Thursday, October 2, 2014


Nevermind about the zombie chasing you! We’re two days in and the zombie apocalypse can wait because this is REALLY important and what you’ve been waiting for! It’s Daily Giveaway Time, and the fantabulously great Kim Scott has graciously agreed *after I threatened to toilet paper her rose bushes … yes, I risk misdemeanor charges all to bring you great reading!* to put two of her titles up for grabs! Five ecopies of both Waiting for Harvey and Lilies in the Clearing will be in five winner’s grubby little, blood-covered hands in time for Halloween! How’s that for service! And Kim has also picked up the gauntlet and delivered some creepifying fiction that you can read for FREE! These two are part of the Spirits of Maine series and you’re in for some ghostly chills!
So nail the door shut, put out some wolfbane and sit a spell. Then  enter the contest so you can do it all over again!

Breath Taking
Kim Scott
I sat with my feet up on the desk, gazing out the window. For weeks, I had been working seventy hours a week to complete my project. At last it was finished. The result far surpassed my expectations. The meeting with the client was minutes away, and I was fighting to contain my excitement.
They would be waiting in the conference room. My boss, Jay Simmons would be seated at the head of the massive table. The clients, dressed in black Armani, would be lined up along the wall. Mitch Kingsley preferred to stand, and his team stood with him. My co-workers sat along the far side of the table.
I wasn’t worried. While my co-workers were quaking in their seats, I would be cool and confident. It was time to enter the big room. I jumped up and grabbed the folder with the presentation. It was go time!
Eagerly, I strutted down the hall. Maggie nodded to me as I passed her desk. I nodded back and started whistling. I was practically skipping over the ugly blue and green carpet. It was the happiest day of my life.
“Jim?” Maggie called to me.
“Yes?” I responded.
“Did you get an email from Mr. Simmons?”
“Email?” I echoed, stupidly. Obsessed with my presentation, I hadn’t checked my email. I had been rehearsing my presentation in my head and enjoying the accolades.
“Yes,” she told me. She motioned for me to move closer and lowered her voice. “He is running late and wants you to start the meeting. He said to be mindful; Kingsley represents a $2,000,000 account.”
“No worries, Maggie,” I assured her. “This one will blow them away!”
“Best of luck,” she smiled, cheerily.
I grasped the ornamental door handle and pushed the door open. The mood of the room was grim. Kingsley and his team stood with their arms folded, scowling at me. A wave of apprehension washed over me. I clutched my folder tighter and pushed through.  
“Good of you to join us, Mr. Ross,” Kingsley declared with an icy layer of sarcasm. “I see Mr. Simmons won’t be with us today.”
“No worries, Mr. Kingsley, you won’t be disappointed.”
“We’re ready,” he announced, impatiently.
Kingsley glared at me as I passed him. I moved to stand at the podium. With tension and anxiety fighting for control of the room, I opened my folder. An avalanche of papers slid from the lectern across the carpet, stopping on top of Kingsley’s shoes.
Stricken with panic, I froze. Kingsley looked at his feet and shook his head slowly. He was growing more agitated. I gathered the papers and placed them on the podium again.
“Good morning, gentlemen…” I began. In seconds, I was lost, with no way back. My presentation was a jumbled mess. The storyboards on the easel followed a different path. As it unraveled, my voice quivered. Sweat appeared on my upper lip and my shirt grew damp. Compassionately, my co-workers looked away. I stood looking down at the papers I had slaved over and felt my face getting hot.
“Are you finished, Ross?” Kingsley asked, heartlessly.
I had barely begun, and yet it was finished. I nodded and dropped my chin. The door opened and Jay Simmons stepped inside. Alarmed, I eased behind my co-workers and fell into an empty chair. Too late, I realized that I had forgotten the disordered folder on the podium.
“Good morning!” Simmons called out and hurried to the head of the table.
“Not so far,” Kingsley responded.
“Is there a problem?”
“There are many! Let us begin with your choice for my account! I made it clear, no sand! Nothing beach related! Nothing to remind customers of the fiasco in Saudi Arabia last year! Why did I just watch a chaotic mess with beach photos?”
My heart sank, and my stomach did three quick somersaults. A dull thump echoed in my skull. I looked from Simmons to Kingsley and knew I was in deep trouble. My co-workers studied the surface of the table. I was alone in the corner.
“Ross was advised to steer clear of sand and water, Mitch,” Simmons lied shamelessly. “Let me make this right. I’ll have a mind-blowing campaign this time tomorrow. I appreciate how valuable your time is, and we’ll bring it to you. What do you say, Mitch?”
“I’ll give you 24 hours, Jay,” Kingsley reluctantly agreed. “My office, 8:00 a.m. tomorrow!”
Kingsley and his team filed out of the room and the last man shut the door. Before the dust could settle the door flew open again, and Kingsley reappeared. He looked at me and shook his head with disgust then swiveled toward Jay.
“Do not bring him!” he shouted and slammed the door.
Forty-five minutes passed as Jay paced back and forth in front of the windows. My co-workers were hostages as the boss lectured me. He started by telling me he was disappointed. It soon deteriorated into a personal attack. It was humiliating!
At last we were permitted to return to our individual offices. At my desk again, I rested my head on my arms. The day had begun with such promise then it had all fallen apart. I wanted nothing more than to escape the building.
“Ross!” Simmons shouted as he banged the door open.
“Yes, Sir,” I responded, jumping up from my chair.
“You’re fired!” he roared, with the door wide open. “I reviewed the emails, and it’s clear, you ignored my instructions. You nearly cost us our biggest account. You’re a moron!”
Through the doorway, I saw heads turning. There were two dozen people in the large space outside my door. The cubicles that separated them would not diminish the sound of Jay’s rant. Worse yet, my fellow account managers would have their doors open and would hear it as well.
“Mr. Simmons, you didn’t…”
“You blew it, dumbass!” he thundered. “Don’t waste my time with more lies and don’t touch that computer! Security will supervise your exit. Don’t even think of stealing company property I’ll have you arrested!”
“I’m no thief, Jay!” I shouted at him.
“If you’ll lie to me then you’ll steal from me!”
“I didn’t lie to you! You never said anything about sand or water!”
“I did!” he bellowed. “I have emails to prove it! Maggie, where is security? I want this lying, thief out of this building!”
“Why are you saying that? I didn’t lie, and I never stole anything!”
“Don’t threaten me!” he shouted and backed up.
Two security guards entered the room. Jay told them to watch me closely, claiming I was a lying, thieving, bully. It was an absurd situation. I hadn’t done anything but botch the presentation. I’d done nothing deserving of his response.
With my belongings in a cardboard box, I left the office. Sandwiched between the security guards, I rode the elevator from the twenty-eighth floor down to the lobby. I had ridden to the office in a town car that morning, but I would be riding the subway home.
Dazed and bewildered, I stood on the sidewalk. Traffic moved by as I held the box and wondered what I should do. My wife was eight months pregnant, and I dreaded breaking the news to her.
I made my way down into the subway. Surrounded by busy people, I gripped a handhold. I missed the luxury of the car service. My wife drove a four-year-old Saab. Thankfully the last of the payments had been made.
“Julie, I’m home,” I called to her from the living room.
“You’re late,” she responded as she waddled in from the kitchen. I was more than an hour late. The subway did not provide service to my front door.
I kissed her and followed her back into the kitchen. She asked about my day, and I omitted the big news. Eventually, would tell her.
“What is that?” I snapped as something black disappeared behind the kitchen island.
“I call her Sassy,” she told me and smiled.
“A cat?”
“Yes,” she agreed and wrapped her arms around me. “I’m lonely during the day. She’s such a sweet cat.”
“Julie, this is not a good time…”
“I know, but she has been spayed and had all her shots. Please don’t object, Jim.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. What could I do?
At last I broke the news to Julie. She cried. I promised her she didn’t need to worry. It was the biggest lie I ever told her. I would do my best.
I contacted advertising agencies all over the city. Unfortunately, word that Simmons had called me a liar and a thief spread rapidly. I was able to get a few interviews, but they didn’t lead to anything. I widened my search to jobs beyond my field.
Julie delivered a healthy baby girl. We named her Charlotte Rose. We brought her home and adjusted to our new life. The new baby would bring more expenses. The budget was tight, and we both worried endlessly as the bills piled up.
Sitting on the patio, I sipped a beer and stewed over our problems. I watched Sassy, the cat wander across the yard. A bird was hopping around, looking for worms. The cat looked at the bird and moved slowly. I expected the bird to fly away, but it didn’t. The cat stopped and leaned in close as a deep purple mist filled the space between them. I stared in amazement while the cat inhaled the mist. Suddenly, the bird fell over. Sassy tilted her head back, and dozens of plum purple moths escaped from her mouth and scattered.
Leaving the bird behind, Sassy pranced toward the patio. She jumped up onto a chair and began washing her paws. I watched amazed by what I had seen. Part of me felt horrified, but more than that I was amazed. I didn’t like that she had killed the bird, yet the way she had done it was fascinating.
Days went by as Julie and I adjusted to being new parents. She was a new mom with little free time. I was an unemployed husband and dad in danger of losing the house. I had taken the perks for granted when I was working. I lowered my expectations and changed my job search.
With little choice, I took jobs at a local auto parts store and a fast food restaurant. Together they would keep the lights on and food on the table. I worked hard and picked up extra shifts. When I wasn’t working, I continued the job search.
One morning, I stepped out onto the front steps. Sassy ran along the middle of the road with a big dog chasing her. I watched as she scurried up a tree. The dog clawed at the base of the maple and barked furiously. The cat stared at the dog, and the barking ceased. With their eyes locked, Sassy climbed down again.
She leaned toward the canine, and the purple mist flowed between them. Quickly, the cat inhaled and the dog fell over. She tilted her head back, and the dark purple moths escaped from her mouth. They fluttered up through the branches and disappeared. I shook my head and walked to the dog.
I stood at the counter of the fast food restaurant as the lunch rush began. I called orders back to the grill. It was mildly chaotic, but we were managing well. Then I heard the voice of Jay Simmons as he placed an order.
“Jim Ross,” he shouted when he saw me. I cringed. “You’re in fast food now?” his booming laugh echoed through the lobby.
“Good to see you,” I lied and felt my face flushing.
“Liar!” he barked. “You’re a lying thief! That’s why I fired you!”
The restaurant manager appeared beside me. He ushered me into the kitchen to end the confrontation. It was humiliating! Simmons ordered and left. Through the afternoon, my boss watched me warily. With Jay’s accusations in his head, any hope for a promotion was gone.
My hatred for Jay had grown exponentially. He had ruined my life! I wanted him to feel as much misery as I did. He had lied about me, and I was suffering for it. That’s when I thought of Sassy.
At the end of my long day, I went home to my sweet wife. We ate supper and cleaned the kitchen together. Julie went to the nursery to rock the baby while I went out to the patio. I called to Sassy and she came to me. She jumped up on my lap, and I patted her smooth black fur.
I was confident that my plan would work. Jay Simmons deserved a horrible end. I had no sympathy for him and there would be no regrets in the end.
Simmons worked late on Tuesday nights, and he drove his car to work that day. He left the office at 7:00 p.m. and took the elevator down to his assigned parking space. I rehearsed my plan and waited.
Tuesday I drove Julie’s car into the city. I left it in a nearby parking garage. Cautiously, I climbed the levels, with Sassy in my arms. She was content. At 7:00 p.m. I was in the shadows near his car.
“Jay!” I called to him as he unlocked the doors.
“Who’s there?”
“It’s me!”
I approached with Sassy. Puzzled, he looked at the cat. As I’d hoped, she stared into his eyes, and he didn’t look away. I held her out and saw the purple mist appear. Sassy inhaled deeply, and Jay fell to his knees.
The cat tilted her head back and the dark moths flew out. She coughed, choking as she tried to rid herself of the last of them. She recovered quickly and I held her tight as I moved into the shadows again. I jumped over the back wall, out of sight from the entrance and exit. In minutes, we were back in the car.
On the morning news, Jay’s death was announced. Police were waiting for the coroner’s report. Suddenly, the enormity of it hit me. I had killed a man! The police would gather evidence and trace it to me. I’d watched enough CSI shows on TV to know I was in trouble.
I worried all day and most of the night. Julie slept beside me and Sassy was curled up at my feet. I found no relief in the rising of the sun.
I was up and outside early, listening to Julie and the baby in the kitchen. When the police arrested me, it would ruin their lives. I had been such a fool!
Sassy worked figure eights, in and around my legs. I scratched between her ears and talked to her. She purred louder, announcing her approval. I sipped my coffee, patted my cat, and agonized over my situation.

Two weeks passed as I waited and worried. Late Monday evening, I sat in front of the TV. The local newscaster announced Jay’s death was not homicide. He was not yet 55 years-old, but his heart simply stopped. The coroner determined it was due to natural causes. What a relief!
In the morning, I rose with the sun. Singing cheerfully, I enjoyed a long shower. My luck was finally changing. Maybe Sassy was my good luck charm. I would have to bring home a tin of sardines for her.
A month eased by and all was well. A second month ticked by and my boss at the auto parts store hinted at a promotion. He was retiring and was recommending me to replace him. My life was getting better every day.
I brought home a carpet covered cat tree for Sassy. Julie objected when I moved her houseplants aside to put it in front of the bay window. Sassy liked to watch people and cars passing the house. Julie would adjust.
With thoughts of Julie’s pot roast I hurried along the sidewalk. When I saw the pale green Cadillac in front of the house, I stopped cold. Julie’s mother had come to visit. Gladys Libby descended like a pack of vultures on a dead body in the desert. Irritated I went straight upstairs.
Gladys invited herself to dinner. We ate out on the patio. It was a warm night, but a breeze stirred the air. Gladys was as unpleasant as ever. Anxiously, we waited for her to tell us why she’d come.
“I don’t want to worry you,” she began. “But my job has been eliminated.”
I knew it! She explained that her job had been eliminated and she had no good prospects. She planned to give up her apartment and move in with us. I couldn’t allow it! She would ruin our lives! Gladys Libby had to go! A smile touched my lips as Sassy pranced across the backyard.
Mercifully, Gladys left early in the evening. She was going home to start packing. In her wake, stress hung in the air. Too soon she would return, and our lives would never be the same.
Julie bought new bedding and the nursery became a guest bedroom. Charlotte’s crib went into our bedroom. Money worries and family friction left me feeling agitated. At work, I was impatient and easily provoked. A surprise visit from the regional manager happened on one of those days.
There was only one way to solve the problem. I needed to get rid of Gladys quickly. She was complicating my life. Somehow Sassy and I would end her and set things right again.
“Jim, could I speak with you?” my manager asked as I restocked the spark plugs on the shelf. I nodded and followed him.
“Is there a problem?” I asked curiously.
“There is,” he nodded and shut the office door. “Mr. Steiner called. He noted that you snapped at a customer.”
“I don’t remember …” I lied, unconvincingly.
“I’m not accusing you, Jim,” he hesitated. “It’s just… he’s rethinking the promotion. He doesn’t feel you’re ready.”
“I can assure you it won’t happen again.”
“It’s out of my hands, Jim,” he told me as he studied his shoes.
“I need that promotion!” I protested.
“I’m sorry. If it were up to me, I’d give do it but...”
Dejected, I slunk back out to the sales floor. With a dozen ideas swirling around in my head, I unpacked a case of windshield wipers. I thought of Sassy frequently. My circumstances were worsening. Gladys was coming, and the idea made me miserable.
Sassy and I would deal with Gladys. Several times she had hinted to Julie that we should get rid of the cat. For me that was reason enough to be done with ol’ Gladys. Then I would resolve the problems with the promotion.
Gladys moved in and made herself at home. She insisted that we move the crib back into her room. Oh, how gracious of her! It would save me from moving it back after she met her untimely death.
Thursday night Julie planned to be out for the evening. Gladys would be home with me. It would be so easy to lure her down to the basement. She would see what Sassy could do. In no time, it would be done.
At the last minute, Gladys decided to go along with Julie. Disappointed, I sat on the patio thinking and worrying. I considered taking Sassy to meet my boss, but that was pointless. The decision was out of his hands. However; the next guy in line for the promotion could be dispatched from this world. Or… the regional manager!
My boss told me that he would give me the promotion if it were up to him. I needed to remove the regional manager and return the decision to my boss! It was so simple I should have seen it sooner! Sassy and I would take care of the regional manager and everything would fall into place. Then we would finish off Gladys.
I sighed, relieved that I had solutions to all of my problems. I called to Sassy. She ran across the damp grass and jumped into my lap. What would I have done if I hadn’t discovered her magical talent? Like Karma in the form of an animal, she made things right again.
Three weeks had gone by before I was able to find the right timing to meet up with Joel Steiner, the regional manager. Every Friday night Joel played poker. It would be so easy! I would wait outside for him with Sassy in my arms.
The 10 o’clock news was over before Gladys and Julie returned. In no time, they were both in bed. Nonchalantly, I prepared to leave. I told Julie to go to sleep without me because I planned to watch a little ESPN. It was a plausible excuse and would have worked if she hadn’t come out to ask me a question.
“Where are you going?” she asked as I stood there with one foot out the door.
“I… I… umm,” she had stumped me. I had no lie prepared and my brain failed me. “Just out,” I told her.
“Out where?”
“Just out.”
“Jim, where?”
I must have looked ridiculous, standing there holding the cat. I racked my brain but couldn’t think of any reason that would explain it all. Julie stared at my face with big expectations.
Uncomfortably, I stepped back inside and closed the door. I locked it and shut off the porch light. Bewilderment creased her brow. I followed her to the bedroom, trying not to show her that I was annoyed.
“Crap, Sassy!” I hissed while Julie was in the bathroom. “We’ll have to wait until next Friday now. First Gladys is underfoot, and now Julie is getting in the way. Too much aggravation,” I grumbled and Sassy licked at my chin with her rough tongue.
Sassy curled up on my feet as she did nightly. Strange dreams left me tossing and turning through the night. Something dark was chasing me and I couldn’t escape it. No matter where I hid, it found me. It was a sinister, unnatural thing.
Bright sunlight flooded the room in the morning. Slowly, I rolled over and stretched. I turned my head and looked at Sassy. She was sitting on Julie’s chest. I was surprised and confused to see her there. She had never done that before, but Julie wasn’t objecting.
I reached for Sassy and she moved toward me. I touched Julie’s arm and it was cool to the touch. An alarm bell sounded in my head. Inside my muddled head, the thoughts spun faster.
Something was wrong, so very wrong. I looked up at the ceiling. Dozens of deep purple moths moved about on the white surface. Sassy licked my chin, and the realization took hold. I gripped my wife’s cold hand and my mouth fell open as the first of horrified screams escaped my lips.

Kim Scott was born in South Carolina and grew up in Scarborough, Maine. She currently lives near the coast in Southern Maine. My pen name used for my Ghost Stories is Lydia North.
Ms. Scott is the author of:
The Ruth Chernock Series
1.Regarding Ruth, 2. In Ruth's Memory, 3. On Grace's Shoulders & 4. Pink Sky & Mourning
The Manning Family Series
1. What Happened to Alex Manning?, 2. Shuttering the Manning House
The Spirits of Maine Series (Pen Name Lydia North)
1. Waiting for Harvey, published under my pen name Lydia North.
2. Lilies in the Clearing is coming August 30th 2014.
3. The Talking Walls is coming in January 2015.
Additional titles coming in 2014 & 2015: 'Plummeting' 'Forgive Me Mattie', 'A Solitary Grave in the Maine Woods' & 'The Talking Walls'.
Contact Info:
Facebook: at &
My website:
By email at:

Erik went into the woods of northern Maine for a vacation. He planned to enjoy three weeks of quiet serenity. But in the cabin nothing was what he expected and his life would never be the same.
As winter settles over the region Erik begins to question whether he will get away from the woods alive.
The woods of Maine belong to the spirits who live there. When the whispering begins... RUN!

This is the sequel to Waiting for Harvey.
Erik Rivard survived his time in the cabin with the ghost of Harvey Cloutier.
Now he's going back to the clearing.
Harvey is a strong Spirit of the Maine Woods.
But this time Erik won't be alone. Can he survive another encounter with Harvey?

Winners posted on FB!