Sunday, December 19, 2010

A short hiatus


We would like to thank our very valued authors and loyal readers for thus far making our debut blog so very rewarding for all concerned. When we launched Spook City to raise awareness of writers in the ghostly genre, little did we know the excellent quality of writing that would be unearthed. Unearthed? Get it? Hahahaha (Oh boy, it really is time for a holiday)

We're going to take a short break over Christmas and into the early part of the new year but please don't stop sending in your work. This will give us something to do (groan!) when we wriggle our way back into the spider-webby cocoon of supernatural stories in 2011.

We hope you've enjoyed Spook City so far but until we start rattling our chains and moaning into the airconditioning ducts again in 2011, remember to wear your garlic necklaces, carry a wooden stake with you at all times, and above all, keep yourselves safe.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Air Trackers

"AIR TRACKERS" - David S. Pointer

The ghosts come out
of the embalming sinks
and blue formalin
barrels as stove smoke
or nearly invisible
vapor, sometimes they
take a floatation bath
figuring out how to
kill us all on the way
to bone dust mountain

Bio: David S. Pointer lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Recent publications include, "Fissure Steampunk" issue and "Theory Train." In 2010, he was nominated for 3 Pushcart Prizes in poetry.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


"OFFPRINT" - Ron Koppelberger

The array was plainly visible. There were three happy smiling faces in the photograph. Nash and Phil Trumble sheepishly holding up a huge flounder and Yervan Talan with an outstretched can of beer. The photograph was tinted in an array of rainbow colors.

Nash recoiled and sputtered, “What the hell is that?”

“I don’t know,” Phil replied, “maybe it’s a ghost.” The picture showed several ethereal clouds in vague yet distinctly human form stretching in tendrils away from their heads. Yervan offered the explanation that the photo lab had probably made a mistake.

The brothers had gone fishing with Yervan near an abandoned saw mill. Several years prior a young couple and their child had gone missing near the sawmill common. They were rumored to have drowned in the Prosper Quagmire. There were alligators and the swamp was a selfish keeper of secrets.
The snarl of jungle hammock and scrub brush had been thrashed and searched by dozens of volunteers and the police, to no avail.

Later the brothers would take the picture to a local psychic who promptly led them to the abandoned saw mill. They discovered the bodies beneath the wood planking of the mill floor.
Later in the week they were featured in the Hammock Tribune. The story was titled “SAW MILL REVELATION!”

Yervan bought ten copies of the paper for his friends and family and the Trumble brothers received a plaque from the local sheriff. Phil popped the top on a cold one along with Nash and Yervan.

“Here’s to ghosts.” he said smiling.

“To ghosts.” they said in return.

BIO: Ron is aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. He has had acceptances from England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Thailand. His art is viewable here. Ron hopes you enjoy his work.

Extra Crispy

"EXTRA CRISPY" - Catfish McDaris

The shelves were crammed full of books and magazines, all with words of mine in them. I no longer felt satisfaction being published, not one iota.

Deciding to paint birds as an alternative, I started with a formation of geese in flight. Then a flock of swimming ducks, a woodpecker working out on an oak tree, doves, a red pointy headed cardinal, and a sparrow pulling a worm from the ground. This too soon lost its attraction.
Over a midnight bottle of tequila and limes, Turkish smoke curled its fingers through my mind. Ideas came, but left just as quickly. I fell asleep finally and awoke, my face caked with guacamole. My lady was screaming. “Why? Why?Why?”
“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.
"Why did you kill him?”
“Who?” I asked. She named a poet that had screwed me over in the past.
“I haven’t killed anyone. You must have dreamed it.”
“It was so real. You had to get rid of the body and there was blood everywhere.”
“How did I kill him?” I asked. 
“You hit him in the head with a claw hammer.” 
“Really nailed him, huh?”
“It’s not funny. You made me help clean up the blood. Then we put him in my pottery kiln and burned his body,” she said.
“You should have been the writer,” I told her, gathering my easel, paints, brushes, and canvases.
The lady from the fried chicken joint waved and smiled, as I set up my stuff. My painting endeavors were bringing in more customers. A local newspaper ran a story about the chicken painter.  I painted people eating thighs and drumsticks. Finger licking folks with greasy grins. Children dripping mashed potatoes and shitty diapers. Flies swarming in gravy.
Squinting at the sun, I thought today could be the day. Sure enough, a dark speck spiraled toward earth like Icarus. The hawk grabbed the chicken breast almost faster than the eye could see from a turban wearing man. After his initial heart attack scare, he shook his fist at the heavens and cursed in Arabic. I caught it all on canvas in swift sure strokes.
People gazed in awe at my life like paintings. I soon got a call from Sotheby’s. Upon returning from London with a nice chunk of change, I gave the cheque to my lady to deposit. The doorbell rang, I answered it. A police officer said, “ I have a warrant for your arrest, for the murder of Mr. Blah, blah, blah.”
Fate had dealt me a cruel hand. The court found me guilty of my wife’s dream and sentenced me to death in the electric chair, euphemistically known as Yellow Mama.
The jailer asked, “What would you like for your last meal?”
“How about a bucket of chicken?” I replied.
“Any special way?”
“Nah, it doesn’t matter.”
 BIO: Catfish McDaris has been active in the small press for 20 years. Catfish is a journeyman bricklayer and recently finished a 30 year gig at the main post office in Milwaukee. His newest chapbook is "Making Love To The Rain" and his most infamous is "Prying with Jack Micheline & Bukowski."  Catfish blogs here.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Because the gold lady


There are perfectly rational people who believe in magic. They consider reality suspect after years of observation, after ten or a hundred not-quite-explicable encounters. They keep a list, and perhaps, under the influence of literary pretensions, they'll show it to you.

I am not such a person. I have a talent for bringing out the plainness in things. Ghosts elect not to reveal themselves to me, generally speaking.

But there is one thing. I was four years old, and I suspect that what follows has as much basis in reality as anything else I remember from that long ago.

I attended a preschool affixed to a Methodist church, which meant that, when Christmas loomed, we four-year-olds were made to sing about it. Some weekdays they herded us before the pews and led us in practice. And we practiced, forever. I remember the boredom, and that the little choir-herd seemed anonymous enough to me that I felt at liberty to pick my nose. I don't remember the music, or anything else; at any rate I never actually sang.

On performance nightit wouldn't have been Christmas, or Christmas Eve, but it wouldn't have been long beforeI became so absorbed in my not-singing that I nearly failed to notice the gold lady above the door.

This was not, I think, one of those churches with a balcony that cuts from one side to the other across the front wall. There seemed no room up there for anyone to standand yet there she stood. She may have been dressed in tight-fitting clothes, or nude, for all I knew, but the whole of her, torso and arms, hair, the flesh of her broad face, shone dimly gold. I felt certain that she was a woman, though she had no sex-betraying feature, no breasts to speak of. I remember most clearly her color, and second-most clearly her short hair, her angular head, her half-closed eyes that may have been too big. She was not pretty.

She swayed and flailed in time with the scattered childish singing, and, in lieu of daydreaming, I fixed my attention upon her. I could only assume that she was some adult, someone or other related to the night's events. A music teacher, maybe. And she didn't seem strange to mewho knew all that adults did?

Perhaps she noticed me; she never seemed to. By the time we finished, and began to file out into the audience, toward our families, she had gone. I did not see her go.

Later, riding home in back of my grandmother's minivan, I asked whether anyone had seen the gold lady above the doorasked and insisted, and my mother and grandmother insisted that there had been no one. I understood then that perhaps something unusual had happened. I didn't mention it again.

"Something unusual"that's how I recall it. The gold lady appeared in church, but she fit nowhere among the religious iconography I knew from my four years as a member of a vaguely Catholic family, and the decades of reading I've done in the meantime offer little help in making sense of the experience.

I've never entirely trusted my memory. I grew into a skeptic.

But I haven't forgotten. And it affected me, perhaps.

It always begins when autumn begins in earnest, and everything withers and retreats. Autumn to me seems suffused with strangeness, with anticipation and traces of dread. Autumn is when the net of sanity breaks in places. It stretches and snaps, and disintegrates on Christmas Eveand when the 25th of December dawns properly, everything feels normal again, and the Christmas parades herald disappointment and relief.

This because the gold lady crept into the house of Christ undetected, and appeared before the most unlikely observer. Or so I remember, and the truth of it hardly matters anymore.

BIO: Z. J. Woods writes stories instead of working on his M.A. thesis. He fails to maintain a preliminary web presence here


"TWINS" - Brenda Gunning

Alice was older than Evelyn, by eight minutes precisely. They’d come into the world at 7am on 17th June.  Gemini – identical twins. From that first moment of life it was clear that they were going to be “different”, though no one could say how. They’d been wrapped up in stiff linen and laid side by side in the hospital cot where their wide eyes gazed at each other establishing their togetherness from the start. Oblivious to the other bawling babies, neither of them cried and they needed little in the way of comfort from nurses’ arms. Their solace lay in each other and while the babies were in the same cot, they were content.

No one was sure what had become of their parents. There were rumours about the mother’s mental state, what with her being under age, but for whatever reason, the twins were alone and their early family life was in the local authority children’s home.

They were not unhappy, yet their guardians always felt that the twins were unlike the other children who passed through their care. Alice, possessed a slight authoritarian attitude towards her sister and Evelyn in turn was a little servile.

During the summer of their seventh year, the twins played in the garden of the large building which served as home. A length of rope stretched between a flowering cherry tree and the gate served as a tennis net and the girls called out the score in unison at each pass. However, any bystander would have noted that it was Evelyn who ran each time to retrieve the stray ball and it was Alice who waited patiently, racquet poised, for her sister’s return. No words were ever exchanged as to the inequality of this procedure. The girls knew their roles and complemented each other perfectly.

When they reached their eighth birthday, a series of foster homes became available. Alice and Evelyn anticipated this with childish excitement and discussed the likelihood of their future.
“It’ll be a family with lots of … “ Alice would begin.
“...children," Evelyn would finish.
“There’ll be a big garden … “ Alice would start.
“with apple trees”. Evelyn would complete the sentence.
They would look into each others eyes and nod and smile their agreement.

They were not unsociable but there were never any real friends, for the twins. Each other’s company was adequate for them. They dressed alike, but not identically. Alice’s favourite colour was rose pink and her clothes were chosen accordingly. Evelyn preferred pale lilac and though the styles were the same, each sister could be identified by her colour choice.

At school, teachers would call out names to mark attendance, but the girls would answer to both names and soon they were referred to as “The Twins” and could reply as one, which suited everyone. Never did only one twin attend school. Through epidemics of childhood illnesses, the twins could be found waiting together for the start of their lessons.

Mrs Baxter, one of the dinner supervisors, often recalled the day when she came across the twins in the playground, seated on the ground, Evelyn with a protective arm around her sister who had tears streaming down her cheeks. The puzzled woman was told through sobs “We’ve hurt our knee”. Inspecting Alice’s leg at close quarters brought surprise when it was found to be unmarked, but Evelyn’s leg had a large graze oozing blood. Mrs Baxter recounted this tale many times and revelled in the astounded looks that she managed to gain from her story.

The ball at St Thomas’ Secondary School, the year the twins were sixteen was also remembered. The fifth form had waited all year, planning what they would wear and which songs would be played. The twins joined in with the anticipations, though only with each other. It was accepted that they would dress in their favourite colours and there was no reason to think that the ball would cause any changes in preferences. So when the twins arrived it caused quite a stir to see both Alice and Evelyn dressed in a profuse shade of rosy pink. Many of the boys commented that when Alice was asked if she would like to dance, Evelyn followed onto the floor and when Evelyn had a drink, both girls took alternate sips from the same glass.

After school the twins worked at the local hosiery manufacturer. They barely spoke to others on the factory floor but the dialogue between the sisters was constant and eavesdroppers marvelled at the amount of talk that passed between sisters who lived, worked and leisured in only each others’ company.

Suddenly, Alice became ill.
Evelyn took leave from work to nurse her.
The factory sent messages of concern each week but the replies were brief.
“Everything is as well as can be expected.”
Then came the note that shocked the whole workforce.
“We wish to inform you of the death of Alice Reilley. No flowers please.” 
The letter was unsigned and gave no clue as to the informant.

A funeral took place followed by a cremation which incredulously to the whole community, the surviving sister didn’t attend.

Evelyn did not return to work. When milk had begun to accumulate on the doorstep of the twins home the police had been informed. The door had been broken down and a search of the house revealed that nothing had been removed. Newspapers reported on the “Marie Celeste Home of Twin Sisters”, and the mysterious disappearance of Evelyn.

Gradually the story faded from the front pages, the police search was called off and the twins former house cleared and sold, the proceeds put in trust in case of Evelyn’s return. The memory of the twins drifted from the minds of those who knew them.

Except one. Dr R Hinton GP.

Nothing could erase the memory of the day he was called to the Reilley house, to pronounce one of the sisters dead. The day whose events he spoke of to no one.

Alice was laid on her bed in an upstairs room when Evelyn guided Hinton to her side. He’d seen many corpses before and one more would not affect him. Evelyn moved ahead of him, slowly and silently as if floating rather than walking up the flight of stairs. He followed, dreamlike, his blood rushing and pounding through his veins as he ascended.

Evelyn entered the room. Turning to glance once at the doctor, as though in confirmation, her form took it’s position over that of her sister, laying her body against Alice’s till the contours melted and merged perfectly into one.

The twins were at peace.

BIO: I write short stories, poetry, flash fiction and topical discussion which have been published in magazines, newspapers and online. I have published a travel/biography "Crossing Borders" and am currently working on the follow up. I also have a novel in progress.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Autumn Leaves

"Autumn Leaves" - Dorothy Davies

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. Every 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.

Autumn leaves.  In Autumn everyone leaves.  She shivered suddenly as a cold breeze played with her hair and tinged her cheeks with colour.  Everyone leaves. In Autumn her father had left, walked out of the door to go to work and never came back.  Left them bemused and concerned, then afraid and finally desperately lonely.  No police ever came to report a body; no visitor mentioned his not being there.  It was as if he had never been.  Like Autumn leaves, he had come and gone and few had mourned his passing.  Ellie remembered the aching loneliness more than the sorrow, if she had experienced that emotion at all.

Her brother had left in the Autumn, with back pack of books, writing pads, pens, pencils, all the paraphernalia imaginable to study.  Virtually no clothes, she recalled, only books and writing things.  She had commented on it at the time and had nothing in return but raised eyebrows and a look which said ‘don’t be stupid.’ So she didn’t.  She let him walk away to University without so much as a hug or a kiss on the cheek or a wish for his future.  She had not been on his wavelength at any time during their joint lives, a goodbye would not have made any difference to the way she felt.

They were two then, two people in a house made and furnished for four.  Two people who managed to avoid speaking about the things which mattered, the way they felt, the loneliness they endured, the hollow holes in their lives, but instead spoke of late mail delivery, the quality of the food in the local supermarket, the fact that next door were playing their music loud again, even though they had complained.  Several times, in fact.  Trivial talk.  Light talk.  As light, as ephemeral as the Autumn leaves which fell, rotted, became one with the earth and enriched it.  Their talk would not enrich anything, it added nothing to their lives, to their understanding of life and how to live it, their need to overcome their inhibitions and talk of pain and hurt and suffering and emptiness.

Autumn was an aching time of sadness, melancholia, withdrawal, the windows full of Halloween trivia, as trivial as the talk which sometimes passed for companionship.  Autumn was a time of sharp frosts, of rich scents of bonfires, of fruit, the true Harvest Home, the season of richness and of ending.  Autumn was a time of dying.

Her mother had died in the Autumn.  One day she had sat down in a chair, complained of not feeling well, touched her head theatrically as if in a silent movie melodrama – and stopped breathing.  Ellie had, for the longest time, done nothing.  She had watched the life empty out of a body and depart and she stood and did nothing.  Did not dare to touch the hand, the arm, the shoulder or the face for fear of drawing the life back, for she knew, without being told, that the life had wanted to go, that since her father had walked out of the door and not returned, life had become as melancholy as the season itself, but lasted all year.  Only when she grew stiff and her legs ached with standing did she move to the telephone and dial the local surgery, repeating the information to the bored hassled impatient receptionist.  Yes, she would wait for the doctor to come.  Yes, she would wait for a call.  No, it was not a problem.

Only then did she sit down, tucking her feet under the chair, hands in her lap and stared at the person she had called mother but for whom she had no affection whatsoever. Somehow that had dried up, fallen from the branch of family life that was her, drifted to the ground and become compost which, sadly, had produced nothing. At least the Autumn leaves produced fungi and new shoots for wild creatures to sustain themselves.  Ellie felt she had been unsustained for many years.

When the men came and took the body away, leaving her with nothing but memories, Ellie blinked a few times, looked around the room and began to catalogue in her mind that which she would keep and that which had to go.  There was much to do, so much to do, but she did nothing but look around the room and make her decisions.  That would go to the charity shop, that would go to the antique dealer, that would go

Ellie walked on in the glorious Autumn sunshine, aware of the colours, aware of the brightness of the day, watching other people enjoying the weather, envying the thickness of their padded coats, their boots, their hats and scarves and gloves. Such things she had once and had no longer but the memory of their warmth, their comfort, their sheer – pleasantness, had stayed with her. It was a day for walking and many were doing just that.  No one glanced at her as she passed them, absorbed in their own lives, their own words, their own memories.

Ah, that word.  Memories.  They came with the ability to cut, to hurt, to heal, to please, to fill the heart with joy.  There were few of the latter and many of the former.  Why was life like that, why was it so hard to find the good in life and so easy to remember the bad?  Surely the golden days should stand out, days like today, when the weather was perfect and the carpet freshly laid for all to see and admire?

Everything has to end.  Everything has an end.  Ellie had reached the end.

She walked and the Autumn leaves were not disturbed by her passing over them.

BIO: Dorothy Davies, writer, editor, medium, lives on the Isle of Wight (Isle of Spirits) where she writes her strange stories and channels books direct from spirit authors.

The Gravestone

"THE GRAVESTONE" - Ron Koppelberger

They concealed themselves in the graveyard in passionate guises of glee. Hand in hand they waited for the busy streets to empty and the sodium lights to go dark. The shadows filled her eyes with shallow silhouettes as she gazed into her lover's face. He was suspiciously attentive and in the sensual throes of a thirsty endeavor.

They would make love on the crypt; cracked and ancient, it would consummate their love and secret admission of eternal romance, ghostly fervency and dark resolution.

Eventually, the bustle on the street subsided and the lights diminished. They made their way to the vaulted grave slowly picking their way through the various rows of markers and granite statues. The vault was elevated and the stone cover was broken on one corner.

They spread a silk cover over the top of the vault and in venerated gasps concluded their desires.

The vault shone alabaster and delicate intricacy afterward. Renewed, the vault was no longer cracked and the scent of attar filled the air.

The headstone read, “Mr. and Mrs. Semper Slaw resigned in passionate embrace for all of eternity.”

BIO: Ron is thrilled by acceptance, which so far includes England, Australia, Canada and Thailand. He has published 388 poems, 214 short stories and 59 pieces of art in over 101 periodicals, books and anthologies. He has been published in The Storyteller, Ceremony, Write On!!! (Poetry Magazette), Freshly Baked Fiction and Necrology Shorts and recently won the People’s Choice Award for poetry in The Storyteller for a poem titled Secret Sash. He is a member of The American Poet’s Society as well as The Isles Poetry Association. To view Ron's art on Facebook, follow the link:, click on profile and look under photo albums. Ron hopes you enjoy his work.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


"FOLLOWED" - Jamie Evans

Crushed. Snow.
Under. Foot.
White. Ground.
Black. Soot.
Chimney. Stacks.
Brick. Walls.
Creeping. Mist.
Voice. Calls.
Cold. Dread.

Turn. Around.
Empty. Street.
No. Sound.
Look. Away.
March. On.
Left. Right.
Light. Gone.
Dark. Night.
Frosty. Air.
Shadows. Move.
Shapes. Stare.
Shades. Lurk.
Beasts. Prowl.
Spirits. Wail.
Creatures. Howl.
Clawed. Hand.

Tight. Grip.
Frozen. Stone.
Feet slip.
Not. Alone.
Look. Back.
Silent. Scream.
Heart. Attack.

BIO: Jamie Evans is a writer, poet and general weirdo based in Cardiff, South Wales. Most of the things he writes are silly. He is currently working on a novel featuring a blind hedgehog and a mute worm, and his blog of general stuffery can be found here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Echo

"THE ECHO" - Lou Treleaven

Even before Mum told me, I knew. I'd always known there was something there. It was like an echo, a trace left behind whenever I spoke. A face over my shoulder, a movement in the corner of my eye when I looked in the mirror. An extra stone on the hopscotch.

My twin.

She died just before I was born, Mum said.
I imagined us both packed into that warm sack of life, companions, sisters, cellmates. Were we jostling for space or were our arms wrapped round each other like lovers? Did I cast her off one day, sensing the approaching ferocity of life, knowing there would only be enough nourishment, enough love, for one?

Did I kill her?

"Oh my darling, it wasn't like that." Mum encircled me with her arms and pulled me close so I felt her heartbeat, strong and steady, just like we had done in the womb.

It was me, I thought. I killed her. Killed her, killed her, killed her, said the echo.

It was my birthday a few days later - my thirteenth. A step into the future, to the next part of my life. The end of childhood. With the sense that I was leaving something behind, I determined to enjoy the day for both of us. Identical twins have the same genes, don't they? We were almost the same person. I decided I would give her the day too.  It was the least I could do.

I awoke the morning of my birthday with an odd feeling, a claustrophobic shiver. As I struggled to get out of bed I realised it was not the duvet I was wrestling with.

It was her.

It was as though my sympathy had let her out, like an invitation I had not meant to write. She was pulling and tugging at me, jostling roughly just as I remembered from our days in the warm, pulsing womb. Only this time she was determined to win.

"Happy birthday, darling," Mum smiled, holding out armfuls of presents which she spread on the bed like a feast before me.

We froze, my twin and I, then reached for the presents, both wanting to get there first. For a moment I thought she was going to win.

This time it was much worse, even worse than when we were born. I really had to hurt her, had to show her who was boss. I'd got here once and I wasn't going to lose everything I'd fought for. I could hear her screams, but they were just echoes of what might have been. And echoes die away if you wait long enough.


Violently I ripped open a present, almost tearing the box inside. "A camera! The one I wanted! Thanks, Mum. Thanks for everything." I threw my arms around her, victorious, taking in gulps of air like sobs over her shoulder.

I killed my twin. She won't win. I will always kill her.

And the echo went on inside: kill her, kill her, kill her.

BIO: Lou Treleaven writes speculative fiction for children and adults, and can be found here.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010



Jason picked up the knife from the damp ground. “Don’t let the ghouls eat you.”
“A tenner says he’ll chicken out.” 
“Don’t wet yourself.” He faced the sneering group of boys then screamed at them.
They jumped away from the fence, the youngest of the group, Bobby, uttering a little squeal of fright. Their shadows crossed and danced on the road, elongated by the bright streetlight.
“If you hear that, you'll know I’ve seen the ghosts,” Jason laughed. He watched, still grinning madly as a few of the boys got their phones out to film him while the others caught their breath. “I’m off. See you in a bit, yeah?”
“Later Jason. I’ve got ghostbusters on speed dial in case you need ‘em.”
Jason decided to stay away from the roads that led down to the other end of the graveyard. If the warden was still around or if a policeman looked through the fence there would be nowhere to hide. If he stayed by the graves not only would it look better on video but he could duck down and wait until the coast was clear to move again.
It was a stupid dare, he thought, but at least it was easy. Bobby had chosen it, he still believed in ghosts. Stab the grave of Edward Stiles, take a picture on his phone and then bring the knife and picture back. Easy! Bobby thought he was being hard, poor boy. Jason didn’t understand why he hung around with them. He ruined the image, he cramped their style. He needed to go.
Peering down the next road, Jason jogged on. A plan was already forming in his mind. Bobby still believed in ghosts.... His breath formed in the frosty air. The street lamppost was far behind now; the only source of light was the dimly lit moon. Where was that dam grave, anyway? Jason didn’t know.
Crouching behind a crumbling headstone decorated with an old Christmas wreath, he tried to think. The graveyard was haunted by Edward’s ghost but nobody had said where his grave was. The ghost had been spotted around the centre; was it by the oak tree? The cold air was making it hard to think.
Looking behind him Jason couldn’t see the fence anymore. The clouds were low, the thick mist surrounded him. Slightly off ease he took out his phone. It’ll look sad texting for directions, he thought, but no other ideas came to him. The idea of wandering around the graveyard wasn’t pleasant. The phone’s screen failed to light up.
There, the tree! Without thinking about if anyone was watching, Jason bolted. The mist was fading as suddenly as it had come. Maybe the bitter wind had blown it along. In mid step Jason zipped up his coat. The wind hadn’t been like that a moment ago.
Leaping over a wide hole by a blank gravestone, Jason stumbled the last few feet to the tree. He took hold of the trunk in both hands and bent over panting. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and goosebumps slowly prickled his skin. He shivered but it wasn’t because of the cold.
The mist had fully risen now; Jason could see the fence from where he had entered. The bent railing he had used to climb on was still there, but no one else was.
“Cowards!” Jason shouted into the night. No one answered him. Where were they? Maybe a police car had driven past. They must have legged it, Jason decided, but he couldn’t bring himself to believe it.  The streetlight the boys had been under blinked out.
Who was that? Jason dived to the ground. It was too dark to see clearly but he thought there had been someone five rows to the right. If he couldn’t see the man then Jason hoped that the man couldn’t see him. Quickly but carefully he crawled towards the nearest headstone.
Footsteps. Yes, someone was there. It didn’t sound like trainers on wet grass, though. It sounded like... Jason couldn’t explain it. He’d never heard anything like it; a sort of squelching, whooshing sound. He shivered again as the dew crept through his thin coat and onto his wet shirt, pressing against his skin. I’ll catch my death out here. Forget the dare, it was time to go.
Another set of footsteps, this time from behind. Jason spun around. A figure was examining a headstone two rows back. It looked like a woman but Jason couldn’t be sure. There was no way of seeing past the pale gray hood covering her face. She held a walking stick in her free hand, the other was rubbing the marble stonework. Jason stared, transfixed by the woman who hadn’t been there seconds ago. He leapt over the gravestone next to him and hit the ground running. She was too old to chase him. His trainers skidded on the grass, his knees collided with the next gravestone as his world spun.
There was someone else! The first figure had got closer and a third person, a young boy, was looking down the row, directly at him. Cursing, Jason sprang to the next row and dodged between two gravestones, only to be met by three men in long brown robes. Impossible!
He skidded along the grass and shut his eyes as his body collided with the men. Instead of knocking the men off their feet, Jason felt nothing. He opened his eyes. The men were still there. The little boy had joined them as well as two men in old fashioned suits and a woman holding a bundle. They had come from nowhere.
“Get away from me!” he screamed. Jason slipped on wet grass again as he tried to get up but knocked his head on the side of the gravestone in his haste to escape. He collapsed to the ground, blood trickling down the side of his face as a wave of numbness washed over his body.
Looking back he saw that the group were advancing towards him. “Get away from me!” he bellowed again. He lacked the strength to move.
The long fought fear finally overcame him. A scream escaped his lips. Then the only thing he could see was the darkness…and the only thing he could hear was their laughter.

BIO: Jack Dowd, writer and student, lives in London. He has a novel that he works on intermittently and spends his time doing homework and writing short stories. This story and others from Jack can be read on his blog here.