Love can last a lifetime. Hate, much longer.
Robert Goldring, 35, intelligent, artistic, but also weak-willed, psychologically challenged and even a bit cowardly, is one of LA's legion of struggling, would-be screenwriters. He’s just had one of his scripts optioned, but the studio demands that he write a new one within 90 days to prove he's not a "one-shot wonder".
Whatever joy Goldring derives from this news dissipates in short order: In the course of a single day, he narrowly escapes a street gang attack, is cheated by his agent, loses both his job and his girlfriend, and helplessly witnesses the brutal beating of a young woman.
With his life in LA degenerating around him, unable to focus in his noisy little apartment, Goldring finally accedes to his agent's insistence that for the next three months he escape to more tranquil environs to write his new script.
An unscrupulous broker rents Goldring a shabby, abandoned old house in rural South Carolina. His only neighbor is a wealthy, powerful and elderly southern gentleman named Gill who still avidly pursues his lifelong tastes for fine art, fine port and, with the assistance of his psychopathic bodyguard, a certain “breed” of women.
After Goldring moves in, strange and increasingly menacing occurrences begin taking place in the house, exacerbating his writer’s block, and culminating in a night of horror and violence directed against him and his newfound librarian girlfriend. They barely manage to flee the house with life and limb intact.
Efforts to both learn the truth behind these occurrences and “dehaunt” the house through the assistance of a local parapsychologist prove informative but ineffective. The house is occupied by the violent and enraged ghost of a strong-willed and intensely alluring young African-American woman named Athena, who disappeared without a trace 70 years earlier.
Obviously unable to live there, his deadlined writing project going nowhere, and running low on cash, the depressed and defeated Goldring returns to the house one last time, intending to quickly retrieve his precious laptop, writing materials and other belongings, and return to an uncertain future in LA.
A fateful mistake.
Once inside, Goldring is seized by a revelation, and begins writing his new script---the very ghost story he is now experiencing---with the intensity and speed of a man possessed. Deep into the night he writes---and drinks---and then, like a lamb awaiting slaughter, passes out helplessly on the bed.
Goldring awakens in the dark bedroom to find Athena, still beautiful but deathly and horrifying, hovering over him, her hypnotic cat-like eyes burning with rage. Her bizarre sexual assault of him has far less to do with lust than with absorbing “life energy” from him. For Athena has a very definite agenda of her own---bloody vengeance against her still-living lover/murderer of 70 years ago---and in this, the unwitting Goldring will play a pivotal role. Athena has been bound to this house since her death, lacking the energy needed to escape it---until now!
Goldring soon finds himself dominated and entranced, physically, sexually and psychologically, by this overpowering succubus. His initial terror evolves into obsession with the silent, voiceless Athena despite her predatory and inhuman behavior. A strange and erratic relationship begins.
Goldring takes up Athena’s cause and single-mindedly pursues long overdue justice for her, to the anger and consternation of powerful figures in the local community who don’t want old racial wounds reopened and, in particular, to her arrogant murderer, who will stop at nothing to protect himself.
But repeatedly drawing life energy from Goldring results in unanticipated and horrendous consequences for them both: Goldring becomes steadily sicker, weaker and closer to death, even as his courage and emotional strength increase, while Athena’s ghostly spirit begins manifesting physical characteristics---not those of a living person, but of a woman 70 years’ dead! The obstacles to their obsessive quest for justice and revenge seem insurmountable.
But the story Goldring is writing will indeed have an ending.
2007 Harvey Papush
All Rights Reserved