Friday, April 28, 2017

Short Story Spotlights Ghost Soldier's Angie Fox

Frankie and I both turned when we heard knocking on the front door. "It's me," my sister called. The hinges squeaked as Melody let herself in. I hadn't expected her tonight, but that didn't mean anything. She passed through my empty front room and straight into the parlor. Her blond hair was up in a messy bun and she carried a Tupperware container. "Hi Verity. Hi Frankie."
I stood and gave her a hug. "How'd you know he was around?" I asked. Half the time, Frankie disappeared into the ether, or wherever ghosts went. 
"He always backs your queen into a corner," she said. Frankie groaned. "Aw, come on." 
I looked back at the chessboard, trying to see where I was in trouble, but found myself distracted when Melody handed me the delicious smelling container. "Mmm… roasted potatoes, onions," I pulled open the lid, "gravy," I added with pure delight. 
"I made too much pot roast," she said, as if it happened all the time. She was lying through her teeth. Melody could barely bake a chicken. When it wasn't under cooked or scorched to a crisp, she'd forget and leave the giblets packet in the middle. Ever since my sister found out I was living on ramen noodles and granola bars, she'd been buying ready-to-go grocery meals, boxing them up in Tupperware and delivering them to me under the guise of Martha Stewart. 
"Thanks," I told her, keeping up the fa├žade. Otherwise, she'd move on to phase two, which would be her trying to give me money she didn't have. She chewed at her bottom lip. 
"I have to confess. I'm not just here to give you dinner this time." She cringed. "My friend needs help with a ghost." Frankie barked out a laugh. "Fantastic. She'll do it." 
Good thing Melody couldn't see him, or hear him. I shot him a hairy eyeball. He looked much too pleased with himself, hovering over by the fireplace. "This… thing I do," I said, returning my attention to Melody, "it has to be a secret." 
People in our small southern town already believed I was an odd duck. I'd be crazy to add to the gossip. Besides, the work was dangerous and scary. I was a graphic designer by trade. "I need design jobs." 
"How's that going?" she mused, knowing the answer. Not so well. Ever since I'd offended the first family of Sugarland Tennessee by leaving their son at the altar, my freelance business had dried up. Now I was secretly dating his brother, Ellis. I didn't know how things could get worse, but I was willing to bet they would if that little nugget got out. Or if I started chasing ghosts. I headed for the kitchen with my dinner. Melody followed. "The good news is she can't pay you anyway." 
"This is getting better and better," I mused. Melody flipped on the lights. "She does have a nice pre-owned kitchen set she'll give you," she added, grabbing my lone plastic plate out of a drying rack by the sink. "This is my friend Julie from high school."
"I like her." Julie had always been nice to me. She owned a resale shop downtown. The store carried some fancy, high-end antiques, but much of the merchandise consisted of good, gently used items. Still… I took the plate from my sister and slid the entire pot roast meal onto it. "What does Julie want me to do?" 
My sister leaned against the counter. "The store has always been haunted. She'll leave at night and come back to find pennies stacked up on her cash register. Or she'll open up in the morning and smell cigar smoke. One time, she watched an entire display of antique doorknobs start shaking like we were having an earthquake or something. A customer saw it too." "Yikes." I located a fork and arranged my meal on the kitchen island. "It sounds like she has more than one ghost," I said digging in. "And if the place has been haunted for a while, they might even think the shop is theirs." Spirits tended to get possessive after decades in the same place...


New For You was a second-hand local store that was owned by a friend of Verity's sister...and she was having ghost problems...

Verity pointed out to Melody, her sister, that her being involved in ghostly issues was supposed to have been kept a secret...But Verity, Melody, and especially Frankie, all knew she needed some money. Of course, Julie couldn't afford to pay her, but she could give her a dinette set. 

Verity was slowly trying to acquire furniture after she'd been sued by her ex-to-be-mother-in-law for leaving her darling son at the altar... So, having some place to sit in her kitchen certainly was worth a short job...

Besides, Julie wasn't interested in getting rid of all of the ghosts she knew were in her building... Just the one that was causing some damage in a display case with more expensive items.

In order to see the ghosts, which also changes the setting to the way it looked when the dominant ghost had last seen it, Frankie gives Verity a "zap" of his ghostly energy. So when they reached the second-hand shop, they soon were in a bar with a number of clients drinking and chatting. Once they realized that Verify could see them, many started hitting on her, some very aggressively! Verity wasn't interested...

The squicky ghost smoothed his mustache while undressing me with his eyes. "Well, hello there," he said, winking. "Your name must be Lucky Charms because you're magically
delicious." I turned to Frankie. "Did he really just say that?" "You started this," Frankie said, with no sympathy at all. "I tried to stop you."
Finally after wading through seemingly endless male ghosts who hadn't seen a live woman for decades, she noticed a WWII soldier, Private John Cleveland,  sitting alone and Verity thought she had found the right man... only to connect with him and learn of his heartbreaking story of love lost...

And all of a sudden, Verity was on a missing person case, not knowing whether it was for a living or dead young lost fiance...

This type of story makes you ponder, especially about our soldiers who are killed in action, fighting for peace... and how the lives of many people can be affected by a sudden death. Verity took a special interest in this case when he shared that the ring that he had given her before he left for war had shown up in the second-half shop, just recently!

Verity was thrilled to have the opportunity to help this kind, loving Private!

This is one of the more special heartwarming stories that I really enjoyed and believe you will too... Highly recommended! Next review will be on another full novel in the series... 


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