The following is a review of the another story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. This story in the anthology is titled Ghost Townies, by E. Branden Hart.
One of the things that have fascinated me about the prospect of ghosts is--except for scaring you to death--I don't see them as being able to inflict physical harm. I mean, if there is some entity that was once a living person and all that now remains is their soul, there's not much they can do to a person. I may be completely wrong, but I keep hold of this theory so that just in case I ever run into a ghost, my hopefully rational mind will tell me that "it's just a ghost--it can't hurt you."
If I ever believe the terrifying world created by E. Branden Hart, however, my theory is down the crapper. You see, in Hart's world, ghosts can not only hurt you, they can kill.
The story beings in a library. The two characters, Dean and Jimbo search the abandoned space where a couple of dozen people have died. To the reader the world is unknown. We're not sure of the rules in this new reality, but Hart does an amazing job filling us in so we can understand what's going on. But he doesn't give us too much too soon. The addition of a new character allows the author to give us more until finally we have a complete picture of how things work. I enjoyed the pace at which Hart allowed us to get to know his world.
The entire story takes place within a couple of days. It's a tale of survival and the bonds of friendship where sticking together appears to be the best way to survive among the dead. The story's tempo is crisp with a wonderful combination of humor and tension. It's a fun read.
Like I said, I wouldn't want to find myself waking up in Hart's story. I prefer my ghosts like the ones in books or in the movies--they can scare, but that's about it.