Saturday, January 7, 2012

#FridayFlash - The House on 124 W. Hill

I’ve heard reports that the house on 124 W. Hill is haunted. Just the other day, I overheard Walter Tibbles tell his friend, “It’s possessed by an evil spirit lurking about.” The two of them were looking at it from a safe distance. “Been banging around on the walls, he has, clanging pots and pans so loud the whole neighbourhood can hear it. Those pots and pans now lay dented and bruised on the kitchen floor. He even screams out for his mum, I’ve heard.” I almost laughed. Like he’s actually been in there to see the pots and pans? I doubt it very much. Mind you, a man his age would’ve dropped his cane, weed in his drawers, or else choked on his pair of falsies, had he even stepped anywhere near a spook. So, what’s he really know about the house on W. Hill? Only what he’s heard from other blokes, I suspect. Like that gamey sot from The Sun, Cameron Radford, the one who fancies himself a world-class correspondent but spends far too much time and money digging into the dirt around Sussex Gardens, if you know what I mean.

“To some,” he wrote, “the house on 124 W. Hill is an abandoned relic that needs to be raised in order to make way for more modern facilities. But to others, the place is cursed, and nobody in their right mind will ever lay hand or hammer to the wood, for fear that the ghost of Edgar Whiting will now haunt their own place instead. Edgar Whiting, of course, being the young boy whose father tormented him in the basement and eventually hung his body on the front doorstep…”

On and on he went, spilling his guts to the readers like a bloody ankle-biter. How the boy’s body had been found missing a few parts. How the father, a drunken widower at twenty-four, paid for his crime by spending the rest of his life in prison where he died at the age of eighty-one. How the boy’s spirit still lingers on.

“One witness, who wishes to remain anonymous,” Cameron wrote, “has actually seen the ghost in and around the community. ‘He looks like he’s looking for something,’ the witness reports.’”

Right. An anonymous witness, how convenient. My guess, it’s probably one of those rent-a-loves Cameron’s been spending his time with down on the Gardens. And as for the boy who’s been lurking in and around the community, what’s he supposedly looking for? His missing body parts? Or maybe he’s still looking for his mum, as Walter Tibbles suggested to his friend.

What a bunch of nutters. People hear a strange sound, or see the water-stained image of a weeping Jesus on the tunnel wall, and instantly have a moment of clarity that they want everyone to hear about on the evening chat show. They believe in ghosts now, or they have a new found spirituality that they never had before. They even bring their vicar with them, as if that lends credibility to the testimony. It’s funny how you don’t even need a bottle to have a touch of the crazies.

The fact is there are no such things as ghosts or ghouls or goblins. It’s all rot, if you ask me; nothing but people with weak minds and cocked-up dispositions. In all of my two hundred and thirty-five years around W. Hill, I’ve never seen or experienced anything of the sort. Now there’s a piece of testimony you can believe in.


S.B.: I'm so late on this one that I'm taking a risk to even call it a Friday Flash. It's more like a Saturday morning flash. The fact is I've been busy at work. A new responsibility starting this year that has truly set me back on my available time. I'm still looking for what happened to all the time I thought I had. Anyway, while working on a piece of credit (I'm a credit analyst by trade) I wrote down an address and my mind instantly asked: "What happened there?" This story is the result of that little question.

Until next time...


  1. Always believe what the elderly tell us I say. Great fun story Stephen, I'm so glad you took the time to post this week.
    I know exactly what you mean about work stealing time away, the same thing is happening to me.

  2. Ha a ghost is the narrator yet he doesn't know he's a ghost! Or he is extremely old!! ^_^

    Loved the story, I got so engrossed in it that the end was a complete surprise.

  3. Clever twist there — never thought of a revenant being a non-believer!

  4. "What happened there?" That has to be the single best question in the world to ask of oneself. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thoroughly absorbing story..with a wonderful twist at the end... Thanks for posting

  6. Aaaah Stephen, a story set in England, and a ghost story no less. Wonderful.

    As always, the dialogue is superb, and the reveal was totally unexpected. I like the little touches like...

    "Like he’s actually been in there to see the pots and pans?"

    Asking yourself "What happened there?" then letting your imagination come up with an answer, that's what story writing is all about, isn't it?

    I hope you manage to regain some of that time you thought you had...

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Deanna: Time is shorter than we think it is. Here's hoping you'll catch some of it before it slips away.

    Helen: It sad when a ghost doesn't know he's a ghost. Without that important piece of information, he doesn't really have a compass for his own philosophy... assuming he can have one, that is.

    FARfetched: The world is full of possibilities... especially when we create them. ;)

    Donald: One good question always leads to others. Maybe we writers need to have a t-shirt with a giant question mark on it.

    Tom: Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad it captured you.

    Steve: Questions are the springs of writing eternal... May we all drink deeply.

  8. Excellent story! Loved the twist. Loved how you didn't take this ghost story too seriously. Made it fun to read.

  9. It was late enough that I didn't catch it until this week, but I'm glad I did. I enjoyed how the more personal narrative emerges out of what's essentially a gossip intro.

  10. Eric: Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. I clearly took this ghost story about as serious as I take those people who show up on the television shows. Part of me wonders where the producers find all the crazies; the other part knows that they probably don't have to look far in some places.

    John: It's always the story behind the story, isn't it? For me, that's the fun in reading (and writing) these #FridayFlash pieces.