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NEW! Excerpt 5 "Ghosts of Magic Beach"- New Blends of Evil

A ripe moon sits low on Raritan Bay exposing every ripple and disturbance on the calm water.  The occaisional baitfish jumps, a larger predator snaps and there is the odd bird movement, but it is mostly silent. The traffic light at Broad and Front Streets turns from yellow to red and it is the only movement along the Keyport waterfront.

The disappearing low tide fills the air with her sensual, fertile aroma, like the damp sheets in a honeymoon suite. A solitary fishing boat sits out on the channel rigged for bass, a lone fisherman asleep in a chair with his feet up on the stern. The bay fills her belly with tons of water from the incoming tide.

At AFF, Chester is sitting in the control center tracking the “package”.  He is sipping a Red Bull and eating Pringles. All is quiet on his six screen panel except for the top middle screen.  Six green dots pulse in unison. Chester measure every change in the water. The six pulsing orbs in formation on the screen tells Chester all is perfect tonight.

Chester once heard that “it is always darkest just before dawn”, but he didn’t see much of a difference between the pitch black of 3 or 4 a.m. He called it dead dark. It can’t get any darker. The fading moon helped a little.

Out in the bay, the six pulsing ping pong’s with antenae form the perimeter of the blob taking form within. The matter glows with a low grade electrical charge, like some deepwater monster fish. This monster, though, would never see deep water. Harm was to be contained within this bay.           

             

Chester pulls up a high tech weather radar screen. The storms were forming to the west and moving in on schedule. Chester adjusts the blob slightly by moving the orbs. The first crack of thunder rips across the bay. The first fingers of lightning dance on the water.

Chester programs the orbs to power up the blob, making it burn white. When lightning finds the target, the organism drinks it like mothers milk. It becomes stronger and brighter.

As the supercharged monster tosses in the now windy bay.  Every living thing beneath her has the life sucked from them. Every fish, every crab, clam and plankton. It stores the stolen lifeforce like a battery. The bay bottom it passes over will appear bleached white in daylight. Not black and dead, but translucent white and something way beyond dead. One bayman would describe it as a small nuclear winter.

Pleased with his progress, Chester logs his results and begins to shut her down for the night. The six orbs pulse silently on the one live screen.

*

A brisk morning breeze with a hint of sea in the air drifts up Broad Street.

A girl walks up the aisle and stands before her 4th grade class and reads in a cheery, upbeat tone.

“A person may think that there's nothing odd concerning Keyport, New Jersey, but the ghost tales reported by the local residents are enough to make anyone re-evaluate spending the night around here. Ghosts are so usual in this place; a lot of residents don’t even think about it any longer. Some residents assert there are no ghosts, but terrifying things undeniably happen here in Keyport in the night time. These are some of the spooky things that have happened here recently…”

Miss Noonan rushes up to stop her from continuing after noticing a young Spanish boy quietly crying in the back of the room.

*

The Keyport Police blotter tells the tale. Just past noon, the body of a local drunk is found floating down by the boat yard, strangled.   In a local Mexican bar, two fishermen argue over a soccer match on the TV in vivid Spanish and a knife comes out and one of them is left dead. At 4 p.m., a suspicious fire at a church causes a small amount of damage.  Curious only in the fact that that they seemed to be trying to burn the dedication plaque dated 1878.

An Entry from Tom Stones Journal

“Dreams and nightmares echo in the stone and mortar of this waterside haunt. There is more trouble coming down the pike and very few people who can actually do something about it. I have been granted a new insight into what is happeneing to this town.

 

Ever since the dinner party at California House, the ghosts have made themselves very apparent to me. I do know there is now one living in my house. He has yet to speak, but I think it is because I haven't yet asked him to. Julianne says that is a pre-condition.

 

The ghosts along this Magic Beach area are of particular interest. They are the ghosts of a family that cannot see each other. He cannot talk to his wife, nor her to her daughter, and the daughter to neither.  Quite a unique loneliness for each of them.  Each one quite an individual on there own. Each a part of the three houses, divided against themselves and each other.

 

They communicate through chosen mortals. I don’t know why I have been pulled in, but they seem to.

They say if history was allowed to repeat itself, the fire would burn through Keyport and destroy the whole dream. These once wild of woods hold secrets that would be hard to fathom if unearthed once more.  There is something else here that I have yet to figure, but I think I hear the ghosts of Magic Beach whispering to me in the hours before dawn.

Sometimes things merge and manifest into new blends of evil. I fear it is happening now.

The spark fixing to blow the powder keg would unleash the force of a thousand Jersey Devils. This is becoming quite apparent…”.

On a crisp dawn, Tom walks into a quiet town and drops a large manila envelope containing the first pages of the commissioned screenplay into the box in front of the Post Office on Front Street. A seagull screeches too close to his head and startles Tom. Tom pulls up his collar and heads toward home.

~

Jersey Pirates”

B

Tom Stone

EXT- THE SEA, ABOARD A SAILING SHIP, A MEAN, SNOTTY NIGHT 

The wind howls and rain hammers the wooden deck of an old three-mast sailing ship.  There are no sign of life on deck.

The ship pushes hard into the brunt of the wicked storm. Her hull groans under the strain. Her sails fill and fall, sea spray splashes like ice against the dark.  A black jolly rancher flag slaps violently at the mast. There is menace in the air.

CLOSEUP- A flash of lightning illuminates the deck.  A man is cowering at the feet of a shadowed figure. A mighty sword slashes down through the light. A heavy THUD.

A blood curdling scream is silenced by crashing thunder.  Silence, then pitch black. Bones snap.  A feral gnawing snuffs out the panicked gasps of a dying man. 

The ship slows. The wind dies and a buoy clangs in the distance. The rain slackens and the air becomes dank and gloomy.

The proud and ghostly ship pushes toward a distant pier. From somewhere deep in the night, a huge black bird has picked up on the smell of blood and swoops across the sails casting a giant shadow.

The Keeper steps from the shadows and strides towards the ship’s bridge. His bloodied glove steers the ship to port. He raises a foot and delivers three sharp raps on the wooden deck. A latch is thrown and the cabin door slowly opens.

A dozen deformed, ragged, filthy sailors spill out on the deck.  They whisper amongst themselves, barely containing their glee. The Keeper slams his sword into the wooden chopping block and the crew snaps to rag-tag attention.

Silhouetted against the rising moon, a man’s body dangles upside down on a rope draped over the yardarm. Three IV tubes drain the blood from the fresh corpse into glass gallon jugs. One is nearly full. 

The Keeper point to two of the crew and points them towards the jugs.  They rush over, cap the full jug and replace it with another.  Another sailor comes to carry the full one away.

KEEPER

“Tonight we drink!”

A howl of joy detonates from the men as some throw their arms to the sky with savage delight.

On the pier, a small man with a hang-dog expression waves a glass lantern back and forth to the arriving Hussar. He sighs deeply as the scene becomes clear to him.  The ship slows and approaches the dock.

The ship’s plank smacks hard to the wooden pier.  Rats scurry away.  The lively, excited crew lashes the ships lines to the dock.

Clearance is made for the sailor carrying two jugs of fresh blood.

The Keeper strides back to the chopping block. Human tissue and teeth hang from the bloody block.  The Keeper picks up the gory mess with his old leather glove and examines it.  He tosses it toward the water. 

From above, the black bird dives down and catches it before it hits.  She rises and maneuvers the bloody clump, opens her throat and swallows it in one gulp.

The massive bird, fed, rises toward the moon, her screech echoing through the night.

The Keeper strides down the plank towards the waiting man.

Keeper

“The trap is set, Fausto.  Our return to England is in site!”

FAUSTO

“We live in hope, dear Captain.  We live in hope.”

EXT- FROM ATOP THE MAST

Fausto steers the Keeper into the compound, lantern leading the way.

In the distance, the buildings of the modern New York skyline are beige ghosts in the distance through the clearing night.  Red lights pulse on rooftops. A foghorn blows.  Night’s dark grip begins to slip as first light reaches in from the east.

AUTHORS NOTE: Thank you, dear readers for all your helpful comments, support and suggestions.The  "Ghosts of Magic Beach" has been a singular writing experience for me. You will see some of these contributions in September's forthcoming excerpt "There Came a Man to Keyport Town".

Thanks, Jim

ALL CHARACTERS AND REFERENCES TO ALL FACTS ARE A PRODUCT OF THE AUTHOR'S IMAGINATION. All rights reserved.

Continue to forward any comments and suggestions to me- jimshaffernyc@yahoo.com

To read earlier chapters and othe posts by- CLICK HERE

 

http://www.shore11.org/jimshaffer