Ghostly Interlude

A section of the novel I’m working on:

Chapter Seventeen

Interlude: A Winter’s Night in New England

It is not unusual for most of New England to experience all four seasons in a single day at any time during the year.  Summers can be quite humid, spring may last only a week or two, and the fall, while glorious most of the time, can be little more than a prelude to winter.  New England winters are particularly harsh, and inhabitants of the region are known for being particularly hardy people.  And while they are not unfriendly, they are also known for keeping themselves to themselves.

As the village elders began leaving Mayor Cooper’s home that night, a snow squall blew through the village creating an eerie echo across the landscape.  The snow-drifts that had begun to melt earlier in the week were stirred up, and the tops of the trees began to sway back and forth with increasing force.  Soon, the village streets looked as though they had been caught inside a cotton candy machine, and under the bluish glow of the moon everything resembled spun sugar.

The puddles of melted snow soon turned into ice, making the streets and roads treacherous for anyone out and about.  The moon, now partially obscured, glanced down upon the streets, creating shadows where tomcats and other animals prowled the night. Shutters and doors creaked, the spun sugar-like snow hit windows creating scratching noises that caused more than a few people at home to peak, however hesitantly, from beneath the covers of their warm and safe beds.

Lucia Pericolanti slept uneasily in her bed on the second floor of the Pericolanti home.  As she tossed and turned she dreamt that something, or someone, was scratching at the foot of her bed, trying to reach up and drag her under.  She was sweating and talking in her sleep, and all the while the invisible hands reached for her with claws as sharp as blades.

Stefano Pericolanti also slept uneasily when he did finally manage to lose himself to the embrace of Morpheus.  Stefano dreamt that he was on a train blazing through a snowstorm high along a mountain pass.  The train moved with great speed, causing the lamp that hung just inside his compartment to sway back and forth.  He was very thirsty and seemed to have grown even fatter in his dream.

Old man Conklin also tossed and turned in his bed, anticipating a battle of cosmic proportions.  His walking stick rested in the corner of his bedroom, and its top knob gave off a faint blue glow in the deepening dark.

Mrs. Wright was busy making plans for the following days.  Her files were in order and she was seated comfortably in a chair in her library glancing at a book.  Occasionally she would bring her index finger up to her mouth, lick the tip, and turn the page.  The faintest of grins formed on her face.

Ms. Colmann howled in her sleep, pursued by the ghost of her uncle Noah and generations of family history.  The Colmann house shook with fury.

Those in the village who could, which were not many, slept soundly.  The rest…


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