Prologue, The Dagda

Prologue

Fiction

The antlers were stuck in the mud.

Ahhh no….Nehura thought… “Are you dead…..?” He asked as he walked forward.

All that could be heard was the water crashing from the waterfall nearby and the loud calls of some of the ever-watch crows circling in the sky.

Then the antler shuck slightly in the sticky mud…

Mhhhhooooaaaaaghgghghgghhfffffff.

“What?’ Nehura asked. 

He lifted his head out of the mud, ‘No Nehura, I’m not dead, you got me fair and square though. Bit of a sucker punch when I wasn’t expecting it but fair is fair, you’ve won. Now, some gawping and give me a hand to get up.

Nehura took a few more steps down over the rock and extended his hand to Cernunnos. ‘Maybe lad things wouldn’t been different if we were to do this over a riddle instead of a fight..”he said as he got up off of the ground.

Prologue, The Dagda

“Aye maybe” said Nehura, “didn’t mean to hit you so hard but y’know…he looked for the words, you don’t knock out a god very often and you certainly don’t want to anger them after you’ve done it… “I had to win, didn’t I?”

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret lad, win, draw or loss in these trials and it doesn’t really make a difference, you can lose and show great heart and courage and cunningness and you can still be awarded pass…hardly anyone’s ever fought me though, it’s 100s of years since I had to fight.” Cernunnos stood a good two meters above Nehura in height and his antlers extended as far out as his height and the moss growing from his shoulders down to his arms shone a bright emerald in the sunshine. Nehura wanted to ask if he weighed much and hindered his movement but decided against it for fear it might sound foolish. He’d ask Tonnin when he got back to the druid.

“No, the moss doesn’t hinder me at all. Sure usually I’d have a few birds nesting on me, wee things, sparrows and finches and tits, they don’t even mind the moving about. Sure, it’s just that, I don’t really be moving about much. I just put my hand to the ground and I know what happening almost anywhere. I only move if I need to step in and help nature or an animal in a bit of bother but most of the time I just sit around peacefully in awe at the wonder of it all.”

“I didn’t know you could read thought Cernunnos…”

“I wouldn’t be telepathic or anything but I could see the question written on your face boy. Well done though, you beat me fair and I took the beating I deserved. Good luck with the rest of your trial, you’ve one left, yes?”

“I do.”

“Tell me this though, what’s your birth tree?”

“Oak, I was born June 12th of the modern calender.”

“I should’ve known.’ They walked on in silence, heading back to where Tonnin had told Nehura Cernunnos would meet him. 

“Aren’t the sounds of nature wonderful?” Cernunnos ask. “They are Cernunnos, there’s little better in the world than a good walk in nature, you can nearly drink in how good it is for the soul.”

The god laughed… “You nearly can Nehura, you nearly can. Oak, yes, you’re physically strong but that’s not always a sign, you’re a stong head on your shoulders boy, I can see that. Justice is important for you. Don’t ever forget that as you get on in years, the little man has to be stood up for, the lions and the bears and the wolves might make the most racket in the wilderness but the voices of the beetles and the spiders and the wrens are every bit as important.”

Makes sense that you want to be a druid too, sure doesn’t it mean ‘speakers with the oak. I’d happily bet you’ll pass the final trial easily lad and I can see you going on to be a great knower and teacher of the ways of the Tuath. Now, I’m no clairvoyant and I can’t claim to see the future but I’ve been around an awful long time Nehura and I’ve a good feeling about you. You’ll do well…

“I don’t know Cernunnos, there’s not that many of us left, we might be the last of our kind. People keep going on and on about the prophecy and that there’s still time for it to come true but I’m not so sure, it’s been around for too long and hasn’t come to pass yet, I think they’re deluding themselves. I think we’ll be the last here and then men will leave the place in ruins. They’re like a disease, everywhere they go, the set up, start trading and then get greedy and take all the natural resources from a place, leave it in ruins and then move on or worse they build cities and towns on their trading and import everything from all over and…” He let out an exasperated sigh… “Can’t they see the destruction? Is it because they live such short lives? I know we’re not supposed to approach them but they’re going to kill the planet eventually…”

“Come on Nehura, don’t despair, the earth was here for an awful long time before even the likes of my kind came about. And then your kind came and then man. The earth will be here long after we’re all gone, man won’t kill the planet, they might kill themselves off but if they do, sure you know yourself Nehura, they won’t be the first mammals to go extinct. But I understand you, they’re still in their infancy as a species though, try not to be so hard on them, they’ve just advanced a bit too quickly is all. Things will balance out eventually, nature will always find a balance.” 

The rounded a corner and were coming close to the spot Tonnin had sent Nehura to. They began their ascent up the small hill to the rock table at the top “Your prophecy still does have time and that doesn’t mean it will or won’t come true, I can’t tell you that but whether it does or not Nehura you know your role in life…don’t you?”

“Tonnin told me during my studies that you’re only role in life is to find your true role in life.”

“It’s been too long since I last saw Tonnin, when you see him tell him to pay a visit and tell him I’d love to share a smokepipe with him again. But that’s some sage advice lad, actually, it’s better than sage, it’s ideal for how your kind should see life.”

At the top Nehura stood on the rock table and called Tonnin’s name. “Thank you Lord Cernunnos. Again, I apologise for hitting you so hard…”

“All’s fair Nehura, good luck for your final trial and when it’s all done I’d like to extend a welcome invitation to you as well. Don’t be shy and when you ever need answers about the flora or fauna you’ll know how to contact me after you win in the final trial, which I’m confident you will.”

Nehura called Tonnin’s name again.

 

“Don’t despair about the fate of your people either. Time is long, very, very long and while your lifetime is so much longer than men’s it’s still little more than the blink of an eye for my kind. Nature always finds balance and if it seems dark now for the planet that just means it’s nighttime and the dawn will eventually come.” 

The giant god extended his hand to shake Nehura’s. As Nehura put out his hand to accept it the antler’ed one took him by surprise and embraced him in a hug. At that moment Nehure could feel his body collecting some of Cernunnos’ wealth of knowledge, a tsumani of calmness and oneness with all of nature washed over him and he almost felt like he was floating in the nature god’s bear-like embrace. 

Cernunnos let go… “Now you know my love for nature Nehura, go back to your world with a love for that knowledge and remain a seeker of truth and justice. You’ll make a very fine druid indeed. Now, step back onto the rock there and I’ll call Tonnin for the final time.”

The huge god turned around and faced the valley and let out the loudest gutteral-voiced shout Nehura had ever heard down across the valled. “Tonnin!” he shouted for what felt like an eternity as the ground shook beneath their feet, birds flews from their nesting places and pack animals ran in groups in the valley below them.

The Celtic god laughed again… “Oh, I enjoyed that, it’s good to give the animals a fright every now and then, gets their blood going. Goodbye Nehura.”

“Goodbye Cernunnos” Nehura said before closing his eyes.

With a flash and a crack of thunder Nehura opened his eyes and his was back in Tonnin’s ceremony room.

“That silly smile on your face tells me you won, what was the riddle? Or was it a quest that he set you.”

“A battle…”

“A fight…you fought with him? Why would you fight the nature god.”

“Well, y’know, most of he druid just take him on with his riddles or quests, I wanted to be different and I had a feeling he’d be rusty in a fight.”

“And was he?”

“No, he wasn’t. But I got him as he was coming over over some rocks, I got a bit higher than him and hid, when he got close I surprised him and knocked him out with a swing of a club. I thought I’d kill him for a bit, he didn’t answer me when I called him.”

“I’m surprised that you asked him for a battle, but then again Nehura, you’re full of surprises, always thinking differently than everyone. I shouldn’t be surprised so I won’t be.” 

“How long was I out for, it felt like I was there for a day?”

“No at all, I reckon it’s only about an hour since you drank. Now, off with you and get some rest. Your final trial is tomorrow.

Nehura put up his hood and walked home. He was elated with his success but putting his hood up meant he wouldn’t be distured by anyone on his walk home and even though he wanted to shout from the rooftops about his triumph he knew he had to get some rest for the final part of his ordeal.

 

Around midday the following day he returned to Tonnin’s house. 

“This is it then Nehura, pass this final trial and you become a druid.Now, y’know, your days of learning will never end, a day I don’t learn something is a sad day and it will be for you too but you’ll have learned enough and tested yourself enough to become one of my kind. I’ve taken a shine to you since you became my apprentice Nehura so this is a little bittersweet for me, I’ll miss having you as a student but saying that I’m looking forward to having you as a colleague.”

“Thank you Tonnin. Those are kind words and I look forward to being you colleague too. You’ve taught me well…”

“Hold that thought lad, you’re not done yet. There’s a final one to go.” Tonnin stood up and took some herbs and dried mushrooms and a bottle of liquid from a shelf. “Pass me your cup Nehura and let’s get the process started.”

Nehura obliged. Tonnin mashed his herbs and mushrooms together in a stone pestle uttering spells as his did his work. Finally he added them to the liquid and poured most of the mixture into Nehura’s cup. He kept a little for himself. The both took their cup, toasted ‘slainte’ to one another and drank the concoction. 

“Pass this trial and I get to teach you the recipe and you’ll be allowed make your own adjustments as well.”

“I’ll make it sweeter, that’s for sure.” said the trainee druid.

“You can if you want but it’s bitter for a reason, if it tastes nice too many people would be drinking it and we’d have nothing but villages of Tauth off journeying in distant lands and nothing would get done in this world….Anway, your first card was Morrigan and you passed her personal quest. Then came Cernunnos and you took him on in battle and now you’ve one more card to draw. Take a few moments to meditate Nehura and let the drink take effect, when you feel it coming on, draw your final card.

Twenty minutes of so passed before Nehura began to feel the effects of Tonnin’s drink. “I’m ready he said.”

“Take my deck of cards here, shuffle them, part them, scatter them, do what you will but chose one and turn it up.”

Nehura took the card and shuffled them. Then he placed them spread out on the floor in front of him. He calmed his thought and went into a slight trance and let his eyes scan over all of the cards. Finally his eyes came to rest on one. He reached forward and turned it up.

“The Dagda” said Tonnin. “Oh you poor devil, one of the toughest cards to turn up. I hope he takes a liking to you like Cernunnos did Nehura”.

Nehura walked towards the small bed attached to the wall and lay down, the potion was taking full effect now and colours we swirling. Tonnin was speaking but he couldn’t make out the words, they were blending with the colours and he was struggling to keep his eyes open. He gave in to the potion and closed his eyes for a moment.

When he opened them he was standing again on a rock table. This time he wasn’t at the top of a mountain though, he was beside a large banquet table and cauldron. It was set for a huge feast and some that smelled delicious was bubbling in the huge pot above the fire.

 

From behind him a voice boomed

“Who are you?”

Nehura turned around as he said “My name’s Nehura, I’m here for the third part of my trial.” As the word came out his his mouth it ramined open when he finished his sentence as he stared agap at the tallest being he had even seen. The Dagda was as tall as two oak trees on top of each other and his legs were just as thick.

“The final part? Great! Congratulations on getting so far boy. First we’ll eat and break bread together and drink some wine and then we’ll decide how this trial will go.

They ate and drank long into the night with The Dagda quizzing Nehura on his druidic knowledge and the goings on in the worlds of the Tuath and of men. Nehura has stopped eating hours ago but The Dagda seemed to have a bottomless pit of a stomach and continued to feast. 

“So it’s actually true Dagda, your cauldon never empties…”

Dagda laughed “Of course it’s true Nehura, I didn’t invent magic, that was Anu but she gave it to me and as the first druid the first thing I did was make sure I’d never go hungry. I spent too many years hungry for that to happen again, but look, that’s a tail for another time. Tell me this; how do you want to do this, a quest, a riddle or a battle.”

“Dagda, I’m not stupid, I know a glance of your club kills a person instantly and you’ve never lost a fight, I don’t want to battle you. I choose a riddle, I want a test of knowledge.”

Dagda laughed again, “Oh you’re a smart one alright, come with me so, let’s go across that field there and we’ll get this started.”

The both stood up and walked towards one corner of the field. As they got closer Nehura could see that there were three battle clubs resting around the inside corner of a stone wall. He wondered what this riddle would be. 

“Here’s your riddle boy, three clubs lie against that wall there, one is oak, one is ask and one is birch, each of them have their own magical properties, your question is…which club will you pick to fight me?.”

“But….but Dagda, I can’t beat you, you’re the King of the Gods….I chose riddle, there’s no way I can win.”

 

Again Dagda laughed “Pick your club Nehura before you annoy me. It’s time to fight.”

 

The White Trout of Tacumshane Lake

Fiction

 

The story goes that a beautiful girl was born to the Reilly’s of Broadway and them being the richest family of the areas they had their pick of who she was to be married to. As she grew old more and more suitors and their families made a plea to be wed to her but her father refused and refused until he was blue in the face. 

Finally though a royal proposal found it’s way to the Reilly’s. A distant descendent of Ireland’s last great king Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair travelled from the west of the country to the house of the Wexford woman and sure who could refuse a royal wedding. Albeit Ireland’s royal family long ago lost any power there’s still a few who claim lineage. The Reilly father agreed to the marriage proposal and young Grace was set to marry her prince, as she called him the following summer.

They courted over that year although he travelled to France for some studies over the winter but on his return and with spring in the air they feel deeply in love as youngsters do. Tragedy struck though two months before the wedding, young Daniel was struck down by an out of control horse and cart as he was passing when he was on a trip to his ancestral home of Cong in Galway. 

The horse had been quiet all his life but that day he’d been agitated, the locals up there say a local old woman had put a hex on the horseman because he’d been spreading rumours about her around the village. Be that true or not the horse had indeed gone wild that day and Daniel was killed instantly. Grace was beyond grief, she shut herself away from the world and few say her for weeks after. Months turned into years and there’d be neither sight nor sound of Lady Reilly as she’d become known as. Had she emigrated to the new world, maybe to high society in France? The story around these parts shes she made her way to Tacumshane Lake one night and gave herself to the fairies. 

Modern Irish Folk Tales

At the lakeside under a full moon she begged the good folk to being her Daniel back to life so that they could be married and live happily together until the end of their days. The good folk have a bad reputation but they’ve always a soft spot for a tale of love and told her she must remain at the lake until Daniel returned.

How can I remain here?  she ask them. One spoke up for the fairies saying, we’ll turn you into a fish, that way you won’t notice time going so fast and when Daniel returns he’ll know you and kiss you and you’ll be wed soon after. 

Grace took the deal and was turned into a majestic white trout and swan the small lake for many years to come.

As the decades and decades passed and turned into centuries the story of Grace and Daniel was forgotten but from time to time there were tellings of a mystical white trout seen in the small Wexford lake. A British army soldier, a keen fisher growing up in Whitby Bay had found himself stationed in Kilmore Quay not far from the small lake. 

None of the local Irish fishermen were willing to being a British soldier out to sea for some fishing on their boats for love nor money, fearing it would be bad luck, but knowing they’d be shunned in the local villages really when it came to market days. The man took it upon himself to saddle up a horse and look for some inland fishing spots.

Sure enough he found Tacumshane and Lady’s Island close by and after a few trips had heard of a rumoured large white trout in the waters. Impossible he thought, white trout aren’t seen in this part of the world, you’d need to fish in the warmer waters off America’s gulf coast for such fish. These Irish must think I’m an idiot.

Irish Folk Tales

On his second time there he saw something that his eyes could hardly believe. Indeed there was a white trout there, as nice a fish he’d never caught before and at the pub that night he told anyone close enough to hear him that he’d be the one who’d finally catch the legendary white trout. One local pipped up and told him to leave the fish be, You’ll come to no good if you catch that fish, he says…..oh, why’s that Paddy, asked out soldier….she was put there by the good people, the fairies and when you go messing around with their world things don’t end up going well for the gobshites who trample in unwanted.

“Poppycock” said the soldier, “I’ve never heard such nonsense. There’s no such things as fairies and magical fish”. 

“Believe what you like soldier, that’s your right” the local said back, but some of us know our history still and respect the good people because they give good fortune to those that do. Anyway, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t have fair warning boy, so I’m only telling you that it’s said that whoever catches her will lose the tongue out of his head because it’s none of us men who she’s meant for.” The local finished his drink and walked up, absolutely delighted with himself thinking that he’d given a British soldier a sleepless night of worry and torment.

He didn’t though, the soldier slept soundly and dreamt of landing that trout and telling his friends all about it.

By and by the soldier returned to Tacumshane a few days later early one summer’s morning in the hope he’d land the fish over a full day’s fishing. He sat patiently most of the day, only drawing in his line very occasionally to change bait. The whole day past with nothing biting. As he was about to give up the line suddenly shot off and he instantly knew it was the big one. He was an experienced fisherman though and know who to reel in it, giving it some line and then reeling it slowing in, giving it more to exhaust itself and again reeling it back. All in all it took him nearly two hours to land the White Trout of Tacumshane. 

It’s colour was like nothing he’d seen before as fishes go it’s a beauty. Too late to eat that night he decided to wait until morning for his deserved feast.

The following morning he awoke in his tent and rekindled his fire from the night before. He got out his pan and lay the fish on it and began cooking. 

Celtic Irish Folk Tales

Now we all know how to fry a bit of fish, so what happened next was a bit odd. He went to turn it onto the uncooked side but when he did so the side that should have been hot was bone cold. 

‘That’s odd’ thought our soldier friend but he just dismissed it, thought he’d been imagining things from not being fully awake and waited again to turn the fish. On turning it a second time the same thing happened, the side that should have been red hot from being cooked on the pan was stone cold when he turned it.

‘What the devil is happening with this fish’ he said aloud.

Again he turned it over, checking both sides, both were as cold as if the fish had just been plucked from the water. He reached into his bag and took out a knife wanting to poke a hole in the side of the fish on the pan. Just as he pricked the side of the fish, it leaped up out of the frying pan and onto the sand where it transformed right before his eyes into the most beautiful women he’d ever seen. 

‘What have you done you idiot….” she said….’they told me to wait here until Daniel came back for me…..

Dumbfounded the British man just stared at her. He could hardly believe what he was seeing… He opened his mouth to say something but he was too awe struck to speak…

What kind of clothes are you wearing? The lady on the sand asked…..are you British army? Are you lot still fecking here…does this country not rule itself yet…

He shock his head.

Ah for god’s sake….it doesn’t matter, the fairy folk told me to wait here until Daniel returns, it doesn’t matter about anything else but he could come at any moment. I have to be in the form of a fish when he does come. You need to bandage me up and put me back in the lake….what kind of eejit are you stabbing a fish anyway. You English…that’s your way isn’t it, strick first and ask questions later. How yous rules the waves is beyond my comprehensions.

The soldier was on his knees by now looking in his bag for something to heal her wound with. He pulled out a needle and thread and began to sow up the wound on her side. When it was done he covered it with a bandage.

Over there, to the left of that tree there’s some driftwood, go and get it like a good man’ Grace said.

He ran like the hammers of hell and returned with the piece of timber. Now put me on it and push me back into the lake, if I can get swimming again hopefully I’ll turn back into the fish and when Daniel comes I’ll be waiting for him. The soldier put her onto the piece of wood and dragged her into the shallows and once deep enough gave a heave and pushed her out as far into the lake as he could.

“Thank you” Grace shouted as she rolled off the board into the lake. The soldier turned out and made his way back to his small camp site and he packed up his things. The experience forever changed him, he returned to England and joined a monastery, took a vow of silence, not that he could speak anyway, seeing as the fairy folk had taken his voice away, and prayed every day for the soul of Grace Reilly. 

 

Gene is Going to Die, Short Story by Spud Murphy

Gene is going to Die

Fiction

 

 

My name is Peter Jensen, I can see things before they happen. I don’t want to or like it, but I do.

“What you looking at butthead?.”

That’s my sister Gene. She’s older than me, but not much. They call us the Irish twins, this means we were born within a year of each other and since Irish people apparently breed like rabbits, we’re called Irish twins. As far as I know though we’re of Scandinavian stock, all blond haired and blue eyed, not a ginger hair between any of us. Dad likes Guinness though.

Gene doesn’t see things before they happen. I love her but she’s a bit of a dumb-bo. I know for a fact that she can’t see things before they happen because if she could, she’d probably be nicer to me than she’s being right now as she’d be able to see that she’s about to die. 

I might be wrong, I’ve read that people like me cannot see our own deaths and just the deaths of others. So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she can see me dying and we all die together. I doubt it though. Gene’s going to die and it’s going to happen very soon.

“Gene, You’re going to die,” I tell her.

“You better not be threatening me you little goth freak?” she says. 

Gene is Going to Die, Short Story by Spud MurphyGene is your typical popular, highschool girl, stereotypically so. I know she loves me, but I know too that she’s ashamed of me when it comes to school. She’s gotten better since we finished school for the summer, she thinks she’ll be popular at university, especially since I won’t be seen around cramping her style. She’s going to die though, but she’s been very nice to me since she finished high school. I’ve one more year to go. I want to study to be a vet, but I’ve already see that I’m going to end up as a military doctor thanks to some bullshit war nobody wanted, except for the suits of course.

Gene has two friends who are always around, Victoria and Emma. They’re not very nice, they look gorgeous, but they’re soulless, empty girls who will both get pregnant on prom night and marry their boyfriends who will both end up being jarheads. They’ll both get a military pension though, when they both die in an airstrike in Istanbul, so at least there’s that. Strange how their lives synchronise. Maybe they’ll end up being lesbian life partners after their husbands die, but I can’t see that far ahead. Maybe I just want them to be lesbians. Sorry, I’m a horny teenager. 

Creepy Pasta Short Stories

At Gene’s funeral, they’re going to wear tight black dresses, sunglasses, have their hair done beautifully and tears will stream down their faces. I’ll never see them after that, but that’s a good thing. They don’t like me and it’s not that I don’t like them, they’re just such stereotypes and boring that they mean almost nothing to me. I love you Gene but if you weren’t my sister I probably wouldn’t and honestly, after you die my life is easier. Although Dad will blame me somewhat. Sorry Gene, but this isn’t, wasn’t, and won’t be my fault.

“No,” I tell her, “I just wanted to warn you. Gene, I love you. I do.”

“Oh my god, shut up. You’re such a creepy weirdo!” She punches me then. This will probably be the last time she touches me. I pretend it hurts to give her some satisfaction. 

In the front seat Mom turns around and gives us a look of daggers, you know that look that parents give you when they’re regretting that they had children. Most parents never admit it publicly, or even privately, but they sure as hell think it. Mine do a lot anyway and yours probably do too. Mine like to think about where they’d be and what they’d have become in their lives if they hadn’t had kids. I’d like to have the gift to see those kinds of things, it exists, but so far I don’t have it. Maybe I can develop it, maybe not.

“You two are a bit too old now to be hitting each other eh?” she asks. It’s not really a question though, it’s a statement really. Adults love those condescending, passive aggressive bullshit comments. If you try and make comments like this as a kid you just come across as a bit of a douchebag.

Ahead in the road I see a sign that says Rest Stop 2 miles’ and in smaller writing beneath it ‘next rest stop 66 miles’ My Dad’s a fast driver, too fast to be honest, but at the speed he drives it’ll probably take him about 25 minutes. I need to pee, but I don’t want to stop. Gene’s about to meet her maker. I can’t see how it happens, only the aftermath but I know it’s going to be soon.

“Who wants to stop?” Dad says, “next one is 66 miles away’ 

We’d stopped at a KFC a couple of hours ago. I don’t really like their food, but I drank a huge Coke, it felt so good because it helps with my travel sickness. I hate having travel sickness, I know I should watch the horizon and I do, but as soon as I stop my head feels heavy and I get groggy. I really need to pee, but I don’t want to stop, I don’t want Gene to die.

Gene notices that I’m fidgeting around ‘He needs to pee, he’s going to pee his pants if you don’t stop. We don’t want a repeat of Aunt Sally’s do we’ 

“Come on Gene that was what, 13 years ago, you need to get over that, or was seeing a kid pee himself so traumatic.”

“Be nice to each other” Mom says. Yea, she’s right, but I’m trying to let my sister live longer…

“I need to go too” Gene says

Damn I think, that seals it then.

Dad pulls off the highway and we make for the rest stop. There are two lanes going in and probably out, one for trucks and one for cars. The place is huge, a gas station, some restaurants, even a small playground for kids. There’s a huge monument here too for some soldiers long dead in some war that was not needed. Maybe it’ll come loose and kill Gene? Squishing her like you’d squash a bug. That would be horrific, I hope that doesn’t happen. 

We all pile out of the car, the boys going to the men’s restroom and the ladies to the ladies. They have those stupid self-flushing toilets. They must flush at least three times more than they’re needed to, wasting so much water all the time. Or does that just happen to me.

It’s so loud in there, toilets flushing constantly and those high powered hand dryers that make your skin move like there’s something underneath trying to escape.

“You want some chocolate, champ?” Dad asked. I don’t really but he does, so I say yes, sure, so we go and buy a huge pack of those cinema style maltesers.

We head outside and wait for my mom and Gene to return. Maybe Gene’s been sucked into the ever flushing toilets and she’s drowned. Is that what’s taking them so long?

No, they return a moment later, also with a bag of maltesers. My family really loves maltesers. But they’ll remind mom and dad of Gene, so we won’t be buying them ever again.

We get back in the car and I begin to think, maybe I’m wrong. For the first time one of my premonitions hasn’t come true. Thank god, Zues, Yahweh, whoever.. But this is great, Gene is sitting beside me and she’s alive and….no, I’m wrong, she’s still going to die.

Dad starts the car and as he does so I tell Gene ‘I love you Gene, I’ll miss you’ I say it at the moment the engine starts so Mom and Dad don’t hear me. Gene hears me though and for a split second I think she’s gets it, she knows something’s going to happen…but I’m wrong. She tuts, shakes her head and say’s ‘you’re so weird butthead, but I love you too.’

Prophecy Stories

Mom hears that and turns around ‘What’s going on’ she asked. 

Wanting to play the cool kid Gene says nothing, she grabs my drawing book off the seat and starts flicking though it

Dad heads toward the exit, there’s a truck ahead of us in the far lane.

“Oh my god, there’s so many naked women in your book, you’re such a perv” Gene shouts, laughing

“Well, they’re drawing practise, I’m just drawing”

Mom, looking at me, Mister are you drawing naked ladies, she’s teasing, I’m not in any trouble, she knows I love drawing and she knows I’m starting to think about girls and wanting a girlfriend.

“Hahaha, says Gene, one of these looks like Emma. Oh my god, do you have a crush on Emma? I’m going to text her and tell her, hahaha, she’s going to be so embarrassed….”

“No, give me that back, none of them look like Emma.”

Dad gets involved now as he’s speeding up to pass out the truck on the inside, rather than wait and let him go first like a normal driver…Emma’s a nice girl kiddo, you could do worse….

“Oh my god, Dad, Emma would never date a loser like champ here,” Gene says

With that, I make a grab for my book but Gene throws it into the front and the book hits Dad, it’s an accident, but he jerks the wheel and……time suddenly slows down. The truck driver obviously didn’t expect a car to try and take him over from the wrong side and our car hits his truck.

Maltesers everywhere, tyres skidding, glass breaking, metal crushing. Flesh tearing, bones breaking. The vehicles come to a stop, Silence. I pass out.

Clairvoyant Ghost Stories

I come too and the paramedics are attending me and Mom, we have some cuts and bruises. Dad and Gene have been airlifted to the closest hospital. It’s 21 minutes away by helicopter. Gene dies in the air from internal injuries. Dad has a broken collar bone and left leg. He’ll walk with a slight limp for the rest of his life.

The paramedic finds my drawing book and asks if it belongs to us. “It’s mine” I say “It’s the reason we crashed”

Don’t blame yourself she says, you’re dad and sister are in great hands, they’ll be fine”

Maybe she believes the lie, maybe she’s convinced herself over the years. In fifteen minutes she’s going to get a call to attend a murder scene where a man has decapitated his lover. It’s not the first time he’s done it and he’s going to do it 5 more times until he’s caught in a cabin in the Cherokee National Forest.

Dad gets out for the funeral 10 days later. Our relationship is never the same, even though I didn’t throw the book, he blames me for trying to grab it off Gene. Mom though hugs me for longer when we hug and she watches me for a second longer than usual every time she glances. I hope Gene is at peace and in a good place. Something tells me though there’s isn’t a good place after this.

Bliss, a short story by Spud Murphy

Bliss

Fiction

Bliss

 

You wake up and it’s bliss.

Christ, this must be what those enlightened guru dudes on tele must feel. Zen or whatever it’s called. Is this Zen you ask yourself?

You’ve never had this before, it’s ecstasy but y’know, without the actual ecstasy.

Your head is rushing, no, swimming…swimming with ideas, boom, boom, boom, tangents connecting with tangents leading to insights and foresights. It’s like a river has burst its banks and has formed a new waterfall and it’s all cascading and crashing down, down, down on your mind and it feels utterly amazing.

What is this, you ask yourself?

What’s….what’s, what’s going on?

This moment, this minute, no, this second, right now, this is it, this is all we have, it’s all we can ever have and it’s all there’s going to be. Everything is connected and it’s all culminating in this experience of itself knowing itself and feeling itself for what feels like the first time ever.

You sit up, Am I awake?…, yes, of course, I’m awake, I’m in bed, the shine is shining in through the curtains, I can hear the birds singing outside, there’s a lawnmower going somewhere and someone is downstairs.

Bliss, a short story by Spud MurphyI’m conscious, obviously I am but it’s like I’m experiencing being really alive for the first time.

You lie back down…..woah.. that was intense but you don’t want the feeling to go. You close your eyes and try to recapture that spirit, that fleeting feeling of one-ness with the world.

How did I get here? Like, to be here, if you think about it, it’s too much of a coincidence for it to have all come together and happened. What did Carl Jung call it? Synchronicity? It’s a coincidence but a coincide where the universe is winking at you, like a coincidence that’s meaningful, like if when you think about someone and then see a Whatsapp off them just seconds later, or when you’re thinking about something from childhood and a song you remember from that summer comes on the radio. 

The alarm goes off, disturbing your train of thought. Why am I letting it disturb me though, I’ve got something on my bedside locker that’s a billion times more powerful than the machines that put man on the moon, it’s a cliche but it’s true. Well, let’s not get all Eddie Bravo here and claim that the moon landings were fake. What’s that astronaut’s name, Edgar something….

Yea, Edgar something or other, he had a strange experience up there, he looked back at the earth and had this intense feeling of non-duality, we’re all one, each human, the planets, the stars, the universe, we’re all this one organism experiencing what’s on offer. Why can’t I think of his surname…Edgar, man, it’s on the tip of my tongue?

Man, I’d love to see the earth from above, I wish everyone could and we could all have this one-people feeling. End wars and racism and just be able to love each other. Dreamer, yea, but sure so many things we have came from dreams. Anyway… he established some organisation to do with Noetic Sciences, cool dude, kinda trying to get as much science out of the paranormal and woo as he could. And he did. Edgar…Edgar something, man, what was it?

What a life he must’ve had though, think of all the little things that must have happened and must have gone right, or even wrong from him to end up being an astronaut on that ship and experiencing that feeling and then going on to establish a new field in science, well, not really a new field, but giving legitimately to certain things that scientists would normally frown upon….

Sure how did I get here? All of the dumbass and stupid decisions I’ve made and all of the right calls I’ve made that have ended up with me being here? I wouldn’t have even met my wife if something like 10, or probably more, different in-no-way-possible to be connected things actually happened. 

I was working in a shop and I hated it but I’d been working a 9-5 in some corporate meatgrinder of a firm and it was driving me insane, it was my first serious job after college and earning good money but it was sale after sale after sale, convincing people to buy stuff they didn’t really need, or want. You ever see those programmes about people burned by buying property in the sun? That was me, I’m so ashamed of it, we all knew those apartments were crap but people had money in their pockets to burn so we took it, but the guilt man, the guilt of doing it was making me depressed and I had chronic insomnia. I had enough money from the job to quit so I did and to make sure I wasn’t bored I walked into a local Tescos and got a job stacking shelves, it was perfect, I had like 10 trolleys to stack every day and I could listen to my music on headphones, the money was crap and the only stress was the uniform, it was bliss. 

What Pronoia is

A friend in Australia I hadn’t met yet was crossing a road at a busy junction after a few pints one night out on the lash in Brisbane. A drunk driver speeds around the corner and flattens my new mate that I don’t know yet. He nearly dies but pulls through after a few weeks in hospital, a couple of close calls and going under the knife a few times. 

I left my corpo job and worked in Tescos, that’s two big decisions right there. My mate decided to cross the street at that moment and the drunk driver had to choose to drive that night, we’re on 4 choices already and even then, do we count what came before those? Naw, that’s where I’m starting.

Anyway, Davey got a shitton of money as a settlement for his accident and did what all good Australians with money do, go to Ireland to track down their ancestors and any living relatives. I’m stacking baked beans one day and up he rocks asking for a job. I send him to the manager and a few days later I’m showing him the ropes in the shop.

We take a break together and get chatting, I tell him I want to go back to writing and playing music and he tells me he used to be a drummer in a metal band back in Oz. Christ man, let’s start a band, so we did. That’s a joint decision ain’t it, so five things.

In a town called Pula in Croatia my to-be wife has decided to take a year off college and earn some money (that’s Number 6), deferring a year that turns into two, and moved to Scotland (number 7) to earn some cash. She’s soon disappointed by the Scottish weather. Can’t blame her, what was it Billy Connolly used to say about the Scots….ooh yea, Irish people who loved rain so much they moved to a wetter country. She knows where Ireland is on the map, and what Guinness is but that’s about it.

Davey and I and a few of the lads get a band going and live the life of riley. Playing a few gigs here and there and living it up like lads in their 20s should. Guitars and girls and beer and drugs, it was probably the best couple of months any of us had had. And while we certainly could have made more of ourselves at the time had we been a bit more determined it wasn’t really about success, it was about making music with your best friends and enjoying what we had. Living each day as it came, Jesus, we were never so free as we were then. 

With Aussies in Ireland though you only get a year’s visa, you can extend it but you need to advertise the job and if someone Irish and more qualified goes for it they get it, Davey was just working in a shop so didn’t even bother asking the boss so he decides to go to Scotland because in the UK you can stay for two years.

What are we on now? That’s decisions No. 8.

So the band kinda stops for a bit although a few of us keep playing and writing music for the fun of it. Once Davey settles into life in Scotland we head over to see him. When he moved over first he decided to stay in a hostel (Number 9) until he finds his feet. While there he meets this Spanish girl, they get on really well and start seeing each other, so they get a flat together. She’s in Scotland because after watching that Mel Gibson film Braveheart she falls in love with Scotland and decided to go there (Decision 10). Of course, as soon as she got there all the Scots tell her she’s bonkers because it was filmed in Ireland. My uncle was a set designer on that film, then again it was so big sure they were hiring the Irish army to play the extras. 

What is Pronoia?

If the Spanish girl, Maria, had realised it was filmed in Ireland but about a famous Scot she would probably have ended up in Ireland, or maybe not. Anyway, on our second night in Edinburgh Davey and Maria have a house party. At Maria’s work that day she invites some of her colleagues, she tells them there’s some Irish friends over to see Davey for a few days and we’re all good craic and that they should come to the party, so, what’s that, she decides to tell them about us lot and asks them to come…two more, that’s 12 decisions and then 3 of them come, so they made choices and one of them was my future wife, that’s 13 things that had to have happened for me just to meet her at a random party in a random flat in Scotland coz I went over to see a friend after he ended up living with a Spanish girl who probably should have been living in Ireland who ended up living with Davey because they met in a hostel when he decided to leave Ireland for Scotland because his visa was out who I only met because he walked into a Tesco I was working in because I’d quit my corpo job because I hated it. 

What are the odds though? That’s 13 things, so if each thing has y’know a 50% chance of happening, y’know, it either does or it doesn’t. But for 13 things like this to happen, the odds are crazy. 13 times of something being 50% chance is…or god, let me work that out…. odds of 0.012 of happening, so put it another way, for all of those 13 things to go our way and end up meeting, from those 13 decisions all of us made along the way, we had a 1.2% chance of meeting when I decided to leave my 9-5 job.

And think about all the other tiny, tiny chances that happened in between those bigger ones, all of the little things that could have happened that would have blown all of us off on a different course. But….they didn’t. All those things did happen. How wonderfully amazing is that?

Me and you, we had just a 1.2% chance of meeting, that’s nothing. And then we had to go and fall in love. 

How could you not feel like the stars have aligned for all this to happen? And it’s not a centre of the universe, the world revolves around me kind of thing, it’s that, fuck in hell man, the universe has put us together, against all the odds and here we are.

This must be enlightenment, it has to be. To be able to look over things and realise just how unbelievably lucky we are to be where we are and how it’s all led up to this incredible moment of realisation.

Pronoia Short Story

Not to mention the fact that the world didn’t stop turning last night and we’re cradled in the sun’s loving gravity embrace and we live at just the perfect distance away from the sun for life to even exist here. There’s a roof over my head and food in the fridge and I’ve a job where I can earn some money to have enough food on the table. I want to climb on the roof and shout ‘I fucking love being alive, this is the single greatest moment that I’ve ever experienced and I’ve never felt so alive and so in love and blissed out and so fucking happy……

The door opens and she enters the room. Wow…all those thoughts come crashing back again. It’s insane we even met and to fall in love and have a family. Jesus,….it’s, it’s, it’s madness.

‘I’ve something to tell you’ she says….

Oh un, paranoia raises his bastard head…

‘The cat shit on the kitchen table last night……”

And I laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh….Mitchell? Hahaha, Mitchell shit on the table? I ask

Yea and she’s laughing now too.

Mitchell, that’s was his name!

This originally appeared as a podcast here.

 

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

Fiction

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

I was doing a long haul, I don’t do them very often anymore with my back being the way it is, but I owed my boss a favour and anyway, I wanted to see my daughter one last time in LA before she moved north to Toronto for her final year of studies. Normally, I just drive now in the Dallas area in smaller lorries and avoid the big 18-wheelers, but yea, I wanted to see Kylie so it was a good excuse and I got to make some money too.

I was going from Dallas to Phoenix for the first delivery, up to Flagstaff for another drop and then onto LA. I wasn’t in a huge rush, but I was keen to get there before the weekend so Kylie and I could catch up. After a few hours sleep in Phoenix I got myself together for the short two hour trip up route 17 to Flagstaff. 

If you don’t know the area, it’s where the Co-co-nino national forest is. It’s incredibly beautiful, full of red rock stacks and wild forest and rivers. It’s one of the old stops that people used to make crossing America on the old Route 66. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t going to get to see much this time as I was driving at night.

Just as I entered the area the heavens opened. The sky had been overcast for a while and mother nature let rip with one hell of a downpour. Soon I was driving no faster than 30 miles an hours, visibility was pretty bad and those roads are dark at night. As I came around a corner I saw a lady hitching. Usually I’d never stop, but in this weather, I dunno, I must’ve felt sorry for her and y’know, something felt off. 

I slowed to a stop on the side of the road. I rolled down the passenger side window and could see her a bit more closely. She was soaked to the skin and shivering…well I thought she was shivering, she could have been shimmering looking back on it now. Her shoulders were slu

mped and her face looked at the ground, it looked like she hadn’t even noticed that I’d stopped. It was raining so heavy now, maybe she hadn’t heard me.

“Are you Looking for a ride?” I asked trying to shout over the rain.

She had heard me. She raised her head and lowered it again in a slow nod. I unbuckled my seatbelt, leaned over to the passenger-side door and opened it for her. She stepped into the cabin and it grew colder. My temp gauge said it was about 55, not bad for this time of year, but to me it felt like it had dropped to about 30. Her hair and clothes were wringing wet, but as she brushed her drenched hair away from her face I could see that she was incredibly beautiful.

“Where you going to ?” I asked my new guest

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

“Oh,” she said quietly, “I guess I’m going to hell.”

I laughed at her little joke, it wasn’t funny, but I wanted to make her feel welcome. She looked like she’d been through some god-awful event and I wanted to be helpful. My little laughter died when I saw her stern expression.

‘I going to Flagstaff and then on to Los Angeles if that’s any good to you. LA is as close to hell as you can get without dying in my opinion, I hate the place, I’m only going there because my daughter lives there at the moment.”

The hitchhiker ever so slightly smiled..

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s go to LA.”

I smiled at her and put my foot to the floor. It wasn’t long until a gloomy silence descended on us in the cab. I wasn’t freaked out or worried, I just thought, ok, this lady’s been through something, best not to ask about it unless she brings it up and anyway, this rain is so heavy I really had to concentrate on the driving and not killing us. Somehow it seemed like the weather was getting worse, there was the odd flash of lightning and the roll of thunder from far away. Unusual weather for the time of the year, but I suppose we can blame global warming, I guess. If you’re into that kind of thing. My windscreen wipers were going full tilt and I’d pretty much slowed down to 20 miles an hour now.

Eventually the silence was getting to me soon and I was starting to feel uncomfortable….

“Can I ask” I finally said. “What are you doing out in weather like this?”

She looked surprised that I wanted to speak to her as she continually stared out the truck’s window.

“Oh,” she said, “I hate the rain, I didn’t plan on being out.” 

Strange answer I thought

“Yeah, you’ve lucky I stopped for you I guess,” I said. “I’ve heard this area can be prone to flash flooding. Although, not at this time of year. I’m from the Dallas area so don’t drive up here much, but in this old lady she’ll be able to take pretty much anything nature can throw at her.”

She seemed to shudder once I shut my mouth. Oh, course, I thought, she’s soaking wet and cold. I turned up the heat on her side and her underchair heating.

“Look, this might sound weird and I ain’t no pervert…but you must be freezing, there’s some spare clothes on the back seat there, feel free to take a tshirt or sweater if you want to get out of those wet clothes. I ain’t gonna look…I realise that might sound weird, but trust me I’ve been married for 25 years now and I’m very happy.’

Scary Hitchhiker Story

To my surprise she said “Okay,” he took off her coat and tshirt and reached into the back and grabbed one of my spare ones and a towel too. She put on the tshirt and then started to dry her hair. 

I know I said I wouldn’t look, but out of the corner of my eye I could, of course, see. What I saw floored me…

“Jesus Chris,” I said.

With her coat and tshirt off I could see her neck. She had a huge, thick, purple and yellow bruise. I looked like she’d survived a lynching. 

“Lady, are you alright?” I asked. “What the hell happened your neck, do you need medical attention?”

“Ambulances don’t often come out here,” she said. “Same for the police. It’s too remote and especially when the weather is this bad.”

“Ehhh….ok,” I said. I was now feeling incredibly uncomfortable and again silence descended and we sat in silence for what felt like hours, in reality it was probably only 5-10 minutes until she next spoke again as we were about to crest a long turn on a high hill. 

“Please, stop the truck,” she asked.

I slowed down, but I didn’t stop. There was nowhere to pull over and I wanted to get to Flagstaff and make my last drop before LA. Honestly I wanted rid of this lady too, I was getting a little freaked out

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“You need to stop the truck” she was becoming agitated

“I can’t, I’m sorry,” I said, “I’ve got to get to Flagstaff, make a drop and then head onto LA, I want to be there before noon. And anyway lady, sorry, you never did give me your name, I can’t leave you off in this weather, you’ll die of the cold.’

She turned towards me. Her face held no expression as she stared into my eyes. Man, she was beautiful, but that bruise at the base of her neck was disgusting. She grabbed the wheel and the trucked jerked to the right, I tried to wrestle the wheel back off her but she was a strong as an ox. I stomped on the brakes and the tires skidded. I tried my best to keep the truck on the road, but she was too strong, we hit the rail and the side mirror was smashed off the truck when it hit a tall tree on the side. We came to a quick stop on the verge in the mud, thankfully we were travelling still at a slow speed, it was still bucketing down rain.

“God damn it woman!” I shouted. “What in the name of Lord…., — why the hell did you do that….?”

She was gone. 

Had she somehow fallen out of the truck as we were stopping? It’s impossible, the doors lock automatically and anyway we were going too slow. Where the hell is she? I was thinking.

Her seatbelt was still buckled. This was very strange and I was freaking out a bit. I hit the gas, but I was stuck, the 18 wheeler just spinned and I stopped because I didn’t want to get more embedded in the mud on the side of the road. I took out my phone and called the police to let them know a truck was stuck on the road, but they said they couldn’t reach me until weather conditions improved. My insurance company told me the same. They told me to put down a warning triangle a 100 yards back from where I was stuck and wait it out until morning or for the weather to pass.

There was nothing I could do, I was stuck where I was. So I made sure the doors were locked and decided I’d try and get some sleep.

In the morning I was awoken by someone knocking on the cab door. ‘Open up, it’s the police, you called last night, we’re here to get you out mister.’

Creepy Hitchhiker Stories

“ Well sir, you can believe it or don’t, but you might just be the luckiest SOB on the planet. I’d buy a lottery ticket today if I was you….”

“Sorry officer, I don’t follow you, what do you mean?”

“Come on son and get out of the truck, let me show you how lucky you are.”

So I got out of the truck and we walked up around the bend. Right there in the middle of the road just below where the road began to descend was a rock, stuck in a small mudslide, roughly the size of a 1970s Voltswagon Beetle.

“If you’d have come over that hill sir,” said the policeman, “you’d have never seen that rock in the rain and you’d be about as dead as disco now. You’re lucky you lost control of the 18 wheeler when you did….

“But I didn’t lose control Officer,” I said. “I picked up a hitchhiker last night, not too long after the downpour started and, well, she wrestled the wheel offa me and forced the truck off the road .”

“Is that so?” he said. “Where’s this hitchhiker now then?”

“Officer, I don’t know, she must’ve run off when we stopped, although I didn’t hear her or see her get out of the truck….”

He looked at me strangely, but not like he didn’t believe me.

“Sir, do you remember what she looked like?”

“I do,” I said. “She was very pretty, green eyes and long black hair and….errr…”

“yes…?”

“Err….she had this large bruise around her neck. It was real nasty looking.”

The cop nodded.

“I would appear my good man that you met Lucille last night. She’s a bit of a local legend around here.”

“Lucille, what, what, do you mean?”

Lucille was a lady who lived in the area in the 60s and 70s, having moved here with her daughter after her husband died in Vietnam. She was very protective of her daughter who wasn’t exactly lucky when it came to her lovelife. One day Lucille went off to work and left her teenage daughter locked in at home. She was suspicious that she was going to run off with her latest, abusive boyfriend so Lucille shut up shop and went off to work. As I already mentioned this area is liable to flash floods and unfortunately Lucille’’s house flooded and the daughter drowned 

Lucille was inconsolable—she walked into the forest with a strong rope and hung herself the day after her daughter’s funeral. She had left a suicide note that siad “I’m gong to hell to make amends for my sins and for killing my daughter.”

According to the legend, she didn’t go to hell though, she was forced to stay in the area and save people from the same accidental deaths as her daughter.

I know some people will think I’m crazy and that this old geezer banged his head during the crash after falling asleep at the wheel, there’s just one thing. The coat and tshirt that she was wearing, they were still on the back seat when I got to LA and mine were gone. 

 

The Paramedic

The Paramedic

Fiction

The Paramedic

It was my life dream to work as a paramedic. I know I could have worked as a nurse or a doctor too, but I really wanted to be a first responder, to be the first person on the scene who could help. The reason being that when I was about 12 years old my Mom and I were in a pretty bad accident. We’d taken a short ride up to Buffalo Bill Reservoir and were look at the Rockies in the distance. My Mom was a semi pro photographer and was taking some snaps, she was teaching me a few things too, so we both had our cameras on tripods and we’re waiting for some of that beautiful golden hour light. 

Out of nowhere this moron comes up on the kerb and hits both of us. I don’t know how but I was just knocked over and wasn’t really hurt, just some bruising and small cuts, but he pinned my Mom to the guardrail. She was screaming like crazy but luckily the paramedics came and she survived. Minus her left arm but if it wasn’t for the fast action of the paramedics that day she would have died. 

Creepy Hospital Ghost Stories

From then on I swore I’d become a paramedic because I wanted to, I dunno, return the favour. A Paramedic had saved my mom’s life and I wanted to do the same, or help in any way for people in similar situations.

Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with health spending in your state. It’s a disgrace everywhere. Funny how we seem to have money for bombs and wars and soldiers but none for schools and hospital and healthcare. We’re overworked and underpaid, but since becoming a paramedic only one person has left the team and that was to retire. We do this job because it’s like a calling. We have to help people.

The Paramedic Short Story by Spud MurphyPeople think the night shift is the toughest. And, in reality it’s not. Traffic is almost nonexistant so you can get to places faster and you get a good bit of downtime, usually we’d hang out in our building watching some Netflix or playing some card game or something on steam. Sure, dealing with drunks sucks at first, but after a while you become good at handling them. Even car accidents aren’t as bad, most accidents occur during the day, not at night.

On very busy days my partner and I usually head into work an hour early to let our guys off we’re replacing early, they do the same for us when we’re on days. Anyway, we got to work and met the guys as they came out of the ER. They looked pretty shaken up. They’d been called out to an unresponsive girl and had to do CPR, she’d been skateboarding with her friends at one of the skateparks. She’d just collapsed, no drugs, she’d never drank, just out of nowhere Probably an aneurysm or something like that. They’d arrived on the scene and all her friends were gathered around her and crying and screaming. Those ones with young people are pretty tough.

Anyway, the guys went off to get changed before going home and we took over for the long haul.

We had two call outs that night, both involved older people who were suffering from breathlessness. Pretty common here with our smog and pollution. We just calm them down a bit, give some oxygen and make the call whether to bring them into or not. This night we brought both people in.

As Gerry, my partner, was checking in the second old timer that night, something weird happened. I was sitting in the ambulance cab just checking my phone, keeping an eye on Twitter because there was a game on and I wanted to see some reaction. Anyway, from the back of the ambulance I heard a girl laughing. Impossible I thought, must have been one of the machines going off and I heard it as laughter, or maybe it was some radio chit chat that I registered coming from behind me.

It weirded me out, especially with that teenager dying earlier in the day. It was strange. Gerry came out after the check in and asked me why did I look like I’d seen a ghost. I told him about the laughter I’d heard and he just dismissed it, said it was probably the radio.

Spooky Paramedic Ghost Stories

A few minutes later after we drove back to HQ we parked up and stayed in the ambulance, and sit there watching the game, Gerry’s a massive ice-hockey fan too. Next thing we both hear a giggle coming from inside the back of the ambulance.

What the fuck was that?’ Gerry asked.

Man, I’ve no idea.

We both turn around to look into the back but it’s empty, there’s nothing. Both a bit freaked out we get out of the ambulance as Gerry says, let’s check the back, maybe there’s some tweaker around the back.

“I dunno man,” I say “sounds a bit like what I heard earlier…..”

We walk around to the back of the vehicle, and there’s obviously nothing there.

“Should we open the doors and look inside?” I ask

“We already looked man, there’s nothing there….Ah, I guess you’re right, we probably should….

Gerry open the doors and there sitting on the trolley is a girl around 20 or so years old, skater-looking girl. Except she’s not sitting there, she’s kind of translucent, like a jelly fish or something like that.

‘Oh my god” Gerry says.

She puts her fingers to her lips, making the ‘be quiet sign’, then smiles. We’re all staring at each other for a moment then, Gerry and I just stood there, rooted to the floor. After what seems like an eternity, she smiles again and says ‘say thanks to the guy who tried to help’ then she waves and says ‘goodbye’

Gerry walks into the hospital and comes back a few minutes later. “She died a few minutes before we saw her” she says. The next day we told the guys about what happened, but we all agreed we’d never speak a word of this to anyone else who works with us. Her name was Katyln.

 

You can listen to this short story as a podcast here. Photo from here.

My Brother Tom, a short story by Spud Murphy

My Brother Tom

Fiction

My Brother Tom

 

This story took place back in January this year. It was about a year since my husband and I first met and went on our first date together. We fell madly in love and we married 3 months later.

My brother Tom died last year at my house while I was at work. We had been doing some work on the roof and there was scaffolding covering the outside of the house. I was still living at home with our mother and the poor woman discovered his body in the bad yard. He had fallen, or jumped, from the scaffolding. 

At work I received a phone call from my uncle telling me to get home as quickly as I could. He wouldn’t tell me why but I could hear my mother crying in the background. Deep down I think I knew that Tom was gone, he had been in a bad place for a long time with drugs and a failed marriage, he’d moved back in with us following the break up and he just couldn’t seem to get his life on track. He’d get a job and mess it up and get fired or fall out with a boss, he wasn’t using drugs but it always seems to loom above him that he could relapse after one bad decision. 

My Brother Tom, a short story by Spud MurphyIt could all be traced back to when he was in highschool and he got blamed for a crime. He was hanging out with some rich kids and they all broke into their headmaster’s house one night while drunk and stole an xbox and some money. Us being working class we couldn’t afford a good lawyer and Tom was sent to juvie while the other kids got off with warnings. 

During the trial it was made look like Tom was the ringleader. We all know it wasn’t true, poor Tom was a pretty impressionable kid at the time and he certainly wasn’t the leader. If anyone was going to be the fall guy it was Tom. He had been a bright, shy kid, we were always suspicious that these rich jocks were only hanging with Tom because he could help them with their homework, or he was probably even doing it for them, but he seemed happy with them. Anyway, they turned on him and he had to serve time in juvi. When he came out he was never the same again and wouldn’t speak about what went on in there. 

Anyway, I’m getting off the point. I drove home as quickly as I could, only to walk into what seemed like a horror movie. My younger sister was there, she was crying hysterically. She was being held by my mother. My aunt Therese and Uncle Matt were there and what seemed like the entirety of the local police force. The pathologist was present too. I remember almost having an out of body experience as they bagged up Tom’s body and placed him on trolley before putting it into the ambulance. This was hard to take, if he’d been placed in a hearse it wouldn’t have looked so bad, but since tom history of drug arrests they wanted to rule out an overdose. We didn’t even realise at the time we could’ve said no.

Weird Ghost Stories

I am the youngest of the family and Tom dotted on me. I loved him dearly too. My mom was nearly 42 years old when she had me. Tom was 42 when he fell, or jumped. It’s hard not to feel like he wasted the last 16 years of his life. Yes, he can blame the rich kids, but he was in the house that night, he didn’t have to be there and he sure as hell could’ve gotten his life back on track in those 16 years that followed….I’m sorry, that’s heartless, he was an addict after all he had it tough, I just wish I could have helped more or that he could’ve helped himself more or gotten the help he needed. It’s hard not to get pissed off thinking about it.

Months passed by and life went on and seemed to get back to a normal rhythm and before we knew it it was the New Year’s Eve. I met my husband while I was at work. I was a waitress in a bar and Dan was at a party. We hit it off immediately, he took me out on our first date the next day. He was slightly hungover after the festivities but I knew within the first minute that I’d be spending the rest of my life with him.

I even introduced him to Amy, my daughter. Her daddy had died in a car accident five years ago and while she was shy around strangers she just seemed to like John instantly. Well 2 weeks from our first date he got down on one knee and popped the question. That weekend he moved in with me and Amy and Mom and I thought I couldn’t have been happier. We were soon married and then that’s when the weird stuff started to happen. 

I came home from work one day and my husband was as white as a ghost. I asked what was wrong and he sheepishly tells me that things around the house had been moved. I thought he was joking and said something like, Oh, did Mom get out of bed before 11am this morning? He didn’t laugh.

That night I woke up suddenly and could hear what seemed like a party going on in the living room downstairs. The alarm clock read 3.33am. My mom had left during the day to visit her sister two towns over, nobody else was there with us, even my daughter who was at a sleepover. I’d thought we’d have been in for a night of romance and wine (but Dan was still a bit freaked out.)

I couldn’t make out what was being said in the room below us, but there were voices for sure. I was too scared to even move. Whoever was down there, I certainly didn’t want them, or him, or it to know that there were people sleeping above them. I prayed it was just burglars looking to steal something to sell for dope and and they’d leave quickly. It seemed like it went on for hours, but when I looked again at the bedside clock, it read 3.38, only five minutes had passed. What was happening?

The next morning I got up and went to work like I always did. During the whole drive I was just going over the previous night in my head, wondering about what had happened and what it could have been. Nothing was stolen, the room was as we left it and there’s no way it was a dream. I couldn’t have imagined it, just couldn’t have. 

I finished work and collected Amy from school. We had dinner, I helped her with her homework, Dan played some tea party, dolly stuff with her and when she went to bed we watched some TV. I told John about my experience from the night before. He said he’d not heard anything but confided in me that he thought the house must be haunted. 

“Stuff has been moved around now for a while” he said “and I’d always just thought it was your Mom, y’know, her house her rules kind of thing and thought nothing of it, but then it was stuff I knew she wouldn’t move, like how books were arranged on shelves, what way the potted plants faced and things like that”. We sat in silence for the rest of the night, but we held hands until we went to bed.

During the night I was awoken by Dan kicking and struggling in the bed. He seemed like he was trying to scream and was moving like he was wrestling something. I was so scared and I couldn’t make out if he was dreaming or what was going on. It was incredibly dark and I couldn’t see very well. I tried to turn on my bedside light and it didn’t work. I jumped out of bed and turn on the ceiling light and it wouldn’t go on either. The only light I could use was the flashlight on my phone.

Finally Dan starts screaming my name and tells me he’s been trying to wake me up for ages and he’d been screaming my name. Just then I saw Amy was standing in the doorway and she was petrified with fear. When she saw me she let out a scream ‘Tom!’ she shouted ‘Leave Dan alone!’

Creepy Ghost Stories

We darted out of the room, put on our coats and ran to the car. That night we stayed in a local motel, the night clerk gave us a funny look as we checked in, us all wearing our pyjamas but we weren’t in the mood to tell him what we were running from.

Dan told us he’d been awoken during the night and something had seized him and he’d been trying to fight it off. He said it was almost impossible, whatever he was fighting was invisible. I asked Amy why had she shouted ‘Tom!’ She had barely said a word since we ran out of the house and was still as white as a ghost. “Because he was fighting with Dan, I could see Tom on top of Dan, couldn’t you?”

The next day I couldn’t go to work, I called in sick. My boss wasn’t happy and accused me of lying so I changed tact and said, I’m sorry Geoff, it’s Tom’s birthday today and I just can’t face the world”. At that he said, sorry, he understood and wished me well for the day.

I called Mom and told her what had happened, she got her sister to bring her to our crumby hotel. That night she and I returned home, leaving Dan and Amy in the hotel.

We sat around for a while, we didn’t really know what we were aiming to do. I decided to make some tea and my Mom went for a shower. After 20 minutes or so I thought she was taking a little too long so I went to get her. The shower was running but she wasn’t in there, she was sitting on her bed, naked, soaking wet, with her back to me. I called her but got no answer.

I walked closer and saw over her shoulder that she was holding a photo of Tom. I touched her on the shoulder and she jerked quickly. ‘What am I doing here’? She asked, “last thing I remember I was getting into the shower…..I think, I think I heard Tom’s voice…”

That night neither of us got much sleep, but nothing happened. The next morning my mother had an idea 

“It must be that Tom has returned and that he’s trying to protect you ‘You remember how he was always jealous and protective when you got a new boyfriend. God, you’ve picked some losers over the years honey and he was always there to help pick up the pieces when your relationships went to shit’

“Dan’s a great man, I said “Amy loves him and all of you guys have accepted him, I love him, if it is Tom he should be able to see that…

“Maybe he doesn’t see it, maybe you need to tell him.” she said

….But How?

We wait until nightfall, it just didn’t seem right to do it during the day. We turned off the lights and set up in the living room. ‘Cover all the mirrors’ my mom said ‘it’s an Irish tradition, to make it easier for the spirits to travel.’ I did as I was told, other than having a pretty common Irish surname, this was the first time I could remember us ever doing anything because it was Irish other than drinking green beer on St Patrick’s Day. We lit however many candles we could find and waited.

Not too long after we both felt a chill in the room and some of the flames flickered. Yes, it could have been a draught, but I certainly felt a shiver go down my spine. I wasted no time.

Tom, Tom if that’s you please give us a sign. A photo of Dan and I taken on our wedding day flew across the room and smashed into the fireplace. Mom and I both screamed.

“Tom, please, Dan is a good man, I love you Tom and I miss you. You were a loving and caring brother and son and we all miss you dearly. You will always have a special place in all our hearts. Dan isn’t here to replace you. I love him and he loves me and Amy too and my heart is big enough to love you all. I wish you weren’t dead Tom, I wish you’d gotten your life in order and life had been kinder to you but please don’t take out any anger you have on Dan and me. You’re really scaring me and Mom and Amy.

Creepy Ghost Stories

Silence

Then, on the mantelpiece above the fire, Mom’s waterford crystal vase began to, it’s difficult to explain, it kind of started to vibrate….then more intensely until finally it flew off the mantelpiece and smashed against the opposite wall.

Mom stood up now….Tom Dwyer, you listen to me bucko. I’m your god-damn mother. I loved you Tom and I miss you every single day and god-damn it you broke my heart, we tried our best to help you and though we’re poor we always loved you and cared for you and you were my baby boy, I miss you so much”. She started to cry.

But Tom, you have to listen to your sister, Dan is not the bad guy here, you’re scaring all of us and he’s a good man who loves your sister and your niece and even an old, cranky bitch like me

Please Tom, I said, let us live in peace. We’ll always love you and for as long as any of us are alive your memory will be too.

The flames flickered and the room felt warmer all of a sudden. If it was Tom, he was gone.

 

This podcast originally appeared here