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Marley - The Other Christmas Carol [MultiFormat]
eBook by DONALD ALLEN KIRCH

eBook Category: Suspense/Thriller/Fantasy
eBook Description: Damned!

Marley's soul was lost, doomed to wander among the ranks of humanity, generation after generation, without the powers to be humane. The curse of his chains was a heavy one, and there were many a time in which he found the weight of said chains to be unbearable. So this must be perfectly understood: Marley was without hope.

Marley's lot was indeed a sad one. Misery was his meat, and despair was his drink. Nothing of the earth was his except for the cold fingers of the grave. And it was there that Marley would never retreat. The grave was death! Marley had no powers such as those given to other earth-bound spirits. He was a wraith -- a wanderer. However, upon saving the soul of a dear friend, he was given a haunting. In this haunting, Marley's powers could not be equaled. However, one foot off the haunting's property, and his soul would find itself in endless damnation.

Marley found himself trapped, staring out a window, into an ever-changing world. A world he would never again become a part of. A world of love, laughter, sorrow, and pain, he would always be a stranger to.

Waiting and waiting. Hoping to prove himself worthy.

eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, Published: Double Dragon Publishing, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2011




PROLOGUE

* * * *

Marley's soul was lost, doomed to wander among the ranks of humanity, generation after generation, without the powers to be humane. The curse of his chains was a heavy one, and there was many a time in which he found the weight of said chains to be unbearable. So this must be perfectly understood; Marley was without hope.

Marley's lot was indeed a sad one. Misery was his meat, and despair was his drink. Nothing of the earth was his except for the cold fingers of the grave. And it was there that Marley would never retreat. The grave was death!

Marley had no powers such as those given to other earth-bound spirits. He was a wraith -- a wanderer. However, upon saving the soul of a dear friend, he was given a haunting. In this haunting, Marley's powers could not be equaled. However, one foot off the haunting's property, and his soul would find itself in endless damnation.

Marley found himself trapped, staring out a window, into an ever-changing world, a world he would never again become a part of. A world of love, laughter, sorrow, and pain, he would always be a stranger to. Waiting and waiting. Hoping to prove him worthy.

* * * *
* * * *

STAVE ONE

The house was infamous, and there were stories. God, were there stories.

One told of a bookkeeper said to be among one of the original owners, who had an experience with spirits that changed his life overnight. Another dealt with a crippled man, during the First World War, who constantly complained of rattling chains in his attic. In his ownership, he never once had a decent night's sleep.

The house had a reputation, and it came as a shock that a family of Americans were about to move in. Americans!

Kathy Kringle loved an adventure. Not in her wildest dreams did she ever think that she would be moving to England.

She jumped from her seat, holding onto her Manny Mouse doll, leaving the moving van, and started heading off toward her new home. What an adventure! Not only was she moving into a new home, she was moving into a new country. Strange things met her at every turn. Different things. Things she couldn't understand, such as why the English drove their cars on the wrong side of the road. She made a mental note storing it for later. Kathy thought it was her duty, when she found the time, to write a letter to the King of England, helping to correct that mistake. Cars belonged on the right side of the road, not the left.

Kathy looked down at her doll, which really never left her sight, and asked, "What do you think, Manny?"

Manny appeared to be completely indifferent to the whole affair.

"I know what you're thinking," Kathy continued. "But Dad's a good painter. After a few coats of paint, the house will look as good as new." She paused, smiling with relief. "We're home."

And what a home it was.

Not at all like the studio apartment she knew back in Los Angeles, California.

This house was a castle. Two stories tall, with an attic. The house was huge. Dim oblong windows, wooden peaks, and heavy iron gates greeted her curious eyes with an empty stare.

"Jeez!" Kathy mused.

Two doors slammed shut behind Kathy.

"Kathy, don't get dirty."

"Okay, Mom." Kathy tucked Manny under her arm and started to rush off toward her new home. Kathy rolled her eyes, thinking that her mother was too protective. "Mothers," She muttered.

Dan Kringle watched with fatherly pride as his daughter darted off through the knee-high snow, wishing to explore her new world. His daughter's red scarf bobbed up and down, dragging between bright yellow snow boots, as she disappeared from sight.

"Sure beats Los Angeles," he said.

Dan watched his wife, Beverly, as she thoughtfully watched out for her daughter. Dan had made the move because of his wife's advance in her law firm, but most of all, he moved to London because this is where he wanted to write. His wife had other plans.

"Kathy, you watch yourself," Beverly ordered. "No telling what's around here."

Dan shook his head quietly. Beverly was always paranoid.

"You don't honestly think she'd get hurt, do you?"

Beverly gave her husband a sharp look. Too much coffee and not enough sleep had made her somewhat of a grouch. Dan knew he was in store for one hell of a house warming.

"To hell with the hurt," Beverly corrected. "I'm more worried about her clothes. Damn brat's growing faster than our bank accounts. Can't seem to keep up with her, that's all."

"Ahh, the joys of motherhood," Dan joked.

"Funny, Dan."

"What do you want out of life, anyway?" Dan laughed. "Happiness?"

"No," Beverly assured. "Just a good back rub."

Dan's smile slowly left his face, his ego bruised. He watched his wife walk back to the rear of their moving van, opening the doors. Never taking her eyes off her husband, Beverly grabbed a medium-sized box and started to head towards their new home.

"Corporate lawyers," Dan grumbled.

"That's right," Beverly said with a huff. "Start carrying boxes before I sue."

Dan gave his wife a playful slap on the backside before he started grabbing boxes. "See if I rub your back anymore."

"Ten bucks says that you will," Beverly challenged.

"Give me fifteen and I'll consider it."

"You'll regret saying that," she warned, teasing Dan with her eyes.

Dan, raising his hands in surrender, said, "Hon, I was just joking."

Beverly shook her head in disbelief and headed toward the house. "Writers," she growled.

"No back rubbing tonight." Dan concluded, making a face.

Toying around with several boxes in the back of the van, debating on which one to carry first, Dan knew that he shouldn't have been joking with his wife. He was already walking on thin ice, not to mention, being in the proverbial dog house.

Back in Los Angeles, trying to make ends meet, Beverly had been overjoyed to learn of her law firm's desire to transfer her to London. The money was good, the location exotic, and it would finally take Dan's ambitions to where he wanted to go. It was all too perfect.

Then there was the day before the flight. The day Beverly told Dan about the job.

"It's a great job, Dan," Beverly praised, sounding almost as convincing as an overzealous car salesman. "My new boss is in need of a legal secretary. I informed him of your previous clerking skills, of your writing abilities, and he was hooked. What do you think?"


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