A collection/portfolio of new and previously published short stories, poems, essays, and artwork, by Jess C Scott. Porcelain offers a personal draft of the author's navigation through a world that is fantastical, offbeat, ironic, unexpected, and true.
Excerpt from My Chance Encounter:
I peered at the old house from between the bars of its rusty iron gates. The outer walls of the building were crawled over with vines and ivy. I could spot layers of paint cracking and flaking off, revealing the layer of dirt-red brick underneath.
I gave the gates a push—they swung open without a creak, which surprised me. Something about the old house was fascinating. It had a mysterious charm that lured my senses. I walked in on the stone pathway and waited on the doorstep for a moment. I felt like a guest, awaiting a very elusive but gracious host, the house itself.
“Hellooo,” I called out in a low voice. I rapped my knuckles against the door. Just in case there was anyone inside.
Nothing but quiet. I turned the knob and went in.
The sharp scent of fresh pine shot up my nose in an instant. The house was perfumed with it. The interior decorations of the house were lavish, though it must have looked even more opulent during the days when people were actually living in this place. I saw three gold-framed portraits—of a duke, a soldier on his horse with a scarlet-plumed helmet, and a little girl with soft golden curls standing by a window.
I heard a sound just then—
It came from upstairs. What was that? I was hit with visions, snippets of a headless ghost, a zombie that had been thrown back up from the dead, a body lying face down in a pool of blood…a murder, right here in the house I was in! Blood would be seeping through the ceiling…I was just letting my imagination go free. I knew I would be testing my luck going to investigate, but the itch to find out was too much. There was no way I could walk away and simply forget about it either.
I made my way cautiously to a velveteen staircase at the end of the living room. A broken chandelier hung right at the top. The glass shivered and tinkled as a breeze blew in. It made some of the little hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
And then, even that came to a freeze point. A figure had appeared on the top stair, an emaciated, skeletal non-visible figure, much like a flickering hologram. Its face was steeped in the furthest throes of pain and remorse. Ragged clothes clung to its drawn frame. Pallid, wasted skin stretched grimly over its bones. Most unnerving was the figure’s haunting familiarity.
My eyes came to rest on the figure’s right arm, and I gave a slight shriek as I recognized the faint glimmer of a distinct mark there. There was a thin outline of a heart just at the fold of the inner elbow. It was a permanent mark, no longer a daily scribble with a red ballpoint pen. I jumped back in shocking disbelief.