Lois Cloarec Hart stopped by today to tell us a bit about the backstory of Beyond and Begone, her newly published short story:
Odd, unexplainable things happen to me on a regular basis, and they often become fodder for my stories.
Beyond and Begone was inspired by real incidents that happened in the summer of 2005. My wife and I were vacationing in Ottawa, which is where my late husband, BJ, is buried in the National Military Cemetery. We stayed with an old friend, who had also been a close friend of BJ’s. I’m rarely in Ottawa these days, so I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to take roses to the grave, and while there we took some photos. When we were back at my friend’s place later in the evening, we got to talking about BJ’s headstone, and I showed him the photos we’d taken that day. During the years since my husband’s passing, my friend had gone out a few times to pay his respects. He, too, would take photos to note the passing of the seasons. When he brought out his photos, we all noticed something strange.
When I originally ordered BJ’s headstone, my name was below his, listed as ‘Beloved Wife’ but without a date. And when we were at the cemetery that afternoon, that’s exactly how the headstone appeared. But in one of my friend’s photos taken on Boxing Day 2004 (BJ’s birthday), my birthdate was inscribed under ‘Beloved Wife’ with a space left for the date of death. And no, my friend wasn’t playing some kind of practical joke. He was as baffled as we were. The headstones are expensive, and it didn’t make sense that they’d alter the initial stone without direction or payment from me, nor does it make sense that they’d then have to replace the whole thing if they’d made a mistake by engraving it without direction. And yes, my birthdate was correct, but as far as I can remember, they didn’t have that information. I considered contacting the cemetery administration to find out why and when they’d altered it, then changed it back to the original, but decided to leave the small mystery alone.
One of the other incidents in Beyond and Begone is the unexplained footsteps in the night. That, too, is based on something that happened the night my brother-in-law was in a serious car accident in August of 2005. In fact, it happened exactly as I described it in the story, and again I have no rational explanation for whose footsteps I heard so clearly in the quiet night. But as so frequently happens, they became source material for another story.
Lois Cloarec Hart