phrase, but that was as close as she got to pinpointing the disquiet she felt with his words.
Martin spent the night of the fitful. The ticking of the clock next to his bed relentlessly reminded him how slow time could pass. It was as though, with each tick, the clock was visiting upon him death by a thousand thin, crisp cuts. In cadence with the clock’s tormenting beat, his mind continued to flash through recollections of each meeting with the damnable ghost. Even work could no longer gain a foothold in his thoughts. He tossed and turned, as if he could leave these malicious memories behind him with one quick turn or another. By morning he was exhausted.
Leah rose early and headed down to the kitchen to make breakfast. Martin was still pretending to be asleep. Actually, he was wrapped in combat with his demons, and losing. He could now clearly imagine, or he thought perhaps he’d really seen, the details of the phantom’s face in the rearview mirror the night before. The short, dark hair partially obscured by his hat looked trim, as though recently cut. His eyes were small, dark, and sharp. The pupils were unnaturally dilated, almost to the point of swallowing the sclera. His nose was sharp, but correctly proportioned for the face. The mouth was small and lips thin. His chin was not bold or chiseled, but it had a sharp, well-defined cut. Martin tossed about and broke into a sweat.
Feeling the futility of lying in bed, he forced himself to sit up and looked around the room as if expecting the devil to jump out at him.
The armchair across from the bed sat vacant. The bedroom window was closed and locked. Leah had partially opened the horizontal blinds so that bright sunshine softly filtered into the room. The daylight gave a gentle glow to the beach sunrise print that hung kitty-corner to the window. The bedroom door was closed, but slightly ajar.
Sitting now in the peaceful warmth of their bedroom, the contrast between the sweet serenity of the room and his escalating fear served only to bring the surreal closer to his own sense of reality. “Could he be here?” thought Martin. “Is he still stalking me… right now? I can’t take this anymore!”
He slowly arose from the bed, senses on high alert. He first directed his attention toward the mirrors and photos in the room. Glancing about, he did not notice anything unusual – no obvious sign of the malignant haunt.
Martin’s head swiveled slowly toward the bathroom, but in doing so the summer beach scene in the framed print hanging near the window caught his eye.
“Could he appear in a painting, too?” Martin puzzled. “Why not? The bastard seems capable of anything.”
Beads of perspiration condensed on his forehead and his body tensed as he approached the framed scenery. Martin surveyed the print and finding nothing he chastised himself, “Well, what am I expecting, the ghost to show up sunning himself on the bloody beach?”
Then something struck him as odd. “What the hell…” he puzzled under his breath. There was still no sign of the spirit in the painting, but as Martin readjusted his focus from the beach scene to the glass covering it, his heart raced and his head started to swirl. Ever so faintly, a pattern became visible in the light dust on the glass. It had been imperceptible at a distance, but up close, he distinctly saw something. Leaning his head just off-center, the reflection of light at this angle clearly revealed the pattern; someone had scrawled a message in the lower right hand corner of the glass. He felt as though a cold, hard hand was firmly squeezing his heart as the words sunk deep inside. The missive was unmistakable. It was simple and terrifying, “fear me.”
“Where are you?” he demanded in hushed, but vehement tones. “What do you want from me? What the hell do you want?”
As he spat the words, he was trying to ignore the fact that his body was failing him. His legs were weak and his skin had gone cold and clammy. His breathing was rapid and shallow, his strength dissipating.
Then, he heard it…
Martin’s Ghost may feature a menacing phantom, but don’t be fooled. It’s not a horror story, and it’s not a story about ghosts. It’s a story about life. Ask yourself if you’re really living, right now. Martin’s ghost may be closer than you think. The mind-bending conclusion will give the story, and maybe you, a new dimension.
So, don’t stop here...get a copy today!
eBook for iPad, iPhone, Kindle, and other compatible readers: $2.99.
Amazon.com: Click here
Barnes & Noble: Click here
Lulu.com: Click here
Smashwords.com: Click here
Kobo Books: Click here
Also available on Apple’s iBookStore.
Print Version: $10.99* (plus S&H, from Lulu.com):
*Prices subject to change. Further product details available on Lulu.com.
Published on www.EntertainTheBrain.com.
© 2010 William Mellen. All Rights Reserved.