The Ghost of Halloweens Past – a flash fantasy story

ghosts-982975_1280Without distractions, Halloween would just have been the first anniversary of my death, a time for some mopey haunting. But I was determined not to let it get to me. The guys had accepted my ongoing presence in the house – I even had my own room still – and that meant I got to attend the annual party.

The first problem came when I tried to put on my costume. I hadn’t bothered changing clothes since I died – ghost shirts don’t get sweaty or stained. I gathered all the ghostly substance I could and pulled on an old polar bear outfit I’d worn for a fun run.

Grinning, I looked at the foggy figure of myself in the mirror. But the instant I stopped focusing on holding it up, the costume fell through me, dropping in a disheartening heap on the floor.

I wasn’t going to let this get me down. Tonight was my night. Walking through the door, I left my abandoned costume and headed down to join the party.

There was already a small crowd around my favourite party tradition, punch bowl apple bobbing. Friends greeted me enthusiastically, and Little Dave waved me forward.

“Happy death day, man!” he exclaimed. “Here, have a go.”

To cheers and shouts of “Apple chug!” I leaned forward and plunged my open mouth at the nearest fruit.

The apple bobbed up through my ghostly head, to a mix of groans and laughter. Hiding my disappointment, I forced a grin and mugged for the crowd, then hurried away.

“You’re cute,” a drunk blonde said, staggering up to me as I stared at the drinks table. “But what’s up with your skin?”

She leaned forward, trying to lean on me as she reached for my cheek, and fell through me to the floor.

This time even I laughed. What’s not funny about drunks falling over? Give it a few hours and I could be one of them.

It was time to accept my place and roll with it.

“Here, man.” My housemate Rob held out a glass of tequila. “Let’s celebrate the day of the dead!”

Carefully focusing, I took the glass between my fingers, raised it to my lips and tipped it back.

For the briefest moment I tasted the gloriously fiery flavour of the drink. Then it fell through me, creating an embarrassing damp patch on the carpet.

“Next!” Rob, oblivious to what had happened, started pouring me another.

“No, thanks,” I muttered, slumping as I walked away, feeling more excluded than ever.

The front door was open, but that didn’t stop a group of trick-or-treaters ringing the bell. Out of years of habit, I reached for the candy bowl, only for my hand to pass through it and the table below.

I turned to see half-a-dozen ten-year-olds in costumes from cartoons, all staring slack-jawed at me.

“That was awesome,” one of them whispered, wide-eyed.

“Arrrghhh!” screamed another, and the rest joined in.

As they ran off into the night, I finally managed a genuine smile. Easing myself back into the wall, I got ready to spring out on the next group of visitors. Maybe there was a place for me in Halloween after all.

I reached for a can of beer someone had left on the hall table. It slid through my hand.

* * *


It’s Halloween weekend, the time of year when things get spoooooky…. Or just costumed and over-excited on sugar. Either way, time for a seasonal story.

And if you want something genuinely creepy, you can find my medieval horror story ‘Cold Flesh’ in the recently released 9Tales Told in the Dark 18. When a revolt fails, men get hanged. But does that mean that they’re gone for good?

Falling Into Friday Night – a fantasy flash story

booze“I should have known the plan of a demon would be terrible.” The angel Eleanarus, resplendent in golden armour with glowing wings tucked behind her back, glared at the costumed humans filling the bar.

“How else could we meet on neutral ground?” Detective Shadowvalt downed a shot of tequila and set the empty glass to spinning on his horn. He quite liked Eleanarus, heaven’s leading criminal investigator, but watching an angel squirm still put him in a good mood. “Halloween is the one night when we’ll both blend in on Earth.”

“We could have met in a cave,” Eleanarus said, staring suspiciously at her cocktail. “What sort of creature can shelter beneath such an umbrella?”

“Sometimes our investigations involve humans,” Shadowvalt said. “You need to get used to being around them.”

“A subject I was happy to meet and discuss, but this…” Eleanarus sipped her drink, smiled, and then frowned. “Is that alcohol? Are you trying to corrupt me?”

“Communion wine includes alcohol. I hardly think-”

“Hi there!” A man in a pirate outfit approached them with the sloppy smile of the inebriated. He barely acknowledged Shadowvalt, his attention fixed on Eleanarus. “That’s one hell of a costume you’ve got there – strong yet stunningly sexy. It’s all I can do to resist the obvious line.”

“Obvious line?” Eleanarus looked baffled.

“About whether it hurt to fall from Heaven,” the man said. “You know, because you’re-”

“I am not of the fallen!” Eleanarus said indignantly, hand reaching for her sword. “How dare you insinuate that-”

“He’s just trying to be friendly.” Shadowvalt put a restraining hand on her forearm and gave the man a knowing smile. “Aren’t you?”

“Very friendly.” The man winked. “Awesome mask, dude.”

“Thank you.” Out of the corner of his eye, Shadowvalt saw Eleanarus take a wary step back, her gaze flitting towards the door. If she bolted then he wouldn’t have another chance like this all year. He needed to move the situation into her comfort zone. “Can we ask you a question?”

“Sure thing,” the man said. “Ask away.”

“How do you think investigators can better understand people?” Shadowvalt asked. “We’re what you might call community service officers.”

“You’re police?” The man took a step back. “I’ve just remembered, I left my drink over there, and…”

“This is useless,” Eleanarus said. “I should go.”

“Wait!” Shadowvalt said. “Listen, Long John Booze-fuelled, we’re not on duty.”

“So?” the human asked suspiciously.

“Whatever you do, we won’t arrest you.” Shadowvalt glanced at Eleanarus. “I swear, right now we’re not working for any police force on Earth. You can ask her, she’s very honest.”

“That true?” the guy asked, face brightening with optimism as he looked at the angel.

“It is,” she said.

“Alright then.” The man relaxed, his smile returning. “Then I guess I’d say you should spend time with the people you’re policing. Hang out, get to know them better. Maybe buy them a drink…” He gestured to himself, to the bar, then back to himself again. “Even join them and their buddies on a bar crawl.”

Eleanarus narrowed her eyes and pointed at Shadowvalt. “Did this creature tell you to say that?”

“I’ve never even met him!” the human said. “Swear to God.”

“That is good enough for me.” Eleanarus turned and grabbed the nearest barman by the arm. His annoyance faded as he looked into her glowing eyes, and he smiled.

“Give me the drinks for a bar crawl,” she said.

“Coming right up.” The barman started filling glasses.

Eleanarus downed her cocktail and reached for another. As the human waved his friends over, she leaned in close to Shadowvalt.

“Maybe your idea was not so bad,” she said, smiling. “Once we are done gaining understanding from these humans, you must tell me who the tiny umbrella is for.”

Shadowvalt smiled. It was going to be a very entertaining night.

* * *


I know the seasonal element’s all wrong on this one, but it didn’t start out as a Halloween story. That emerged from my attempts to get Shadowvalt and an angel into a human bar. As for what follows… Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Shadowvalt, I doubt it’ll be the last.

If you enjoyed this then you might also like By Sword, Stave or Stylus, my collection of fantasy short stories, available as an Amazon ebook. Or you can sign up to my mailing list for a free e-book and short stories straight to your inbox every Friday.