Installment #1

Until I decide on a title for my 50,000 word story, it will be listed as Installment. All 'Installments' are covered by the Creative Commons Copyright-Some rights Reserved.

Chapter 1

"The best thing about loving and being hurt is that you get to know what true love really is. For as gold is tested in fire, and so will love be perfected in pain."

-Marvin Jay M. Torres

Throwing her purse to the floor beside her, Tasha wearily closed the door to her small cottage that lay in the woods. She made her way to the couch in front of the fireplace, plopping into it exhausted from the passing day. She hated her job and her small cottage was painfully lonely since the passing of her boyfriend. They had been engaged to be married with a week to go when that faithful day took him from her, ripping her heart apart. She stood by his side in the hospital as he lay dying, his organs systematically failing, one by one. He had told her then, and she believes it still, that he would look after her even after his physical body failed him. He vowed his spirit would always be near her heart and would protect her for the rest of her days.
Strange things have happen around the cottage since that day, so she can not help but believe his words. There were nights as she drifted to sleep in front of the TV that she could have swore she felt the loving massaging touch of hands upon her shoulders. She would wake with a start when she realized she was supposed to be a lone widow. Still other times she could have swore she placed things in one place, but when she went looking for those items…they had moved. Sometimes only a few feet, other times completely across the cottage. She never saw it happen, never would be looking straight at an object and watch it move like in the horror story movies. She wasn’t that lucky.
One of those incidents happened just that morning. She knew she had placed her keys on the island in the kitchen, but when she went to grab them on her way out the door they were not there. She knew where to look, her thoughts once again drifting to the memory of her beloved. She found them on the key rack by the door, placed there by the phantom spirit of her Fiancée’ still looking after her even in the smallest ways. Sometimes she wished he would just pass through the light, move on and leave her be. The pain of his memory at times was almost too much to bare, her heart would never heal this way; constantly reminded of the love she had lost. How is she ever to find love again with the phantom of her past lover lingering in her cottage?
She had tried to bring a male friend home after a date, but the door slammed in his face without any assistance from her and there was hardly any wind that night. She had apologized profusely, chalking it up to an uneven foundation. He thought nothing of it until strange happenings kept occurring. As they sat down in front of the fireplace to have a bit of a snuggle, she had trouble getting the fire going to set the mood. He had offered to help. He told her as he prepared the logs with expert hands, ‘The secret to getting a nice warm romantic fire going is passion. You have to have a loving intent, but a respectful one because fire has a dual personality. Fire can destroy but out of the destruction comes new life…" His light southern accent was soothing yet provocative at the same time. She enjoyed listening to him as he tried to set the right mood for some passion of their own. But as he struck a match to bring it to the logs as it flamed up, the flames caught within an instant and flared up into a roaring, crackling, hissing monster.
His feet slipped out from under him as he tried to push away from the flaming monster that suddenly and abnormally cropped up from his fireplace preparations. She had jumped after him trying to come to his aid. That was the last straw for him, telling Tasha that he had some things to go and do that he had forgotten about he quickly gathered his coat and headed for the door. He groped for his keys in the coat and not finding them in one pocket he went to the other two pockets. When not finding them in his inside breast pocket he asked befuddled and a little high pitches ‘Where are my keys? I know I put them in my pocket.’ Tasha had asked him if he was sure that he did not drop them on the way in, he said that he was curtain beyond a shadow of a doubt that he placed his keys in his right pocket because he always did. So, knowing that her poltergeist fiancée was probably objecting to the male intruder into his territory, she checked all the usual places that he had placed her keys but she did not find them. She told the then bewildered date that he should check the sidewalk and path they took to the door. She followed him hoping that if he had overlooked them on the ground that she may salvage something of this date and save the evening. He found them, but they were in the ignition of his car and the doors were locked. ‘What the hell is going on?! I know I did not leave them in the ignition…I am not that absent minded!!" Sure enough, when she looked, his keys were in the ignition and checking all the doors, they were indeed all locked. So the only thing she could do now was offer to call a locksmith and hoof the bill.
When he was finally able to get into his car, he barely said a word let alone looking at her. He must of thought her a freak for all the unexplained happenings in that one night. ‘Call me?’ She asked him hopefully, he said sure and then sped off down the long driveway to the rural highway at the bottom of the hill. Coming back inside after her date was scared off, she cursed and yelled into the air.
"Why won’t you let me find love again! I need someone physical to take care of me!! I can’t live like this! You can’t take care of me forever like this! This is not want I want! For gods sake man, move on already!" When she had stomped back into the kitchen to grab a cold one from the fridge, she had heard the sound of something crashing to the floor in the common area. She had found the picture she kept above the fireplace mantel of herself and her fiancée on the floor.
"You’re mad aren’t you? Well good, because so am I!!" She spitted into the air. How ridiculous this felt to her. She was having a fight with a ghost! Why me, she asked herself. Why did things have to end up like this? Why?
That was the last she ever saw of that date from that night. She sighed heavily remembering her last failed date months ago. Instead of a roaring fiery monster from the fireplace, the picture on the mantel kept flying off in different directions each time she replaced it. She finally had to put it into a drawer at her desk on the other side of the room and even that didn’t stop it from rattling unnervingly from inside it. That spooked her date and he ran off without another word. Romance did not seem to be something she could hold on to for very long and she was convinced more and more as the days passed that she was now cursed to live a lonely, depressing life.

Until next time...

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