A big hello to Simon Maree who is here to share an extract from his novel, The Mischief Maker.
He’s just a soul whose intentions are good… Oh Lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood…
Joe has a problem. He is falling in love with his new housemate. Nothing unusual there, except for Joe is a poltergeist and this sort of thing just shouldn’t happen. Joe is suffering an existential crisis of no small proportion.
The object of his misguided affections – a feisty and self-assured teenager named Harriet. Will he be able to save her from something much darker than himself that lurks in the shadows of the Brighton house they share? Will she be able to help him on his newfound quest for redemption?
***** start of extract*****
I’d been waiting for someone like her for a great while. I had no idea how long. I’d all lost track of time. It could have been years, decades or even centuries. If I was given to clichés, I could say that it felt like an eternity, but nobody knows what that’s like (although I’m learning, slowly; one day at a time).
I knew that she was the one before I even laid eyes on her. I could feel the energy sparking off her like tiny shooting stars even as she turned the corner onto Westall Avenue and strolled past the terraced houses, gazing out at the small, grey strip of English channel visible across the main road at the bottom of the street, her blue eyes blazing with righteous indignation beneath that bible black fringe with the purple streaks, and her pretty little head all full of candyfloss and pop stars.
Her mother strode beside her; a handsome, confident looking, auburn haired woman with high heels and a briefcase, but I felt nothing. I had no use for her, except perhaps as a stooge of some sort.
They slowed as they got nearer to the house, studying digits on doors, the older woman checking and double checking the paperwork in her hand, until they found what they were looking for, the magical number 33 that hung upon the portal to my own little kingdom.
The wrought iron gate gave it’s usual grating complaint as Mummy Dearest pushed it open, walked past the tiny and somewhat forlorn front garden, and approached the door, my brand new obsession in her expensively perfumed wake.
I stared out at them from the downstairs front room bay window. I could barely control my excitement as Mrs. Businesswoman put her ‘A to Z’ of Brighton into her case and glared at her state of the art smartphone.
“This is definitely it”, she said, “Now where the hell is Tina?”
“Oh Mum, you know they’re always late”, replied my magnificent muse. Her voice was sullen; confrontational even.
Oh, the joy! The exquisite rapture! She was perfect, simply perfect! Mummy and daddy had obviously just split up (divorce, in all probability, still pending) and mummy was hankering a fresh start by the seaside. Daddy was a high-level executive and had probably found somebody else already (this might even have been the cause of the marital disharmony in the first place), but it wasn’t so easy for an ambitious, successful woman was it? Power is an aphrodisiac on a man, but on a lady, it can seem cold; unfeeling even. Poor old Mummy had only been attracting wimps and perverts (if anyone) since the split. Oh dear. Still, that’s what happens when one puts career before family, and one look at little Princess Middle-class Disillusionment told me that this was probably the case here. I’d have bet my ‘highly desirable, close to all local amenities’ house on it. I’d have lost it of course, but we’ll get to that in good time.
So, Daddy was off bumping uglies with his twenty-something blonde secretary and had neither the time nor the inclination to ask his lovely daughter her opinion on staying in whatever pleasantly twee suburban hellhole they had previously lurked in, and mummy had been forced to ride a teenaged emotional rollercoaster from motel room to motel room, possibly with a stop off at some well-meaning but excruciatingly dull elderly relative, until she found somewhere nice.
And now they were here. Westall Avenue, Brighton. My place. I could tell that Mrs. Exwhateverhernameusedtobe was cautiously optimistic about the house. She was smiling, probably liked the taste of the sea salt on her tongue, but Little Miss Misery was another matter. Resentment seethed from the very core of the girl’s skinny little being. I could smell it, oh the delightful aroma! It was pure ether to me, manna from heaven.
If I’d been strong enough to take corporeal form at that point, I’d have been dancing around the room. I could, of course have chosen to bounce off the walls instead but I decided it would be prudent to save that little treat (not to mention my energy) until I had this delectable pair firmly in my clutches. I would contain my exuberance until Old Mother Gucci had signed along tardy Tina’s dotted line. Then there would be rambunctions, oh yes.
I’d got to know Tina rather well over the previous few months (just the last in a long line of real estate agents that I’d beaten into submission) and I was becoming increasingly amused by her frustration with me. Tina did not have the faintest idea that I existed, and yet she hated me with all the passion of a short, dumpy Casanova.
You see, young Tina was a rare breed indeed. Poor orange skinned, bleach blonde, squeaky voiced Tina in her tight, sexy little business suit (that only succeeded in making her look even cheaper than she probably was) had about as much imagination as your average tennis ball. It was far, far beyond her limited powers of perception and comprehension to acknowledge me. All she knew was that the damned house wasn’t selling, despite being excellent value for money, in a prime location near the town centre and the station, and with a view of the ocean.
She just couldn’t fathom it and it was addling her tiny mind. She had started to look older and more haggard every time she slid that key into my front door I had been waiting for someone with potential, and I wasn’t about to let just anybody move into my house, so I always let her clients know that there was something ‘not quite right’ about the place, something amiss that they couldn’t quite put their fingers on. A certain nasty je ne sais quoi as the French might say.
Tina, God love her, was completely clueless as to the nature of her house hunters’ complaints. She simply couldn’t smell the subtle yet deeply unpleasant odours of decay and excrement or feel the sudden spine-tingling chills in the air.
She didn’t even hear the faint taps, thuds and scratching sounds emanating from the uninhabited first floor when everyone present was inspecting the kitchen downstairs. Not to put too fine a point on it, Tina was immune to my little charms. Not that I cared much, Tina was not my concern. My bright new angel was right about the house seller though, she WAS always late.
When she did turn up, fifteen minutes later and without a word of apology (I had actually thought I was going to lose my new lady friends for a few anxious minutes), she exchanged some mundane pleasantries with her customers on the front step as she searched through her overfilled key ring for the correct tool for the job, found it, and unlocked the door. She must’ve been surprised when I let it open easily the first time but, to her credit, she had the professionalism not to show it.
I hung around in the background as Mrs. Price (as Tina called her) and little Harriet (as her mother called her) looked around, the woman gasping and cooing and making all the right noises whilst her daughter just sneered and fidgeted. Tina was standing in the hall looking relieved.
Three weeks later the Price ladies moved into the house at 33 Westall Avenue, and Tina celebrated so hard that she had to take the next two days off work.
***** end of extract*****
Simon Maree is half Irish / half South African, so he only ever had three options really: Rugby, Alcoholism or Witchcraft. And he has dabbled in all three.
He is a veteran of the punk rock wars and still has flash backs. You weren’t there man; you can’t understand.
In his time he has been a care worker, a DJ, a security guard, and a record dealer, but he has ALWAYS been a writer.
He writes predominantly paranormal fiction. He tries to write horror but he always ends up falling for his monsters, so he is basically constantly rewriting ‘Frankenstein’. Either that or his sense of humour takes over and it turns into a full-blown comedy.
The Mischief Maker was released by Famous Seamus and is available to buy now. Click to view on Amazon.