Book Excerpt:BEAUTIFUL, FRIGHTENING, AND SILENT by Jennifer Gordon

From the blurb:

WINNER OF THE KINDLE AWARD FOR BEST HORROR/SUSPENSE 2020Adam, a young alcoholic, slowly descends into madness while dealing with the psychological scars of childhood trauma which are reawakened when his son and wife die in a car accident that he feels he is responsible for. After a failed suicide attempt, and more group meetings that he can mention. Adam hears a rumor of a Haunted Island off the Coast of Maine, where “if someone wants it bad enough” they could be reunited with a lost loved one. In his desperate attempt to connect with the ghost of his four-and-a half year old son, he decides to go there, to Dagger Island, desperate to apologize to, or be condemned by, his young son. Adam is not sure what he deserves or even which of these he wants more. While staying in a crumbling old boarding house, he becomes involved with a beautiful and manipulative ghost who has spent 60 years tormenting the now elderly man who was her lover, and ultimately her murderer. The three of them create a “Menage-a-Guilt” as they all come to terms with what it is that ties them so emotionally to their memories and their very “existence”.Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent is a poetic fever dream of grief, love, and the terrifying ways that obsession can change who we are. He walks up the stairs, the sound of his cane echoes loudly with each uneven but heavy impact. The sound travels out and finds its way back to him. It reverberates into his ears, and he can feel it on his skin like a kiss. Each step he takes feels like love. It is almost enough for him to forget the rest of it and let it all go.

Read the review here.

As he looks down the upstairs hallway, he sees that every door is open to him. He looks in the rooms and sees the white sheets covering most surfaces. He wonders if these are the ghosts that people are talking about. Are they all just memory filled objects covered and hidden away?

He understands now that Ben is under one of those sheets. He is hidden away in one of these rooms for safe keeping. Hiding in plain sight, for only Adam to find him.

Adam walks into a room at the end of the hall. The one furthest from his own. The air in that room is thick with perfume and dust that has been baked to a ripe stuffiness over the years. It’s a mother’s, or a grandmother’s room. You can feel it. The judgement and condemnation make him feel slightly nauseated. The furniture and mirrors are all covered in sheets. The shutters on the widow are closed and only sharp slices of light penetrate between the slats. As he walks through them, they hit his skin like little cuts. Each slice is quick and shallow the way the paper would cut at skin as he would grade his student’s papers while drunk.

He walks around the room and the light is in and out of his eye like a strobe. He sees the things under the sheets begin to dance a little and squirm. He hears breathing. It is coming from the far corner of the room. Something or someone is huddled in the nook near the fireplace. He sees the small hand of a boy peeking out from under the sheet, trying with fierce four-year-old determination to keep it in place. Benny Boy wants to win this game of hide-and-seek. The once white sheet is covered with brownish red water stains. It looks like blood that someone has spent years trying in vain to wash. In the end they are still dirty and stained with tears.

“Ben?” Adam calls softly. The air from his voice makes the dust particles dance in the fragmented light.

He hears a giggle and knows he was right. He is here. Adam begins to understand the game now.

“I wonder where Benny Boy is?” He feigns a lighthearted-ness. He knows he can’t make it seem like Ben is in trouble for being in this room. This is most obviously not a room where a boy should play or hide which makes it even more appealing for a child.

“Is he under the bed?” Adam knows of course he isn’t there, but in his heart, he needs Ben to realize he is good at the game and that he was able to trick his dad.

Adam can’t wait to rip the sheet off him and to hear Ben scream with giggles. He wants to scoop him up and say, “There you are Benny Boy, I didn’t know if I would be able to find you.”

He walks slowly to the corner. If Ben is giggling again it is drowned out by a low moaning of the foghorn. Adam uses that distraction to take a few steps closer to the corner. There is no silent way for Adam to walk, no possible way for him to surprise Ben.

His hand reaches out, it tremors in anticipation and fear. He pauses. “Ben?” he waits for an answer or a giggle or even a breath. There is just silence, of course there wouldn’t be a breath.

“Benny Boy?” He whispers even quieter. He leans in close to the sheet. He doesn’t hear anything, but he swears he can feel the air flinch away from him as he leans in close.

ennifer Anne Gordon is a gothic horror novelist. Her work includes Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) which is a finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards,  and From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel book 1), and coming out in November 2020, When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel book 2).

She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer is one of the hosts as well as the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network.

Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.

She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English. 

She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a painter, and burlesque performer and for the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.

When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’ ok these are not great tricks.) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.

She is a leo, so at the end of the day she just thinks about her hair.

For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website at http://www.JenniferAnneGordon.com

***

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s