The title of my latest short story collection is Ragged Souls: 3 Tales of the Holy, the Strange, and the Bizarre. It was my editor, Ruth, who created the subtitle for this book. She read and pondered the three stories before having a flash of insight into a connecting theme.
Let’s take a look at “Holy” for a minute. In Martha’s Kitchen, one could discuss the concept of misguided piety. For A Purveyor of Odd Things, it would be a general lack of Holiness. Finally , in Cactus Valley, worldliness is the cause for impiety. However, we get to witness an attempt at Angelic intervention in this last story.
I can sum up the usage of “Strange”, and “Bizarre” quite readily. Within Ragged Souls you’ll meet Angels, Demons, Dopplegangers, Murderers, and Mummies. Need I say more?
Here are excerpts from the three stories that you’ll find within the pages of the Ragged Souls collection.
A Purveyor of Odd Things
Meet Detective Renner Branson, a man so enslaved to his work that he’s forgotten how to live. In his newest baffling case, he will discover secrets – not just about the world, but about himself. The terrors lurking within may shatter his grip on reality. Or they may show him just how beautiful reality can be.
Branson squeezed his eyes shut. His sense of real and unreal, of possible and impossible, was shredded by these apparitions. He wanted so badly to run, run anywhere, to the car, to the gate, anything to get away from this insanity. But he wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave Hannah. Through his panic he became aware of her clammy hand clutching his, and though he tugged on it, she seemed unable to move. Paralyzed by that cold stare. Fight or flight…or freeze.
Martha and Jillian, two sisters from a dying town, cope with the hollowness of city life in a bloodcurdling way. Come explore this bizarre case of nostalgia gone horribly awry, but beware the secret recipe at Martha’s Kitchen!
“His pants and suspenders are still on. I hope he didn’t soil himself,” Martha said.
“No, I heard the toilet flush.”
“It figures,” Martha said. “Mr. Jenkins always was a proper gentleman.”
One New York couple’s vacation turns into a horrific nightmare. Ancient forces of good and evil do battle to win their souls – but which will be victorious?
In a tense voice, Andrea said, “There’s still enough gas for thirty miles. Turn around.”
“We’ll never make it back that far. See if there’s another one ahead.”
Andrea studied the road atlas. “Okay. Get off at the next exit and make a right. There’s a service station about fifteen miles away.”