Monday, 31 October 2011


Happy Halloween to you all.  In honour of the date and the challenge of my Writer's Group, I am posting a spooky story (I will let you know what they think in the post tomorrow).  Neil has joined Paul, Dawn and I, in creating his own blog (see for Dawn's, for Paul's and www.neil-walker.blogspot for Neil's) - check them out.

So here is the spooky story and be aware that unlike The Pall Bearer (which SHOULD NOT be read by children), this can be, but it may give you the chills............

Is there anybody there?

I can feel the change in the atmosphere and all at once I realise that it is working, it is actually working.  I am here, but I am not here and the only thing tethering me to the world is a flimsy box and some earplugs that I made.  It is not the first scientific model of course, I am not a genius, it took me at least three goes to get it to this stage and now I believe I have actually got it right.  I may just be in another dimension.  I need to find out which one and to do that I need proof of life.

Scientists have said that there are more than four dimensions to our world and that there are others beyond what we can actually see, touch, experience, but this is the first time that anyone can really verify it.  Yes they can prove it mathematically, but real hard evidence that there are others out there may be about to be established.  The fact that it is me that can prove it is earth-shattering.  But no, I must concentrate, this is a very dangerous experiment and I will need all my wits about me if I am to gather all the evidence for my paper.  I can see it now, my name listed amongst the great scientists of our time, maybe of all time?

I become aware of the wetness.  My feet are in water.  I can see it and I can feel it, but I know that I am not really there.  Truthfully, I am in my laboratory late at night on All Hallows Eve, but it looks and feels so real.  The water I am standing in is the edge of a lake and I can see through its murky depths to the clinging reeds and dark shadows of life within.  That’s what I need, demonstrable proof of life that can be supported, endorsed, proven.

There is movement behind me and as I turn, the static in my earplugs increases until I can hear a faint voice.  Then I see him.  A young boy dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that are dripping wet and stained with moss and weeds.  His face is blurry, but he is definitely there and he sees me and is trying to talk to me.

“I can hear you,” I say and the static reverberates back into my own ears in the earplugs and I wish that I had run more tests before trying them out.  Sometimes I just rush ahead without thinking things through properly, but that is how the greatest scientific discoveries have been made in history.

“Do you want to share my picnic?” he asks and my eyebrows shoot up at such a banal question.  I have crossed through the barrier of one world to the next and he only wants to know if I want a sandwich. 

I nod and the shimmering mass at his feet transforms into a laid-out picnic and although I am not in the slightest bit hungry (I am way too excited for that), I sit down beside him and resolve to take this slowly.  I cannot just launch in with who I am and where I’m from, because that would just be too scary for him, so I decide that I will play along for a while just to feel him out.

“What sort of sandwiches are they?” I ask, feeling like my entire IQ has been insulted by that one little question and look at the thin triangle of bread in my hand, rather than at him.

“I don’t know, I didn’t make them,” he says and I notice for the first time that his eyes appear sunken and there are dark shadows beneath them.  He is deathly pale and I can feel that his skin is chilled to the bone even from this distance.

“Are you cold?”  The question is out before I can stop myself and he looks at me like I have grown another head.

“Well of course I am cold, the water is.”  It is a statement and his tone implies that I am the one who is the idiot and despite my best intentions, I bristle at the unspoken insinuation.

“What foods do you like?” I ask trying to distract him from the water as it slowly dawns on me that he might want me to join him in swimming and I don’t do swimming.

“I like lots of different things,” he pauses with his head to one side, contemplating me and for the first time I feel the first stirrings of unease, “I like to play with new people.” 

He gets up slowly to his feet and walks into the water.  Even though his back is to me I can still hear his voice in the earplugs and I begin to wonder how he can hear me when he does not have my device.

“They said they liked to swim, but they lied.  They made the picnic too.”  I glance down again and before my eyes the picnic begins to decay.  Mould grows fast upon it and the maggots from the sandwich I am holding fall warm and wriggly upon my arm and I drop it in alarm.  Because I am frantically brushing them off me, I do not see that he has left the water and nor do I realise that he is upon me until I feel the icy fingers reaching out for me.  He is trying to touch my earplugs and that is when it dawns on me that he wants to take them from me.  Of course, I cannot allow that to happen. I do not know what the consequences of that would be.

“You can stay with me if you take them off,” he whispers and suddenly I know that if he takes the earplugs from me, this will not end well.  I begin to run but I can still hear him in my ears talking of the connection being broken.  Over the loud pant of my breath I catch the words ‘mad’ and ‘death’ and I know that if he parts me from the device I will go mad or worse, it will kill me and I will be here forever, stuck in this dimension.

I am running blindly through thicket that grabs at me and slows me down, but I force myself to go on.  From out of the shadows I am relieved to spot a man and the blink of his white lab coat informs me that he is also doing a similar experiment.  His equipment is not quite the same, but he is definitely from my dimension and I shout out to him to save me.  For the minute, all thoughts of corroborative evidence, joint findings and scientific articles, leave my head as I know the boy is not far behind me and I am sure that if I can just get this man to see me, I could escape his clutches.

The man turns my way and a smile lights up his face and my fear ebbs a little, sure in the knowledge that he can help me, for he is running, running towards me; but I am not alone.  Beside me is a beautiful woman in white and she is holding her arms out towards the man and I just know he is running to get to her and he can’t see me.  As they embrace, I cry out to warn him, but it is too late.  Her hands curl around him and the sleeves of her gown reveal the congealed red slash at each wrist and I finally realise which dimension I am in.  I put my hand out to grab him, intending to wrench him from her grasp and save him, but my hand goes through them and I see that it is already too late.  He is now of this world and there is no-one left to save me.

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