A ghost story for Halloween... ‘If there is an afterlife,’ I remember my mother saying one day, ‘then how come people always look so sad when they die?’ Back then, I wasn’t in a position to answer. To be honest, I didn’t want to know. I was already regretting raising the issue with her at… Continue reading A little place just outside Diss
Extract from a contextual review for Wordsworth Editions, originally entitled ‘Based on the Writings of Henry James’: The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents and The Haunting of Bly Manor'. The Turn of the Screw has been adapted many times (it was even turned into an opera by Benjamin Britten in 1954), but it is… Continue reading The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Final Entry in the Journal of the Late Leviticus Lovecraft October 31, 18— My reason fails me this night. Already, I have seen the shadows moving in the darkness beyond the glass. And yet, they tell me that I am ill. Ill I am, but I know that I be not mad. 0 curs’d… Continue reading A Short Story for Halloween
It was hard to live in the country, and Celia had been there her whole life. After eight children, she remained what people called a handsome woman. Despite aprons, a thickening waist, barge arse and silver stretch marks, all of which George claimed he never noticed, her pale skin was soft and wanton beneath the… Continue reading A True Story for Halloween
I was having had a spot of bother with a rich man’s wife. She was older than me but I didn’t care. I just wanted her, like some strange and terrible drug.
It was the usual story. She’d married young, enticed by the charm of a mature and successful man, and the stability that comes of secure investments. The age gap had not seemed so much when she was twenty and he was fit and fifty.
The current fashion for talking to the dead started about four years ago. While Europe was in revolt and the Chartists were falling apart, across the Atlantic the veil was lifting. It began in a desolate farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, where the Fox Sisters, Kate and Maggie, struck up a dialogue with an entity that had been nightly tormenting the family by banging on walls, doors and windows. They asked the presence questions which it affirmed or denied by rapping, clearly indicating some sort of intelligence. The girls called it ‘Mr. Splitfoot.’ They said it was the ghost of a murdered peddler.
There were at least five ways home from The Saracen’s Head, and Stan couldn’t think of any of them. He adjusted to the sharp shock of the winter darkness instead, lit a fag, and smoked it savagely as if it had in some way done him greatly wrong. Behind himself, the lights of the pub shut off one by one. Loneliness bit down. Stan Metcalf stoically lit another off the butt of the first. It was late, he was in trouble. Ruby would be waiting.