QSFer Nita Round has a new lesbian paranormal mystery tale out: The Ghost Of Emily Tapper. This is a rerelease.
A woman scorned is a curse that lasts… for ever
Two families inexorably linked through time and misfortune, come together to face an uncertain, and possibly fatal, future.
Maggie Durrant, heir to a rambling estate is plagued with a curse that will end her days. Providing her brother doesn’t get to her first.
Emma Blewitt is the beneficiary of an aunt who leaves her everything and tells her nothing. She must discover her own legacy before she and Maggie can seek a solution to The Ghost of Emily Tapper.
(Note this was previously released in 2017)
In the kitchen of Magwood Hall, Maggie Durrant stood before the cooking range and waited for the water in the kettle to boil. Her thoughts, however, were focused on any place other than the here and now.
Steam rose through the spout, the whistle shrieked for attention, and she snapped out of her thoughts long enough to take the kettle off the heat.
She looked up at the age-worn clock, its craquelure fascia discolored from a long and extended life in the kitchen. The reassuring sounds of the ancient timepiece echoed through the cavernous kitchen and marked the passing of each minute with mechanical exactness.
Maggie paused. She breathed out a long gust of steam and shivered in the sudden chill.
The clock drew her attention again and all thoughts of tea vanished.
The spring mechanism groaned and strained as it reached towards its next movement. Time lengthened and stretched like elastic, almost to the point of breaking.
The moment ended and reached for the next.
Maggie, aware of the nuances of her clock, stilled her mind and her body. She waited for the clock to announce its next movement, and yet she knew it would not.
Time took a deep breath and held it. It was neither then, nor now, but caught between, and she knew this instant well. The moment expanded and stretched, until this instance was everything. She had been warned, now she needed to see what surprises lay in store for her this time.
Maggie attended to her world with the fullest extent of her senses. The chill of her skin was warmed by the heat radiating from the solid fuel stove. The lingering aroma of chicken pie wafted up from an oven door left ajar. Her clothes grew heavy and clung like silken chains to her body. She strained to hear more beyond the confines of the kitchen, as if she could improve her ability by force of will alone. Her mind grew focused, and the mundane fell away to leave a quiet stillness in which she could seek further clues or details beyond the mundane. Then she heard the whispers, the echoes of a voice long dead. These muted words had no place in this world, and yet they reverberated through the corridors of Magwood Hall as though they had always been there—and in some sense, they had.
She focussed now on sounds that were closer. The old fluorescent lights fizzled and buzzed. The gas burners on the stove hissed a warning, and she closed the gas taps and cut the open flame. Wind rattled the kitchen windows with such vigor, she thought they would break.
The whispers quieted.
Somehow that seemed worse.
She looked rapidly from left to right, but she saw nothing. At first. A shadow at the very edge of her field of view flashed by, and Maggie took another step backward. A steel pan flew from the top shelf and crashed to the floor at her feet. Maggie sighed, picked up the pan, checked it for damage, and placed it on the kitchen table.
Tock. Time breathed out.
“I know you’re there. It is not my time yet,” Maggie said.
“Dooo yooou?” a voice echoed. “Do. You?”
“No,” Maggie answered.
A chill breeze blew around her shoulders and wrapped her skin in bitter cold. She shivered in spite of herself.
“Do you?” the wind asked once more.
Maggie slammed her hand on the table. “No. You know I don’t. Why don’t you leave me alone?”
A sigh, like a heart broken afresh, breezed through the kitchen. Then it was gone.
The whispers stopped, the kitchen was a kitchen, and Maggie knew she was alone once more. “It is still not my time,” she shouted, even though no one stood nearby. “Not my time. You hear?”
She leaned against the table, head down, and defeat weighed upon her shoulders. “Damn,” she said. She grabbed the pan and poured hot water into the teapot. “You’re going to drive me insane before you kill me, aren’t you?”
Maggie scowled. She needed no one to remind her that time was running out. She finished making her tea and strode with such determination from the kitchen that the china cup rattled in its saucer. Behind her, the antique clock once more marked the passing of the minutes with mechanical and age-worn exactness.
Nita has written all her life, whether short stories, games scenarios or novels. She loves to write about strong female characters, fantasy and speculative fiction. When not working, she is an avid gamer, she escapes to any world, any format, any console, and any time. She also plays Role Play Games (AD&D, Werewolf, Cthulhu) and is sadistic enough to be the dungeon master on occasion. Other interests include: visiting cemeteries for gothic inspiration, cooking (a skill inherited from a family of chefs), making damson gin, and of course tasting it. You have to make sure it is fit for consumption.