Monday, December 31, 2012

Tick, Tick, Tick by Ken L. Jones

Tick, Tick, Tick

 Ken L. Jones

Her trickling blood is like a drooled upon candy apple
That makes me afraid of the arsenic of the coming night
The bone white branches of the trees in my backyard
Whisper tattletale confessions of all that they have witnessed
To the wilted blossoms near the bottom of their feet
And as they do this the sinister moth tattered crows
Who have long loitered in their upper regions
Escape into the dark minor chord dream sounds of the unhinged frost
That these unexpected decades have coroneted
And though I killed her years ago and hid her in the wall
The spilled wine of my impulsive act still forms a puddle in the hall
And sometimes on a quiet midnight I swear that she still mocks me
As she insults me and berates me through skeleton teeth
Once housed in a mouth that is surely no longer even there
And though some might think that justice has escaped me
Still I am kept a prisoner here
Shackled by worse than chains
As each second drags by like a century of guilt and fear
And I am not even sure that death will free me
For I know that she awaits me behind that particular unasked for door
Itching for a vengeance long drawn out and steamy
As she finally settles all our scores

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy New Year by Dorothy Davies

Happy New Year
Dorothy Davies

The moon peeked out from behind the thick cloud and shone down on the crowds, ant like, lemming like, pouring from every side street and road into the vast square.  The lions looked down disdainfully at the people gathered at their feet, flashes popped and cameras whirred madly, gathering the pictures of crazy people cavorting in freezing cold fountains on this the last night of the old year.

Bruce Garvey pulled his scarf a little closer round his throat and turned his collar up against the coldness of the night.  Despite the crowds it was a bitter night and the people in the fountains were asking for some kind of chill, or even pneumonia.  Bruce re-adjusted the wire-rimmed glasses on his thin nose and shivered.  He didn’t know what had possessed him to come here and join these crazy people, but he was there, drawn magnetically, hypnotically to where the shouting and cheering people were; was he hoping perhaps that some of their joyful glee would rub off on him?

He looked down at his digital watch. 11.49.  Would this year never end?  Would it always be December in his life?  He stood for a moment, standing gloved hand on the metal barricades, surveying his life.  No job, no wife, no income, no prospects, and soon, probably, no home, if the Council had their way and pulled down his apartment block.  Nothing to live for, nothing to look forward to, just the emptiness of the coming year.

So what, in the name of Heaven, was he doing here with all these madly celebrating people?  Hoping like them that the New Year would bring a change of fortune, a glimmer of hope at the end of the very long dark tunnel?

A mass of people surged forward and Bruce found himself carried along with them into the centre of the square, standing crushed against the tree barrier, the brilliant lights hurting his eyes.  He took off his glasses and peered myopically at them, mopping his pale forehead and weak blue eyes with his handkerchief before resettling the glasses firmly on his nose again.  He looked around.

There wasn’t much to see.  He had become surrounded by people taller than himself, which was most of them, heads of every colour and hair style, curly and straight, thick heads and balding heads and over them all, an impenetrable blanket of solid sound, the combined voices of thousands of people all shouting different slogans and songs at the same time and at the same volume.  Bruce pulled his arm up in front of his face.  11.57. Not long now, if there was a chance to slip away once the chimes had sounded, then he would, slide down a dark back alley and find his way through to his shabby home, which right now seemed like a haven of warmth and silence. 

The noise grew louder, with only three minutes of a year left in which to live and love, lie and cheat, and whatever else people did before the Old Year ended and the New Year came in, carrying with it the same despondencies as the Old Year had, only dressed in a different number.

Over the tops of the heads Bruce could see the flashing blue lights of the fire engines, standing by, waiting patiently.  Someone trod heavily on his foot and he swore at the departing back fighting its way through the crush.

11.59. A tenseness permeated the crowd, a sense of anticipation, voices subdued a little, waiting for the moment when the clock would strike and they could shout even louder and harder and longer than they had all evening.

11.59 and nothing happened.  The clock had apparently stopped.  A ripple ran through the gathered thousands, wonderment, bewilderment, astonishment and anger. The New Year had to come in, there was no hope for the world if the New Year refused to arrive.

Slowly at first, gathering momentum as it moved, the vast crowd started toward Whitehall, an unstoppable solid phalanx of human bodies.  As they moved, the crowd rolled and changed, created waves and rhythms, like a vast tidal wave leaping the banks of the Thames and flooding into Parliament Street.  At the foot of Big Ben the leaders of the flood stood looking up at the huge lit faces, which stubbornly showed 11.59 and appeared to have no intention of ever moving.  As the great snake of humanity coiled round on itself, voices began to be heard above the roar of the sound of voices, bodies and feet on the move, voices which called for destruction for total annihilation of the clock which had refused to bring in their New Year.

Break it down - tear it apart -throw the bricks into the river - in the middle of the crowd stood Bruce Garvey, alone, afraid and white faced, hearing his own voice add to the ringing shouts of the others around him, wondering at himself. He pushed forward, carefully, apologetically, side-stepping elbows and fists, his emaciated body sliding easily between the press of people until to his surprise he found himself at the head of the crowd and at the foot of the clock, so stubbornly stuck in time.

He grabbed the arm of a man towering above him, black beard bristling fiercely in the cold night air, the bitter cutting winds sweeping up the Thames and into their rapidly chilling bodies.

“I’m going up there” he heard himself say and wondered again at his temerity. “I’ll make the damned thing show midnight!”

“Good on yer, mate!” a huge hand clapped his back and he stumbled, another hand steadied him.  “This man’s going up there!” bellowed the giant through the blackness of his beard and the night.  “He’s going to make it midnight!”

The cheer which rent itself from half a million throats tore the night apart and the tower seemed to shudder with the impact. Bruce had committed himself and his temporary courageous insanity flooded out through the worn soles of his shoes, but he was committed and hands were pushing him toward the tower base.

Bruce found himself standing on the platform at the back of the face.  Nothing made sense to him; he could not remember how he had got there, why he was there, what this incredible machinery was.  He opened the door and looked down at the seething mass of people swaying backwards and forwards.  The roar went up from the waiting multitude and he staggered back. The clock.  He was here to change the hands of the clock, how in the name of all that was holy and sacred could he do that?

Temporary insanity took over again, a part of his mind shutting down the rest of his logical sane thinking, propelling him to feats he would never have contemplated in normal mundane life.  He reached out and grabbed the large hand with both of his bony hands, clinging for his life to the enormous piece of metal.  The shriek of sirens disturbed him and he looked down, police cars were everywhere, remote controlled toys, surrounding the crowd, loudhailers shouting inanities into the coldness.  Nothing mattered up here, on this eyrie he had found.  All he had to do was reach over and grab the other hand and pull them together. Then the chimes would ring out and the New Year would have arrived.  Reach out, reach out and grab the other hand.  But Bruce’s arms were just not long enough, he just couldn’t reach, try as he might and the strain on his other arm was intense.  He also realised with a shock he wasn’t going to get back into the doorway either, he’d swung himself out on the hand and he’d never get back.

Bruce looked down.  Time had no meaning for him now, his arms were almost lifeless, his fingers numb.  Below him the crowd was dispersing, under the shouted orders of the uniformed soldier ants, marshalling, directing, pushing, clearing away the people.  Vaguely he could hear someone directing him to hold on, help was coming, they’d get him down, but Bruce knew it would be too late, that if there was no New Year there was not much point in being rescued.

The fingers slipped a little as their life ebbed out down his arms and into the screaming muscles of his shoulders.  He thought for a long moment of the shabby flat he called home, the radio waiting for him, left talking to an empty room in a subdued voice, the half bottle of Scotch he’d bought to celebrate with – celebrate! There was nothing to celebrate, the New Year refused to come and he had been unable to drag it in by its coat tails.

His sigh was lost in the wind that blew across the Thames and carried with it the sound of sirens and orders, the same sirens that drowned out his scream as he fell towards the silent empty cold waiting pavement.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another Holiday Poem from Ken L. Jones

The Toymaker And Good Old Ralph
Ken L. Jones

There’s a part of town that few venture to because it’s not very nice
And it is at its most foreboding on snowy December nights
It’s no place for a child to be I’m sure 
Not even a runaway called Good Old Ralph
But that in fact is who found his way to there
On the night before Christmas day
Now there stood at its center an old factory brooding and broken down
Where once child laborers had toiled there in another century
Before President Teddy Roosevelt first shut the whole place down
Now these days its sole inhabitant it was said is a maker of toys and a carver of marionettes
A shadowy personage few ever see or still remember the name with which he had been born
And yet since his skills yield treasures that the rich and their children crave
So he is allowed to work and live in that place
That is as quiet and twice as cold as the grave
Now the urchin of which this tale is told Good Old Ralph
Had much from which to runaway and hide
For his home was a hell on earth that he could no longer abide
So after the latest beating by his ever furious Pop had sent him on his way
Somehow Good Old Ralph had found the path to this most severe precinct in the city
A place where only the desperate found their way
And over the years their numbers had been many
Still the youngster was full of pluck and spunk and a survivor surely was he
And so he found himself drawn like a firefly to an open flame to this old factory
Now though the windows were boarded up a knothole he did find
And what he saw going on inside of there sent shivers up his spine
For there revealed was the old toymaker now seen as what he truly was
And it was far from human and struck the boy quite dumb
For this was some slimy tentacled shambler from some very distant star
And it was operating some kind of gizmo that emitted dozens of rainbow hued pulsating rays
And they were aimed at a young urchin female
Who resembled The Little Match Girl overly much you’d say
And as the thing that was not a man shined his device upon the poor little tyke
She froze and shrunk and turned into a toy
And then was placed upon a shelf crammed with others of her kind
Now Good Old Ralph should have ran away and went to the authorities
But he knew from past experiences that was an exercise in futility
And so he spotted a stout plank that had once been a slat in a wooden crate
And it was studded with nails rusty and long and looked as if it could serve
As just revenge if he used it without debate 
And so thus armed he worked his way inside
Staying to the shadows with a stealth like he was one of the Navy Seals’ own pride
As through it all the monstrosity mumbled in a language that was definitely not of this Earth
While pacing around in circles leaving a snail trail from his locomotion that looked like afterbirth
And then the boy fell on him and started to flay its large pulsating brain
Merry Christmas you sick old freak Good Old Ralph hissed through clenched teeth
As he struck him again and again 
I don’t know about goodwill towards men but this thing I wield will surely restore my planet’s peace
And never more will a girl or boy be turned by you
And your devil science into an unholy toy I’d say that at the least
And then the old toymaker was dead upon the floor
With Good Old Ralph towering above him
Screeching out his triumph much like an lion’s roar
As then a strange thing happened for with the ET’s death
All the toys there were restored to life
And once again breathed human breaths
And with a shout of joy Good Old Ralph led them out of their imprisonment
As the sun came up and all were yelling Merry Christmas
As in all four directions they split up and went about their business
Now ahead of them lay who knows what but anything is better than being some rich man’s toy
And where’s there’s life there’s always hope for any girl or boy
And so my tale is concluded believe it true or don’t
But the next time you see a toy check it out real close
For behind all its fun might lie a story oh so tragic
And unearthly that it could bring a tear to the most hardened eye
Like this one about Good Old Ralph just did that I told you most emphatic.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Holy Holiday Upgrades

David S. Pointer

The Victorian ice skater
came through a wormhole
showing the children how
to change cotton icicle
ornaments to magic wands
turning cardboard Christmas
decorations into treasured
presents for disadvantaged
villagers attending the
zombie Christmas parade
and for ole St. Nick still
on his sky route like an
ice road trucker, 8 new
pairs of anti-fog steam
reindeer goggles and a
sled cottage credit card
for long toy trips away

About the Author: David Scott Pointer is the author of “Sinister Splashplay, “Sundrenched Nanosilver” and other poetry collections. He has recent accptances for “Main Street Rag,” “Stone Canoe,” and “George Wilhite’s Horror Blog.” Moreover, his work can be found in many anthologies including “Science Gone Mad,” and “Christmas Fear 2” at “Static Movement.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Christmas Madness!--Two Poems by Ken L. Jones

The Intruder

Ken L. Jones

A terrible thing one Christmas Eve and not the first one neither
It seems some maniac had been going around killing families
By the score and doing it with a meat cleaver
Now the screaming and the chopping sounds
Aroused the neighbors from their celebrations and their slumbers
And when the police finally came around
Their eyes popped out of their heads
They quite bulged out in wonder
The whole inside of the Whitmore living room had been redecorated
Painted a human blood red and all of its inhabitants
Were now deceased and separated from their heads
And only one person was still a’stirring
And the police caught him soon in fact
It was a fat old man with a snow white beard
Carrying a large present filled sack
Now the story he told them made no sense
It involved toys, elves, reindeers, and a sleigh
And his fingerprints came up blank
And he wouldn’t admit to any normal provable name
He claimed that the place was just like that
When he came upon the scene
And that he was just about to summon the authorities on the phone
When they arrived and mistaken him for the fiend
Now as always the cops decided
To ramrod this case right through
In their light speed rush to judgment
And since the old man couldn’t afford decent representation in the courts
He soon found himself guilty as charged
At least that was the handed down decision
Now a date for his execution soon was set
And he lost every badly applied for appeal
And then when the fateful day had arrived at last
He asked for cookies and milk as his last meal
Now all through this he stuck to his story
And protested his innocence loud and long
But since the murders had stopped
After his capture everyone was soon satisfied
That the true killer was about to hear the executioner sing his song
And so they dragged him to the electric chair and then they strapped him in
Then they asked him if he had any last words
And he only muttered, “Christmas will never be the same again.”
Now this was in June and by the following December
Something seemed to be missing
And on that all could agree
But it wasn’t evident exactly what that was
Till Christmas morning when there were no presents beneath any tree
All the stockings were empty
The toymaker’s snacks untouched
And it was the same every year after that
And the finality of all this had turned the whole world glum
And made Christmas seem kind of flat
For without Santa Claus what is Christmas time
Why it’s hardly any fun at all
And because of that very salient fact
There were fewer and fewer decked halls 
And so it turned out that Kris Kringle was now long gone
A victim of justice gone awry and now he lies
In a John Doe unmarked grave in a potter’s field
And no more does he travel through the sky
Now people still celebrate Christmas but with little joy
And each year the children shed tears of remorse and regret
For Saint Nick had been given fifty thousand bolts
Because they had mistakenly thought he was a severer of human heads.


(A Concerto In Gingerbread)

Ken L. Jones

One night in a hausfrau’s house
While making her homemade Christmas cookies
She chanced her finger to prick on a craving knife
And the sight it wasn’t pretty
Now some drops of blood from it
They shot right out and landed on a cookie tin
Where a gingerbread man was cooling off
And it gave quite a shower to him
And in that second a miracle occurred
One that befit the season
As the gingerbread man sprang to life and sentience
And then was on his way
And soon out in a world so strange to him
He found that he was cast
And since he smelled and looked so good
Everyone wanted to gobble him right down as he streaked past
And so to prevent himself from losing life and limb
He defended himself with much vigor and such fierceness
And in the process found that he had a taste for human flesh
When he bit off one of his attacker’s fingers
Now the symmetry and justice of all this quite appealed to him
And so he continued with his human feasts
And soon amassed quite a body count
And the world soon became scared of him
Now he felt quite justified in doing so
Because after all generations of gingermen by humans
Had been gobbled up at Christmas time and without cease
And so the tables were turned at last on all mankind
And he continues till this day to munch on unsuspecting folks
When he lays in wait for them upon their plate
Now there’s no way to tell him from any similar treat
So watch out the next time one is served to you
For though you might think you’re about to wolf down a gingerbread man
He might be waiting to do the same exact thing to you

About the Poet: Although he has been writing professionally for over thirty years and does every kind of writing you can imagine from comic books to doctoring movie scripts Ken L. Jones considers himself first last and always a poet which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t find time to write a lot of horror and other genre style short stories too. 

Read more of his poetry, including several more holiday poems at Ken's page on this blog here:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tree Topper Fable by David S. Pointer

Tree Topper Fable

David S. Pointer

The fairy oil lamp fire of
1891 that the reindeer flew

through was nothing next
to recent school shootings
as Santa recalled old time
ice so hard to bust off the
Victorian brass sleigh bells
and wax angels guarding
Christmas ornament estates
sequestered in Antarctica
beneath the viruses and
ancient bacteria unknown
to his sleigh mounted elf,
new team and all melting
white midnights to come
shining like spun glass in
the pipe cleaner cold and
ever welcome hot chocolate

About the Author: David S. Pointer has recent work at “Working Class Heroes,” “Jellyfish Whispers,” “George Wilhite’s Horror Blog,” and others.

Friday, December 14, 2012

More Poems of Holiday Dread from David S. Pointer

Santa Comes Down Hard

David S. Pointer

Spirit world, wide rims,
custom green glow paint
with photo shoot dolls
given atomic zombie up-
grades into digital files,
riding burning carousel
Christmas tree stands or
electrified stripper poles
near mob boss intestines
scripted in steamy red as
as reindeer teams roar
off in new electroplate
vests with igniter spark
plugs atop fiscal cliffs
as Wall Street reaches
after gifts Santa dumps
revised naughty list like
Vietnam era death cards

Three Untitled

David S. Pointer

zombie reindeer
slaughterhouse roof landing
snacks for team Santa

hero cape napkin
zombie elf wipes his lip
as Santa belches

chick band drumsticks
werewolf behind the kit
eats as he plays
Santa scalp wash rag
monster showers
with Mrs. Claus

David S. Pointer is the author of “Sinister Splashplay” that just received a 5/5 star review in the “Denver Examiner.” David also has a brand new book entitled “Sundrenched Nanosilver.” He has work in “Science Gone Mad” anthology.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Holiday Stories Continue with: The Summer Hater by Ken L. Jones

The Summer Hater

Ken L. Jones

He was old immeasurably old--so old that the people had long ago stopped speculating about when he had been born or even where.

The only time people saw him was in the winter and before that was over they sometimes hated the very sight of him and would pray for the coming of Easter bunnies and spring and all the seed’s resurrections and rebirths, if only because they knew he would cringe at the very sight of it for months at a time and would hide from them and leave them be for a while.

They were right. He hated all that but even more so despised the very depths of summer.

Everything about the season made his stomach twitch and roil and caused his very slanty stooping body to seem as if it was melting and dripping all the time. The intensity of this time of the year always made his eyes water and swell. But much more than what it actually did to him, he was driven crazy by what it did to the world outside of his windows.

Now he more than approved of how these very same folks acted in the winter. How jolly and mellow and toasty they were all wrapped up in layers of warm coats and scarves and woolen hats as they indulged in ice skating and sledding and snowball fights and the building of happy Frosty clones out of hardened rain and coal and buttons and clothes much too ratty to give even anonymously to the most liberal of charities.

Now of course all this wonderment reached a crescendo when the Christmas season would come and most people acted a lot better than even they realized that they did as they were tranquilized by all the peace on earth and goodwill towards men that seemed to fall on every balleting snowflake then.

Yes, that season of carols and wrapped presents and fantastic meals and decorations everywhere and trees that blinked and stunned and made you weep with nostalgia at the very sight of them was when he most truly felt alive and glad to be so each and every year. Then, as that best time ever passed and the New Year rang in, and the cold intensified even more, he found that he still loved all the peace and solitude that it inspired in most people as they gladly stayed indoors and watched their favorite shows on TV and surfed the net and even read the occasional book that wasn’t an assigned text as they mellowed out with hot chocolate in front of large roaring fires waiting for the long nights to become short and luxuriating in all that for the vast majority of it.

He had no idea why all of them prized summer so because he never had.

What was so great about daylight hours that took up most of the twenty-four span? The oppressive pounding heat and every brat in creation being out and about and up to no good on bikes and razor scooters and skates and even stilts while most of the rest of the adult population was way too busy just trying to put food on the table to regulate them or even have the slightest idea whose windows they were smashing or whose mail they were stealing out of whose postal box.

Even the sports and amusements of that hated season seemed idiotic and puerile to him. Little League games with beer bellied screaming fathers trying to outshout some amateur umpire? Ugh! Banjo plunkers and off key junior high school orchestras playing versions of The Stars And Stripes Forever which just as easily could be Three Blind Mice in some paint chipping public park gazebo? Why it was enough to make one’s ears bleed! And how about all those smelly fly ridden backyard barbeques filling the air with the rank pollution of cheap pork drippings and choking smoke? It was enough to take any person with intact taste buds appetite away.

Even the crown jewel of all this nonsense --he remembrance of America’s independence--was all booming fireworks which were hardly safe or sane and which routinely blew off young fingers and hands and generally set more fires than even that vaunted fellow the Emperor Nero once did. And of course all this made one wonder exactly how this was patriotic and honored the founding fathers and all that they worked so hard to achieve?

Yes, the old man concluded when any unbiased person weighed the pros and cons of both winter and non-winter time--as he had so often in his long and clockwork like life--that the scales would always tip in the favor of all that he most truly advocated and stood up for but all of that was becoming more than silly to be overly concerned about now that all of this summer horse pucky was on the wane and he grinned crookedly and tooth gapped at the very fact that it was.

The Fourth of July was all greasy and cold backyard grills, empty beer cans and blackened husks of gutted bottle rockets now. Every big box store and small shop in every town was now suddenly full of backpacks and school uniforms and pen and pencil and eraser sets and boxes of individual fruit juice containers with built in straws and tiny cheese and crackers sets just the right size to be browned bagged or put into whatever the latest fad was that was themed on a plastic lunch pail and thermos.

Halloween and after that Thanksgiving were now drifting  back into people’s consciousness and they wafted there delightfully and lingered long when they did so crowding out and pushing out all thoughts of this summer ridiculousness for yet another year and just the very fact that it was was all of the proof that anyone might need to understand that soon the old man was going to have everything his way own very particular way.

He was overjoyed and literally tingled at the very thought of it all and he looked forward to coming out once again to walk amongst men and to enjoy with them all that he had long and forever been about. He was ecstatically happy about all this and more excited than any child ever was on Christmas morning.

All of this was like a tonic to him after the long blazing doldrums days just passed. Why, he grinned wider than any craved pumpkin you have ever seen at just the very thought of it all and because he was so tickled and so joyful he decided to spread his happiness and to share it with the whole world by coming to visit them early this year.

Thus did Jack Frost, sometimes known as Old Man Winter, come down out of his most secret mansion atop the highest hill that you have never heard of and snow was on the ground in early September and in many places that you might not suspect that it should be and few crabbed or carped about it and even if they did Old Jack had way too many icicles in his ears to care about these complaints anyhow.

From your Blog Master: As you can see, Ken spins a great yarn and is an excellect fiction writer, but poetry is his first love. Check out his poetry page, which currently contains more holiday material here:

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Past by Dorothy Davies -- Conclusion

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Dorothy Davies


Harriet woke her early next morning by impatiently hissing in her ear: “Wake up! Santa’s been! There’s presents under the tree and things in your stocking!”

Susanna scrambled out of bed, wrapped her robe around her and hurried downstairs. When she got downstairs she looked at the clock: 7.15. Not too early, if she was quiet, she wouldn’t wake anyone anyway.

The tree lights had been left on overnight, they shone on the wrapping paper and bows of the many boxes. “Open something!” Harriet was as excited as Susanna, who was trembling with anticipation.

 In a remarkably short time she was surrounded by presents: books, clothes, shoes, pretty jewellery, a host of beautiful and interesting gifts. Harriet was exclaiming over everything without once looking sad or jealous that she couldn’t touch any of it.
The door opened and her parents came in. “You got down here early!” her mother said with a smile that turned to a grimace. She held her stomach as if she was in pain.
“I got here at-” Susanna looked at the clock, “7.15. Now look, it’s just 8 o’clock.” She was proud of her ability to tell the time so precisely.
“That’s not too early, honeybunch.”
“Something wrong with your mother, Susanna?”
“What did you do?”
“Nothing … yet.”
Her father was gathering up the wrapping paper. “Looks like Santa was good to you,” he commented, with a sideways glance. Susanna went along with the joke.

He found out where I had moved to. Clever, isn’t he?”
Her mother laughed, then turned to go to the kitchen. “You’ll want breakfast; I’ll go get it started.”
Susanna watched her go, saw how she was stooped over, not walking upright as she usually did. “Daddy, is Mummy all right?”
“Well, the baby is giving her a few problems. Nothing for you to worry about, if it gets any worse we’ll call the doctor.”

Or an ambulance,” Harriet whispered.
“Do you think you ought to get dressed before breakfast, honeybunch?”
“Yes, I’ll get dressed now, Daddy.”
“Do you need any help?”
“No, I can manage. I’m big enough, thank you.”
“Wear the new red velvet, Susanna.”
“For a reason.”
“All right.”
She picked the new red dress up from the floor and took it upstairs to her bedroom. It fitted perfectly and went well with her dark hair. She looked at herself for a few moments in the mirror, then went back down for breakfast.
“My, you look good!” her mother said when she walked in. “I liked that dress when I first saw it; I knew it would be good for you.”
“Thank you, Mummy, Daddy, for everything.”
“Don’t thank us, Santa Claus bought it!”
“Daddy, Mummy just said she knew the dress was for me when she saw it! Santa wouldn’t know what size dress to get me!”
“You caught out!”
They laughed and for a moment they were joined together as a family. For a moment Harriet was not included and Susanna caught a sour look on her face. Then it went and Harriet laughed and ran out of the room.
Susanna’s mother looked round. “Do you know, Dan, I swear this house is haunted! I keep catching sight of someone, a small someone, in blue.”
“Pregnant women have all sorts of strange things happen to them, Emma. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not worrying, Dan, just don’t like it, that’s all.”
“We don’t have a ghost here, Emma!”
Don’t we?
Susanna went back to the lounge and picked up some of her presents to take to her room.
She wanted some of it out of the way before Buster came romping in to play.
Harriet went with her as she climbed the stairs.
“You’ve got some nice things, Susanna.”
“Yes, I wish I could share them with you.”
“I can look, even if I can’t touch.”
“Is that enough?”

“It has to be, it’s all I can do.”
“Mummy’s coming upstairs.”
“Shall we play a trick on her?”
“What sort of trick?”
“Remember what I said about changing places?”
“Can we?”
“Yes, like this.”
Susanna looked in the mirror and almost shrieked. It was her face but it was surrounded by blonde curls and her red velvet dress had become a pale blue one.
“Quick, go out on the landing!” Harriet was all but pushing her.
Susanna walked out of her bedroom just as her mother reached the top of the stairs. She took one look at Susanna, screamed and fell all the way to the bottom.
Her father rushed out of the kitchen to see what had happened. By then Susanna had gone back into her room, looked in the mirror and saw she was herself again, with black hair and red velvet dress.
“What did you DO!” She spun round to confront Harriet.
“Gave you your other gift, Susanna. There will be no baby now - or ever.”
Susanna heard her father frantically phoning 999 and asking for an ambulance. There was a sick feeling in her stomach. She went to the banister railings and looked down. Her mother was lying very still and there was blood coming from her head – and her body. That was my fault. Mummy’s hurt and it was my fault. She began to cry, but whether it was for her mother or the thought Harriet had died just that way she didn’t know. The sick feeling had been replaced by a cold empty core that made her shiver. Tears poured down her face and she began to sob.
“Susanna!” her father called. “Get your coat and shoes on! We have to go to hospital with Mummy! I can’t leave you here on your own!”
“All right, Daddy!” Susanna ran to get her shoes and then hurried downstairs, stepping over her mother who was moaning softly, saying something about seeing a ghost. Shut up, Mummy, she thought. Don’t tell anyone, they’ll think you’re mad. She frantically mopped at her tears, which didn’t want to stop.
She got her coat and put it on. The siren was approaching fast. Her father was crouched by her mother’s side and taking no notice of her.
“Open the door, Susanna, please.”
“Yes, Daddy.”
There was a flurry of activity as the paramedics tried to stop the bleeding, then hoisted her mother onto the trolley and rushed her out to the ambulance.
“Come on, Susanna!” Her father swept her up into his arms. That at least stopped the tears.
“Stay here, Harriet!”
“I will! I’ll take good care of our home, Susanna!”
“Yes, she’ll be fine. I promise. Now you’re safe. You are the only one and will stay that way.”
Susanna sat in the ambulance watching one paramedic working on her mother and another one taking details from her father.
No baby.
No squalling brat in the empty bedroom.
No other person to take her parents’ attention and love away from her.
It was as if a huge weight had been taken from her, she felt so much lighter. Even her mother’s serious condition didn’t dent the new feeling she was experiencing.
Her father looked across at her and tried to smile. “Everything’s going to be all right, honeybunch. Don’t worry.”
“Yes, Daddy.”
Of course it is. I have all I want. You and Mummy to myself and a best friend to give me whatever I want. Watch out, school…
The ghost of Christmas Past had become the ghost of Christmas Present and given her a very special gift, one she would never forget – or regret.


Bio: Dorothy Davies is a writer, editor and medium who enjoys writing ghost and horror stories. Her life resembles a ghost story at times, as much of her work is channeled from spirit authors. She can be found editing Static Movement anthologies and featuring on Amazon Author Central with her extensive publication profile.Her website is

You can read the first part of this blog's two part interview with Dorothy here: