Welcome to Day 5 of our 2012 Coffin Hop Blog tour six-day book giveaway. Each day, we’re giving away three trade paperback copies to three lucky readers, a different Nightscape Press title each day. “Turn Halloween into Hallo-WIN with Nightscape Press!”
Today’s title is Nightscape Press’s fifth release, Sunfall Manor by Peter Giglio.
(Rafflecopter giveaway is at the bottom of the post)
Edgar is a ghost cursed to spend his nights at Sunfall Manor, an apartment complex that was once a farmhouse in the flatlands of Nebraska. Every night he must move through five different dwellings, haunted by the living—a drunken and paranoid writer, an abused housewife, a colder-than-ice web-mistress, a two-bit drug dealer, and a crazy old man who plays with puppets—trying to unlock the secrets of who he is. But tonight is different. The lost souls of Sunfall Manor are ready to give up the ghost, and the past is ready to open its cold, unforgiving arms.
“Sunfall Manor is a gem of a story that reminds me of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio…vignettes of lives lived and lost with touches of sadness, regret, and vengeance. A tale sure to send more than a few shivers up your spine…and your soul.”
-Rick Hautala, author of Indian Summer and Little Brothers
“A lesser thinker might have been content with a haunted house story. A lesser storyteller might have been content with a tale of discovery, or perhaps of ghostly revenge. But Peter Giglio has more up his sleeve than ghosts and creepy old houses. He’s even got more than mere philosophy.”
-Bram Stoker Award-winning author Joe McKinney,from his introduction
“Let Peter Giglio’s odd protagonist, Edgar, take you on a surreal tour of the mysterious Sunfall Manor with its intriguing but flawed residents. Giglio’s prose is highly accessible and very engaging, his story line equally compelling. This is Giglio playing at the top of his game, shooting and making all 3s. Highly recommended.”
-Gene O’Neill, author of The Burden of Indigo and Operation Rhinoceros Hornbill
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
The Girl With Many Names
Above her futon is a colorful poster of New York City. Above her toilet, it’s Los Angeles. Through her large floor-to-ceiling windows, in a room that’s noticeably not of a piece with the house’s original construction, a moonlit cornfield sways. The girl’s space looks like it’s meant for plants, hooks all over the vaulted ceiling. But she had no plants—they would only wilt in her presence—and she never grows.
She’s dark. Not just her makeup, always on even though she never leaves, at least not at night, which seems like it would be her time. Why she lives in a converted sunroom is beyond Edgar. She’s beyond Edgar. And far more ghostly.
She’s in a fetal position in front of the television, watching a show that chronicles a group of struggling models. She likes—or at least watches—reality programs, particularly those that focus on models or actresses or rich socialites. Although the room isn’t cold, she’s swaddled in winter clothes and thick blankets. She shakes like a junkie, but she doesn’t do drugs, at least not the kind that one smokes or snorts or shoots up.
Her drug is the world online. When she’s not in front of the television, usually in the small hours of morning, she, the only resident of Sunfall Manor with an Internet connection, is on a website called FriendSpace. She has twenty or more accounts, each with a different profile picture (none of them her) and a different name. Edgar’s not even sure what her real name is. The mail strewn across the kitchen table is addressed to many: Beth Johnson, Lyle Anderson, Kayla Sterling… On her nightstand, next to the futon, are three driver’s licenses from different states, none of them Nebraska, each reflecting a unique identity.
Edgar first thought the girl was running from something, but she makes her face seen too much for that to be the case. Once a week, three gray-haired men come over. They bring cameras and groceries and money. She fucks them for hours, and they take turns capturing it all on video, available to monthly subscribers on a website called Old Dicks in Young Chicks.
There are no shades or draperies in front of her windows. Anyone walking past can see her in action, but no one ever does. The men sometimes question her lack of discretion, but she just waves off the concern.
She never talks to the men or on camera. In fact, Edgar’s never heard her speak. She just does her business, which she doesn’t appear to enjoy or detest, takes their money, and gives them a grocery list of things she needs next week.
Maybe she can’t speak. But Edgar doesn’t buy that. He suspects that she chooses not to.
The show ends and she turns off the TV. Edgar follows her to the computer, the FriendSpace page already up. She has more than a hundred new notifications from people all over the country.
Get well soon. =)
Sorry to hear about your daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
*Hugs* Keep your faith in God. It’ll get better.
The messages go on and on like that. And she takes her time replying to each of them.
Thank you so much. Knowing I have friends like you makes everything much better. xoxo – Beth.
I never thought something like this could happen to one of my children. Cancer’s a terrible disease, but we’re blessed with the best doctors, and faith. All the best, Chuck.
Pray for me. My faith is wavering. Does that make me a bad person? Confused in Concord, Mandy.
She never asks her “friends” for money, never seems to take pleasure or pain from the interactions. Typing, fast and accurate, she looks like a machine. A machine working for hours toward no apparent goal. Art would enjoy a TV show about her.
She pulls the afghan blanket from her shoulders; puts it over her head and the computer monitor, making a little tent to work in.
Bored with watching her, unable to see her anyway, Edgar sits on the futon.
She’s an exceedingly beautiful girl.
A complete mystery.
Not unlike a vampire.
Draining people of their time and emotions rather than their blood.
But to what end?
She gets up, drops the afghan around her shoulders, and walks into the bathroom. Edgar, still thinking that tonight might be his last at Sunfall Manor—hoping it will—gets up from the futon and walks to the computer. He deletes the current message she’s working on, replaces it with: Why do you do this?
His curiosity is too great to ignore any longer, and he hopes she won’t ignore the question.
A piece of black electrical tape covers the lower corner of the screen. Edgar peels it away, and the screen informs him that it’s 2:26 p.m. on 3/21/1601. He puts the tape back in place and shakes his head, smiling despite how humorless the whole situation is.
The girl returns and sits down. Looking at the message, she gasps, then glances around the apartment, tears welling in her eyes.
Hands shaking, she clears Edgar’s question, then types: I’m trying to feel. Then she stares at the screen, obviously waiting for a response, her hands still shaking. She types: I’m afraid. Glances around again, then adds: Thank you.
A scratching sound comes from one of the large windows, and Edgar and the girl both turn to see a pitiful-looking mutt, one of Art’s many Sheppys, flakes of pizza crust in his or her beard.
Dogs scratch at the glass frequently, drawn by the light and a need for companionship. The girl normally ignores them, but now she’s reacting differently. She walks to the door, opens it, and waves the dog in. The mutt enters pensively, looking around her place, curiously sniffing the air. She crouches and says, “Did you send me that message?”
So she can speak, though her voice is strange. Nasally. Strained.
Wagging its tail, the dog barks.
“I thought so,” she says. “You’re more than a dog, aren’t you?”
The dog barks again.
“Dog spelled backwards is God. That’s who you are.”
The dog tilts its head in an inquisitive manner, then puts its paws on her chest, panting.
She puts her arms around it, an ill-at-ease embrace, and says, “You shouldn’t have made me this way.” The dog licks her face as she runs her hand through the fur of its head and neck. She grabs its head. The dog struggles. She twists hard.
A dull snap. The dog lets out a horrific squeal, then falls to the floor, body twitching.
She stands, looks down at her work, face emotionless. “You shouldn’t have made me this way,” she repeats. “You did this to yourself.” Then she picks up the twitching dog, throws it outside, slams the door.
God is dead, in her mind, although she doesn’t appear bolstered by that knowledge.
At the sink of her kitchenette, she washes her hands and face. Grabs a Coke from the refrigerator. Returns to her computer and lights a cigarette.
Edgar, shocked and horrified, returns to the futon.
And bides his time before he can leave this terrible girl’s domain.
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Check back tomorrow for the next giveaway!