Excerpt From “Clara’s Wish” by S.M. Senden

claraswishSilence hangs in the air; a valuable diamond ring, taken from the skeletonized hand of a corpse lays untouched on the desk. Bergin Halverson wrestles with the ghosts of his past, his fears that have kept him silent for decades and the truth he knows must eventually be told. He is taken back to1923 when Clara Lindgren makes a wish that will come true, but not in the way she hoped. She meets a man, Bergin’s brother Erdman who seems to be the answer to her prayers, but instead he becomes her worst nightmare. Christian Lindgren has lost that which he holds most dear, his daughter. In a haunting dream she comes to him and shows him where she is. He can not rest until he can get help to find her. When a search is mounted on a foggy day she is found in a shallow grave just as his dream predicted. But what exactly occurred? Bergin Halverson takes up the task of searching for the truth of what happened the night Miss Lindgren disappeared putting himself and his family in peril until at last, nearly thirty-five years later he is able to reveal that truth and put to rest the many ghosts that have haunted him over the years.


The fog lay thickly on the land. The men assembled by the ruined house, each looking over his shoulder, a little afraid of what might be peering at them through the empty windows. Even the stirring of a torn lace curtain in a broken window set them on edge.

Their voices murmured softly in the mist, their words lost in its milky folds.

The sheriff gave the directions. They would spread out an arm’s length apart. Each man would walk the field from west to east; a stick in their hands to test the ground if they turned up something suspicious.

Like a group of nervous horses spooked by the fog, the men cautiously began to spread out into a line. They measured out their distance, each laying a hand on the shoulder of the next man. No one too willing to stray too far from the next man for fear he too would be lost in the oblique whiteness.

No one said a word. Silence enfolded them as much as the fog. Not even the birds twittered in their nests that morning. The solitariness of the stillness made each man feel horribly alone.

De Boer looked up. The sun was little more than a pallid, frozen circle in the sky. He called to the men to begin. His words were lost in the swirling whiteness. But the men whispered to one another to begin, passing the command down the line in each direction away from the center.

They moved gradually, like a wave across the field.

The men walked slowly on their route unsure of what was before them. The mist was burning off slowly as the weak sunlight began to try to warm the day. Visibility was increasing, revealing a fairyland painted in frosted white; it clung to the trees, to the grasses, to everything. It was as if they were intruding on some other world where everything was insubstantial.


S. M. Senden was raised in Winnetka , a north shore suburb of Chicago . From an early age reading and writing were passions as was travel. Senden has studied, lived and worked in the USA , Europe, the Mid-East and Africa , spending a number of years as an archaeological illustrator for various expeditions. S. M. Senden earned a Masters Degree and has studied creative writing, play writing and screenwriting.

Publications include: Two history books, Red Oak and Montgomery County, Iowa published by Arcadia in the Images of America series. Short Stories: The December Bride in Winter Wonders an anthology published by Whimsical Publications, and Christopher’s Egg in the anthology Change is in the Wind published by Second Wind. Articles and mediations in both The Clergy Journal and The Word in Season and a number of ghost stories in various magazines.

S. M. Senden currently resides in the greater Omaha metro area and is working on another historical mystery Under the Anheuser Bush, as well as a modern day series involving forensic artist, Dr. Kate Ashton.

Click here to buy: Clara’s Wish

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