Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Endings #22

Name: Carolyn Chambers Clark

Title of manuscript: GHOST STORY


Part-time nurses' aide, seventeen-year-old Samantha McQueen, swears she killed a man in the morgue of the Georgia State Mental Hospital. The police can't find a body and warn her not to call again, or she'll be arrested for interfering with police business.

This isn't the first dead body that's disappeared on Samantha. Aiden, the police sergeant's son tells her she has gift that'll help them. She visits a psychiatrist, tries rune reading, and even delves into the BOOK OF THE DEAD. Nothing works. She must also help her Momma pass over. To complicate things, she's assigned a death and dying school project with none other than Aiden as her partner.

When Aiden's Aunt Cinda tells Samantha she must help the undead cross over before Christmas, she hurries to understand her abilities before the portals at Wal-Mart close until the next holiday season.

The last 496 words...

"I hope they made it, Momma."

"Don't worry, they did. If you look up and squint, you can see through the roof and all the way up to the stars. See that new one that's blinking? Miranda and Simon just arrived."

A great feeling of peace flows over me, and my mind clears for the first time in a long time. "What about Simon? Is he gone now, too?"

"Yes, honey. Simon had to help Miranda cross over. Sometimes animals lead the way."

"What does that mean?"

"You'll find out, honey. Let's go."

I blink and I'm back by Aiden's side, handing him a string of lights to decorate the tree, and Momma's chattering away to Cinda again. I wonder if they're talking about Daddy.

He comes into the room, holding Sylvie's hand and Callie walks behind, her hair gleaming, smile on her face. They all walk toward Momma and embrace. Daddy and Callie must see Momma now. We're all together again, plus we have Cinda.

Sondra and Brittany come in, they're both in red and Sondra's wearing a Santa hat and carrying boxes of candy canes. Brittany hangs back. She's probably never been in a mental hospital before, but Sondra looks around and touches the tree, the table, and then gives me a hug. "This is so much fun. I can hardly wait to sing 'Silent Night' to all the crazy ladies."

"You would. We don't call them crazy ladies."

"Oh, I know, I'm just saying it to scare Brittany."

Sylvie comes over. "Aren't we going to sing carols and show the tree to all the patients?"

"Yes, we are, sweetheart. In just a minute."

From out of nowhere, Aiden hands me a pot with a red ribbon around it. "Merry Christmas, Samantha."

I inhale the scent of lavender and let the leaves tickle my nose. "Merry Christmas, Aiden. You remembered." The gift is bittersweet now that Christmas is almost here, and Momma will be leaving.

Nurse Patchett comes by, shaking a string of jingle bells and wearing mistletoe in her hair. When she stops near the tree, I pull Aiden next to her.

"Merry Christmas, Samantha." His lips feel so soft and warm when they close over mine, and I'm not a bit embarrassed.

We go over to my family, and Momma puts her hand on my shoulder. "I won't see you for a while, honey. I have to make a trip to Walmart, the hardware section."

"Don't leave, Momma." My heart's breakin' again, and I grab her hand. A wave of sadness slips from inside my heart and settles like sand in my feet.

"I have to leave, honey. I'm sorry, but it's my time to cross over. You have Cinda now and y'all be fine. All y'all will be fine. She's a wonderful person. And you have Aiden, too."

Momma fades away, and I choke back my tears. Still, deep inside, I feel hope, knowing there are three new stars in the galaxy tonight.


  1. The voice makes this very personable.

    In the first few lines, is Samantha having a flash back? She sounds a lot younger than seventeen.

    It's a little curious how people can be fading in and out but no one seems to notice. I imagine I'd understand better if I read the novel.

    I was a little confused by how Samantha seems to pull Aiden near the nurse, and then he kisses Samantha. I get that there's mistletoe involved, but it's a little weird since it seems to be in the nurse's hair.