On the Ledge
I looked down at the pavement, thirty storeys below.
The people looked so small and insignificant. I picked one random figure out, and wondered if my existence had any more worth than theirs.
I saw not the details, but the weight of my life flash before my eyes – all its disappointments, frustrations, disillusionments.
Would it be easy or difficult, to step forward and end it all?
But there was no time left for rumination.
It was time to be brave.
I held my hand out to the bedraggled figure weeping on the ledge beside me.
“Don’t do it,” I said.
Out of my Mind
It’s definitely fun, being able to project my consciousness and wander about in disembodied form. Though I have to be very careful where I leave my empty body – there have been some close scrapes!
I’ve rescued lots of earthquake survivors in my time, and – quite unethically – made millions by spying on secret business deals.
And now I’m in a particularly unique position!
You see – I know there’s life on other planets. I’ve visited several of them, observed alien societies in detail.
But who can I tell? And how can I prove it?
They’d think I was – out of my mind!
He has died and she is sad.
Neither of them believed in an afterlife.
But sometimes, she speaks to him out loud, just in case he is there, listening.
She asks him, if he still has some awareness, some existence, to give her a sign.
If you’re here, turn that light on.
Write down something that only we would know.
Convince me that we were wrong, that there is something after death.
There is never any sign, any reply.
His ghost sits, considering what he might write, though knowing he never will.
Best to let her heal and move on.
Spooky Short Story 1 – The Harbour Wall
As she did every day, whatever the weather, Elizabeth set off on her walk along the harbour wall. As always, she took great care on the uneven stones, thinking of those poor souls who had plunged to their deaths into the wild sea. She passed a few people but they didn’t seem to see her. How lonely this place was! Yet it drew her constantly, to walk in solitude and reflection. She looked at the harbour; no sailing ships any more. Not like on that fateful day when, distracted, she had tripped and fallen. That day two hundred years ago.
Spooky Short Story 2 – Across the Divide
It was six years before Timothy started haunting me. When I first moved into the old house I’d inherited, nothing was amiss. Then my new dog started behaving strangely and barking at nothing. Timothy told me later that the creature’s yapping had raised him from oblivion and drawn his attention to me. He eventually showed himself and we started to have long, interesting conversations – about how the world had changed since he’d been alive. Now we live companionably together, like an old couple, but separated by the divide of life and death. At least – I’m pretty sure I’m still alive!
Spooky Short Story 3 – My Unborn Children
We had decided to be ‘child-free’. I wasn’t inclined; my husband agreed. We couldn’t afford it, we had careers, there was too much else to do. Now I’m sixty and alone, and I don’t know if it’s just regret causing me to have hallucinations – but I keep seeing a little girl, about seven, holding a smaller boy by the hand. “Hello,” I say, smiling – but they just glower at me and cry. The children follow me around, but when I reach out to them, they disappear. And then the girl speaks – such awful words. “Why didn’t you want us, Mummy?”
She raised her head. She saw a blue sky, she saw water all around her, and willows, and reeds, and fields. She remembered that she had been grey, but now – amazingly, perversely – it appeared she was white, pure white like the clouds above, which surely called to her. There was a splash beside her, and a young swan trumpeted, ‘come, it’s time!’ She was confused, everything seemed new. Surely she had not only recently been born, and yet this moment seemed so clearly an awakening. She was alive, and free, and all was promise! She spread her wings – and flew.
What made you move up here, then? You lost your husband, oh I’m sorry. Well, no wonder you’re anxious, a woman on her own – not that I’m sexist or anything. Had a nasty leak, then? Fixed the bathroom now, have they? Well, I’ll soon sort this ceiling for you, be finished by lunchtime. Upsetting to have such a big hole in your house? Well, not that I’m sexist or anything, but it’s because you’re a woman. My wife, like, she’d be bothered by it, but I could live with it. Men don’t mind, see? Not that I’m sexist or anything!
Oh my God, I have not had a carvery for about four months, this is absolutely wonderful, and it’s so cheap, I can’t believe it, oh this is so going to be my regular, why should I ever cook anything at home if you can come here and have roast beef and roast turkey and Yorkshire pudding and all these yummy vegetables, and mashed potato, my favourite, and all just for a few pounds, and they even do takeaway, oh gosh and the portions are so generous, he’s given me three lovely big slices, oh cauliflower cheese, brilliant, yes please!
Once upon a time, there was a bird-table where lots of different birds came to eat and chatter happily together. There was a robin and a blue-tit and a greenfinch and a nuthatch, and many more. But then some trees were cut down and many of the birds had nowhere to live any more. Others died from poisoning, and one or two were eaten by a cat. The day came when only the robin was left. Never mind, he said to himself. I will sing a beautiful song, I will sing and sing – enough for all of my old friends.
The rain was relentless. All night, all day. Rivers rose, buildings were washed away. Spirits sank and sank, as people watched their houses leak, their crops get ruined, their plans get postponed. She sat watching the water drip through her conservatory roof – drip, drip, drip. Please, please stop, she said to the rain. I can’t cope with it, I don’t want to have to face another problem. But the rain didn’t listen. The rain continued, drip, drip, drip. There are bigger problems, she tried to tell herself. You will sort it somehow. But the rain, and the pain, were relentless.
Once upon a time, there was a horse living in a world of unicorns. He had always thought he was a unicorn, for nothing else made sense. But as he grew older, he got teased for not having a horn. Perhaps he was just a late developer? Was it an illness, or a disability? Then a wise old unicorn told him he simply had to decide for himself. Was it that some unicorns just didn’t have horns, and he was one such? Or was he a horse, in completely the wrong world? At time of writing, he was still deciding.
“But you can’t, you can’t, I won’t let you!”
“I don’t know why you’re suddenly so set against it.”
“What do you mean? You know I object.”
“I thought I’d won you round.”
“I don’t know how you can be so patronising.”
“I don’t see what your problem is.”
“It’s such a big decision, it affects so many people.”
“We can talk the issues through.”
“Look, please don’t insist.”
“It’s in both our interests, I’ve told you before.”
“And I’ve told you that I have serious doubts.”
“Well, I want it to proceed, so I’ll have to – consider my position!”