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Adam, a young alcoholic, slowly descends into madness while dealing with the psychological scars of childhood trauma which are reawakened when his son and wife die in a car accident that he feels he is responsible for. After a failed suicide attempt, and more group meetings that he can mention. Adam hears a rumor of a Haunted Island off the Coast of Maine, where “if someone wants it bad enough” they could be reunited with a lost loved one. In his desperate attempt to connect with the ghost of his four-and-a half year old son, he decides to go there, to Dagger Island, desperate to apologize to, or be condemned by, his young son. Adam is not sure what he deserves or even which of these he wants more. While staying in a crumbling old boarding house, he becomes involved with a beautiful and manipulative ghost who has spent 60 years tormenting the now elderly man who was her lover, and ultimately her murderer. The three of them create a “Menage-a-Guilt” as they all come to terms with what it is that ties them so emotionally to their memories and their very “existence”.Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent is a poetic fever dream of grief, love, and the terrifying ways that obsession can change who we are.
Read an Excerpt
She walks slowly to his bed, leaving a trail of wet footprints in her stead. She is a ghost ship, silently making its way across the sea of his room. She looks at his sleeping form, he is curled in on himself. When he was younger and stronger, he would sleep like a warrior. He was so proud. He would dominate everything, his bed, his dreams, even sleep itself would bow down under his perceived strength.
He is so much older now. These days he sleeps like a child, or a cat, both starving but petrified of the mouse.
She hears the rattling of death, climbing out from the deepest parts of his lungs each time he exhales. It was the little things like these moments, she supposed, that she grew to love. They were her favorite part of all of this. Her favorite part of this very long endless day.
This existence, it is not a life, but it is not death. She is in the in-between. She is in the empty.
She climbs into his bed and into his world. She lies next to him; her body is damp and seemingly heavy. Her wet hair and wet face, and waterlogged body creep into his dreams. She is a memory revitalized, a nightmarish creature, a visitor come back to stay.
She stares at him, intently, she is focused. You would think, after 60 years she would grow tired of his face, of this, her nightly ritual, but she hasn’t, and she expects she never will. She stares until she feels something building in her throat, it’s her anger, it’s her fear, it’s her rage. It feels like fire, it burns inside her, aching to get out.
He opens his eyes, with the confusion of age, alcohol and too many dreams. Before thinking better of it, his arm reaches across the bed. It reaches for her memory. He finds the other side of the bed empty, but damp. She doesn’t let him touch her, not for many years. In the morning, his sheets will smell like the ocean, at least her side of the bed will. It will have the aching scent of brine, salt, and wet. It is so different from the way his side smells, which is of tears, whiskey, and the sour sweat of fear.
He gets up, ignores the wet foot prints she leaves on the floor, the ones that lead to his bed, the ones that circle him while he sleeps. He plods to the bathroom, washes his face, rinses the staleness out of his mouth, he thinks for a moment he sees her out of the corner of his eye. She will always look the same, with her soaked hair, white dress, her head down, no, she doesn’t let him look at her face, not directly. His breath catches in his throat; he makes a sound, somewhere between a cough and a scream.
He should be used to this by now, used to her. The simple fact she can still surprise him like this is what keeps all of this from becoming commonplace. He thinks he picks up on the sound of her laugh, the way it would ring like silver in his ears, but he is mistaken.
She loves him.
No, that’s not quite right.
She loved him.
She tries to remember the time before she felt those things. this task of hers is more difficult than one would expect, the simplicity of trying to remember when she existed before they met, before she wandered into his life. This a burden she has not yet managed to bear.
Was there a time before they collided and destroyed each other’s worlds?
She hates him.
She never hated him while she was alive, she should have, she knows that he deserved it. He deserved her hate.
She does hate him now. She knows is both a beginning and an ending.
Hate can be powerful, but not as powerful as fear.
She fears him now.
She feared him then.
There are ghosts and memories in this house that even she fears. This man, he only fears her. It is what keeps her here.
She opens her mouth, and she invites the rage that burns in her throat to finally have a voice and it feels like fire, waiting to be born. She feels it rushing out of her. It is a scream that has taken 60 years to finally be birthed.
She opens her mouth, and all that’s there is saltwater.
About the Author:
Jennifer Anne Gordon is a gothic horror novelist. Her debut novel, Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent broke presale records with her publisher (Breaking Rules Publishing) and has received critical acclaim. Her second novel, From Daylight to Madness, is set to be released in late summer 2020 and is the second in her “Dagger Island” series.
She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon
Jennifer is one of the hosts of Writer Someday, to Author Today, as well as Prose Garden, she is also a book reviewer and contributor to HorrorTree.com, as well as the Creator and Host of Vox Vomitus, a video and podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network.
Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.
She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.
She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a painter, and burlesque performer. For the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.
When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner Roman Sirotin, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.
She is a leo, so at the end of the day she really just thinks about her hair.
Her novel as well as her art collection are available on Amazon.
For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website.