Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Ghost Before the Storm: An Excerpt

The following is the opening to “Stormwalker,” a story I wrote in 1990 about the legendary Gray Man of Pawley’s Island, SC. It’s currently scheduled for a collection of supernatural stories I’m putting together following the final installment of The Saga of the Dead Silencer. Happy Hauntings, y’all! Let’s hope they’re happier than this poor bastard, anyway....

He finds himself shimmering beneath a restless sky, alone on this very beach we’d walked together so long ago. How long has it been since he was last summoned to this place?

His aspect flickers sharply as he attunes his presence. After so many years asleep, he awakens to sameness. This same island, this same fury approaching from the mercurial waters beyond the horizon. The layers of gray, the time and direction, these are all that change in his lonely, twilit hell.

He takes his bearings from the clouded sun and the foaming distemper of the ocean. He notes the skeletal black outline of the pier to his right, as vague and insubstantial as he through the blowing curtains of spume and sand. He has appeared facing the southeast. It will be very bad this time.

Shimmering, now solid as shadow, the dark apparition on the sandbar turns to stride across the ripples of the swollen tidal pool. The sharp, hissing sands, the bluster of the winds rage vainly against his gentlemanly bearing as he approaches the houses waiting beyond the dunes. His manner is not one of a weary, self-pitying spirit. Not like myself, not like so many others who were free to depart this Earth, who now can only watch. I like to believe that it is the pride he takes in his mission. He bears his curse so bravely and so well.

“Stormwalker” Copyright © 1990, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken. All rights reserved.