Friday, 23 December 2016

Eidolons by Harrison Fountain

Title: Eidolons
Author: Harrison Fountain
Genre: Literary Fantasy

When TK dies in a car accident, the Grim Reaper gives him a second chance at life, but he says it’s more fun being a ghost. As he haunts his small Iowa town, his sleek shell of sarcasm cracks to a terrified lonely inner self. Find out why he’d rather be dead.

Excerpt #1:

         One afternoon, I woke up dead.
        I blinked away the drowsiness and wiped at my eyes for any crusties. My back was to the sky and I was looking at my body while floating, then the Iowa crowd gathered like it was time to judge the fattest sow, raised and named by little Mary Sue Ellen, soon to be chopped behind the curtain, but this was less gruesome. Smaller crowd. Today, they were here to see the oozing gashes, my arm bone poking through the flesh, and the bump on my head. It was a nasty one. Even as a ghost I felt it.
        A fat man rushed to help. Apparently he had taken an hour course on CPR and was sure it could help, so he wheezed his bacon breath into my lungs and that leaked into my ribcage through a hole the jagged bone had made. He pounded my chest, bouncing up and down, his back jiggling and energy fading, so he grabbed the nearest college girl by the bangles on her wrist and drafted her help but she shrieked. She wasn’t about to touch my corpse. Maybe if I had showered that morning she would’ve.
        The driver stepped out of the car with the broken headlight and pleaded his case before his peers. “It was an accident! I didn’t see him. He ran out and—I’m so sorry.” It was good practice for court but if the crowd’s reaction was any indication, he needed a pro’s help before he’d get off.
        An ambulance came with its lights flashing but siren silent. Just a body retrieval. They didn’t bother weaving through the town square packed with traffic. They honked and people pulled over—some onto the sidewalks which nearly injured other pedestrians.
        I floated higher and couldn’t stop as people disappeared, then cars blended with the pavement and only by the glare off their windshields could I pick them out. Buildings turned to little squares until I was lost in the clouds and hacking as I thought they’d choke me like smoke.
        My head smacked something and it hurt.
        I griped that if that airplane or chopper or spacecraft put a dent in my head I’d put a dent in it. Instead the culprit was the shoe of a girl, floating like me.
        “You dead, too?”

The Author:

These author bios are generally in third person, right? That’s a little weird for me so—

Harrison Fountain said, “In Kindergarten, Mrs. Augustson sent me to Special Ed because of my speech impediment, the result of a 4-year-long ear infection that garbled the input and so a few letters needed the pronunciation corrected. I had to work on my Ss, Cs, Ks, Ws, Rs, Bs, Ps, Ts, Qs, Ds, Xs, Ls, and Ns.

Every year in elementary school, Scholastic gave students a hardback book with empty cream pages for us to scribble in as part of a school-wide contest. I never won. The kid in my grade who did plagiarized If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and those biased, paid-off judges didn’t even mention my amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch.

Still, I kept writing, finishing my first novel in my 7th grade Physical Science spiral notebook where the narrator’s best friend was an orange alien with green hair named Carrot. My next novel about a boxer, I started in high school before I’d ever even watched boxing, and fighters called out their moves (“The Double Rocket Upper—no, wait! It’s a TRIPLE ROCKET UPPERCUT!!!”) like they were Pokemon.

No one taught me to write until my second year at college when Mr. Johnson called me to his office as he did with all his creative writing students and then he bloodied my first draft of a character sketch claiming his marks were “just ink.” I almost cried. A few visits later, I’d written a character sketch about my sister’s divorce and the family dog. He crossed out a lot like usual. Told me why. Then he scrawled an A at the top. It’d be my first published short story (

The pride felt earned for once.

While studying in Wales without satellite TV or an Xbox, I started a blog called Nothing Fazes a Ghost, where I posted weekly chapters. Those 10,000 views with ad revenue earned enough for a pizza. After a few years and a few drafts, it became Eidolons.

I also teach English to adorable Korean kids who, in turn, teach me cutie poses.”

Excerpt #2:

        The Grim Reaper reached down to me, like she wanted to help me up, but I didn’t want her bony, spectral hands on me. They might’ve been covered in the illusion of flesh but they were bony just the same. “You want your life back, don’t you?”
        “I never said I wanted that.”
        I slapped her palm then the back of her hand, then pounded it with my fist from above and below, and finished with a punch that exploded to fingers as I drew it back.
        “It’s practically free. You just have to shake it. Most people would take the deal.”
         “While haunting a bakery is a tease, I think I like being dead. It’s like the weekend but constantly. I promise to keep dodging Miss Milkmaid over there,” I said. “It’s not even the price of the deal. I’d give you my soul and do your evil bidding, no problem, but I refuse to do laundry. I don’t even do my own. That pretty much opts me out of life.”
        “You’d get to eat all the chocolates you wanted.”
        “Till everyone side-eyed me for getting fat.”
        Anita furiously flipped through her book of emptiness for 27 undeniably happy facts guaranteed to make me smile. “Did you know otters hold hands while they’re sleeping? Norway once knighted a penguin. The blind smile despite having never seen another because it’s just instinct to show off a good mood. The genetic mutation that would’ve allowed spiders to fly was killed off because it didn’t fit the environment. Life is this beautiful, mysterious, complex phenomenon that basically came about over an accident, and whatever laundry you’re scared of is insignificant to the wondrous melodies by The Beatles.”
        I nodded along with each point, secretly bopping along to a tune that’d gotten stuck in my head. Probably the one the radio’d been playing when the car smashed it into me.
        “Won’t you take the deal?” she asked.
        “How about I transfer it to you? Something tells me there’s no fine print on the coupon. Has anyone asked you that in the 100,000 years since the birth of consciousness? Or did you get the gig as an amorphous Archaea swimming the ammonia? Regardless, take it. Let me enjoy my vacation and you can have my 60 years of slaving away before you come visit me.”
        “People come back from vacations.”
        “Every year my mom said she wanted to stay in Florida forever. Miserable place.”

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