the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

The full text of Father Figure is now available in new trade paperback and Kindle editions, with a 2015 Author's Preface, and an appendix which includes 6,000 words in deleted scenes.

Father Figure is also available at all other Amazon sites worldwide, and additional online venues. 175,000 words, plus 6,000 words of deleted scenes.

South of Anchorage, accessible only from a mud-rutted road off Seward Highway, lies the town of Lodgepole. After midnight, among the blueberry bushes of White Birch Park, a man climbs on top of a woman and begins making love to her. As her orgasm rises he puts his hands around her throat, shutting off her air. She struggles, not to stop him, but to stop herself from trying instinctively to pull his hands off her throat. As the top joints of his thumb meet at the front of her throat she comes, her cry of orgasm ricocheting around inside her forever.

Daryl Putnam, handsome, bookish, wakes up from a nightmare and decides to do something he hasn't done in years. Take a walk outside at night. Down in the park, at the lime green shores of Little Muncho Lake, he comes across the body of the strangled woman.

The next morning, at the coffee shop of the hospital where he works, Daryl meets Sally, a pretty, dark-haired girl. He's intelligent, she's outgoing. What they have in common is both are living lonely lives. Until today.

Also in the hospital coffee shop, shaking half a can of black pepper onto his tomato soup, is Sam Rudolph, a fiftyish man with eyes like an angry dog's, who has spent over twenty years quietly manipulating events in Daryl and Sally's lives to have this seemingly chance encounter among the three of them occur.

And who is actually a lot older than fifty.

"It is easy to see why Father Figure has become an underground classic over the years. It is a dark, extremely disturbing but completely gripping suspense thriller with a strongly erotic subtext...Moore is an extremely talented writer with a gift for pushing the reader's emotional buttons...certainly liable to become a cult classic, and deservedly so."

From an editorial review

Amazon US Trade Paperback and Kindle

Amazon UK Trade Paperback and Kindle

When someone you love dies, are they gone forever?

Meet the Ghosters, and the desperate people who hire them.

In our modern world, only Ghosters know what comes after death. What stays behind. And what dwells between.

Ghosters are a small, loosely-connected group of individuals who travel the highways of America curing people of their hauntings. For as much money as they can negotiate from each client. They are legitimate. But they are not nice.

Amazon US Trade Paperback and Kindle

Amazon UK Trade Paperback and Kindle

If you're here, it's probably night. You can see a window from where you sit, and the window is dark. Who really knows what's outside?

I write. If you read, we've just made a connection.

SENTENCE is the forest you fall asleep into.

I created SENTENCE back in 1998 as a way of letting readers know a little bit more about me. Here you'll find about a dozen of my stories, the complete text of my novel Father Figure, essays of mine, videos I've made, photographs I've shot, a decade and a half of my on-line diary entries, some of my favorite recipes, and much, much more. I don't fear plagiarism. Ideas can be stolen-- a simile, a description, a plot, a joke-- but that will happen regardless of the medium in which your luggage is left alone on the airport floor. The truth is, fear of plagiarism is fear of readership. To be plagiarized is never fatal. What is more important is to be read. Because if it's in a box, and no one but you knows about the storms raging through the paragraphs, the footsteps plodding soggily down the sentences, water dripping off the rims of words, that's the biggest shame of all. A fizzle. Because the real achievement of writing is not the writing. The real achievement of writing is someone else reading the writing.

SENTENCE started as an island. Over the years, its accumulated bulk, added to each month, became a continent.

Art is an invitation to go inside someone else's mind. To see our world as they see it. SENTENCE is my mind.

I've been published in America, Canada, England, Ireland, India and Australia in a wide variety of genre and literary magazines and anthologies. My fiction has been called "graphically morbid". My writings are not for everyone. Are they for you? Find out.

I'm glad you came. I just lit a cigarette. I just poured Merlot. I hope you enjoy your exploration.

And to see what I'm up to right now, and what currently interests me, visit my page.

Webmaster Ralph Robert Moore at Entire contents Copyright © 1997-2015 by Ralph Robert Moore, All Rights Reserved.

Established January 1, 1998.

To buy my books, please go to BUY MY BOOKS

To see where I've been published, please go to BIBLIOGRAPHY

For samples of my writing style, please go to WORDS WALKING NUDE

For a complete chronology of site updates, please see HISTORY

SENTENCE Publishing

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"All was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed-- just as cheese is made out of milk-- and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."

-- Domenico Scandella, 1599 (Two years before being burned at the stake).

featureless horizon
september 1, 2015

I used to start the day at four in the morning, before the sun came up--such an amazing event repeated each revolution, like trumpets, this massive fireball rising above us, 93 million miles away, but so immense it can still burn us from that distance, blind us from that distance (I mean, come on, it's a flame 93 million miles away and it can still blind us?)--walking through the darkness of our downstairs rooms to the stairs, sitting in front of my monitor in my upstairs study, breathing out the first gray and white smoke of the morning.

But for the past few months my eyes have popped open at one or two, far too close to midnight, black tree limbs outside the white mini-blinds of the windows, and I just can't get back to sleep, I can't, I just can't.

I try. I plod back from urinating, passing the stretched-open mouth of the shadowy bathtub, as if it's witnessed some horror pinging through its pipes, usually irritated to discover our cat Button has used my momentary absence to slither up onto my night table, her licking tongue lowered down into my water glass. Pink lappings, jewel eyes. Who the fuck wants to share a glass of water with a cat? Especially since I know where else her tongue's been? And that tongue hasn't been to an art museum, it hasn't been to the opera. I could trudge out to the kitchen to get a fresh glass, even ice cubes, which are crack cocaine in the middle of the night, but I know the longer I stay out of bed the harder it's going to be to fall asleep, so I crawl under the covers, groggily fax my future self a message (Don't drink the water!), try to get back to blackness.

But of course I can't. Used to be able to. When Mary and I spent our first night in the apartment we rented in Carrollton, Texas on New Year's Eve, moving there from San Antonio because there were no jobs, we were woken in the middle of the night by the wails and revolving blues and reds of police cars, ambulances. Going out onto our second story balcony at one in the morning, looking down in hastily pulled-on clothes--and in the befuddled early moments of that alarm I had stupidly tried to slide my bare legs down into the sleeves of a shirt--we heard people down below in the parking lot talking, whispers rising like ghosts in the dark night air to our second story ears, static-furred police radio voices, and it became apparent a woman in the apartment across the way from ours had just stabbed her boyfriend to death ("just", of course, not in the sense of "merely", but rather "very recently".) We eavesdropped a bit, hanging over the wooden rail, went back inside, slid the heavy sliding glass door to the balcony closed, latched it, got out of our clothes, got back into bed, and before the red minute hand had an opportunity to revolve even once back up to its home of "12", zzzzzzzz.

But that's apparently never going to happen again.

You reach a point, deep into the night, hours and hours of blackness away from the shore of morning, bobbing out there, when you realize you're just not going to fall asleep. It ain't gonna happen. I am so used to this state now that I have picked up some very valuable tips. Do not think of anything worrisome. Do not think about death. Do not think about upcoming appointments you dread. Do not think of any occasion in the past when you feel someone wronged you. Do not decide, Well, I might as well try to plot out my newest story idea. The best thing I've found to think about, unable to sleep, is how the weight of my body feels lying on the mattress. Maybe because it's something physical, rather than intellectual? Trying to shut down the mind, letting the limbs take over. Kind of makes sense, right? It never works, but at least I feel like I have a chance.

I'm not going to start my day at one or two o'clock in the morning, that's just a bad idea, so I lie in bed, shifting my position every once in a while, glancing up at the red digital numbers on my alarm clock, like a dog, to see how much longer I have to shift and stare into darkness before it makes sense to rise. Time passes so slowly when you can't sleep. Minute by minute, and a minute lasts a long, long time, even longer than the time it takes perfume to dissipate from a room.

At four in the morning, already awake for hours, I float like a ghost through our downstairs rooms.

Once I am officially up, and Mary is awake, I drink cup after cup of dark coffee, trying to drug myself back to alertness, to staying awake, my preferred state, like a character whose neighbor still looks like his neighbor, but isn't. Yet as Mary and I lie side by side in bed, watching morning television, with its stupid breaking news about bandits crashing the back of their pick-up into the front glass of a convenience store to steal the ATM machine, my head still lolls leftwards over and over, confusing images and noises sliding into my brain, until I again right myself.

When I was a teenager, I used to sleep past eleven in the morning. Almost noon! And my only concern, spreading my pajama'd legs apart under the sheets someone else would wash was, What's for breakfast?

Like you, who I was is a beach behind me I can no longer swim back to, the sand is too far away; I can only lap forward, through the slapping waves, towards the distant, featureless horizon.

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