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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 24: Brown 8
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 23: Kondor 49
There was no point denying it any longer. There was a ghost here, a poltergeist in all probability, and it wanted him dead. He had died enough times lately, and wasn't particularly eager to go through that again just yet.
He was in possibly the most dangerous room in the house. The kitchen contained pointed and edged knives, heavy blunt pots and pans, loose furniture, doors and drawers and other moveable obstacles, and he was quite in the middle of it. If he wanted the spirit to kill him, he had come to the right place.
Getting a better grip on his bundle with his right hand, he took hold of the handle of the frying pan with his left, and raised it to the level of his head–just in time, too, as a knife from the counter flashed in the dim light, and he managed to deflect it off the bottom of his new shield. His first inclination was to try to make it to the back door; but that was the longest way out of this room he could choose and crossed all unfamiliar ground. Retreat was the wiser option; there was no door in the dining room, but the objects available to be thrown against him were perhaps somewhat less dangerous. Under cover of the fry pan, and taking several painful blunt blows to his legs, he rushed past the refrigerator. A drawer flying out of the counter narrowly missed him, and he cleared the door frame and curved toward the living room.
The battle wasn't over. The china cabinet from which the vase had fallen now itself toppled his direction, and while it missed him, several plates flew from the shelves, smashing themselves against his defenses and bruising his arms. He turned, tucked himself in tightly as for a touchdown drive, and attempted to rush through the living room.
He never cleared the arch. He was abruptly lifted backwards onto the dining room table and pushed or thrown back along it with such force that he struck his back on the chair at the far end and sailed past it, hitting the sheers and then the glass of the picture window, crashing through it. His legs caught on the sill; he tumbled backwards headfirst toward the ground. Letting go of everything to shield his head, he crashed on the grass and was splayed supine, the rain in his face partially blinding him. Through the blur he saw shards of glass from the broken pane falling faster and straighter than they had a right to do, and before he could roll out of the way they pierced his body and he lost touch with the world.
As he began to regain consciousness again, he wondered what turn the nightmare would take next.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #82: Novel Developments. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: