Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Read an Excerpt from Free Spirits by Linda Wisdom



Alex Cassidy's parents always said they'd move heaven and earth to ensure she married well. And this time, they did! After all, Alex was turning thirty and still had no husband--that was a combination they just could not live with.

The day she turned 3-0, Alex woke to find, at the foot of her bed, looking dapper and doting, the ghosts of her parents. Most ghosts were fleeting apparitions, but Alex's ghosts were here to least until they delivered her birthday present--Mr. Right!


"I'm very worried about her, Patrick. She should have awak­ened hours ago." The woman's voice was soft and normally soothing to the ear, unless said ear felt as if it would fall off at any moment. "Do you think something could be wrong? I wish we could call a doctor for her."

"There's nothing wrong with her, Marian. Considering her condition when Beth brought her in last night, she's better off sleeping as long as possible." The male voice was equally intrusive to the delicate eardrum. "Remember when she rolled in after her all-night party when she graduated from high school? Of course, she hadn't imbibed then. At least, that's what she tried to tell us, although a hangover is something that's easily recognizable. I guess she figured her birthday was another reason to tie one on."

The object of the whispered conversation moaned and slowly rolled over onto her back, her arm flung across her closed eyes. Unintelligible words left lips still colored with a trace of deep red lipstick.

"Alex does not look well."

"You wouldn't either if you had crawled in at 4:00 a.m. singing 'Happy Birthday to Me' at the top of your lungs. She still has a tin ear when it comes to music." The masculine chuckle pounded through the sensitive brain encased in ce­ment. "She's going to wake up with one hell of a hangover."

"Please, stop," Alex begged, her cement-encased eyelids fluttering. "And turn out those psychedelic lights before they blind me."

"Alex, please wake up. We've come a long way to see you." The woman's voice coaxed.

Alex's brow furrowed. Something didn't seem right. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out what it could be. She care­fully drew her arm away and slowly raised one eyelid. Two shadowy figures stood at the foot of her bed with blinding smiles on their faces.

"Mom? Dad?" she croaked, wincing as the sound of her words reverberated through her pounding head.

"You've got one beauty of a hangover, sweetheart," her father told her. "You must have celebrated your birthday in style last night."

"Yeah, I guess I did. You know, it's really funny. I thought you two were dead. Isn't that...?" Reality may have been slow sinking in, but when it arrived, it arrived like a pro­verbial freight train. "No!" She shot up in bed, eyes the color of blue ice widening until she looked bug-eyed. One look was enough to convince her she wasn't having your normal, every­day hangover dream. She did the only logical thing. She screamed.

The couple stepped back a pace, startled by the shrill sound escaping her lungs. The scream turned into a moan of pain as her head separated from her body while the sound bounced around inside her tender brain. "Oh. My. God." She squinted at the figures standing before her. "But you're... and I... then, if you're...I must be..." She held up her hand in front of her, fully expecting to see it disappear in a wisp of smoke before her very eyes. "I'm dead!" Alex wailed, her bloodshot eyes widened in horror at the idea that she had died and didn't even know how it happened.

"Oh no, my dear!" Marian Cassidy, sitting next to Alex's hip, shifted to put her arms around her daughter's shoulders, but Alex shrank from her touch. "Alex, you are not dead. You're very much alive. We're the ones who are dead," she informed her with a broad smile that indicated that everything should be all right now that she explained the obvious.


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