By P.F. Roquelaure
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Griffin Andrew Meade, a gay 18-year-old teenage boy, moves to Bartholomew Bay, Maine with his family in 1983. They arrive at their new home Antioch, the ancestral mansion of the wealthy Bartholomew family, and soon discover it is haunted by the spirit of Angelus Bartholomew III, who died when he fell from the Widow’s walk of Antioch in 1919, when he was also 18 years old. Griffin learns through life-like dreams that Angelus committed suicide by leaping from the Widow’s walk and was not pushed from the Widow’s walk by his abusive father, the powerful Angus Bartholomew, who prevented the public from discussing his son's death. The ghost of Angelus also reveals to Griffin other details of his tortured life, including erotic flashbacks with his paramour Lazarus Benedictine, the son of the lighthouse keeper of Bartholomew Bay. While Griffin learns of Angelus and Lazarus's ill-fated romance, he becomes involved with his first same sex romance, Christian Gutmann, a young man raised in Bartholomew Bay, who knows only part of the story of Angelus's untimely death. Griffin discovers that he is to a play a vital role in a scheme to re-unite Lazarus, who is still alive, with Angelus in the afterlife. Griffin must convince Lazarus to take his own life during the Summer Solstice, the same day that Angelus killed himself in 1919, in order for his soul to be trapped for eternity in Antioch with Angelus's soul. Griffin learns that committing suicide is a sin that prevents your soul from going to heaven and this is the reason for Angelus being trapped in purgatory in Antioch. Faced with the decision to either participate in Angelus’s plot or have his loved ones suffer deadly consequences, will Griffin overcome the threats of a preternatural disturbance or succumb to a spirit's lethal plan?
Spoiler Alert! (read on only if you want to know the ending):
When Lazarus dies from a heart attack on the night of the summer solstice, his soul travels onto heaven, as he has not committed suicide. This enrages Angelus. In his anger, Angelus threatens Griffin, telling him that his family will suffer because he has lost Lazarus once again and will have to be alone in Antioch for eternity. Ultimately, Griffin commits suicide to appease Angelus and save the lives of his family, where his soul will reside with Angelus for eternity. These intersecting stories of Griffin Meade and Angelus Bartholomew III, of the sacrifices we make for our loved ones, are set respectively during the turbulent early 1980’s, when the gay rights movement increased its visibility in reaction to the AIDS crisis, and the earliest years of the 20th century when same sex relationships were not only considered immoral but also illegal.
Author P.F. Roquelaure
P.F. Roquelaure has a Ph.D. in Anatomical Sciences and Neuroscience, and this knowledge informs his writing, a unique blend of scientific knowledge with supernatural storytelling. He is currently an Associate Professor teaching human gross anatomy and neuroscience at a university in the Northeast United States. He has self-published a memoir of his childhood.