Authors: Crymsyn Hart
Hell’s Gate: Amelia
Published by Purple Sword Publications, LLC
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any
similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, is
purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
HELL’S GATE: AMELIA
Copyright © 2011 CRYMSYN HART
Cover Art Designed By
Amelia waved her hands in front of the mirror and sighed. No one saw her. Lila, the bartender, was busy stocking the shelves for the night.
It’d be nice for other people to see me besides the supernatural beings who dwell here. Why can’t just a regular guy notice me?
She drifted toward the center stage where her feet had once touched the wood. Now all she had were legs and sometimes those didn’t manifest.
Once upon a time, she had been a showgirl in the roaring twenties. She glided toward the throne in the center of the stage and slumped down, resting her elbows on her knees. She cradled her head in her hands and stared at the empty club. Soon it would echo with the newfangled sounds that passed for music. The roped off areas would be full of people waiting to indulge in whatever fetish or voyeuristic appeal they were into. Amelia thought it crazy. Hell’s Gate offered her a refuge until the afterlife allowed her to traverse to the other side. It was either that or wander the streets and not be the victim of the soul harvesters. If they caught her, then she’d be thrown into an eternity of service or worse. A cold shiver gripped her even though she was already dead.
“Why are you so glum? Normally, you’re breezing around here playing tricks on the employees.”
leaned on a speaker near the edge of the stage. The gangly manager had his arms crossed over his chest. He flashed
smile filled with pointed teeth. His black
pupils showed that he was one of the unnatural beings who inhabited Hell’s Gate. She never knew what exactly he was, but he scared humans and gave off a predatory vibe. Amelia didn’t believe he was king of the jungle, but some kind of shape shifting creature.
“Not in the mood today. I’m tired.”
“Tired of being dead or hanging out here?”
“Tired of not being seen.
I’m lonely. I see mortals hanging onto one another kissing and touching when I can barely interact with them. Stacking glasses and running my fingers down people’s backs is nothing. I’m grateful Leah invited me to stay, but I’m alone here.”
rubbed his chin. “Let me see what I can do. I have a few connections. Hang tight.”
A smile formed on her lips. For the first time in a long time, she had a sense of hope. Amelia leapt out of the chair. When she did, she lost her focus and moved directly through him. A momentary sense of fear shot through her. Instead of landing on the dance floor, she stopped when her back hit the bar.
jumped down and walked over to her. She threw her arms around him and gave him a hug. With all her might, Amelia willed herself solid. There was a gasp in the room and then a loud crash. She jumped from the sudden sound and saw Lila staring directly at her. Her concentration was broken, and the world shifted back to normal. Everything took on the washed out look it always had.
, who the hell was
Amelia giggled. The manager looked around. “I don’t see anything.”
“I swear you were just hugging a woman.”
“Lila, how many times do I have to tell you not to let your imagination get the better of you?”
Amelia hovered behind the bartender and blew on her neck. The other woman spun around and growled. She chuckled and then focused her energy on rearranging the shot glasses on the counter. It took a great amount of attention, but she was able to pick up the glasses and move them into two pyramids. Lila returned back to her work and swore.
“Amelia, haven’t I told you to lay off messing with my glasses?”
She stuck her tongue out at the bartender and heard
snigger. “Lila, leave her alone. She needs to have her fun every once in a while.”
Lila grumbled and continued stocking the bar. Amelia glanced at
right back at her. He wagged his finger. “Leave her be for now. I’ll see what I can do.”
She nodded and watched the man disappear into the bowels of the club. Amelia sighed and wafted back to the stage. She gazed up at the ropes of Christmas lights that were wound through the pipes. To the left of the stage was a corded off area with manacles hung from the walls and ropes suspended from the ceiling. An array of whips and paddles dangled from hooks, waiting to be used. They all but begged to redden skin. Another area close to the stairs was where the men gathered to worship women’s feet. She didn’t understand the lure of men being attracted to feet, but she had witnessed men lick leather boots, suck on toes, and pet shoed women’s feet.
“Hey, Lila, you want to get tied up tonight?”
Amelia blinked. The club was full of people. She rolled her eyes.
I hate it when that happens. I pay attention to something for a moment and time flies before I know it. I detest being a spook.
She sighed and took in her surroundings. People were dressed in mostly black with heavy makeup painting their faces. Some were half naked. Women had their breasts hanging out covered with tape to conceal their nipples. The music shook the floor and even reached into her ghostly realm where she experienced the beat.
Lila smiled when a tall, golden skinned man picked her up in his arms and kissed her deeply. Amelia was transfixed at the sight. It had been so long since she had felt the solidity of another person. It had been decades since she had experienced any kind of emotion. Her existence was stuck in the realm where the colors were wishy-washy and any kind of detail was lost to her unless she thought extremely hard. Seeing the bartender’s face light up when the man hugged her, Amelia felt a stab of loss. The only man she had ever loved had been gunned down trying to save her life. It hadn’t worked. Amelia never understood why Shawn moved on in the afterlife and she remained. Other ghosts she ran into said it was some unfinished business on her soul. Whatever that business was, she wished it would present itself.
“Hey, I’ve been looking for you. Where’d you go?”
hand passed through her arm.
“Sorry. I got distracted.” She shrugged.
“Well, you’re here now. I have something for you.” He reached into his pocket and drew out a ring, a plain silver band.
“Are you proposing to me?”
He chuckled. “No. This ring will allow you to be solid, but only in the club. If you step outside these walls, the spell will cease and the ring will fall off your finger. So I suggest you don’t wander.” He held out the ring to her.
Amelia reached for it and expected her fingers to move through it. However, she touched the circlet and felt the coolness of the metal on her fingertips. Shock raced through her. “How did you get this? Where did you get it? What will happen?”
smiled. “I know a witch who owed me a favor. She did say that it’d only work at night. So during the day you’re still a ghost and at night—”
“Will I be alive?”
“Not alive, but not truly dead.
Somewhere in between.
My friend didn’t say how long it would last, but it’s the best I can do.”
Amelia’s hand shook while she slipped the ring over her finger. It fit perfectly. Once the metal settled on her flesh, a zap electrified all her nerve endings. The world snapped into place around her. Instead of the hollow echo of the music, she felt the intense pounding of the bass rattling her bones.
Her heavy bones.
She stared at her fingers and they were pale and pink. The fabric of her red dress was vibrant along with the red pumps she wore. The seams of her black fishnets were still firmly in place on the back of her legs. When she pulled up the hem of her skirt, her garters were even there. The most important thing was that she had feet. She stretched out her leg and felt the bend of her knee. The warmth of her flesh was something she hadn’t experienced in the eighty-five years since she had died. The elastic of her muscles and hardness of her bones was something she exalted in. A squeal of delight ripped from her throat and she threw her arms around
neck. This time she didn’t move through him. Dust sat heavy on her tongue. The smell of sweat and perfume permeated the air. The stale aroma of cloves clung to people. It was all so overwhelming that she wasn’t sure in which direction she should head next.
unwound her from his body and took her hand. He led her over to the bar and tapped Lila on the shoulder. The blue haired bartender spun around and almost threw her drinks on him. However, she stopped short on the tips of her toes and clutched the bottle of beer and the shot in her hands.
, what the fuck?
I’m busy here. You
get your ass behind here and help me.” The bartender gave her drinks to the customers who were waiting for them.
“Lila, chill. I wanted you to meet someone. This is Amelia.”
Her eyes met Amelia’s for a moment as she looked her up and down and then turned back to get an order for another patron. She stopped and then went back to Amelia. “Wait a minute.
Amelia, as in the ghost who keeps being a pain in my ass and rearranging all my glasses?”
Amelia smiled and did a little twirl, feeling her dress reel around her. “That’s me.” A surge of energy gripped her. She wanted to boogie with the other people on the dance floor. All she desired was to declare that she was alive to the entire universe and that it felt wonderful. Lila poured a shot of something and Amelia snatched it from her hands and downed it. The warmth of the alcohol burned right to her stomach and then rocketed to her brain. It felt great.