WHEN HEAVEN AND HELL DON’T EXIST…WHAT DOES? Space Shuttle Conundrum collides with empty atmosphere, passing from known reality into the realm beyond life. At the same time, a dead newborn is resurrected amidst a hospital-wide poltergeist infestation. What connects these ghastly occurrences, and how can the fate of humanity rest on a single boy’s shoulders? As the haunted Douglas Stanton spends his adolescence an outcast—his only friend the ghost of a long lost astronaut—a porcelain-masked entity lurks in the shadows, planning Douglas’ demise. Because Douglas is the key… the key to the door… the door between what we know and what we fear. And when the key is turned…realities will come crashing together. Step into The Phantom Cabinet…
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to take a ghost story into the afterlife, then beyond it. Also, when I was a little boy, I once suspected that my room was haunted.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
First, I loosely outlined the novel. Then, when it was time to populate the book with characters, I designed them to fit the situations they’d experience.
Colliding with empty space, they watched the cosmos split before them. Celestial bodies whorled and wilted, victims of a spacetime rent asymmetrical. From the newborn crack in creation, a malignant green light belched forth. With it came the multitudes…
Later, Commander Frank Gordon sat alone on the orbiter’s flight deck. Strapped into his commander’s seat, an internally lit control panel set before him, he stared into a vast expanse filled with unfamiliar constellations. There were no planets in sight, not even a sun. His mind was fuzzy. Time passed like bad stop motion animation: everything broken and jagged.
A howl drifted up from the below decks, leaving Gordon shivering violently. He had to check on the space shuttle’s crew, he knew, but the idea brought trepidation. Since learning of Kenneth Yamamoto’s fate—the grisly spectacle in the crew module’s mid deck sleeping area—Gordon had been unable to hold rational conversations with any of the dazed spacemen populating the orbiter, had feared them worse than the voices in his head and the torment panoramas flashing behind his eyelids.
Yamamoto, the shuttle’s payload commander, was a baby-faced Asian American with carefully parted hair. Loud and enthusiastic, he’d been the last person Gordon would have suspected of suicide. Yet it appeared that the man had used vise grip pliers to pull all the teeth from his mouth, and then gouge out his own eyeballs.
Reclining within a thin cotton sleeping bag, buckled securely into his designated metal cabinet, Kenneth still clutched the pliers. The tool was dull, yet he had managed to repeatedly penetrate his abdomen before bleeding to death.
Melanie Sarnoff, the flight engineer, had alerted Gordon to the situation. She’d discovered a handful of drifting teeth on the air circulation system’s filtering screen, which served as the orbiter’s unofficial lost and found section. Investigating the disturbance further, the bovine-faced gal had stumbled upon her friend as he gasped his last breath, mouth contorted into a hideous blood rictus.
Reporting the incident, Melanie had laughed hysterically. Eyes bulging within a face ravaged by adolescent acne remnants, dirty blonde hair pulled into the tightest ponytail Gordon had ever seen, the husky no-nonsense crewmember had looked deep into his eyes and remarked, “They got him.”
Gordon hadn’t asked whom she referred to. Their hideous whispers echoed in his skull, pleading for salvation, promising damnation. They remained just outside peripheral vision, visible only through shuttered eyelids. Their mouths were dark tunnels, their eyes angry cinders.
Insane laughter, interspersed with howls of soul-rending agony, reverberated throughout his skull, churning his memories into abstract puzzle pieces, which Gordon struggled to reassemble.
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