Book Title: She Sees Ghosts―The Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls
Series: Adirondack Spirit Series
Author: David Fitz-Gerald
Publication Date: October 25, 2020
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Page Length: 270 pages
A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.
Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.
As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.
Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.
Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far―An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.
Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.
Buy Link: Amazon
The next evening after dinner, Mehitable was rocking in her chair, knitting a wool sweater, and thinking about the demon. She glanced at her spinning wheel and shook her head to think that an evil spirit would choose such an object in which to make its home. Before she took up the knitting needles, Mehitable had taken the time to spread the smoke of sage throughout the barn again. She breathed deeply and held her breath for a moment, enjoying the fragrance. She set her knitting in her lap for a moment and flipped the shawl from her shoulders with her thumbs.
Before she could return to her knitting, the ghost of an older man, dressed like a British soldier, appeared slowly from the far end of the barn. He had his hat in his hand. He had a carefully trimmed, white beard. It looked like he had an angry red scar circling his neck, and he carried his chin abnormally high, as if he was looking toward the heavens, or perhaps he suffered from a lack of range of motion. Mehitable frowned. She didn’t feel threatened by the ghost. The ghost’s slow approach gave her plenty of time to be conscious of her thoughts and feelings. Perhaps I am getting used to this. When the ghost had finally reached her, Mehitable asked gently, “Pray, how can I help you, and what is your name?”
He looked like an old man, but Mehitable thought that his voice sounded like a boy at the age of thirteen, cracking back and forth between the voice of a boy and the voice of the future man. The ghost answered, “Cunningham, madam.” After each short sentence he paused, like he wished he didn’t have to continue. Like he felt ashamed. He continued, “William Cunningham. Captain William Cunningham, ma’am, and I was the British provost marshal for New York. I was the commander of the military prisons during the War.”
Mehitable softly encouraged, “Please, go on.”
Cunningham said, “Yes, ma’am. Well, the sad truth is, I was a bad man. Not just a bad man, I was evil.” Cunningham turned a quarter turn away from Mehitable, so that he wouldn’t have to face her directly. If he could have looked at the floor, he would have. He went on, “I don’t know how it happened. I was a good boy. I studied hard, did my lessons, learned Latin, and excelled at my figures. Old folks seemed to favor me. I just wanted to make my parents proud. Inside, I always felt anxious. I felt like I was never good enough. I don’t think I wanted to become a man. I think I just wanted to remain a schoolboy. I hate to utter the words in front of a young woman, but I am ashamed to admit that I became an evil, murderous, sadistic man. I hated anything that wasn’t British, and I especially hated Americans. I treated them with contempt. To feel British is to feel superior, so I sought power and rank. On my last day in America, I fought with an old woman who, together with her husband, owned a tavern. I tried to enforce an ordinance that restricted her from flying the American flag. I galloped up to her with the most vicious intent. The very sight of that flag vexed me. And who was this old woman who thought she could whack me across the side of the face with her broom? How humiliating to be whacked by a woman with a broom. She must not have known that I was responsible for killing thousands of Americans, and I didn’t just kill them, I saw to it that they were tortured in the most obscene, unscrupulous ways. Pardon me, ma’am. Oh, what you must think of me. It makes it hard for me to continue. In the years that followed, I never forgot the tenacious old lady who fought so bravely for her right to display that flag.”
Mehitable asked, “Do you still wish you could have stayed a boy? That you had never become a man?”
Cunningham answered, “That I do, ma’am. I wish I could explain what happened to me. What got into me. Now that I have died, I don’t feel like the man I became was the person I really was. I don’t even know if what I’m saying makes any sense.” Cunningham turned slightly back toward Mehitable, opening himself up for the possibility that she had some wisdom on the matter, and praying that she did.
She sympathetically offered a contemplative utterance. She placed her thumb under her chin and curved her forefinger around the front of her chin, pensively, and asked, “What happened to your neck, Mister Cunningham?”
“Well,” he began, evasively, “after a lifetime of craving the finest things, and worshiping the supremacy of the British way of life over the colonial ways, I had a hard time returning to Britain after the war. Everywhere I went, the story of how I was beaten by an old woman turned me into a joke. I suffered to make ends meet. I forged documents and stole money. I, the master of prisons, found myself in debtor’s prison, and on August 10th of 1791, I was hanged. To think, I was hanged for forgery, and never punished for murdering men and ruining families.” Cunningham was quiet for almost half a minute before he asked, “Do you think a man can make confession after his death? Does it have to be before his death? Can God forgive anything? Is it possible for a pretty young woman to hear that confession instead of a professionally trained and ordained man of the cloth?”
Mehitable thought the inquiry sounded like an earnest young boy asking a schoolgirl to walk home from school with him. Without thought, Mehitable answered, “I do. I don’t know how. I don’t know why, but I do. I am not an authority on such matters. I just know you can’t stay here. You must go into the world of spirits, Billy. May I call you that?”
Cunningham grinned, “Aye, I’d like that. My mother called me Billy when I was a child.” Cunningham nodded freely. His neck no longer seemed stuck in the position left by the hangman’s noose. His gray hair transformed into a dirty blond mop atop his head, and his cheeks appeared to absorb his beard, leaving his cheeks clean, clear, and unwrinkled. His presence seemed to illuminate, brighter and brighter, until light completely filled the darkest corners of the big barn. Then it faded back to blackness, and Mehitable sat beside her tiny oil lamp, rocking contentedly in her chair.
Mehitable said a short prayer, asking God to have mercy on Cunningham’s soul. Then she asked for peace on behalf of all the tortured souls who suffered at Livingston’s Sugar House, the other Revolutionary War prisons, and the prison boats in New York’s harbor. She thought of Reuben’s 64-year-old father. She prayed that he, and all the men who served in the War for Independence, would know peace and comfort as well. The world was full of pain, suffering, and injustice, but for just a moment, Mehitable felt like the peace, joy, comfort, and kindness had won out. She set the unfinished sweater in her basket and picked up her hairbrush. The familiar motion of the bristles through the strands of her hair always calmed her thoughts. Even so, she wondered if Cunningham’s body was occupied by an evil demon spirit in adolescence, like Anson Smudge―the boy, the man, and the demon. Were they three separate things, or all combined? Mehitable twisted a strand of her hair, lost in thought. Whether she had solved a mystery or not, there was nothing more to do about it that day. It was time for sleep. She realized that she craved it.
David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees Ghosts―A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next instalment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.
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