A Ghost Story – Choka – December 21, 2015



there it walks alone
in the dusty corridors
visiting old loves
and memories grown pallid
a strange ghost is this
who at every turn
neither moans nor howls
only touching this old world
with sweet nostalgia
over the rough stony stairs
it leaves no signs
of its illusive passing

unlike the wayward
its life had known fulfillment
and this pilgrimage
is a sentimental journey
awaiting those left behind

© G.s.k. ‘15


Weekly Writing Prompt #15


The Upright Piano – July 31, 2014

The upright piano

Credit: Favim



It was a misty hour at dawn
When walking through the woods I heard
A melody echoing through the trees
It was neither wind nor bird …

At that misty hour of dawn
It was a melody of a ghostly strain
An echo of a piano filled the air …
Like a sonata by Mozart or Chopin

I thought, how odd to hear this sound …
Perhaps it comes from the valley below,
Someone playing most beauteously
I continued on my morning walk.

Then I came upon an object,
Which I’d never thought to see …
T’was an old abandoned upright piano
In the undergrowth among the trees.

The music had stopped I noted then
I touched the keys, they were dead …
This could not be the eerie source
Of the music of that misty dawn.

I went along that misty morn …
Then I felt a chill go through my hair.
When the piano was far behind me
Music again echoed through the air.



Written for Freewrite

The Victorian Lady – July 17, 2014 (Flash Fiction)

6. © Eclectic Odds n Sods

I was walking down a lane in an old district of London one evening when I suddenly realized that the light of a lamp-post cast a shadow that shouldn’t have been there.

It was in front of an old run down brownstone house. The other buildings weren’t modern of course, but they’d been recently refurbished. To me the windows resembled empty woeful eyes, looking on a world with which it felt no kindred ship.

The street light flickered and suddenly I felt dizzy. To my surprise a beautiful young girl stood not far from me.

“Ohi Gov, would you be wantin’ some company this evenin’?”

She was talking up an elegant gentleman, who looked to be in his forties. He was your classical strait laced Calvinist sort.  I was fairly certain he wouldn’t be interested in her favours.

He looked disdainfully at her then hissed: “Harlot! Can one not walk down the streets in peace without being accosted by the likes of you!”

Then to my horror, he pulled out a knife and began to viciously stab her.

She screamed: “Oh Lord have mercy .. it’s Jack!”

Flash Fiction Prompt – We Drink Because We’re Poets

The Gothic Beauty


When Caesar my partner, who happens to be a cat and I drove up to the great brick building we saw the girl at the window and knew we were at the right place.

“Crystal Payne Spirit Investigations” I’d replied concisely when my phone had rung earlier that day.

“I’m Julian Lastranger and I need your assistance at once!” said a soave gentleman’s voice.  He seemed to have a slight Australian accent and was strangely not at all perturbed.  I’d heard his name before … it was all the news back then.  You might say he was a spook who’d become famous by exposing skeletons in famous people’s closets.  Of course, if he was calling me at this number he needed my assistance, that goes without saying, as this number is not only unlisted but nonexistent for all intents and purposes!

“Could you give me a brief outline of your problem?”

“Well, last winter I bought a house in Australia, then had it dismantled and shipped here to the United States.  All the furniture was included so I could reconstruct the building and furnish it in all it’s glorious Gothic beauty. However, it seems that now I have a ghost and she’s really very upsetting, she howls constantly! A ghost was not part of the bargain by the way.”

I wondered if he’d ever read the “Canterville Ghost” but said: “I understand sir, could you give me the address, I’ll be there in the morning.”

“Excuse me, but couldn’t you come around now.  I mean, she’s present at night but sleeps in, or whatever, in the morning.”

So, here we were in front of his “glorious Gothic beauty” and there she was at the window.

I grabbed my bag from the trunk and Caesar went boldly for the front door.  He was in a feisty mood and meowed imperiously at the front door to be let in.  I got my camomile candle lit just as the door opened.

Before us stood what looked to be an English butler right out of a Victorian novel.  You know what I mean, as rigid as though he had a pole up his backside, a dead-pan face the works!  But  looking closer, I noticed that he was a she!

“You rang? Whom may I say is calling?” she intoned in the most classic voice of a female Jeeves that I’d ever heard, a few octaves too high of her male counterpart.

“Ah let off Murphy!” shouted a voice from inside the house as we heard a tick tick ticking on the hard-wood floor coming towards the door.

The butler looked disappointed and in a broad Bronx’s accent  went off mumbling to herself.

“Hello, I’m Julian Lastranger, but you can call me Bill.” he said.

He wasn’t what I’d imagined.  He was about 5″ foot 8″ with steel-blue eyes, long straggly grey hair, very thin.  He wore a t-shirt that read “Keep abreast of the news!” across the front of it  and as I saw whilst he led us up the staircase, “Have you backed it up!” on the back.  He had a can of beer in his hands, which despite his calm demeanor shook.

OOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! came a moaning sound from the second floor.

“There! She’s off again! This will go on all night long!  I can’t stand it any more!” the poor man’s voice trembled.

Caesar went straight to a door and hissed … the door flew open of course.  There in the middle of the room was an elegantly attired young woman.  She’s must have been 20 when she’d passed.

“Right,” I said, “Take these leaves into the kitchen and boil them in about a liter of water, 5 minutes I think should do it.  Then you and Murphy come back up with the pot and three cups.  By the way, are there any other people in the house?”

“No, just us.”

“Good … Well off with pop then.” I shooed him away.

Looking at the ghost I told her who I was and asked her name.

“I’m Mary-Ann Faithless. This is my house and that, that creature stole it!” she howled.

Caesar went up to her purring, the rubbed across her legs, his tail straight up like an exclamation point!

“Oh! What a sweet kitty.” she cooed and picked him up.  Caesar often had that effect on ghosts.  One of his greatest talents was to be able to sooth irate spirits..

“My heaven’s! But I’m able to hold him!” she said.  That was another of his qualities.

“Miss Faithless, could you please tell us what the problem is?”

“It’s that monster!  He’s a crass, eavesdropping, womanizing wombat … he’s a …” as the epitaphs grew so did her chagrin. “And he stole my house!  It’s been awful.  One moment I was minding my business and the next I found myself in a sort of limbo then in this, this  horrid country!”

I could completely empathize with her feelings.  It seems she’d been a quiet soul and the former owners had never known of her existence.  So technically, she’d not been part of the bargain when Lastranger had bought the house.  On the other hand, he’d never informed the former proprietors that he’d be taking the house and furniture away from Australia.

Murphy and Lastranger came into the room at that point with the tray.  I had Murphy place the tray on the table and invited all three of them to sit down and with Caesar’s assistance I drew a pentagram around where they were sitting and lit a camomile candle for each of the points of the star-like diagram. I then invited them to drink a cup of the liquid I’d had prepared.

At this point it was easy to get them to tell each other what the problem seemed to be from their point of view.  Dialogue is so important in these cases.

The conversation went on until midnight and finally they were able come to an understanding.  Lastranger apologized for his tactlessness in moving the house without informing the former proprietors, and thus Miss Faithless of his intentions. Miss Faithless, now admitted  that the climate was by far better than where the house had been in Australia and admitted that she really quite enjoyed the new setting … there was a lovely English garden around the house now whereas before there had only been scrub land.  She’d basically been put off by the sudden dislocation of her spirit during the transfer.  Murphy just drank without saying a word.  She’d never had problems with Miss Faithless’ howling anyway.

I erased the pentagram.  Miss Faithless was chattering away amiably with Lastranger as I walked out the room with Murphy, who paid my bill without a blink.

“By the way ma’am, what was that concoction you had me brew.”

“Why tea of course.  There’s nothing like a cup of that congenial beverage to create friendship.  This is my own special blend. Kukicha and Houjicha.” I gave her a bag of my special mixture as I left saying, “If there are any further problems, just make them a cuppa!”

Inspiring Quiet Thursday – Leanne Cole Photography

The Phantom of the Rap Opera – June 8, 2014

My name is Payne, Crystal Payne and I’m a private investigator.

I was sitting on my easy chair with Caesar sleeping on my lap one morning when the phone rang.  I was 11:58, and I thought, wouldn’t you just know someone would call at lunch time!

“Hello! Crystal Payne’s Spirit Investigations, Crystal Payne speaking.”

“AAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!” I had to pull the phone away from my ear and Caesar jumped down from my lap looking rather irritated.

Very expressive I thought, but said laconically: ” To whom am I speaking please?”

“I’m Sinthea Bratwurst!  I need your assistance at one!” a woman’s voice said imperiously.

“Yes ma’am, if you tell me what your problem is, perhaps I can see if I can fit you in my schedule.”  I said this simply because that’s how I react to imperious voices.

“I’m at the Ovaltine Theatre and there’s a being here who is ruining our rehearsals!  You must come at once … we open in just a week and we’ve already lost one actor!”

“Rather distracted on your part, do you often lose actors?”

“What???” she sputtered.

“Sorry I was joking.  Ok, It’s 12:03 now, I’ll be by after lunch at 1:00.”

“No, no, no!  You don’t understand, this is really urgent! I’m afraid that the being has, well, inhabited our lead actress.  She’s standing on the railing of one of the balcony seats reciting Lady Macbeth’s ‘blood on my hands scene’!  I’m so afraid she’s going to fall.  Of course we’ve put down some mattresses but…”

I had to admit that the situation did seem rather urgent so I said I’d come right away. Grabbing Caesar I ran down the stairs and got into my parked car ( a Primus) in front of my office-home.

At 12:28 we arrived at the Ovaltine Theatre where I saw a rather dishevelled young man standing at the entrance, obviously waiting for me, puffing away at an electronic cigarette.

As I opened the car door, Caesar jumped out and went up to the man, rubbing his legs.  Of course he immediately calmed down, that’s one of Caesar’s powers.  In the meantime I got my bag out from the trunk of my car.  Lit one of my stock of camomile candles then followed Caesar.

“Oh thank heavens you’re here!” I’d been mistaken, this was Sinthea Bratwurst.

We went into the dark theatre and I noticed the young lady on the balcony railing wringing her hands.  I went up the stairs to the balcony seats, Caesar with his bottle-brushed tail right behind me.

“Hello there, uhm madame.” I said as the actress turned to face me.  I was not a little worried that she might go over backwards.  I needn’t have worried though. I noticed that she was floating about 2 inches above the railing.

“Ah! So they’ve sent for help at last, the demons!” the actress said in stentorian tones.

Caesar meowed emphatically and I agreed with him saying: “Yes, do come into the box please.”

She complied as she couldn’t resist Caesar, but then began to whine:

“That I, the great Liliane Craptree, should have to be tortured daily by these clods!  They’re destroying Shakespeare!”

“Excuse me, but weren’t you one of the great experimenters who put Shakespeare into music?”  I remembered that back in the 30s there had been a troupe led by a certain Liliane Craptree.  They’d had a certain success until she’d fallen off the balcony in one of her more dramatic recitals.

“Of course!  But these people are rapping Shakespeare.  Rapping!” she howled.

There’s nothing like a revolutionary who’s been outclassed I thought.  This looked like it might be a little difficult.  I had a telepathic consultation with Caesar.

“Ah, but it’s not the rap is that correct ma’am?” I asked.

“No!  It’s that’ every other word is an F-bomb.”  She said that it was the only thing she regretted. I too felt that an F-bombed Shakespeare was a bit much.  I asked her to leave the actress so we could consult with Sinthea Bratwurst.

“It’s like this,” I said, “you won’t be able to put the show on unless you remove all the vulgarities from the play.  Ms Craptree was a great artist and creator in her day and she can help you make this show a success.  All she has to do is “inhabit” you for a couple of hours so you can consult together and clean up the verses.”

By 5:36 my job was finished and I went to have an early dinner.

“Macbeth Yo” was a huge success, hope you got your tickets before they sold out!

Other Crystal Payne stories:

The Case of the Silent Bell – June 6, 2014

The Case of the Pigspittle Ghosts – July 7, 2014






The Case of the Silent Bell – June 6, 2014

For Sunday Photo Fiction – Every week on a Sunday, a new photo is used as a prompt for Flash Fiction challenge using around 200 words based on that image.


The Case of the Silent Bell

My name is Payne, Crystal Payne. I’m a private investigator.

It was 9:45 on a Sunday morning as I stood looking at a bell tower. It was similar to many other towers I’d seen over the years. However, my black cat Caesar with his puffed up swishing tail told me there must be something special about it.

The client had called at 8:32. Seems that the bell wouldn’t ring any more.

“You’ve got to come at once!” said the priest. The story of my life, everything had to be done at once!

I walked into the church with my camomile candle lit. There near the belfry stairs stood the ghost; a rather sorrowful lookingTrappist monk.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“They’ve blocked the bell.” He said. “But I’ve fixed them!  I’ve blocked their tape recorder!”

I immediately understood the problem so I went to talk to the parish priest.

“But it’s a bother having to ring that bell all day long!  I’m getting old you know!” he said after I told him why the “bell” wouldn’t ring.

The solution was easy. From 10:42 onwards the Trappist monk happily rang the bell.


Wordle Monday – June 23, 2014

wordle-14Unhappily James Phantom walked through the cemetery past tombstones decorated with flowers, from tea roses for a lovely lady near the chapel, to a bunch of puffy yellow chrysanthemums for old Mr. Jeffreys.

In life he’d been inured to the unpleasantness of being an outsider, but felt it was unjust  to have to be the brunt of illegitimate xenophobic insults even in death.

There was not a scintilla of truth in the string of slanderous conjectures that Mistress Mercy had spread around stating that he was “different”, that he was in fact, a zombie.  What was at first a brontide coming from two old gossips had now become a palavar of virtuous outcry by the older generations.

In life, he’d been hounded, arrested and accused of practicing witchcraft.  The accusations, based on the simple fact that his father being a voodoo man,could talk to the dead.

The exorcists insisted that DNA had determined that he must have the power not only to speak to the dead but, ironically, to turn people into zombies as well. He suspected that he’d just been a pawn. What they’d really wanted to do was embarrass the upper crust of the Jamaican community branding him a lowly warlock

He’d denied the accusations vigorously, reminding them that he was a man of culture, a professor of philosophy, but to no avail. They imprisoned him and in prison one night he’d met his fate.  A huge bat had  flown into his cell, attached itself to his jugular vein and grazed upon his blood until he’d died.

When they’d found him they quietly placed his poor body in, what they thought was, an abandoned crypt and said he’d escaped from his cell and had probably gone back to Jamaica.

He’d awakened in that tomb three days later but realized he wasn’t a ghost.  He wasn’t alone either … Mistress Mercy stood there glowering at him because he’d invaded her home. That was when the old hag had started her hate campaign. She reasoned just like the exorcists too.  She said that he had to be a zombie because his father was a voodoo man!

It was bad enough raising hungry from the tomb every night … but hey, he was under nobodies spell and he certainly didn’t drool walking around like an empty eyed, inelegant goon.  He was completely articulate too.

“Anyone with any sense should realize that I’m a vampire!” he shouted to no one.

The exorcists had been right about one thing though. Unfortunately, he could talk to the dead like his father had, it was in his DNA.

Written for Mindlovesmisery Menagerie Wordle 14

Tiger – Flash Fiction – June 12, 2014

Jeremy rubbed his head and then bumped into a big orange cat which just looked up at him and seemed to smile as the rumfing sound, that was his purr, vibrated through the air.

He picked the cat up and began to stroke his silky fur, “Wherever have you been all this time!  I thought you were dead!”  He hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Tiger for over 20 years and it seemed a miracle to find him now, roaming about the kitchen looking just like an over-stuffed kitten.

“I am!”  said the cat.

Jeremy almost let the cat fall, he’d never heard a cat talk before.

“Uhm…you’re a ghost?”

“Sure … how else could I talk to you in human speak!” purred the cat “And have I got some news for you, you’re dead too!”

This time Jeremy did let the cat fall as he saw his body laying on the floor.

Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Tale Weaver’s Prompt

I really like Oloriel’s prompt this week – write a ghost story – and this popped into my head so I thought I just run it by you.  I think that if I have a little time I’m going to try and write something a little more “meaty” later on…have a look at the prompt, I think you’ll enjoy it too!

The Travellers – Flash Fiction

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey’d walked throughout the night and into part of the next day, mud splattered cold, not knowing where they were going.  Around 4:00, they came upon the old stone house, half buried in the hillside.

“Let’s stop here, I don’t think I can go another step!” Michael sighed.

“Ok, but let’s be sure that there’s no one here.”

“Who’d live out here in the middle of no where?  I mean, this is the first sign of life in days!”

“I know.” James said, “But just the same…”

They divided, one going towards the left, the other the right.  There wouldn’t have been many places to hide, the building was low laying, the roof just above the earth in certain areas.

The door stood slightly ajar, and with sword in hand, James walked towards the door.  He pulled it open with one hand.  Nothing, there was no-one, but there were signs of someone living in that run-down shack.

He descended the steps slowly.  There was a table, laid for three people, three chairs and a cupboard full of glasses and dishes.  From the ceiling hung a cured ham and corn husks.  In one corner was a small fireplace with a cauldron over a low fire. In another corner, there was a bed with a colorful duvet on it.  The house was warm.

“Hey, Michael, come here!”

Michael entered and took in the room.  They looked at each other then grabbed a bowl and a spoon from the table,  went over to the cauldron then dished themselves up a bowl of porridge. There was a pitcher of water  and one of milk on the table.  They drank their fill of the water and poured the milk onto the porridge and ate heartily, finally using a bit of some fresh-baked bread  to clean their plates.

A girl came into the room at this point. She was graceful, with long black auburn hair.  She smiled a warm welcome to them, which took them by surprise.

“Ah, so I see you’ve made it at last, ’tis a week I’ve been waiting for you!” she exclaimed happily.

“You can’t be waiting for us, we didn’t know we’d be coming here!” said Michael.

“You may not have known, but the forest knew and it told me.  You are the one called Michael,” she said to him “and you are James she said turning to the other.”

“And who are you?” James asked.

“I’m known as Kitsune, and this is my home.  Not only the house, but all the forest you’ve been walking in.”

James had never heard of someone owning the forest, but Michael who’d lived many years in the area had heard of Kitsune.

“You are a witch!” Michael shouted as he pulled out his sword.

“No, I’m a Kami!  She laughed “and you are a ghost! You both died a week ago whilst wandering in that terrible snow storm.  Now, you may stay with me for a time before resuming your journey.”  She poured them a glass of wine and pulled out a fruit cake. “You are my guests.”


Ghost Town

The October 27th prompt at the Community Storyboard this week is  ghosts!  I love ghosts…so here we go!


Courtesy of The Community Storyboard

James parked his car near the old hotel at the center of the ghost town.  The place felt the years of abandonment, the buildings were as grey as the day.

He’d heard about the town from an old friend, who knowing his passion for photographing old buildings, had given him a map so he could to find it.

“You won’t find this place on your navigator.  No one goes there anymore. It’s out in the middle of a wooded area, up the mountain road off from Gainesville.”

“And how did you come to know about it?” James asked.

“My great-grandparents used to live there back at the beginning of the last century.”

‘The place certainly looks spooky enough!’ James thought as he pulled out his camera and took his first shots.

He walked up the hotel’s steps, they creaked properly.  He tried the door and found that it was open so went in.  Cobwebs and dust were everywhere, but strangely enough, the place was still fully furnished and had a lived in air about it.   Funny it hadn’t occurred to him to ask his friend about a little history of the place. He made a mental note to do so once home.

The staircase seemed to rise up forever, but then he realized that at the top of the stairs, there was a full length mirror.  After taking more shots of the entrance way, then the dining-room and library, he decided to go up the stairs.  As he approached them, a girl came through the door.

“Oh hi!” he said surprised.

“Hi, when did you pull in?” she asked.

“Just a couple of hours ago.”

“And will you be staying long?”

“Uhm, I don’t think so, but who are you, they told me no one lives here.”

“Oh,  there are quite a few of us.” she’d answered without giving any information about herself he noticed.  “By the way, I wouldn’t go up those stairs if I were you.  Dangerous you know.  Anyway, I just saw your car and thought I’d see who you were.  I’ve got to go now though.”  Before he could say anything more, she walked out the door.

He pondered for a couple of minutes about the girl’s warning and then decided that, if he walked carefully he’d probably avoid any weak boards or falling planks; the stairs probably weren’t that dangerous.

He walked up the stairs backwards, wanting to get a few shots of the entrance way at different heights as he went up the stairs…and went up the stairs some more.

Suddenly, he realized that there were just too many stairs.  He’d been dstracted and had just kept climbing and climbing.  He turned around and saw that there were still more stairs.  Looking down he saw that they weren’t more than 20 or so steps.  He should have been on the landing and have come up against the mirror by now but there was still a whole flight of stairs to climb!

A chill ran down his spine.  He decided to retreat but found that he couldn’t, there was an invisible barrier that blocked him, he could only go up…so, he went up the stairs…

The girl sat on the porch steps, a young boy came up to her.

“Did you warn him?”

“Yep. But he went up the stairs anyway.”

They both shimmered as they became part of the air.