Click to Enlarge

Smoke And Mirrors
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-77115-364-4
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 211 Pages
Published: May 2017

From inside the flap

Jack and Carl meet every Sunday to ghost hunt for Crucifixion Mary, the local ghost on the Southwest side of Chicago. Every Sunday they to record EVP’s but never get one, they take pictures with their digital cameras but only end up with photographs of headstones and mausoleums. By tradition, they go to the bar across the street from Crucifixion Cemetery, Mary’s stomping ground, and examine the findings over a couple of beers.

Then on one Sunday, Carl plays his tape recorder to hear a young woman pleading “help me” aside from the usual car horns and airplanes flying overhead they usually hear from the hunt. What follows consists of the men going from the hunters to the hunted as Mary zero’s in on the two middle-aged men, their family and friends.

Smoke and Mirrors takes the reader through Crucifixion Mary’s murder spree, both in the present and the past, as she kills indiscriminately throughout the decades after her untimely death. Jack and Carl realize they must send her to the other side or end up in Crucifixion Cemetery themselves.

Smoke And Mirrors (Excerpt)

Sunday-January 9,1932 1:00 P.M.

Mary stood on a knoll, the ground half green and half white; the melting snow showing intermittent patches of grass. Below was the mausoleum of Crucifixion Cemetery with a small crowd of people were encircling a casket. The day was unseasonably warm, accounting for the melting snow, and Mary stood in her bare feet surrounded by six deer pawing at the soft ground thinking it was an early spring and looking for something to eat. She looked down, recognizing her family, as they gathered outside in the reception area. She expected to join them, why wouldn't she? She tried to straighten out her dirty, wet, white dress. She tried to will herself to walk down the knoll to them but couldn't move. She became sad as she watched the scene unfold. Her mother cried uncontrollably, her shoulders heaving as she sobbed. Mary started to cry too. Mary's priest, Father Dominick, stepped forward.

"Let us pray," the priest said. "Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Bendicta tu in mulieribus... " The crowd around the casket mumbled in response, chiming in whenever they recognized the Latin words. Everyone said "Amen" shortly after Father Dominick. "Zdrowas Msaryjo, laskis'peina... :" Father Dominick started in Polish and the small crowd responded word for word. Then he said the same prayer in English. "Hail Mary, full of grace, Our Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen." As the crowd responded with an amen, Father Dominick swung an incense burner over the casket, the aromatic smoke drifting up and dissipating into the air, and continued by saying another prayer in Latin.

After the prayer the pallbearers slowly walked up to the casket a laid a single white rose on top of it. The rest of the mourners followed suit and laid a single red rose on top of the white ones. Mary's Mother was last. She had regained her composure but paused after laying down her rose and put her hand over where the departed's head would be in the casket. Father Dominick turned to the crowd.

"The family wants to thank you for your attendance," he said. "They want to show their appreciation by having you come over to their house for food and drink." Everyone slowly left, walking to their cars and driving away. Mary stood on the knoll alone, except for the deer, looking down upon the mausoleum while the maintenance workers put the casket into the mausoleum wall. They covered up the opening with a square piece of granite and ended by putting the plaque into place. Suddenly Mary found she could move. She walked down to the mausoleum as the groundskeepers left. They didn't even look in her direction. She stood in front of the plaque and read the inscription:

Paulina Marianna Bielski

Our Beloved Daughter Gone Too Soon

October 15, 1914 to January 8, 1932

Mary stood and read the plaque and thought she was crying, but when she went to wipe away the tears, her face was dry.