Where she walks


I always knew when she’d passed by.

A mound of flies for each footfall, iridescent bodies and soap bubble wings rocking with every puff of breeze, a salute from the recent dead.

It’s been like that for years, the glistening footprints, the absence of her. She seemed forever round the next corner, bluebottles the only sign of her presence as other women leave their scent.

This evening she came clawing at the door, a ghost at my last feast. And now she waits. And now she watches. And the flies fall about us like jewels.





Three Line Tales : The dragons take York

three line tales week 80: a blue old school VW camper van

photo by Annie Theby via Unsplash

For some context … The VW reminded me of Trixie, a red campervan that plays an important role in my urban fantasy work in progress. Below is an extract in which our heroes are being chased through the streets of York by a huge and terrifying creature – all bat wings, claws and fangs. If they can only reach the VW and safety …


The shadow of King’s Court was coming closer and closer and below the pound and slap of their footsteps he heard something — the thrum of a VW engine.

‘We’re going to do it,’ shouted Neil. ‘We’re nearly safe.’

Suddenly there was another loud screech and it was all the movie sound effects he’d ever heard, every terrifying alien bug mother, every nameless horror – angry, frustrated, on the attack. There was a loud crash. The ground rocked beneath his feet, throwing him down. On his knees on the cobbles, Neil dared to look behind him.

The creature that had been caught up in the shop sign was free, the bracket piercing the membrane hanging from its wing, plaster clinging to the metal.

Dipping its head, it plodded towards him.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

What pegman saw : Mystified Cottage




Mystified Cottage it was called, a stocky one storey building snuggled in the lap of the Dales.

In the parlour two Carver chairs scuffed their backs against a worn sideboard, in the kitchen a Welsh dresser wore a motley of grease from generations of braised brisket and pigs head pies, gifts from the blackened range.

Tom Dunty the coalman would chuckle under the slick collar of his backing hat that the cottage was so called because all were mystified as to how the Crofts raised seven children inside. Though as Tom signed the register on his wedding day with an X, I’d guess he was parroting his snippish wife Mary.

He was wrong of course.

The name was no riddle to any who stayed a night beneath its eaves, any who dreamed of oily black feathers, of straw dollies swinging from dusty beams. Who heard The Lady call their name …


Written for What pegman saw, a weekly prompt using Google Streetview as its inspiration. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

The ‘backing hat’ Tom Dunty wears was a cap with a strip of leather sewn to hang from the back in order to protect a coalman’s neck and shoulders. See here to learn more.

What pegman saw : The Whisperers


It’s after the museum closes for the day, after the last tourist has shuffled out onto Nassau’s sweating streets, that the Whisperers come.

Jalen takes his time locking doors, scooping dropped tickets from the floor. The dust slowly settles, a powdery gauze slipping over the displays.

When he’s done he stops, lets the thump of car stereos, the calls of passersby drift like silt to the bottom of his mind as They float to the surface.

They’re shy at first, hugging the shadows, but then one will step forward, whisper a name – Efe, Temitope, Abena – then another comes and another, name after name, countless names. Jalen feels the manacles cinch his own ankles, the sea water swell his lungs as he sinks below the waves, as the sun slips away and green night falls.

Some days he wonders if he’ll join them, whispering in the darkness.


Written for What pegman saw, a prompt using Google Streetview. See here to join in and to read the other tales. Inspired by the Slavery and Emancipation Museum in Nassau.

I’m still in Mothers Day recovery mode, brain still frizzed and frazzled, so my usual Monday instalment of The Devil of Moravia will be tomorrow instead.

If I have some brain cells back by then.


































Three Line Tales : Up in the air

three line tales week 59: Happy St. Patrick's Day

photo by Brian Gaid via Unsplash


Watching the sun rise rosy over the cloud plains, he felt her lay a warming hand over his.

On the ground, weighed down by the hissed pressures of work, by the thick walls and dim corners of the house, she never found him.

Up in the air, where the light shine clearer, freer, she always snuck in beside him, wriggling her fingers through his. He liked to fly.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Lines Tales. See the photo and write a tale, why don’t you? See here to join in and to read the other stories.





Love brings her home

Skeleton woman

Image : Pixabay


She ne’er did love me better than when she died.


The priest had gone, the black backed beetle taking his spell book, the vial of magic potion that was to shield my Mary’s passing to the Otherworld. He left the smell of incense and pudding and fear, scurrying back to his plump little wife and her baked apple cheeks, leaving me to witness the final breaths of my own dear one.

There were no plump blushes in our marriage bed that night. All fat had been worn from Mary, as if the fever was a living thing that had crawled beneath her skin, feasting on the layers laid down by every Harvest Home and Twelfth Night cake. There was nothing left of her I’d known, that merry, scolding, worrisome woman. One last look she gave before those yellowed lids sealed forever.

And that was Love.

And this it is that brings her back. Out of the cold, cloying ground, clawing through rotted wood, through tree roots, cuffing away sleeping larvae. From the graveyard she comes, past the graves of mother, sister, our own lost babes, shadowing the path she trod the day we wed, beneath the black limbed yews and their shining, bloody berries. Through the village, past thatch and tile and folk she called neighbour who bolt their shutters against her coming, whispering incantations to keep her bony fingers from their doors.

Tis not them she seeks.

I listen for the slip and drag of her feet on the path, the broken china ting of her fleshless heels on stone. I throw wide the door, inhale the scent of falling leaves, the smell of summer dying.

‘Welcome wife,’ I say as she comes home.


Happy Haloween All – may your life be filled with Treats and devoid of Tricks



The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: Creepy Quote of the Day

Ancient graveyard

Image: Pixabay


Arthur Kipps is alone at the isolated Eel Marsh House, with only the plucky Jack Russell Spider for company. It’s November, the light is fading, and Arthur spies The Woman in Black, standing amid jumbled gravestones … 

 … Now, however, as I stared at her, stared until my eyes ached in their sockets, stared in surprise and bewilderment at her presence, now I saw that her face did wear an expression. It was one of what I can only describe – and the words seem hopelessly inadequate to express what I saw – as a desperate, yearning malevolence; it was as though she was searching for something she wanted, needed – must have, more than life itself, and which had been taken from her. And towards whoever had taken it, she directed the purest evil and hatred and loathing, with all the force that was available to her …


The lovely Mandibelle 16 has nominated me for the Three Quotes, Three Days – thanks Amanda – which is a lovely thread where bloggers post edifying quotes to inspire and encourage others.

Sadly, I find I am not the inspiring and encouraging type. So I thought I’d spin the prompt into something more ‘me’ and (it being the season for the scary) post some favourite quotes from crackingly terrifying books instead.

This quote is from the creepy The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, actually not an easy novel to quote from successfully, as the atmosphere of dread and impending horror is built subtly over chapters, not in quotable chunks. You’ll just have to read the whole book to appreciate the full effect …