Winner – A Story by Ashley M.
As kids we believed if we hung our toes over the edge of the bed, something would take them in the night. Nobody told us, we just felt it. Lurking in the darkness. A shadowy being that would disappear as soon as we turned on the lights. If we made eye contact it would surely flee, but we didn’t dare test the theory.
Somewhere along the way we forgot that fear. Tired out by the world we could collapse without a second thought. The monster no longer existed.
That’s what they want you to believe. We thought we outgrew the childish stories, and we let down our guard. That’s when they latched on.
The monsters ventured out beyond the dark space under the bed. They found new homes in the dark places of the mind, where the world wore us down. They found new fears on which to feed, new anxieties to hide underneath. We carry those dark places with us every day, and the monsters ride along.
You’ve felt them. I have. That dread that fills you when you fall short. The fear of failure. The worry about the unknown. Why feed on little toes anymore when they can consume your very soul?
Honorable Mention – Don’t Look by Sue S.
It, they say, is out there. Don’t look, you may see it, they say. Don’t listen, you may hear it, they say. Don’t search, you may find it, they say. Who are “they” anyway? What do “they” know? “They” don’t know anything, so I went searching. I knew “they” would be talking about the deep dark woods at the end of my street. That is the spookiest place I know.
I waited until dark, then set off for the center of the woods with my sleeping bag and a flashlight. At first, I heard a whispering sound. I listened. I heard it! Then I saw something large and creepy. I looked. I saw it! I had searched. I found it! But what should I do? It was so scary I dropped my stuff and ran! Everywhere I went it followed me. I zigzagged around the trees, ducking branches—it followed. I leapt over a fallen log—it followed. I splashed through a creek—it followed. Finally, I couldn’t run anymore. I stopped, sucking air. It sat down next to me. I feared what would happen next. That’s when he held out his hand and said “Hello, my name is It.”
My Andouillette, a Culinary Haunting by Nelson A.
Not all hauntings involve ghosts.
One hot summer day, Gael, our French friend, treated us to a classic lunch in Paris.
He ordered a French Sausage – an andouillette. I love sausages. So I followed his lead and ordered the dreadful thing.
The waiter set the andouillette before me. Cutting into it, stuff fell out – not normal sausage behavior. Not normal stuff. Not normal odors. Others have described the smell as “a bit of the barnyard” – or “like sewage.”
Gael devoured his in large bites. I stabbed a smaller portion, bit in and nearly gagged.
To say that andouillette is an acquired taste is an understatement. It is sausage packed with spiced pig entrails.
I had disappointed Gael already. My French was inadequate. I couldn’t tell the difference between a wine and a water glass. I can only guess at my other cultural pho-paus. My reputation – nay, America’s reputation – was on thin ice.
So, dear reader, bite by bite, I ate the damned thing.
I dipped the entrails in mustard. It didn’t help. Desperate for relief, I dipped anyway.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I carefully considered… then chewed… then swallowed… each smelly morsel of mustard-dipped spiced pig entrails.
That experience haunts me still.
*Yes, this is a true story.
The Haunted Tome by Nelson A.
“Where did you find this?” said the librarian. She gestured towards a rather reptilian and hungry-looking book.
“Behind another book,” said Jake.
“You should have left it hidden. It’s haunted.” She scowled and suggested he choose a less dangerous book. Jake demurred. She passed him the book and hissed a warning: “Don’t let the pages turn to the end.”
“Then how do I find out what happens?”
“It’s your funeral,” she said.
Jake laughed at the memory of those final words as he slid into bed, whereupon he tumbled and tossed all night, plagued by nightmares of predatory books gnashing razor-edged teeth. When he awoke, shaking with fear, the book lay open to page 50.
“Curious,” he mumbled.
The following morning, following more fearsome nightmares, the book lay open to page 100.
Night, after terror-stricken night, 50 more pages turned until, at last, only 20 pages remained.
“Silly superstition! But I’ll return it tomorrow,” said the increasingly alarmed man.
A week later police responded to a missing person’s report at Jake’s house. The only unusual thing they found was an absurdly bulging library book that looked, according to a detective, “As if a crocodile swallowed an entire wildebeest.”
They returned it to the library.
Charles Gets His Cheesecake: A Ghost Story by Nelson A.
Charles was usually a friendly ghost, whose journey to the afterlife had been delayed by his desire for one last taste of cheesecake. We all have a last wish.
He haunted the Billows home. Whenever the Billows family served cheesecake, which was often, Charles howled in frustration, shook the curtains, and knocked half-filled cups off the counter.
“There it goes again,” said ten-year old Tom.
“Perhaps we’re haunted by a cat,” commented Mrs. Billows, scratching her chin.
“Begone, malevolent scourge!” shouted Mr. Billows in irritation at another interrupted dessert.
“Cheesecake!” squeaked Phoebe, the three-year old.
“Eat what’s on your plate,” chided her Mother.
“Cheesecake!” Phoebe pointed to the ether.
“You have some already.”
The Billows didn’t understand what the lingering spirit wanted. Well, except for the youngest, who puffed at a lock of golden hair in frustration.
She picked up her uneaten cheescake and held it over her head. The rest of the Billows held up their hands and shouted, “No no no …”
She took aim at a spot to the right of her Father’s ear, and hurled the cheesecake.
An unnatural gust of wind shook the table, and sounded vaguely like someone saying “mmmmmmmm.”
“Cheesecake!” explained Phoebe.
“Oh, Phoebe!” lamented her Mother.
Ghosthunting the Clown by Nelson A.
The two hired Ghosthunters trapped their spectral prey in the Washington City graveyard.
“I hate clowns,” said Ted. Bruce drove.
The ghostly clown, trapped in their makeshift EctoplasmTrapTM in the back seat, honked his red nose defiantly at his captors.
“You creep me out!’ Ted shouted at the clown.
“Easy, buddy,” said Bruce.
“You sure that trap’s safe?”
“Pretty sure,” said Ted.
They drove to Union, opened the EctoplasmTrapTM and watched the clown stumble and fall as he fled into the city park.
Bruce snickered at his pratfalls. “You know, he is pretty funny.”
“Shut It!” said Ted.
Two days later they got the call. The Clown was back haunting the City graveyard, and no payment until the Clown was gone for good.
“It’s Ginger and Gail,” grumbled Ted, referring to their rival Ghosthunters from Union, no doubt hired by Union City Hall to catch the clown and return it back to Washington.
“They can’t do that to us!” The Ghost Clown was easy to catch – he just wanted an audience. So the two Ghosthunting teams passed the comical spirit between the two towns until the Ghosthunters, overexposed to a leaky EctoplasmTrapTM, passed into the otherworldly afterlife themselves, forever swapping that clown.
Twain Vs. Austen by Nelson A.
Mark Twain’s ghost was as famously dismissive of his fellow author, Jane Austen, as the living Twain himself. The apparition often manifested at the main library desk on quiet evenings, where it would advance its unrestrained and acidic Austen appraisals.
“This library would be vastly improved by having no books, if that meant freeing the public from exposure to HER books,” Twain groused to the librarian on duty.
“I don’t make those decisions,” sighed Kim.
Due to an improbable incorporeal accident, Miss Austen’s ghost haunted the very same library. She defended herself.
“Sir, I struggle to comport myself with feminine virtues and dignity when you blithely cast imputations regarding the constitution of my books.”
“Speak plainly, will you not!”
Austen replied, “It is a general principle that a woman, being maliciously derided by a man…” and so on.
“I like both your books,” pleaded Kim, hands over her ears.
“That fact would disappoint me if I were accustomed to good taste from you,” chided Twain.
“That middling curator boasts more sense in a single finger than you have sensibility in your entire swaggering being,” taunted Austen.
“Inconceivable woman!” said Twain.
The library was known about town for its remarkably high turnover rate.
The Ghost of Ms. Anna by Amelia B.
Ms. Anna worked as a librarian in the Jackson County Library for 70 years, up until the day of her death. Ms. Anna loved coffee, only used blue pens, loved non-fiction documentaries, loved working with children, and it seemed as if her spirit would live on forever in that library. Every Wednesday night, the children’s reading club took place. Ms. Anna had formerly ran the children’s book club.
One rainy, dreary Wednesday night, just a few weeks after Ms. Anna’s death, the group of children gathered in Jackson County Library. On the back table, a mug of Ms. Anna’s old blue pens, a stack of non-fiction documentaries, and a fresh pot of coffee sat. The only people in the library were the group of children and the new children’s book club coordinator, Ms. Emily. Throughout the night, things were off. Random sounds came from Ms. Anna’s old computer, and the unused toilet was being flushed periodically. Suddenly, a crash. The unused coffee pot falls to the floor and shatters. One by one, blue pens roll off the flat rounded table, and the stack of documentaries falls to the floor. Everyone was filled with shock, yet a sense of peace.
Never believed until now by Cynthia B.
Two brothers were driving along a country road talking as brothers do about school and life in general. Jim, the older brother by four years, loved engineering while Michael enjoyed the world of physics. These facts are shared because what happened that night could not be explained by what they knew from the physical world.
As Jim drove down a dirt road, he stopped the car after spotting what looked like the whitetail deer’s backside. At that moment, two apparitions walked in front of the car. One girl and one boy holding books glanced into the car at the two brothers as if their souls were being searched for a reality check. Ghosts are real! To this day, Jim refuses to talk about what happened that night. Michael continues to provide a detailed account. Upon researching further, it was discovered that about 80 years ago, a car crashed along the same roadside. The father who was driving was immediately blinded from the accident. The two children, one girl and one boy seated in the back, were killed instantly and the mother survived the accident without a scratch. However, the mother was never able to accept the loss of her children which affected her sanity.
The House by Kim B.
The house at the end of the street stood vacant. A weather cracked and sun bleached “For Sale” sign leaned against the garage. Boards were nailed across windows. Ivy crept up the crevices. Weeds strangled dying grass. Nature takes over.
“There was a murder in there,” Kerry said, gesturing toward The House.
“Yeah huh. My cousin told me. Brutal. Real horror show.”
Kerry stopped sleeping over.
“It’s not you, it’s the House.” She shuddered.
“Not murder. Devil worship. The pentagrams won’t wash off with anything.” Katie stopped sleeping over.
“Sorry, but that,” she waved her hand over the image of the House, “is clouding my aura.”
In the rainy months the front yard of the House turned into a boggy marsh. Frogs moved in, chirruping a phantom lullaby.
“My sisters seen things. In there,” the 8 year old points a wobbling finger. “No way.”
The boy nodded ominously.
Friday. After midnight. Tossing. Turning. Mulling. A cheesy horror marathon casts shadows across the room. She looks out the window. Down the street. Past the yard. Into the darkness that surrounds the House.
A light blinks on. The frogs laugh a deep, maniacal, “Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”
Loud & Clear by Kimberly C.
Nothing is worse than the panic you feel when you have lost your cell phone. I actually believed this when I noticed my phone wasn’t in my purse where I always keep it. Not a big deal I told myself, I borrowed my friend’s phone and called my own to make sure it hadn’t fallen out somewhere within earshot. It rang once, twice, and then a third time. I heard nothing and just when I was about to hang up, someone answered. “Great!, I thought, “it’s been found!”
“Honey, it’s your mom. I love you more than you know! Make sure your dad stays with you tonight, tell him I insist.”
The phone fell from my shaking hand. I turned in the lobby of the funeral home to gaze at my mother’s still form in the casket that I had helped my dad pick the day before. I backed away and ran to my vehicle where I found my cell phone, exactly where I had left it.
I would’ve chalked it up to imagination or wishful thinking, until that night when my childhood home burnt to the ground while my dad slept under my roof.
The Cool Side of the Pillow by Stacy E.
He never imagined how much he would miss the little things. Mostly, he missed their evening routine, lying in bed together, face-to-face, and chatting about their days before drifting off into a comfortable sleep. Once the cancer took her, he longed for one last conversation.
He dreamed of her one stormy night. She laid next to him, cupped his face in her hands as the lightning lit up the chilly room. She assured him she was safe and that she would always be with him. When he woke, he cried and reached for her pillow which still smelled of her. When he pulled it close to his chest, he realized it was still warm.
Old House by Erica G.
Saturday morning was overcast by fog. Ghost clouds appeared in the sky. You
could smell the dampness of chilly rain. An unusual old house sits on a crooked road. It is
full of small creaks, groans, and has many surprises. The wooden door in the old house
creaked with a strange noise. This old house gives me the worries. However, I never
knew that it was haunted until one day I heard a voice. But, I tried not to listen. I was too
busy observing the spider’s web in the window sill and then I noticed a shadow on the
wall. I became very suspicious as I got out of bed and fumbled for my slippers.
There was a fearful look in my eyes. An abnormal feeling grew upon me as I went
through the old house. Things had not been the same. I am mentally ill. Having a state of
confusion and depression, there was no need to question the mystery. Deep inside, there
were some things I could not hide. All of a sudden, here comes the storm. So, I crept
downstairs quiet as a mouse. I wondered whether or not the ghost was real…
A Story by Becky K.
My dog and I took a walk in the woods. It was close to dark on an unseasonably warm spring evening. The frogs were croaking and the birds were flittering in the trees. Suddenly, everything became utterly silent. My “guard dog” was whimpering and shaking. My heart rate increased and I felt panicky. My skin began tingling and goosebumps began to appear. I quickly used one hand to cover my nose and mouth to blot out an increasingly rancid odor. I was gasping and my throat was constricting. My stomach was quivering and I thought I would vomit. I took my other hand to wipe my teary eyes. The disorientation made me want to faint. I shrieked when a large shadow loomed over and eclipsed my body.
I awoke to my husband carrying me into the house. He was concerned and kept repeating my name. We were relieved that I didn’t have any physical injuries. I visited the doctor for an examination, and he discovered that I now suffer from PTSD. I am in therapy to cope with the effects. I don’t know what the creature was. My dog and I now stay out of the woods as we are reluctant to return.
A Story by Caleb K.
Hastily hauling across the bitterly cold mud is increasingly taxing as I clamber forward. Especially; while the torrential thunderstorm maintained pounding, exacerbating the chill. Trembling from frost and dread, both contributing to my bawling. Derisive mirth advances to my location with resounding footsteps right behind. My burdensome legs are too feeble to be used. All of my comrades are fleeing, concealing themselves, or the malefactors have snatched them. Desperation drove us to make our departure this haphazard, but this was our eleventh hour. The footfalls amplify swiftly; a glance reveals a shadowy hound lunging for my throat!
I awoke in a panic with something big shaking me gently. My eyes see the concerned faces of my parents before a relieved sigh escapes. It was a nightmare of what could have happened if our soon-to-be adoptive parents hadn’t investigated the strange sounds in their territory. Before I dwell anymore, one of mom’s tendrils picks me up and cradles me. All of her arms are busy with my brothers and sisters. Besides me, she’s comforting fifteen kids. Dad is soothing twenty-one; he’s practically a centipede. Both have more teeth, eyes, jaws, limbs, and hands than I do. Those features don’t matter; both are perfect adoptive parents.
A Story by Noah K.
Giant hulks of metal mountains, a city remains whose occupants have long since passed. Distorted sounds come from aged systems that form music from the flowing natural wind. This warped music plays over a lifeless city whose current inhabitants are diverse bioweapons, feral and free machines. Beneath one music-producing tower, a feral bipedal machine continues its never-ending march across this singular street. Its speakers spout propaganda for a civilization that has long since ceased to exist. The automaton passes by a bestial machine consuming another savagely. The feral machine continues on its predetermined path until a bioweapon crosses its path. The creature looks like a combination of a bull and an ape with an extra set of arms for good measure. The creature bellows and charges at the machine before it turns to ash. The machine retracts a cylinder into itself before continuing on its way. Watching all of this from a tower, free machines observe. The losers shake their heads before begrudgingly handing coins to the gloating bet winners. All this happens as the distorted music plays endlessly in the dead city.
PANIC by Lloyd K.
No sooner had I lain down to sleep than I felt a quivering from my knees down through my feet. This tingling sensation rippled up and down my legs and while I tried to focus on my breathing and my heart beating, the persistent agitation in my body kept yanking my attention back to my restlessness.
In the pitch black of night I shifted from one sleeping position to another, trying in vain to sleep. I felt drowsy and bone weary, but the recurrent and constant jitter kept me in a raw awake state. I sensed the onset of a vicious loop of repeated bouts of terror and helplessness.
Gripped by horrid fear, I wanted all my limbs to detach from me so my brain could rest without these frightening sensations all over me. I got up and groped around a bit trying to trigger a falling asleep feeling – but to no avail. I did not want to continue living this way. I didn’t know what to do.
I considered ghosting this ghost in my machine, driving around, perhaps careening over some precipice and ending this unlivable condition.
I was lost, frozen in dread, thoroughly seized by and enmeshed in a relentless panic.
The Faces of COVID by Christopher L.
There are four people in the room when the end begins. All four are wearing masks.
In a matter of minutes three remain, only two of whom still have something covering their faces.
The chaplain and ICU nurse are still masked when it ends, for even though the patient is now deceased and no longer infectious, hospital policy requires everyone—staff and visitors—to mask up.
Meanwhile, the lone family member in the room is wearing the hospital-provided mask on her chin. Since it is no longer covering her nose and mouth, it is of no value.
“You and I both know I don’t need this,” she says with a knowing smile.
The chaplain hears what the woman says but does not reply.
“God will take care of me.”
Ironically, just a moment earlier her family member died of the ailment she is denying and mocking. She leaves the room praising Jesus for having the power over life and death.
Meanwhile, the chaplain finds a quiet place to process what he has just seen and heard. The ICU nurse does the same.
The last two years have taken a toll and their cups runneth over.
These, then, are the faces of COVID.
The Monster’s Soliloquy by Michael N.
It is cold.
Wind and ice bite at my unmoving form as I ponder my existence.
Nothing living is anywhere near my encampment.
I have come so far north that further travel would lead me south.
Death is my goal though it would seem an impossible feat.
This body will not wither.
Neither bitter weather nor starvation will rob it of vitality.
The animation given it by him who created me refuses to leave.
Seeking beauty, my maker found ugliness in my form.
Repulsed, he cast me out.
Desiring acceptance, I was driven away by the very ones I sought.
Fear and hatred was humanity’s decree.
Loneliness was a constant companion.
I sought to halt my pain.
Follow me north I bade my creator and end me.
Unable to withstand the ordeal, he died before gifting me with release.
Now alone I was jealous of his freedom.
I beg my creator’s God for release; to let my existence end.
Laughter erupts from me as I look at my legs frozen in place.
So long have I stood contemplating that the wind and ice have trapped me.
Will his God give me an escape in the white oblivion? Will I be free at long last?
A Story by Jayden N.
“You’re lucky I love you, Lucas.” I flashed a cheeky grin, responding, “Correction, in love.” I turned towards the building, two-hundred-and-four-years-old, and it showed. Vines braided the sides, ghastly shielding the place. Relishing in the direness the building left in my stomach, I had finally got Mikey to agree to trespass and I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else. I wouldn’t tell him but his boxing experience and safe persona made me feel protected, like I could do anything. Including climbing through a window into the dreariest place around. Landing, a dust-cloud coated my converse. Mikey was quick behind me, flashlight beaming into the luminescence of the building. Goosebumps blanketed my neck, my body heading a warning my mind was naive not to take. “Holy-” Looking to where Mikey was staring, my eyes widened. I expected graffiti but not warnings like, ‘get out’ which showcased the most. I scanned the debris-filled floor, my flashlight landed on a blood-red puddle. “I say we go to the basement.” My voice grounded the room, begrudgingly agreeing, Mikey tripped seconds later. I shot down, startled as he said, “Lu- t-this is blood…” “Maybe-” I was cut off by an alarming, blaring scream as Mikey was ripped away.
Play Set by Tyler O.
There once was a little girl, about 5 years old, named Gracie. She loved to be in her room playing with her toys and watching movies, but her most favorite thing to do was to go outside and swing on her play set, but there was always something very strange that her mom and dad would notice. They would sometimes see her talking, but she never had any friends that she could play with, but little did they know that she had a friend that they couldn’t see.
One night, she ran up to her mother and told her, “Mommy, he needs help, he needs to go to the hospital, we need to take him right now!” Her mother had absolutely no clue what she was talking about, “What are you talking about?” Said Gracie’s mother. “My friend that I was swinging with.” Said Gracie.
After that night, Gracie never spoke of her friend again. After this night, her mother never thought of it again. About 3 years later, Gracie mentioned this “friend,” one more time, but it wasn’t ever important enough to mention to her parents.
Like Black Roses, Beautiful and Dark: A Zombie Apocalypse Tale – by Abigail O.
Karen sits, her head leaned back, eyes closed; mind drifting through years of memories good, bad, indifferent. Her gray hair hangs limply to her shoulders now. The world is closed.
Sharon, her striped cat, lays dying in her lap. Eighteen years together. Political upheavals, economic downturns, pandemics, now Zombification? That was the word used on the news the day before the TV stopped receiving signals.
Karen is too old to fight, scavenge, or travel. Rationing until nothing is left is the only solution. The day of “Nothing Left” came two days ago. Not wanting to lose or become lost, a decision is now made. Karen picks Sharon up gently and shuffles to the kitchen. She lays Sharon on the counter on a pile of soft towels. Karen reaches for the kitchen knife. Water no longer comes from the tap to dull pain or wash away. The sink is only a portal of drainage as Karen’s blood flows from her elderly wrists.
Karen feels extreme weakness as she leans down, gently kissing Sharon. She feels Sharon’s tiny last breath on her face. Karen and Sharon both open their now gray-white eyes and stretch. Chrysalis complete. A new beginning? A continuing end? Love finds a way.
(back story: I have twin Aunts Karen and Sharon. They are always together. Even after leaving home, they chose to be next door neighbors. They did everything together. My Aunt Sharon ended up with cancer. From diagnosis to death, my Aunt Karen had less than 2 weeks to prepare for the death of the human she was closest to in the whole world. This story pays tribute to that bond, through the cat/owner bond I am deeply familiar with.)
Life of the Party by Abigail O.
It’s a party but I haven’t been offered a refreshment. Everyone is quiet. None of my friends have said hi. My wife hasn’t even asked if I want a beer. I try to get her attention. She stares right through me. I wave at my daughter, nothing. This game is getting irritating. I approach my dad. He doesn’t answer me. I’m becoming angry.
“WHY WILL NO ONE ACKNOWLEDGE ME?!” My shout is ignored.
Rage fills me. Pain fills me. The people I love won’t look at me or speak to me. They pretend to not hear me. This cruel game makes me cry. I am begging to be seen, to be heard, to be hugged.
I can no longer control myself. I pick up our family photo off the mantle and throw it at my wife’s feet. People scream. My daughter is terrified. I broke a vase full of dark flowers. My daughter’s face makes me sad. Meaning sinks in. My family will never acknowledge me. They will never hug me or speak to me. They don’t know I’m here. I shouldn’t be here at all. I shuffle out of my house and off toward the light. I hadn’t even realized I was dead.
Lost Souls by Abigail O.
“What are ghosts?” Jade asks Roger.
“I think they’re people from parallel universes, caught in pocket dimensions. They’re stuck between worlds. We can occasionally see or hear them, sometimes being affected by their actions, but they aren’t technically here.”
“Wouldn’t that suck?”
Roger replies, “More than just suck. Being caught in a pocket dimension would have an overarching affect on your mental wellness. The lack of human contact and communication, no hope of help; these would weigh on your mind. Being caught in a hole so to speak would create a downward spiral in your ability to reason or communicate effectively.”
Jade’s eyes light up, “I get it! If temper tantrums and anger is the only way you have to communicate with people, you would eventually use it to inflict suffering on the people in the standard dimension because it’s the only outlet left to you.”
“You got it,” Roger grinned at her.
Jade and Roger stand up and hang up their lab coats and prepare to go home.
“You know,” Jade pauses, “If we can figure out the quantum mechanics of this, a lot of people will sleep easier at night.”
“Because a lot of poor souls could finally go home,” Roger sighs.
In Case of Death, Break Partner by Elizabeth P.
Oscar Woodthroe had been the world’s greatest ghost hunter. Notice, I said had. Oscar had one slight problem with the business–namely, he was dead.
He didn’t know how it had happened; he just woke up as a ghost one day. It was an irritating development, partly because all of the other ghosts avoided him like the plague, but mostly because his old partner was hunting his ghost down ruthlessly. It was as if he were a felon! A fugitive! A criminal! Oscar was quite hurt. All those years working together, and Clyde just turns on him? It was enough to make Oscar feel as if he had been stabbed in the back, which was entirely possible. Oscar decided to call in the big gun: Bertha.
Bertha was just your average eldritch-class wraith; just your average sixteen paraflingles of instant death with a side of gruesome face-sucking tendencies. It had taken Oscar months to catch her.
Clyde didn’t stand a chance.
When Clyde materialized as a ghost, he was shocked to see Oscar. “Oscar?” He asked. “I…what are you doing here? I thought you were in Hawaii!”
Oops. Guess Clyde wasn’t at fault after all.
Ah, well. A guy can make a mistake, can’t he?
A Story by Halii P.
A chill swept over Katie as she lay in bed.
Katie knew that her parents were asleep. She knew the hallway light was on and that the doors were locked. What Katie didn’t know, however, was that she was being observed at this very moment. She felt the sensation of something amiss, a primal feeling that even a mouse recognizes just before the talons of an owl pierce it’s fur.
The observer in Katie’s room smiled. Katie was fulfilling her role splendidly. Kids that age were harder to frighten, or worse they got so scared they slept in their parent’s room for weeks, unable to be harvested in any form.
In order to feel alive again, a spirit must feed off the emotions of the living. Usually, this particular spirit would only feed for a couple of nights and leave it’s victim for another but every now and then there was someone special. Someone who found no comfort from her parent’s reassurances or the light on in the hallway. And when it found that someone, it would feast until there was nothing left.
It took a step forward, purposely causing a small board on the floor to creak. Katie’s eyes flew open.
Last Night by Kathryn S. R.
This my last night. I won’t ask for more time. I will finish the job tonight if I can. Even if I can’t, I’ll move on. Stay if you want to. Stay if you can. Death is for the dead. This shadowy in-between state makes me restless. I broke another vase last night; the pretty one you gave me for our tenth anniversary. We married so young, we thought we would make it to our 50th. Instead, we hover here haunting our children. Anna sees me in her dreams. I tell her but as soon as she wakes up crying, she forgets what I said. Little Steve goes dark when he sleeps. We cannot warn them so we will have to make that man leave. I will go into the cat to bite and claw him. You go into the cigarette in his mouth and burst into flame.
There, you see how it is. I got the cat to jump up onto his lap, but then it turned three times and curled up purring. As soon as you got his cigarette hot, he put it out. Now he sits peacefully drinking his Bourbon. Our children are orphans. I’m going.
Tick Tock by John S.
Greg hadn’t known that he would find ghosts so interesting — but his phone had!
It was uncanny how it always knew just what to show him next. It grew less canny every time he used it, and he used it a lot.
His wife always shook her head.
“Life’s passing you by, Greg!” she would warn, but he ignored her. He liked his phone. There was always just one more link to click on!
Take ghosts now. A ghost was a dead person, trapped forever trying to finish something they had failed to finish in life. He’d heard the basics, but now his phone was showing him vast caches of content, not just about ghosts, but for ghosts. Some of it even claimed to be made by dead people! It was captivating– like discovering an entire parallel internet for the dead. He could spend an eternity exploring it all!
Eventually, guiltily, he remembered his wife. He thumbed upward to check the date. Why, she must have gone to bed without him ages ago!
His thumb, his hands, and his whole body shimmered with the same sliver glow as his screen. He could see right through them.
A Story by Chloe T.
The young girl runs out of the basement of the house. Her princess pjs are clean and her mixmax socks are holeless. Her hair is in a French braid. There are tears running down her face. She smears tacky nail polish on her face while covering her mouth to keep the screams in. She runs through the back yard and into the woods. A group of three other young girls come to the door in pjs as well. All of their hair is in a French braid. They run back into the house.
The young girl trips on a log ripping a hole in her pajama pants. She gets right back up and keeps running. Blood starts to stain the pink pajama pants. She pulls her hand away from her face, and she’s saying, “Ghosts aren’t real, they can’t hurt you. Ghosts aren’t real, they can’t hurt you.”
She continues to mumble as she runs, she hears a twig snap. She keeps running faster. She spun around looking for a landmark. Nothing. She hears another snap. She starts yelling, “Ghosts aren’t real, they can’t hurt me! Ghosts aren’t real, they can’t hurt me!”
A man steps out from behind a tree. He is dressed in normal clothes. “Ghosts aren’t real, and can’t hurt you, but people can and will.” He says, grabbing her and throwing her over his shoulder. He walks into the woods with her kicking and screaming.
Ghosts of A Missouri Spring by Calvin T.
Winter’s killing spree of all things green is the reason for my pre-dawn walk through 20 acres of haunted forest between my home and the back 40 to feed hay to the hungry herd. Usually, I kept the ghosts at bay with my magic wand of a flashlight, but this early morning seemed safe enough under the spring equinox full moon, so I set out, unaided by that portable magic.
Moonlight vainly attempted to keep the spectral spirits tamed as I entered the forest; instead, it stirred dark shadows to slink beneath the trees. Most of the year the specters hide behind hand-shaped sycamore leaves, but not during early spring when tree-ghosts become restless from months of exposure. This morning, the last cold exhalation of a dying winter was enough to waken the spirits, causing them to moan and creak as they reach white arms toward the sky. They swayed in choreographed dance, conducted by the wind. All this I see only from the corner of my eye because tree-spirits are coy when someone looks toward them. Each time I turn to catch a particularly aggressive one, I only see the white trunk of a sycamore tree. At least, that’s what I tell myself.