Halloween is approaching. Are you ready for the ghosts and ghouls? Why not get into the spirit and enjoy my spooky short story...
Ghosts of Our Age and Before©
By Jane Snookes
“Oh, this one looks just right,” Sally exclaimed as she picked the book off the library shelf.
“Indeed, it does,” Harry agreed, “’Ghosts of Our Age and Before'. Don't go scaring yourself."
"Oh, I don't believe in ghosts,” Sally giggled.
Harry scanned her card and stamped the book. “Enjoy it and mind you get home before dark.”
Sally waved goodbye, book tucked safely under her arm. Out in the fresh air she headed home, skipping along happily. After a time, she glanced at the book. Too excited to wait, she opened to page one and started reading.
‘Ghosts are a paranormal phenomenon. If you can see them, this usually means you really do believe, whether you think you do or not…’
So engrossed in the book, she was oblivious to everything as she walked and accidentally took a wrong turn down an eerie path. She turned the page, ignoring the approaching ghostly hoof beats and billowing black cloak of the headless horseman.
The horseman's swinging sword missed as she absently bent to scratch an itchy ankle. Angered, he plunged the sword forward; off target again as Sally threw her head back, laughing at the narrative. Trying once more, he missed again as she abruptly stop to refer to the Contents page.
Thwarted, the horseman shoulders' drooped.
She glanced up, smiling. "Isn't it a lovely evening?"
He waited as she passed with her head in the book, before galloping home.
Back out on a deserted street, Sally turned another page. The blood red sky of the setting sun gave enough light to see as dusk began to swallow the day.
“Hello, can you help me? I’m lost,” Sally nearly tripped over the pale, little girl in a pretty green dress who appeared in front of her.
“Where did you come from?” Sally nearly dropped her book, “You look freezing! Come on, I’ll take you home. Where do you live?”
The little girl pointed her pallid finger towards the creepy manor house over the hill. Sally shivered.
“Are you sure?”
Slowly, silently, the little girl nodded.
“Well, follow me,” Sally said, “That’s my way, too. Isn’t that lucky?” And off they went.
Sally couldn’t resist a few glances at the book along the way, the little girl wasn’t much of a talker. At the door of the dark house she knocked loudly. No one came. Sally’s attention was grabbed by a sole flickering candle. Two large round eyes peered out. She leant in closer and came face to face with a skull. Leaping back, she laughed.
“Oh, that’s very good,” she said. “Here we are, then, little one, home sweet home.”
The girl was nowhere to be seen. Sally spun round in both directions, checking she wasn’t behind her, but she was gone.
‘That’s odd,’ she thought, ‘Oh well’ and buried her head back in the book as the full moon began its nightly ascent.
“That is fascinating!” she exclaimed, as she walked through her front door, pushing it shut with her foot.
Immediately, the doorbell rang. Sally finished the sentence she was reading and turned the page before opening it again. A pasty looking peddler stood on the step, holding a saucepan in each hand.
Sally glanced up and smiled. His pleading, dark eyes were swallowed into his head by the black rings under them; cheekbones pointed to the sky and his clothes hung from his bony body.
“Wow, you look great,” Sally congratulated him, gently popping some sweets into his pans before diving back into her book.
“Happy Halloween!” she called as she shut the door.