Friday, November 8, 2013                                                        Dreadful Joy

Tricked Out Ghost

Demon Dog by Charles Ratteray
The soul’s faithfulness to this world is the ghost.
—Madame Blavatsky

The flowers on the aged patient’s bedside dresser shivered, and their slender vases began clinking together and then rattling and clacking loudly. The bulletin board trembled and shook. Its frame knocked against the wall, and get-well cards dropped like autumn leaves.
Soon, the whole room vibrated with a pneumatic rumble that set dresser drawers banging, chairs walking, and glucose drip bags swinging. Startled by the quake, the old patient stirred from her sleep and sat up.
The bellowing engine noise of a motorcycle stomped aggressively into the room, then coughed to abrupt silence. Arden strode through the door, snakeskin boots thwacking the linoleum, beaded trousers and fetish charms clattering.
He turned his radiant smile on the old peach-haired patient sitting up in bed, and she gasped before his pierced visage and naked torso tattooed in blue runes. “Sleep,” he breathed, and she collapsed backward into profound slumber.
The curtain partition flew open, and Nedra Fell stood glowering at the apparition of a pagan biker with windblown and lion-colored hair. “Where is Flannery?”
“Behind me.” Arden swept his dark-visored gaze around the room. “I came first to make sure she’s safe.”
“You dare bring her here?” Nedra’s wrinkled face clenched with outrage. “In this place, Death will sniff her out in an eye-blink.”
“She insisted.” He smiled with happy impertinence. “She wants to say goodbye, grandma.”
Nedra peered past the tattooed shoulder and called meekly, “Flannery?”
A sparkling reply came from the hallway, “Neddie!”
“Child, get away from here now!”
Arden sat in the chair beside Flannery’s bed, bemused at Nedra’s dismay. “You better show yourself quickly, Flannery. We don’t have all day.”
Flannery, dressed as she had been at the time of her accident, entered the room and stopped short when she saw herself lying in bed unconscious. Apprehensively, she looked to Nedra. “Neddie, I’m here. Can you see me?”
Nedra gawked at her, horrified. “The glamour! Oh, Flower Face, you have the glamour on you.” With agitated hands, the witch opened the bed stand drawer and took out a small mirror. She breathed a hurried chant onto it, then shakily held it up to the wraith of Flannery.
The girl stared stunned at the lucent green eyes reflecting back at her. The angular beauty of her face shone with a pallor of moonlight. She gasped and touched her hair—curvaceous locks, fiery as dusk. “Neddie! I’m beautiful.”
“Listen to me, Flannery.” Nedra mouth’s opened and closed soundlessly like she had difficulty breathing, and her eyes buzzed with alarm. Finally, she said in a gust, “The Theena Shee will destroy you. You must come back.”
“Neddie, I’m not coming back,” the girl proclaimed triumphantly. “I’m here to say goodbye. I’m going to stay with Arden.”
“No, no—he’s charmed you, child!” She expelled a sharp, alarmed hiss between her yellow teeth. “The Theena Shee will feed you to the dragon.”
Arden clucked his tongue mirthfully. “Didn’t I tell you? The old witch doesn’t want you with us.”
“Neddie, it’s not what you think.” Flannery gazed affectionately into her grandmother’s face that, on the verge of tears, looked even more like crinkled paper. “It’s gorgeous where I am. And I’m happy. For the first time in my life, I feel I belong.”
“Oh, Flower Face, no.” Her thick hands reached out and touched the chill, electric brightness where Flannery stood. “You belong here in this world.”
Arden guffawed. “So you can grow old and die among all the many people who love you?”
“Don’t listen to him.” Tears brimmed in Nedra’s eyes. “I tell you...”
A ravenous snarl jarred the room.
Arden leaped up and seized Flannery’s arm, pulling her toward the door. “Come! Quickly!”
Nedra grabbed for Flannery. “She stays!”
“She will die,” Arden gnashed.
“Better she die here,” Nedra grunted, swiping futilely at Flannery’s ghost. “Better she die than suffer what you will do to her in the Otherworld.”
“Be gone, witch!” Arden swiftly wrapped the partition curtain around Nedra, and he fled through the door with a frightened Flannery in tow.
Nedra struggled free of the curtain and whipped it aside.
The black dog came at her, fangs blurred.
Dagda Huh-loo!” the startled witch cried in Gaelic.
The growling beast leaped, and Nedra yanked the curtain about it. Tangled in the fabric, the dog writhed and expanded to a hominid-shape with grasping arms.
Nedra reached behind the bed stand and pulled out the femur wand. She whacked the snarling figure on the head, and the sheet collapsed flat. When she snapped the curtain open, the black dog had vanished.

A nurse occupied the doorway. “Is there a dog in here?” She arched a disapproving eyebrow. “Pets are not allowed in the hospital.”

From Killing with the Edge of the Moon

A short book that reads like a full-length novel.September 14, 2013
This review is from: Killing with the Edge of the Moon (Kindle Edition)
Mostly, I'm not real big on novellas. Usually they just can't manage to develop either a good plot or believable characters. Not so with this book.

The author restricted the story to only a few characters, which meant that he could make those characters come alive. He managed to throw a great deal of action into it without losing focus. His writing style flowed easily, and the book was well edited. His descriptive prose was almost lyrical.

If it was longer so it could develop more twists and turns, and if it wasn't a pretty standard type of Fae fantasy, I'd give it perfect 5 Stars.
Even so, I liked it--4-1/4 stars. I'd recommend it for both YA and adults who like classic storybook type fantasy.



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