Danse Macabre: Sixteen – Don’t Fear The Reaper

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Sixteen – Don’t Fear The Reaper Gryphon enjoyed a dreamless, untroubled sleep, the kind the dead might enjoy if they actually slept. (Presumably his passengers did, but they didn’t count.) The phone eventually woke him up, but as he groped for it he was dimly aware this was ring five or six. Using all that psychokinetic energy really wiped him out. “ ‘lo?” he mumbled into the receiver, eyes still firmly closed. “Wow Gryphon, you’re still sleeping?” Varner said. “Late night last night?” He rolled over and opened his eyes, looking at the clock. Was it really one in the afternoon? Well, it wasn’t one in the morning. “Sort of. Didn’t really sleep well.” “Ah.” Varner said it in...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Fifteen – Knife

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Fifteen – Knife Here was a problem that was always a bit of a bitch. They were so energetic now that there was no way Gryphon could even get near a car, not to mention get in one. The wiring wouldn’t so much melt as totally vaporize, and he’d probably cause the windshield to explode. But he’d been hoping to take Harold back to the river, to where he’d dumped his victims, but it was too far to walk. Was it too far to walk to the store? He didn’t think so. So he ended up walking the street with the stiff, seething Harold, who wanted to break away but hadn’t a hope in hell. Ruby had a death grip on him – no pun intended – but Gryphon hadn’t totally ceded control of his own body to her....

Read More

Danse Macabre: Fourteen – The Suffering

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Fourteen – The Suffering On the way back home – well, his home for now – he stopped to get some fast food, mainly because he felt so tired he wasn’t sure he’d stay awake on the drive. It was kind of pathetic, but what could you do? Apparently threatening to kill someone wasn’t enough to keep him awake anymore. But Gryphon was allowed one of those moments that he’d come to cherish, a moment when his Greek chorus of the damned fell mercifully silent. He got to hear the white noise hum inside his head, the emptiness where thoughts should be. Of course he had none; he felt hollowed out, flushed, wiped clean. The crowds of people who had shared space inside him had carved away pieces of himself...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Thirteen – Gimme Shelter

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Thirteen – Gimme Shelter “Oh cry me a river, asshole,” Jeff said irritably, shaking his head in disgust. O’Leary continued to do so, although he was struggling to get a hold of himself. He sobbed in a strangled sort of way, like he was trying to physically hold back the tears and failing miserably. He still was refusing to look at him. Maybe a minute passed, the plopping sound of the rain in puddles an oddly appropriate counterpoint to his strange, squished sobs. “I didn’t mean … I panicked …” “I was black, so you fucking shot me!” Jeff snapped, and Gryphon was pretty sure he saw the puddles around them waver in response. He was only a ghost, but that didn’t mean his anger lacked...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Twelve – Killing In The Name Of

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Twelve – Killing In the Name Of “What do you mean prepare to be disappointed?” O’Leary repeated, parking the SUV parallel to the mouth of the overgrown gravel driveway. Gryphon looked back to see Wax just standing there between the raindrops, like he was waiting for a bus. It made him briefly wonder if a bus of the dead would be any worse than a standard transit bus during rush hour. Probably not. It might actually be more peaceful and smell better. “He’s dead, Cal.” O’Leary glared at him, like he thought he was just saying that to piss him off. “What? No he isn’t.” “I assure you, he is.” Gryphon didn’t stick around to argue with him – he...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Eleven – Exit Does Not Exist

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Eleven – Exit Does Not Exist One of the cops got into the patrol car, an almost ludicrously small woman with her blonde hair pulled back in a short ponytail, and she glanced back at him through the shatterproof divider as she turned in the front seat. “Were you talking to yourself?” “Yes,” Gryphon replied, not even bothering to be defensive. Either way they thought he was nuts: either he was talking to himself or talking to a ghost, or thinking he was talking to a ghost while talking to himself. There was no way to win. She gave him a funny look, but eventually turned away and got on the radio, which she originally intended to do, ignoring him completely. He liked it that way. He slept again, until...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Ten – Misfits and Mistakes

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Ten – Misfits and Mistakes “He has a key,” Gryphon repeated, for Varner’s edification. “To the padlock.” Varner gave him a suspicious look. “That’s not just a guess, is it?” “Hey, not bad for a cop,” the ghost said. “Think he can spell his own name too?” Good one, Ray said. Gryphon sighed, and Varner looked over his shoulder, following his gaze, trying to see what he saw. He couldn’t, of course. “No. there’s another victim here, Anna Alvarez. She doesn’t think much of our investigational skills.” “Hey, you’re okay,” Anna said. “It’s the fucking cops that should have found this place three victims ago. What the fuck do we pay taxes for?” She paused briefly....

Read More

Danse Macabre: Nine – Deer Lodge

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Nine – Deer Lodge It took a while for him to sort through the files, even though he didn’t read them. Gryphon just looked at the photos and waited for the spark of recognition. All the photos fell into one of two categories: casual ones, ones from high school or birthday parties or family gatherings, or mug shots. It was like the yin and yang of life, the up and the down, the people who were victims of random chance and the people who were victims of circumstances. The first one he identified was Sheila, Shelia Colleen Maitland, who was one of the mug shot ones. She was younger, her hair was different, but it was her. Then he identified poor Rita, Margarita Helene Schillenger, caught at someone’s birthday...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Eight – The Dark Side Of The Moon

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Eight – The Dark Side Of The Moon The ice crunched beneath his feet as Gryphon approached the door, and the air got so cold he could feel his cheeks and nose go numb. The door didn’t want to open, but Ruby telekinetically kicked it open, and they stepped into the lingering illusion of the room. Of course the room was an illusion. In the real world it was as old and desolate as the rest of the house, but as he crossed the threshold, he crossed into someone else’s world. Miraculously, sunlight was pouring through the window, revealing a tidy room with a small, narrow bed in a black metal frame, the covers pulled so tightly across the mattress they looked stapled on. The walls were covered with oatmeal...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Seven – We’re All Gone

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Seven – We’re All Gone Gryphon came to with a jerk, sort of surprised to find himself sitting up in a car seat, looking out a shattered windshield. Car accident, remember? Hugh prompted. Right. He looked over at O’Leary to find him slumped over the steering wheel. “Cal?” he asked. There was no response. Check his pulse, Hugh instructed. Gryphon rolled his eyes. “I can never find a pulse and you know it.” Fine. Let me take over. That idea was a relief, and he wasn’t sure why. No, scratch that – he knew exactly why. Even he was tired of being in his own skin. “Yeah, fine.” The process of letting the others take over had become easier. It was just like letting go, although of what he...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Six – Ghost Dance

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Six – Ghost Dance “How do you know about him?” O’Leary asked when he could finally speak. It had taken him several tries to make his mouth work correctly. “Have you been investigating me?” Gryphon scoffed, rubbing his forehead. His head was starting to hurt, but in a weird way that wasn’t entirely unpleasant. “Again, let me take you back to that point where you agreed that I wasn’t a screaming fraud. I’m not. I know about Jeff McCandless because he told me not to trust you. Now, do I hear your version of the story or not?” “I told you to get offa my lawn,” the old dead guy croaked. “We’re not on your lawn,” Gryphon snapped, casting an evil glance at him. “Now knock it...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Five – Vicarious Atonement

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Five – Vicarious Atonement The morning was gray and gloomy, the storm had moved on but left suffocating humidity behind. The air seemed as thick and saturated as a wet sponge.Gryphon felt exhausted, like he hadn’t slept at all, but that happened a lot. It was like he used so much energy keeping all these people with him, he could never keep up his own energy levels. Either that, or they were draining power from him to feed their honestly formidable psychokinetic powers. Clay had made pancakes and soy bacon for breakfast, which wasn’t as bad as it sounded. Clay made his pancakes with carbonated water, so they weren’t as heavy as some, and instead of syrup he poured loganberry jam on them. Again, not bad....

Read More

Danse Macabre: Four – The Outsider

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Four – The Outsider Gryphon found himself sitting on a curb, legs splayed out before him on the edge of a city street. He notice stubbed cigarettes in the gutter, crumpled beer cans, a used condom, all the hallmarks of a bad neighborhood or the area in front of a seedy bar. Across the street was the sad sight of a closed down store – what was left of its windows were smashed out; indecipherable graffiti was scrawled on the plywood beneath the frames – but it had a huge cracked parking lot, where discarded fast food wrappers scraped across the asphalt like tumbleweeds. There was a white van in the lot, parked across what had once been one of the traffic lanes, although there was no one else around...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Three – In This Twilight

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Three – In This Twilight Gryphon faced the girl, aware of a slight white noise hum at the edge of his hearing and a distant feeling that indicated she was a ghost, not a poltergeist. Again, if he knew how these things were decided, he imagined he’d be a very rich man. Or at least one with fewer puzzles making his brain hurt. “Who are you?” She eyed him quite dubiously. “Rita. Are you dead?” “Only partly. Why are you here?” She looked around, blinking at the surroundings as if she’d never quite seen them before. “I was killed, I guess. I don’t know where I am, though. I wasn’t here when … well, last I remember.” “What do you remember?” “I was punched in the head. Or it felt like...

Read More

Danse Macabre: Two – Waking Up With Wolves

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed Two – Waking Up With Wolves “You don’t believe in this, but you want me to find someone anyways?” O’Leary gave him an uncomfortable glare, crossing his arms over his broad chest. “I’m completely fucking desperate, okay? Does that explain things for you?” Gryphon shrugged, sitting back down on the edge of his bed and gesturing for O’Leary to take the chair. He shook his head, turning down the offer to sit. “It helps. So who is it you’re looking for?” He sighed heavily, shoulders sagging. “Approximately ten years ago, a fifteen year old girl, Juliet Saltzman, disappeared while walking home from school. Her backpack was found in a ditch not far from where she was last seen. There was a...

Read More

Danse Macabre: One – Fall To Place

Alone With The Dead Danse Macabre by Andrea Speed One – Fall to Place It was kind of hard to say why, but of all the strange things he had done in his life, this was perhaps the strangest. What? Seriously? Hugh said in his head. Okay, kid, either you haven’t been paying attention, or you’ve lived the most sheltered life in existence, pre-us. I’m votin’ for sheltered, Taneesha said. Me too, Ray agreed. “Would you all stop dog piling on me?” Gryphon snapped, looking out the window at his view. Now there was another concept that would take some getting used to. The whole “ghost hunting” thing with Shane and Clay had been working out surprisingly well. They got some local publicity for the thing they did for the Oregon Historical Society, and...

Read More

In Absentia © 2017 All Rights Reserved. | Login