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LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters

Excerpt

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Here’s an excerpt from near the beginning of my novel:

Penny came into the living room dressed in a red t-shirt and sweats, wearing moccasins that clicked on the hardwood of the hall. “Munin?” The amnesiac was looking out the huge bay window. He seemed to be looking not at the waist high green tallgrass, but beyond that at a horizon only he could see. He didn’t acknowledge her presence.

“Munin? You okay? Remembering something?”

He disengaged whatever thought he was in the middle of and looked at his knees. He said something.

“What?”

“No,” Munin said. “Nothing.”

“Ah.” She walked past him back into the kitchen. “I’m gonna have a drink. You want one?” She opened the cabinet and pulled out a bottle of gin, a bottle of tonic and then grabbed a lemon off the counter. “I make a pretty good gin and tonic.” She grabbed the smallest serrated knife out of the block and twirled it, waiting for him to respond.

Munin stood then and looked back at her from the living room. The way the light came in from the bay window, he was silhouetted against the glow. “I’m sure that you should probably heed your friend’s advice and put me out.”

“What?”

“I heard you arguing with someone,” Munin said. “A man in your bedroom.” He was so still, it was almost as though he weren’t really there at all. “He’s right: I should go.”

“No,” Penny said and dropped the knife on the counter. The kitchen table was really a bar extending from the sink’s counter out ninety degrees. She came around the bar, and stood next to the recliner Munin had vacated.
He still didn’t move. “You don’t understand. You really heard him?”

“Of course.”

She could see his features now, and Penny was stunned by how beautiful he was, especially framed as he was by the day’s late light. “You have no idea how strange that is,” she said. “He’s a ghost.”

Munin’s brow furrowed but he didn’t speak.

“That’s the ghost of my dead mentor,” Penny said. “I’ve been --- I don’t know, I suppose ‘haunted is the word --- by him since just after his death. I can’t believe you heard him!”

Munin stepped back then, a frown now complete on his face with his mouth downturned. “That’s odd,” he said.

“Yeah!” Penny was coming closer to him. “Yeah!”

“No. That’s ---“ Munin said. “That’s insane. There are no such things as ghosts.”

Penny stopped. “I know it’s a lot to take in, but maybe you’re a medium of some kind and you can help me get rid of him.”

Munin whipped away from her and walked down the hallway toward Penny’s bedroom. “Wait!” She ran to catch up to him.

When Penny got to the bedroom, Munin was there standing exactly where Chuck had been. He looked at the floor, around his bare feet, then up at the ceiling, squinting and then putting a hand up to shade his eyes against something that Penny couldn’t see.

She watched him stare upward and tried to see what he was seeing. “What is it?”

“A disturbance,” Munin said absent of any inflection. “A great disturbance.” He turned his attention back to the floor. He crouched down and ran a hand over the carpet. “Yes.”

“You can see something?”

Munin looked up at her and nodded. “I don’t know what it is,” he said. “Patterns. Noise. Snow. Ripples. I can’t tell you for sure. It’s something.”

“Any memories to go with it?”

Munin stood again, looking at the floor then slowly upward to the point on the ceiling directly above him. He shivered, frowned again, shook his head and looked very tired. “May I,” he said then stopped. He turned to look behind him. “Did you see something just then?”

“No,” Penny said.

“I am very tired suddenly. May I shower and then sleep in the back room?” Munin turned in a small circle, coming back to a point where he could look straight at Penny. “I won’t be any difficulty. I won’t ask any more of you,” he said though she could barely hear him. “I won’t.”

Copyright 2009 By Jason Arnett.

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