I Died Once – Prologue & Chapter I

I Died Once Cover


I Died Once

A Novella


By James Mahoney













I Died Once

A Novella by James Mahoney

@ jamespatrickmahoney.wordpress.com

Cover Art by

Mónica Gomes @ cargocollective.com/smog

Cover Design by

James Mahoney

& Kirsty Pang @ laplumenoire.co.uk

Editing by

Nina Colt

Special Thanks to Bethany Beckman



The Author

James Mahoney is a self-published author living in Southern California. A dreamer and storyteller, James’ first dream at the age of five was to be a professional baseball player.

This changed, however, in 1977 after seeing the original “Star Wars” in theaters. It was then that James decided he wanted to be a film maker/director, and during the years of 2000-2003 he pursued this craft.

From 2003-2005 he began writing feature film screenplays and, after two years of this, he looked to have one of his completed screenplays turned into a comic book. After submitting comic book pages to several comic book companies to no avail, he set writing aside.

Four and a half years later, James began his first of many blogs, “The Written Word”, where he would begin building and developing his writing craft.

He did this through poetry, blog stories, novels, and journalism.

It was here that he wrote the first draft of, “I Died Once”.

This is James’ first ever published novella.


This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.


Copyright © 2012 James Mahoney

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

DarkJade Publishing

Printing by CreateSpace.com

Second Edition: March 2013

Printed in the United States of America

0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

This book is dedicated to my mom, who has the heart of a lion and enough passion to last ten life times, and her boyfriend of 30 plus years; Warren Lawson, Architect, poetic soul, and my best man for life…

Also, to my dad, who read my first novel efforts when I was 11, turned to me and said, “You’re a Writer…”

Special Thanks also go out to Leanne Sowter, my favorite writer (right after Shakespeare that is, Lol), and my greatest and most inspiring follower, whose encouragement has helped to inspire me along the way.

And to Kirsty, who not only helped me design the book cover, but also has played a vital role in designing the look of my journalism blog, “The Dark Globe”.

And last, but not least, Beth, who took being a reader of my work to a whole new level with her “thorough” reviews, and “line editing” of my work.

Wait, I mustn’t forget my brother, of without whose friendship; my life would surely be half as good.








Mady was a Dark Child…

She often sat alone in her bedroom, on the floor, sorting through this or that. Generally some sort of pharmaceuticals.

It’s good that she was never allowed to own a cat… or a fish… or any other sort of domestic animal, as they would have likely ended up at the end of some sort of experimentation… with drastic results.

It’s not that she’s “mean” per-se… No.

It’s more that she’s disjointed, an outcast really, from her own home…

From her mother’s heart.

Yes, Mady is a dark one, but what else was she to be in a world devoid of light.




I sat alone. Legs crossed in my short black skirt in the waiting room of yet another know-all, fix-all, quack of my mother’s finding.

I am a fifteen year old girl, five foot eight, lean, dark haired, blue eyed, with skin not as fair as I might like.

I crossed my arms tightly, feeling the softness of my dark blue sweater, a gift from my father’s mother at Christmas some two or three years ago.

My father. What a joke that is. A pilot in Africa, they say. How nondescript.

“Caroline Monroe,” the nurse called out.


I pretended not to hear her. Besides, my name is Mady. My mother’s, mother’s, mother’s name. Madeline, that is.

“Excuse me miss, are you Miss Caroline

Monroe?”, the nurse spoke as she leaned over me.

“Mady,” I replied.

“Oh yes, your mother mentioned you go by Mady.”

“Nice of you to listen,” I spat, rising from my seat and grabbing my small blue rhinestone bag. A gift from a cousin, well, actually, I took it.

The next two or so hours were filled with many, many questions asked by the uninterested Doctor Spiner, and let’s face it, who cares what the answers were. In the end it would all be the same.

“Now Caroline…”

“Mady!” I replied adamantly.

“Oh yes, your mother mentioned that you prefer your middle name.”



“Did she, now,” I sighed.

“Now Mady, I want you to take two of these pills twice a day.” He handed me a large bottle. “They will help you to relax.”

On the long ride home, and going anywhere with my mother was a long ride, I stared blankly out the window, which was open slightly. Discreetly, I would drop one pill after another onto the outside road. Plink Plink Plink

When we arrived at my mother’s home, a large estate left to her from her industrious father, I quickly made my way up the long, winding stairs, “Now Mady…,” but not quick enough.

I turned to face her. Now, my mother has a long faced countenance and over dresses for every occasion. On this occasion she was wearing a ball gown. “Yes mother,” I replied.

“Betsy is preparing a fine dinner; do be back down in no more than 15 minutes, will you darling.”



“Okey Dokey,” I replied and turned away.

“Your father and I shall be going out.”

I turned and faced her once more. “Fred is not my father.”

“Oh Mady, must you be so…”

“Honest? Yes,” I interjected.

“I was going to say…” she started to say, but I was already up the stairs and into my room. Slam!

As I sat alone in the dark staring at the ceiling, I could hear Betsy quietly enter and set a tray of food on my desk. She always did. Betsy wasn’t so bad, but she wasn’t worth staying for.

Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a big fluffy roll, how delightful. Tommy would really like this.

Just then a small pebble struck my window, as it did every evening at this hour. I opened my window to see Tommy Wilkens standing down below, as he always did. I quickly lowered the

food tray down to him, and then back up once



he’d emptied it.

“Thank you, Mady,” he whispered just audibly enough that I should hear him. I waved to him as he snuck off to his home some one or two miles down the road.

Tommy’s family lived in a back shack on the Johnson’s estate. His father was their gardener, but they were very poor, being at the receiving end of the tight fisted Johnsons. I had fed him for years. Who would feed him when I was gone?

When midnight struck, I made my way to our large pool in the back, beyond Mother’s roses. Before the pool, I stripped down completely. Why ruin a perfectly good set of flannel pajamas? And dove in…

Under the water it was beautiful and quiet. Above, I could see all the brilliant stars. Now, I’m a decent swimmer, so this may take a few minutes, as drowning one-self is tricky business.

That’s when I heard the scream.


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