Other than dying, there aren’t too many things I recall about my sixth birthday. I know I had a new bike because I was riding it when I was killed. It was green with black trim and it had one of those little single chime bells you could twang with your finger to warn off pedestrians who had stumbled into your path. I can’t remember if I chimed it at the car that was heading to the crossing too fast or if it got hit by some part of the car at the same time I was struck but I know it was the last sound I heard. Still, it was a proper big boy’s bike that I could grow into; except, of course, I didn’t.
Sorry, I should probably clear a few things up. You see, I’m not dead. I’ve had plenty of other birthdays and plenty of other presents. Never a bike though. I just couldn’t face it. Besides, dad was always a runner.
When I lived in London I heard that you were never more than three feet away from a rat. It’s a bit like that with cyclists around here Danny. Continue reading
‘Twas the night before Christmas
And in the alehouse below
A creature was stirring
A miserable old crow…
“Stirring’s a bit strong a word for it to be fair Nug, but I admire your cheery optimism.”
Nugget shook his lumpy, misshapen and somewhat yellow head. “You know me Bresst. Ever cheery.”
“Been meaning to ask you something though, Nug. What’s this Christmas thing you keep singing about?”
“That? The celebration of Christopher Thomas?”
“Christopher Thomas? You’ve heard the tale of Old Chris surely?” Nugget laughed goldenly as Bresst shook his head. “In that case I propose the same again to lubricate the tale. And,” he continued, poking the form slumped over the table beneath a black feathered cloak, “We’d better get another ale into him if we’ve got any chance of him functioning. Now where’s my favourite…ah! There she is! Menna! Three ales please darlin’. And a couple of those otters on a stick if you’d be so kind.”
“You should’ve just popped in, Mathis,” Mrs. Kelly says opening the door. “You know we’re waiting for you. Come, come.”
“I never like to presume, Mrs. Kelly,” Mathis says entering the small home. “It’s nice to see you again.”
It was on a summer night that Suki jumped out of that train and into that basement, not a winter one. She remembers the stale cigarette smell, still feels it scratching the back of her throat as she talks about it.
Old Scott’s Mill had given off odd sounds since the day it closed down. Now it gave off a sense of passage.
The first time I heard the cry of the banshee was three days before the full moon. My blood ran cold because I knew exactly what it meant. In my youth, my grandmother entertained us with fantastic fairytales and spooky stories. The haunting tale of the banshee had been one of my favorites, so when I heard the strange keening, I immediately recalled the legend. The story about a witch who announced the imminent death of a loved one was common throughout Ireland. There was even a poem that children sometimes chanted in the schoolyard, often around Halloween:
It’s 2:30 am and Charlotte and I are wide awake holding hands in our new bed in our new house. This is our third sleepless night in our new home in the West Virginia wilderness. It’s the howling, hooting, chirping, scraping, squealing night noises that keep us from sleeping. There’s a sudden scraping sound on the roof and the sounds of a cavalcade of creatures marching above our heads.