Monday, January 23, 2012

Sorry, but the show's over, folks. Some of you may be aware that, unfortunately, our blogsite has been plagued with technical problems for quite some time now. Could it be that perhaps the spooks that haunt our internet objected to being discussed? We were forced to shut down this site for major repairs back in August and after we were given the go ahead again, we started it back up for a few months only to find more difficulties lying in wait. With frustrations galore standing in our way, we've made the sad decision to close permanently. We're disappointed to be going, but sadder by far to wave farewell to our lovely authors who've been the highlight of our time editing the submissions. Since Dorothy Davies kicked off the blog back in November 2010 with her wonderful story, "Forever England," we feel it's a just and fitting finale for Spook City that we end with one of hers as well. Please sit back and enjoy, "The Tourist." Bye bye, everyone.

"THE TOURIST" - Dorothy Davies

He was just like any other mark, you know? Scruffy sort of guy, tweed jacket, slacks with not much of a crease, bit of a stubble thing going on. Balding a bit but who isn’t? Big nose, I remember the big nose. Washed out sort of eyes, not much colour there. Looked like he hadn’t got two pound coins to rub together, if I were truthful with you.
He gets in the cab at Liverpool Street Station, wants a trip round London.
OK, I says, let’s go! Where do you wanna start, sir?
He says, that thing near the river, that tall thing you see from the sky.
I says, do you mean the Monument?
He says, I do that.
So we goes to the Monument. I sits in the cab while he climbs the 300 odd steps to the top, I sees him go round the viewing platform, I wait while he climbs back down the 300 odd steps and I think, rather him than me. I’d rather sit here in comfort, off me feet, watching the meter tick on. This is the good one; I remember thinking, the rare good one. The one we all talk about getting and few of us do. Go round London seeing all the sights. Usually from the windows, mind you, this one was different, getting out to see places, leaving the meter running.
Oh be sure I kept the meter running. I might have had Princess Diana in my cab and I would have kept the meter running. Fat chance of that, before or now. Oh but I loved that woman...

Enough! Just gotta say no one would have made me drive that fast and kill the one true beauty who walked our planet. Oh hell, here I go again...
Forget it. Let’s get back to the weird one.
I’ve been driving a cab in London all my working life, me. Love it, I do, all the people, the sights you see out the window along the streets, them’s as wanna talk to you about London and all it has to offer, them as hates it, only here on business or ‘cos they gotta be.
Not this mark, though, he was - different.
He wanted the Tower next, so we went to the Tower. And I sat outside and waited while he did the tour round, seeing those – what do you call them, the ones in the outfits? Can’t remember. Anyway, he went there.
He wanted the London Eye after that, wanted to see, what was that strange new building called? Can’t remember. Well, we went there.
He wanted Buckingham Palace, wanted to see the – damn it, where’s my memory gone! The men in red outfits and tall hats? Well, we went there.
And we went on like that. All day we went round and round London and all day ... I just realised ... my memory got worse and worse till I could hardly remember how to get from one place to the other. Like I was in a fog, you know?
And come to think on it, he got –
Smarter and smarter as the day went on, clothes got better, he got more hair, he got less beard. His eyes got more colour. And I got – older.
And I forgot things. It was like – he was some kind of vampire and he was draining me of all my knowledge.
Next thing I know he’s driving the cab and I’m in the back, watching the world go by, wondering where the hell I am.
We went back to the Monument and I got out and he drove off. I opened the door and climbed up the 300 odd steps to the top and when I got there, I thought, how odd, he said ‘the thing you can see from the sky.’ How did he see it from the sky, I asked myself. And I asked myself who he was to drain me like that.
And I found myself on the viewing platform of the Monument and everyone who came up walked right through me and I knew I wasn’t human any more.
Then I realised he wasn’t human either or he wouldn’t have been able to take over like that and put me in the back of my own cab and then drive off in it and I’m lost, lost, lost and only you’ve seen me in the last ten years.
I’m right bored with the view, but that ain’t the real problem.
It gets damn lonely up here, I can tell you.

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

(So long, so long and thanks for all the fish.
Col, Trev, Mark and Gaz.
- Spook City)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where Am I?

"WHERE AM I?" - Amy Barry

I wake up on this bed,
my hands, my body cold,
Why is it cold in here?
Why do you slice open my dress?

Stay calm.

You’re hurting me

How can I?
You‘re already dead,
pronounced dead eight hours ago,
your body, decomposing,
your brain cells, slowly dying,
your soul, still here.

You’re lying

This is your death certificate.

You’re frightening me.

Don’t be…
soon you’ll find
mind clear and empty,
a look of peace,
last memory for your family-
a good memory.

How can you hear my voice?

I have a special gift,
talk to the dead,
prepare them
in transition,
ready for viewing.
A clear light arises...........
BIO: Amy Barry is a Public Relations consultant by profession. She writes poems and short stories. She hails from Malaysia and now resides in Athlone, Ireland.

The Mire

"THE MIRE" -  Katherine Wheeler

As the wolf prowls around the perimeter,
thick fogs seeps into my mind,
its tendrils twisting and choking
while its sluggish poison
seeps into the crevasses of my brain;
making clarity illusive.

The dark mire drags me down,
fingertips reaching out
for unattainable thoughts,
as they flit away
like so many winged birds;
tantalisingly close,
yet impossibly out of reach.

BIO: Katharine is an Irish writer who now lives in Belgium. Katharine has wanted to write ever since she was a very young child but due to work commitments was never able to fulfill her dream. She was diagnosed with a chronic illness a few years ago and suddenly found herself unable to work and with time on her hands. She has had work published in two poetry anthologies, in local press and online.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Day Of The Rest Of Her Life

- Lily Fox

She stepped out onto the bustling street, and, for a moment, was overwhelmed with the sheer wall of sound: car horns, voices, buses heaving past. For one wild moment, she considered hopping right back on the first train out of London and going home, forgetting she had ever tried such a mad venture. She caught herself, and straightened her tired shoulders. No, this was her opportunity, her moment: this was the first day of the rest of her life.

She stepped, on the second attempt, into the apparently unbreakable flow of people. Not a single one paid her any attention, but she was still vain and naive enough to pause to admire her professional-looking reflection in a shop window. Her face looked pale, even in nothing but darkened glass, but that was to be expected. This was the most important interview of her life, her make-or-break moment. She tried to put it out of her mind. She could be calm and collected and when she walked into that office, everyone would know she was perfect for the role.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she gasped automatically as she nearly ploughed into the back of the man in front. He didn't reply, or even acknowledge her presence, and she frowned for a moment, before giving a mental shrug. People probably barged their way through every street here. She laughed to herself at the wide-eyed girl she still mentally categorised herself as. She wondered if anyone could spot any little tells she gave off, but the further she walked, the more she realised no-one really cared a jot about her circumstances; they didn't even look her way. Maybe she, too, would grow to be like this after a few years in the city.

Was this the right street? Would consulting a map look too...well, touristy? She had to get the part right, like the nervous actor on the first opening of theatre doors, she had to nail it. No slips. No giveaways. And really, she had the fundamentals, otherwise she wouldn't have made it this far. She had an excellent Cambridge degree and she was hard-working, determined and bright. She had a suit that had cost her far too much and heels that were neither too high nor too prudishly flat, and her hair had been tousled into an flattering elegant wave effect. Yes, image mattered, especially in this crowd.

It unnerved her just how little attention anyone paid to anyone else here...or, no, that wasn't quite little attention everyone paid to her, specifically. Leaflets were thrust at the other passers-by; ticket touters hollered in their indifferent faces. She might have been of no more substance than a puff of wind. Nothing was thrust into her face. No-one met her eyes as they leaned on their sandwich board signs. Was she that obvious?

he quickened her pace. She was nearly there, anyway. The flow of people was lessening as she reached the banking district. She had worked for this and seen too many of her fellows fall by the wayside, distracted, missing opportunities. She would go for it. She had to.
Last road, oh yes, there was the street she needed. Excitement trembled in her stomach. This was finally, finally it. She inhaled, and stepped into the road.

It didn't hurt as much as she had thought; what really hurt was the driver just carrying on, as if she hadn't just been tossed like so much dead meat over the windscreen, thrown bonelessly to the road and smashed, smashed on impact. The white-hot agony she would have imagined blinding her was just a vague memory-sense. The car had sped on to catch the lights as she lay dying. She tried to force out a sound. Wouldn't someone help her? This was central London, she could see, out of misting eyes, legs and feet moving past. Her mind blurred.

Her blue eyes rolled back in their sockets to meet, at last, for the first time in this damnable city, a pair of eyes, faintly startled, staring at her broken body in the road. She implored the girl to do something, anything, just not to let the blackness take her...she was scared. Something was dragging her away from the flesh, upward, onward. Her lips moved, mouthed, 'help'.

The girl's hands, tucked into the pockets of her bright pink coat, extended, but she didn't have the strength to do more. She was...oh, so tired, so heavy. It was taking her, and there wasn't a thing she could do. The pink jacket, the brown eyes, faded into light and finally, into nothing at all.
"It's so cold," Hannah pushed her hands back into her pockets, eyes fixed on the road. She couldn't, for some reason, drag them away.
"Oh, that'll be the corpse," said Gary casually, pulling one of Hannah's hands free from her pink jacket to hold in his own.
She rolled her eyes towards him. "What?"
"You must have heard the story. It's haunted around here..." Gary pulled a face, waving his free hand in Hannah's face. "Whooo!"
She batted his hand away. "Don't be stupid. It's just a chill..."
"No, seriously," Gary enthused, his face lighting up. Hannah put an exaggeratedly indulgent expression on. "You must have read that story about how that girl got killed here last year - that prodigy mathematician kid from Cambridge, won a load of prizes and scholarships and stuff? Going to work for some big bank over there?" He pointed at a particularly imposing building further down the road.
"Probably," Hannah conceded, although she couldn't remember it.
"Well, she wasn't looking and just stepped out in front of a car here, and got mown down, of course...but get this, people say they can feel a chill here and sometimes, they can hear her walk past and stuff...'cause, you know, ghosts can't leave where they were killed..."
"Sure," Hannah scoffed. "I mean, it's a horrible story, but ghosts aren't real. Not people who've died recently, especially. No-one becomes a ghost any more, Gar'." She grinned. "It's not cool."
Gary laughed easily, pulling Hannah closer, and turning her away from the crossroad to walk on. "Don't see why's not like there's any reason why not..."

Their voices settled into the mildly argumentative tones that meant a debate would ensue as they wandered aimlessly away.


She stepped out onto the bustling street, and, for a moment, was overwhelmed with the sheer wall of sound: car horns, voices, buses heaving past. For one wild moment, she considered hopping right back on the first train out of London and going home, forgetting she had ever tried such a mad venture. She caught herself, and straightened her tired shoulders. No, this was her opportunity, her moment: this was the first day of the rest of her life...

BIO: Lily Fox is an MA graduate living in London


Out There

"OUT THERE" - Susanna Dunne


                  howliiiiiiiiing heard

          full moon shining
warewolf emerging

BIO: London born Susanna moved to Ireland at the age of ten and is now married with four sons. She loves to write standard poetry, haiku, senyru and short stories.