A Spirit of Vengeance was one of the first stories I published, and it's still one of my favorites. It's a ghost story, and I wanted to capture a realistic image of how someone would react -- someone who was already devastated by the sudden murder of their lover -- when faced with a haunting. Josh came alive for me in a way that every writer loves to experience. I hope you love it too.
(And if you do enjoy it, there's a free sequel on my web site -- The Last Anniversary.)
When Josh comes home from a business trip to find out that his lover, Kevin, has been killed, his life takes a terrible turn. Even worse, Kevin is haunting him, wanting Josh to exact revenge on his killer. Josh thinks Kevin is a hallucination to begin with, but he soon starts to believe that his lover's spirit is really hanging around.
As he begins to believe in Kevin's ghost, Josh also starts to believe he knows who killed Kevin. He's not sure what to do, and neither is Kevin, who never really considered an afterlife. Can these two figure out how to catch a killer and how to move on with life after death?
[Early in the story, Josh comes home from Kevin's funeral.]
Josh pulled into the driveway of their rented house -- his and Kevin's and Kat's, the shabby old Craftsman the best they could afford by pooling their incomes, the two starving artists and the unknown actress -- stopped the car and just sat. He stared through the windshield at the avocado green paint on the garage door and thought of all the times Kevin had sworn he was going to paint it over some other color, any other color, and forget their deposit.
Another shiver ran through him and he roused himself to get out of the car. He left his suitcase in the trunk but did remember to lock the car before walking through the gap in the privacy hedge up to the front door. Stuck in the crack right above the knob was an invoice from BioClean, the company Kat had hired to clean up the house after the body had been removed. He looked down at the list of services performed -- walls cleaned and steamed (6), carpet removed (3), sofa removed, chair removed (2), windows cleaned (6), floors cleaned (2), misc. unsalvageable debris removed (see itemized list, attached).
Pain slammed through both his knees when they hit the smooth boards of the porch and swelled to meet the agony tearing his heart into fine shreds. He buried his face in his hands and cried, great shuddering sobs that shook his shoulders and jerked his arm and his cheek against the front door; he'd curled up against it when he'd lost his balance and fallen. He'd not cried before, not been able to or not quite comprehended in his gut that Kevin was truly gone, that he was dead, but the clinical, businesslike list of all the things that'd had to be cleaned of blood and whatever else had been spilled, all the things scrubbed and sterilized or torn up or thrown out, added up with a total charge at the bottom, plus tax -- that had clarified all his nightmare imaginings and made it real.
Kevin was gone and Josh sobbed out his grief and loneliness.
:Don't cry for me! Help me!: