Excerpt: A Happy Medium
Auggie Cipriano didn't remember his mother being quite so insistent in life. She'd been a little distracted and cloudy at times, but that was expected for a medium who embraced her gift. But now that she was dead, Auggie was finding it impossible to ignore her, especially when she was insisting he go to one very specific place. That was how he wound up in the spooky little town of Harmony Virginia, hauling his Airstream trailer with him.
He wasn't a stranger to the town. He was actually coming back to Harmony. Fourteen years gone was a long time, but it wasn't long enough to forget.
Auggie leaned against the side of the Airstream, cigarette dangling from his lip as he rubbed his temple. He wasn't sure what was worse: his pounding headache, or his mother's looming presence, the echo of her voice in his ear. He took a drag, tipping ash off the end, which solicited a, "Lung cancer is in your future, you know," from her.
"Last I checked, Ma, you could talk to the dead, like me. Neither of us can see the future. If you could, you'd be off my case because you'd already know what choices I make, right?"
His mother huffed. "Agostino Savio Cipriano, don't you get smart with me."
The three-name call. Auggie bit back his response. It wasn't as though she could hit him, what with being incorporeal, but she was still his mother. Despite his general devil-may-care attitude toward the world at large, he still loved and respected her.
But right now she was trying his patience. "Why are we here? And don't get existential on me. Philosophizing about the meaning of life when you’re dead is a little ridiculous. Why are we in Harmony?"
"You're needed here, Auggie. Can't you feel it?"
"I don't have spirit guides or whatever the way you did. I just go all Sixth Sense, and see dead people." He stubbed out his cigarette and squinted out towards town. It was late, the moon rising high, and he was parked on the edge of the woods, outside of town. Everything he needed was in his trailer, so there was no sense in heading into Harmony until he was good and ready.
Well that wasn't precisely right. After trying to drown out that actual banshee in Charlottesville, he was running low on alcohol. Being drunk, or at least tipsy, was one of the few ways he could successfully ignore clamoring souls when he wanted to. If he was going to spend any time in Harmony, he was going to have to shut at least some of them out.
"I'm going out," he said in the direction of his mother's specter. He hoped she stayed behind. He'd already had enough ghosts for one day. Auggie ignored the disapproving look from his mother as he hauled himself up from his couch-bed and headed for the door. He did his best not to notice any of the lingering spirits clamoring for attention and made his way into town. His stomach rumbled as he walked and he realized if there was one thing he had less of than booze, it was decent food. He could cook, but he'd need groceries first. And if he knew Harmony, the grocery stores wouldn't be open this late. Instead of hitting a bar and drinking the ghosts quiet, he instead headed toward the Ocean View Cafe, the all-night diner. Maybe he could think better on a full stomach.
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