Sorry the image is small; for some reason WordPress refused to give me the “Large” option, so it was either this or full-size, which is like 960 x something and thus huge.
But…here is a never-before-seen excerpt!:
The Mortons looked like any nice, normal semi-suburban family, struggling to make it all the way to that big cookie-cutter house with thirty feet of grass in every direction around it, but that meant nothing. In fact, it meant Chess needed to be more careful, more on her guard, because the Mortons clearly wanted that nice suburban home. It was all over their smooth, round little faces.
People who wanted things were dangerous. People who wanted things would lie and cheat and steal to get them.
She of all people should know that.
So she stretched her lips into a fake smile and dug out her notebook. “When did you say the manifestations started?”
Mrs. Morton paused for a minute, placing one dainty pink-tipped finger to one dainty pink-slicked lip. “I believe it was about five weeks ago, wasn’t it, Bill dear? While you were at the convention.” Her gaze returned to Chess. “Bill’s an optometrist.”
What was she supposed to say? Bill could examine every eye in the District and she wouldn’t give a shit.
But Mrs. Morton was obviously very proud of the fact that her husband had looked at enough eyeballs to become an expert on them, and the last thing Chess wanted to do at this point was alienate the family.
“I was in the laundry room,” Mrs. Morton continued, “putting a load in the dryer, when I heard Albert here start yelling. It was odd, because Albert is such a brave, quiet boy. Just like his Daddy.”
If Mrs. Morton would stop verbally jacking off her husband and son, this would all be done so much more quickly, but then Chess guessed it was just about the only sex the woman got. Mr. Morton, silent and pale in his sweater-vest, looked like the kind of man who ate ribs with a knife and fork. Not exactly a wild beast in the bedroom, she guessed, but then what did she know?
“Did you actually see the specter, Mrs. Morton? Or was it just Albert?”
“Well, I didn’t see it that time, no. But he described it so well I felt like I did. Then later I did see it. In the bedroom. Just as I was drifting off to sleep.”
“And what did it look like?”
“It was just horrible. Like a…a ghoul, or something. It made the room so cold, it felt so…evil.”
She gave a delicate shudder. “Gray, and sort of wrinkly. Moldy, if you know what I mean. It wore just rags, might have been a dress once but I couldn’t tell. I don’t even know if it was a man or a woman, but it had been dead a long time. Did it escape from the City of Eternity? I thought they couldn’t escape from there, but then if they really couldn’t we wouldn’t be haunted, right?”
“Some spirits never made it to the city. We’re still cleaning up the old religions’ messes.”
Chess made another note on her pad. Intensely interested in placing blame on the Church. Cannot describe entity with any degree of detail. Then, below that, she added: Vodka. Laundry soap. Toothpaste.