Monthly Archives: December 2013

MY GHOST STORY

MY GHOST STORY

The most frequently asked question I get is what sparked my interest in the supernatural, or why I choose to write the darker side of fiction. Usually I answer with a chuckle, and say something like “Well, it’s all thanks to the ghosts that lived in my basement.”

Here is a full accounting of one particular night when I was eight. To the best of my knowledge, this story is entirely true.

They Exist

 

The digital clock radio on the shelf wouldn’t stop flashing the number twelve in big red numbers. I had already set it three times to no avail. This time I finally unplugged it and went back to my chess game. My little eight year old mind didn’t find it odd that the clock continued to flash even without power. It seemed normal. After all I did have that prickly feeling on the back of my neck.

I had had this feeling before and hoped that if I just pretended like it wasn’t there, nothing bad would happen.

I was startled enough to drop the chess piece I was moving when the clock radio clicked on and started blaring an incomprehensible rock song. I got to the clock as quickly as possible and flipped off the radio switch, returning the room to silence.

It’s unplugged, the thought came to my mind.

Don’t thing about it, I argued with myself. Thinking about it always makes it worse.

I turned back to my chess game, but my companion player was nowhere to be seen. An unnerving feeling came over me as I realized I couldn’t remember who I was playing with.

“Are you ready to die?” a domineering mans voice suddenly spilled over the radio speaker. The prickling at the back of my neck moved down my spine and settled in the pit of my stomach.

It isn’t real. The clocks unplugged, I reminded myself, although my mind was already coming up with logical reasons why the clock continued flashing at me.

Sometimes these clocks have a 9-volt battery for backup! I remembered.

I pulled the clock off the shelf and flipped it over, staring into the empty battery compartment. I stole a glance down at the plug, still feet away from the socket.

The mans voice returned, sickeningly sweet, streaming menacingly over the speaker, “Someone is here for you.”

The pit in my stomach exploded into a fury of fear. I felt my skin turn icy. My eyes grew large as I stared at the large red numbers blinking twelve. My head screamed for me to run but me feet felt heavy took a while to respond. I dropped the clock, and ran out of the room, turning back to make sure I wasn’t being followed, only to notice the clock situated perfectly back on the shelf.

I tried the front door but it wouldn’t open even though the locks were visually turned to the unlocked position. I fumbled with the door for a few moments before feeling such a sense of urgency and dread that begged me to keep moving. Staying in one place for too long was dangerous. When I turned away from the door, I caught sight of the basement entryway, the doorway wide, the stairway well lit. Visions of the new compound bow my father had given me flashed in my mind: I had it in my room… my room in the basement.

The thought of the weapon filled me with exuberance, which sat juxtaposed with my fear. I dashed down the staircase in a moment of courage, turning sharply to the left as I reached the bottom step, not daring to look towards any of the other rooms—they all looked dark.

I could see the bow now, leaning against the wall next to my dresser, right where I had left it. It was just a few steps down a small hallway to my open door, and only a few more steps to where the bow would give me a chance against my unknown antagonist. I was through the hallway now, and had taken two steps into the bedroom when I froze.

It’s a trap, my mind echoed forcefully. He led you here.

I had no idea who “he” was, but I did know I didn’t want to find out.

Don’t think like that. It is always worse when you think like that, I told myself, angry that my mind had started spinning scenarios that might very well materialize at any moment.

But I felt a thought creeping up from the darkest recesses of my mind, and as hard as I tried to block it out I knew it was too late: He’s behind you.

I knew it was true. The hair on my neck bristled as I felt a pair of eyes on my back. I could hear the soft rasp of his breathing. His entire presence was so physical that it overpowered my senses and emotions. I began to cry, feeling hot tears roll down my tender cheeks. The bow was there, with a gleaming arrow just next to it, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to load it. Why was he waiting behind me? What could he possibly want from me?

Maybe he isn’t really there. Maybe nothing is there.

My heart thudded in my chest as a sob escaped my lips. A soft ray of hope pierced my mind, and I turned to look.

I didn’t see anything, because the next scene moved so fast. I was engulfed in blackness, my hope shattered as a cloaked figure overpowered me. I felt a sharp pain, and looked down to see a silver blade sticking out of my stomach. I was so overcome with shock and surprise that I couldn’t even inhale to gasp.

Then I was watching myself. I saw my body sink slowly to the floor. I could see a dark man leaning over me. I felt as if I were floating, watching the scene from above. I could see the man’s face now, a smile of pride stretched his lips. I wondered how murdering an eight year old could give a grown man pleasure. I wondered if the police would ever catch him. Somehow, it made me feel more peaceful thinking that they would.

Ah, peace. I was surprised that I felt peace, but comfort overwhelmed me as the scene below grew dark.

It took a while for me to realize why it was dark: my eyelids were closed.

I opened my eyes to find myself in my room, the soft glow of a night-light in our downstairs hallway cast just enough light to illuminate the familiar surroundings. I was in bed. It was all a dream.

I wondered what time it was, and turned my eight-year-old face to the clock radio on my dresser. I had a sudden feeling that I was sinking as I watched its numbers slowly flashing twelve. The tingling feeling on the back of my neck returned, but immediately moved to the pit of my stomach.

Dear God, I half prayed, half exclaimed, please tell me I woke up.

As if on cue I watched a tall dark figure hesitate momentarily in my doorway then stroll silently to the foot of my bed. I couldn’t make out any features because it appeared as only a silhouette in the dim light.

I did the only thing I could think of to do. I drew in a quick breath, and started to scream.

I was surprised to realize I survived the long few moments it took for my mother to reach my bedside. “There’s someone here, there’s someone here,” was all I could repeat, her frightened eyes turning soft as I recounted the story of my nightmare and the events that followed.

“You were still asleep,” she told me, holding me, and she almost had me convinced.

My two sisters, wakened by the screaming, were also standing in my room. My little five-year-old sister’s eyes brimmed with tears.

“Mom,” she said, “when I got out of bed, I saw a man running from Rick’s room.”

I remember my mom searching the house that night with my dads loaded pistol tucked behind her back while the three of us were huddled together in my sister’s room. I wasn’t about to stay in my own room.

***

The next morning we sat down as a family and discussed the “other” family that shared our home: a father, a mother, and a little boy. Each one of us had seen or heard a member of the family, but thought we were imagining things. It wasn’t until we gathered together to discuss our experiences as a family that we started to connect the dots.

“For a long time I though you had gotten out of bed and were running up and down the hall laughing,” my mother recounted.

“And my friend and I saw a woman in your bedroom mirror, mom,” my little sister added, the story recalling a memory from when she and her friend had run up the stairs with fear in her eyes, telling of a woman in a flowing white dress.

“I thought it was dad coming home late at night and walking around the basement,” my older sister said, “but the man I saw never made a sound.”

“So you can imagine a father, with a son of his own,” my mother turned to address me. “I’m sure he felt the need to come into your room to comfort you after your nightmare.”

***

Eight years these experiences had occurred in our home, each of us thinking we had seen nothing more than a shadow mixed with a flicker of imagination. Eight years we remained silent, my mother getting out of bed to chase a child she thought was me only to find me fast asleep in bed. Eight years this family had shared our house, and we refused to acknowledge them.

A few weeks later my mom woke to the sound of a child laughing in the hallway. She sat up, and clenched the blanket around her.

“If you can hear me,” she said, “you really scared my son. I realize you must have work to do, and you are welcome to stay as long as you need, but please, finish your work and move on.”

Perhaps all they wanted was to be remembered, because two weeks later, they had gone.

 
FRIDAY THE 13TH RELEASE OF DEATH OF THE BODY

FRIDAY THE 13TH RELEASE OF DEATH OF THE BODY

Title:  Death of the Body (Crossing Death #1)

Author:  Rick Chiantaretto

Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy, Occult, Suspense, Dark Fantasy

I grew up in a world of magic. By the time I was ten I understood nature, talked to the trees, and listened to the wind. When the kingdom of men conquered my town, I was murdered by one of my own—the betrayer of my kind.

But I didn’t stay dead.

I woke to find myself in a strange new world called Los Angeles. The only keys to the life I remembered were my father’s ring, my unique abilities, and the onslaught of demons that seemed hell-bent on finding me. Now I must learn who I really am, protect my friends, get the girl, and find my way back to my beloved hometown of Orenda

 

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Prologue

 

I watched in disbelief as blood seeped through my fingers and dripped, thick as syrup, to the ground. I heard each drop thud against the ground beneath me. The echo in my ears beat louder than any drum. For the first time in my ten years of life, I cursed the connection I had with the planet. I cursed it for its betrayal. I cursed it because, with every drop of blood that spilled, the planet felt my pain and mimicked my screams with its own bleating sound that bounced around inside my already spinning head.

My legs were weak and my knees buckled but I didn’t dare let my hands loosen from around the wound in my stomach. I caught the weight of my fall with my face. I rolled onto my side in order to breathe. Pain surged as the ragged edges of my wound rubbed together. I felt every last severed nerve. They were all on fire.

Blood poured quickly. Worse than seeing it, I could feel it, hot and sticky in a pool beneath me. My stomach retched but it would hurt to throw up so I tried to force down the feeling. Bile came up anyway. I turned my head and choked it out. The rusty taste left in my mouth was so sour it made my eyes water. I cried uncontrollably, feeling ashamed of myself.

I wished for the comfort of my mother and father. I longed for the company of my two best friends. It was ironic that I’d just had a conversation about death with them a day ago.

As I lay sobbing on the ground, the thought that I was going to die became more and more real. Already my blood was soaking back into the earth that I loved so much. I thought of the lessons that taught me not to fear death. I had been taught that death was a return to the larger conscious mind that is nature. This awareness made my people who they were and gave us our unique gifts.

I was afraid anyway. The thought of dying was much more terrifying now than when it was taught to me by the Elders.

The Elders. The Elders who were either dead or enslaved. The Elder who betrayed us all and who did this to me.

Rage: pure, blazing, and blinding in its fury. I was too enraged to even notice that I could feel anything besides pain. Rage boiled inside me as blood boiled from my stomach and I realized it was based in two other emotions: hate and disbelief.

Then something cold and wet hit me between the eyes. I rolled onto my back and stared into the dark and threatening clouds. Another something hit the back of my hand, and I lifted it (was my arm always this heavy?). A drop of rain mingled with my blood.

I had never experienced rain before. It never rained here—at least not in my lifetime. Rain was for when the world was angry, when its powers had been abused and the balance of life had been disrupted.

But wasn’t I angry? And wasn’t I connected to the planet? Didn’t I understand its moods and feelings? Why wouldn’t it then understand me? In my delirium this seemed to make sense, and the large flash of lightning that then split the sky seemed to confirm my thoughts. The flash was blinding, and I didn’t have enough energy to be startled by the fact that my vision remained nothing but the same bright white light.

I shivered as cold crept into me; it didn’t help that I was lying in a chilling pool of blood. The rain picked up. I was nearly soaked through, but was too weak and numb to move. At least the pain was starting to slip away. I could only imagine how blue my fingertips must have looked. They felt like ice.

After the pain was gone, the fear began to fade. All the tension in my body went with it. Cold as I was, I started to feel strangely comfortable. I could feel the earth beneath me, supporting me, soft and gentle. My mom used to hold me like this.

When I realized the rage was slipping, I cried out. I wanted to keep it alive within me. I wanted to be angry and upset. I wanted to be angry because feeling an emotion—any emotion—was better than accepting death.

As the rage faded further, I thought I heard distant laughter. How could anyone be happy now? How could they laugh as I lay here, a mangled mess? It took me a minute to remember that just because the earth could feel my pain didn’t mean everyone else could too—especially not the outsiders.

Their voices were getting louder and nearer. When they suddenly stopped, I heard a gasp. Mustering the last of my strength, I reached toward the voices.

“Please,” I tried to say, but it came out as barely more than a groan.

“Get a doctor!” a woman’s voice commanded. I felt slight vibrations through the earth as somebody ran away. The woman who spoke came over and kneeled next to me. I wasn’t too far gone to feel surprise. I imagined I was a frightening sight. I expected her to keep her distance, so my eyes widened when she took my hand in hers. She was warm, but trembling.

“What did this to you, child?” Her voice shook but was full of compassion and concern.

“Magic.” I couldn’t tell if I actually said the word or just thought it.

As I repeated the word over and over in my mind, the rage dissipated and the light began to dim. A part of me was upset that I’d let the rage go but I was too exhausted to call it back. I welcomed the darkness now. The woman at my side was saying something but her words made no sense to me. Far easier to hear was the heartbeat of the earth. I wanted to soothe the earth’s tremors caused by the pain and fear it felt for me, but I couldn’t. As my breathing slowed, memories of the past day flashed into my mind. They were of the events that led up to my death, when all this started. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Who would have known it would only be one long day that would lead me here, lying on the ground, spilling blood?

 

DEATH OF THE BODY: PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Rachel Marks FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tel. 317-513-0253
Email: Rachel@markmywordsbookpulicity.com

 

WHAT IF ALL RELIGIONS WERE STORIES, AND ALL STORIES WERE TRUE?

 

Death of the Body by author Rick Chianateretto is a new adult urban fantasy that touches on the controversial subject matter of religious beliefs.

“I realize that I’m expecting Death of the Body readers to step outside of their religious boxes” Rick Chiantaretto said. “I don’t expect anyone to suspend their beliefs, or accept an alternate view of spirituality or religion in general.”

 Death of the Body is story of a young man named Edmund and his journey from a world of magic in Orenda to our world when he is betrayed and murdered by one of his own kind.

When asked if Death of the Body would be seen as an anti-religious book, Chiantaretto responded, “To be honest, I grew up LDS (Mormon). I’m also gay. That caused me a lot of grief in my teenage years, and I had to ask myself some very difficult questions about God and religion, but I think the most difficult ones I was forced to ask myself dealt with the definition of truth: What is truth? Am I being taught truth? Can I trust my own inner truth? What do I do when I am taught something that doesn’t match what I’m experiencing?”

“I believe these are questions all people ask. Sometimes, religious truth wins out. Sometimes, religious truth is irreconcilable with personal truth. I hope people won’t be offended by the portrayal of religion in the book, but will instead ask themselves to experience the questions presented. Really, the book is not meant to be anti-religious. Just look at the tag line: “What if all religions were stories, and all stories were true?” I think this sums up my feelings.”

“The book portrays one universal possibility: how all religions can be right and how all religions can be wrong at the same time. I don’t even believe the book to be ‘the truth.’ Which is sort of the point…It’s a story. It’s fiction. If it makes you mad, good! That just means you have some questions to ask yourself—some introspection to do.”

Death of the Body will be available in e-book and paperback formats on December 13, 2013 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

For interview and book review requests please contact Rachel Marks at rachel@markmywordsbookpublicity.com

 

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