Reviews for

"McCullough packs a lot into 20 pages and the ending gave me a laugh. I wish there were more stories featuring the same ghost. He's an entertaining guy -- er -- ghost."
-- Pat Browning on Amazon






Now Available in ebook
Category: Paranormal with romantic elements
Length: Short Story
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A Short Halloween Ghost Story

A smart-ass ghost isn’t Trace’s preferred companion at a Halloween party, especially when he really is a ghost and he wants her to deliver a deadly message.





A Short Halloween Ghost Story

Trace Handley hates social events of any kind, but she has reluctantly agreed to go to a Halloween party to deliver an important message. Before she can accomplish the mission, though, she has to identify the intended recipient despite costumes, her own shyness, and the dubious assistance of the source of the instruction. The source is a ghost and he wants her to deliver his message to the man accused of his murder.

Chapter One

"Darling, what a clever outfit."

The speaker, who guarded the door to the party area, wore an expansive, red-velvet medieval gown. Her gigantic cone hat wobbled and threatened to topple over as she ran a dubious glance over Trace's costume, a hooded brown cloak with a mask that left nothing visible of her face but the eyes, outlined in glowing orange.

The woman mustered a smile that probably wasn't any more forced than the several hundred others she'd already conjured. She studied Trace's invitation with almost insulting care before she touched Trace's arm and invited her to join the festivities.

"Do come in and enjoy yourself."

Trace nodded, although enjoyment wasn't high on her agenda for the evening, and moved to the side of the room where she could scan the other guests. Her ghostly companion perched on a table beside her and crossed his legs.

'Darling, what a clever outfit,' the ghost mimicked. "Clever? I'll bet she hasn't seen Star Wars even once. Wouldn't know a Jawa if it bit her on the leg."

"I wonder what she made of him, then." Trace nodded toward a tall, well-built man in a Boba Fett suit and helmet. He was talking with an overweight Robin Hood.

"The knight in rusty armor's got a funny nose?" the ghost suggested, while checking out the room himself. In a ballroom crowded with a couple of hundred people that took a while. "Oh, oh, look over there," the ghost said. "That Little Red Riding Hood will have every big bad wolf in the place running for cover. Whoa, and check it out: Mr. Mayor and wife as Dorothy and the Tin Man. Watch out for flying monkey business."

"Enough," Trace said. The combined aromas of food, drinks and too many different, expensive fragrances rolled over her and made her dizzy. "Just point me toward this guy you want me to find and let's get this over with."

"Give me a break," the ghost pleaded. "I haven't been out in company for a while. Can't I enjoy myself a little?"

"You can enjoy yourself all you want--after we've delivered your message. You were the one said we wouldn't have much time, that he'd leave before the midnight unmasking. It's after ten now. So point this guy, Jeff, out to me."

"Can't do. And, hey, I'm not the one who made us late, the one that kept vacillating about coming."

"What do you mean, 'can't do?' You said we'd come here and find him, deliver the message and leave. I thought I made it clear how I feel about affairs like this."

"Something about shoveling out the barn with a tablespoon, as I recall," the ghost muttered. "Party pooper."

"Only when I get blackmailed into attending. Why can't you find him?"

The ghost slid out of the way of a woman preparing to set her drink down on the table. "A bit more observation, darling. Halloween party--costumes, masks..."

"Oddly, I had noticed. I just thought you might recognize him, even in costume. So how do we find him?"

"Start talking," the ghost suggested. "Half the people here would know him. And his voice is distinctive, even if his face is hidden."

"What am I supposed to say? Hello, have you seen Jeff Stanton lately? You know, the guy they tried for murder last year? The one they didn't have enough evidence to convict? Oh, and, by the way, if you run into Jack the Ripper, I'd love to have a word with him, too."

The ghost shook his head. "Small talk, love. Surely you've heard of it?"

"Heard of. Have no talent for."

He sighed. "Start with 'Hi, how are you?'"

"Got that part. It's the next line, after he says, 'fine,' and we both agree that the weather's great but the lawn needs rain, that I have trouble with."

"Look." The ghost pointed to a man standing near the bar. "Right there. Someone you can tackle. He's looking for company. Get over there and work him."