Tales From The Town #26: The Loft

Agnes heard something clattering around up in the loft. I bet it’s that cat, she said to herself. I bet you any money in the world it’s that cat again. It’s worse than the dolls.

But when she opened the hatch, it wasn’t the cat at all. Or the dolls. A creature of some totally different sort was stomping around and doing cartwheels in the dark.

“Claire!” Agnes said. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you!”

“Mum! Look at me! I’m dead!” Claire said, and did a cartwheel to prove it. “See?” Then she paused for a second. “Wait, how did you get all the way down there, Mum? You’re not dead too are you?”

“Of course I’m not dead, Claire,” Agnes said. “I’m just tired. Now what are you doing up here in the loft, anyway? You know you’re not supposed to come up here on your own. It’s dark and dusty and there’s broken stuff everywhere.”

“This isn’t the loft, Mum,” Claire said. “It’s hell. I’m in hell and I’m dead!”

“Well you must be a ghost then because – ”

“I’m not a ghost. I’m a demon!”

“Well, okay, I can believe that,” Agnes said. “But you are definitely not in hell. Look!”

Agnes turned the light on and Claire saw that she really was in the loft. You could tell because there were rolled up carpets everywhere and the Christmas tree was in the corner and there was a big box of Dad’s things that no-one had the heart to throw away. Claire didn’t think even the devil would want a box of Dad’s old books and maps and things. In hell it was so dark you wouldn’t even be able to read.

“Oh,” Claire said sadly. “I really thought I was in hell.”

“You still haven’t told me how you got up here,” Agnes said.

“I used the slide under the stairs,” Claire said. “It goes down into the dark and down and down and down until you come out here in the loft.”

“We don’t have a slide under the stairs.”

“We do! Look, I’ll show you!”

Claire climbed out of the hatch onto the landing, then clattered down the stairs to the hall as loudly as she could. A few moments later Agnes heard some cries from below, then above and below, and then finally from above only. Claire fell out of the shadows and landed on the floor with a triumphant ooof.

“See?”

“I suppose this means we’ll have to leave the lights on up here now,” was all Agnes could think to say to all this. Nothing this house did should surprise her any more, but a mobius slide was certain something new. “Anyway, at least you’re not dead, Claire.”

“I loved being dead, Mum,” Claire said. “I can’t wait until I’m dead for real. It’s going to be so much fun! I’m going to haunt everyone!”

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Notes:

1. Written between May 5th and May 10th, 2021
2. The culmination of the story started in episode #22 and continued in episode #24

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Tales From The Town #24: Hell

At the bottom of the slide was a darkness so complete Claire knew she was in hell. Hell was probably pretty dark and also it was underground. There was no other explanation at all.

“I can’t believe I’m dead,” Claire said. “I can’t wait to tell the others. They better hurry up and get down here!”

She waited and waited but the didn’t arrive. She was furious.

“Where are they?!” Claire said. “ What a bunch of scaredy cats! I knew they were frightened! Well, now I’m dead, I’m going to and haunt them all. Forever! Then we’ll see how scared they are!”

The idea of haunting her siblings filled her with so much glee she did some cartwheels in the dark. She wasn’t worried at all about falling over or crashing into something because she was dead and being dead meant you couldn’t hurt yourself at all. And even if you could, you couldn’t die. Not again.

Being dead was brilliant.

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Notes:

1. Written on the 6th May, 2021
2. And a sequel to Tales From The Town #22

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Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

(Ko-fi contributors probably only get the gratitude I'm afraid, but please get in touch if you want more).

Thank you!


Tale #125: Reflections Of A Pale Moon

The Goddess of the Countless Isles was sleeping in one of her many palaces of grace and splendour when she was troubled by a bad dream.

She saw the seas beneath a pale winter moon, frozen so thickly the infinite islands of her domain were joined together as one by the undulating ice. As unsettling as this loss of complexity and separation was, what truly upset her was the way the ice, so pure and clear, reflected the world as perfectly as a mirror.

As the Goddess in her dream walked upon a frozen wave, her footsteps met their own reflection, and another pale moon cast light upon her from below to match that which bathed her from above. It was as if there was no difference between heaven and hell, that each contained the entirety of the other, that all there was was what we already had.

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Notes:

1. Written in December 2019

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If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon or my ko-fi.

Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

(Ko-fi contributors probably only get the gratitude I'm afraid, but please get in touch if you want more).

Thank you!