Thursday, January 03, 2013

the little ghost


‘Did you sense the ghost?’
Elsie is quite matter of fact about it. She may as well be talking about a touch of damp.
‘There’s a ghost? What ghost?’
I look around.
If there’s one house that should be haunted it’s Elsie’s. An ancient flint-walled cottage squashed shoulder to shoulder with its neighbours these past three hundred years. The builder must have been cross-eyed and in a rush, though, because there’s only one square dimension in the place I can see, and that’s the TV Elsie has put in the corner of the lounge.
Even the name on the ceramic plaque outside has a shiver about it: Rose Cottage  - the euphemism hospitals often use for the mortuary.
‘Yes. A little girl died in a fire here in the eighteenth century. I met a local expert who knows about these things. He told me this is the most haunted cottage in the village.’
‘Doesn’t that worry you?’
‘At first I thought: hmm. But then I thought: Well why not? What can they do? They’re only ghosts!’
‘Yeah, but it’s not like having mice, is it?’
‘Oh no, I think it’s much better. So long as you don’t make a fuss and just get on with your life, you can rub along together quite satisfactorily. You keep out of each other’s way.’
Elsie has her bag packed and ready. She takes one last look around.
‘She was here just a moment ago.’
‘The little ghost?’
‘I was in the bathroom having my shower. It gets quite steamy in there, you know. That whirly thing is a dead loss – all noise and no action. Anyway, I’d got out of the shower and was towelling myself down, when I saw these two tiny little hand prints appear, in the top right hand corner of the bathroom mirror. A darling little child’s hands.’
‘That’s pretty spooky,’ I say. ‘That’s like something out of a film. You know – the steamy bathroom mirror thing.’
‘Oh, she was just messing about. Although I’ve no idea how she got up there. I’d have to stand on a stool to reach.’
Elsie locks the door and drops the key into her purse.
‘I can only suppose she flew. Now then, where are you parked?’

6 comments:

petrolhead said...

I'd love to live with a ghost! I did a ouija board a few weeks ago, it really caught my imagination.

jacksofbuxton said...

I suspect the ghost might not have been the only thing flying high Spence.Best give Derek Acorah a ring.

Spence Kennedy said...

PH - I wouldn't mind living with a ghost if you could train it to do basic household chores.

Ouija boards are an interesting thing, but I have to admit I'm a bit of a cynic. I mean, if a spirit was able to influence a group of people sufficiently to move a glass, why not the glass by itself? And if it could do that, why not just come clean, have a seat and talk us through the whole business?

Maybe an off-shoot of the Cern particle accelerator will be some good quality video footage of our relatives enjoying life on the other side. That'd be cool.

Jacks - It's difficult when someone who otherwise seems entirely reasonable and rational comes out with this stuff. I suppose my own view is more mechanistic. Our brains are constantly stitching together a view of our surroundings, and although it always feels quite straightforward and mundane - I look there / I see that / That's there and I'm here - it's actually much more subjective than that, and open to interpretation & distortion. I suppose what I'm saying is I don't believe in ghosts, but I do believe in Derren Brown.

Spence Kennedy said...

..but having said all that, I still get spooked in old houses, esp. when Margaret Rutherford is telling me about the ghost of a little girl leaving handprints on her bathroom mirror. Brrrr.

PaperTigger1 said...

Happy New Year, Spence! This story certainly seems more appropriate for Halloween than for the new year, but you have to take your stories as they come, I suppose. I can tell you that I'll be showering with the window open a bit from now on - I wouldn't mind a ghost but the handprints were just too much!

As for household chores, I've taught my dogs to lick the plates and my kids have "selective blindness" to tasks that need to be done, even though they know how to do them. So I don't think I could manage to teach a ghost that just shows up when she wants to. The flying part would come in handy though...

I also wanted to say that I've finished your new book, "Into the Eclipse" and really enjoyed it. I found the characters easy to relate to, for the most part, and the story moved along very briskly and believably. I certainly was unsure how the story was going to turn out right to the last page; I prefer it that way. I've put a recommendation on the Amazon too; congratulations on a great effort! And I just noticed it was 99 cents for a Kindle reader of any type - what are your other readers waiting for??

Spence Kennedy said...

Happy New Year, PT!

Yeah - not especially appropriate, although sometimes a festive season ghost story feels about right - log fire, mulled wine, hideous flaming skull, that kind of thing.

Our dogs lick the plates when we stack them in the dishwasher (the plates, not the dogs). I'm not comfortable with it, but they still manage to sneak past. I really like the idea of a friendly ghost who could help out with stuff - not just chores.

Thanks very much for downloading & reading Into the Eclipse. Glad you liked it. The next book will be out in a month or so (which sounds quick, but I've been working on it on the side for a while now). Funnily enough, it's kind of a ghost story - aimed at young adults, but hopefully with wider appeal, too. I'll let you know...

Cheers, PT. Appreciate the review, too.

:)