Home | About the Author | Novels and Collections | Short Fiction & Other Writings | Videos | Reading Lists | Connected Universes | Release Schedule | Merchandise | FAQ | Links | Contact | Age Appropriate Reading List | Promotional Appearances | Current Projects





Amy (Smith) Bolton

Amy Bolton with the ghost of Benjamin
















Amy Smith was born to Stone Smith and Willamina (Scarsbrook) Smith in 1969. She was raised in the Mormon church.

            Amy’s grandfather used to tell her tales of his childhood beneath the shade of the trees in the olive grove at Scarsbrook Manor, where Amy would visit him. She was happy and care-free in those days. Her grandfather had put the flowers from the trees in her hair, causing her to laugh with delight. When the topic inevitably came up at the old manor house, Amy’s parents assured her there were no such things as ghosts.

Soon after Amy’s twelfth birthday, however, her grandfather told her the tale of the ghost in the olive grove. He told her that the ghost was a trickster and a devil, that he’d been there a long time, that he couldn’t do any harm to her that she didn’t want him to. He explained that the ghosts only power was the power people gave him, that his only possessions were the possessions people gave him, making him, on his own, completely harmless. He told her all the ghost could really do was talk, that he just wanted “in,” though her grandfather had no idea what that meant. He told her that the ghost would try to deceive her to get it. He told her the way the ghost spoke was just not right. He warned her never to venture out to the olive grove alone. Amy was frightened that night, because the tale had been so startling, so out of character for her grandfather to tell.

Amy’s parents had been furious with her grandfather for weeks after that, but it all finally blew away  with the sands of time, as Amy got older and forgot all about that strange fib about the ghost in the olive grove that her grandfather had told her.

            By the time Amy was twenty years old, she had an amazing figure. She was also quite a drinker, despite the teachings of her religion. When she had too much, she relied on numerous glasses of water to ward off hangovers.

            Just shy of a month after her twentieth birthday, Amy married a church member named Josh Bolton. At the time, it was the happiest day of her life. A beautiful wedding in the temple, a fabulous reception, so that her non-Mormon friends and family could be a part of the celebration, and a two-week honeymoon in the Hawaiian islands.

            In 1992, Amy’s grandfather died, and the family continued to maintain Scarsbrook Manor, though no one wanted to live in it.

During the ten years of their marriage, Joshs eyes slowly began to wander. He grew more and more distant. During the last three years of their marriage, he seldom even touched her to push her out of the way.  On June 29, 1998, he took to sleeping in the guest bedroom, which had been designed for the children Amy had continually failed to bear him. Six months after that, he stopped sleeping at home altogether, at least three nights out of the week. At the end, on June 22, 1999, he finally confessed that he was leaving Amy for a three-hundred-pound ex-prostitute named Glowy, and that the two of them were moving to Iceland to start a new life.

            A week later, having accepted the reality that Josh was in Iceland with Glowy, Amy retreated to Scarsbrook Manor to be alone with her memories. She filled the refrigerator with nothing but alcohol. She found herself regretting her entire life, as she drank brandy wine and Budweiser and struggled to understand why Josh had left her. She wondered if it could be because of the loss of her figure, considering how age and neglect had punished her, though it was actually hard to tell. But she soon realized that she was nowhere near as obese as the woman her husband had left her for. She hated herself and wanted to die.

            As Amy looked at the clock on the wall, she caught sight of a man standing in the olive grove from the corner of her eye. When she looked back, the man was gone. She remembered the story her grandfather had told her, realizing that she’d never before hallucinated, no matter how drunk. Amy found herself as frightened as she’d been when her grandfather had told her the tale eighteen years before. As she went to bed, Amy turned on all the lights that she passed on her way to the room she’d chosen on the third floor. She turned on the TV and didn’t fall asleep until morning.

            Amy awoke that evening with a mild hangover. No longer considering water drinkable, she went to the refrigerator downstairs and quickly resumed her binge. She sat at the table and remembered the ghost in the olive grove. She decided there was nothing to fear. In fact, if there was a ghost, she wanted to see what the worst was he could do, even if it meant her destruction. She headed out to the olive grove to watch the sun set, hoping for the worst. She remembered her grandfather’s warning, and every night time sound began to chip away at her courage, until she finally heard her name whispered. She demanded in fear to know who was there. The whisperer continued, explaining that she must believe enough to see. Amy found herself turned on by the bizarre conversation she was having, though she couldn’t explain why. As they continued, the ghost began to materialize translucently. Amy tried to scream, but fear had frozen her vocal chords. The ghost reached out an arm and touched her. He asked her to be the one who let him in. Amy tried to scream again just before she fainted.

            Amy woke with the sun the next morning and realized, based on where she was, that it hadn’t been a dream. She ran back to the house in fear.

            Amy spent the day pondering the previous night’s encounter. It was the first day, since her husband had left her, that he did not once enter her thoughts. She thought about the ghost, her grandfather, and the meaning of the ghosts desire to be let in. She wondered what it meant and what would be so wrong with letting him have it. She was again unexplainably aroused. Amy’s fear left her, as she realized that the ghost could have hurt her when she’d passed out but didn’t, and he obviously couldn’t get “in” without her.

            That night, Amy grabbed a bottle opener and a beer, and she again headed out to the olive grove. She confronted the ghost, who revealed his ability to read her thoughts. The conversation was again becoming nonsensical, and the ghost had not materialized. Amy threatened to go inside when he wouldn’t tell her who he was. He resumed his form then and told her he was no one. Amy asked him several questions and began to figure out that she was confirming his reality for him. The more real she made him, the more whole he appeared. The ghost explained that he had committed suicide, hanging himself from a tree branch, and that had made him no one. He revealed the marks around his neck, and Amy was scared again. In spite of her fear, Amy realized that she desired this ghost as a man. The ghost explained that he’d been twenty-three when he’d killed himself in 1701. He explained that he would never hurt her or any of his other descendants. His wife had been with child, he told her, but he hadn’t known before he’d done his deed. Again he asked her to let him in, and he offered to give her what she had not had in turn. When Amy popped the cap off her beer with the bottle opener, the ghost inquired about the tool. Amy, frightened now, explained what it did, and she threw it at her feet, telling him to take it and mockingly suggesting he use it to get “in.” She told him she had to get to bed, and she ran back to the house, full of fear and confusion.

            As Amy slept, she dreamt of the ghost as he was when he’d been alive. She saw him making love to his wife in the same room she now slept in. She saw him in the olive grove with another woman then. She learned that the ghosts name had been Benjamin, the woman he was with was the wife of his brother Jonathan. They had been meeting in secret, exploring their desires for one another, but now she’d come to break it off and explain that she loved her husband, and they were leaving to make a home of their own. She saw them argue. She saw Benjamin plead. She saw Benjamin in a dark room, running his hands over a sturdy rope. The dream changed, and Amy was in her room as it had appeared in 1701. Benjamin came in and pushed her onto the bed, angrily asking why she wouldn’t let him in. He forced himself onto her, and he was too strong for her to push away. Amy saw her grandfather at the side of the bed, an image from the past, as he told her childhood self the weaknesses of the ghost in the olive grove, reminding her that he was completely harmless. She commanded the ghost to get off of her, and he revealed the bottle opener. He punctured her with it six times, before fading in a fit of wild laughter.

            Amy awoke with a terrified scream and found she had actually been wounded, just as she had been in her dream. She went to the bathroom to tend her wounds and decided things had gone too far.

            As night fell, Amy sat at the kitchen table, drinking and watching the olive grove through the window. She had angrily decided to let the ghost suffer for a night without her company. She saw him materialize in the olive grove. She was startled when she heard him say her name and vanish, only to materialize in the chair across from her at the kitchen table. She confronted him about the night before and asked how he’d gotten out of the olive grove. He explained that he could follow her because of the gift she’d given him. The bottle opener. He set it on the table. He told her he didn’t mean to hurt her, but he was angry, she had hurt him with her mockery. Amy found herself moved by the ghost’s face. She apologized. Then she announced that she thought she was going crazy. The ghost argued this point, insisting fearfully that he did in fact exist. He began to fade. Frightened of losing him before their business was done, Amy reached out and grabbed his arm, calling him by his name, begging him not to fade.

            This charged the ghost, and he appeared in full for the first time since Amy had met him. She consented to a kiss. He stood and went to her, kissed her. She wondered where they were going with this, being a woman and a ghost. He promised that if she let him in, he would be a ghost no more. He would have flesh and blood. He asked her to let him give her what she had not had. She realized what he meant at last. He wanted the warmth, the taste, and the passion of her flesh. He was offering her the love of a man, that she had not had in so long. She decided that if she let him make love to her, he would be a man again with his own body. She consented.

            As they made love on the kitchen floor, the more she gave in to him, the more she felt she was rising out of her body, floating. It was like nothing she’d ever experienced before. By the time she understood how she’d been deceived, it was too late. Benjamin had stolen her body from her, and she had been bound in his place—just a ghost in the olive grove.

Supplementary Article:
 
















All content Copyright 2005 by Glenn Slade Clark, Jr.
Illustration by Molly Brimer
"Amy (Smith) Bolton" article by Thomas Awbrey