They appear to the living
By K. A. Williams
The wind, empty buildings, and
the only ghosts in ghost towns.
By David Edwards
By Harris Coverley
I glimpsed at the clock on the mantelpiece
And saw a human face within it
Not in the clock’s analogue circle itself
But reflected in its glass cover
It was the face of an old man —
Haggard, ashen, drowning, sad…
I turned to the window behind me
In an attempt to see its rightful owner
There was nobody there
Just my own reflection…
Afraid of the Dark
By DJ Tyrer
Shadows slowly creeping
Up the stair, along the hall
Whilst you are sleeping
Shadows creep up the wall
Fitfully your eyes open wide
Something disturbed your sleep
From the dark nowhere to hide
Pray God your soul to keep
Admit the truth, if you will:
Do you fear the darkling night
When the very air is still
And there is no comforting light?
If you are afraid of the dark, my son
Then quake, for the night has just begun…
Originally published in The Horror Zine.
By K. A. Williams
My least favourite commercial came on TV during one of my favourite shows.
The man on the screen said, “Are pesky ghosts bothering the mice, squirrels, and bats in your attic? Then call our exterminators – ‘Goodbye Ghosts’. We’ll bring out our electromagnetic cage and get rid of them for you. The ghosts, that is. You’ll have to call different exterminators to get rid of any other pests you might have in your attic.”
Dan turned to his wife, Laura, and said, “We should call.”
“Do you really think so?”
“We’ve already tried our Ouija board and a seance to see what the ghost wanted and that didn’t work.”
I had managed to appear just once. The only times I howled were when they changed channels during a show I wanted to watch. I kept trying to operate the remote myself but my invisible fingers just passed through the buttons.
When they got out their Ouija board, I’d been unable to move the planchette at all.
The medium they hired didn’t even try to contact me. All she did was roll her eyes and pretend to go into a trance. What a phoney. She just wanted the money.
The ‘Goodbye Ghosts’ exterminator came, set a cage down in the attic, and plugged its cord into an electrical outlet. The wires that were wrapped around it sparked, and I hoped the cage didn’t catch the attic on fire. Then we’d all be homeless.
A week later, Dan called ‘Goodbye Ghosts’ and got a disconnected number.
After that, he unplugged the cage and threw it into the trash. Everything in the attic was grateful.
Dan and Laura were now watching the reality show ‘Swimming With Squids’, after channel surfing. They had gone right past the TV show I wanted to watch, ‘Chet Morris, Private Eye’.
This time I tried to switch channels with my mind instead of my invisible fingers. It worked!
“Why did you change the channel?” Dan asked. “They were introducing the squids.”
“I didn’t change it. I thought you did.”
They both looked at the remote that sat between them on the sofa.
“Maybe the ghost prefers this show,” Dan said.
Laura picked up the remote. “Or this is defective.”
Dan rummaged through a drawer in the table that sat next to the sofa, and pulled out a universal remote. “Let’s try this one.”
He set the channel to the squids and I changed it again.
“I told you,” Dan said. “Think about it. The only time the ghost howls is while we’re watching TV.”
“Right, just after we’ve changed channels from a cop program to a reality show.”
“I wish we’d known before we spent all that money on a seance, and the electromagnetic cage.”
“Then there’s no need to try and get rid of our ghost anymore?” asked Laura.
“Not if you don’t mind letting our ghost pick the TV shows.”
“Maybe we can compromise.”
I could do that. After all, it was their house now.
The Breton Boat
By Aeronwy Dafies
I was strolling on the beach after a light dinner at the guesthouse where I was staying. The Breton coast is beautiful, especially when bathed in moonlight.
Suddenly, a mist began to rapidly roll in from the sea. I felt a shiver run through me, fearful that, not knowing the locale well, I should become lost.
I began slowly to retrace my steps.
Ahead of me, I could hear the sound of oars in the sea, a slow rhythmic splashing.
“Ho!” I called, shouting in French, not knowing Breton. “I’m lost. Can you help me?”
“You are indeed,” came back a heavy, cold voice out of the mist, in English, to my surprise.
“Ah, you speak English.”
“I speak all tongues,” came the reply. I let it pass.
I could, now, hear the sound of other people moving about on the beach not far from me and, yet, I could see no-one for the mist.
“I’m lost,” I repeated. “Could you help me return to Ste Marc’h?”
“No,” came the reply. “I have a job to do.”
I could hear the people boarding the boat. For no apparent reason, unless it were the chill air, I shivered again.
“What is your job? Ferryman? But, where can you be taking these people with just oars?”
“I am the Ferryman of the Dead. I carry the souls of the departed away, in this, my boat. Some call me Death, others Charon. Whatever my name, I come for everyone in the end.”
Then, the oars began to splash again, slowly receding into the mist as I stood there, shivering upon the shore. As quickly as it had come, the mist departed and, by the light of the moon, I could see that I wasn’t more than a hundred yards from where I was staying. Had I dreamt I’d met Death? Had I really encountered the departure of the deceased? I didn’t know.
With another shiver, I quickly made my way back to the guesthouse and a stiff drink!
Originally published in Awen and available in her booklet of spooky tales, The Haunted Tree.
Haunting high meadows
the ghosts of caterpillars
silent in their fright
By David Edwards
By Cardinal Cox
Bots on social media digest posts
Checking what you liked all those years alive
Bequeathing noisy electronic ghosts
So to seem some small part of you survives
Sell them to you while you are still breathing
To echo you in the ever after
Supposed to comfort those who are grieving
But you will never hear their weak laughter
As it repeats old jokes – terrible puns
Comments on post-mortal posts of others
Signs petitions for restrictions on guns
Blows cold kisses to all those dead lovers
Come – as Odysseus – pour libations
Consult the algorithm creations
By Harris Coverley
across the graveyard
the ring of a coffin bell
it will wake the dead