Frank never believed in ghosts, instead he subscribed to the Scooby Doo school of thought which said that these were nothing more than kooky freaks and loners dressed up to put the jeepers into pesky kids — and there was no bigger freak and loner than his old man, who used to get a rise from scaring the crap out of him and his sister when the whiskey ran dry — and that’s what he told his kids: ‘Don’t worry son, there’s no bogeyman, look.’ he’d say in a nightly routine of peering under the beds and into the dark recesses of cupboards and closets.

Built in the sixteenth century, Malloy House was run down, and apparently haunted, but most of all it was cheap, they moved in one Halloween and that’s when it all changed — he thought it was just kids playing pranks but couldn’t figure out how they’d broken in — he’d find strands of freshly gouged pumpkin flesh lying around the house: underneath bed covers, inside the kids’s toys, overflowing in the toilets, smeared on the inside of shower curtains; then things got bad — dead, bloodied animals appeared on the doorstep; furniture started crashing by themselves; screams were heard in the night; ornaments were smashed against pictures; blood stains appeared on the walls; his son, Jimmy, hid in a cupboard one night and was never seen again.

This is what they’ve helped him piece together at the psychiatric unit, it’s been a year since he’s been here; Mary visits again (she doesn’t come very often anymore), says she’s glad he’s off the drink and that the medication’s helping, she tells him again what really happened, gets tired of going over it; but he doesn’t remember, doesn’t remember buying any pumpkins, doesn’t remember dressing up — ‘It was the ghosts,’ he tells her, ‘you gotta believe me.’

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
In response to: Three Line Tales, Week Thirty-Nine
Image by Shaun Holloway


11 Replies to “Haunted”

    1. I wrote it as purely supernatural at first, the twist came in at the last moment, but I decided to keep that bit in. Perhaps that’s what he remembers, maybe the mother took the son away, or maybe it was ghosts? In short, I don’t really know myself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like that we’re left to guess for ourselves. My money is on the mother. She was drugging the father and had the son killed. It’s all about laying claim to his money 🙂 Or perhaps it’s the ghosts 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, nice ‘Gone Girl’ kind of angle there, I didn’t think of that one. Perhaps I’ll pick it up and tell her side of the story sometime. Thanks for reading and being intrigued. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Spooky! I agree – I like the open-ended features to leave us guessing about the whole thing. Did the haunted house take over Frank’s body and make him do bad things? I think Jimmy got out…..or did the house get him, too….Fun to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you like the open-ended nature, because with my style I’m usually figuring stuff out as I go along 🙂 There is of course the double-meaning of ‘Haunted’ and ‘Ghosts’ that I put in, that of being haunted by the ghosts of the past, of repeating mistakes of our parents. Thanks for reading and wondering. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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