The Book Gazette is pleased to share an excerpt from “The Mortician’s Wife” today. This is a paranormal/horror novel written by Maralee Lowder. Have fun reading!
At the sound of breaking glass every single kid I’d gone trick-or-treating with scattered into the night. All, except for me. I’m the kind of person who freezes with fear.
When the rock shattered the window on the floor just above the funeral hall level a strong blast of nasty, hateful air gushed out of the broken window and headed right at me. It was so horrible knowing that each breath I took carried that awful stuff into my body. I gagged and threw my arms around like crazy, like if I tried hard enough I could make that disgusting scent go away.
That’s when I saw the old lady at the window. I really, really wanted to run away then but my body still wouldn’t let me go. Against my will, I gazed up at the woman. She was carrying what looked like an old fashioned oil lamp in one hand and what I figured was a piece of board, or maybe cardboard, in her other. She placed the lamp on a table, and then quickly set the board inside the window, covering up the hole the rock had created. The moment the board covered the broken glass the putrid odor disappeared. A huge surge of relief coursed through me and once again the air smelled of dry leaves and sweet evergreens.
“I didn’t do it!” I called, knowing in my heart that even if she heard me, she wouldn’t believe me. But still, I had to try.
Yes, dear, I believe you.
I didn’t actually hear her words—they just seemed to pop into my mind all on their own. It should have seemed odd, but things like that had happened to me before so I pretty much took it for granted. What did startle me though, was that she didn’t seem angry at me.
With the only light coming from the kerosene lamp behind her, I can’t honestly say I could see that much of her face. Yet, I suddenly felt her sorrow. For the briefest of moments, I was inside of her, feeling the agony of her loneliness. I sensed a sadness too deep for a child of my age to fully comprehend.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
I know, dear, her gentle words came into my mind.
This was really something new to me. All my life I’d heard other people’s thoughts, but this was the first time someone else heard mine! I’d only whispered that I was sorry. There was no way she could have actually heard my words. And I was fairly certain it was way too dark on the street for her to read my lips.
Very gradually, the last semblance of fear left my body. The nasty air had cleared away completely now.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and, apparently, she couldn’t stop looking down at me. The two of us stood there for the longest time, although it probably wasn’t as long as it seemed. Our gazes seemed locked until she finally broke the spell.
You should go home now, little gypsy girl, her soft voice whispered into my mind. It’s late and your friends have left you all alone.
I started to run then, but I’d gone only a few feet before I stopped, turned and ran back. Reaching down into my heavy trick-or-treat bag, I grabbed a handful of candy. She was still at the window watching when I opened her mailbox and dropped the candy in. I gave her a farewell wave then headed home in earnest.
I had a few more Halloweens in my hometown, but I never spent any of them throwing rocks at the old mortuary’s windows.
The Mortician’s Wife
Author: Maralee Lowder
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Horace Carpenter has it all…a lucrative business as the only mortician in town, a home he can be proud of and a reputation of being one of the most popular men in town. Maybe he should be content with what he has. But he wants more.
Ada Hawkins, the daughter of the town’s only physician has lived a sheltered yet, privileged life. When she meets Horace at her 18th birthday party, the shy, physically plain girl is entranced by his good looks and suave manners. In six months they are married, and in less than one week Ada suspects she has made the mistake of her life.
And that is where the story might have ended…should have ended. Ada is to endure years of torment until her husband commits the most unforgivable act possible. From that day forward she lives for one thing only, not just to end the torment, but to do it in the hateful way possible.
She achieves her goal, only to discover true evil does not die.
Maralee Lowder saw herself as strictly a writer of romance novels…until she discovered a haunted old mortuary. There was something about the place that simply would not let her go. Was it really haunted? Were the stories she’d heard true that when the last mortician’s wife died over fifty years before no one had ever removed her possessions? That it remained exactly as it had been all those years ago?
As could be expected, her curiosity drove her to seek answers to those questions. And what she saw when she was given a complete tour of the building, from the rooms on the first floor where the mortician did his work, all the way to the fourth floor apartment at the top of the building, inspired even more questions.
Being a writer of novels, rather than doing research on the actual last mortician’s wife, she chose instead to let her imagination take over, answering the question, why did she choose to stay all alone in the huge building all those years? Was it haunted? And if it was haunted, who was doing the haunting, and why?
The answers to these questions are answered in Ms. Lowder’s fictional book, The Mortician’s Wife. As happens so often in a writer’s life, more questions came after she had finished writing The Mortician’s Wife. Some of the answers to those questions are answered in The Mortician’s Revenge, a sequel to The Mortician’s Wife that will available in October, 2013.
Ms. Lowder is currently busy asking herself more questions.