The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer

A Story by GwenLark
"

Isaac Bell, the World Famous Ghost Biographer.

"

Sourly sipping on his whisky, Isaac grimaced at the comforting bitter taste of the 25-year-old Macallan Gold scotch. He leaned his elbows on the grand mahogany writing desk, his shirt sleeves rolled up high. The smell of stale smoke clung to the straight-laced interior of his traditional home office.

The clock chimed thrice and Isaac sighed. This was the eighteenth night in a row he was witness to 3am. He knew he would be a write-off tomorrow. Completely useless. His insomnia harking on at him, impossible to stow.

Isaac's whole body was exhausted. How was he to finish his new book if his mind wouldn’t comply?

Thankfully, he had nearly filled his word quota for the week and he could continue drinking himself into a stupor without any guilt. This seemed the only viable remedy for his sleeping situation.

The ghostly apparition sat on the ornate, oversized armchair on the other side of the desk. Although, somewhat transparent, the spirit made it clear that she was irritated by Isaac’s drinking on the job. Like he wasn’t taking her, or her story, seriously.

Isaac noted this, the first female President of the United States was not a woman renowned for her patience when she was alive, and it was obvious that this echoed true in death as well.

“Mr Bell,” she started curtly. “I do apologise if I am boring you.” sarcasm dripping from her every word. “But, I believe the peace treaty between China and the United States was quite important to include. Don’t you think?” her words were sharp.

Isaac remembered himself.

“Of course, Madam President. It was very important. Forgive me.”

Former President Hernandez reluctantly obliged and continued with her detailed account of the peace she brokered between the two once warring nations.

She had to. Who else would write her biography?

Isaac had been writing the biographies of dead celebrities for nearly 24 years now. Ever since he realised he could make a quick buck from his developed ability to converse with the souls of the people yet to move on.

He was world famous and topped the New York Times Bestseller List every time he released a new book. Celebrity with the air of the Supernatural? What better way to grab the attention of a fame-hungry world, obsessed with the unknown?

When he was a young man, Isaac had been involved in a nine-car pile up on the I-5 Highway, on his way to San Francisco to see an old girlfriend. The only one to survive, he woke up a week later in hospital and, to his great surprise, was able to see and speak to spirits. He didn’t know how or why, but after many tests and lots of therapy, he came to realise that it was all real.

Three years into his ‘talent’, he met the ghost of Bill Wilson, the infamous country-western singer.

Bill couldn’t quite believe his luck when he discovered Isaac.

Bill had died, quite publically, of a drug overdose in Kansas around six years prior. If anything, he had been lonely. Unable to move on.

Isaac and Bill became unlikely friends and Bill, more often than not, praised Isaac for being a good listener. Isaac loved hearing Bill’s stories of his life and death.

The two became very close, practically inseparable.

Isaac no longer remembered whose idea it was for Isaac to write down Bill’s story, but nonetheless, Isaac penned every word of Bill’s life, death and afterlife.

The book was rejected many times by publishers who didn’t want to get caught up in the legality of using a real life celebrity’s death as a work of fiction, or that’s how they saw it.

It went this way for years, but Bill and Isaac didn’t mind. They had each other’s company.

Bill had been surrounded his whole life by fakes, users and liars, dealers, w****s and lawyers. Not one real person among them. And Isaac, he spent most of his life til that point as a loner, shunned by his traditional parents for his reluctance to marry a “nice Southern girl” and could never claim popularity in his small Texan town among his schoolmates. But now, they were faced with a real friend. They came to care for each other deeply.

Bill’s story had resonated so loudly with Isaac, however, he felt he owed it to his dead friend to get the truth out there about his controversial death and clear up all the suspicion about it. Isaac wanted to clear Bill’s name. Then it was down to the law to decide who was to blame. His agent for forcing him to go to so many afterparties to up his reputation? His dealer for playing on Bill’s evident depression and dragging him further and further in to a world of depravity? Or perhaps it was groupie that force fed him a cocktail of uppers in an attempt to get him to ‘perform’ for her? All were culpable and Isaac wanted to see justice done for Bill.

He became more serious about the idea of being believed. And he had an idea how.

Isaac would have to tout himself as a psychic and gain a small bit of fame on social media, before approaching a TV network to pitch the idea of a medium for dead celebrities. Of course, no respected network would touch him, but luckily for him, everyone loves trash TV. A small network picked up the idea and aired it very late at night.


Season one of “The Talking Dead” was classed as hit, even if it did just include Bill Wilson. It developed a massive fan base and avid following. The southern states ate it up. Isaac was soon invited on televised chat shows and visited by journalists - skeptics all. But no matter what they believed, they couldn’t ignore Isaac’s popularity among millions of viewers all over the country. Not bad for a 30-year-old.

Bill was there beside him all the way supporting him, cheering him on. Isaac couldn’t have cared less about the fame, he cared about Bill getting what he deserved; people to adore him as much as Isaac did.

Not long after the spike in notoriety, not to mention the spike in income, Isaac was then greeted by the departed souls of other celebrities.

Eleanor Fox, the beautiful actress, who met an untimely end in 1980 when a crazed fan shot her.

Frankie Pivo, the popular jazz artist that died of a heart attack at the age of 37 in 2005 (he largely attributed that to the copious amount of cocaine he was indulging in).

Henry Casper Jones, the child golf prodigy, that called it a day at 18 when he was caught up in a motorcycle crash (just months before Isaac’s first small screen appearance).

Dozens of others came forward. Bill and Isaac were elated.

As the ratings soared and more people from all over the world started streaming Isaac’s show, they decided it was time for Isaac to release Bill’s book.

The anticipation of the biography was palpable across the globe. The pre-order sales alone was more money than either Isaac or Bill could ever have imagined.


On the eve of the book launch, Isaac and Bill sat in Isaac’s new home in Beverly Hills, not another soul in the house - living or dead.

The two spoke and laughed and reminisced about the many years they had now spent together. Isaac’s agent was blowing up his phone all the while, almost in tears of joy about the sales of the book. Isaac was also already getting Twitter mentions about people starting to read it already. The world was already enjoying the wonderful tales Bill had once so candidly shared in Isaac’s old bedsit when he was penniless.

Bill’s heart swelled.

They confided in each other about their hopes for their future well into the night, until Isaac couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. He only shut his eyes upon Bill’s promise that they would continue in the morning.

But Isaac awoke to find that Bill was no longer there.

No goodbye, nothing.

Isaac’s heart began to break. He fought through a cacophony of thoughts and emotions, hunting for an answer as to when, or where, or why.

Isaac then recalled something Bill had said once, years ago: “I heard if you tell your story, that’s your unfinished business. You get to move on.”

That’s how they come up with the idea in the first place.

Fighting passed his selfishness, Isaac had to hope that it was true.


Isaac missed Bill with every cell his living body could conjure. Even amidst the fans and the agents and the celebrities, Bill was all Isaac had. The spectre of a dead cowboy was everything to him.


It wasn’t until Isaac brought himself around from his period of guilt-ridden mourning and decided to pen another book (if for nothing else other than another paycheck allowing him to drink himself into oblivion) that the suspicions of the spirits moving on were confirmed.

Sultry singer-turned-actress, Lara Eden, pleaded with Isaac to help tell her story. Lara had sadly succumbed to ovarian cancer the previous summer and wanted to tell the world her story to raise awareness.

Isaac thought that was a good a cause as any to get behind. Bill would have approved, it was sure to be an attractive payday. She had became the poster child for women all over the world to get themselves checked, she saved thousands of lives before she died.

Lara and Isaac worked on the book for nearly a year. Isaac grew close to Lara too, telling her about him and Bill and the life they had carved out in show business and how sad he was that only one of them was still around to see it. Lara shared with him everything about her life and subsequent death, no detail was spared, no matter how scandalous or heartbreaking.

On the night before the release of her biography, they sat together and she shared her hopes and reservations about moving on. Isaac soothed her and made her promise that she would find Bill and tell him everything that Isaac had shared with her about him.

She promised.

Just like before, when Isaac awoke the next morning, she was gone. Never to be seen again.

Lara’s book was even more popular than Bill’s.

Word was spread amongst the spirits of Hollywood and beyond, all who had been left behind on earth scrambled to be first in line for Isaac’s next book. Trying desperately to move on.

Isaac didn’t know if his heart could take another. He missed Lara, but he ached for Bill to be by his side again. He didn’t know if he would be able to withstand another heartbreak like that. But who else could help? Who else in the world had the power he had to aid the souls of people’s loved ones to the other side?

That’s why he carried on. He had to.

Bill would have wanted him to.


So here he sat. Facing down the barrel of 50. Still trying to distance himself from every subject. Staving off the inevitable heartbreak when they depart.

Write the story and ask them to leave until the next night. Isaac put a stop to the spirits living with him. It was too hard.

Isaac Bell was now the richest and most famous writer that had ever lived. He owed it all to Bill.

He knew the old cowboy would be waiting for him somewhere else and he counted the days until he could see him again.

But until then, Isaac was going to need another drink.

© 2018 GwenLark


Author's Note

GwenLark
Please ignore spelling and grammar.
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Featured Review

At first, I thought the stereotype of a drunk writer may be cliche, but when I got to your novel approach to how "ghost" writing was developed, this fresh imaginative approach set your story on a strong creative path. You use many strong details to tell a lively story, but in places you tell instead of show. Example: use more dialogue earlier in your story, instead of telling ABOUT how people relate to each other. I have the same problem. It's faster to tell a story this way (as you have here), whereas dialogue can slow the writing down . . . many more back-and-forths are needed to SHOW instead of tell. All in all, balanced storytelling & strong writing construction (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

5 Years Ago

Thanks so much for your help! I've always been bad at showing, but hoping it's something that gets b.. read more



Reviews

At first, I thought the stereotype of a drunk writer may be cliche, but when I got to your novel approach to how "ghost" writing was developed, this fresh imaginative approach set your story on a strong creative path. You use many strong details to tell a lively story, but in places you tell instead of show. Example: use more dialogue earlier in your story, instead of telling ABOUT how people relate to each other. I have the same problem. It's faster to tell a story this way (as you have here), whereas dialogue can slow the writing down . . . many more back-and-forths are needed to SHOW instead of tell. All in all, balanced storytelling & strong writing construction (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

5 Years Ago

Thanks so much for your help! I've always been bad at showing, but hoping it's something that gets b.. read more
i liked this story,the whole theme of a ghost writer intrigues me

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

6 Years Ago

Thank you :)
 wordman

6 Years Ago

my pleasure

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Added on June 3, 2018
Last Updated on June 3, 2018
Tags: ghost, writer, ghost writer, short story, spirits, medium, fiction

Author

GwenLark
GwenLark

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom



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