So you can read my books

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GHOST IN THE NIGHT_my entry in Quinn's BOO FEST

It was that moment between waking and dream. I was sitting on my apartment terrace. The night spoke to me in its velvet silence.

Owl happily was not speaking my name. He perched on the cypress branch opposite me, studying me as I was admiring him.

Brother raccoon scurried in the bushes below, carrying some prize in his front right paw.

My cat, Gypsy, twitched her tail on the window sill, the mysteries of ages whispering in her half-closed, green eyes.

My own eyes were heavy. Too many miles driven. Too few hours slept.

I put the period to the last sentence of my blog post about Marlene Dietrich with the troops in the front lines during WWII :

** One afternoon after VE Day, she was walking through a little French village. All around her was rubble, and she couldn't understand why -- all the buildings along the street were still standing with curtains blowing frilly and snapping clean-crisp in their windows.

Then, she looked through one of the windows to see that there was nothing behind it. The fronts of the buildings were still standing, but everything behind them had been destroyed. There wasn't a single living person past the false fronts of those caricature buildings.

Only one lone doll lay forlorn in the rubbled middle of nothing.

With her face cupped in trembling hands, she stood in front of that window, weeping silently, refusing to be comforted ...

"... for there is no comfort for the dead," she whispered. **

Beside me a husky voice intoned, "Keine Komfort für die Toten."

I went cold and still, sliding my eyes as far to the right as they could go without moving my head. My mouth became salt.

Marlene Dietrich.

In a frilly black night wrap and not much else.

She was perched over the top of a wavering, insubstantial leather chair like a cougar ready to strike.

"You write so beautifully of me. Why?"

"Y-You were brave, selfless -- entertaining the troops on the front lines with a death sentence from Hitler on your head."

I cleared my fear-thick throat. "People have forgotten that."

She reached out and stroked my cheek with chill fingers.

"It is not important for the world to remember me -- only that I did not forget myself when I was needed."

"And words like that are why I write of you."

Marlene fluffed my hair with ghost fingers. It tickled.

"Do you know what they call you in the ShadowLands, liebling?"


"Sänger von Träumen -- DreamSinger."

"I - I don't understand."

Her ice blue eyes hollowed. "One day you will."

In ghost whispers, she murmured, "Death and love."


"I thought I knew them, liebchen. I was so sure. I died. Then, I saw life with new eyes."

She leaned forward, her eyes suddenly sparkling. "See you in your dreams, liebling."

And like a cloud robbing me of sunlight, Marlene was gone. I was alone. Well, not quite.

Gypsy was in my lap, yawning. It takes a lot to shake up the granddaughter of Bast.


  1. Very, very cool ghost story!!!

    I don't always have time to check your blog and comment (I do have you on my RSS email feed, though) - sorry about that - but everytime I do you have these fantastic posts up here making me smile or shudder or just generally marvel at your poetic language.

    Thanx for being such a great blogger and an even greater writer!

  2. Tessa : It's always good to see you here. Your compliment made my afternoon. Don't be a stranger, hear?

  3.'ve breathed life into the mystery behind Ms. Dietrich...and created a sultry confrontation, if not haunting.
    Scenes like these are where you shine. Keep hammering away, my friend.

  4. Your writing always takes me to another place.

  5. Your story keeps Marlena Dietrich alive for us all to remember.

  6. Haunting... That conversation says so much about what still awaits him in the ShadowLands. It would be difficult to perceive life in the same way after that.

  7. WOW! Love the way you told that!

  8. Well, of course you can write a ghost story :) You excel at them.

    When I die, my ghost is going to haunt you Roland, so you will remember me, and write interesting stories to fit my life. Sammy and I can ghost date.


  9. This was my kind of ghost story. Subtle! Loved the clip. Sometimes I look at Marlene Dietrich and find her verging on ugly, But most of the time her beauty is breath taking.

  10. This is the first time visiting your blog... I am blown away by your writing. Your subtle yet piercing details are haunting ... in a good way.I will definitely visit again. I am glad I entered this blogfest just to read your entry.


  11. This was really well written Roland. What a feeling it must be to have her visit you! I would be terrified and unable to talk!

  12. Awh i love the line "See you in your dreams, liebling." I enjoyed your style too. :O)

  13. I really like yor style and story, but I'm a little confused. Did her ghost really visit you or are you taking creative liscense here?

  14. I wondered the same thing Quinn asked. Regardless, this is well written.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  15. Quinn : In my dream, my creative unconscious took creative license. It does that sometime.

    Madeleine : And she still does visit them.

    Summer : In dreams, it all seems so real that who is to say that reality doesn't exist there as well?

    Michael : Your comment certainly made my morning. I will be looking forward to your future visits. I hope you won't be disappointed. Thanks again.

    Ann : I'm happy you enjoyed the clip. Yes, sometimes Marlene's beauty took on a hard aspect. She was capable of great courage, great kindness, and the occasional great cruelty. It showed in her face and in her life. But mostly, she was a great soul, visiting kindness on those who were the underdogs of life.

    Golden Eagle : I love ghost stories, and I'm happy you liked mine.

    Donna : Let's hope you don't become a ghost for a long, long time. Besides, 2012 is coming when we all may become ghosts all at once!

    PK : Your words gave me the biggest smile. Thanks

    Laura : I'm not through with DreamSinger's tale. Makes me feel great that you found my story haunting.

    There's Just Life : Yes, Marlene was a true hero. For 3 years, she slept in jeeps, tents, on the dirt -- not making one movie -- as she entertained the troops with enemy fire in the background.

    Mary : That's one of the best compliments I've ever received. Thanks.

    Gail : So are you. Cool, that is.

    Elliot : Now, if I can only get an agent to feel like you! You always make me feel better about my writing. Thanks,

  16. Excellent posting! Thank you for participating. I believe there is a strong connection between the dream world and the spirit world. Haunting! Great job!

  17. Very well written and chilling! Thanks for posting!

  18. Hi,

    Oh how you wish Roland, and dreams can come true with a little shut-eye and collusion of the conscious mind playing devil's advocate with the subconcious!

    Breathtaking ghost of the mind, and beautifully executed as always! I just love Marl's husky voice. ;)


  19. I love your writing. It's so striking! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. Thanks for clearing that up :) And thanks for participating!

  21. You should write a novel revolving around that story. It completely drew me in!

  22. Sondrae : If you hit your cursor over Marlene's picture labeled GHOST OF A CHANCE, you will be taken to the first chapter of my serial detailing just that novel you were suggesting.

    Quinn : Yes, my dreams take on a life of their own. But then, don't your dreams as well?

    Kristina : Your comment made my weary afternoon break better.

    Francine : My blog is always the better for your visits. Thanks for enjoying my story.

    Regina : And thanks for liking my tale.

    Patricia : I'm with you on the connection with dreams and reality.

  23. Well written! I really liked this story. :-)

  24. Our subconcious and dream state is probably the best medium of communication with the spirit world. Can I haunt you when I die, too, so you can write my (rather boring) memoir?

  25. Ha! Okay. Dang. I'm a believer. You really do see ghosts, don't you? So REAL! And she saw it coming, too. This made me shiver. And it made me sad and excited and still.

    I love the quote about not forgetting herself when she was needed.