“Why is it that having too much freedom can lead to having none at all?” demanded Renata.

Corruption. It was rampant in my day.”

The lady forlornly bobbed her head. “Then perhaps my dream is just a dream.”

A spectral Love Story from both sides of the grave. In THE APPARITION by Lori R. Lopez, Time and Space stand still for a shining moment while two hearts collide across the void.


But in the real world, Society has advanced to being governed by cold hard Extremes. Aggressive weaponized Drones patrol sectors of a restrictive realm where lives are easily taken, and books must secretly be guarded by a Resistance devoted to protecting original works from editorial or physical harm.

A Dystopian Thriller, and part of Lori’s Ghost Collection SPOOKTACULAR TALES, this Novelette provides a stark warning about turning our lives over to the Machines.

As a spirit, Arnold Stamp drifted along revisiting his former haunts and gazing wistfully at the window of the apartment he once called home, occupied now by a lonely depressed woman he would like to know. If only he were still alive!

The specter learns an awful truth about his death from Renata Stowe. Likewise, she wistfully dreamed of meeting him, the final victim in a string of forgotten killings. Yet this is no idle fascination. The pair quickly realize there is more than attraction between them. A deeper connection has occurred, or perhaps was meant to be. In spite of different spans upon the Earth, it might be no coincidence their paths should eventually meet.

Can these unfortunate souls, who seem destined for each other, transcend the distance between their Lifetimes and the barriers between their Dimensions? Will a troubled young woman make the right choice, or is it already too late?

A touching, bleak, thought-provoking vision of a Society out of control from the author of THE ROOM AT THE END OF THE HALL.

Recommended Age Range:  12 and up

Approx. Length:  9,286 Words

Formats:  E-Book


“Burials were banned, Renata divulged. Cremations conducted speedily, with zero fuss or bother by impersonal Government Facilities.”

I believe we engineer our fate. If so, you’re a wish come true,” the woman praised.

“I had never viewed it like that,” whispered Arnold. He sincerely complimented, “Being someone’s fate. What a nice thing to say.”

“I feel if we don’t express our feelings enough, they will bottle up like chemicals and explode!” the female raved.

“Like Chemistry,” an enchanted guy agreed. Mesmerized.

A duo of starstruck loners gawped at each other.

“But I’m not . . .” stammered Arn. He tried to spit out “real”. The term jammed like an unfired bullet. (People were far too fixated on guns in his day.)

Out of nowhere a Drone menaced Renata. “Submit for disobedience!” barked the gadget.

A set of footfalls clattered, concussing. Bullets ricocheted. The frantic couple maneuvered a desperate path. Puffing from exertion and stress, they squeezed into ranks of hedges.

The sinister Drone prowled through air, grumbling, chirring, dangerous. Its hum diminished.

Sprinting more discreet, they stiffly rode an Elevator side by side. Dinging at the Fifth Floor, an unstable cage coughed them out. Panels sliding shut, the conveyance descended wheezing.

Renata hastened to Apartment 5-C, tore a Notice from the door and crumpled it. Holding her breath, she unlocked the entrance . . . then charged in and slammed it after the wraith.

“My grandma was a constant reader. Marjorie believed Civilization would screech to a stop should Literature be reduced to dust,” the specter reminisced.

“Is she here?” Ren squinted at corners.

“No. I haven’t found my family. I assume they’re at peace.”

“Your gramma was a smart lady. I think we are on the verge of collapse,” cited Ren. “Music, too, has been blended to abstract. A jumble of notes and lyrics, gobbled, garbled. Existing books were rounded up, on page and screen, confiscated and heaped in bonfires, or shredded to confetti.”

They all said he looked remarkably well for a dead man. Arn was never a sharp dresser. It was something in the way he carried himself, and the smile worn like a badge of cheer, presented to passersby rather than staring down or away. He looked them straight in the eye with that gentle aspect a pair of warm brown peepers crinkled; his mouth curved and teeth bared. It would be difficult not to feel inspired or enhanced for the kindness on a quirky face.

In flesh he had been similar, albeit less noticeable. They spotted him now because he glowed with confidence. And a filmy luster of death.

But that was along the ethereal avenues of The Other Side, prone to less hustle and bustle, where folks glided as if on Conveyor-Belts.

Mingled with the Living, he was even more obscure than he used to be. Arnold Stamp’s wardrobe choices were equivalently bland. Tweed Jacket the color of slate. Starched white shirt tucked into charcoal trousers. A black and gray checked Bowtie, the slightest bit crooked.

Had he known he would languish in this outfit indefinitely, the Deceased might have opted for his favorite blue shirt and the soft heather-gray slacks. Or his Pinstripe Suit, appropriately the semblance of ashes. They buried him in that yet here he was, in the clothes on his back when he died.

These idle selections seemed important: the sole remnants of his earthly existence. A link to the man he once was, tenuous as skin and bone. Happily he didn’t strike his head in the bathtub, forced to parade in his Birthday Suit, an embarrassing condition, especially for a shy moper like him. He knew a few revenants padding about in towels, swaddled by shower-curtains. He knew he shouldn’t complain. Things could’ve turned out worse.

Beyond the grave, he attracted ill-tempered thugs whose entire hobby relied on hassling him.

Arn had been more invisible when he wasn’t transparent. Not that Bullies ignored or couldn’t see him, but they did overlook him a lot for fading into the background.

Upon his mysterious kick of the bucket and keeling, they were drawn to the apparition like Moths because he was so shiny. The fellow scurried to avoid being roughed-up since spirits weren’t impervious to pain. He learned this repeatedly . . . struck by Scooters, Trains, Buses, Bicycles, Motorcars. And the knuckles of knobby fists if they caught him.

Learn about Author & Artist Lori R. Lopez.

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