Scream Week Guest Post: Good Omens by Duncan Ralston

This is probably going to sound like utter bullshit, but the night I started writing Salvage (a ghost story about a town submerged for a hydroelectric dam, and the people still haunted by its past), my house flooded.

The flood started in a broken pipe to the dishwasher while my roommate and I slept.  The rubber pipe split, and leaked water into the wall. The dishwasher hadn’t even been on at the time. The wall burst some time later from the pressure, and water spilled down the stairs into the basement. The basement ceiling split open from the weight of water. When I woke up, the entire basement was filled with about six inches of water. I spent the morning cleaning up, making sure DVDs were picked up off the floor and electronics and wiring hadn’t been affected by the water.

The strangest thing about this was that before I went to bed that night, I’d just finished writing a scene in which the main character, Owen, whose younger sister has just died from drowning, has a dream that his childhood home floods in the while he sleeps.

I’d like to think it’s a coincidence. I’d like to.

Another sort of weird thing happened during the writing: I’d picked a song to be played during a key scene in the book, Rock and Hyde’s (formerly The Payolas) “Dirty Water,” which is about religious corruption and hypocrisy. That day before work, I turned on the radio to hear that very song. I thought it was sort of odd, and kind of cool, but didn’t think too much of it. But one day a few weeks or a month later I was doubting myself, worried I was wasting my time, that I was writing the wrong book. I turned on the radio, and lo and behold, Rock and Hyde’s “Dirty Water” was playing.

I tried not to succumb to magical thinking, but after three, four times, I couldn’t help myself. It was a good omen, I told myself. This is the right book. This is the right time. It helped me get through the first draft.

I haven’t heard the song since.



SALVAGE: a Ghost Story

Something is Lurking Under the Lake

When Owen Saddler’s little sister mysteriously drowns, Owen is determined to uncover the circumstances by following in her footsteps, even if it means diving into the murky–some would say haunted–waters of Chapel Lake.

Thirty years earlier, the town of Peace Falls had been flooded to build a hydroelectric dam, and its ruins remain below the surface of Chapel Lake. The strange disappearance of the town Pastor, along with many of the parishioners, still haunts the citizens of Chapel Lake. But does the church haunt the lake itself? Is Owen really seeing ghosts… or has he descended into the depths of madness?

Salvage is the debut horror novel of author Duncan Ralston (Gristle & Bone). A darkly disturbing story of depression, religious fanaticism, and the afterlife, Salvage seeks to illuminate the evil within us all.



Duncan Ralston was born in Toronto, and spent his teens in a small town. As a “grown-up,” Duncan lives with his girlfriend and their dog in Toronto, where he writes about the things that frighten and disturb him. In addition to his twisted short stories found in GRISTLE & BONE and THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS, his debut novel,SALVAGE, is available for preorder now.





One thought on “Scream Week Guest Post: Good Omens by Duncan Ralston

  1. Duncan, I’d say you were emitting a strong vibration that the Universe couldn’t ignore. On one hand, cheering you on via song; on the other hand … a reminder to be careful what you think about. The book sounds great!

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