I’ve recently released a collection of three novellas of Canadian horror entitled MIDNIGHT HAT TRICK.
The three novellas include SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME – which is available separately and is a novella of hockey and vampires.
The second novella in MIDNIGHT HAT TRICK is entitled HAMMURABI ROAD. It was originally released in trade paperback and hardcover from Gray Friars Press in a two novella collection entitled HARD ROADS. The book is out of print although you still might be able to find copies of it out there. I’ve even got a few sitting on my bookshelf.
The third novella is entitled NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY – and it has never been published before.
The collection is available in Kobo format – just hit the link on the illustration at the bottom of this page to download a copy – and it will soon be available in Kindle and other formats.
NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY
I have heard an awful lot of stories and I have even told a few of them myself and nearly every story I have ever heard or told was born from my dad. I guess this one is no different and why should it be? My dad has told me nearly every story that I have ever learned and twice as much as I’ll ever be able to forget.
And even now I remember it all.
He has told me about snow snakes and mud trout. He has told me how dreams were nothing more than stories waiting to be born. He has told me that the ocean was made out of tears cried by a woman who sits upon the bottom sobbing and shaking so hard that the waves toss and turn in their sharing of her sorrow. He has told me how my home province of Nova Scotia once served as Glooscap’s bed and Prince Edward Island was the pillow for his head.
“But Cape Breton was the old dark fooler’s canoe, you bet,” Dad would tell me. “Hunting or fishing, when Glooscap wanted to get himself anywhere handy to interesting he came right straight up to old Cape Breton Island.”
My dad has told me how the raven stole the sun from the heart of winter and traded his song to keep it. He has told me how icicles are nothing more than snow-angel-tears wept down for all of the snowflakes that never reached a child’s out stretched tongue. He even claims that the flounder got to be so ugly-faced a fish after losing an ill-planned swimming race with a fast-moving skate.
“That old flounder pulled a face in disgust and it just stayed stuck,” Dad told me. “Believe you me, nothing sticks harder than regret.”
And maybe that’s so. We all learn to carry so much damn regret. We drag it around behind ourselves and we wear it sewn into the inner lining of our shadow. I think that the heart of every ghost story ever told is awash with the soft faded autumnal color of pure unredeemable regret.
“Why do you tell me so many stories?” I once asked my Dad.
“A man is nothing more than the stories he knows,” Dad answered. “And here in Nova Scotia we grow our stories long, rambling and deep. Life isn’t all about cable television, cell phones and newspaper. There are the silences that whisper between the words, those secrets not shared that linger long after any story ever told. Believe you me, mister man, there is a tale to be told for every wave that washes the shores of Nova Scotia.”
This story is one of them, I guess.
“Get in,” the trucker said, so in I got.
I had been standing here on the side of the road just short of the east most end of the city limits of Toronto, my thumb hooked hopefully into the contrary-minded west wind, just wishing for a ride when that big old semi rig pulled up.
When it hissed to a halt I was halfway lost in a day dream, wander-bound and telling myself a slow quiet sort of nothing-thoughted story, staring off down the highway and thinking on how absolutely miraculous it was that this single patch of road could tie one end of our country to the other and by nature must touch nearly every other road in North America. It is like my dad always said – bloodstreams and building blocks – a body sometimes wonders just how much of the world is made out of nothing more than itself made big.
I clambered into the truck before the driver could think to change his mind.
“Strap yourself on in,” the trucker told me.
The trucker was built big, even sitting down. All shoulders and arms looking like he had strength enough to tear that steering wheel off the dashboard and tie it into a forget-me-knot about my gawking neck. He looked like he had been poured out of concrete into the seat of that semi-truck and let harden for a while. He reached over and shook my hand clear down to my toe bones. I counted my fingers when he let me have them back again.
They seemed mostly intact.
“Been out there long?” he asked.
“Long enough,” I said.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t nearly as terrified of him as I was scared of what might be waiting for me back home in Deeper Harbour. Going back home will do that to a fellow if he has any sense of history or style. Memories will scare you if you think on them hard enough.
“So where are you headed?” the trucker asked me while I was busy strapping myself into the shotgun seat.
“Nova Scotia,” I answered, keeping it simple. Deeper Harbour would have been far more information than he needed to hear. When you are hitching a ride it is best to keep your answers comfortably vague. Facts will only get in your way. The road isn’t a place for conviction or scrupulous detail.
“I’m going that way too,” he allowed. “Halifax.”
“Good,” I said. “That suits me fine.”
I figured I could easily hitch the rest of the way up the Cabot Trail to Deeper Harbour, once I got myself handy to Halifax.
“You got a name?” he asked.
yours in storytelling,