Saturday, 17 December 2016

The List

Krampus isn’t such a bad guy to work for; but he can be a real dick when he’s in the mood for it. I don’t get to see him much, except around the time of Thanksgiving – when we start compiling the ‘Naughty & Nice’ lists for Santa; and even then he’s a slob of a creature and gets me to do most of the work.

After the institution screw-up, where he was supposed to pick me up at the Arctic Circle and didn’t, I was left at a huge, dark house by the psychiatric hospital staff who didn’t like it when I turned to them, looked them up and down and told them, “You’re on the Nice List this year.”
It only made them drive faster and avoid eye contact.
And instead of making Krampus sign for me to be my guardian, they just dumped me out at the footpath and took off. It was dusk and they didn’t want to stick around any longer than they needed to in the dank dark backwoods area of town. Turning towards the house, I found it didn’t appear all that nice – but then when you think of it, Krampus wasn’t a nice character either.
Before I could knock on the door, he yanked it open, “What! Oh it’s you.”
“Krampus...” then I remembered where I had seen him from, “I remember meeting you now.”
“Where from?” he opened the door wider, “Get in here if you’re going to yap about our past.”
“You played a joke on Santa a few years ago, with the milk while he was... I think... jeez... I don’t remember his name now.”
“You ate too much of the sugary crap in the North Pole, didn’t you?” he grumbled, “They don’t have normal food there, and poison you every time you eat.” He walked to his huge kitchen and opened the fridge where I spotted real food; something I hadn’t seen in so long! He grabbed a bowl of grapes out of the bottom of the fridge and put them on the table, “Eat something healthy, I can smell the sugar on your breath – even if you haven’t eaten it in a few months.” He turned away and poured himself a huge mug of coffee, “It disgusts me that you’ve had your memory repressed by that horrible man. I’d never do that to you. And I’d never lie to you about anything.”
I sat at the table and grabbed a small bunch of grapes, “Thank you.”
He gave me a sideways glare as he drank his coffee, “There’s more food around the kitchen – I don’t eat much because Human food is always too weird for me to digest. So, any food you find around the place? Assume it’s for you, okay? And learn to cook, because I’m not cooking you any fuckin’ feasts.”
I accidentally swallowed a grape whole before I answered, “Okay.”
“There’s some ... oh jeez... cookbooks over there.” He waved towards the large sideboard, “You’ll find all you’ll need here in the kitchen... if you need anything – foodwise – tell me. I’ll get it in.”
“My sleeping quarters?”
He grunted as he finished off his coffee, “Will be better than where you lived ... and if you get sick, which I doubt you will, a human doctor will come here and I’ll vanish from sight.” He dumped his mug on the sink, “You’ll be responsible for keeping this kitchen clean as well. Come on, you have your own part of this house to yourself. I have a couple of rooms, but don’t disturb me between January and October unless the place is burning to the ground.”
I followed him through the large living room, down the hall to the right and up a sweeping staircase to a large wing which had been brightly fixed up with lights, curtains, a library full of books and a large bathroom, “This is all mine?”
“This is your wing of the house.” He muttered, “I hate it; it’s too... bright. But Santa said that you were too Human to be there; and you’re too elf-like to be here. So, you’re to work with me... oh such fun.” He sighed. He turned to leave, stopping at the top of the stairs, “The List arrives in the first week of November... prepare yourself for travel; you will be going all over the world to make sure children are who they say they are. You still have your elf magicks; so it won’t be as hard as you think.”
“What do you do?”
A sickening smile carved up his demonic face, “I scared the crap out of them all.”

I never asked him a stupid question like that ever again.

The List showed up in the huge living room one morning and I then understood why that room was so massive – Krampus needed the space for all the boxes. As soon as I opened the first box with the letter ‘A’ on it, the names started going through my mind in a whispering voice telling me whether if the child was good or bad.
“Beth.” Krampus’ voice pulled me out of the sixth page of ‘A’ from the doorway of the kitchen, “Eat breakfast first before tackling those boxes.”
“Sorry... I didn’t know they were going to be so...”
“Yes, they’re bigger than they look.” He turned and poured himself a mug of coffee, “Another thing: don’t drink my coffee. I have supplied you with your own machine over there near the kettle.”
He gulped down half a mug and poured himself another, before he walked out of the room, “And don’t ask me why.”

I travelled all over the world with parts of the list with me on a tablet and watched children from afar. I was amazed at how many children made out to be good when really they were horrible little snots. Then, you had adults who acted like children and they claimed to be nice people... then you came across the really rare adults who didn’t think they were nice, and they really were lovely people.
One afternoon, I was walking through a park when I heard my name being screamed by somebody. On turning, I saw a woman running towards me. I had no idea who person was and froze.
“Oh... Krampus... help.” I muttered.
He was by my side in a second and the woman faltered, “Beth, is there a problem?”
The woman stared at his horns as his dark form stood over me. I looked up at him, “She screamed my name and acted as though she knew me.”
He looked down at me, “It’s because she does know you. That woman is your mother.” I didn’t know what to do as he led me to a seat and we sat with the woman crying nearby, “Now, you have a huge choice to make.”
“Go with a person I hardly know or stick with a mythical demon who nobody gives a rats about.” I said.
“Well, shit... don’t sugarcoat, will you?”
“You said you’d never lie to me.” I said, “I’m returning the favour. But I want to know where my brother is.”
“He’s still at home with your parents.”
I searched through the tablet to find my younger brother was on the Nice List, “I’m glad he’s doing well.”
“I made sure of that.”
“Beth please... come home with us and get away from... that thing.” The woman begged as a policeman showed up, “That’s my daughter. She’ s been missing for years.”
“Holy shit, who is that in that costume?” the cop asked.
“It’s not a costume.” I heard her say.
Looking down at my tablet, I started to cry, “I don’t know, Krampus. I’ve been gone for so long that I don’t know those people... and yet I’m scared of you; and I don’t want to hurt them.”
Standing, Krampus looked down at me, “The choice is yours. I will not interfere with it.” He vanished from the park and left me alone with these ... these... weird people.

The house appeared abandoned when I walked up to it. There wasn’t a single light on as I stood on the footpath; and I felt as though I had been dumped there, when really I had walked from the bus stop down the road. I notice that the yard looked cared for – making it look lived in – but no lights were left on; as it was late. I was about to knock when the door opened.
“So, you made up your mind?”
“Yes.” I nodded, “Krampus, I have. I’ve been gone for too long. I’ll work with you.”
“Good. Get inside.” He grumbled.
I couldn't tell him what I knew about the people who were my family.

I just couldn't tell him that he was the better choice than they were, simply because they were on the Naughty List - and had been from the very beginning. They acted like my family, said they were my family, had all the paperwork to say they were my family. But they weren't. It was the elvish magicks which had told me that the woman had been a nurse way back when I was born; and she had stolen me from my mother at the hospital. 

So, who was worse? Krampus or the evil bitch who was telling me she was my mother all these years? I chose Krampus because he never lied to me, he just told me what he knew and left the choice up to me.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

All Hallow's Eve Spell

I thought to write a Halloween-themed flash fiction... just for kicks! 


Eva’s party had been great. Music pumped throughout the house, everyone showed up in costume and there was even an obstacle course out in the backyard to go through when you wanted – a good scary one filled with all kinds of freaky traps and fun!

I had suggested to her to invite the neighbours… and she did so they didn’t feel left out or that the party was too noisy.

But they politely turned her invite down, claiming that Halloween Parties weren’t their bag.
“Oh well, their loss.” My friend had grinned.
“Not really.” I said, “At least they know you’re having a party; and can’t complain to the cops now.”
Randy smiled as he tossed another tied-up lolly-bag on the pile, “True. So, we can go all out with the backyard tricks and games.” He glanced at the large pile of bags, “Do you think we have enough?”
Nodding, I rose from my seat and refilled my coffee cup, “It’s gonna take all week to get this party on the road… let’s get another look at that list.”

Now, like I said, the party was going well… the music was pumping and people were enjoying themselves…
…they were until midnight struck and everything kinda started going wrong.
Okay, not kinda… really did start to fuck up in a major way.

Anyone in costume became the creatures they arrived as. I dressed as a witch… and well, I have become one for real. I suddenly can incant spells and potions and speak Latin at a moment’s noticed – something which is really unsettling; and yet very cool at the same time.
As for my friends? Well, Eva dressed up as a cat and she’s turned into a Puma and hunted down every ex-boyfriend who showed up and … um… attacked them.
Randy dressed up as Capone… and well, became the real deal; gun and all! When he saw me, he had no idea what I was but thought I looked hot… one little problem, Randy is gay and even though he looked great as the gangster, my alter-ego also knew Randy’s alter-ego was also gay… and it took one really weird kiss to have the message come across, “Oh fuck! I’m a poofta …”
“Don’t call yourself that.” I said, “The term is gay; and no it doesn’t mean happy anymore, as you’re in the twenty-first century. So put away the guns and act like a gentleman while I try to figure out what in All Hallow’s Eve is going on.”
He snorted, “And how are you goin’ to do that, dollface?”
Eva prowled in, licked her chops and jumped up on the lounge to have a well-earned nap. I watched her, turned to Capone and smiled, “Well, it looks like a spell… and the only people not here are the next door neighbours. So, I’m going to find out what kind of bad little hexes they’ve been casting on us; then turn it around on them.” Turning from the living room, I noticed that Eva looked up at me, watching me leave. She wanted to know if she could come with or should guard the house, “Eva, guard the house… it’s safer for you.”
As I walked to the edge of the property, I found that I wasn’t the only one affected by the spell. Every last person in the neighbourhood was also affected in the same way; but the further people ventured from the neighbour’s house, the less the affects were on the people.
This place was a madhouse! There were demons, other witches, vampires, butterflies, ax-murderers, Angels and zombies… man then there were the comicon people. I lost count of how many ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Walking Dead’ fans there were… and so I stopped counting. But then, I was just standing on the footpath and hadn’t gone anywhere.
Turning right, I knew I had to find the source of the power of the spell which was causing all of this.

This is where things started to become weird.

One minute I’m on the footpath, the next I’m at the front door of the neighbour’s house.

The door was open and I smiled at them.

Then, they were screaming.

I woke up on the footpath as the dawn was breaking the sky still dressed as a witch. Looking over at the neighbour’s house, I found it was burnt to the ground, Eva was still a Puma and locked up to be taken to the zoo and Randy was back to his normal self talking to the cops.
“Listen, I have no idea what in the hell happen to the neighourhood. But my two flatmates threw the party, the next door neighbours acted really strange and their house turned into a fireball as soon as one of them went next door… I followed her and all she did was knock on the door and smiled at them.” Randy said, “I swear, Beth didn’t say anything to them.” he glanced over his shoulder at our house, “But the backyard has turned into a war zone… it was supposed to be fun. We now have a black hole where the tool shed used to be, a huge sinkhole where the pool used to be and Bran Castle has shown up at the back fence… dude, that never used to be there.” He looked to his hands before saying the next thing, “Also, a Bates Motel has popped up over the back fence with a creepy little guy running it… that place wasn’t there last week. He attended the party with what looked like a zombied body of a woman he kept talking to… can you get him out of here?”
The cop looked up slowly from his notepad, “Are you kidding?”
“No… he kept calling her Mother.” Randy said, “And he wore a dress with a wig.”
“What was his name?”
“Norman Bates.”
The cop shook his head as I struggled to my feet, “Randy.”
“Beth.” He took a step towards me then hesitated, “Your costume hasn’t … you know…”
“What?” I looked down, “Oh god… didn’t I change back?”
The cop gave me a wary look up and down, “From what? You’re a full-blown witch with all the powers… didn’t you come with the David Copperfield experience shit?”
“No… I came in costume as a witch for the fun of it.” I replied.
“Well. Whatever happened here, the government has to lock off this section of town.” The cop wrote down a few more notes.
“Why?” I took a step toward him as he backed up.
“Because lady, you have some wicked power to be able to burn down a house by just smiling at it.” He pointed at the smouldering structure behind me.
Turning, I stared at the house. My gut turned cold, “I couldn’t have done that. All I did was go over there to see if they were casting a spell… I don’t even remember knocking on the door.”
“You didn’t. You blasted your way in.”
So much for having a Halloween Party. All we wanted to do was have some fun; which turned into something else entirely. I was taken away to a psychiatric hospital to be ‘kept safe’. But a strange thing happened: the powers of the spell wore off after The Day of the Dead – two days later. Zoo staff found Eva in the Puma enclosure at the local zoo wondering why she was feeling unusually full, Randy was worried sick about us both and we all thought it best to go our separate ways.

This happened when we were in our twenty’s.

I’m now in my sixties and still wonder exactly what happened; as I still can’t remember it clearly. Even though I’ve revisited that part of town, I’m still not permitted close to it… the power of the spell is still active for some reason it hasn’t been undone.
I’ve still be pulled in to the hospital to be tested and asked the same stupid questions by doctors and police. We all still have no idea how all of this happened.

But every Halloween since, whether I like it or not, I turn into a powerful witch who knows all the potions and spells, who can incant Latin at a moment’s notice – as creepy and weird as it may be; and yet I still find it very cool in the strangest way. So, every Halloween, Eva, Randy and I spend three days together because we physically change into things we can’t control… It’s only a matter of time before the authorities figure out we’ve all lied to them – that it only happened once.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Scary Story - Part III

Scary Story Part III... now this is great fun! I was going to continue with 'The Grim Reaper' but found this one very enticing. Here's the link to the first two:


My hands started to shake as he took the phone from me, “And that’s not my phone.” Rod pulled his phone from the pocket of his jeans. It was the exact same model and style, but he pulled unlocked it and it showed the twin selfie of the two of us at Brunswick Heads at Harry’s Hill on New Year’s Day.
I remembered that day… it was so tranquil and beautiful and pretty. But right now, our lives were none of that. I looked up at Rod and started to cry uncontrollably, stuttering through my tears, “If that’s not your phone…”
He looked down at its shattered, bloody screen, “I don’t know. But I could see why you were fooled into thinking it was mine.”
I looked over at the neighbour’s house – the same place I was hoping to visit in the morning to talk to the young boy’s parents – and saw it was in complete darkness, “It’s too late to ring them.”
“Yeah, let’s leave it until morning.” Rod nodded, “First, though, let’s get you showered, you’re covered in blood… and you’re not bleeding.”

The morning’s light showed a more gruesome light to what had occurred the night before. We had held onto the destroyed mobile phone – putting it into a ziplock bag for safe-keeping. But I hadn’t slept very well for the rest of the night, because the noises in the roof had kept me awake for most of the night; and Rod and I ended up sleeping in the spare room.
I woke on the double bed with Rod next to me. He was already awake and looking at me with an expression of worry, “Hi.”
“Hey babe.” He whispered, “I haven’t slept… I stayed awake all night. Those noises in the ceiling haven’t stopped all night. Dunno how you slept through the racket.”
“At first I didn't, but in the end I was exhausted.”
He sighed, “I’m going to call the pest guy and get him out here. I was sure he told us that the place was clean before we moved in.” Looking around the small room, he scrubbed his hands over his stubbled face, yawning, “I’ll find the receipt from the sale of the house.”
“First, I’ll get us some clothes from the master bedroom; and you stay here.” He pushed himself out of the bed and dragged himself to our room where I heard him moving around, collecting things together, and he returned with our clothes; but he seemed different somehow as he sat down on the bed, “Let’s get dressed. Here’s your handbag.”
“Why would I need my bag for?”
When my husband’s eyes met mine, I knew he’d seen something horrendous, “Because, we’re leaving this house.”
As I shouldered my bag, after dressing, I noticed our bedroom door was closed, “What happened in there?”
Rodney grabbed my hand, “Come on, we’re going on foot.”
“But the car…”
“Nope… we’re walking.”
We walked out the front door, down the cracked concrete path and turned right at the footpath. My normally chatty husband had turned into the strong silent type overnight. I noticed that on the way out, he locked up the house and took up the destroyed mobile phone, “Where are we going?”
“It’s best if we just walk for a bit … okay?” he couldn’t look at me as we passed house after house of the old-fashioned neighbourhood, “We’ll …” he stopped suddenly, let go of my hand, turned from the path and threw up, collapsing to his knees as he started to cry and another spasm of sickness threatened to overtake him, “Oh, fuckin’ hell, Meg… I can’t tell you… they there in there…”
“Who?” I asked.
Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he gave me the look of dread, “Our next door neighbours were in the ceiling last night… they were slowly… oh god… their kid was waiting for us to go to bed so he could pull them out of the house and …” Rodney turned from me to be sick again.
I pulled back shaking my head, “Oh god no… not those sweet people… but what about all that blood in the shed?”
He groaned as he sat down, exhausted and pale, “That young kid you were so worried about, he’s been killing the dogs around the area and stringing them up in the shed… just for kicks.” He blinked, fighting off another bout of being sick (trying not to visualise what was really in the shed) and succeeded this time, “And when I came in to get our clothes in our bedroom, I found the kid in our bed with the bodies of his parents. He had killed them, honey… there was something wrong with that kid – or that family – and when I opened the drawers, to get our clothes, he woke up and saw me. I grabbed the only clothes I could get my hands on.”
I looked down, “You got clothes out of the dirty clothes basket and my handbag.”
“Your bag was by the door and the clothes were in the hallway… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” I said, “We’re alive.”
“For now.” He said looking over his shoulder where the seven-year-old had just turned the corner, “He’s been tailing us for the last half hour.”
I looked up, my gut cooling at the blood-covered child, whose eyes were empty, “Oh my god… did he say anything to you?”
“He told me his name was Damien. And he told me I was going to be punished for what I did.” He looked over at me, “I have no idea what he was talking about.”
“Get up… we have to run.” I helped Rodney up and we ran as fast as our legs would carry us in the early morning.
At the police station, they were wondering how we could make up such a strange story. But they arrived at our place anyway to find the place was neat and tidy.

There was no blood.

The neighbours were very much alive.

Damien was a sweet and charming little boy.

The police thought we were nuts.

After they left, Rodney and I looked at the bloodied phone and wondered exactly whose phone it was. I looked for my phone but couldn’t find it. Rod called my mobile number and it rang. With it still in the plastic, I put it onto loud-speaker and answered, “Hello?”
Through the plastic bag, a little boy’s voice said, “Hi, my name is Damien. You will be punished for what you did.”
“Honey… my phone is still ringing, how could that voice come through?” Rod asked.
“We’re selling this dump.” I said.
“Now.” We both said together.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Grim Reaper - Part II

Last week, we all did our own Part I of a story. This week, we had to pick somebody else's and write a part II... I picked out: 


The more Blake worked on his Halloween costume, the less it seemed to feel like one. He tried it on to see if it fitted – to see if it ‘fell’ in the right places, felt right and didn’t pull where it shouldn’t and gave him the freedom to carry and swing a scythe – as well as carry a sickle in the folds of the long, dark and menacing robe he had created.
He had done more homework on the sickle and found out that the sickle was a part of the Grim Reaper’s costume – but nobody really called attention to is in paintings and prints as they should. So, in the last week, he had gone onto ebay searching for ancient farming equipment – and was amazed to find the very items he was looking for to complete his costume… the real deal, not the plastic hokey crap things at ‘Maddie’s Costume Store’ in town.

This pleased Blake to no end.

He was going to have the most original costume, “Hehehe, they’ll think it’s a costume…” in town. Yes, he was going to get his own back for what had happened to him…

Shrugging into it, he felt so comfortable. The robe seemed to mold to his wiry, tall frame; the bottom dressy part of it appeared as though it was lashing in amongst its own floor-level mini-tornadoes just above the floor that nobody could see.
Looking up at the full-length mirror in his bedroom, he noticed his face was mostly hidden in the shadow of the large hood. No, he wouldn’t need the white mask he thought he’d needed before; as the lower part of his face would be enough to freak out anyone if he grinned and said nothing to anyone.

Aaah, yes! That’s it… he even freaked himself out just a little when he did that, “Much better than that stupid mask. I’ll be able to see their faces when I…”

At the window lurked a sinister shadow, watching him. This shadow knew how much arduous pain Blake had been through – how much suffering he had endured – in his short, seemingly insignificant – life. It was time to call due all that was owed to this young man; after all, he was going to all this trouble to hand-stitch such an ornate costume on All Hallows Eve just to get even with everyone he knew… why not? He wanted to have some fun!

A sliver of a cold chill whispered down the Blake’s spine. He stopped and spun, listened for anyone who may be returning early tonight. When he didn’t hear a car or the front door slam, he shrugged away the weird feeling that he wasn’t alone (figuring that it was the robe he was wearing giving him the heebie-jeebies and nothing else) and turned back to the mirror.
Blake felt comfortable in this, yes, this was no longer a costume he had taken three weeks to stitch together by hand – this was now his uniform. This was how he felt on the inside every single day he was alive on this planet, in this depressing little town – where every adult treated him like he was their own play thing, sex toy and what he said never mattered to anyone. This was his Black Dog from deep inside his soul worn on the outside for all the world to see; and he was damned proud of it – and he never wanted to take it off.
Looking over at the scythe leaning in the corner of the room next to his wardrobe – behind his bedroom door – he knew in three day’s time, it would be slick with the blood of everyone who ever crossed him. On his desk, on top of his science text book, laid the sickle. It too was ready with a new leather cord through its handle, looped underneath it; to be used like a whip when he was ready to pull it free from the hidden folds of …
…there was that chill again, this time there was a voice: “Oh good, you’ve fully resigned yourself to who you truly are, Blake.”
“Who is that?” he turned looking into the semi-darkness of the bedroom, but seeing nobody.
“You’ve made my costume so well,” whispered a cool breeze in his left ear, “And collected together my items as well, and yet you do not speak my name?”
Blake turned in the direction of where the voice whispered, “Show yourself you coward!”
“Big words for such a little boy.” The shadow stepped behind him as it stood behind him, “However, you will learn to take me in. Now, it’s time for me to a well-earned holiday and teach you the ways of who I am.”
Blake felt an icy hand grip his left shoulder; and a deep, dark, ancient evil enter him. It was darker than the things that had happened to him when he was young; darker than any war he’d seen on the news; darker than what Hitler did to the Jews… and then it spoke again – this time, in his mind, “Good evening, Blake. I see your costume is coming along very well. I’ve been admiring you from afar for some time now, but from now on you and I are going to become very close. Allow me to introduce myself: I am the Horseman who rides the White Horse. Have you guessed who I am? Some call me Death… I’d rather be called The Grim Reaper – it’s much more poetic.”

Sweat prickled his skin as panic froze in his gut. Blake tried to take off the robe, but found it couldn’t be removed now, “No,no,no,no,no!”
“Oh but yes! You want to conflict pain, Blake, and I’m here to help you do just that. And while you do, I’m on holidays. All you need to do is hold out your hand to the scythe and it’ll do your bidding.”

As though Blake had no self-control, his hand shot out to the tall, rusty scythe in the corner of the room and it shot over to him. At first, he started to cry, then howl in the darkness of his bedroom…

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Bubble: Part One of Four

This week, Chuck has us writing a Part I of a story - the first 1,000 words. I got up to 646; and my story has been left for another to complete. 


The world is a dangerous place.

So we all live in our own little bubbles of protection.

Some of us like to read.

Some of us like to do gardening.

Some of us like to do a collection of things – to keep that bubble around us; protecting us from the awful things of the outside world.

In a way, we live in our own little universes – little worlds of wonder and enchantment – so we don’t have to deal with the real issues which are plaguing our planet.

Some of us are right into saving the planet… when it’s doing its own thing really and it doesn’t need saving, as the more we do try, the worse it seems to get.

Some of us take drugs which make us lose control in such a way that when somebody approaches us we have no way of knowing how we’ll react… it’s us pulling into our own little bubble in a different way to most… the most dangerous way of all – because it’s this way that does the most damage to the surrounding people on the outside of that particular person’s bubble.
You see, the drug-taker’s bubble isn’t really a bubble. It’s a prison. It’s self-built and is a bubble which becomes smaller and smaller as they destroy their system with the drug – or drugs – of their choice. As they do, they become more violent and horrible towards people who simply wish to ask them a question about something. They don’t even realise how destructive their bubble is until it’s too late… and the bubble turns into a prison and they can’t escape from it. By then, the bubble which is supposed to be protecting them has been turned into a real prison created by the authorities.

However, people can interact with each other’s bubbles and created great things. Artists do this is the most wonderful way. They can detach their bubbles from themselves and invite others in to work with them… it’s an interactive thing for them. It’s fun, enjoyable and a kind of mind-meld which takes over their little universe; as most artists are extroverted introverts. They have fun for a little while with others, then have to withdraw and gather their energies on their own. It’s the withdrawing which can have some great and positive things going for the artists and their bubble.
Gathering their energies (as it does for most) cleanses their bubble – their universe. But you have to be alone to do this.  Gwen’s bubble hadn’t been cleansed in a long time, and she was hanging out to do some meditation and good alone time. She had spent a lot of time with her friends and out partying at gallery openings and working at workshops at her local gallery… and after three months, she found she was exhausted. Her head was filled with doubts, fears and problems she never thought were possible.

So, setting herself up quietly, she pulled out her palate and cleaned brushes. Then, she unwrapped a nice clean, new canvas. Doing a new painting was one way for her to cleanse her bubble… she could put her worries, concerns and fears and doubts on the canvas. It was little like writing a journal for a writer – she wrote her fears in picture form on the canvas.

This time, it was different.

The brushes moved almost automatically, as she meditate on a picture in her head that had been bothering her lately… a mental picture of something big, ugly and horrible chasing her down, but… she couldn’t look at its face

“No, not at its face… don’t look.” She muttered as the day turned to night and she felt for a light switch behind her. As the light flooded the room, she stopped, staring at the painting of her anxiety… amazed that the one thing she was scared of was

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Shared Accommodation

Chuck's asked us to write something down-right creepy. Well, mine starts off creepy and ends on a happy note.


I moved into my townhouse September 8th, 2002.
It was about the fiftieth place we had looked at – and the best one so far. It was very welcoming, pretty and looked like nobody had lived in it for quite some time.

I really should have asked about that, but I didn’t.

Well, after applying for it, and getting it almost immediately, I packed up my bedroom of belongings and moved out of my parents’ house faster than they could fart.
It took about two days to move in and over a month to unpack. And even then, my folks were still bringing things over that belonged to me – but I never let on that I was having problems with the place.

Anyway, I found I had to have a spare front door key in my pocket every time I left the house for even a few seconds, because the main door would slam shut and deadlock. The first time this happened, I called the real estate and they happily came out and opened the door and handed me two bunches of keys with four copies of the front door key on it.
I found this strange, and should have asked… but didn’t. I just said, “Four front door keys.” and expected them to tell me, but they gave me a shrug; so they didn’t know either.

Within about the second month, I was being woken up by somebody at the end of my bed at 2am. Talk about freaky! By the time I turned on my reading lamp, she was gone! And nope, I couldn’t sleep again. I’d lay there with my hands under the pillow, holding onto the spare bunch of house keys, making sure they were still there.
Oh, I didn’t tell you did I? My house keys kept on going missing. I’d walk through the front door, place them in the bowl on the stand by the stairs, open the back door (which is a different bunch of keys – why I didn’t know at the time) and then, return to the front door to find the original bunch had vanished into thin air!

And I'd find them in the strangest places!
In the oven (not turned on)
In the pantry, in the fridge, in the freezer, washing machine, dryer (with the door closed), in the toilet cisterns (just how did they get in those??? I have two toilets!) and the last place I'd look - under my bed! 

So, after weeks of this, I had had enough!

It was time to talk to the neighbours.

I walked outside (making sure I had my spare key on me) and found two of them gas-bagging not far away and asked them about the history of my place. As I did, I heard the front door slam hard; knowing it was going to locked by the time I got home.
“Well, you’re the fifth person to try to live there.” The older lady, Tina said, “And you’ve lasted the longest.”
The other neighbour, Jenny, sighed, “I’m surprised you’re not scared to death yet.”
“I am. I keep getting woken up at 2am three nights a week by an angry old woman… but she won’t stick around for me to look at her properly.” I replied.
“Wait here.” Tina went back inside her house, returning with a photo of an old lady whose hair was graying and frizzy, dressed in a blue house dress standing outside my townhouse. But the garden was differently done and she wasn’t smiling – just standing here, “Was this her?”
I looked carefully, “Yes. She’s not happy.”
The woman took the photo back hesitantly, “I can’t help you.” And she raced back inside.
Jenny shook her head, “Don’t worry, Tina is Polish; and very superstitious. She believes in ghosts.”
“Oh… so do I. But I’ve never come across anything like this.”
“Well, here’s the goss… they’ve been trying to place people in that townhouse for over a year. People will sign a lease and then within 3 weeks, they’ll run screaming from the place in the middle of the night, throwing the keys back at the real estate. Nobody has ever stayed as long as you.”

I was determined to stay, ghost or no ghost, “Thanks. I’ve got an idea, and it just might work.”
Two nights later, on schedule, I was woken up by the same lady I saw in the photo. But this time, I didn’t turn on the light.
This time, I asked her to wait. She did, but she wasn’t happy.
You may not believe this part: we talked about her situation and mine. I made her a promise – one which I’ve kept – so long she promised to cross over, which she did that night.

The problem with ghosts who ‘come home’ to their original homes is that sometimes they don’t like the change. My ghost’s problem was that she was the original owner of my townhouse… she bought it when it was brand new in 1989; and what happened to her was totally unfair and out of her hands – as it is most times. She fell down the stairs and shattered her hip, and she wasn’t found until 3 days later by her family. However, she was left for too long and the doctors advised the family to move her to a care facility where she passed away 6 months later. She thought she was coming home when she died… when really she didn’t know what happened.
When she met me – after almost a year of haunting this place – I knew the communication between us wouldn’t be equal, so I told her what happened to her place since she was gone). She didn’t like how things turned out, and didn’t like me at all.

I know you’ll all think this is crap… once she moved on, kept my promise to her; and my townhouse has the feeling of a tiny, cosy house; just as she would have liked. I made her ‘home my home,’ just as she did.

It’s been 14 years since I helped her. And just last month, I felt her looking around. I called out to her at 1am… asking if she liked the place; as she woke me at that time from a deep sleep. How did I know it was her? She makes the house incredibly – unseasonably – freezing cold for about a minute or so, then it goes back to normal. Yep, this is a spirit who checks up on me. Now… I’m hoping to move out soon into a better place. Exactly how am I going to tell the next person to be nice to the resident ghost? 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Swings

It's been two weeks since our last prompt from Chuck... oh well. I had this idea tonight - just spur of the moment kinda thing thought to write it. 


It was always the same time of day – after lunch – when the park filled with children. They all raced towards the long line of swings to play the same game: to see who would go the highest!

Their squeals were the best.

I could hear them from the gazebo where I read my book.

But then, I watched one day when a mother came to collect her child from the swings, and found that her daughter was gone. Her little girl’s swing was empty and still.
She started looking around, called out her name, panic in her voice rising as she fumbled with her phone, tears muffling her request for the police to ‘come quickly! My daughter’s gone… she’s gone from the park!’

The next week, it happened again.

This time, I brought my book, but put it next to me the moment the children arrived and watched from my seat to see what was happening.
I didn’t want anyone suspecting me of kidnapping any of the children; so I stayed put.
“So, are you here every week the children come?” a woman’s voice asked to my right.
Glancing away for a split second, I nodded, “Yes… I normally read here waiting for my time to go and see my Grandmother at the hospital across the road. It’s nap time now… so the two hours I’m here gives me time to read – well, until recently.”
“I’m Senior…”
“You’re a cop… I get it.” I kept my eyes on the children – all ten swings of them, “That’s a great swing set the council put in. But they’ve been going missing for about a month – however nobody’s been noticing.”
“Not until now.” She said.
“Yeah, it only takes one Mum who goes looking for her six-year-old and, hey bang, everyone’s in on the case.” A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth, a chuckle escaped my throat.
“True.” She nodded, “Can I see some I.D? I need to run it past the hospital.”
“Oh… sure.” I pulled out my wallet, felt for my license and handed it over. She quickly did a check on me and I came back clean – I was indeed waiting for the time to pass to visit Granny in the hospital; to read to her the works of Wordsworth – again. Yes, my Grandmother had Dementia, so rereading the same passages to her again and again was something I was becoming used to; but in my bag I had other books with me as well, just in case she remember other authors. As I looked down to push my I.D away, a scream cut the air, “Dammit! I missed it!”
We both stood and walked to the front of the gazebo as the mother raced into the brilliant sunshine, towards the empty swing where her son used to be; as its pendulum-like sway reduced quickly to nothing.
The police looked up, around and began searching…
“Damn… he vanished into…”
“…Thin air.” I finished.
I looked at my watch, “I must go… it’s time to visit my Grandmother.”
“Mind if I tag along?” she asked.
“If you want… she wouldn’t mind another voice.” I shouldered my bag of books and walked across the park, across the road, up the stone stairs to the old hospital on the hill.

Today, Grandma May was sitting in her recliner, all rugged up and looking outside at the sunny afternoon, frowning at the goings-on across the road, “What are they doing out there?” she turned, “Oh, Elizabeth, it’s so nice to see you again.”
She had mistaken the cop for my late wife, and I dumped the bag on the lounge near the rest room, “Grandma, this isn’t Lizzy, this is a cop. She’s working with the people across the road.” I walked over and looked at her, “You know who I am, don’t you?”
“Richard, you are my Grandson. You’re going to read me Shakespeare today. The Sonnets.” She smiled.
“Right… you’re lucky I have a bag of books on almost everything.” I smiled and turned to grab the bag as her hand gripped mine hard, and she started singing in a lilting tune “Don’t use the swings, don’t use swings, gobble-gobble… goes your soul… don’t use the swings, don’t swing too high…” she blinked, smiling at me, “Well, are you going to read me Shakespeare or not?”
I nodded, “Yeah… of course.”
Walking to the cop, I opened the bag and pulled out the sonnets of Shakespeare – a well-thumbed book I studied in uni – and shuddered at what my Grandmother had just done, “I have no idea what Grandma May has just said to me.”
“It’s an old myth of the park, which is older than the city itself.” She said, “I’ll look into it.”

Another week passed by and I never heard from the cop again. In fact, she vanished from the face of the Earth as though nobody had heard of her. I had a hard time getting anyone in the department talking about her because they were close-knit and wouldn’t tell me anything about her – not until I went to the hospital. This was where I found her in the room next to my Grandma May’s, sitting by the window watching what was going on.
I walked in, looked at her, “Hey. I know you.”
She looked up at me and started to sing: “Don’t use the swings, don’t use swings, gobble-gobble… goes your soul… don’t use the swings, don’t swing too high…”
“Yeah, what does that mean?”
She giggled like a little girl and pointed out the window, “Gobble-gobble by the goblin in the tree!” she blushed, whispering, “He steals your soul when you fly too high.”
“Thank you.” I patted her arm, gently.
“No! No touching!” she screamed, “Strange man! Strange man!” her arm swung around! I never saw the backhander coming!

I came to in Grandma May’s room. She was sitting in her recliner shaking her head, “There’s a new one in the next room.”
“I noticed.” I sat up wincing at my sore head, “My God – goodness, she hits hard.”
“It was Elizabeth… she swung on the swings late last night and the Goblin in the trees took her… her soul. They found her on the swing this morning; the same swing.”
Looking over, forgetting my pain, I watched her, “She came back?”
Grandma May nodded, “Like me, she was too old.The goblin likes young souls. But when he finds old ones, he… makes us get sick like this.” She tapped the side of her head.
“I could get the better of him.” I said.
“Grandma… I’m already sick… I have a brain disease. I’ll end up killing him – if not, I’ll get him out of the trees.” I smiled, “Which swing is it?”
“Four… four seasons in a year… four quarters in an hour…” she said, “Poe today?”
“Poe… ‘The Raven’?” I smiled.
“My favourite.” She smiled back.

I was there before the children… in the fourth swing, waiting for them to arrive. I had left my bookbag at home today and looked up at the large Oak Tree above me as I moved my legs out in front, then tucked them under – making the swing go higher and higher!
Up to the front! Wind in my hair, sun on my face!
Back, back! My hair pulling into my eyes and the sound of the breeze in my ears!
Aahh, the freedom of how it feels to be a child again!
I had to let myself reconnect with my inner child so I could overcome my fear of heights and just let go of how they made me feel so completely helpless and out of control…
Rough, smelly hands grabbed me around the chest,“Got you! Hey! You’re not a child!” A guttural voice spat in my face, “The second one this week!”
“No I’m not a child. But you made my Grandmother the way she is now… and that means it’s personal.” I snapped.
“Really? Well, you’re in my kingdom, sonny boy, and you will do as I tell you.” He long, spindly fingers clicked and crackled, readying themselves to wrap around my head – to turn me into what the cop had turned into, to what my Grandmother had turned into, “Get ready to be sucked dry of all of who you are! You’re going back as a vegetable!”
“Do your worst.” I grinned, knowing that my medication was about to kick in – the overdose was about to happen; I could feel it.
His right hand wrapped around my head like a weeded helmet and roots of his ‘fingers’ invaded into my ears, beginning to suck on my brain’s nutrients. But they didn’t stay long as he too felt what I had done to myself, it was too late by that time. I began to have a seizure from the overdose and wrapped my arms around him, crushing him as I convulsed and rolled onto my side.
“No!” he grunted as we fell from his dimension and out of the highest branches of the tree and onto the ground.
Time had passed by quickly as it was night-time and police were waiting nearby with an ambulance. As we both hit the ground, the emergency services were in attendance at once to assist me, making me throw up all the medications I had taken as soon as possible – or so I was told. The hideous thing that had fallen out of the tree I was attached to? Well, they didn’t know what it was, but they knew it was the ‘thing’ that had been stealing the children.

The following week, the swing set was dismantled and shifted to another part of the park – just to be safe.

Two weeks later, I visited Grandma May to find her sitting on the edge of her bed, dressed, her carpet bag packed, smiling at me, “Richard! It’s so good to see you! Are you here to take me home?”
I turned to see the doctor standing there, “It happened three days ago. She sat up in bed asking what she was doing in hospital and how long she’d been here. We had to explain she had been here for the past five years after an incident in the park across the road involving the swings.”
“So, that’s how she knew the nursery rhyme.” I whispered, “What about the cop?”
“What cop?”
“Elizabeth? She was in the room next door.”
“Oh… two weeks ago, she suffered a huge medical problem. She started convulsing, throwing up and overdosing on Epilum, Topamax and Tegitrol… these drugs weren’t in her system. Her organs shut down immediately and she died. But when the M.E looked at her, she also had a shattered ribcage and a huge head fracture which is in line with falling from about five metres. She had also had suffered a stroke. We don’t know how she suffered all this from being in a room on her own.” He shrugged, “She also has no family either and put you down as her husband.”
“Husband? Oh… my Grandma did keep saying she looked like my late wife, Elizabeth. As for the medical overdoses, I know how all that happened, but you wouldn’t believe me.” I turned, picked up Grandma’s carpet bag, “Are you ready to go, Grandma May?”
“Isn’t Elizabeth with you?”
“No. You know she died five years ago.”

“Oh that’s right… in the park across the road…”