Covenant Novel Chapters: Stevie Rigby’s Preface

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I’d taken a break from writing to reevaluate my planned project. Maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist Virgo, maybe it’s because I care so deeply for this work and these characters (I know they’re characters, not real people, but still), but I wanted to be certain of the work’s direction before I went any further. I have made some basic changes that filled in some plot holes the previous version had. So now I start over, with a more sound story. I’ll share some of it, starting with this post, the preface written in Stephanie “Stevie” Rigby’s point of view. It’s been edited, but will likely be edited more. I just thought I’d share this, and future chapters, because I’m a proud Mama.

 

Preface

 

In my career as a Parapsychologist, I’ve built a reputation for honesty, integrity, and a thorough, objective examination of the facts that can be backed up by sound scientific examination. There is one case, however, that continues to give my detractors ammunition to try to discredit all of my hard work. That case is the experience that led me to my chosen profession. It’s more than just a profession, it’s a vocation, an all-encompassing vocation that defines every pursuit in my life. It’s not something I take lightly, nor is it merely a tool to gain attention and/or monetary gain. When one experiences the paranormal, and all logical reasoning, as we know it, cannot explain it, it’s anything but a ploy to get attention or make a buck. When it’s genuine, one typically wants it to go away, not remain in a situation where one is hounded by terrifying encounters with beings powerful yet unknown. Granted, there have been hoaxes, and many paranormal occurrences can be explained, but for those that defy explanation, those targeted by said occurrences just want to be left in peace. It’s my job to not only separate the explainable from the genuinely paranormal, but, more than that, it’s to help those experiencing the phenomena understand what is happening and find resolution, because I know what it’s like to be that person who is terrified not only of the paranormal event, but also of the backlash, the mocking, the disregard of those who claim to have accurate knowledge of the event, despite the fact they have no first-hand knowledge.

In case you, as the reader, are unaware, the event I’m referring to, the event that led me to the path I now travel, is what I’m about to relay. I know there are others who have weighed in, who have attempted to discredit my account, for their own reasons, and I have declined to comment on their opinions. I have not disclosed my own account, in its entirety, not because I have anything to hide, but because it’s an event I didn’t fully understand. I’m still not sure how it could be possible, but one thing I have learned is sometimes just because we, in our present wisdom and understanding, haven’t caught up to a possibility, that doesn’t make it any less genuine or credible.

This account is my own experience as I documented it at the time. Because I made these notes for myself, I will not repeat them, as written, because most of what I wrote is in my own shorthand that readers might not understand as intended. Because of this, I will not waiver from the notes, the documentation I made at the time, but I will write them down in a way so others can understand. Please understand that I will not change anything, even to spare my own ego, nor will I “make things up.” I’ll simply document, like someone taking dictation for another, though I will take dictation for my seventeen-year-old self, my experience. I know what I say will contradict others who, I acknowledge, were also there, but I cannot answer for them and their motivations. I will, however, include their documented accounts, as a matter of integrity on my part. I will include, in my own account, what was shared with me by people whose perceptions and motivations I trust. I do this with their permission.

I do not assume, nor do I expect, everyone who reads this will believe me. That is why I include others witnesses’ accounts. Read for yourself. Make up your own minds.

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Short Story Time: “Ghosts”

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Ghosts

by

Angela Shafer

 

“Stevie, why do you think there are ghosts?”

Stephanie Rigby shrugged.

Emma stared at Stevie for a moment while she absently ran her fingers through her Barbie doll’s long blonde, yet easily tangled, hair.

“I think when someone dies on a cloudy day, they try to go to heaven but hit their heads on the clouds and come back down here.”

“That’s dumb,” Stevie drawled. Still, she stole a look up at the spreading clouds, a question in her eyes.

Emma looked at her Barbie, then at the Ken doll on the porch by Stevie’s leg.

“Stevie, what do you think your husband will look like?”

Stevie looked up at Emma, her head cocked, her mouth a little open. She looked like she had so many things to say, she said nothing…for a moment. Then,

“I thought we were gonna get married.”

Emma let out a dramatic sigh.

“I told Mama I was gonna marry you, but she started crying.”

Emma looked at Stevie, who now looked at little ready to cry herself. Emma looked back down at her Barbie and continued.

“She told Daddy what I said and he got real mad. He said girls don’t marry girls. He said girls only marry boys because girls only want to be with boys forever.”

“But don’t you wanna be with me forever?”

“Yeah.” Emma looked at the empty sidewalk. A pickup truck with stray dogs in the bed drove past on the street. Bubba Coleman shot her a glare from the driver’s seat.

“Then what’s wrong? Don’t you marry the person you wanna be with forever?”

“Mama said if I say it again they won’t let me play with you.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, Stevie!”

The bright pink spot came up between Stevie’s eyes. She was upset, Emma knew. Emma reached out and put her fingertip on the spot. Stevie looked down. She sniffled. Emma drew her hand away and tossed her Barbie aside. She put her hands on Stevie’s.

“We can get married. We just won’t tell Mama or Daddy.”

“But who’s gonna walk you down the aisle? Shouldn’t your Dad do that?” Stevie look up, into her eyes. Emma was always so jealous of Stevie’s eyes. They were green in the middle and brown on the outside with a blue line around the round part. Emma wished she had eyes that were more than one color. Hers were just brown. Her mama called them “mocha,” whatever that means. To her, they were just brown. How boring.

Emma shrugged. “You don’t have a daddy to walk you down the aisle, so maybe I won’t have one, either.”

Stevie smiled. She lost her two front teeth the other day and the boys called her “snaggle tooth.” They laughed like snaggle tooth meant something. Boys are so stupid.

Emma pulled a magazine out of her bag. Her mama would be so mad if she knew she had a magazine with half-naked women in it, but they were so pretty. Emma wanted to look like them when she grew up. Stevie’s eyes lit up when she saw it.

“Is that the new one?”

“Yep, hot off the presses.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know.” Emma opened the magazine.

Stevie scooted over to sit beside her. Emma shared the magazine. She looked at Stevie as she talked about taking pictures like that someday. She thought of how she’d love to be one of these pretty ladies so Stevie would take her picture.

“I think it’s sad,” Stevie said, her eyes not leaving the page.

“What’s sad?”

Stevie looked up at the clouds again.

“Ghosts.”

“Oh.” Emma hardly remembered her question from before.

“I’d hate to have to stay here without any friends.”

“Me, too.”

“It’s sad.”

“Yeah.”

Emma slipped her hand under the open magazine and found Stevie’s hand. Their hands entwined under the magazine, so only they knew, and they spent the afternoon looking at pretty pictures of pretty ladies in their own little corner of the universe, where no one had to know.