Raven's Brew Coffee RoastersCreators of the world's finest coffee,
including Deadman's Reach, special high-speed blend
John StraleyShamus Award winning, best selling author,
(Death and the Language of Happiness)
Ray Trollinimitable international art icon
The World's First Coffee Inspired Supernatural Murder Mystery
No More For Me, I'm Dead"I never thought death would be like this," Allen thought to himself as he swung his feet out of his body. "It's like watching a cheap TV with bad reception, only I can still smell the coffee."
The rain fell like dried beans on his tin roof as it had done in life, and the mold grew in roach-like splotches on the grout around his bathtub as it always had. He was lying on his back in the tub and the slick sliver of green hand soap was safely cupped in its scummy chrome holder. The ring of chalky grime on the porcelain surface was the same as it ever was.
"Man...," he thought, "I've got to clean this place up."
It was then he noticed that he was standing next to his body looking down at himself and there was blood tracked across the floor. "But first I've got to have a cup of that coffee. I'm sure it will make things look better."
When he was alive, Allen had been a wildlife interpreter for the Forest Service. He used to sit behind a log cabin style counter talking to tourists about animals that he had actually never seen. Now that he was dead,he saw animals everywhere. Standing next to his kitchen sink he looked over the city of Ketchikan which appeared to be remarkably like it had been before he had died, except there was an Irish elk walking down the cruise ship dock without a soul in the world taking notice. Craning his head to the left, Allen saw a passenger pigeon perched on his cable TV feed from the street and a short-faced bear waddling like a fat barrister down the hill from the court house.
"I don't get it...," he thought. "These are all extinct species. I'm only a GS-four." He reached for the coffee pot, but his hand passed right through it. Allen cocked his head to hear footsteps fading down the hall. "Aw, cripes!" he said aloud as he noticed the bloody tire iron on the shag carpet. A yellow parakeet fluttered out the open window. Whoever was walking down the hall stopped, then doubled back.
Art © Ray Troll
Deadman's Reach Novelette © John Straley
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