Old Tarts and Blackpool Rock

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Sonia’s eyes almost popped out of her head. She cut me off mid-sentence and in a high-pitched voice that hurt my ears, she yelled,

“Your mam was in Blackpool with her fancy man, and you were there, too. Your mam is nothing but an old tart!”

Although I was only seven, I knew exactly what an old tart was.

Gripping my brown leather satchel tightly, I used all my strength, and swung it toward her. It was heavy with my reading books and the remaining sticks of Blackpool rock, and it flew through the air like a missile, whacking the side of her face. My anger gave me strength I didn’t know I had, and when it made contact with her head, her eyes rolled back and she sank to the ground, where she lay like a beached whale.

Yes, I write about ghosts and haunting, but I am who I am and every story has a little “ME” in it. That means there is a lot of truth and a little humor. Hope you enjoyed this small excerpt from Ghosts on the Sand, a story about a young girl who sees ghost and has unwelcome premonitions. 

Watch out for “Ghosts on the Sand and other chilling tales” coming out soon on Amazon. 

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Old Mother Shipton and Brompton-on-Swale

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I lived in Brompton-on-Swale from 1967 – 1977. My teenage years were spent in this small northern village, and they were good years. I think I had my first alcoholic drink (legally) in the King Bill, which is no longer open for business. “Guy at the Bar” is inspired by events that happened in this public house. It was a scary evening for me, but I survived, and lived to tell the tale. I’m working as hard as I can (while still holding a full-time job) to get this story along with one or two others into a compilation of short stories called “Ghosts on the Sand and other Chilling Tales.” Be patient, it’s coming.

“Run while there’s still time!”
“What?”
“You’ll die if you stay here.”
“Die? What are you talking about?”
“The flood, it’s coming.”
“What flood?”

I looked around for approaching waves. “Where’s this water going to come from?”

“You’ll see soon enough. I’m heading for the hills!”
“There’s no water close enough to us to cause a flood.”

Our soon to be ex next-door neighbor, glared at me as though I was the crazy one.
“The river Swale, it’s going to wash the village away. You’ll be sorry if you stay here, mark my words.”
“Don’t listen to her Sheila,” my Mam whispered, “she’s lost her marbles. I’m glad she’s moving out.”
“I can hear what you’re saying. You think I’m not right in the head,” she persisted, “but I’m telling you, the village is doomed.”

My dad joined us
“What’s all this about a flood?” he asked, clearly irritated at the thought of having bought a house in a flood zone.

“Old Mother Shipton. She warned us. The flood is coming, I can feel it.”

My dad laughed, clearly relieved,

“For a minute I thought you were serious. Don’t worry girls; Mother Shipton is a legend in these parts. She lived in a cave in Knaresborough hundreds years ago. Many people believed she was a prophet, but others claimed she was a Witch. I’ll take you to visit the caves if you like. We’ll take a picnic and make a day of it.”

My Mam looked relieved and continued to unload the van.

The Irritated Spirit

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No one enjoyed taking the elevator to the morgue. It was silent and depressing. A journey to a very cold hell, hidden in the bowels of the hospital! Dr. Lou Green was no different. He escorted detective Lorraine DeMarco to the gloomy dungeon. In normal circumstances he’d flirt with such a beautiful woman, but even her stunning looks and bright personality couldn’t lift his mood!
“Hi Lou, whats with the long face? Come one give me a smile.”
Lou looked at her. She was an olive-skinned beauty, unmarried, except to her career. Her perfect red lips curved in a smile and her eyes shone with mischief and humility.
“It’s the morgue. I feel defeated every time I come down here. A wall full of drawers, filled with dead folks defeats my purpose in this world.”
“You can’t save them all Lou! If their time’s up, they’re gonna go!”
“And tell me, why would the time be up on a 25-year-old girl? Who decided she should die?”
The elevator doors whooshed open and they stepped into the silent corridor that led to the room of the dead.
“I know, not good, but that’s why I’m here right? To find out what happened to her. You have the post-mortem results don’t you?”
“Not personally. You know I don’t do that, I’m just bringing you down here because Jack was called away. I couldn’t work on the dead, whats the point?”
Lorraine laughed, “Come on Lou, cheer up. A post-mortem helps us find the bastard that killed them.”
Lou opened the door to the morgue and shivered.
“I couldn’t work down here, I’d freeze to death.”
“It does seem colder than normal today,” Lorraine responded pulling her jacket tightly around her.
They walked along the wall of drawers until they found the one labeled Rosa Rosso. Lorraine chuckled.
“Death isn’t funny detective!”
“Oh come on, Rosa Rosso. She sounds like a stripper, where’s your sense of humor?”
Lou couldn’t find humor in the morgue and glowered at her as he slid the oversized drawer open.
The drawer was empty.
“Great, one’s escaped!”
They both turned towards the sound of the door at the end of the room closing, then ran towards it.
On the floor lay a toe tag. Detective DeMarco picked it up and read the name out loud.
“Rosa Rosso, dam Lou, one really did get away!”

Strangled!

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Sofia and Jean rested on the bed with Bill between them. He drifted into a guilt free sleep and dreamed of women, money and sex. It was his life, all he thought about. Sofia caressed his upper thigh and watched him grow. Jean breathed into his ear. He smiled in his sleep. In his dream his was back in the hotel, straddled by his now dead mistress, enjoying her attention, her body, her money. His dream felt real.

“Room Service!”
The door opened and his dead wife stood there, naked, pale, beautiful. Jean had been a good-looking woman. He beckoned her. She joined Sophia on the bed. Bill watched them kiss and caress each over. Two naked beautiful naked women. Overcome by lust, he pulled them down beside him.
“Shhh, wait, don’t rush it.”
Sophia opened the drawer where the pendant lay, the gift he’d chosen to lure his next mistress. She slipped it over her head it sat between her perfect breasts as she mounted him again. Bill closed his eyes and drifted into ecstasy, the like of which he’d never experienced before…nor would again.

When Bill didn’t show up for work his colleges assumed he was grieving. Jean’s parents were lost in their own grief and days slipped by. Days turned into weeks.

Three weeks after the hotel fire a young police detective called Maria, knocked on the front door of Bill’s home. When there was no answer, she assumed he was at work. As she turned to leave a neighbor approached.
“I think he’s home, I saw him come back on the day of the funeral. I haven’t seen him leave.”
“The funeral was two weeks ago wasn’t it?”
Maria knocked again. The house was silent.
“He was driving a different car, fancy Italian, my husband said it was an Alfa Romeo.”
“Was he alone?” Maria asked
“I think so, but there was a lot of noise in his house that night,” she lowered her eyes, “It came from his bedroom.”
“What sort of noise.”
The neighbor’s face turned bright red, “You know, bedroom noise. Not the sort of noise you wouldn’t expect to hear after a funeral. I never liked him. I saw him once, in a restaurant, a woman draped all over him. It wasn’t Jean! I have a key if you want to go inside. Jean gave it to me so I could water the plants when they were away. Sweet heart she was. Can’t understand why she’d take her own life.”

Maria waited while the nosy, but helpful neighbor to fetch the key. Something wasn’t right. It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek inside.
The smell hit them as soon as Maria opened the front door. Lou, the neighbor took a couple of steps back. “Oh my!”
“Stay here,” Maria hissed. She walked quickly through the clean, tidy house and then returned to the front door to get a mouthful of fresh air. Slowly she walked up the stairs. The first door on the landing stood ajar. Maria didn’t make it past the doorway.

The bedroom was warm and steamy, as though someone had just stepped out of the shower. The stench of decay was overwhelming. The naked corpse lay tied to the bed, eyes bulging in terror. Expensive jewelry adorned the dead man’s purple bruised neck. He’d been strangled.

Something moved in the bathroom. Did Maria hear a voice? Did someone moan in pleasure? Was that the sound of gentle laughter?

She fled downstairs, and called for backup.

Two spirits hovered in the bedroom for a little while, and faded into the atmosphere. Their work was done.

Greed and Lust!

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The garage door took an eternity to open.
Bill sat in the car tapping his fingers on the steering wheel impatiently.
“Finally!”
He pulled into the garage and closed the door. He stood beside the beautiful Alfa Romeo and admired it for a few seconds. It was a beautiful machine.
He’d get a cab back to the hotel and pick up the Audi later, after things had died down. He didn’t want to answer anymore questions. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but the fire had started in his room. Sofia had arranged the candles around the bed, if anyone were to blame, it was her.
“You can’t arrest a dead woman.” he said out loud, then he smiled.
Sofia and Jean looked at each other. They weren’t smiling at all.
Bill still wore the hotel robe, its deep pockets bulging with Sofia’s jewelry. He laid the exquisite pieces on table by the bed. Beautiful, she loved rubies and diamonds. They glittered in the early evening sunlight. Selecting a simple ruby pendant on a gold chain, he held it up to the light.
“I’ll sell the rest, but keep this one for my next mistress!” He said out loud. “Something to make her feel special.”
I’ll find another rich vulnerable woman. Someone starved of love, and sex, someone I can play with for a while. Maybe this time I’ll marry her, secure my fortune and never have to work again.
Sophia and Jean heard his thoughts.
Bill placed the necklace safely in Jean’s underwear drawer and chuckled to himself.
“Buried my ex-wife today, and amassed a little money from my mistress! Not a bad days work.”
He turned on the shower and dropped his robe at his feet. He admired himself in the mirror. The radio burst into life.
You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you!
Startled, Bill turned around.
“What the hell! Hello, who’s there?”
Silence.
He turned back.
Two shapes stood in the shower.
Holding his breath he rubbed his eyes.
The radio went silent.
Screw the shower, I need to rest!
Bill closed the drapes and crawled under the covers of king size bed, the one he used to share with Jean. The one he’d shared with Sofia when Jean was away. He smiled as he anticipated sharing it with his next conquest.
He wouldn’t be smiling for long!

Spirit in the Sky – The clouds are Gathering!

Bill used his thumb to push the button on the steering wheel that controlled the radio. Silence, and then the music started. An old tune began to play, sounded like it was from the sixties or seventies, sounded like it was a long way away.  Sophia smiled and hummed along!

“Prepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky”

“Did you have a friend in  Jesus Bill?”
Bill couldn’t hear her, but he felt something.
He looked in his rear view mirror, it clouded over as though there were a fog in the car.
Maybe I banged my head, or have smoke in my lungs, I don’t feel right. This weird old tune, is creepy.
He used his thumb and changed the radio station. Silence, then the same tune played over again.
So I know that when I die, he’s gonna recommend me to the spirit in the sky”
Bill felt something on the back of his neck. It felt like a spider, he slapped at it. Sophia blew gently into his ear. He felt it. He liked it, and relaxed again.
Jean ran her fingers up his inner thigh, stroking it. He felt that too. He opened his legs wide and smiled. Whispers all around him. Evocative whispers. Sensual pleasure enveloped him and he closed his eyes.
Sirens, loud and urgent got his attention.  Flashing lights directly in front of him, on a collision course. Bill tugged at the steering wheel and swerved to safety, he’d been driving on the wrong side of the road. Two police cars and an ambulance sped past him, their horns screaming. The spell was broken, the radio station changed.
Hey Soul Sister – Train blasted from the radio.
Bill pulled to the side of the road and got out of the car. He bent over and threw up.
“Yes, it’s definitely shock, I’ll go to the doctors tomorrow and get checked out”

Sophia and Jean stayed in the car and watched him. This slimy, cheating human life wasn’t going to be easy to extinguish, but it would be worth the wait. He’d suffer! Revenge was worth waiting for.

Lies

Jean hovered on the outskirts of the crowd and watched. Some folks left in cars, some returned to their rooms. Finally just a handful remained. They  were helping the police with their inquiries. She listened to Bill’s lies as he spoke to them.

Wiping his eyes, he put on a good show, “I just buried my wife, and couldn’t face going home, couldn’t face the house without her,” He looked distraught. His eyes were bloodshot, but from smoke not tears. “I’d not been in my room long, and was about to take a shower when I smelled smoke.” (he stopped and faked a very effective coughing fit)

Jean looked at the bulging pockets of his robe, and then back at his lying face. She willed the WPC to see past his lies, but is was useless.

“Sir, can I take your name and address, we’ll talk to you later. Get yourself checked out and go home. Where are your clothes?”
Bill stumbled over his first few words, but it the police officer didn’t notice.
“I er, I was getting into the shower, which is why I’m wearing this. Then I ran to the next room  to help the young lady…oh god, she’s dead isn’t she.” He began to cry.
The officer waved someone over, “Can you make sure this gentleman is okay to return home. Do you need a ride sir?”
“No, my car is here and I feel fine.”
Bastard, lying cheating bastard! You should be dead.
“Lets get you some clothes, you can’t go home in a robe”
Bill pulled the hotel robe around him tightly. The last thing he wanted to do was hand it over.
“I’m fine with this, I don’t live far away, and can pull straight into my garage. Please don’t trouble yourselves.”
“Well only if you’re sure.”
A paramedic came and talked to Bill, checked his vitals. He nodded to the Police officer.
“Off you go, get cleaned up at home, we’ll be in touch.”
Bill turned his back on the scene and walked away. He was smiling.
Do I take my Audi, or do I take the Alfa Romeo?

In the back of the ambulance, Sofia’s body was covered and zipped into a brown plastic body bag. Plastic couldn’t hold her angry spirit though. She sat up and watched the scene play out.

The bastard was married. I gave him my heart, but all he wanted was my money.

In a flash, she was next to Jean. They watched Bill walk towards the car, and then joined him. There was more room in the back of the Alfa Romeo, not that they needed it. Jean sat next to Bill in the front, Sofia sat in the back.

Bill was about to have the ride of his life!alfa-romeo-guilia-6.jpg

Love you to DEATH!

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Jean’s spirit hovered behind her cheating husband she was mad as hell! His naked mistress sat up and raised her glass. Bill undid his belt and stepped out of his trousers, he shed the rest of his clothes as he approached the bed. Spirits shouldn’t feel pain, it should be wiped away with death. Why does this hurt so much!
“Turn it into anger, use it now!”
Jean didn’t know where the voice came from, or if it was just a thought floating through her head, but she acted on it.
Bill and Sofia fueled her anger. They were wrapped in each other’s arms, writhing in passion. Sofia purred and whispered in his ear in Russian, a language he didn’t understand, but it turned him on.
“I’m going to Love you to Death!” he said, his voice of lust. There was no love in his greedy mind. He didn’t know the meaning of the word.
Love you to death, love you to death, love you to DEATH!
Jean’s face fixed in a bitter smile as she looked at the candles that lit the room. Focusing on those at the foot of the bed, she toppled them. One or two were extinguished as the fell, but the rest stayed alight. They found fuel on the carpet and flames burned hungrily. Soon the carpet was ablaze.
The flames were low and spread unnoticed! Jean smiled as Bill’s discarded clothes caught fire.

“You don’t need to watch this.”

Finding herself on a grassy bank in the park across from the hotel, Jean watched the fire engines arrive, along with a couple of ambulance and police cars. The fire was soon extinguished. Hotel guests were brought outside, some coughing smoke and soot from their lungs. She hoped no one but Bill was hurt. A satisfied smile crossed her face when she saw the gurney wheeled out, the shape that it carried was completely covered. He was dead!

But he wasn’t, she still felt him, why did she feel his life?

Bill followed the gurney, supported by two firefighters. He sat on the steps and coughed.

Quick as a flash, Jean was in front of him. His face was sooty, but he was unharmed. Sitting on the steps, a hotel robe covering his naked lustful body, he was alive. Her anger turned white-hot. He looked in her direction and smiled.

Can he see me?

Sofia, his rich mistress was dead. Her jewelry and spare cash were stuffed in his robe, along with her credit cards and the keys to her Alfa Romeo! He smiled.

“Time to move on!”

Red Hot!

 

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As they approached the hotel Jean’s anger flared. Her aura was red-hot. She felt it and worried that Bill would see her. He glanced in his rear-view mirror, a confused look on his face, as if something were wrong. Tugging at his tie, he loosened it and undid the top button of his shirt.
Perspiration prickled his face.
Jean smiled. He couldn’t see her, but she knew he felt her. The sweet little Catholic girl was going to release a world of pain on this man.
Bill wiped his brow with the sleeve of his jacket and switched on the AC.
With one glance Jean switched it off again.
Bill punched the button again, she left it on for thirty seconds, and then smiled and switched it off.
“Goddamn fucking AC, maybe I should have gotten the BMW after all”
Jean smiled and switched on the heating. Her aura calmed, she was no longer red-hot, but Bill was!
Driving erratically, he ran a red light, almost hitting two pedestrians.
“Shit, shit, SHIT!”
He slowed down a little.
“The last thing I need right now is another death!”
Then he smiled and relaxed a little. Jean hadn’t been rich, but they had a house together with at least $200,000 in equity. Jean’s parents had given them a chunk of money as a wedding present. Then there was the jewelry! He’d make a tidy sum when he sold that. He opened the car windows and breathed deeply. In the back of the car, Jean’s aura was red again. She could hear his thoughts. Closing her eyes she resisted the urge to kill him. She moved effortlessly into the passenger seat and remembered how she’d loved sitting next to him in the car. He’d slip his hand onto her knee and stroke her inner thigh while the drove. She shivered as she remembered…but the moment soon passed!
How long did it take for you to tire of me Bill? Did you ever really love me?
Bill pulled into the hotel parking lot. His head was full of his mistress, and her money. Parking the car, he walked quickly into the hotel lobby and climbed the stairs two at a time. Anticipating the rest of the afternoon, Bill was already aroused. Money and sex did that to him. He opened the door. The drapes were closed and scented candles burned. The room smelled of roses, and expensive perfume. Bill was right about the champagne, but wrong about her skimpy expensive attire.

Sofia was naked!