Read Ghost Shadows Online

Authors: Thomas M. Malafarina

Tags: #Stephen King, #horror, #short stories

Ghost Shadows

 

 

Ghost

Shadows

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas M. Malafarina

Ghost Shadows

Copyright © 2013, by Thomas M. Malafarina

Cover Copyright © 2013 by Sunbury Press, Inc.  Cover photo by Joanne Malafarina.

NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information contact Sunbury Press, Inc., Subsidiary Rights Dept., 50-A West Main St., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 USA or [email protected]

For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Sunbury Press, Inc. Wholesale Dept. at (855) 338-8359 or [email protected]

To request one of our authors for speaking engagements or book signings, please contact Sunbury Press, Inc. Publicity Dept. at [email protected]

FIRST SUNBURY PRESS EDITION

Printed in the United States of America

March 2013

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62006-193-0
Mobipocket format (Kindle) ISBN: 978-1- 62006-194-7
ePub format (Nook) ISBN: 978-1-62006-195-4

Published by:

Sunbury Press

Mechanicsburg, PA

www.sunburypress.com

 

 

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania   USA

 

This book is dedicated to my amazing wife Joanne for all of her love, kindness, inspiration and patience; and especially for her willingness to put up with my writing all of these horrible stories and still be willing to sleep next to me at night.

 

 

 

Introduction

 

In late 2012, I was putting together a group of short stories for possible publication in early 2013 by Sunbury Press. The collection was an eclectic assortment of various stories, which did not really fit into a specific theme although the genre was most definitely suspenseful horror. Some of the stories were ghost stories; some were a mix of technology and the supernatural; some were demonic in nature, some more psychological thrillers, and some didn't quite fit into any particular category. A few were somewhat short while others had become quite long.

Several of the stories were brand new, having never been previously published anywhere and were written specifically for this collection. A couple of them previously appeared as part of other multi-author anthologies by a variety of publishers but have never been published in any of my Sunbury Press collections. Two of them appeared in a special Sunbury collection called
Malafarina Maleficarum Volume II
. Each of them has been revised, reworked, and rewritten by me for the purposes of this collection.
 

That being said, I was in need of a title and cover for this new collection and I still needed a few more stories to finish it off. At the same time I had started two or three new novels which for now will remain secret as I hope to finish and publish them in the near future. What to do . . . what to do . . . . Then the inspiration came to me unexpectedly one day in December 2012 when my wife, JoAnne, came home from work with a photograph she took with her iPhone of a shadow on a window at her place of employment.

In October 2012, her department and several others in the company where she worked had moved into a newly renovated office building in the town a few miles down the road from her main office. Apparently sometime, perhaps while the renovation of the building was taking place, no one really knows for sure, a bird must have flown against one of the windows, broken its neck, and died. Since that time, the outsides of the windows had not been cleaned.

One day in early December when JoAnne was getting ready to leave for the day the sun was just at the right position to strike the glass and allow the image, which is shown on the front of the cover of this book, to appear. We assume the image resulted from the collection of dust stuck to the bird's body transferring from the bird to the window at the time of impact. For months it had gone unnoticed until just the right set of natural conditions existed for it to make its presence known. Since the initial photograph was taken she has tried to numerous times photograph it using our Nikon 35mm, but the conditions have never been good enough to get a proper shot. Even though I wanted a black and white photo on the front cover I put the original color version of the image on the back cover.

Anyway, after she saw the photo, she emailed it to me and I immediately loved it as she knew I would. I was inspired and knew I would use it in one of my future works but that it might take a day or so for me to figure out exactly what I would want to do with it. In the meantime, she sent it to the Weather Channel Web site and they posted it up on their animal photo section where it received some nice comments. We also shared it with our Facebook friends to many positive reviews.

JoAnne told me some of her coworkers said the image almost looked like an angel to them while others thought it looked like a demon. One person said it appeared that the bird had left an imprint of its soul on the window. Hearing those impressions I was instantly motivated. I realized I had found the answer to my short story collection title issue. The title,
Ghost Shadows
jumped right into my mind and made perfect reference not only to the bird's shadow in the photo but to the ghostly shadows I hope my writing casts upon the minds and souls of my readers. I was also then inspired to write a short story about the image based on what JoAnne had told me about the various interpretations of the shadow, which became the short story “Ghost Shadow.” Before the end of December 2012 I had the cover completed, two thirds of the stories in place, and the remaining stories laid out and ready to write and or rework. My goal was to have a collection of thirteen tales ready for Sunbury Press for publication by March 2013.
 

My publisher, Lawrence Knorr, had the great idea to release the collection on 3/13/13 at 13:13 hrs. I loved the
idea and began to work my backside off to meet my self-imposed deadline, which I obviously did, as you are now reading the results.
Ghost Shadows
is a not so nice collection of thirteen haunting tales that I hope you enjoy as much as you have enjoyed my other works. I look forward to continuing to bring you the best horror stories my twisted little mind can conjure up for you in the years to come.
 

 

Thomas M. Malafarina, March 2013

 

 

 

 

Ghost Shadow

 

Inspired by a photo by JoAnne Malafarina

 

Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings
—
always darker, emptier and simpler.
—
Friedrich Nietzsche
I do not say think as I think, but think in my way. Fear no shadows, least of all in that great specter of personal unhappiness which binds half the world to orthodoxy.
—
Thomas Huxley

 

 

“Thank God this day is finally over
,
” Jill Christopher said as she laboriously raised herself up from her desk chair and did a slow, much needed stretch. It was 5:05 on Wednesday afternoon, December 12, 2012. The day had been a hectic one, as her workdays often tended to be
,
but this one had been a bit more strange than most. In between trying to talk to clients on the phone and straighten
ing
out billing errors she
was
barraged with emails and visits from coworkers; the subject of both being the fact that the day was 12/12/2012.
 

There seemed to be a great fervor in the world about the end of the Mayan calendar coming on December 21 and supposedly many people believed this meant the world would come to an end on that date as well. As a result, some people assumed the coincidence of the triple-twelve occurrence in the date had to have some significant meaning as well. But as far as Jill was concerned it meant nothing but one more day she had to try to do the work of three people on her own.

She shut off her computer and turned to leave the office when she noticed something on the window behind her. Jill had no idea why she hadn't seen it before. Her department
,
along with several others
,
had only moved into the newly renovated office building in
October and every day she left at the same time and followed the same routine, yet she had never seen such a sight previously. There on her window was the image of what appeared to be a bird. The thing was perfectly formed and looked almost as if someone had sketched a picture of bird on the outside of her second floor window. But it was not a sketch: it was an actually image of a bird on the glass. She was amazed by the clarity of the shadow. A thought immediately ran through her mind. “Ghost shadow,” she heard a small voice say inside of her. But she knew there were no ghosts or such things and that no matter how perfectly the image appeared its formation was based on science rather than the supernatural.
 

She took three steps to the left and the image all but disappeared. Only a barely recognizable
remnant
 
remained. Then she took two steps to the right of her original position with similar results. Only when she stood at that one spot was she able to see the image in its entirety. She reached over to her desk and pulled off two long strips of tape. She found the optimal viewing position once more and made an ‘
X
' on the floor with the tape.
 

Next
,
using her smart phone
,
Jill snapped several pictures of the image she saw on the window. She checked the pictures on her phone and was thrilled with the quality. She immediately emailed one of the best shots to her husband
,
Todd, who was a horror fiction writer. She knew he would enjoy seeing the picture and was certain it would stimulate his creative juices. He would likely create a short story based on the picture for all she knew. She could hear movement in the cubicle next to hers and realized her coworker
,
Marie
,
had not yet left for the day.
 

“Marie? Are you still here?” Jill asked.

Marie hesitated for a moment then replied with a bit of hesitation in her voice. “Um
. . .
yeah
. . .
I'm still here. So is Josie. I hope you don't have something urgent for me to do. I was hoping to get out of here on time tonight.”
 

“No. Nothing like that
,
” Jill replied. “I just wanted
to show you something over here. Bring Josie with you. This is too cool to miss.”
 

When Marie and Josie rounded the corner of Jill's cubical both wearing curious expressions they found Jill standing on
the
tape
‘X' on the floor
and
staring at the window. Without looking at them she gestured for them to come closer and said, “Quick, stand on this ‘X' and look at the back window.”
 

Marie looked strangely at Jill but did as instructed and her face illuminated with an expression of complete amazement. “Oh my word!” Marie exclaimed. “Just look at that
. . .
it's
. . .
it's incredible!” Marie was a large woman of about sixty
-
three with curly
gray
hair and perpetually smiling eyes. Those eyes were now staring at the window with astonishment. She said, “I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before.”
 

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