All Stories, Fantasy, Humour, Romance, Short Fiction

The Caretaker’s Cottage by Leila Allison

-Prologue-

Ineffable Is As Ineffable Does

With a peaked roof topped by a small brass eagle, the “Caretaker’s Cottage” in New Town Cemetery is a seven-by-nine rectangle that stands long side up. A few years back the City of Charleston had money left over in the Parks Department budget; two thousand dollars was allotted for the creation of ten incomprehensibly cheap signs to mark various “historical sites” throughout town. It was one of those mystifying expenditures that governments make to discourage the expectation of competence. One of the signs stands in front of the rectangle. It says: “Former Caretaker’s Cottage.”

Outside being the ancestral home to untold generations of Grey Squirrels, the building is a tool shed added decades after the cemetery was founded in 1902. New Town did have a live-in caretaker once, but he dwelled in a long since razed house that stood at the foot of the hill in which the cemetery is seated. But the extremely typical Charleston city employee tasked with the sign job had to put something on the one set aside for the cemetery–so she pulled a fiction from where the sun never rises and literally engaged a sign maker (her fiance–who reaped a thousand percent profit). In fact, nine of the ten signs placed throughout Charleston are similarly procured fictions–with the other being only true about Hartsville, Tennessee–the boyfriend sign maker’s hometown.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction, Story of the Week

The Storyteller by Louis Hunter

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Atop a hill in the moors sits an old man, wrapped in his beloved waterproof. It’s red with black buttons, and only some of them are missing. He sits on a carefully laid blanket, an empty space beside him, and sips from his Thermos. His gaze never shifts from the sister hill opposite him. In the drizzle and the fog, he is waiting for the ghost.

The air is cold and the sky is free to bloom with the tiny flourishes of long forgotten light. Next to the old man is another flask, untouched. He pats the blanket, gives it a tender little rub, and says:

‘She’ll be here soon, just you wait.’

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All Stories, General Fiction, Story of the Week

Ella’s Ghost by Nik Eveleigh

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“Please. Can you stay just a little longer?”

Ella holds my palm to her cheek and smiles. Her radiance pushes through the withered dilution of her past glory and warms me as her skin no longer can.

“I’m lost without you.”

“Hush.” She lays light against me.

“I’m sorry. You should have had so much more. So much more than I…”

Ella raises her head and grips my hand in hers. “You were always enough for me Charlie. Always. Don’t ever think that.” She is crying now. “Promise me.”

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