I asked for chills last week with my challenge for a ghost story or poem. Thank you to all those who entered. You can see the results below.
This week’s challenge takes you from a ghostly theme to a humorous one. I’d like you to make me smile or laugh out loud. You can send me a true story – something funny that’s happened to you or you could write a fictional story/poem. It’s up to you.
Now, prepare for goosebumps!:
Keith Channing had never written a ghost story before. Here’s his brilliant first attempt:
I couldn’t remember typing that line, but I suppose I must have. It couldn’t have typed itself, could it?
No-one ever enters my study. It’s my private domain. No-one else could have typed it.
I had just finished my eighth cup of double-espresso, and it was only 10am. Lots of caffeine and a couple of other things keep my mind in its most creative state, but I can’t, in all honesty, say that when it is in that state, I am in complete control of it.
I wasn’t at all concerned that there were words on my screen that I couldn’t remember putting there. It was the words themselves that concerned me.
“Julian hasn’t been seen for a very long time,” they said. There is no character in my story called Julian. I deleted the words and carried on writing, vowing to have no more coffee that morning. My mobile phone rang, and I took the call. After the call, I returned my attention to the screen.
“Julian was not a bad boy, he was just a bit naughty. But he hasn’t been seen since that night.”
That I didn’t write. I was on my phone. Who is or was Julian? What night? I typed those questions onto the computer.
Just then, the computer went off. I flipped the light switch. Nothing. Power cuts in the middle of winter aren’t unusual here. I went downstairs to the fuse cupboard, to see if it was something I could fix. It wasn’t. It can’t have been a general power cut, as I could hear the radio coming from downstairs, and the washing machine was on its spin cycle. I went back upstairs.
On entering the study, it was apparent that something was wrong. For one, it was unusually cold. For another, the computer monitor was glowing. Nothing was showing on the screen, no graphics, no text, just a diffuse light. At first, I dismissed it as the afterglow that is often present on old-style CRT monitors, where the tube retains some charge after shutdown. This was an LED screen, though. And it was pulsing.
As I sat and looked at it, the words “Thank you for coming back” appeared in the middle of the screen. I typed furiously, “Who are you?”
The screen cleared, and three words appeared:
“I AM YOU…”
Phen Weston took up the challenge for the first time with this atmospheric poem:
Her Ghost Walks Stars
Through births and deaths,
Haunting oceans of emptiness,
She solely walks with
Universal falling stars,
An apparition to dead worlds
Manifested between nebulous crypts,
As revenant watcher of long days
She wistfully travelled light years,
A spiralling impression
Faintly touching those who lived
Grounded, A trace, hint, suggestion
Of what could have been,
And all she yearned, the one
Who sent her pirouetting
Through the heavens, false love,
Breathless she had become,
Black hole and doppelgänger,
Reformed and deformed,
Invisible to all who could have
Changed her failing orbit,
How could she not become
The fault in her own star?
When her internal reflection paled
Against the backdrop of the universe,
Macrocosms revolved, Totality embraced,
She became endless cosmic dust
Floating through outer space,
Atoms split, timelessly out of place…
Jason Moody‘s story will leave you wanting more:
Samantha entered her flat and threw her bag onto the sofa. The Wall of windows let in the orange glow of the streetlights outside.
It had been another long shift at the hospital. It had been pretty uneventful; but it was tiring all the same.
She poured herself a glass of water and shuffled into the bedroom. She turned on the bedside lamp, and quickly threw off her scrubs and put on her bed clothes. She threw back the duvet and slipped under the covers.
She laid her head on the pillow and let her eyelids fall.
She had no idea what the time was when she awoke. A scratching sound was coming from the foot of her bed.
She flicked on her bedside light. She sat up and stared straight at the large, oak wardrobe at the foot of the bed.
The scratching continued.
Samantha decided it must be a bug, and that it would probably scurry off. She switched the light off and closed her eyes.
A tickling sensation made her scratch her nose. It persisted. She reached for the light and with heavy eyelids, flicked it on.
Her eyes shot open. A cold pulse shot through her. Right beside her, inches from her face a black beetle sat, its antenna twitching.
She shot upright and swiped the insect from her pillow. It hit the wall, and then scurried across the floor towards the wardrobe.
Samantha reached into the draw of her bedside table and pulled out a book. She wouldn’t sleep until the bug was squished.
As she climbed out of bed, she saw the bug disappear into the small gap between the doors of the wardrobe.
The scratching intensified. With book in hand, she edged towards the wardrobe. She reached out with one hand and pulled the door open.
The base of her wardrobe was covered with beetles, their armoured bodies shining in the dim light. They flowed, in their hundreds, into the room.
Samantha screamed and moved away from the wardrobe. The beetles surrounded her, climbing up her legs.
She wriggled violently, and batted them off her skin as quick as she could. Her heart was racing, her breathing erratic.
She edged backwards towards the window. The beetles appeared not to follow in her direction.
Behind her, the latch in the window clicked. She heard a thud as if something had fallen into the room.
She froze. A black, scaly, three fingered hand rested on her shoulder. She turned.
Facing her, draped in a dark, torn robe, stood a thin figure, whose face was obscured by a draped hood.
Suddenly, she noticed twisted, yellow teeth form a wicked smile. It raised its bony finger to its mouth.
“Sssssh,” it whispered.
Jasdeep Kaur sent in this stunning poem: