Thursday, October 17, 2013

#14 HAUNTED EVER AFTER -Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Name: Carol Ayer
Title: Haunted Ever After
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery

75 word pitch: Sure, Ashling owns a fairytale park. But she hardly has a fairytale life. She's still mourning her late boyfriend, and the park is floundering. She might have to sell StoryWorld to a theme park conglomerate. To make matters worse, her dead grandfather is haunting StoryWorld, and he's not the friendliest of ghosts. Can she protect herself and her loved ones, from both her ghost and a still-living threat who's bent on stopping the sale?

First 500 words:
I craned my neck to look up into the giant's face. “I'm tired of this. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna sell.”

The giant had no counter-argument. Neither did the beanstalk nor Jack himself.

I sighed. It was way past time to go home, and the late September sun was already setting in a picturesque manner behind Rapunzel's Castle, with brilliant reds and oranges blazing across the sky. If I'd been in a better mood, I might have stayed to enjoy the show. 

On the drive home, I reviewed my circumstances. My fairytale park was seventeen thousand dollars in the red. If I didn't turn things around, I'd have to file for bankruptcy. The answer seemed clear. I should accept the offer and sell StoryWorld to the ThrillsLand conglomerate. Then I could go home, lock my door, and never come out. An idea had never seemed so appealing. Unfortunately, the repercussions wouldn't be nearly so pleasant.

I wished I were on my way to Freddy's Diner, where Jamie and I had often met for dinner after work. I could spill out my troubles and feel the safety of his reassurances. We'd splurge and order a huge dessert to share. I still couldn't believe we would never do that again. 

The crying came easily, the grief as familiar to me as the park I would soon sell. I finally had to pull over when I couldn't see through my tears.

I arrived home at last, too tired to even eat. Still wearing my jeans and StoryWorld tee shirt, and with mascara staining my cheeks, I fell into bed. I only removed my running shoes.

After a night of waking every couple of hours and struggling to return to sleep, I finally got up at five. I showered, dressed, and downed four cups of my “gourmet” instant coffee while standing at the kitchen counter looking out at the weeds in my backyard. I took note of the fact that I was now out of coffee. I also took note of the fact that I couldn't afford to buy more. At least I was now clean and caffeinated, and able to make my final decision. I would call Scott at ThrillsLand exactly at nine-thirty--the time he'd told me he always arrived--and tell him I was ready to sell.

I spent the first two and a half hours at work drawing up the staff schedule for the coming week, aiming as usual to be fair to everyone. The most sought-after positions were the castle--the entrance to the park--and the frog-shaped customer service center; the least sought-after, the Black Beauty pony ride and the Blue Fairy Ferris wheel. I wondered how soon the sale would be finalized. It would probably take a while. I set up a tentative schedule for the next three weeks.

Just before the staff arrived, I took my morning tour around the grounds.

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