Margo Bond Collins
Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins
When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?
When I died, I expected to go to heaven.
Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.
Instead, I went to Alabama.
Yeah. I know. It’s weird.
I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife–and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.
At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it–ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.
And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.
You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me–I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.
Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.
Not this dead chick, anyway.
As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.
I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists–fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little–clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones–but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.
But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.
Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone.
I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been alive, I might have been able to save her.
If I could have cried real tears, I would have. As it was, I was sobbing hoarsely and calling the man every dirty name I could think of.
I was still cursing as I followed him around the kitchen. First he opened the pantry and pulled out a box of Hefty garbage bags. Then he grabbed a knife out of the block on the counter. And finally, he picked up Molly’s body and carried it to the bathroom.
“Hey,” I said, hurrying after the woman. “Wait up.”
“I know you’re not talking to me,” she said. She stared straight ahead and pushed her cart down the middle of the aisle toward housewares.
“I am talking to you. Look. I know this is really weird, but I need your help.”
“Well, I’m not talking to you. I don’t know what your problem is, but you can take it somewhere else.”
I wanted to reach out and grab her cart, to make her stop and talk to me, but of course I couldn’t. Which gave me an idea.
I scurried out in front of her, planting myself in her path.
“Move,” she said.
“Not until you hear me out. Please?”
She moved her cart to the left. I stepped out to intercept her. She moved to the right. So did I.
“You got some kind of death wish or something?” she asked.
I laughed and shook my head. “If only you knew.”
“I’ve got no time for this,” she said. And she slammed into me with her shopping cart.
At least, that’s what she planned to do.
The shopping cart, however, slid right through me. When it stopped, the basket had sliced cleanly through my midsection. The bottom rack merged with my ankles. From my perspective, it looked like two perfectly solid objects–me and the shopping cart–had melted together. I don’t know what she saw.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.
The woman’s eyes widened, then rolled up into her head as she slumped to the ground in a dead faint.
I bent down to try to wake her up, but no matter how hard I concentrated on making contact, I couldn’t even touch her.
I hate being a ghost.
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.
Connect with Margo
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More books by Margo Bond Collins:
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
Legally Undead Trailer:
Laney Harris didn't want to live in Fairy, Texas. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that “boring” would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.
She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.
Fairy, Texas book trailer:
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Beyond the Count: The Literary Vampire of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
These early literary vampires are sometimes terrifying, at times melodramatic, and occasionally ridiculous, but they are always out for blood—and their vampiric descendants continue to fascinate and captivate us.
Beyond the Count is a collection of vampire stories, plays, and poems from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This collection gives students, scholars, and vampire aficionados the opportunity to examine works often long out of print and to contextualize the development of vampire legend beyond that most famous of literary Counts.