Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Author Spotlight: Kathleen McKenna shares a scary story! + Giveaways!

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Kathleen McKenna over the last year ever since I reviewed
her spooktacular tale The Wedding Gift. She is one of the kindest, down to earth people I have had the opportunity to meet. Kathleen took part in The Countdown to Halloween last year and submitted a true ghost story that definitely sprouted some goosebumps! Please welcome her back to The Crazy Bookworm with another one of those tales!

The Resurrection

"Well it goes like this; the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift the baffled king, composing Hallelujah." Leonard Cohen

"I'm the only God any of you people will ever see." Jim Jones

The BA 146 banked sharply turning over the three hundred acres long reclaimed by the Jungle. I made myself look out the window. After all, for all intents and purposes this would be my home for the foreseeable future. It didn't look any different than the rest of the endless green spaces that we had flown over since leaving Georgetown forty minutes earlier.

My pilot landed with a great deal of bumping and an unnerving squealing of brakes and then I was exiting the plane and standing outside on the Port Kaituma airstrip. Almost immediately I saw approaching me from a nearby wooden building a handsome older black man wearing a bespoke navy suit. He seemed undisturbed by the thick cloying heat that had already caused my clothes to stick to my skin with sweat. He walked towards me with a lazy grace and when he reached me he held out his hand, unsmiling.

"Grace Harvey?" I took his hand grateful to have an English speaking liaison in this so foreign place.

 "Yes, I'm Grace Harvey; you must be the Guyanese ambassador's attache that he told me to expect. I apologize but you have me at a loss Mr

"My name is Reginald Haverhill." At my ill concealed look of surprise, he smiled thinly and said, "I was born and named during the years that Guyana was still a British colony Miss Harvey." I spoke automatically.

 "Grace, please. I apologize, I should have realized. So Mr. Haverhill, (he did not ask me to call him Reginald) I am grateful to you for meeting my plane and I guess..." My voice trailed off. I was uncertain what the next steps in this strange journey were to be. He nodded in understanding.

"Yes, of course, I was uncertain how well briefed you would be Miss Harvey. If you will accompany me I will escort you to Mike's place." He gave me his first real smile.

"Port Kaituma is a town of limited services Miss Harvey, pardon me, Grace. It serves the small population as a motel, discotheque and Laundromat. The rest of your team will not be arriving until tomorrow morning and so I have arranged for you to spend the night there. I do not think Grace that you would enjoy a night in Jonestown alone." I shuddered involuntarily; he saw and merely raised one eyebrow.

The walk to Mikes all purpose establishments was only a few yards and after the friendly hippie guy took off with my bag to what he claimed was the best room in the place, I was left standing awkwardly in the so called discotheque with Mr. Haverhill. The disco consisted of six battered tables, three washing machines, no dryers and a mirror ball that hung from the ceiling. There was also a bar that took up the entire far wall. I was tired and sticky and longed for a shower and some thinking room, but old Reggie just kept standing there staring at me inscrutably. I sighed and said,

"Listen, Mr. Haverhill, thank you so much for meeting me and bringing me here and I imagine that there is a great deal that you have to tell me, but it would probably save time if you held the briefing tomorrow with the whole team. It's been a long couple of days and I'm exhausted. I think right now I need a vending machine and a shower, so please excuse me but I'm going to need to call it a night."

Instead of answering he merely pulled out one of the battered chairs and waited silently for me to sit down, which I did with an ill concealed sigh of exasperation. I knew enough about men to recognize one who was going to have his say come hell or high water. I didn't say anything I just stared at him in resigned silence. He nodded as if pleased and sat down across from me.

 "Grace. I do not know you, and it is an ill considered decision to make any sort of judgments upon those one does not know. But in my short observation I have noted that you are young, beautiful and apparently have no idea of what you are walking into." I shook my head in exasperation; this was the way it was going to be from now on from everybody with the possible exception of the other team members. But I was going to have to work with this man, so I forced a smile.

"Mr. Haverhill, I am here, as you are well aware, to build animatronics re-creations of some of the more prominent members of the former Jonestown community as well as a few more basic ones that will serve as an illustration of day to day life in the settlement." He steepled his fingers and said,

 "Is one of these...animatronics as you call them going to be of Jim Jones?" I nodded.

"Yes, of course it is Mr. Haverhill, I don't suppose you have ever been to Disneyland but there is a display called the Hall of Presidents and..."

"I have in fact visited your country's premier amusement park and enjoyed the speaking, moving Mr. Lincoln a great deal Grace. Did you build him?" I laughed in genuine amusement.

"No Mr. Haverhill, I think honest Abe has been there longer than I've been alive but I do build them now. I have a graduate degree from M.I.T, and I can assure you-" Again he interrupted me.

"Oh I am certain that you are more than qualified Grace, but I wonder if you know exactly what, or better I should say who it is that you plan to bring back to life?" I shook my head.

 "Oh please, Mr. Haverhill if you have been to Disneyland as you say then you will realize that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride didn't exactly come to life and become Johnny Depp, mores the pity." I laughed he didn't. I continued speaking.

"In addition Mr. Haverhill, it was your government working with that of Dubai who was interested in rebuilding Jonestown. I believe your prime minister referred to it as the ultimate in dark tourism; isn't that correct?" Instead of answering my question he began speaking in a hushed voice.

"It was almost exactly thirty years ago Grace, when it happened. I wasn't even eighteen" a very young, very new soldier. Orders were given for us to take the train to Port Kaituma. We were told only that a disaster had befallen an American settlement nearby. When we arrived here at Kaituma, there were blood stains all over the tarmac, and some covered bodies. I had never seen blood or death Grace, and I was shocked, but I knew nothing of death yet... nothing." The last word was said with such vehemence that I recoiled. He didn't seem to notice. He said:

"They took us into Jonestown on old military trucks; it's only a few miles but the road was bad, then and now... it took nearly an hour. After fifteen minutes the smell began. I have smelled death many times since, Grace, but that smell, it was beyond death. It was the smell of all the charnel houses that have ever existed since evil first came to this earth; since bad men walked amongst us wearing the faces of humans. But such men have never been human Grace. At first we thought maybe there were only three hundred dead." He shook himself.

"I say only as the later numbers were to make the deaths of three hundred seem optimistic. But we were wrong so wrong. You see Grace, when he told them to die, when he slaughtered them, they lay down over their children, a final embrace I suppose. And so they were stacked and in some cases, because of the heat, the flesh melted, melded, and then disappeared. By the fifth day with the heat and the rats, some were only skeletons Grace."

Seeing his obvious distress at this horrible tale, I reached my hand out to his and he took it. He looked at me, his eyes filled with tears.

"I suppose there have been worse things since the beginning of the world Grace, but what they are I cannot imagine. And you cannot help to resurrect this monstrosity. I don't care what my prime minister says Grace, go away. I will tell this to each member of your team. Leave Jonestown as it is now, a wilderness and maybe in a thousand years the ground will not reek of an evil so great as to be unimaginable." Casting manners to the wind I addressed him as Reggie.

"Reggie, I can't...none of us can the's incredible and anyway they would just replace us. What is it you fear really?"

"Jim Jones told his followers he was God everyday for many years Grace and then as only God can, he decided the day of their deaths and acted upon it. But he wasn't God Grace. If there is indeed a devil, it was James Warren Jones, and the devil lives on. You will see he is in every blade of grass and inch of cursed soil in Jonestown. It was said that when he lived as a mortal the only things he feared were being alone and a loss of power. That is why he never let the people leave, nor would he relocate to another country where his power might be challenged. And if you believe in heaven Grace, you might say that the innocent were allowed to move on to a better place. But I promise you this, If Jim Jones was not offered heaven and of course he was not, and if he could not be the king of hell, for he would never settle for less than no one else was going to be offered that chance either. So then where could he go?" I shook my head and he answered himself.

"Nowhere, that's where, Grace; he couldn't go anywhere. The only place for him was Jonestown and he is there today just as surely as he was thirty years ago. And so are all the rest of them. Grace. If you do this, raise Jonestown, then do so knowing that you will raise all of it Grace. And then you will learn that you do not even know what fear is yet." I tried to lighten things up mostly for my own sake. I turned the full voltage of my charm on him and said in a light voice.

"Reggie, I don't think you have any idea just how much money we are talking about here its"""

"Its half a million dollars, maybe more, I hope you have made arrangements with your next of kin for the disposal of your estate. You will never live to collect a penny Grace." I was getting annoyed with this maybe well meaning man. I blew the sweat drenched hair off my face in exasperation.

"Reggie, there is not one damn living thing at the old Jonestown site except snakes and rats and God help us maybe a tiger or two. And believe me that's bad enough and those working conditions are one of the reasons his majesty is paying what he is. You have clearly lost your perspective on this. Look you seem like a good guy, a smart educated guy, so please, stop this I-"

"You will die is what you will do. You will die in a horrible way. And you are so right Grace, there is not one damn living thing at Jonestown, but there are nearly a thousand things that exist. Exist in the state of terror, oppression and rage, for Jim Jones died in a terrible rage. You will die and then you will find that you will wish for death, death, for hell, for anyplace but where you will find yourself. He was a powerful man Grace and he would never let death stop him." He tilted his head a strange smile on his face.

"You know sometimes even all the way out here you can still smell them, the bodies. If the wind is right you can even hear them screaming still. But not him, I haven't heard him. Hmm funny he was not a patient man in life but death changes all of us. I imagine you will find that out for yourself soon. No Jim has learned patience I suppose. Maybe he knew all along that people like you would come one day. Come and return his fiefdom, give him his voice back. I imagine he did. What price must be paid by those who resurrect the man even the devil would fear Grace?"


Kathleen Mckenna has been generous enough to offer four...that's right FOUR copies of her fantastic book The Wedding Gift that has just been re-released with a fabulous new cover on Oct 7th.

To Enter:
Giveaway is open to Canada/U.S
Must be 13 years of age or older.
Fill out THIS FORM to enter
Giveaway ends October 31st.

Good Luck!

The Wedding Gift
(Not new cover)
17 year old Leeann Worthier is the perfect girl in town - or so she says.

George Willets is the heir to a booming petroleum business. When they announce their engagement, George's controlling mother is unimpressed and Leeann absolutely refuses to live with her mother-in-law. So George gives his new wife a house as a wedding gift.

Thirty years before, the same house had hosted a grisly scene: George's uncle and cousins had all been slaughtered, his aunt Robina accused of both murder and suicide.

The house is a gorgeous, well-maintained mansion but has stood empty since the tragedy. It's intimidating, but who is Leeann to turn down a free house? When the ghost of Robina begins to haunt Leeann, she realizes she's made a huge mistake ...
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