Collection of thirteen original ghost stories and fantastic tales in the classical tradition.
Mariah of the Spirits
A runaway slave, bent on a mission, walks a lonely coastal backroad; a dove alights on a bedpost, predicting a death in the family; an elderly man in Appalachia, summoned by friends who have passed on, awaits the one spirit who can convince him to finally cross the river; a woman dreads graveyard workday, and with good reason; a tree spirit, trapped in an antique wooden mannequin, is destined to die of love.
"The Other Woman"
On her bedroom dresser in her big stucco house in the swanky suburbs north of Atlanta, Lou Ellen kept a small white porcelain hand she had bought on a whim years before at a flea market. The hand sat straight up on its wrist like a tree on its trunk, and around its curving, upturned fingers she kept her favorite gemstone rings. She kept a string of pearls, a diamond pendant, and two thin gold chains draped across the palm, from the hand's thumb to its delicate pinky finger.
Her husband, George, was away on business most of the time. One night Lou Ellen, alone in her big house, woke up sure somebody had been in her bedroom, though when she eased up in bed and opened her eyes she didn't see a soul. On her dresser the milky-white tapered fingers caught the streetlight and she could tell, even from several feet away, that somebody had toyed with her rings, had rearranged them like Chinese checkers, and had let her necklaces fall in a shimmery puddle around the base of the wrist. Her eyes slid from corner to shadowed corner of the semi-darkened room. She was silent for a long time. "Jill?" she whispered. But of course there was no answer. She knew that her former housekeeper had a key to her house, though Jill, being dead, would hardly need a key to enter. She fell back in bed, and lay there like a board for the rest of the night, wishing for morning to come.