In my book Flight of Destiny, there is a passing reference to a ghost…which equally the story infers could be a hallucination, the result a morphine. Juliana Stanford, is ensconced in her bedroom. She hears Sirias, a man she has deeply wronged, but whom she is still hoping to marry, arrive at her bedroom door. To her shock, he arrives with a “ghost” from the past…a younger sister she has all but forgotten.
One day, after a markedly stronger dose of the prescribed drug,
her attention was drawn to the sound of voices outside her door,
especially one particular voice, that of Sirius. A sudden wave of hope
crescendoed. Sirius had at last come to make reconciliation, perhaps
even to ask for her hand once again in marriage. The voices on the
other side of her door seemed animated and as happy as her heart, so
despite misgivings at the thought of Sirius seeing her scarred face, she
began calling his name, each time with increasing fervor. The voices
paused. The latch clanked metallically. The door opened. Sirius stood
It was as if her prayers had been answered. He didn’t seem abhorred by the scar,
at least, it didn’t show in his face. Indeed, he was smiling.
Then she noticed he was wearing the long lovat-green tailcoat he had first proposed to her in, and warm memories flooded her mind.
However, as he got closer to her, it became apparent he was not alone;
indeed a specter from the past, Sabina, Juliana’s younger sister, came
sedately into view.
Sabina had always floated about the periphery of the family, like
an unremarkable book consigned to the top shelf of the family library,
and Juliana, over the course of time, had completely forgotten about
her. She’d been sickly as a child, and was sent away by her father to be
brought up by nuns in a sanatorium in the south of France, where the
climate was far more agreeable and preferable than the damp climate
in Britain where she would surely perish given the feebleness of her
lungs and meager physique. Her name never warranted a mention,
perhaps she had simply passed away, her demise a closely held secret.
To Juliana’s displeasure, her obscure little sister had blossomed into a
woman of tremendous beauty, in fact, the mirror image of Juliana
down to the last detail before the axe had blighted her face. Sabina was
wearing a dress exactly like the one Juliana had worn the day Sirius
had proposed. Her sister had even put her hair up the same way, and
she was using Juliana’s favored fragrance. It felt to Juliana like Sabina
had stolen her identity.
Sirius turned, his eyes connecting deeply and lovingly with
Sabina’s, and Juliana’s darkest fears transformed into cold reality.
Sabina had stolen more than her looks. She had stolen Sirius’ heart, or
quite simply, he had fallen in love with a flawless version of Juliana.
This exert comes from one of my short stories, from my book Flight of Destiny. Flawless is a story about a man who is about to marry a woman called Juliana. An insect suddenly arrives in his mouth as he proposes. A few weeks later his appearance begins to change, his face turning uglier and uglier.
Sirius Piecroft’s face appeared like a brightly-colored field of
fungus. Yellow protrusions, the size of giant peas studded his careworn
face, imparting a sickly distinctive gloss, even more pronounced
when touched by sunlight. As tropical diseases went, medical
practitioners ranked this affliction as one of the severest ever on
Following his inexplicable illness, his fiancé deserts him and chooses to marry his younger brother instead. Such treachery sends Sirius spiraling into insanity, his only redemption being revenge. He arrives at the church with an axe as Juliana is about to marry his brother. The insect exits his mouth, his skin is restored to its normal condition. The wedding service descends into chaos, when his younger brother attacks him. Juliana realizes the folly of her ways. It is towards the end of the story that this apparition of her long lost sister appears.
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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…
I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.