Title: My Ghost
Author: Pia Veleno
Length: 10,980 words (57 pdf pages)
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: m/m paranormal horror
While offering restitution to ghostly memories, Shen meets a man who not only haunts his past, but craves his present, and promises to disrupt his solitary, sorrowful future. With his help, Shen struggles to remember events leading to a tragic death, while his ghostly past threatens to destroy them both.
This is a rather dark story, with definite horror overtones which some people may find disturbing, but which I think lent an authenticity to the story. Shen is at the grave of his friend Chase who died five years ago on Halloween, which is also Shen’s birthday. This story uses little teasers of information to tell you exactly what happened, it’s drawn out of Shen, who doesn’t want to think about it, or deal with it. You are left to try and piece together the reality of the situation from amongst Shen’s musings and self-recriminations.
This night, another man joins him at the grave. At first he considers not revealing who he is, but Diego soon recognizes him. Diego is older and was Chase’s friend, whom Shen rather resented. It comes to light that Shen and Chase were best friends, but also friend’s with benefits. Despite Shen not interested in more, Chase wouldn’t give up the dream. Shen, while being honest with Chase, knew he hurt his friend with his sleeping around. However it soon comes to light that Chase’s death was not an accident, and Shen and Chase’s ghost have been feeding on each others despair and self-flagellation for the last five years.
On impulse, Shen invites Diego back to his place for sex, however Diego isn’t willing to fall into bed, he wants to talk about Chase and what happened five years ago when both boys were only 17. Shen doesn’t want that, he’s not ready to give up his guilt and despair, he’s content to accept the blame for what happened and face what that means for his life. However Diego is not about to let that happen and Chase is not happy about that either.
The absolute strength in this story is Shen. You find out more about Shen’s relationship with Chase, his childhood, the relationship the two had with Diego, eventually the truth about what happened before Chase died. It was painful to see Shen accepting the total blame for what happened, punishing himself for some of the mistakes of youth that both boys made. He didn’t want to see it any differently, but Diego pushes him until he’s forced to face some ugly truths he’d rather not deal with. The language usage really pervades the story and I may have sniffled just a bit for both Shen and Chase, and for what a messed up situation had taken place five years ago.
My only niggle with this story was that the ending seemed to wrap up just a little too quickly. Once Shen faces the reality, poof, it’s all better, everyone gets what they need and is HEA or HFN anyway. I would have liked to see Shen and Diego explore their relationship more. Sure they had feelings five years ago, but Shen was 17 and they haven’t seen each other since. It just seemed a bit rushed and pat, but even with my reservations about that, I think it was a very interesting story that is definitely not a traditional romance, but it does end on a very upbeat note. Very much worth a read and I was impressed by the author.