Schiehallion, aka The Faery Hill of the Caledonians, is a magnificent, isolated, rugged, limestone ridge in Highland Perthshire, in the plumb-centre of Scotland. I’ve climbed it many times in the past, but now my arthritic knees deny me that pleasure: the jarring of the knees taken all the enjoyment out of hill-walking. So what the hell am I doing now, struggling along Glen Mór, on the south side of Schiehallion, in the November sleet, with a giant ship-in-a-bottle in my rucksack?Continue reading “The Otherworld Hiding Place by Michael Bloor”
Ned the Necromancer and his otherworldly friends live in splendid isolation in the derelict Mortlake House. Unfortunately, they need a new tenant to pay the bills.Continue reading “Dead Together by Oliver Lavery”
‘I must be the luckiest kid in the world,’ Chris thought.. Every other kid he knew had a bedtime. Not Chris. It didn’t matter if it was a school night or a Saturday night he could stay up as late as he wanted. After dinner he could play videogames until he could barely keep his eyes open or he would watch gameshows with his parents until they went to bed. Spending the night together with his parents around the tv was his favorite. Tonight was one of those nights. But like all good things it had to come to an end. Chris heard those words he dreaded to hear when they were all having fun. “Your father and I are tired. We’re going to bed. We love you.”Continue reading “Watching It Move by Alex Reid”
Pete’s night at the pub with his old school friends had brought the usual mix of nostalgia, laughter and awkwardness. Now living in the city, it was great to return – occasionally – to his home village in the countryside to catch up with everyone. Sure, most of them were the same. Same jokes, same haircuts, same lies. But the familiarity was comforting. The devil you knew didn’t tend to disappoint you as much as the devil you didn’t.Continue reading “The Sack by Richard Huw Williams”
A Learned Introduction
Spirits can’t lie. Still, as it goes in both life and the afterlife, honesty does not mean accuracy. That’s the trouble with telling the truth. In the living world, a great deal of truth telling is dedicated to giving air to erroneous beliefs, mindlessly echoing hidden agendas and giving credence to hallucinations in general. The same holds true at the Otherside. For instance, if you tell a Spirit that the Earth is flat, she might believe otherwise and will tell you so. In this regard, a Spirit is even more stubborn than a mortal when it comes to shedding ignorance. The dumb shit they believe in stays believed in, no matter how much compelling evidence you may present to the contrary.
Versatur Circa Quid!
Once again my four generations removed granddaughter, Miss Leila Allison, has thoughtfully left open a file for me to brilliantly emend. Before I get to today’s subject, however, I believe that I should once again introduce myself to the readership due to what I observe to be a great diminishment in the overall intelligence of the modern day public. It is I, the splendiferous Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender. I died in 1912, but shortly thereafter I returned as a Quillemender Spirit. I am housed in a ceremonial gold gilt gavel presented to me upon my retirement from the bench. I’m allowed to travel ten paces from the gavel, which is plenty close enough to where my ancestor (and current holder of my heirloom gavel), Leila, keeps her Chromebook. Succinctly, we Quillemenders alter text written by the living. In a way my noble kind are the precursor of that mindless autocorrect function that gets so many of you in trouble.
“Yesterday, upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!”
–William Hughes Mearns, “Antigonish”
Last night I dreamt of the happy-clappy pixie-land extolled by the counterculture of yore. That hippie Eden where daisies shot from rifles because everyone there was so high on lysergic acid that they no longer experienced reality. It was a place populated by paisley-eyed toad kissers who honestly believed that they were the first generation of paisley-eyed toad kissers who knew that the world sucked and that they alone could kiss toads into The Gurus of Change. Viva Revolucion! Alas, psychedelic drugs and fairy tale-belief systems are the stuff of idealistic chimeras. It all eventually wears off and leaves you cold and cynical. By and by you come to the hideous conclusions that the Good Guys never stay good after they win the Revolution, and that every toad you kiss has a way of changing into Richard Nixon.
But First Another Erudite Introduction by That Noted Supernaturalist Miss Stoker-Belle
Ha! I’ve at last wrested control of the bold font header from Ms. Allison. In the past she has used the header as a platform to throw shade my way, which I’ve been forced to refute in the first hundred words or so in previous displays of my genius. In yet another stroke of brilliance on my part, I recently introduced both the disinfecting and misremembering properties of anise del toro to Ms. Allison. She’s been gazing out her office window for a number of hours now. The Great Authoress is temporarily beyond the grasp of reality, and incapable of doing more than creating mist on the small mirror I occasionally place under her nose, let alone able to sling further shade on the intricacies of my personality. Rest assured, she’s fine. “Comfortably numb,” as the song goes. Really. Thus I have never been better.
But First, More Prefatory Gibberish by Miss Stoker-Belle
As any intelligent person can see, I do not control what is said about me in the bold-face heading. In a rare moment of forgetfulness, I had overlooked demanding approval of the heading’s content upon graciously consenting to present the Feeble Fable introductions. This tiny oversight forces me to spend the first paragraph or two of my introductions refuting the bold-faced insults laid on me by my employer, the semi-sentient, Ms. Allison.