Community Literature: A Short Snippet of “A Prerequisite to Goodness”

Writing

Dearest Readers,

It is with absolute elation that I present a masterpiece in the making. The author of the masterpiece, who I fondly call my godson, is a 16- year-old with an incredible amount of intellect and talent. While out to dinner one dark and lovely night, Spencer (the author) mentioned to me and our friends that he was writing a book and went on with telling us the plot.The plot for his novel is absolutely riveting with plenty of twists, compelling subject matter, and discord even the pickiest of readers would relish in. I was so intrigued by ideas that I decided to include a minute snippet of his novel in the blog this week. Now, he is still developing his work however, what he has so far is absolutely phenomenal!

Enjoy!

A Prerequisite to Goodness – Snippet taken from Chapter One 

Natalie sat alone in the green room for a while, unwilling to move despite the fact she knew that she ought to get back home. It was a well known secret that there was a bottle of some or other spirit hidden away in the floorboards, which Natalie used to her advantage. The substance smelled vial and tasted even worse, like someone had found a way to distill vinegar back into alcohol, but it at least took off some of the edge. She considered having a second after the first glass was down, but thought better of it when she realized it could do more harm than good. The last thing she needed was to make another poor decision late at night.

Even after a bit of liquid motivation, her body still protested when she forced it through the stage door. She had been one of the last to leave, which left her puzzled to find that there was still a woman waiting in the alley. Whoever she was, her complection bore a deathly pallor that masked all but the slightest tinge of familiarity Natalie might’ve felt towards her face. The mysterious woman approached.

“I enjoyed your performance greatly tonight,” she told Natalie.  “The cello has always been a favorite of mine and I can tell you are truly gifted.”

“Oh, thank you very much. You’re very kind,” Natalie replied, marveling at how on earth she could’ve had the sense to pick out the sound of the cello in the midst of that awful violin incident.

It seemed apparent the woman possessed a supernaturally good ear for such things. “If you’ve out here waiting for me ever since the show was over I apologize for keeping you. I’d hate if you caught a chill because of it.”

“No need to apologize, it’s been a warmer than usual season. And after all it was my choice to present my compliments in person instead of  instead of sending you a card. I’m afraid I’ve never had a way with writing letters to strangers… And I suppose it’s nice to have an excuse to go outside and visit the exact spot where I died.”

“Excuse me?”

“How rude of me! I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Scarlett Love. The one. The only. The dearly departed. And I imagine you’ll be seeing quite a bit of me, being as you are the only one around who possesses enough of a third eye to notice my presence. If I let you, that is.” With a flourish, a ghostly cello appeared in  her hand. She began to play a a haunting echo of the orchestra’s earlier refrain. “I honestly can’t believe you didn’t decide to cash in on your ability by holding a seance or two, rather than let those pictures be taken. A pity really.”

Despite the fact Natalie’s mother had married her father, she had always been somewhat ashamed of his bohemian ancestry. And indeed she practically grimaced when it was settled that her sister in law, who she referred to privately as ‘that half witted gypsy fortune teller’ would be taking the trip to establish herself in America. Little did she know her own daughter had a similar knack for the unknown all along.

An unnatural aura of calm radiated off of the apparition, leaving the only anxieties in her mind those concerning the pictures.  “Have you seen the photographs? Tell me are they at least turn out well? Your opinion is no matter, you had quite the reputation for blackmail when your heart was still beating. I imagine you’d use them to your advantage either way. I was once told that it’s those souls who haven’t done quite enough to unlock the gates of hell who stick around.”

Scarlett smirked. “Now now, I won’t deny that I used to be a bit of a scoundrel but dying has changed me for the better. I couldn’t blackmail a single person even if I wanted to. Anyway, to answer your question I have no idea how they turned out. Do you honestly think it matters? That anyone is buying that sort of thing to admire artistic merits. Of course not! And since you failed to mention it,  might I point out how the afterlife might judge a glorified whore.”

Natalie opened her mouth to object, when Scarlett’s form abruptly melted away into the moonlight, replaced by a shadow looming on the wall and the sound of footsteps coming up from behind her.
“Miss Holman?” said a gentle voice, a stark contrast from Scarlett’s abrasive tone. “You’re still here? It’s been ages we’ve been done with the show.”

“Yes, well I appreciate the night air,” Natalie replied. “Even if it is a bit foul smelling out here in the alley.”

“Do you not have air outside of your own house?” Leopold Campbell questioned, for it was he.

“Yes, I do. Though I could say the same of you. You’ve already set off for home once tonight, have you not? It seems odd that you would have come back to this alley late at night only to scold me for also letting my presence be known here. Unless you’ve come to peddle certain goods and are worried that I might get in the way…”

“Oh no! Not at all. That is purely Gerald’s scheme and I refuse to put my name on it. But alas I may be depending upon it for awhile, for I’ve come back to make my intention to quit the orchestra known. After this evening I don’t think I can stand to ever show my face in the theatre again.” He pinned a note of the door describing his intention. “If you insist upon not going home, I’ve got a new bottle of wine to share if you’d like. Nothing too expensive, but it washes the day away just as well wouldn’t you say?”

“You might as well say yes,” said Scarlett, who reappeared nearby unnoticed by Leopold. “This could be your only chance to sneak a peek at the photographs without begging someone outright, you know.”

Natalie instinctively began to clench her fist at her side, but nonetheless agreed with the ghost’s opinion. She knew her limits and wouldn’t allow herself to have too much. She was sure her first drink of the evening had already begun to wear off.  It would be the promise of curiosity fulfilled that would intoxicate her mind and that alone.

“If you’ll have my company I would be much obliged to join you,” she agreed. “But I promise shan’t intrude till such an unreliable hour that dawn is at risk of sneaking up upon us.”

“No matter how long you stay it won’t be an intrusion, I assure you. Come, a car waits just around the corner.”

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XoXo

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