- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.UVsgb4Gv.dpuf Erin's Alter Ego Writes Books: May 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013

NYC Midnight Round 2

So, in between everything that's been happening, I've been involved in a short story contest over at NYC Midnight. It started out with 850 writers, the weekend Chris and I were in Wellington. I nearly forgot about it until the day before it was due. I made it into the second round with my story entitled Glassical Music. Then, when Chris and I were in Queenstown, I got the 2nd round brief and I had to write a short story in 3 days. That was fun. I'll post it here for you guys to enjoy. The feedback I got from the judges was great. And it got me into Round 3 - the Finals. I'll elaborate on that late. But until then, here's Round 2.

I hope you'll like it too. :)

Electric Love

 I love her.
The feeling is intense and all-consuming, like a crushing weight on my soul. She is my soul mate. And I am hers. Even though she doesn't know it yet. It's a match made in Heaven, even though you might say that I belong in Hell.
She works as a tour guide at the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, where she tells school children all the “don'ts” to stay out of prison: Don't steal. Don't do drugs. And most of all, don't murder anyone.
That's the best part about her lecture – she gets to show them Old Sparky, the decommissioned electric chair. The kids watch her as she describes the past Death Row inmates who died in this twisted piece of metal and wood. There are the notorious ones, the serial killers who raped and murdered more women and men than they can remember. There are some who have killed just a single person. And some who were completely innocent.
But Old Sparky doesn't care. When you flip that switch, he fries the life out of whatever unfortunate soul is sitting there. For such a flippant name, the damn chair is an undiscerning bastard.
The kids are always fascinated. Some think it's cool. Some are frightened by the possibilities of a chair like this. A piece of their innocence is forever lost, like looking at this chair gives them a glimpse into the fabric of life and death. Maybe one or two of them make a conscious decision not to end up in a similar situation.
But most will forget about it as soon as their teacher passes out lunch, usually comprising of smushed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watered-down juice. Their lives will move on, and they'll forget this little tour.
But not me. I am forever left alone with Old Sparky.
It was decommissioned in 1976 when there was an uproar over the fact that it took three tries for death to finally claim its last victim.
And I've been haunting this electric chair ever since.
After 37 years, I've forgiven Old Sparky for our rough first meeting. I mean, I wasn't innocent. Not by a long shot, so maybe three tries to make my heart explode in my chest was a bit of retribution. Because without my unwavering connection to it, I might have never met her.
I don't know when it started, my search for the perfect girlfriend. It might have been just after I started working as an electrician. I've always been a lonely kind of guy. Girls never noticed me, and I never knew how to approach them.
As an electrician though, I was someone they trusted to enter their homes and lives. They would smile at me when I first arrived. They would offer me water while I worked. Some would chat. And they would all give me a handshake and say they'd call again if they needed any help.
I saw them quite a few times over the years.
Problem is, I'd get fixated on one. I'd repair the electrical faults in her house. I would make sure that the job would take several days. We'd end up talking to each other – and I mean really talk during my breaks. I'd learn a lot about what she liked and all her dreams.
With the first one, I had made the mistake of telling her my dream. That I wanted us to be together for the rest of our lives. That I always wanted her there at the house to welcome me. To love me.
She laughed and told me she was already married. That it was impossible for any of that to happen.
Instead of just moving on, something inside me had snapped. If we couldn't be together, then she couldn't be with anyone.
I botched the repair job, not so much as to be obvious about what happened. Just enough so that something would happen. And a few weeks later, when the house burned down to the ground with the bitch and her husband inside, the police never suspected a thing.
I was free of her love spell and continued my work.
The thing was, I always found another girl to fall in love with. And even though I was so courteous to spend my time repairing their electric wiring, they never reciprocated my feelings.
So I made sure they were never able to reciprocate those feelings with anyone else.
I started small, doing similar hack jobs that guaranteed the house would burn down at some point. Amazingly, the police never caught on that all the victims had the same electrician.
So I got more ambitious. I wanted my unrequited loves to suffer even more. Their pain filled the hole in my heart, if only temporarily. I made sure fires would start in different places, so as to avoid suspicion. I went bigger and bigger, until the house was literally a ticking time bomb ready to go off with a bang.
They never got away either. As my star-crossed lover, each one was doomed to die when their house finally gave in to the faulty wiring. Their homes became their funeral pyres.
But when my eleventh love died, someone at the police station finally connected the dots. I was arrested amid a flurry of media frenzy. They pegged me as a serial killer, ranking me up there with the likes of John Haigh, Ted Bundy, even Jack the Ripper. I freely admitted that I killed them as well. After all, they deserved it for not loving me back.
Fittingly, the newspapers called me The Electrician, and I became the most hated man in America.
You can imagine the sheer irony that the electric chair that executed me had faulty wiring and required not one, not two, but three tries to finally do me in. Some said I deserved it. Others were just glad that I was finally dead. But the state was so embarrassed, they finally decommissioned Old Sparky.
So we've been sitting together in this museum for years. Time was just ticking by without anyone noticing us. I thought I was doomed to never be happy again. And maybe that's an appropriate punishment for someone like me.
But no, God has finally smiled upon me with forgiveness by bringing my museum tour guide to me. Unlike the other girls I've fallen in love with, she's smart, funny, good with kids, and absolutely beautiful. This angel has restored purpose to my Afterlife. She gives me reason for being. It makes sense that everything before was just leading up to our meeting. If I hadn't killed eleven other girls, I never would have been executed, which means I never would have been haunting Old Sparky. And I would have never seen her shining face.
I can think of nothing else but being with her. I am obsessed with the thought of us finally being together.
But how can we, when she doesn't know I exist?
I've been pondering that for quite a while now. How can I make her finally see me? How does a ghost make a living girl fall in love with them?
I don't want to show myself to her while she was giving a tour, which, sadly, is really my only contact with her. I want us to be alone together, where we'll talk and laugh and share everything we loved about each other.
I am sitting on Old Sparky thinking of ways and alternatives, when suddenly, there she was. After closing time and without a tour.
I look up, astonished that this Aphrodite created just for me is here, now, with me. I get up quickly to dust off my pants and make sure my hair is parted correctly. It's an outdated style by now, but it had been all the rage back when I was alive.
She's not even looking at me. She's on her hands and knees, searching around the benches and around the trash cans, but I don't know why. At this point I don't really care. I just want her to see me and love me.
She picks something up in her hands – I've seen the kids with them before. “Hey Josh!” she calls out in to the hallway. “Tell Mrs. Anderson I've found her son's iPhone!” She gives it another dubious glance.
A muffled voice answers from down the hall, sounding genuinely amused, although I can't make out the words.
“Stupid kids don't take care of their stuff,” she adds under her breath.
She sits back on her heels and takes another glance around the place and her eyes linger on Old Sparky. I sure wish they'd linger on me.
“Such a creepy place,” she mutters. “I really need to get a new job.”
Now's my chance. I get near her. I don't want to scare her – after all, I am a ghost – but I don't want this opportunity to pass us by.
She shivers perceptibly as the air chills around her from my presence. She tries to rub warmth back into her arms. But I know she won't be able to get warm with me around her. That's okay though – she'll learn to like the cold because that means she'll be around me.
“My love,” I whisper in her ear.
She jerks at my voice, falling on her wonderful butt. She has gone pale, frightened. Her short, panicked breaths are coming out in short bursts of white clouds.
“Wh-who's there?” she calls out. I give her her space. She's freaked out now, and I don't want to ruin my first impression. I'll let her calm down.
“Josh, is that you?” she cries out. “Samantha?”
When there's no answer, she scrambles to her feet and looks around wildly. I realize, too late, that she's about to leave. She'll run away from me, and if she's scared enough, there's no way she'll ever be back in here by herself again.
“I'm here,” I tell her.
I reach out to touch her, to comfort her and tell her that everything is all right. But as my hand touches her bare skin, electricity arcs between us, sending a jolt down to her skin. She jumps back with a shriek.
There's nothing else I can do. I grab her into a tight embrace, meaning to comfort her and tell her that everything is all right. Electricity shocks her again, and this time, it's her entire body. I can't stop the shocks. But I can hold her to show my love transcends death for her.
She screams with the horror of someone whose world has just been shattered. “Th-th-the Elect...rician?!”
Initially, I'm surprised that she knows who I am. I guess the sparks between us give my identity away. But before I can do anything, she runs out of Old Sparky's room, looking like she had just seen a ghost. Me.

She won't ever return.
It takes me a while to realize this, but after patiently waiting a few months, I am forced to admit that she was too frightened to stick around. The tours continue without their guide. Instead, some guy is filling in until they can find a permanent replacement.
It breaks my heart at first. All I ever wanted to do was to make her love me and give my Afterlife meaning. I eventually get over it though, because life goes on, even when you're dead. The sting goes away, and I go back to my lonely existence with Old Sparky.
My only regret is that I didn't kill her.
Someone new starts conducting the tours in her place. And as I watched this new girl teach new rounds of school kids about Old Sparky, I realize that here is a girl I could finally see myself with.
I learn to love her.
She is my soul mate.
And I am hers.
Even though she doesn't know it yet.