“A readers’ advisory for this collection of
nine stories forecasts widely scattered ghosts with a chance of rain. Caution
is urged at the following uncertain places: an abandoned mental hospital, the
woods behind a pleasant subdivision, a small fishing village, a mountain lake,
a long-closed theater undergoing restoration, a feared bridge over a swampy
river, a historic district street at dusk, the bedroom of a girl who waited
until the last minute to write her book report from an allegedly dead author,
and the woods near a conjure woman’s house.
In effect from the words ‘light of the harvest moon was brilliant’
until the last phrase ‘forever rest in peace,’ this advisory includes—but may
not be limited to—the Florida Panhandle, northwest Montana, central Illinois,
and eastern Missouri.”
“Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism and fantasy…His
work has appeared in The Lascaux Prize
2014 Anthology, Spirits of St. Louis:
Missouri Ghost Stories Anthology, ‘Quail Bell Magazine,’ ‘A View inside
Glacier National Park: 100 years, 100 Stories,’ ‘Future Earth Magazine,’ ‘The
Smoking Poet Magazine,’ ‘Nonprofit World Magazine,’ ‘Nostalgia Magazine,’ and
‘Living Jackson Magazine.’
His fantasy novels were inspired by Glacier Park Montana where he
worked as a bellman and from a tour of duty aboard an aircraft carrier during
the Vietnam War.
He grew up in the Florida Panhandle, a wondrous place often called
‘the other Florida’ and ‘the forgotten coast,’ that was the perfect environment
for growing up and learning about writing and magical realism.”
Scattered Ghosts begins with Moonlight
and Ghosts: A couple visits an old abandoned mental hospital and
development center at night, to quell some troubling dreams. This story draws
you in quickly and kept me on tenterhooks until the very end. It had the right
amount of tension to be spooky and just enough heart to leave a smile on my
Map Maker: Emily
is a seventh-grade girl who sees and communes with spirits. She enjoys
exploring in the woods behind her family’s house and her territory has expanded
to the abandoned ruins of an estate. Her father, Martin (a civil engineer) made
her a personal, poster-sized street map of the area and she enjoys adding her
own personal touches. The woods behind her house, which the abandoned estate
sits on, she has named The Ancient and Sacred Forest on her map. Her father
tells her that area is in danger of being bulldozed and sold off as lots for a
Sweetbay Magnolia: Emily
is visiting her grandmother, who lives a few blocks away. Granny is missing her
almost forever home down by the river. Later that day Emily accompanies her
father to an out of town meeting. The conversation between father and daughter
is engaging, entertaining, and humorous. Father leaves Emily with the truck and
keys to enjoy the river and the dock as he goes to his meeting. It’s twilight
and foggy which is ripe for ghosts and spirits who reveal some intimate family
secrets about granny’s past. The story is compelling and engaging.
County Painter: Emily’s family takes a vacation to a mountain
resort with a lake and hiking trails. Emily communes with nature spirits and
learns a little magic. It’s a little unclear if this is a dream or actually
happened. It’s a fun story.
House Ghosts: This is a hoot of an adventure that includes
its own ghost story. Emily’s father is helping with the restoration of an old
opera house. So, while he is away with meetings, we finally get to spend some
time with Emily’s mom, Sarah, as they explore the old unique theater with lots of
history and colorful spirits. Emily is growing into her own, she is fourteen in
this story and refuses to take guff from anyone, alive or dead.
Crossing: A spirit is awakened on a haunted bridge to aid a young woman. This
is a gripping tale with some unsuspecting friends who get lost in the heavy
fog. John and Randy end up with quite a tale to tell if they dare.
of the Blue Hour: A spirit story of a different kind. The story
starts out a little puzzling as we are brought up to speed of a spirit running
amok. A heartwarming tale of one soul of a tragedy. Don’t tell anyone, but,
Kenneth has a little crush on Melinda.
I Presume: Prudence Lowe is a college student living at home. She needs to read
the book she has chosen and write a book report on it which is due the
following day. When the blowing snow knocks out the electricity strange things
start happening in her room. It just so happens that the author of the book she
chose to read used to live down the street and around the corner when she was
alive. There is a rumor that the author actually channeled a spirit for her
stories. Prudence’s interest is piqued beyond being prudent. The characters are
engaging, entertaining, and a little spooky.
the Woods: This story is told by Lena, mostly. Eulalie is fit to be tied. It
shouldn’t take Willie all afternoon to get a quart of milk from the Mercantile.
The haints are flying since the graveyard has been relocated. When Pollyanna
shows up with a crate full of bridal shower gifts for Eulalie, since there was
no bridal shower. While sitting on the back porch, Pollyanna and Eulalie get
soused on Eulalie’s best moonshine. Since Eulalie needs a distraction from her
anger the crate of gifts turns out to be the perfect solution. The crate and
Pollyanna worked its magic, and Eulalie declared Pollyanna down right shameful.
Some of these short stories have been previously published, but are
now out of print.
word count: 40-45,000 words