10 Haunted Drabbles

Josh Farnsworthy steps on thin ice and disappears into the icy pond’s depths. He is dead for twenty-four hours before he suddenly wakes.

“A miracle!” his preacher father declares. His family takes him on tour.

“See the proof of God’s love!” they preach, displaying Josh like a show pony. “Taken and returned!”

Josh talks of heavenly gates, the glories of the celestial, and turning away from them. For his earthly duties.

Each town they visit, someone who should have doesn’t make it through the night.

Each town, Josh pays back another of his dead hours in return for his life.

 

Go to the old swamp woods. Walk down the old path, turn left at the crossroad and continue down the faded dirt road. Make sure to stroke the bark of the bald cypresses as you pass them. Walk into the mud. Make your way deeper into the swamp water.

When you feel the first touch of the hands, do not stop. Wade until you are in the center. If you have gone under, you have gone too far.

Say hello. If your greeting is returned, he’s still there and you can go home.

If you hear nothing, it’s too late.

 

Emma and Anna’s family lived together in an old house. Every night, Emma had to listen to Anna wail and cry. It drove Emma up the wall! It was so piercing and maddening, going on until dawn. Emma could not stand it. She would try singing to Anna, she would yell at her to stop, she’d tuck Anna in nicely, but she was getting close to holding a pillow over little Anna’s face to stop it.

But luckily for Anna, her family decided to move away.

“Good riddance!” thought Emma, floating in the window, watching Anna’s family’s moving van leave.

 

“Oh, honey! Look at this, it’s a mixtape from my first boyfriend!” Edith told her husband, while they sorted through old boxes.

Gareth grunted without emotion.

“I was so head over heels for him… you’re lucky he ghosted me, or you would never have had a chance,” teased Edith. But there was an edge to it.

Gareth got up, then walked out without a word. Edith shrugged and replaced the batteries in an old Walkman to listen to the tape. She didn’t even remember the songs anymore — or really remember the tape — but it had Mike’s name on it.

 

“–LETMEOUTLETMEOUTLETMEOUTLETMEOUTLETM–”

 

The koi in her pond are all white. They have no black or orange spots. None are red. Flat white scales, flat white eyes, glowing softly in the night pond.

Her garden never has the sun shine on it — or the moon, simply the sun reflected. The plants grow, somehow, maintained by her. The visitors say it is a beautiful garden.

Her koi only eat bones as white as them, mashed into feed.

The koi are the only light in the entire garden, except the lamp that lures their next meal to her to prepare. “Beautiful garden,” the visitors say.

 

Lindisfarne did not mind having a ghost. It was a great conversation piece. She could have a guest over and count on the curtains fluttering, lights flickering, even the silverware rattling! Once the walls even bled.

But what should have been best of all was that the ghost absolutely loved her Ouija board. Rapid messages, planchette skittering about completely untouched. It was all Lindisfarne could do to copy them down as the ghost poured its heart out.

She didn’t want to be ungrateful. It was just… the damned ghost had been a spymaster. Who used a cipher. And was Danish.

Alternate ending:

She didn’t want to be ungrateful. It was just… she had to be the only woman on earth haunted by a dyslexic ghost.

 

“Do dragons have ghosts, mom?” asked Tully, scuffing a shoe.

“No,” said her mother, typing on her laptop.

“Why not?” asked Tully. She sounded very concerned.

“Because they aren’t real,” said her mother, rolling her eyes.

“Ghosts?” asked Tully in a careful voice. “Or dragons?”

“Both. Now please, I need to finish this email. Come back when you aren’t talking nonsense at me. Some of us have to work for a living.”

Tully went down to the cellar steps and shouted down. “I told you you weren’t real!”

“We’ll see about that,” said the low, burning flame from the darkness.

 

When winter really settles in, when everything is stiff and cold, when the ice is inches thick on every surface, and it hurts to go outside, that’s Letty’s favourite time of year. She felt like a pioneer, braving the elements to survive the season.

She was late for class. Today she used a shortcut, the steps behind the science building that twisted around to a back entrance.

“Look out!” yelled a boy as she vaulted down the steps. But too late. It was black ice.

Her body landed beside his.

“That one step’s a killer,” his ghost said to her.

 

Headshot. Headshot. Headshot. Addie wasn’t even sure why she was respawning her character anymore. No matter what she tried, “user: hatorgator” kept taking her out of the game immediately. She’d tried trash-talking them to throw them off their game, but that had likely just encouraged them.

She logged off. She tried again at two the next morning. Headshot. Headshot.

She tried at six on Friday evening. Headshot.

She decided to play dirty and googled them for dirt. What she found was no comfort.

Police report and a forum memorial, 3 years ago: Headshot.

She decided to play a different game.

 

“I don’t care if the porch light’s not coming on,” said Maxie to her wife, “something’s out there! Motion sensor’s probably broken. Garbage just doesn’t tip itself over and eat itself.”

“Nothing’s eating the garbage,” answered Rita. “It’s just… mangling the garbage? And the ‘it’ must be the wind and gravel.”

“I’m setting up a camera.”

“Okay, set up a camera. I’ll get you a light to keep on out there.”

That night the trash was, again, thrown around and mangled.

“Well I’ll be,” said Maxie as they watched the tape later.

“Never seen a see-through bear before,” added Rita.

 

 

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