Genre: Young Adult fantasy
Date of Publication: July 31, 2022
Number of pages: 86
Word Count: 20,000
Cover Artist: The Book Cover Designer
Tagline: A young engineer, a ghost, and a mystery at the morgue
How does one keep a promise to a ghost? Engineering student Ana Juliet (AJ) Diwa takes a summer job as a swing-shift security guard at a hospital morgue—the same morgue once investigated by the police for unusual calls received during full moons. And the calls happen only when Matt, a guard assigned to the overnight shift, is on duty.
AJ scoffs at the idea of otherworldly activities. But soon after, she witnesses a mysterious orb at the morgue. The orb reveals itself to be the ghost of Binni Almond, a teenager who went missing thirty years ago. Despite AJ’s shock, she befriends the entity. She vows to use her problem-solving abilities to find Binni’s family and solve the mystery of the young girl’s disappearance. But darker spirits are afoot.
As AJ descends to the morgue’s basement to capture evidence of Binni’s remains, Matt’s visions worsen. Evil spirits surge around the premises. And AJ is in danger of getting caught in the middle of a paranormal showdown.
Chapter 1: An Unusual Call
AT half past midnight, a public safety dispatcher received a familiar but unsettling call. Amid the static and crackle, a voice uttered, “Send help.”
The strange calls started nine months ago, and they always occurred on or near the full moon. The voice supplied only their first name and location. The caller’s name changed every month, but the location stayed the same—Shoreline Hospital morgue. The police officer who responded to the first dispatch spoke with Matt Faulson, the morgue’s overnight security guard. He denied dialing for assistance. The officer walked around the perimeter of the building and witnessed nothing out of the ordinary.
But after three monthly calls involving the same person on duty, the department assigned Officer David Jackson to patrol around the time of the full moon, when they estimated a call would occur. They suspected the twenty-seven-year-old Matt to be the prankster.
Police interviews failed to pin him. Instead, the detectives saw video footage of stationary objects moving randomly in various rooms in the morgue late at night.
The young man admitted to seeing strange activity during his shifts. Adding to the mystery, the city’s emergency dispatch system saved the calls, but the hospital had no record of any of their phones being used.
David arrived at the parking lot with another patrol car at 12:25 a.m. He saw a lone figure sitting on a bench near the morgue’s main entrance.
“Matt.” He approached the security guard with friendly caution. As the guard greeted him, the officer couldn’t help but notice the dark shadows under the young man’s eyes and the ruffled hair. “Man, you look terrible.”
Matt sighed. “There’s not a lot of sleep with the graveyard shift, as you know. I don’t like walking the floors between midnight and one a.m., but I took too long answering an email, and I forgot the time. I rushed through the hallways, and let me tell you, I had more than one sighting,” Matt said. “I guess you received a call?”
David nodded. “You have to get me in there one of these nights. I want to see for myself.”
“I’ll call next time. But I didn’t make the call tonight,” Matt replied. He stood up and prepared to go back in the morgue, but froze. “Oh.”
“What is it?” David asked. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the second officer took a defensive stance.
“A gray entity floated out of the wall to my left,” Matt said softly as he kept his head very still.
David looked as soon as Matt spoke. “I don’t see anything.” He glanced at the other officer.
“I don’t see anything either.”
“Really?” Matt asked as his shoulders dropped. He gingerly turned his head and looked. “Am I the only one who sees ghosts?”
“I’m beginning to believe that,” David replied.
At Half Past Two
Our movie broke at half past two.
I begged Time to return to the black and white film
We lived in, with you by my side;
But the grand drapes stayed shut in silence and shock.
I closed my eyes and opened my mouth,
Mad about your sudden absence, with unrestrained outbursts
To a greedy God adored by millions. Only one adored me!
Had He really just snatched you away?
My mind kept restarting the movie before half past two.
Each time I waited for the roll to resume play
With you and me in high-definition color,
But tears blurred my vision and I couldn’t see you.
I kept moving your souvenirs back and forth,
With eyes unaware they should blink.
I struggled to savor each memory of you in my mind,
Flashing every second until my gut retched.
I followed your scent aimlessly through the house,
Before strength left my knees and I curled on the floor.
Then I saw my arms dance, caressing the air
Where you lay last night — I thought I heard you laugh.
Enough of this cruel joke. Stop it.
Come back. Please.
A Moment at the Louvre
With map in hand and Mona Lisa in my heart,
I joined the mass of harried tourists scurrying
From wall to wall of gilded frames. My eyes entranced in art
Until from my periphery you stood, perusing.
I moved right in a small intentional dance
Impulsively and without thought — ugh, amateur guile,
But then successfully, our eyes did more than a fleeting glance,
My cheeks felt warm. I managed a smile.
We stood close, face to face, enough for an embrace,
But seconds left with only our smiles. (Sigh!)
I still remember the moment, and not attempting with grace,
Any human greeting as I passed you by.
About the Author:
J. ELIZAGA is a fan of science fiction and science mysteries. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she peered over her father’s shoulders as he watched TV shows such as In Search Of, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos during the 1970s.
J. lives in California. She wrote stories in high school but had set aside her hobby for college and career…until she attended a writer's conference in San Francisco in 2010. The experience unsealed a door in her mind that she thought had long closed.
J. works in information technology by day, and makes time to write stories about humans who face extraordinary circumstances and discover their superhuman abilities.
Kindle eBook copies of Unusual Light (young adult fantasy) and Penchant for Darkness (adult science fantasy), both written by J. Elizaga
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”