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“Can the living haunt the dead?”

Vengeance and worse from beyond the grave when a jealous man tries to keep his wife’s soul with him forever.

A Mundania Short Horror Dollar Download

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Steven Philip Jones

Steven Jones, a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, lives with his family in eastern Iowa. He is the author of the novel, The Bushwhackers, the novella "The Sceptre," and several graphic stories and adaptations, including Nightlinger, Tatters, Dracula, and The Adventure of the Opera Ghost. His editing credits include the paperback anthology Herbert West: Tales of the Re-Animator. Jones has a B.A. in religion and journalism from the University of Iowa, and was accepted into Iowa's prestigious Writers' Workshop MFA program. He is also the author of a King of Harlem prequel novella, "The Curse of Wrigley Field."

"American by birth, Husker by the grace of God"
I was born in Lincoln, NE, in 1960. (I'm OLD, ain't I?)

"How 'bout them Hawks"
I have lived most of my life in Iowa, and am a graduate of the University of Iowa where I earned my B.A. in journalism and religion.

"Vìtàmè vàs"
I was a token Anglo-Swede growing up in an ethnic neighborhood of Cedar Rapids called Czech Village.

"Wait for the red light"
I was named captain of Hayes Elementary Safety Patrol in 6th grade. It has all been downhill ever since.

"I know what I want to be when I grow up"
I decided I wanted to be a writer at age nine while writing my first mystery "novel," an anthology of one-page mysteries called The Cases of Ace.

"Hey, kid! Wanna buy a comic?"
I started collecting comic books at age 15. I began trying to break into the comics industry as a writer when I was 18. I finally sold my first comics series, Street Heroes 2005, in 1987 to Malibu Graphics.

"Charity begins in the haunted home"
Between 1976-1982, I designed, aided the construction, or assisted in the operation of Haunted Houses for the March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. Estimated amount raised: over $100,000.

"Behind every good man…"
I married my wife in 1990.

"Where did you come from, eh?"
My daughter was born in 1994.

"If at first you don't succeed..."
I finally sold my first novel in October 2003: THE BUSHWHACKERS, a western, will be available from Avalon Books in August 2004.

Coming Soon...
Excerpt

“Can the living haunt the dead?”

Brad Chambers turned away from the refrigerator. “What did you ask?”

Aldin Norton repeated his question.

“Is that some kind of Zen riddle?” Chambers rummaged until he found a jar of mayonnaise. Twisting off the cap, he walked to the kitchen’s island, where other sandwich makings waited. “When a guy forgets to eat lunch, his brain isn’t up to penetrating Oriental conundrums.”

“No riddle. Call it a flight of fancy.”

“Fancy requires an imagination, Al, and you don’t have one. Maybe I’m missing one, too, since I don’t have a clue what to tell you.” Sniffing the mayonnaise,

Chambers wrinkled his nose. “Phew!”

“Has it soured?”

“Smells like.” Chambers searched the jar for an expiration date. “Yes,” he frowned, and then paled. “Oh.”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Chambers blushed.

Norton stood away from the counter he was leaning against, reached across the island and confiscated the jar. Reading the date, he sneered. “It’s just a coincidence, Brad.”

“Sure. Still, though...”

“It’s the day Connie died. I understand.” Norton screwed the lid on and tossed the mayonnaise into a trashcan. “I suppose an inventory of my refrigerator is overdue. I should have remembered to do that.”

“She’s only been gone three months.”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re still adjusting to life without her. I’m sure she use to take care of stuff like that.”

Norton had no idea. He imagined Connie did. Norton remembered that during their first few years of marriage he almost always found her in the kitchen when he came home from work. Even when the hour was well past midnight. Connie would be waiting up for him, ready to make him a late dinner if he was hungry. Norton liked to eat at work, however, so more often than not he told his wife that he needed to get some sleep for the following day. Norton didn’t think anything of it at the time, but gradually he noticed that he would come home and find Connie already in bed. That was on the nights Norton managed to make it home, of course.

He raised and lowered his shoulders. “If you want to get morbid about dates, Brad, today would have been my and Connie’s nineteenth wedding anniversary.”

“It is?” Chambers remembered it was. “Sorry, Al. I forgot.”

“This is getting me off the point. I asked you over because I want to talk about my will. I need to make an addition.”

“Sure thing.” Chambers shuffled the makings into a sandwich, took a bite, and swallowed. “Name it.”

“I want something interred with me in my coffin when I die.”

“Like what? A Bible? You get religion?” Chambers took another bite, but forgot to chew when Norton, an earnest man even when his company’s stock split, chuckled. “I say something funny?”

“In a way. Never mind. I want a codicil entered into my will instructing that an antique bottle be placed in my coffin with me.”

“What bottle?” Chambers asked.

“Just a bottle. Not very large.”

“Why do you want buried with it?”

“My motive is irrelevant. Can you arrange it?”

Chambers had to think about that. Hadn’t he heard about people being buried with their favorite set of golf clubs or inside their Cadillac? “I guess. If that’s what you want.”

“I do.”

“All right. I’ll see what I can do. Where’s the bottle?”

Norton appeared chary. “Why?

“I imagine it should be described in your will, probably by an appraiser. And I suppose I ought to leave instructions where you keep it for when your time comes.”

“Oh. Yes. That makes sense. I don’t have it here. I’ll bring it by your office tomorrow. After that, I’ll keep it on the nightstand in my and Connie’s bedroom.”

“All right.” Norton laid his sandwich down. All this talk about coffins and wills had effectively killed his appetite.