Authors: Aiden James
Tags: #Fiction, #Ghost
A Novel of Suspense
Acclaim for Aiden James:
Aiden James has written a deeply psychological, gripping tale that keeps the readers hooked from page one.”
Bookfinds review for THE FORGOTTEN EDEN
Not only is Aiden James a storyteller par excellence, but his material for his story is riveting.”
The hook to this excellent suspense thriller is the twists that will keep readers wondering what is going on as nothing is quite what it seems. Adding to the excitement is that the audience will wonder whether the terror is an evil supernatural creature or an amoral human…Aiden James provides a dark thriller that grips fans from the opening.”
Harriet Klausner, Amazon’s #1 book reviewer for THE FORGOTTEN EDEN
Aiden James writing style flows very easily and I found that CADES COVE snowballed into a very gripping tale. Clearly the strengths in the piece were as the spirit's interaction became prevalent with the family… The Indian lore and ceremonies and the flashbacks to Allie Mae's (earthly) demise were very powerful. I think those aspects separated the work from what we've seen before in horror and ghost tales.”
Evelyn Klebert, author of A GHOST OF A CHANCE and DRAGONFLIES
Aiden James is insanely talented!”
J.R. Rain, author of MOON DANCE and THE BODY DEPARTED
BOOKS BY AIDEN JAMES
The Raven Mocker
The Forgotten Eden
The Devil’s Paradise
DEADLY NIGHT by Aiden James
Published by Aiden James at Amazon Kindle
Copyright © 2010 by Aiden James
Cover design by: Gerald Seiberling www.geraldseiberling.com
Amazon Kindle Edition, License Notes
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I’d never seen a fresh corpse before. At least not human.
Blood dripped below her face, spreading across the chipped linoleum kitchen floor of our host, Johnny Rush. Candi Starr stared back at me, a red grotesque halo framing her tussled golden hair, still wrapped in foil strips. Her stone gaze facing us all as we stood in shocked silence.
Her head barely attached at the neck, a deep jagged wound traversed from ear to ear beneath her chin. Sprawled upon the floor, the expression in Candi’s lifeless steel blue eyes was one of sudden surprise.
Johnny sat at the kitchen table, across from Brenda Wright. Rope-bound to a pair of high back vinyl chairs, one olive green, and the other merlot. Both wore matching black tshirts and jeans. Intense terror visible in their eyes, both mouths lay open, slack-jawed, and emotionless in contradiction. Their single fatal shots to the forehead announced assassination. Not intended victims, but here just the same. In all likelihood the pair not only witnessed the murder of their famous companion, but also had plenty of time to anticipate their own demise.
So...correction: I’d never seen
dead human beings before.
When I was finally able to tear my eyes away from the scene, my attention was drawn to Fiona. The loveliest, smartest and bravest woman I’ve ever known didn’t seem so at the moment. Being grilled by a pair of cops in the dining room, one dressed in uniform and the other plainclothes. Her gorgeous hazel eyes which often morphed to amber and pure gold depending on her attire and mood were now swollen. Red puffiness from a deluge of tears. Her grief genuine, as these were real friends, she struggled to answer their questions—despite the pained looks each man wore, nodding quietly in response to her clipped answers.
What questions did they ask? I could only imagine, but I managed to hear a few. Basic things like ‘how long have you known the victims?’ and ‘can you think of anyone who might hold a grudge, one bad enough to do something like this?’ No doubt they also want to know what she and the rest of us are doing here, anyway.
Meanwhile, two forensic techs just brushed past me and the others on their way to begin the painstaking task of moving from the stiffening corpses in the kitchen to the living room to look for more evidence. It makes me feel awkward, standing here near the entrance to the living room. I fidget, unsure of what to do…or where to go, half horror movie, half feeling five years old and told to stand in the corner.
The plainclothes cop keeps eyeing the rest of us. He glares a bit while the other continues questioning Fiona. I’m sure my face is turning red, thinking of what I’m about to have to explain.
My name is Jimmy Alea, and I’m a paranormal investigator. Spook chaser, ghost hunter, or a supernatural whack-job, whatever euphemism makes normal folks feel any better. Hell, that’s what my pop thinks back in Denver, my hometown. I came to Nashville, or as we serious musicians like to refer to it—‘Nash-Vegas’, nine years ago. But like 99.99% of the more than 80,000 music hopefuls who call this place home, I haven’t made it yet. Maybe I never will, but I try not to think about that.
Yeah, the cop will probably pass judgment just the same. I can already picture him saying something smartass like, “Did Casper call and tell you there are three brand new ones?”, and then laugh at his own lame joke. But this is what I do. I don’t try to see dead people. Rather, I attempt to catch evidence of their spiritual essence, whether ethereal or physically tangible. It’s somewhat like TAPS and the other ‘hauntings’ shit on TV.
But that ain’t the story here…not exactly. Me and my gang were just stopping by to drop something off at Johnny’s. A little something to welcome him and Brenda to their new digs. Fiona planned a quick psychic reading for Candi before she set off on her first international tour. Afterward, the plan was to investigate another home where supposedly a lot of weird shit’s happening. A ‘paranormal event’ is what we call this sort of thing. Apparently stuff’s been going on for several years in that particular locale along the Cumberland, but getting worse…more aggressive lately.
It’s probably best to stop thinking about the cop and my imagined exchange, and instead focus again on Fiona. She’s still talking to both him and the uniform right now. Wish I could take her and wrap my arms around her, to somehow ease her profound pain. She is my wife, and I always feel the need to protect her. I won’t be able to erase this from her memory and I can’t make the cops shut up.
The uniformed cop is really trying to flirt with her. Granted, Fiona’s a tall, gorgeous blond with a smile that lights up any room, and a statuesque build that spells trouble for any male with a pulse. She’s the only thing that’s ever distracted me long enough to make me reconsider my life’s direction. Fiona literally saved me from the destructive course I once was on. I truly pity the dudes who wish they’re me.
But right now I could use a new diversion—anything to take my attention away from the bodies and some dude smiling at my wife at such an inappropriate time. There’s a female uniform staring at me from near Johnny’s bedroom. I’ve often wondered about homicide cops and how they deal with it. As I look at her again she’s now smiling. Maybe for some cops...the aggressive ones...it’s a type of foreplay. Kind of like people who go home with a complete stranger and screw their brains out.
As she looks at me her smile is getting wider. I’m pretty sure I know what she sees.... My wife, among others, tells me it’s a six foot two, one-ninety pound man, with very little body fat. Hard and lean, with chiseled features inherited from a handsome Cuban/Italian line, I possess an easy smile, and piercing blue eyes that become deep cobalt pools if I’m pissed. And, I’m lucky to have a full head of dark wavy hair hanging down to my shoulders.
Nobody will ever find me wearing a suit—not unless somebody’s getting married or buried. Tshirts, jeans, and boots—I’m either biker or cowboy, depending on my mood and the weather. Thank God the dudes I roll with share my taste in threads, and my daytime employer can hang with the way I am too. As long as I occasionally wear a polo shirt and slacks. It sucks, but I’ve gotta have something steady to pay the bills.
Fiona’s now motioning to me, and to be polite the two cops nodded. I wonder if they’ve heard of her, since she’s helped Metro’s finest solve nearly a dozen crimes over the past few years. Clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient. They are valued commodities among a few detectives these days, though most won’t admit it. Regardless, I can tell these guys don’t think much of the thirtyish biker-looking dude and his cronies blocking the doorway to the living room. At least they like her…certainly looks like her tear-streaked face hasn’t diminished her charm. Not in the least.
Do you want me to call ahead to Charlain and tell her we’re going to be late?” said Jackie Holland to Fiona from behind me. “Or, should we try and reschedule?”
One of Fiona’s best friends since childhood, Jackie’s usual gruffness was muted. They grew up together in east Nashville. Her dark brown hair is almost kinky, but it fits well with her eyes. Almond shaped and light blue in color. And her athletic build is heavier than Fiona’s.
A little on the short side, Jackie makes up for it with her commanding, almost abrasive presence. A no-nonsense girl with a dry sense of humor, she has a keen passion about all things paranormal. In fact, she’s the reason Fiona became interested in exploring haunted locales back when they were in high school.
I’m not sure if I’ll be up for it,” Fiona told her, and then looked back at me. “Unless ya’ll want to still do this. Jimmy knows how to get there.”
The plainclothes policeman says he’s only got a few more questions for Fiona and then we can all leave. That sounds like a great idea, as the coroner just arrived and the red flashing lights from an ambulance has announced the dead will soon be leaving Johnny’s house. I can see a “News Channel Five” van pulling up beside the ambulance. I’m sure they sped over here recklessly once they heard about Candi.
I’ve always dreamed of being on TV someday, but this ain’t exactly what I had in mind. If Fiona didn’t need me, I’d find a way to sneak out of here. I briefly glanced back at the carnage in the kitchen. Poor Johnny and Brenda. They barely got settled in their latest pad, and their dream, before friends could even throw them a nice house-warming party. And they have, or
I suppose, an eclectic set of friends. Gay, straight, democrat, republican, and then...there’s us.
It sucks that Johnny will never finish the restoration of this house. They got a great deal on a beige brick one-story he and his gal pal Brenda bought to set up for their west end neighborhood salon. When we walked in the front door, the scent of perm solution overpowered the onset of death. They were just getting a small taste of what could’ve grown into something great. All of this made the scene of what awaited us in the kitchen so much worse, since we had no warning other than the steady dripping from spilled bottles of color, acetate, and of course, blood.
Thank God. The interrogation has finally ended, and Fiona’s on her way over here. But it looks like my plan to mosey up to her side and comfort her ain’t going to happen. Jackie and another female in our group, Angela Meyers, beat me to it.
Damn it, Angie!
Jackie’s roommate is strikingly pretty, with long hair that’s platinum blond. If you ask me, Angie’s beauty seems more ‘made up’ than natural, and we’re all still trying to decide what her real hair color is. But I’d never tell her this. Hell, she might beat me up, or try to incinerate me with her big green eyes. The girl’s incredibly strong, man, so I won’t mess with her, especially when we’re all tense. Not to mention she carries a third-degree black belt in karate.