Sunday, October 30, 2016


by Michelle Slater
Having spent the day gathering with his young cousin, built the fire, roasted their chestnuts,  made tea, readied their gear for sleeping,  and with the night arriving fast,  the fire down to embers, the old man launched into a story as promised...starting off with a vivid description of another forest long ago, and how he'd smelled the remains of a faery feast in a mushroom patch, when he was interrupted..."G'wan!!!  it was toadstools, just ordinary toadstools"  the boy said. "There's no faeries, and you're daft."  "My senses are sharp boy, that's all.  If I say a thing is, you can take it for truth," Gareth proclaimed to his doubting Cousin, and went on..."The blue mists descended on the forest that night, but didn't lift as they usually do with the sunrise.  I rolled up my sleeping bag and stowed my hunting gear in the rucksack as sunlight poured through the trees, but the mist, thick as woodsmoke, obscured all till not even the trunks were visible.  I moved through like that poor old blind man next door, slowly, ever so slowly, arms extended.  No birds were singing"...."Hold on, that can't be" said little John, "they chatter even on the darkest night!"  "No John, by my sworn word, not a sound of creature save myself crunching and stumbling, with the odor of leaf mold and rot overwhelming my nostrils, until, to my horror, my hand brushed up against something warm and fleshy and I froze there, quickly pulling it back. making the sign of the cross over my heart I don't know how many times and prayin' to all the saints in turn."
  Gareth paused as a violent shiver passed through his body at the memory...

...He cupped his tea and sipped it greedily.
 "So?  So what then?" little john insisted.
Their eyes met.
"I don't know" said Gareth shaking his head.  It faded, that's all, just faded away, the fog lifted and I went home.  Wind began a low moan and the trees creaked.  Little John moved closer to Gareth and the old man held him tight through that long night.


jude said...

perfect read as the chill moves in

Mo Crow said...

good ghost story for All Hallows Eve & love the photograph!