A Good Night’s Sleep – Susan Wright
1000 words Feel Good/Ghost Story
Geri is surprised when her husband tells her that she doesn’t need to phone her mother after dinner. She’s spoken to her mother every evening since her father died and she can’t work out what’s changed.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
As soon as she’d finished her dinner, Geri sat back in her chair and looked at her watch. “I’d better phone Mum,” she said. “Oh, you don’t need to,” her husband Matt replied as he stabbed his fork into his last chip. “I meant to tell you, love. She phoned earlier and I told her you were working late.” “Yeah, but no doubt she’s expecting me to phone her back.” Geri stood up and started walking across the room towards the phone. “I’ve spoken to her every evening since Dad died and…”
A Lonely Place – Dorothy Davies
1060 words Ghost Story
A morgue is not the place you expect to find someone wandering around at night, but it is a refuge from the world outside, perhaps …
It’s an odd fact that the morgue can be a lonely place at times. I mean, empty lonely, desperate empty, that kind of lonely. Don’t quite know why that should be, it’s just a place like anywhere else. Ain’t it? Well yes, I mean I know there’s bodies there, course I do.
A Move Too Far – Valerie Holmes
1000 word Ghost story
Marie finally has her dream home in sight – a beautiful Georgian terrace house that as a child she used to admire from the park opposite. After years of working and saving her time to make the move is now – or is it?
Marie had always dreamed of moving into one of the Georgian terrace houses opposite the park and now the time to realise that life-long ambition had arrived. She climbed the stone steps, noticing a few cracks that would need seeing to, and lifted the heavy old doorknocker in anticipation, admiring it – a direct link to the past. The door slowly opened, snapping her back to reality. A little old lady, no taller than five feet, peeped round the large green door.
A Part of Me – Iyana Jenna
4500 words Ghost Story
In the middle of the snow on their way to get home for Christmas, Connor Williams crashed his car into a tree. He was badly injured, but his boyfriend, who was also in the car, was barely alive. How then, that morning in Connor’s room, was Zach by his side, waiting for him to wake up?
Zach found Connor still awake in the middle of the night, eyes straining at the screen of his PowerBook; his forefinger never stopped clicking. He didn’t even realize when Zach entered the study and came to stand behind him. Zach yawned. “What are you doing?” He tried to peep into the screen. It looked like the website of a local airline. Zach got no reply until he repeated his question. This time he got a grunt. “Is something wrong? Hey, Connor?” He leaned over Connor’s shoulder. “Why are you checking a flight schedule? Don’t we have tickets?”
A Resting Place – Deborah Hawksley
13500 words Ghost Story
Marie Helmsley is a dog person. Returning to her native East Yorkshire she acquires ‘Ben’ from the local rescue centre – a large black mongrel with spooked brown eyes. Is it possible for a dog to carry the spirit of a dead person? Marie supposes not, but is about to discover.
Marie Helmsley was what you’d call a ‘dog person.’ She could look a dog in the eyes and guess what it might be thinking. She could talk to a dog and it would tilt its head, seeming to understand. The shared bond was fundamental; the abiding loyalty, deeply reassuring. Marie had mulled over having a dog of her own for several months, spending time at her computer studying photographs of rejected, abandoned, dogs in the rescue centre near to where she lived. She didn’t want a puppy. She wanted a dog that, otherwise, might not get a new home. As she pulled in to the North Cove rescue centre she had the uncanny feeling she was about to find exactly the dog that was meant for her.
All Because of a Book – Susan Wright
1800 words Ghost Story
Soon after buying an amazing book about ghosts in a charity shop, Lucy drives miles to visit the widow of the man who wrote the book. The old lady invites Lucy in and as the two women talk, it becomes clear just how amazing the book really is.
This story is included in the collection Six Stupid Sheep and Other Yarns
As she sat down on the black leather sofa, Lucy smiled at the old lady she’d come to visit and marvelled at how her life had changed. Just days before, she’d been thinking how boring everything was, but since then she’d seen a ghost, been to a police station and driven further than she’d ever driven before – and all because of a book! The old lady she’d come so far to see was the widow of the man who had written the book, and she’d been surprisingly welcoming when Lucy had turned up out of the blue. She’d hardly reacted when Lucy had told her that she’d come to talk about the book, and she hadn’t batted any eyelid when Lucy had explained how she’d got the address from the publisher. She’d just told Lucy her Christian name and invited her to come in.
Autumn Leaves – Dorothy Davies
1000 words Ghost Story
Autumn is a time of glorious colour tinged with sadness at the turning of a year. Ellie has memories and as she walks, she remembers all that has laid heavy on her heart.
Ellie studied the pattern made by the golden leaves which had drifted from the multitude of twigs and branches on the ancient horse chestnut trees. Ever year Nature created a carpet to walk on, every year the pattern was completely different. Yet no one seemed to notice, no one seemed to appreciate the talent, the artistic flair shown by the different designs.
Back Where I Belong – Dorothy Davies
1000 word Ghost story
He has been buried for some time, but now he wants to go home!
It’s dark in here. Too dark for me to see anything. I’m restricted in my movements, why can’t I sit up, move my arms about, lift my head … and what is this strange silky stuff I am lying on? What is this hard pillow I am resting on… I don’t like this. Any of it. Not one single tiny minuscule scrap of it. Something is wrong and I want to know where and why and how and what and I want to know now. Not tomorrow, or next week, or next year, but NOW!
Borrowed Time – Angela Pickering
1600 words Humour / Ghost / Feel Good
Pam is horrified to see her dad cycling along the road as he’s been dead for several years. She takes refuge in the local library, only to find that she’s not the only one with a visiting relative from ‘beyond’.
Has some terrible mistake been made in Heaven?
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
It was one of those cold but clear winter mornings just hovering on the brink of spring. I could almost smell the sunshine, it was so bright and yet a touch of fog dusted the treetops and roofs of the village. I smiled as I walked, the anticipation of golden days infecting me with something approaching joy. Through the thinning, floating mist my father pedalled towards me on his ancient bicycle.
Crossroads Blues – Dorothy Davies
1350 words Ghost
It’s said if you go to the crossroads at midnight, you will meet the devil. A would-be blues singer does just that…
Hey, thanks! Been walking that road forever, breathing everyone’s fumes and not one cared to stop for me. Damn thumb near enough aching from being stuck out so long and being ignored, too! This is one fine car, I have to say. Nice. What’s the music … oh, OK, never mind. I can live with it. What? What do I like? Blues. Old style blues. Let me tell you a story, then, how I got to be where I was when you picked me up, you being a damn fine person and all, let me tell you. You up for that?
Danse Macabre – Dorothy Davies
1140 words Ghost story
It can get lonely in the morgue, but Lydia has found a way round this. She gets everyone out of their chilled drawers …
The silent figure on the gurney twitched, moved, sat up and looked around. The tag on her toe said JANE DOE which annoyed her very much. I’m not a Jane Doe, I’m Lydia … Lydia … The rest of her name escaped her, much as her memory seemed to have done. Why am I on a gurney with a tag on my toe? Why am I cold and my veins look blue and stark and my flesh looks like marble? I am NOT dead!
Dear John – Angela Pickering
2600 words Ghost / Feel Good
Carly is beginning to have doubts about her relationship with Dave. These days they seem to have very little in common. When she buys an old writing bureau in a charity shop, he becomes interested in her planned restoration. Is there something about the old desk that will help them to resolve their differences?
The writing desk stood in the hall waiting for her attention. Carly danced through her housework anticipating the moment when she could start on the restoration. She smiled to herself as she remembered the sight of Dave’s face when she threw open the tail gate of the car to reveal her latest charity shop purchase. ‘What on earth have you bought now?’ he said, putting his hands on his hips and tipping his head to one side. ‘A desk? An old-fashioned one at that.’ ‘It’s more of a bureau,’ she murmured. ‘Help me get it indoors.’
Depths of Memory – Lindsay Bamfield
1875 words Literary / Ghost
How could that which terrified me in life be embraced in my dream as freedom and escape, and how was my daughter able to love the very thing I feared? Can echoes from the past be heard today?
I am a timid swimmer. Ten minutes of being bullied by the waves is enough for me so, toes groping for the slippery rocks beneath, I make my way back to the safe embrace of the sandy beach. I spread my towel on the warm, soft sand and feel the sun chase away the dread of the water. I lie down to read but gradually my book falls from my hand as I doze. I am dreaming the dream.
Double Trouble – Annette Siketa
3800 word Ghost / Humour
Widower Walter wants to marry the enchanting Philippa. Unfortunately, the ghost of his bullying dead wife won’t let him.
Mr Walter Woolfield, had been a widower for twelve months. Since his wife’s death, he had worn sober clothing, accepted a seemingly endless stream of condolences, and behaved in the manner expected of the recently bereaved. Privately however, he was ecstatic. His wife, Dimity, had been a pilgrim in every respect. For years she had made her husband’s life a misery, branding him a moral and religious pariah. Whenever he had indulged in a little light reading, or had deigned to laugh, or partaken of wine, or enjoyed the plethora of pleasures that were anathema to the pious, her disapproval was palpable.
Fair-Haired Boy – Deborah Sheldon
2200 words Ghost / Horror Story
A boy discovers the truth about his relationship with his disturbed mother.
William tickled the downy clutch of fur under the tabby’s chin. Charlie was so soft, maybe softer than Bunny, and if he could only locate Bunny, he’d compare the two. He decided to look again in his room because surely his favourite toy must be packed somewhere inside one of those boxes. He rolled onto his back, drowsing in the autumn sunshine, and Charlie curled herself against him. Then she stiffened and screamed. William lurched to his knees, yelling, “Charlie! Charlie!” but she was already streaking to the cluster of birch trees at the end of the yard, and on her heels was the bull terrier from over the road.
Finding Lisa – Peter Youell
2100 words Ghost Story
While travelling in the Eastern Cape many years ago, I stayed overnight in the small town of Uniondale. It was here that I heard the story of the young woman that appears on the road into Uniondale, she sometime hitches a ride with motorist and then disappears. In 1968, a young couple travelling on Easter weekend were involved in a tragic car accident, some twenty kilometres from the town, the young woman died. The first recorded appearance of the young woman was on Easter weekend in 1976. The description of the woman matched that of the woman who died in the tragic accident in 1968. Needless to say I did not see her on my way into Uniondale. The story ‘Finding Lisa’ was created around the young woman who appears on the Uniondale road. Like Lisa I hope she finds what she is looking for.
It was evening as the ancient five-ton truck rounded the bend in the road. The driver quickly shifted into a lower gear, at the same time gunning the accelerator to keep the momentum going up the steep gradient. Stephen, a young man in his early twenties, did this run every month, selling an assortment of goods from his wholesale business to shops along the way. He was about to change gears again, when he became aware of the girl sitting in the passenger seat next to him. Her delicate profile silhouetted against the side window, as she looked straight ahead into the gathering dusk.
Fisherman’s Rest – Susan Jones
1100 words Ghost / Women’s / Humour
When six friends set out for a Christmas by the Sea, one of them has a vision. The others tell her it’s the hot toddy and the sea air, but when she finds a book on local legends in the holiday cottage, she isn’t so sure.
The December evening sun cast an orange blanket over Bayscombe harbour, illuminating fishing boats bobbing on an incoming tide. “Phew, here at last” Vivienne said, as she parked the car. “I’ve phoned the owner of the cottage, she’s going to meet us by the monument.” Charles jumped out of the car, stretching his arms above his head, looking out to sea. Vivienne sidled into his arms. “The others said they’d be here later. That must be Mrs Cuthbert, waiting for us.”
Footsteps in the Night – Susan Wright
1500 words Ghost Story
Angie is shocked when she discovers who is haunting her house – and even more shocked when she finds out what she needs to do to get rid of the ghost.
After she’d switched the engine off, Angie stared at the white bungalow and sighed. She wasn’t at all sure that she was going to be brave enough to go and knock on the door. The old man she’d come to see had lived in her house once, and one of her neighbours had told her he knew all about the footsteps in the night, but talking to him about the ghost was going to be terrifying, she thought, as she took a deep breath and tried to calm down.
Forget Me Not – Annette Siketa
2700 words Ghost / History
Flirtacious and self-absorbed, Anna wants neither marriage and children, and while there is little she can do about the first, her only recourse to prevent pregnancy, lies in the hands of a decrepit witch.
Anna Markal was the prettiest girl in the village. At every dance, fete, or fair she attended, and there were not too many in which she was absent, she would laugh and flirt coquettishly. With large brown eyes, flaxen hair, and buxom figure, she had everything a young virile suitor could want in a wife, including a modest dowry. The man who finally won her hand, was Joseph Arler, a park-ranger and woodsman employed by the government. He was over six feet tall and powerfully built, and coupled with his russet hair and a rather high brow, his appearance was somewhat ferocious. But this was far from the truth, for in spite of his intimidating physique, he was a happy, smiling, gentle giant, who only saw the good in people.
Fugue State – R. F. Marazas
1350 words Ghost Story
Robert takes a trip to discover why he can’t recall his past life.
Carrying a single bag, the young man is travelling alone at his whim with no particular destination in mind. Yet he senses something drawing him to some unknown place. He is not particularly confused by this feeling. Nothing confuses him because he can’t remember his life. Well that’s not entirely true. He does remember the city where he boarded the train he’s now on, and the tiny apartment where he lived, and the menial job he had in a fast food restaurant a scant few blocks from his apartment. What he can’t recall is how he came to the city or how long he’s been there or the rest of his life before he suddenly (to his mind) appeared in the city.
Ghost Johnson – Gill McKinlay
2500 words Ghost Story
Back to haunt his precious hotel, Reggie Johnson a digital ghost, soon makes life difficult for his daughter Lydia. But how did Reggie materialise and can Lydia get rid of him? Luckily Declan is around to help…
“What have you done with the white sheets, Lydia? I look ridiculous in this!” Open-mouthed I stared at the apparition before me. It couldn’t be true. Dad had been dead six months yet here he was standing before me shrouded in a yellow gingham duvet cover and ordering me about as usual. His grey hair was much longer than it used to be, halfway down his back, but apart from the ridiculous outfit he looked much the same…
Harry – Lorraine Coverley
3000 words Ghost story
How are you supposed to cope when you’ve lost your husband? And what if your phone rings and there’s never anybody there? Can a phone be haunted?
Caroline is alone now but someone seems to want to contact her. The caller wants something, and Caroline may know what that is.
The telephone rang insistently in the empty air. Outside, while birds sang and traffic roared, a key scraped in the lock and a woman rushed through into the neat hallway, leaving the door wide open behind her. She dashed for the phone on the polished fruitwood table in the living room. Just as her hand closed over the receiver, the ringing stopped. Irritated, the woman walked back through the hall, slamming the front door shut on her way and sweeping her hand down to retrieve the carrier bag she had dumped there when she heard the phone ringing.
Hell Hath No Fury – Margaret Pearce
1700 word Ghost Story
Why be so besotted with a vintage car when it had such a sulky and unpleasant personality? Admittedly it was that rare thing – a one owner car. Was it really mechanically unreliable because of its passion and loyalty to its first owner – or was it just coincidental?
‘It’s a real beudy,’ George gloated. ‘What a prize! What a bargain! What a darling! What a sweetheart!’ His wife leaned against the garage and glared at his newest acquisition. ‘What is it and how much?’ ‘Nineteen forty-eight Morris in ‘as new’ condition. It’s been up on blocks for the last fifty years. Part of old lady Singley’s deceased estate.’ ‘How much?’ ‘It’s not as if I need to spend any money on repairs,’ George said. ‘A set of new tyres and a bit of a grease and oil change and Bob’s your uncle.’
Just Dial Humbug – Annette Siketa
3000 word Ghost Story
When sports writer Robert Williams is landed with the task of writing a Christmas ‘feel-good’ story, he is completely stumped. But then a chance remark summons an unusual spirit, who shows him that not all children love toys and games.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
It was December 23rd, and I had already left the office to begin my short but well-earned Christmas break. It had been a stinking hot day, 40 degrees in the shade with hardly a breath of wind. Upon arriving home, I had showered, opened a can of beer, and was just settling in front of my computer when the phone rang. In his usual bluff manner, my editor, Miles Frobisher, announced that the paper needed a Christmas story. “3000 words will do, and make it soppy so that the readers will cry into their Christmas pud.” I did not like the sound of this. “Where’s Cathy?” Our ‘ace’ features reporter had the uncanny knack of making even the most mundane event sound like the best thing since sliced bread.
Laura – Denise Jay
1800 words Ghost / Horror Story
It’s 1892. Séances are all the rage. An impoverished mother and daughter prepare to put on yet another table-rapping show to supplement their meagre income. But this time they conjure up a real spirit and with tragic consequences.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
Laura first came to us at one of Mama’s soirées. That sitting in 1892 started like any other, but it is forever locked in my memory. It was the first time a spirit graced us with its presence and the last séance Mama presided over, for before the end of the following summer she would be dead, and not from any natural cause. There were only four at table that evening, the cold January weather having kept many of our regulars at home before their fires. I was not in the circle myself, but I did have an important job to do, nevertheless. In the absence of a real spirit, I played the role.