Monday, 29 July 2013

Glyph... Isaac.

A visual representation- for anyone who requires that kind if thing- of what Isaac's Glyph should look like :)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Screaming in the School (TDC Part 3)

If you are still reading this, then that means I have- to some extent- peaked your interest. However, there is a chance, if you are anything like me, that you will have some reservations about my story thus far. You could be a sceptic, who believes that I am simply creating a fantasy for the enjoyment of my readers. Or you could believe that the stories I have related so far are not truly ‘supernatural’ but merely a matter of me being deliriously paranoid and highly impressionable. Both viewpoints are entirely understandable, and if I had not lived it, I may well have shared your stance. This next instalment should address the second belief, although there is nothing I can do to convince the sceptics out there. Of course, I could ask my primary school classmates to relate the same tale to you, or I could allow my parents to tell you of the episode I had as a child, but neither would be able to prove or disprove what I heard on those nights, and therefore confirm that my tale is genuine. All I can do is continue to tell of my experiences and hope you take something from them.

That being said, this chapter was one of the most vivid and lucid supernatural experiences I can recall, which of course, makes it one of the less believable accounts.

It is easy to deny a single odd experience during childhood. Everyone goes through some strange, surreal, stage during that time, and when you grow, it becomes less of a memory and more of a dream that you once had, and can scarcely remember. However, having two or more of these experiences, especially with a similar theme and pattern- well- then it becomes somewhat harder to ignore, let alone forget. As children, we are all afraid of things that go bump in the night, when we become adults, all our fears suddenly become rational, and if they are not rational, they are dismissed as stupid. Our adult minds tell us that the monster that goes bump in the night could be any number of things: a blocked drainage pipe, a loose tile falling to the floor, a frenzied bird slamming into the window pane, but in the back of our minds, our childish voice persists, telling us it could be something more, and that there is a possibility- a tiny, miniscule possibility- that the thing that is keeping us awake, is in fact, something that needs to be feared. It’s those same fears that originating from our childhood experiences that make us afraid when we are home alone, as we walk around an empty house, glancing down a deserted, darkened corridor, or out of a window where the only thing visible is the vapid, blackness of night, fearful and terrified that there might be someone there.

The fears we know we should leave behind do not disappear; they persist in the back of our minds where the irrational is a potential reality.

So, by the time I reached high school, I wasn’t only plagued by the fears any normal teenager is faced with, but an entire array of other fears enforced by my childhood. Needless to be said, I wasn’t the most popular guy in school, I had become somewhat reserved, and was relatively weedy, though I was tormented to an extent, it was never so bad that I couldn’t cope. I was more afraid of the school itself. The building was imposing for a start, it was an old school, built at the beginning of the 20th Century, and I could have sworn the teachers were from the same time period to, it wasn’t a particularly friendly place. Galloway Hall was its title. I don’t believe it exists anymore, as with everything in life; it was removed once it became useless. Luckily, in spite of the social awkwardness, and substandard school, I found solace.

More specifically, I found a girl named Jane. She was no ordinary girl; she was like me. She had supernatural experiences when she was a child, hers even more vivid than mine, every night for two whole years a shadow had stood over her bed, just watching. She would hear crying, and laughter, and footsteps, and breathing around the house where there should have been nothing but silence. Eventually she changed homes, the noises stopped, but the shadow tailed her as if it were her own. As the years passed, the shadow became less and less present, eventually disappearing altogether, although should Jane be believed, she claimed it was always with her, even though she had not seen it in years.

The difference lay in our beliefs, I remained a sceptic, whereas she believed in the supernatural, she would read all the ghost stories- fiction or 'fact'- and devour them with a burning passion, she craved the truth behind the unexplainable, and deliberately sought it out. I was content to live in ignorance, for while I did not believe in ghosts and spirits and the rest, I did fear what could happen where ghosts and spirits were concerned. How could I not? I had experienced their power first hand.

Sometime during the first term of our second year at Galloway Hall, Jane proposed we sneak into the school at night and explore. She said she could 'feel it in her bones' that there was a mysterious history to the place; some dreadful secret buried. ‘I can feel it in the rooms, can't you?’ she said, ‘they are always so cold- and there’s this sadness that kind of clings to the walls.’ My fear of the unknown was overcome by the fact I was smitten with her. So I agreed.

The school, as I have said, was old, and subsequently was practically crumbling and even falling to pieces in certain areas. This made it laughably easy to break in, there were whole sections with cracks big enough to fit several people through, never mind the vast amount of ladders and scaffolding littered around the building left from unfinished repair work. We entered through a smashed window on the second floor; a ladder conveniently placed only a few metres away from the makeshift entrance. The first thing we noticed as we stepped inside was the silence. Most buildings have some form of heating systems, drainage systems, water supply, power supply etc. Galloway Hall didn’t seem to have any, we knew of course that it did- it must- but it must have all been shut down at night, because there wasn’t a whisper to be heard anywhere.

“Jane- this is dangerous- if any of this old scaffolding breaks, we’re done for!”

“Don’t be such a-“ Jane's foot slipped and she wobbled precariously over the edge, threatening to fall to the ground floor, as I rushed to catch her she began to laugh wildly, “Gotcha.”  


We made our way through the deserted corridors, the silence persisting as we continued onward. Each room we looked inside seemed surreal. Anyone who has ever visited a school night will know the feeling, it is not a feeling of fear, but more like of misplacement. As a student there is an ingrained sense of school being another world entirely, and that when school hours are over and you return home,the school, along with all of the teachers and classrooms, disappears from reality, only to return the following morning when school time comes around again. Being in a classroom at night therefore, is much like meeting a teacher outside of school, it feels somehow wrong. That feeling grew more and more intense with every classroom we visited. Not only that, after exiting each room and returning to the corridors, they seemed to continue on for longer, they stretched out further and the bends and corners were sharper. Maybe it was a sense of claustrophobia gripping us or maybe something else entirely, but the more time ticked by, the longer it seemed to take us to reach the end of each corridor.

“What are we even looking for, Jane?”

“I’ll know when we find it.”

“So in other words- you have no idea.”

We entered the main hall and listened to our footsteps and our breathing echo through the dust-filled darkness, our torches barely powerful enough to illuminate the ceiling the sound reverberated on. We had been there for almost an hour and there was nothing but empty space and silence. There was something so sorrowful and solemn seeing the school deserted, I could feel a sense of sadness descending upon me as I looked around at the empty tables and chairs. Jane looked equally sad, but I believe that was more down to the fact that she felt disappointed, as well as defeated. We were going to head back when we heard something.

Normally, the sound would have gone unnoticed, it was so distant and subtle, but due to the fact we had grown accustomed to the almost unnatural silence of the place, it may have well have been the fire alarm. Scratching.

“It came from over there” Jane whispered, clearly afraid that any loud noises would startle whatever the source of the sound was. We made our way to the source as silently as we could. It grew louder and clearer; Clearer and louder and more urgent. It sounded desperate. It sounded hopeless, like nails on a chalkboard- no- it was nails on a chalkboard. Definitely. Someone was scratching away their nails against the harsh, solid surface of the board. 

We reached a door. The sound was behind it. As we placed our ear next to the wood of the door it suddenly shook violently and the scratching moved to an inch away from us. Someone was clawing at the other side of the door, trying to reach us, desperately longing to be the free of that room.

We stood there for a while, not daring to move. The noise didn’t stop, nor did it decrease in intensity, it just continued on with disturbing energy. Jane was the first to move. She placed her hand gently on the door and then let it fall to the handle.

“Jane, what the hell are you doing?”

“There is nothing behind this door.” She stated matter-of-factly. Naturally I thought she was insane. 

She opened the door, and sure enough, the place was empty, not only that; there was no sign of scratching against the door. We searched the room for some time, finding nothing noteworthy, it seemed like any other classroom, maybe a little dustier than the others, but other than that it was largely unremarkable. I checked the chalkboard in the corner of the room where the scratching sound originated, it was seemingly fine, no signs of distress aside from what the years had done to it. In the corner however, there was something- something different. I had to bend down to get a decent look, and I shone the torch directly at it. They were tiny, and old, and almost impossible to see, but on the bottom left hand corner of the board, and on the wooden frame that held it in place, were several tiny indents. Someone had been scratching at the board, but it would have been years ago, god knows how many.

It scared me, the fact I might be wrong, I couldn’t have imagined that noise which then turned out to have some obscure relevance, when I did not even know anything about it. My subconscious had nothing to go on, no clue, no story, nothing that could have made it produce that sound. So what the hell was it?

Things then began to escalate at an alarming rate.

“Don’t you hear it, Tim?”

“What- you- what are you talking about?”I turned to see Jane staring out into the corridor, her eyes glazed over, her hands hanging limp either side of her. “They’re calling for our help, all of them- screaming- so loud- so helpless- we should do something- they’re screaming at us.”

Her voice wasn’t normal, she was speaking in softer tones than usual- slower too. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what any of it meant, I was too overwhelmed to understand the implications. She began to walk out into the corridor. I stood up to go after her, but as she left the door slammed shut behind her, and was impossible to open. I shoved all my weight against it; the thing barely shook.

I was alone. The room seemed darker than before, the air heavier, the dust thicker, the silence greater. My ragged breathing was the only thing that seemed real- the only thing that felt real.

Then my torch began to fade.

I remember the light starting to dim and flicker. The room slowly becoming less and less visible, and the darkness growing ever closer. There were no windows, the room was in the centre of the building, there would be no light provided by the moon or the stars. The electricity was apparently shut off at night, so as soon as my little ray of light faded, I would be alone in the closest thing to absolute darkness I had ever experienced. And I was.

As the last of the light drained away, and I fell to the floor hugging my knees, backing up against the door that would not open. The musty smell of the room became apparent to me at that moment, not only that, it was mixed in with something foul that I could not put my finger on. I waited in fear for the scratching to start again, any second, some unknown thing lurking in the darkness would begin clawing away again, and eventually throw itself against the door as it did before, only this time it would be me it was clawing at, not the door.

In that impenetrable darkness I believed anything could be real, for reality is based upon perception, so in darkness anything is possible, for we perceive nothing. At least that was how I saw it at the time. Then, when I finally resigned myself to whatever terrible fate would inevitably swallow me, the door opened behind me. I fell backwards onto the floor, into the corridor, now gleaming with pale moonlight. As I stood up, uneasy and far from surefooted, I became aware of the unnatural chill that now ran through the halls. 

A gust of cold air forced its way down the corridor, becoming more and more powerful. The lockers on either side of the hall began to open and shut wildly, without synchronicity  creating an inharmonious, percussive symphony. Then, amidst the chaos, a single scream penetrated the air. A shrill, ethereal screech, that despite being distorted, undeniably originated from Jane. I ran. Against the wind, against every signal telling me to get out, I ran. The corridors all became one, all the same, all never ending, each corner resulting in a hallway no different from the last. What was worse- the screaming continued, but was impossible to track, every time I thought I was close, the sound would shift someplace else, or the room I thought it was coming from would turn out to be empty when I burst in. The noise was everywhere and nowhere at exactly the same time.

I became delirious, convinced it was all in my head, that I must be going mad, or this was someone’s sick idea of a joke. Not that it mattered, from the clatter of lockers and the endless shadows and ear piercing scream that only seemed to get louder with every passing second, I was sure to go mad regardless. Eventually I fell to the floor in another nameless, unremarkable corridor. Then a figure appeared at the end, a tiny figure in shadow, face just hidden from view. It edged slightly closer and became visible in the pale glow of the moon.

My brother; the same age I remembered him. His finger was pressed gently against his lips in a hushed motion, then in the next second he ran around the corner, and I followed. He entered a door and closed it behind him, only just able to reach the handle. I edged forward, my hand trembling, and opened.

Jane was standing on a table, gazing at the ceiling, her skin as pale as chalk. All thought of my brother instantly disappeared at the sight of her.

“Jane, what are you doing?”

No response.



I crawled onto the desk beside her and shook her wildly, panic coursing through my veins. Her glazed over eyes suddenly snapped to look at me.

“They were here- so many of them- so much hopelessness- don’t you feel it? Don’t you feel the cold?”

“JANE, SNAP OUT OF IT!” At this point, I couldn’t contain my fear and frustration any longer. After a little more shaking and screaming she seemed to regain herself, but she was cold, and fatigued. The wind gushing through the hallways had stopped, so had the banging lockers and incessant scratching, the silence had returned, and in a way, that was far worse than the veritable array of disturbing sounds.

We made it outside, the air felt far colder than when we had arrived. Jane collapsed onto the ground, exhausted, and sighed deeply. I gave her my jacket and rubbed her shoulders for a while, and after some time she seemed to return to her normal self, but when she did, she couldn't recall much of what happened past entering the classroom where the scratching had originated from.

“I went into a trance? Are you serious?”

“Am I serious? Jane- you scared the living crap out of me!”

“I guess this proves it then! Something weird is going on in this school…”

“This proves nothing except that you are gullible enough to believe stories and get carried away with them.”

“You seriously think everything you described to me was just us imagining things? You know- as well as me- that what happened in there cannot be explained rationally!”

At this point my anger took over, I temporarily forgot my fear and anxiety, resulting in me proposing this:

“You want me to prove it to you? Let’s gather a group of us, and do this again- I bet nothing will happen.”

She agreed.

About a week later we returned. We had managed to get a decent group of people, considering I wasn’t the most popular and I actively tried to persuade people not to come. In the end we had a group of about twelve- maybe more. As it was now a school holiday we decided to stay the entire night, we brought a whole bunch of sleeping bags, snack food, fizzy drinks, and lots and lots of light- with extra batteries.

As I predicted, no-one saw or heard anything odd. In fact, things were so normal it almost became abnormal- all the sounds one usually hears in any building- the ones we didn’t hear previously, were all there. They were quiet, extremely quiet, but most definitely there. Everyone stayed up late, and seemed to enjoy themselves. Jane was the only one who seemed slightly down, and I was the only one who knew why: she wanted something to happen.

Eventually everyone fell to sleep. Except for me. I couldn’t sleep because of the screaming, I could hear it even more so than before, and whilst everyone else slept soundly- or so It appeared- I endured a whole night of spectral shrieking echoing through the halls. Maybe it was my imagination, but I somehow knew that Jane knew it was there too, maybe it was just the hint of a smile on her face in the morning, or maybe it was nothing but my suspicion after all.

We never mentioned it again.

Much later on, a discovery was made at that school, something terrible, not only that, something relating to me and my past, but that story comes later on, and I wouldn’t want to reveal too much before everything is fully explained…

Monday, 22 July 2013

Update (1)

It would seem this blog is becoming less of a short story site, and more of a 'series of short stories which are actually chapters to a bigger story which cannot really be classed as a short story, but then again isn't exactly a novella, so who the hell knows what it is...' blog.

That being said, if you didn't figure it out, 'The Tapping on the Window', and 'The Footsteps in the Forest' are both from the same series, which collectively i'm going to refer to as 'The Timothy Dallow Chronicles' mainly because I can't think of another name, and also because I actually think that name is kind of cool. Each 'chapter' will retain it's own name, but I shall put a little bracket after each 'chapter' that looks something like this:

(TDC Part_)

Just so it is nice and clear which series that particular story belongs to.

The third (and most likely final) installment of 'Words Over Coffee,' is yet to be imagined, i'm not entirely sure when I will get round to that, but I will finish it soon... hopefully.

Then finally, the latest story 'Glyphs' which I am super excited about will also be a series, and to keep that one simple each new installment will just be 'Glyphs (Part 1)', 'Glyphs (Part 2)', 'Glyphs (Part 3)' and so on and so on.

Okay, just thought I should post a little update so everyone knows where everything stands, not that I have many regular viewers anyway :)

P.S. I  may changing some of the layout of the blog soon, as I am now getting a better understanding of the whole thing.

Glyph. (Part 1)

Isaac stumbled up the stairs, racing to get into his room before he was otherwise engaged in some monotonous domestic activity assigned to him by one of his parents. Fortunately, no-one appeared to be home; he was alone.

The thunderstorm still roared outside, it was unnatural, Isaac had never seen anything like it. The clouds were black as coal, and the lightning that they spat out was razor sharp and so ferocious it appeared vindictive. For the first time in his life, Isaac did not feel safe in his own home, so vicious was the storm that it threatened to penetrate the shell that was his house.

He sat on the bed and looked down at his hand where the lightning had struck him. I should be dead, he thought to himself. There was no question about it, he had been struck by lightning, he should have been severely injured at the very least. His hand however, was not only still fully intact, it seemed to be completely unaffected. The palm of his hand was black, but he easily brushed most of it off.

What is this stuff? 

Forcing himself to stay calm he made his way to the bathroom and placed his hand under the cold trickle of tap water. Bracing himself for some form of pain he winced when the water made contact, but found there nothing of the sort. The cold water felt the same as it always did.

The water gathered in the sink, dirty and grey due to the dusty black substance smothering his palm. Isaac became aware, looking down, that not all of the black markings were washing off. There remained a few shapes on his hand. He grabbed the soap. Rubbing harder, and faster, and desperately, but to no avail. His hand was clean, but permanently marked.

The shape upon his palm resembled two crescent moons, one lying horizontally, the other reflecting it, and shifted slightly to the left. In the centre of the two moons was an arrowhead pointing left, with three triangles surrounding it, two hovering just above the initial arrows' two faces, and the third just detached from the indent in the back of the arrow. The two crescent moons also appeared to have two spikes protruding from each of their exteriors, again reflected perfectly on either side, so the shape reached just short of his wrist and the beginning of his fingers, but covered the entirety of his palm.

As Isaac scrubbed mercilessly at his hand, he slowly, but surely accepted the inevitable. It wasn't going to come off. Still- it frightened him, these mysterious markings were not natural, they just felt... wrong. I suppose I should be grateful i'm alive, I have that much at least, stop worrying!

The front door opened and promptly slammed shut.

"Jesus Christ!" The voice from downstairs exclaimed. His mother was home. For some reason he could not contemplate, he did not want to see her right now, he didn't really want to see anybody at all. "Isaac, are you home?"

Isaac heard her place her umbrella in the stand next to the door, and take off her shoes and throw them onto the rack next to the umbrella stand. He guessed the rain had made her a little less conscious of her noise level, because he could trace every move she made from the moment she stepped through the door. He could also hear her muttering to herself in an agitated voice, although he could not make out exactly what she was saying.

It wasn't long before she ventured upstairs to check on him, she would worry if he was out while the weather was this bad. The door creaked open. He saw his mother's face.

Suddenly he could see everything. Things he had already seen through his own eyes, but through her eyes, he could see things he never wanted to see, he could see things he didn't understand, they all came so quickly and loudly. It was endless. Dreams, hopes, nightmares, thoughts, memories, every synapse, every sector of the brain became his own to explore. There was so much, too much, all at once, He needed to get out. He could feel every fear, every phobia, bearing down on him, more and more, like he was drowning in an ocean that was only becoming deeper and he was sinking, down and down, and the water was filling his lungs, and the ocean was expanding, becoming more and more vast; infinite. Aspirations passed by in a blur, he was in the middle of moving traffic, but everything was moving faster than usual, time was entirely subjective and light flurried past leaving only an echo of colour and sound behind before he could truly register or understand what it all meant. Then it faded, first to black, then light and colour and sound and smell and taste returned; he was himself again. Not a second had passed, but he had lived another lifetime; another life. He had a new understanding of his mother, a new appreciation, a new perspective altogether. But now he was himself again, he moved his arm slightly as a test to prove to himself that this was reality, and that he was here and not anywhere else.

His mother entered the room.

"Isaac, thank god you are home, why didn't you answer me?"

He couldn't do much aside from shrug, he was in a state of recovery, or a state of shock. His hand was warm, and tingled slightly. As if being struck by lightning wasn't bad enough, he now had this new discovery to contend with.

"Are you okay?" She placed a hand on his forehead, "You're burning up, are you feeling alright?"

"Fine," He managed to blurt out, "i'm fine."

"If you say so," she paused and seemed to survey him for a minute, "alright, what did you fancy for dinner?" He breathed a sigh of relief.


The next day Isaac had to be at work relatively early in the morning. He quickly ate breakfast after waking up too late, and rushed out of the house. His morning routine was so hurried that whilst he was unable to forget, he was able to dismiss the events of the night before as something that happened to someone else, or sometime else; in another life, in a dream. He doubted, however, that he would ever be able to forget; that single moment when he had delved into his mother's mind would never leave him, how could he possibly forget?

He hated work in the mornings, he had college every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and worked shifts at a convenience store every Saturday evening and Wednesday morning, and out of all the days, Wednesday was the one he loathed the most due to the high amount of people who poured into the shop and demanded service. The day, surprisingly, was calm and mild in comparison to the night before. Few clouds were in the sky, and the ones that were, were innocent and scattered.

Isaac was placed on the checkout and spent the rest of the day scanning and bagging items for thankless customers. It wasn't until one particularly inquisitive customer commented on his 'cool tattoo' that he recalled the mark on his hand. A smile crept onto his face. He could have some fun now, maybe Wednesday was about to redeem itself. The next customer that came along was man only a few years older than himself. Isaac focused, trying his utmost to recreate that moment. The man was focusing mostly on his phone, and barely addressed Isaac, preferring instead to hand over his basket and letting him do all the work. He reluctantly gave up his attempt to infiltrate his mind after several attempts, accepting that maybe he had just imagined the entire thing after all. He continued on with his job, packing the young man's obscene and excessive amount of condoms into a plastic bag carelessly. 

"Is that everything today?" Isaac asked, trying to sound cheerful and mask his annoyance at the customer as well as his disappointment in his own abilities. The man looked up at him-

And now he could see everything, through his eyes he could access the library that was his mind, he knew what to expect this time, and therefore was not as overwhelming as he remembered. He found he could pinpoint the exact things he wanted to find. He knew where to look if he wanted to explore this man's memories, he knew where to look if he wanted to browse through his dreams, and the man's thoughts were right there in front of him, clear as daylight. His name was James. He was texting a girl named Alesha, and she was one of six girls he was attempting to sleep with, but the truth was, he was failing with all of them. In fact, he was a virgin, but was hopeful that would change soon enough. It was almost admirable. After exploring his mind for some time he retreated back to himself. Smiling, he told James to 'have a good day' and wished him luck, motioning to the condoms. James left the store quickly, his face reddening slightly.

This is amazing! I can read everyone's mind, I can see what they are all thinking!

Isaac spent the rest of the day repeating the process with nearly every customer he had. The process was difficult at first, but as the day passed it grew increasingly easy to access people's minds. Sometimes he would find himself struggling to contain his laughter, other times he was deeply saddened or even disturbed by what he found in many people's thoughts and memories. At the end of the day, he was exhausted, but satisfied. His hand was burning, the skin around the markings reddening slightly. 

Returning home, he retreated immediately to his room. For some reason the TV had been left on, playing to no-one, some female journalist was on the screen, reporting on some major forest fire in Australia that had claimed several lives. Isaac shut it off. He laid down on his bed and chuckled to himself as he reflected on his newly obtained power. He had to keep saying it over and over again in his head: I can read people's minds through their eyes. But he sensed there was something more: that he had only begun to realise his power. The explanations he desired felt so out of reach, but he yearned to understand, and reach his full potential, and he would.

There is more to this than meets the eye. 

He glanced down at his hand and he could feel the power bubbling beneath the skin, beneath the marking; beneath the glyph.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Final Memoir of a Dying Man

As I lie here, alone and fading, I feel there is nothing more to do than reflect and wait. However, the last thing I want is to come across as pitiful, or sad, or lonely, even though I must confess to being all of the above. life is a strange gift, it is something we do not ask for, yet we accept it as a necessity. Now, when I look back, I see all the time wasted. I can see now how I continued to spend all that time living with the intention of living, even though I knew I must die. I use the term 'living' loosely, because of my delusion that I would continue to live, it allowed me to continue in a state of routine, where nothing changed, no rights were wronged and nothing was done to make my life have some form of purpose once again.

It's a sad thing to admit, and most definitely a sad thing to realise, that you have spent very little of your life actually living, that you have spent so much of your time on autopilot without considering or acknowledging it, that when the end inevitably comes, you will regret each of those moments not fully cherished.

My memory has faded somewhat, but I remember the reasons why I find myself alone in this hospital. There are so many. I could list how I pushed away each and every person, but in the end it would only serve to remind me of my mistakes and my regret. Despite this, it ought to be said that I am entirely to blame for my own downfall. I have lived my life in ignorance and reinforced it with arrogance and stubbornness, if I could take it back- if I could take everything back- I would. I would plead with my friends to forgive, I would beg my lovers not to leave me and I would have been there for my family, because they were always there for me.

Alas, we cannot turn back time, all I can do is wallow in regret of moments wasted, hoping that somehow it will make a difference.

One of the great ironies of life- at least in mind- is that humanity strives for happiness, and yet is constantly dissatisfied with their lot. Rich and poor, black and white, men and women, all of them strive for more. All of them are miserable, and all of them end up in the same place once they are dead.

The end is coming soon. I can feel it, and it scares the hell out of me. I wish I could confide in someone, I wish there was someone to assure me that everything is going to be fine, but the truth is, even if there was someone here to tell me as much, I wouldn't believe them. We don't know what happens when we die, some of us claim to know, but nothing can be proven, nothing is certain, heaven and hell are just as likely as reincarnation, and reincarnation is just as likely as nothing at all. Either way, I am terrified, even though I know I have nothing left to live for, the end still scares me.

I suppose I should finish writing and close my eyes for a while, I have been drowsy for a long time now, maybe it is all the sedatives that are being pumped into my system, or maybe it is the illness, either way, it is useless resisting. 

Before I go however, I did want to say one thing. I wanted to say I am sorry, to everyone I ever wronged, to everyone and anyone I ever pushed away or hurt, I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart. I lived my life as a spiteful human being, and I cannot ever forgive myself, but I loved you, I loved all of you, even the ones I hated, because you gave my life purpose, and without you, my life would have meant nothing.

So it would seem that is it. I needed to say sorry and thank you. I can't forget my manners. I simply wish my final thoughts to be that of thankfulness. I will be thankful to join those I have lost, mostly my dear mother who I have missed for over thirty years, I will be with her soon, and for that too, I am thankful.

This will be the last memoir I write. The last words I put on paper. I suppose there should be some kind of conclusion or catharsis, something that ties all loose ends and wraps everything up nicely, but I don't have that power. Really, there is only word left to say, and that word is: 


Friday, 12 July 2013

The Footsteps in the Forest (TDC Part 2)

After the Tapping on the Window incident, things grew quiet. I had a few encounters in the following years, but nothing of note. It wasn’t until I was in my final year of primary school that I had my next true experience of the 'supernatural'

I was ten years old, and the school had planned a weekend away at a campsite bordering a vast forest. Having lived on the edge of one for some time, and considering what had happened there, the prospect wasn’t exactly appealing to me, but my whole class was going, and I wasn’t going to be the one weird kid who stayed at home whilst everyone else went off and had the time of their lives. So I went.

It is worth stating that the site wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, the word campsite implies bonfires, makeshift tents and sleeping bags; this place was more of a leisure centre situated on the edge of a forest. Not that I minded, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to sleeping in a cramped tent in the middle of nowhere. There were two dormitories, which were split up into boys and girls accordingly, not that any of us were all that interested in the opposite gender at that age.

We arrived later than planned at the site that evening, so that meant the trek into the forest was postponed to the next day and instead we sat through a dull two hour orientation before being allowed to retreat to our bunks. Did I mention we had bunk beds? Me and my friend Mark agreed we would take turns sleeping on the top bunk; the first night I was on top.

For some reason our teacher, Mr Gardner, who was supervising the visit seemed to think it was a good idea to tell us all a horror story before lights went out. Needless to say, the reaction was terror met with a stubbornness to show terror in an intensely childish way. The lights soon went out and Mr Gardner wished us all ‘goodnight’ before returning to wherever it was the teachers were staying. The dorm was deathly silent, there seemed to be no external noise whatsoever, the only sound was our collective breathing and snoring.

I lay awake, as I was accustomed to do in strange places, and let my mind wander. Mark seemed to have no trouble sleeping far beneath me as his breathing grew louder and somewhat more erratic as he fell deeper into sleep. The room was swelteringly hot and I could barely stand to stay under covers. It was when I came to the decision to remove the duvet that I heard something; something that wasn’t the sound of someone breathing. Footsteps. I looked around the room to see if anyone had gotten out of bed, seeing no-one, I placed my head back down on my pillow. No sooner had my ear touched the cloth than I heard the same sound again, only louder. There was no doubt now, the origin was outside, it had to be. I bolted up again and peered around the room, scrutinizing every bed. Had someone gone outside? Every bed was filled, no-one was absent; who was it? I listened intently for a while. I heard the footsteps grow ever closer and then start to pace back and forth past the building.

There were two doors to the dorm, one of them led straight outside, and that door remained locked during the night, the other led to the main centre and presumably where the teachers were staying. The footsteps would circle the building, coming to a stop when it reached the corridor that led to the main centre and would then return the other way. Occasionally they would stop for a few seconds right outside the door, and when they did, I held my breath.
I leant over the bannister and tried to wake Mark.

“Psst! Mark!” He stirred slightly, but it took some persistence to bring him to consciousness.

“What? What’s wrong?” he muttered, drowsy and barely awake.

“Listen… do you hear that?”

He stopped for a few seconds, listened, and then placed his head back on his pillow.

“Hear what?” The footsteps were louder than ever. There was no way he couldn’t hear them. The memory of my brother reawakened, and I dismissed the entire thing, if I made myself believe it wasn’t real, it would go away.

“Never mind- sorry.” Mark grunted back at me, and was asleep again in an instant. Despite my persistence and determination, the footsteps didn’t go away, but oddly, after some time, the sound no longer disturbed me, it became almost soothing, and I was able to finally rest.

The following day was the big hike through the forest. Due to my lack of sleep, dislike of forests and general uneasiness of the whole situation, I found myself dreading the upcoming trek, but as ever I continued with the crowd.

The hike was led by one of the site’s members, an middle aged man with greying sideburns and a slight limp as he walked, then there were two other teachers, Mr Gardner being one of them. Mr Gardner stayed generally with the centre of the group whilst the other teacher brought up the rear to make sure no-one lagged behind or got lost.

I have to admit, to my surprise, I rather enjoyed the experience on the whole. I had repressed, what I considered to be a rational fear, of forests, and therefore believed I would hate every moment of the trek, but in truth after the first ten minutes or so, I forgot all about my fears and suspicions.

It was only when we stopped for a break during the walk that I discovered Mr Gardener seemed to have something of an obsession with horror stories. We were all sat in a clearing, on the floor, listening to him speak of what he knew about the forest we were currently in.

“This forest is famous for one reason, and one reason alone,” he opened dramatically, “years and years ago, a family came camping in the forest, a father, a mother and their daughter, this was before the centre was here mind, they were fully fledged campers; none of these creature comforts you kids take for granted these days. They ventured deep into the forest and set up their tent, the day was clear, but when night came the weather turned and the tent was beaten relentlessly by the wind. It became so bad that the tent threatened to blow them away, even with the weight of them all inside it. As soon as the wind calmed down slightly the father resolved to return to the car and retrieve more nails to hold the tent down for the rest of their stay. Despite protests from both his daughter and his wife, he left quickly lest the weather turn on them again. It took him longer than he expected to make the journey, and it was dawn by the time he returned, only when he did return did he discover the camp site abandoned, with no trace of his family in sight. Stricken with worry and grief, he searched the forest relentlessly, and hopelessly, for them, but found no sign of them anywhere. Neglecting his own needs in despair for his family, he succumbed to dehydration. He died, but he still wanders through the woods each night, endlessly searching for the family he lost- for the family he abandoned.”

It was a good story, slightly illogical, but entertaining. Looking back, the story doesn’t frighten me in the slightest, but at the moment it was told, after hearing what I had heard the night previously, it scared me more than I cared to admit.

After the hike was done, and we returned to our dorms as night fell, I got that sickly feeling of fear deep in my stomach as Mr Gardner told us his horror stories and then turned out the lights. I don’t need to tell you that it happened again, I don’t need to tell you that the noise came again. I was on the bottom bunk that night, and for some reason, that made me feel all the more vulnerable. I heard the leaves crack and crunch under the boots patrolling outside, I heard the mud squelch and stick to the soles, I heard the careless scrape of someone dragging their feet. I was being ridiculous. It was probably just a member of staff patrolling the site, just a normal duty, just doing his job, how had I not thought of that before?
Because it didn’t feel- right.

At first I was afraid of the footsteps; then I grew bored of them, they were not harming anyone, so why should I care? It was only when I noticed a shadow passing the window that the fear came back. There wasn’t a shadow before… Oh god, there definitely wasn’t a shadow before.

I didn’t notice at the time, but there was no light that could possibly have projected a shadow outside, or inside for that matter, but I was so consumed by terror that I did not stop to consider this. Despite the impossibility, there it was, faint, but definitely there; a shadow systematically passing each window in time with the footsteps.

It was one thing to deny I had been hearing things, but I could now see with my own eyes that someone was out there. I woke Mark up by kicking the underneath of the top bunk.
“What now?” He asked, just a little too loudly, clearly frustrated for being woken up two nights in a row. Some of the other boys woke up due to Mark’s outburst, I didn’t care; I was too scared to take any mind of them.

“There’s someone outside!”

“Really? Again?”

“Just look!” I pointed at the window the shadow was passing. Mark glimpsed at it with tired eyes.

“I don’t see nothing!”

“I think I saw something!” one of the boys from across the room stated. That was it then, it wasn’t long before the whole room erupted with some fearful and some annoyed chatter. Honestly, I was thankful for the fact I wasn’t alone in my consciousness, and in the midst of the talking the shadow and the footsteps faded away.

The next day consisted of cramming in literally as many of the centre’s activities as it was possible to do in one day. Whilst I enjoyed archery, rock-climbing and canoeing, to name a few, my participation was somewhat half-hearted due to my weariness. Most of the boys were also in a similar condition, the lack of sleep the night previously had drained us all. As darkness started to set in that night we all packed our things ready for an early departure the next morning.

That sick feeling only grew stronger the darker the day became. Something was coming, I knew it, but I didn’t know what ‘it’ was. If legend were true, there was a man out there, dead due to dehydration, searching for his lost family in our dorm. In my childish ignorance I believed that it might even be the case. Not that I cared all that much about the reasoning, all I could concentrate on was the fear, and the terrible anticipation.

The footsteps came later that night. They were clumsier, more uncertain; more real. To my shock, someone from across the room acknowledged the sound before I said anything.
“There’s someone outside!” There was suddenly a hushed, frightened murmur of agreement. Mark, who was usually such a natural sleeper, sat bolt upright in the bed, his eyes wide. The shadow was there too, stumbling instead of drifting, past the windows, one by one, footsteps dragging along behind it. It circled the dorm countless times. Everyone in the room seemed to be holding their breath, scarcely daring to breathe for the fear that whatever was outside would hear us inside, and want to come in.

We had all heard the story Mr Gardner had told, and at that point, we all believed it to be true, without a shadow of a doubt.

The footsteps made one final rotation around the building before stopping abruptly; directly in front of the door.

Silence permeated the room. The darkness seemed heavier than ever, thicker than fog. I don’t know how long that silence lasted. It felt like forever. But I know how it ended.


The whole room seemed to shake, vibrations rippling through every particle, invading every corner of our dorm.

Our reaction was exactly what you would expect. Panic erupted; screaming, shouting, crying.


Again, the sound was almost deafening in comparison to the footsteps. I could see the door tremble at the impact, even through the hindering darkness. Someone managed to locate the light switch and flicked it on. This did nothing. Now we could see, we could see the door threaten to break open at any second and let whatever it was out there; inside.


This continued for a while. Eventually it became apparent that whatever it was that was causing this noise, didn’t have any intention of coming inside, it was merely making noise. This did not lessen to fear, it merely meant that we understood even less than we thought.
Eventually a member of staff, along with a teacher, came to investigate what all the commotion was. Needless to say, they were just as terrified as we were, only they did their best to hide it.

They both approached the door slowly, before turning the lock and swinging it open.
At first, the person at the door was unrecognisable, his forehead was dripping with blood from where he had repeatedly smashed it with the door and it had trickled down his face, into his mouth and down his chin; but on closer inspection, you could just make out Mr Gardner.

For a while he simply continued to rock back and forth as if the door was still there. Then when the teachers shook him he merely didn’t respond. He stood solemnly, silently for a while and then collapsed into a heap on the floor. The teachers dragged him inside and made sure he was still breathing. I remember all of the staff assuring us that ‘everything’s okay’ and to ‘go back to bed,’ like that was going to happen.

Eventually Mr Gardner woke up. He woke up with an ear-shattering scream. He screamed as if he was in a severe amount of pain, as if a limb were slowly being crushed under a large amount of weight, but not only that, it was almost as if he was screaming for something lost, there was a hint of sadness in his guttural screeching. He was dragged out of the room, kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs, digging his nails into the ground as he was carried away, and we were  left with unanswered questions and thumping hearts supervised by a member of staff for the rest of the night. No-one slept, we were all haunted by the crazed look in our teacher's eye, and the scream that still resonated in our ears.

The trip soon became something of legend once we had returned to school.  Mr Gardner was forced to take a leave for a time, we saw him again before the end of the year and he apologised for his actions saying he didn’t know what came over him. Of course all the kids believed he was possessed by the spirit he spoke of in the woods. I don’t think so. I later discovered he had been having problems at home, his wife had divorced him and was refusing to let him see the children. Understandable then that he should feel an emotional connection with the tale he spoke of and latch himself on to a reality where what he did was possible. That is my explanation anyway- doesn’t explain the footsteps I heard for the first couple of nights though- but there you have it.

If you are anything like me you may have noticed some similarities between the two incidents, both events transpired over three nights, both events involved me hearing a phantom noise, and both ended with a dramatic outcome. Many of my experiences have followed a similar pattern, and it is why I write this, to show a sense of repetition and routine in all paranormal activities, and therefore prove that they are not always what they seem, but in my experience, they are most certainly to be feared. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Words Over Coffee (Part 2)

I delayed for quite some time. I stared blankly at the screen for about half an hour, I’m sure that isn’t unusual, I know people who do nothing but stare at screens- it seems to be their life.

Strangely- in the end- I didn’t even need to message her. She popped up before I typed anything.

Mel: Do you think I’m a bad person?

Interesting- I could definitely play this to my advantage.

Me: Terrible- what kind of a person has a skinny latte?

Nailed it.

Mel: Don’t joke; you know what I mean…

Okay- she wants to be serious- I can totally do serious.

Me: I don’t recall ever calling you a terrible person Melanie, why would you think that?

Mel: You may not have said it in so many words… but you may as well have said so.

Is that really how I came across?

Me: Well let me put your fears at rest- I don’t think you are a terrible person, and I never have…

What word to use? Stupid? Stupid is too harsh. Silly? Silly is too gentle. Idiotic? Idiotic makes her sound like she believes Asia is a country. Goddamn- come on! You are better than this!

Me: …Good at making bad decisions? Sure. Misguided? Definitely… but never a bad person. I don’t believe you have it in you to be bad.

Oh god, she is taking a long time to reply… I thought I came across as ambiguous, was I too harsh? Have I done it again? Repeating history was fucking stupid- and cliché too. Oh- she’s replied.

Mel: Misguided… in my choice of men?

Me: Bingo.

Mel: What was wrong with Metro?

She cannot be serious. I mean- seriously- she cannot be serious.

Me: You serious?


Mel: Seriously.

I become aware that serious now doesn’t even sound like a word anymore. I guess an explanation is in order.

Me: Did I not mention he was named after the underground?

Mel: No.

Me: I didn’t?

I didn’t? Shit! No, I just thought about it.

Me: Well my apologies- I was wrong- he’s a newspaper:

Proud of myself? Yeah- I’m proud of myself.

Mel: Haha, alright, aside from his name?

Me: Honestly… you don’t see the faults in him?
The many,


Maybe I overdid it- just a tad.

Me: Fine- honestly- do you want me to list them?

Mel: If that is what it takes.

Me: Fine.
He dresses like a douchebag.
He looks like a douchebag.
He acts like a douchebag.

Mel: Are you sure you aren’t just envious of him?

Goddamn you Melanie, you just set me up for this shit.

Me: Wow, Melanie- you got me- you caught me red handed. I AM envious of him, I am so, so jealous. I just wish I could be as clever as him, and as cool. I just wish I had his natural charm and wit.

Mel: I noticed you missed out looks.

Low blow Melanie, low blow.

Me: Fine- he is a better physical specimen than me, he has a better body and he is better looking- is that what you wanted to hear?

Mel: It is nice to know you have some humility.

Me: Humility? When have I ever given you the impression that I am anything less the a humble soul?

What is she even talking about? I’ve never been a cocky individual- not like her beloved Metro.

Mel: I’ve seen what you do to people on Facebook, I’ve seen how you bring them down, you think you are really clever knocking people down a peg or two?

Wow, here I am talking about how my actions online have no consequence in my day to day life, and here we are- evidence to the contrary. I feel pretty shitty about myself- but that’s okay, time to fight back.

Me: Have you seen the people I ‘knock down a peg or two’ do you really care about any of them? They deserve to be hung up to dry- get it? Peg? Washing line?

Yeah- god, I’m a complete twat. Did I really just write that? Fuck me!

Mel: Hilarious.

Me: Okay- look- do you want me to apologise for what I’ve said to people?

Mel: No, I just always thought better of you.

Me: When did this become an attack on me, exactly?

Mel: Probably when you started attacking my boyfriend!

Me: First of all- I would never do that- have you seen that guy? And second- I’m pretty sure you asked me to tell you what I disliked about him.

Stephen! Stop with all the smart-arse bullshit!

Me: Okay, I’m sorry.

Mel: It’s okay, I’m just having a bit of a crisis, and I thought seeing you again might ground me or something… I don’t know.


Me: What do you mean?

Mel: I’m just having trouble figuring out what I’m doing with my life you know? I’m not sure what I’m doing anymore.


Me: The whole law degree thing?

Mel: Jesus Stephen, you wouldn’t believe the amount of fucking work that goes into a law degree! I’ve never been so stressed in my life…

Me: know I asked this before, but honestly now, why did you change your career choice?

It’s a while before she answers, and I find that I’m genuinely curious as to what she has to say, and find myself even somewhat concerned about her future.

Mel: You know what people think of girls who do beauty courses don’t you?

Me: I have a good idea.

Mel: I don’t want people to think that I’m some dumb bimbo who doesn’t care about anything other than manicures and hair extensions.

I sigh deeply.

Me: Melanie, I never saw you that way, I mean sure, you took a lot of care and pride in your looks, still do I imagine, but that does not mean you are that kind of person, you know what I saw? I saw a girl who was following her dreams, not some idiot who has no other options, if you wanted to do that, and it made you happy, why should you give a fuck about what anyone else thinks?

Mel: Thank you, Stephen.

Those three little words seem to mean so much. Why?

Me: You’re welcome, Melanie.

Me: BTW, I’m assuming you are actually good at hair and beauty- because if you aren’t, well then, ignore everything I just said :P

Mel: Want me to come round and do your makeup some time?

Me: I don’t know- will it make me prettier than your boyfriend?

Mel: Never. xD

We actually have some back and forth going on, this is good right? But- I’m going to have to bring the tone down- again.

Me: You know he is no good for you, don't you?

There is some delay this time.

Mel: I don’t know, Stephen-

Me: All joking aside, apart from his name- and my Jesus fucking Christ- it is a goddamn stupid name- I mean seriously- Metro? Were his parents’ tube dwellers?

I’m straying from my point again aren’t I?

Me: Sorry.

Me: What I’m trying to say is, you’ve never had anyone who has been even remotely on your level, emotionally or mentally. Metro is just the same- yes he’s buff, and yes he is good looking, but all he really is… is a sack of shit decorated with daisies.

Me: Ermm… I don’t really know why I chose that particular image to demonstrate my point. I’ll be honest I don’t think a sack of shit is made all that more appealing if decorated with daises. It just sounded good, okay?

Me: Sorry. Again.

And now I wait. I wonder why I still care so much, why I am going to such lengths to try and sabotage this relationship of hers? Is it because I still have feelings for her buried somewhere deep down, or is it simply because of my burning hatred of Metro? Probably a bit of both- god- could I really still have feelings for this girl? I thought I was over all this shit.

Mel: I don’t know Stephen- sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

Me: Well how many leaps of faith have you taken Melanie? And how many times have you fallen flat on your backside?

Mel: I’m sorry, Stephen.

Me: Sorry for what?

Mel: For hurting you.

Oh God, no.

Me: It’s fine Melanie, it’s not your fault.

I need to think of something to stop her on this path she is heading down. Quickly! Quickly!

Me: Listen, It’s not my place to dictate your life, if you want to see Metro that is entirely up to you, all I ask is that you listen to what I say and take it on board, because- I still care about you.
Now I really should go.

Mel: Oh, okay, well thank you Stephen.

Mel: Speak to you again, soon?

Me: Definitely.

Mel: Okay, bye then x

Me: Goodbye, Melanie.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

Should I have put a kiss? goddamn, it's too late now! I don't even know anymore!

You let your guard down Stephen, and it bit you in the ass, well done! It would seem that I do- in fact- still have feelings for Melanie, even after all this time, and all these years, and everything I have learnt, I still care. I think this probably calls for another coffee meet. Maybe this time, she can leave her heavily muscled newspaper at home…

End of Part 2