Day 5 of the Spirits of the West book tour hosted by WordCrafter Press sets out some background to my short story, The Ghost in the Mound. I’ve also included my review of the stories other than mine that feature in Spirits of the West anthology
You can find out more about the tours WordCrafter is offering here: https://writingtoberead.com/wc-book-blog-tours-2/.
The Ghost in the Mound
My second short story in Spirits of the West is The Ghost in the Mound. This story features an enormous termite mound.
Termite mounds are constructed by a specific type of termites found in African, Australia and South America. The mounds can be large, sometimes with a diametre of 30 metres.
In African savanna areas, termite mounds form ‘islands’ with high tree densities. This is attributed to the fact that due to the digging of the termites and their decomposition of plant material; the mound soils are often more fertile than other soil.
Termite mounds can help people get their bearings and directions if lost as the tip of the mound generally leans to the North. The mounds are also at a constant temperature of 32 degrees Celsius during both summer and winter.
The known predators for termites are humans, aardvarks, Matabele ants and some species of birds. Aardvarks are exceptional diggers and are able to dig into the cement-like outside layer of termite mounds. Aardvarks dig to feed on termites, their favourite food, and also to create burrows in which to live and breed. Their tunnels can be up to 10 metres long and open up into a wider chamber where they sleep and raise their young.
Two short readings from The Ghost in the Mound
Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs
This is an entertaining and well written story by Kayle Lynne Booth about a wife’s jealousy, a younger woman’s integrity and naivety, and an older married man’s infatuation and subsequent generosity gone wrong. Booth sets her tale in the local saloon of a small Western town and puts an interesting and unique spin on this theme with a paranormal element that is a good fit and adds to the intrigue.
This is an interesting take on the concept of justice in the ‘Wild West’. A Texas Ranger rids the world of criminals in his own way. I enjoyed some of the descriptive writing in this short story. An example is as follows: “Wooden steps, weathered with age, led to a wooden sidewalk several feet above the ground. It was a simple reminder that the streets sometimes flooded during the rainy season.”
A fascinating story about the spiritual leaders of the Native Americans, called Wenekia. Makoce’s father is a leading the community as is seeking advice from the Wenekia on how to deal with the encroaching white men and the devastation and restrictions they have brought with them. Makoce and his younger brother follow their father with the aim of eavesdropping on the meeting and end up getting some surprises.
Clouds in the West
An unusual story with a Western tone but set on another planet making it science fiction. Wooly Bill and his ride, a graph called Spooky, are on their way to rescue Bill’s partner, Sami. They are being chased by unknown humans who are riding grephs which are suffering from substance abuse. Bill discovered that grephs, even stoned ones, are better than humans at managing life’s problems.
Queen of Spade Spades
Iris is a gambler, having been taught to gambol by her fun-loving husband, Jim. His gambling expends beyond card playing and Jim is panning for gold. On the very week that Jim has his best luck finding gold ever, he is murdered and left for dead. At least this is what his partner, Buck, claims. Is he telling the truth? Iris thinks not and sets out to use her own card playing skills to extract revenge on Buck’s lying partner in crime, and ultimately Buck.
High Desert Rose
A romance left too late and ending in death and disaster which needs to be avenged by the grieving lover. Revenge generally doesn’t turn out well but that depends on how your view life … or death. A clever story with an unusual flavour. The winning entry in the WordCrafter 2020 writing challenge.