A Place For Stories and Poems

Atratus's picture

Use this thread to post your own stories and poems.

Constructive criticism is encouraged, nastiness and trolling will not be tolerated.

Okay everyone, I'm currently working on a portfolio of short ghost stories for which to submit to a publisher. I'd like some feedback on one of the stories. This is a mostly true story that happened to me when I was working at Staples. The names and some events have been changed. Please, critique, hack, slash, hold nothing back. Oh, and also, enjoy........

The Haunted Chair:

   Pete knew that people were going to think he was crazy for jumping at the chance to work the graveyard shift restocking shelves at the local office supplies store. He didn't care, he knew he'd adjust well to the schedule, sleeping during the day and all. Besides, he had stayed out all night partying with his friends for the longest time anyways, he might as well get payed for it. This was also the only way he'd get full time work at the store; and that was what he wanted right now, was a full time job.

   He eagerly awaited his first shift, where he would meet his co-workers and get to know the inner workings of the store. The night came and he arrive at the store. His supervisor, James was there waiting to meet him. They exchanged greetings and they wasted no time going to work. Pete thought it was a little odd only having two people on the overnight restocking crew, but he wasn't about to complain about anything on his very first night.

   He took to the job like a fish to water. James loved both his work ethic and the fact that he and Pete shared so many similar interests. One in particular, both of them were absolutely obsessed with the paranormal.

   During lunch breaks, the two shared stories they had heard from others and personal anecdotes of their own encounters with the paranormal. James was more interested in the alien and UFO side of the occult than Pete was. Pete was interested ghosts, hauntings, witchcraft and the gothic lifestyle. Mind you, they did find common ground to discuss.

   The routine went on for months and months. Once in late September, after the back to school rush had ended, James decided to tell Pete a new story, one about the office supply store they worked at.

   "You mean the store is haunted and you didn't tell me?" Pete asked.

   "Well, I don't exactly know for sure if it is haunted," James replied. "But something weird happened here once."

   "Tell me." Pete said.

   James took a deep breath, preparing to spin a yarn he had told to dozens of people in his lifetime. Everytime he told the story, he always got the same awestruck reaction. However, this was the first time he'd told in the store to someone other than Jesse.

   "When I started working here, I worked with this guy named Jesse. Nice guy, but, with all due respect, he was a little slow. He also didn't believe in ghosts. He laughed at me when I told him about the haunting here. Now I'm not one to force my beliefs on anyone, I just told myself, 'he'll come around eventually.' What Jesse didn't realize was, even if you don't believe in ghosts, you still should respect them, otherwise they might not take too kindly to you.

   "I was telling him stories about this ghost in the store and he was laughing and making fun of it. I remember it like it was yesterday.

   "He was mocking my story and the ghost while we were both working in the file folder section. I told him not to make fun, but that just encouraged him more. Suddenly, a box of file folders fell out of the overstock section. Actually, it didn't just fall out, it almost literally jumped out. We both jumped and froze for a second or two. I gave him a look, saying 'I told you so'. He didn't think anything of it. His exact words were. 'That was just a coincidence, if there really is a ghost in this store, it'll give me some clear sign that it's here'. At that moment, a promotional sign, hanging from the ceiling on two hooks, suddenly snapped off. One hook remained intact, but the other just gave out letting the hang vertical. One of the four number sheets, indicating price slid off, leaving three. The three that were left were three 'nines'. The item was priced at $99.99. As it swung freely, now vertical, the sign read, plain as day, '6-6-6'."

   Pete's eyes widened with fear and astonishment. "Oh my god."

   "I know," James replied.

   "Are you serious?"

   "I swear on my grandmother's grave."

   "How did Jesse react to that?"

   "Let me just put it this way," James said. "He believes in ghosts now, and vowed to never make fun of people who do."

   Pete glanced up and the calendar and noticed what month it was. " Halloween is coming up soon, is that why you waited to tell me this story?"

   James nodded. "I was wondering if you want to conduct a little experiment with me."

   "Like what?"

   "Well, it's said that even though ghosts don't always make themselves visble through apparitions, it has been documented that photographs pick up things the human eye misses. I want to take a few pictures throughout the month and see if anything comes out."

   "Good idea." Pete said. "Ghosts are always more active this time of year, as the ancient pagan observance says, the veil between two worlds is thin, and the dead can return to visit their loved ones."

   "Exactly," James said. "Now are you able to secure a camera?"

   "No problem," Pete said. "I'll bring mine in and see what we can come up with."

   October rolled around and Pete brought in his camera to do their photographic work. They went through one roll of film each week. They figured that would give them a lot of pictures to study at the end of the month, 96 in total. With each roll of film they focused on a different part of the store. Week one was spent entirely in the non-customer areas; the recieving bay, the lunch room and the manager's office. Week two, they focused on the front end; the cash counters and the copy center. Week three was spent in the tall aisle area; the general office supplies and stationary. Week four, the week of halloween, was spent in the the electronics and furiture department.

   With four rolls of film spent, Halloween night came and went without incident. Despite the fact that neither would openly admit it, both James and Pete both felt mixed emotions of both relief and disappointment. Obviously they wanted to see and experience something, but they were secretly glad that nothing too intense or dusturbing took place, they each individually remembered the old saying, 'be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.'

   Almost immediately after the fourth roll of film had been used up, Pete took them to the photo finishers to get developed. He kept them sealed until the next night at work, he didn't feel it would be fair for him to see them first. This was both of their project, they would reap the benefits together.

   They could hardly wait until their lunch break so they could break open the envelopes and see what was awaiting them on the photographs. They both knew the chances were slim to none that they would find anything of interest, other than some great snap shots the store could use for advertising purposes in the future.

   Lunch time finally came, it felt like an eternity and a half. They felt that if they kept themselves busy with work, the time would pass quicker. Usually this is the case, but this night, it felt like 120 seconds to a minute and 120 minutes to an hour. Nevertheless, the time finally came and they raced to the lunch room, eager to open the envelopes and cast their eyes on their photographs. They played rock, paper, scissors to decide who would open which ones. Pete won, he took weeks three and four, he figured the closer to Halloween, the better the chance there'd be something. James was left with weeks one and two, he was a bit disappointed, but it wasn't a big deal, since he'd get to see all the pictures anyway.

   "Here goes." Pete annouced. Pete tore open the week four envelope like a child ripping apart the wrapping paper of a gift on Christmas morning. He thumbed through the pictures, but found nothing but some good picutres of the electronic and furniture departments. The other envelopes were opened, and nothing of interest was found.

   James threw the remnants of an envelope aside in frustration. "I was sure there was going to be something."

   "Yeah, me too." Pete said. "I mean, there had to be something on here."

   "I guess this ghost doesn't want to show up on film." James said.

   "Yeah." Pete said as he studied the week four pictures a little closer. He flipped to one he hadn't noticed in his original run through of the pictures. It was one they took of him standing beside a chair sitting in the corner, wrapped in shrinkwrap. "Wait a minute, look at this."

   Pete layed the picture down on the table for both of them to study. James squinted slightly to examine the photograph.

   "There was a chair there when we took that picture wasn't there?" Pete asked as he pointed to the area directly beside him.

   "Oh my god, you're right. There was!" James exclaimed.

   "Come to think of it, I don't ever recall that chair not being there. Is it even for sale?"

   "I couldn't tell you."

   "I saw it earlier today." Pete said. "C'mon, let's go check it out."

   The two left the lunch room and headed for the furniture section with the questionable photograph in hand. When they got there, they held up the picture to the exact area that it was protraying. The black executive's chair was sitting in it's usual spot, wrapped heavily in shrinkwrap.

   "There it is." James said. "Why doesn't it show up in the picture?"

   Pete had a thought. "You know how were we saying that sometimes, apparitions will show up on film when they're invisible to the naked eye?"


   "Well, isn't it entirely possible that the opposite could also be true?"

   "You mean an image that is visible to the naked eye might not show up on film?"

   "Exactly." Pete said. "I think we might be looking at a ghost."

   "This chair?" James asked, motioning towards it.

   "Why not?" Pete said. "Ghost don't always have to be in human form."

   "Yeah, but I doubt very seriously this chair is a ghost." James said.

   "Well, where is it in the picture then?" Pete said.

   "Maybe the ghost removed it from sight or something." James said. "Inanimate objects don't have souls."

   "So what?" Pete asked.

   "So," James replied. "If something doesn't have a soul, then there isn't anything there to manifest itself after it's death. This chair is inanimate, it has no thoughts, no feelings, no nothing. It's just a chair."

   "Then you'd be okay sitting in it." Pete said.

   "Sure." James said. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his box-cutter.

   "What's that for?" Pete asked.

   "I'm going to cut the shrinkwrap off of it." James said.

   "I don't think that's such a good idea." Pete said.

   "Ooooo!" James said mockingly. "Is the ghost chair going to get me?"

   "Don't do that!"

   James went up to the chair and began slashing away at the shrinkwrap wrapped around the back rest. He threw the wrapping aside and took a seat in the chair. He looked at Pete and smiled. "What do you think?"

   "Okay, you proved you're not scared of it." Pete said.

   James began spinning around in the chair. Suddenly, the chair's wheels began spinning as well. James was thrown violently from the chair. He landed on his front at Pete's feet. James looked up at Pete and noticed he was looking at the chair with a terrified look on his face. Still laying on the floor, James turned to look at the chair and inched back in terror. The chair continued to spin, violently. The chair spun closer and closer to the wall, when it reached the wall, it stopped cold and remained inanimate.

   As the chair stood there, seemingly staring directly through them, Pete and James stared right back in awe. James finally found his way back to his feet. An hour passed and not a word was said by either of them. Not a move was made by the mysterious chair. They both stood in silence.

   "Remember what you said before?" Pete said, finally breaking the silence.

   "About what?" James asked.

   "That story with Jesse." Pete said.

   "What about it?"

   "About showing the ghost respect."

   "Yeah, so?"

   "I know you're my boss, but this has nothing to do with work." Pete said. "But if you ever do something that stupid again, I will kill you."

   James smiled and nodded. "Yeah, okay. I get it. No one is ever going to believe this happened."

   "I know," Pete said. "Let make sure it never happens again." The two of them continued to stand in awe of the chair. It was a good long while before they continued work.

Wow, that was intense.  There was one typo I noticed ("The night came and he arrive[d] at the store."). and there are a couple places where the phrasing is almost too casual ("sleeping during the day and all." is one example).  Overall the story is good, very compelling and interesting, but there needs to be some tweaking done to it before it is perfect.  Great work, though!  I am curious as to what parts were altered/exaggerated for the sake of the story and what parts are true.

Thanks for the feedback Trixy. I appreciate it. The names are different. Pete is me, and the chair spinning around with James sitting in it never happened. But I still have the photograph in which the chair does not show up in the corner. We took photographs, but that would have been the end of the story and simply having a missing chair didn't seem scary enough to me.

Items jumping out of the overstocks did happen once. I didn't witness the sign falling upside down displaying the mark of the beast, but I was told that story at lunch one evening, and apparently it happened exactly as I wrote it. I haven't worked at that Staples for about two years or so though. I'm not sure if anything else odd has happened there since, but I wouldn't be surprised.


The way a hot metal pan

Burns the fingertips

I feel the scars from the man

Who first tasted my lips

I barely lost the taste

Of his lips upon mine

Before he fled with great haste

Without even a goodbye

But so much time has passed

My heart has nearly healed

But it still beats so fast

Behind my heavy shield

Soon he shall return

And bring along his charms

My fingers feel the burn

When I'm wrapped up in his arms

Hands (in progress)

Your hands so gentle

Caress my face

Fingertips lightly graze

My blushing cheek

How do they

Become so very hard

Strike me suddenly

Make me bleed

A tiny river from my lip

My shaking hands brush away

The red stain

From my pale face

Torrents flow

From my brown eyes

Drowning in betrayal

Where do I turn

To get away from here

You were supposed to be

My safe place

Where can I hide

I cannot escape you

Your hands so gentle

Become so very hard

(To answer any questions, no, this isn't about me, and I know that it needs some work, I am just looking for some input on how to improve it...  anything would be much appreciated)

Story in progress:

When I started getting migraines the year I turned seventeen, I honestly thought nothing of it.  The stress of being a teenage girl in the twenty-first century was enough to give anyone headaches.  Between school, my over-protective mother, the drama of my friends and trying to look "hot" for the boys who never seemed to give me the attention I wanted, I was stressed more than any young gir should be, but that was life.  I got into the habit of taking an extra strength Tylenol and going on with my day.  It was only a few months later, when even three of those heavy-duty painkillers weren't doing anything, that I thought I should go to the doctor.

   After the CAT scan my whole world fell apart.  A brain tumor, the size of a lemon.  Inoperable.  Malignant.  Images flooded my mind of a mutant lemon growing and taking over my brain.  I imagined that I was losing hold on my senses, that I was having a hard time seeing or that my balance wasn't what it should be.  When I expressed these concerns with my neurologist he scheduled me for tests, and more tests, confirming every one of my imaginary symptoms.  I was losing my sight, and my sense of smell too.  The fact that I fell down the stairs twice in a day wasn't a mere coincidence.  My body was executing a well-planned mutiny.  My brain was heading a coupe and there was nothing that anyone could do.  The mutant lemon, the inoperable and malignant bastard he was, was killing me.

   From that point on, my life consisted of pointless treatments that made me sick to my stomach.  When I wasn't in the hospital, I was at home, puking, confined to the ground floor of my mother's house, no longer trusted to be able to use the stairs without injury.  It seems that the doctors' plan was to make my already dying body so violently ill that, perhaps, it would learn it's lesson, straighten up and go back to normal.  I didn't need them to tell me that it wasn't working.

   I cannot relate to you the hopelessness that overcomes you when you know that, at seventeen, you are not too far from death's door.  After a lot of soul searching I told both the doctors and my mother that I wanted to stop treatment and just die in my own time.  Why make myself so sick on top of everything else?  Reluctantly both parties agreed, and then I told my mother I was taking the money I had saved for college, well over ten thousand dollars, and I was going to travel to England...  alone.

   My mother cried and begged me not to go, or to at least let her come with me; I could not comfort her.  I let her know that my plane tickets were already purchased, hotel reservations made, and that I was leaving in two days.  I promised to be back before I died.  I did not know at the time that I was lying to her.


   Until the moment that I walked through the gate to board the plane, my mother would not leave my side.  She wept constantly, her eyes red and swollen, her face splotchy and her breathing ragged.  I felt guilty, for a few brief moments, that I was putting her through this, but then I realized that it was something I had to do, and so I hugged her tightly, kissed her cheek, and shuffled onto the plane.

   After accepting a pillow and blanket and letting  the flight attendant know I wanted the chicken, not the fish, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.  It didn't work as well as I had hoped, so instead I tried to focus on my plan once I got to England.

   At a party I had heard a rumour from some aquaintance, a very strange girl, that there was a miracle-worker in England, at a cemetery on the outskirts of London.  She told me that he could grant you eternal life, for a small price.  She had no idea what price he asked, or who this man was, if he even existed, but the story seemed to hold some sort of importance to her.  She told me all this long before it meant anything to me, but now...  it was the only hope I had left to cling to.

   It was raining when we landed.  I did not have a coat, or an umbrella, and by the time I finally got a cab I was soaked.  The hotel I was staying at was only a short walk away from where the alleged miracle man was said to meet his "customers" after sun down, but that was a ways off.  After checking in, taking a hot shower and changing into something warm and dry, I decided to go out and try and find somewhere to have an early dinner.  I dug out my rain slicker, bright yellow with a matching hat and put on my blue gumboots, reminding myself of Paddington Bear.  I made a mental note to take the train to Paddington Station before I went home.

   The rain had not let up since I landed over an hour previous.  If anything, the downpour had become more violent, the fat raindrops literally bouncing off the pavement.  With a giant smile on my face, for the first time in months, I strolled down the street until I happened upon a small diner.  I ordered fish and chips and a pint.  The slight bitter taste of the foreign beer was a perfect contrast to the saltiness of the food.  I felt completely satisfied after my meal and left a very generous tip.  I was heartily invited back for tea the next day and I gladly accepted.  The waitress was a girl about my age and I was hoping to find a friend in this strange country.  How could I have known that none of my plans for enjoying this new place would ever work out?

   Heading back outside into the torrential rain, a mere "drizzle" to the locals, I wandered aimlessly through the streets, vaguely aware I was headed in the direction of the cemetery (the bellhop at the hotel had told me the way).  I noticed that the sky was much darker than it had been when I went into the diner for supper, and a slight chill came over me as I thought about what I was planning on doing.

   What if this man was a murderer or a rapist?  Or worse, what if there was no man at all and there truly was no hope for me?  The thought made tears well up in my eyes and their salty-wetness mixed with the rain on my face.

   Head down, dragging my feet, I kicked puddles up and soaked the bottom of my jeans.  Completely depressed by my own thoughts, I considered going back home to die.

   The cemetery was spooky in the half-light of dusk, long shadows growing ever-longer in the fast-fading light.  I sat down on a small bench on top of a little knoll that granted me a view almost the entire graveyard.

   I sat there and contemplated the centuries, thought of every life that was finalized by a few words spoken and a body buried in this very ground.  I shuddered, my involuntary tremor cut short by a hand on my shoulder.  It was now very dark, the sun hidden behind the curve of the earth.  I spun, but I saw no-one.  Turning back around I was face to face with a man, somewhere in his twenties, crouching in front of me.  I screamed, but it came out as a gurgle. He placed a hand on my knee and put a finger to his lips, telling me to keep quiet.

   I managed to utter a few strangled syllables, inquiring as to if he was the man I had travelled over the ocean to see.  A quick nod confirmed my every hope and fear and all the tension left my body.  My shoulders sagged, my head fell forward and my hat slipped off my head.  It was then that I noticed the rain had stopped and a sliver of the moon was peaking from behind the dissipating clouds.

   The young man, with a delicate hand, brushed my long hair away from my face and murmured reassuringly to me words that weren't quite words, but said everything I had ever heard and everything I could ever want to know.  He gently unbuttoned my slicker, a pink sweater beneath it, the colour of cotton candy.  Smiling, he stood, his hand extended to me.  I took it and my jacket was left in a yellow puddle on the bench as he led me through the maze of the dead.  I knew then that I was soon to be among them as strongly as I knew I was never going to die.  His words that weren't quite words floated all around me and it was difficult to tell if they were coming from him or from everywhere else.

   He stopped at a mausoleum, pushing the heavy door open with his free hand, and gesturing for me to go in ahead of him.  I did as he asked, knowing I would do anything he requested of me.  He was right behind me, and all around me, filling this place.  I felt I could not breathe, but I didn't need to.

   His wordless words became upsetting, rather than comforting, and my hands flew to cover my neck and throat.  I looked into his dark eyes questioningly and he soothed me with a kiss more gentle and more passionate than any kiss in the history of the world.  I felt a prick, tasted blood.  My lip was bleeding, ever so slighly, and I saw a flash in his eyes that suggested a primal desire I could never comprehend.  His pink tongue flicked out and washed away the tiny river of blood travelling from my lip before he treated me to another kiss.

   Pulling away, he spoke to me again without speaking, and I understood who he was and what miracle he could perform for me.  He knew about the mutiny I suffered, he knew about the growth in my head that was both unwelcome and untreatable, and I knew his was the only way.

   At first the pain was almost too much.  I would have screamed if I could have.  I felt my head swimming, my eyes going in and out of focus.  I felt him withdraw and then it was my turn.  The metallic taste of blood was familiar, but it was so cold, and there was so much of it.  I gagged, but he held my head in place.  I drank, and drank, and drank.  I felt myself dying, but I was not dead.  I felt my heart stop, I felt my blood stop pumping.  I knew that I was no longer alive and yet I still stood, still sensed, still was.  Minutes passed before I realized that I had not taken a breath, and then realized I did not have to.  Both of our mouths painted red, I fell into him and I made love for the first time.  He was so cold, but I knew that I would be too, soon.  His body was so fragile and so pale.  We spoke without opening our mouths about everything that we had ever seen, everything we had ever dreamt.  I learned of his transformation, of how he was seduced by a woman with flaming red locks and fierce blue eyes.  I learned of his vast and countless years and he smiled at how few I had seen.  I knew I could never leave, but he knew I had to go back.  I had to say goodbye.

   When I stepped off the plane and saw my mum, my heart broke for her.  My mother knew, instantly, there was something wrong.  Her face scrunched up as she looked at my pale skin, the wound on my neck...  even my eyes, once innocent and trusting, were filled with a worldly knowledge that frightened her.  Embracing her, I felt her shiver as my cold body chilled her to the core.  I pulled back to look her in the eyes and tried to reassure her with words that were not words, but she shook her head and yanked herself free of me, shouting words that were the most hurtful words of all.  A tear slid down my cheek as I blew her a kiss, knowing there was nothing more to say.  I went to wait for the plane to take me back to him.

   When I got back to the cold mausoleum we spent our days in, I heard, even before opening the door, the murmurs that meant nothing and everything and knew he was not alone.  I also knew that this one was not to receive a miracle, she was only to become a meal.  I slipped inside without her hearing, but his eyes met mine and we smiled.  She was dead soon enough and with full bellies and a warmth spreading over us we went out into the night to prowl all that is after the sun has abandonned the sky.

   At the first silver light that precedes dawn we went into hiding.  The life we had, if it could be called that, was all there was, and all there ever had to be.  We passed decades, perhaps even centuries, of nights of hunting and exploring and days of love-making and sleeping.  Everything was exactly how I wanted it, and then he disappeared.

   When I left our dwelling, panicked and afraid, after the shadows swallowed the earth, I was not prepared for what I saw...  a statue of my lover on the bench where he first spoke to me the language that encompassed everything.  I reached out to touch his cheek, once so soft and welcomingly cold, and it gave way beneath my fingers, his body collapsing into dust and blowing away in the soft breeze.

   I wept with the pain of a love that had endured the ages.  How long had it been since I had forfeited life in a dying body for death in a hollow shell?  Years no longer meant a thing and the passage of time we had shared could not be measured.  And now...  he was gone and I was alone.

   In my final hours, I wrote a brief obituary, the account of a girl who died, not of the inoperable malignancy that took hold of her brain, but of a bite to the neck.  I could not face the dawn without sharing how a miracle ended my life and showed me a world lit by the silver light of the moon and shrouded in the pitch of night.  I could not let us disappear into the wind without telling of his gentle touch, his soft skin, his voice that said everything in a whisper.  Who will remember the darkness of his tragic eyes, the way his curly black hair brushed against his cheeks or how he smiled in his sleep?  Who else knows how delicately he fed or how much he suffered with each life ended?  Only I understand the torture of living without life and taking what you can never again have as your own.  I tried to hide from the fate that awaited me, but I am finally ready to fall into the embrace of eternity.  Perhaps I will find a miracle man there who can save me from myself.  Maybe I will taste perfection on my lips again and know what it is to be loved.  Maybe, this time, I will also learn what it is to be alive.

   I have never seen the sun rise...


(Dedicated to Swoop so he won't ask me to post my work anymore)

All I get is "thank you"?  I was hoping for some harsh criticism so I can make the damned thing better.  I hate it right now...  I always hate my writing.  Bash it to pieces so I can fix it!

All I get is "thank you"?  I was hoping for some harsh criticism so I can make the damned thing better.  I hate it right now...  I always hate my writing.  Bash it to pieces so I can fix it!

Ok then.  I was orginally saying thank you because you dedicated it to me, but if you want me to go chopping through it, will do.

  The party mentioned in the story seems poorly placed.  Did this party happen before the narrator left for England, or while they were there?  That I have to ask means it is somewhat unclear.  It seems by placement before the plane landing that it happened here in North America, but then this odd little story about some strange man in a cemetary seems contrived.  In general, the paragraph sticks out like a sore thumb, and since you were on the plane before telling the reader about it, it leads them to believe that it happens after arriving, but the later paragraphs suggest it happens before the plane. 

  I think it might be better to have the "legend of cemetary guy" related after arriving in the UK.  It could be overheard at a pub (bunch of old farts spinning yarns), or at a party of some people you met while in England.  Granted, having the information before leaving North America is added motivatoin for the trip, but I don't feel this motivation is necessary.  Better still, it would provide an interesting contrast.  Why is she going to England..? Because she wants to live life as much as she can before her life is cut short.  This desire to live, when compared with the act of becoming undead, would present a beautiful moment of irony (not "ha ha", but poignant).   She seems brave to go on this adventure by herself - accepting her mortality, but when confronted with a chance to avoid her death by becoming undead, her courage in facing death falters.

  Regardless of all that, I would take more time to describe this "reveal" in more detail.  Giving it a place in time would be very important (before or after trip, before or after becoming ill, etc.).  I would also take time to describe the atmosphere of the reveal, who did you hear it from, under what circumstances?  How long does she wrestle with the knowledge before acting on it?  Could be powerful stuff.  Otherwise it seems too much like deus ex machina.

  The details used in describing the other elements of the story are fantastic (hence the disappointment with the reveal), and allow for some great pictures to develop in the reader's mind.

"I dug out my rain slicker, bright yellow with a matching hat and put on my blue gumboots, reminding myself of Paddington Bear." 

What a vivid picture, both of the scene, and the character's mind set.   Having Paddington bear as a symbol of innocence, curiosity, and adventure.   I mean, that bear got himself into all sorts of trouble, but always with the kindest of intentions.  Another interesting comparison to make with the protagonist in your story.

This, on the otherhand:

"soothed me with a kiss more gentle and more passionate than any kiss in the history of the world", seems like it was pulled from the Princess Bride.  "The history of the world" is a bit grandiose.  A little heavy on the hyperbole.

  The reunion with the mother is quite good, but I don't know if I would have had her say anything at all.  I think you did a lovely job of painting her sorrow in the first portion.  Adding the "words that were the most hurtful words of all" serves to implicate the mother as an aggressor, when she really seems to be more of a hurt victim (at least in all other descriptions of her).  Perhaps she could simply struggle to free herself from your embrace, and flee in horror of what has become of her once angelic child.  The protagonist would still feel the pangs of rejection, while the reader would still be able to empathize with the mother. 

  Those be my comments for construction.  I liked everything else (and could go on about how and why I liked it all, but that would take waaaaaaaay to long). 

All in all, good stuff.

Hope that was what you were looking for.



I am working on editing my story, and just wanted to mention:

The line "soothed me with a kiss more gentle and more passionate than any kiss in the history of the world", while heavy on the hyperbole is as such on purpose.  She is a young girl, innocent, and like me at her age, she's never been kissed.  My first kiss was also in a cemetery, actually, and that moment did seem to surpass any other in terms of romance and passion despite it being, in all honesty, quite ordinary.  The mind of a teenage girl is full over over-romantisized drama.  We all want to have a fairy-tale romance and often have this commentary going on in our heads, like the narrator of the story regaling the perfection of each little moment...  or maybe that's just me and I'm just crazy.



Exhausted in the marching glare,

flickering lashes all in tangles,

wear and tear.

Throbbing legs,

No time to stop, or so it begs.

The back roads are dense.

Limping in a left boot,

Stop, and hold the fence.

My time here is short and easily forgotten.

Destinations surround the bending perceptions,

of space.

Everyone living far away from me,

They make no effort,

It’s all my fault.

It’s all I see.

In pristine trees the shadows grow,

fractal silhouettes,

posed in foreground on the sky.

Chess and menthol cigarettes,

the violent eye,

opponent’s charm,

My trenchcoat waves the world goodbye.

The breath of sky becomes a sigh.

The calm before my stormy eyes.

Help the victims break their chains,

like pitbulls growling, snarling pain.

Columns of the building day,

Queen takes night and rows away.

Tip the man, kick the cans,

Talk real loud, real fast, with hands.

Critical mass of memetic traps,

Emetic straps,

Saturated and under wraps.

We’ve seen you hear before.

I cannot spare some change.

To be scene not herd

Does this make cents,

To think absurd?

Tortured soles,

march in boots,

these Fractal trees have fading roots.

The bug-eye view,

I miss the sights,

Fog machines,

hold the lights,

August dance, of sweat and bites,

Cloud nine was six feet lower those nights.

Two rather recent poems that I'd like to think of as 'abstract'. I don't pay very much attention to the topic, and tend to stray on tangeants of sound and rhythm. My best excuse is that I have an uncanny love for the English language.  ;)


One day I’ll hear the crashing,

deep coursing, black marauder’s word

the brain’s pulse stifled by the breeze,

the tease of breath, the clashing tongue,

the threat of toxin in the lung.

In the caving, blush cascade

its kiss will take my life away.


The armature, the lazy song

Centipedes taking dogs for walks

Humming to the clock, tick-tock

The sapling figurines distaste

to flowered spines and thorny face

cleaved roses from the rock and stream

the sky, it rose a melody

deep thought, it sang, tick-tock

and in the briny sands of time

the creaking of the clock in wind

came a numerical menagerie

of serpent dots and whirly Q’s

with tails that dripped with morning dew

that sweeter then the rock candy

dusted on the twilight blue

to misty murk and bursting shore

I cried my heart, for wanting more

the flesh of apple then the core

then adumbrate, then no more,

for sweetest was the bite before.

Oooh, aaaah. Yup, thats about as far as my literary critique goes. Thats very nice, seems kinda random, but at the same time flows seamlessly, very natural is what I'm trying to say.

Tres spiffy.  Though I was reading them in my head (not aloud), I could hear the words falling very delicately off my imaginary tongue.  Not that I don't have a tongue, just that I can't move it without waking up the person sleeping across the room, and so I have to imagine it moving through the poem. ;)  But, yeah... really enjoyable pieces.  A very natural rythm.  A gold star for you.  :)

Concealed in my cold hands,

Lies a star shaped semi-sphere,

I have ripped from the heart of the ocean

That caresses indifferent lands of my ribs.

Your withered arm unfolds

Craving to touch.

Craving to set vicious gears into motion

And release deadly power it holds.

Fingers twitch, working complicated controls.

Leading the orchestra of switches and triggers.

Condensing fur. Forgetting caution.

Letting the tempest roll.

But when your furry tiger-stripped eyes widen

In surprise of sudden stillness in nature.

MY words will become scorching lotion

Digging and Clutching your skin.

My last words...

Here's a piece that was inspired by a little troll who came to visit us a few weeks back. 

Holy Man

I met a holy man today

He had so much to say

About the evils of the world

About the price I’d pay

Said, “The land is full of sinners

Who’d like to cause you pain,

And every time you walk with them

Your soul will bear the stain.”

He said, “Put down book and scriptures!

Cast out the sodomites!”

He railed, “God will only love you

If you do what I say’s right!”

When listening to him ranting

I thought it rather odd,

That this lowly little human

Might speak the voice of God.

Who is he to say that God rejects

Those living life with love?

As if there only was one way

To join Him up above.

So long as one is kind and good

I feel it rather dim

To think that love between two men

Should bring offence to Him.

Continuing in my self titled role as resident sub-par poet, here is another piece for your perusal.  It's my first attempt at something more like a song.  Dedicated to all the Goth-a-go-go Dirvishes out there.  Any comments (good or bad) are appreciated.  There are still things I don't like about it, but I haven't figured out how to fix them just yet.

Will She Ever Come Back Down?

The primal notes release the beat

And to the floor she walks

They slowly start to move their feet

Hearts thump with every shock

A build up of intensive heat

She calls out to her flock

And the music rolls right through her

Cuts her and consumes her

Like a dervish in her gown

Will she ever come back down?

In an endless stream of verses

Bass assails them all night long

As if struck by ancient curses

Though they have done no wrong

‘Cause the thing that sates their thirst is

Hidden somewhere in a song

And the music rolls right through her

Cuts her and consumes her

Like a dervish in her gown

Will she ever come back down?

As the dark is slowly dying

The night seems to be done

All the club kids keep on trying

But D.J. left his throne

When the masses give up crying

She stands there all alone

And the music rolls right through her

Cuts her and consumes her

Like a dervish in her gown

Will she ever come back down?

© James Flanagan 2005


I am absolutely in love with "Will She Ever Come Back Down".  I've read it over and over and think it's absolutely amazing.  You have a real talent with creating a picture with your words...  I can't get enough of this one.

Also, "Holy Man"...  SO good, hun!  I really liked it.  It made me giggle a little, although I'm not entirely sure that was the intention.  Anyway, I found it rather amusing and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I can't even think of any way to improve on either of these works.  Good show and all that!


I have to admit that "Holy Man" and "Will She Ever Come Back Down" are among my favourites, though recently I've been particulary fond of "She lives in darkness."  Granted, a goodly portion is lifted from Byron, but I really like the parts I put in too.  The problem with a lot of parody/immitation is that it seems a hollow shadow of the original.  I like to think that's not the case with "She lives in darkness." 

And it's good that you recognized the humour in "Holy Man."  It was intended to poke fun at David Michael Barr.  You remember him, right?  Our little troll from back in February who testified about God's feelings on homosexuality.  I find making fun of someone in verse far more effective that calling them a poopie head.  Few people call for that kind of effort, but Mr. Barr managed to motivate me.

Adapted (stolen) from Lord Byron's  "She walks in beauty"

As always, comments are welcome.

She lives in darkness

She lives in darkness, like a child

With playpen pals and favoured friends,

And all the men, their hearts go wild,

In dreams of passion without end,

But actually she is quite mild

Which seems to go against the trend.

Immersed in velvet touched with lace,

She has no need for whips and chains.

With midnight painted on her face,

And spiders spun into her train,

She moves along at her own pace

A cryptic beauty she’ll remain.

Sweet spirit, we will never know,

So pale, so fair, so eloquent,

The grins that win, the inks that glow,

And speak of nights in mischief spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!


The pretty little girl,

With a smile slapped on her face

Hates the life she lives

but the tears show not a trace

Now shes all grown up

and she never laughs

shes just a little Scarling,


oh the ugly little thing

Rows and rows of scars

bruises bumbs and stabs

her head is in the stars

her life is in her scabs

Shes just a little Scarling,

hated and misunderstood,

Oh the ugly little thing,

wouldnt smile if she could.

(This poem is kinda old but tell me what you think)

I wasn't terribly impressed the first time I read it (a couple of weeks ago), but it's started to grow on me since.  I especially like the third stanza, the "life is in her scabs."  Neat image.


Since I continue to have way too much time on my hands, here are a few more poems.  A bit more of a darker tone than before, but life is full of ups and downs.  :P

Surcease from Sorrow

As I seek surcease from sorrow

Joy that I could beg or borrow

Wandering lost, bewildered, blind

Fearing what will come tomorrow

Searching for some peace of mind

Knowing there is none to find

Entering another round

In a world that’s cruel not kind

Laughter is an absent sound

Cheer is nowhere to be found

Living in a world of shadow

Peace lies only underground

Darkness Has a Hold of Me

In the darkness sorrow finds me

Enwraps me and entwines me

It doesn’t matter if I hide

Still drowning in this onyx tide

Hollow to the core

To live is such a chore

I feel the coming of the cold

Trembling, shaking, growing old

If I could from this state transcend

If pain and tears would come to end

I know that this can never be

‘Cause darkness has a hold of me

What the Future Holds

To be alone always

For the rest of my days

Not to be touched by love

Questioning those above

Is it something I’ve done wrong

Does it have to be so long

Will happiness ever find me

Is this darkness all I will see

Soul forever breaking

Heart that’s not worth taking

Lacking one true friend

Sorrow without an end

Well it looks like nobody has posted anything here for a while.  That seems a shame.  Unfortunately, it means you'll have to suffer through a few of my pieces.  Two are older ones, one I just finished this morning (but is a poem ever really finished?).

Loving Lenore

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

I love the depth and keen insight you lack,

The way you promise to call me "right back."

But most of all I love the foggy haze

In which I'm lost when you don't call for days

It's not that I care, or even keep track

(Though it took three days for you to call back.)

But I love you still and will sing your praise.

I cherish the time that you rested your head

On my shoulder while I cramped through the night

And how you easily cast me aside

After you had chewed me up, bite by bite.

I love you while I lay alone in bed

Praying that you had never met my sight.

Moving On

Chocolates are sweet, and a rose is a treat

For those who make true love their goal.

But those will soon grieve, who wear hearts on their sleeve,

‘Cause sadness will puncture their soul.

To try to play Cupid, is so gosh darn stupid

No mortal can master his bow.

No matter how we rhyme, we’re all pris’ners of Time

Boy cherub the sole one to know.

And so, should one hide, their time should they bide

‘til the God of Love, calling them, beckons?

Should he crawl from this cave, himself to save?

It’s better than darkness, I reckon.

So soon he will screech, “Once more to the breach!”

As he sets out to take on that world.

In back of his head, there’s feeling of dread,

Knowing that he once loved a girl.

Too early to wake, too late to sleep

She haunts his thoughts, much like a ghost

A shadowed, cryptic, nightly host

It seems without her he’d be lost

This girl that he has wanted most

Longing late for his lovely lass

He feels like brittle, broken glass

Fearing he’s not in her class

He tells himself, “This too shall pass”

Time, it slowly ticks away

On comes breaking of the day

Until then he’ll hope and pray

Lady love will come his way

“Hello,” she says, and bells they ring

And suddenly his heart will sing

But this will always be the thing

At five o’clock in the morning



I just read your first post (I have to catch a bus shortly, so I will go over the other poems later), but I must say that I absolutely adore Loving Lenore and Moving On.  There are a couple times when the meter is a little off in Moving On, but over-all, they are incredible.  Just the title and first lines of Loving Lenore made me smile...  you have true talent, my dear.  I can't wait to read the others later!


I know what you mean about the meter in Moving On.  I'd have liked to have made it 10 and 8 throughout (or maybe 12 and 8 ), but I just couldn't seem to nail it down while conveying the intended ideas.  Though, if pushed, I could justify leaving it as is in two ways:   ;D

          1) The narrator is still somewhat unballanced, despite his assertations to the contrary, as can be seen in the doubt presented in the final lines and echoed in the unballanced meter throughout the poem. (kind of like Hamlet)

          2) Perhaps the author felt it best to "Move on" rather than meddle with the particulars of the poem.  ::)

That's one of the fun things about poetry.  You can read all sorts of things into it that the author never intended.

Loving Lenore was written years earlier (back in 98 I think), and was my first attempt at channelling negative feelings into something productive.  The girl who set me up with Lenore got quite a kick out of it. (evil)  Another fellow I know liked it better than the Browning one it parodied.  I was very flattered.  :B

I know that, since the poem was based on a real person, this was probably not intended, but the title of Loving Lenore immediately made me think of The Raven.  Oh, typical goth-y me...  in love with Edgar Allen Poe.  ^__^  Anyhow, I will read more tomorrow.  I have to babysit the little headache.  Blah.

Oh, I feel so smart!  Now I have to go take my boyfriend out for breakfast.  I am so awesome it hurts sometimes...  or maybe that's just because I hit my head getting up this morning.  Stupid shelf.

Love & Pain

Love and Pain, two totally different words,

although they have the same meaning.

Love may feel beautiful at times,

in the end you feel an intense feeling of Pain.

Love is a mystery that I am afraid of considering

all it does is bring such Pain to me.

Love has such a power over me I cannot control,

I need help because I am addicted to Love.

Love would be the most beautiful feeling if Pain

did not have to come with it.

I want to feel so much love for someone,

but now once again I am being pushed away with such

a gret feeling of lonliness and hopelessness which is Pain.

I Wish

I wish that I could be something in which I am not,

I wish that I wasn't what I am,

What I am is not what I wish,

Something else other than this is what I wish.

The world could be a better place if I could be what I wish.

I could be a much better person if I could only have just one wish.

I wish that I could be something in which I am not.

The sky in which is beautiful in my eyes would never be blue.

Just warm black cloudless skies with stars as far as you can see.

The people in which are beautiful in my eyes would be on their own, and there would be a few that would capture me as unique.

They would become a part of me and I one of you.

The world in which is beautiful in my eyes would be a warm black aria place,

in which no-one or nothing matters but those who were unique.

No-one or anything to say thing that are and are not allowed in this fucked up society in which we are imprisoned.

If I could have just one wish,

I wish I could be something in which I am not.

Mine Entry....


The empty halls of this bloody house, the cascading silent walls.

Another day of saddened pain. Increasing.

She left us now, mocking. How could I not be appalled?

A friend's comfort, useless. The sudden longing...

I am death, or have I dreamed?

As the razor cut my flesh, as the liquid flowed...

Was there solace and or peace?

Darkness embraced, long and gone, echoed in sadness.

For thou hath lost thy beloved, For thine had lost life.

For thy precious heart left bleeding, For thy lingering cry.


Her face, her image, haunting and longed for.

The sweet voice from her mouth, tormenting and missed.

It has been years and that day was lost.

In the books of time, erased and forgotten.

The small photo, left in me.

Now just a haze, in me and in my dream.

The eternal mirror of my gloom, an ephemeral shade of smile.

It’s pain…it’s pain, everlasting.

I whisper to the wind, it’s howling chilling.

Am I just a memory now?

Questions within myself I asked. It echoed.

Is this not what I wanted? Is this not what I needed?

For I am just a shell now, a husk of one’s past.

An empty dream of one’s mask.

Am I just a void now?

Am I completely nothing?

The empty halls of this bloody house…

Another night on this restless bed….


anyway, I have some other entries but got lost due to a lost password in an account...

as i wait at the underground train in london

i relsid thta i have been waitting all my life for some one

i shouted at the top of my lungs to make an eace, i pretended it was some one iuse to know

was i worth leaving to sleep a lone at night

this place is a prison

what dose it take to get a drink in this place

these people are not your freinds

what dose it take how long must i wait

ill be the fire escape bolted to the ancent bricks, were you sit to cotemplate your life

that is what she gave to me

the fire of love can brun from afar... but its out for me

can you call a sergin to crak my ribs open, so he can fix my broken heart

if not dont wake me i plan on sleeping

i take in a breath of air... is it my last one...

    tell me what you think please

Black hair, pale skin. Being yourself is a sin. If it were not, they would not care, Or burn with you. It must be wrong to be real. Because others are afraid to feel. You sinful goth, you are bad. Because you can't help being mad. You hate the world, that hates you back. Just because your clothes are black. You get in fights, you didn't start . But they say it was you, who has no heart. They tease as though it were a game. They laugh at you, they call you names. You're a sinner.You are wrong. So your cuts are jagged & long. You drift to sleep in the silent night,Before the light. Hopeing to die. Originality is denied. You cut so deep, you drift to sleep. Can't stay alive..................

by jp

Urgently Unimportant.

Lost inside a picture gallery.

Draggle down the wing of cupidity.

As statues harvest twisting thorns,

their sordid needs it all adorns,

through waves of false lucidity.

I try but I can't feel your pain;

Your schemes all seem to scream the same.

Abstract, insentient, profiles.

Hard working smiles line up for miles.

Peers on pedestals, judge on trials.

Romance movie stills, I urgently fear.

You speak of love, but all I hear,

is the vocabulary of alien situations,

a passion sear,

so far away,

dead heart cliche.

Shatter the sacred, the vacancy grows,

the statues pray for a meaningful pose,

as I feel so urgently unimportant.


-Roy Michael Spall

Tower of life

I start out at the bottom, Crawling towards the massive tower gates; then the strange doors slowly open and light slowly engulfs the stone outer steps.

I crawl into the tower, currently residing on the cold ground floor.

My view is limited, everything above me is cloaked in mystery, hidden in darkness, silence and inaccessible, for the time being.

My climb begins, slowly at first, crawling upwards; one step at a time.

The climb is difficult and tiring; first of many floors have been climbed.

Crawling has been replaced with walking; unstable and clumsy at first, and full of scrapped bleeding knees.

Steps seem short, no longer a mile high and ever easier to climb.

For, I am young, Naive, care-free and innocent; the years pass by quickly and I become older and more mature.

I lose my innocence, see the world around me differently; and I completely change with the flow of time.

All I can do is remember my past; when I was young and care-free, it’s impossible to look back. This tower is only one-way:upwards. However, I can think and imagine, what my future might be like. Yet, I wonder how long I will live and sometimes I just don’t really care.

The years seem to blend together; and twenty years has long since passed. Floor thirty came rapidly and ended with out warning. And even more years quickly pass me by.

I am past the prime of my life; I can still remember the past but some memories are starting to seem faint and distant. Those past “floors” of my life are strange to me compared to how I am now.

I have reached floor sixty, the stairs seem to stretch on; and climbing this tower becomes painful at times. Friends have disappeared; never too be seen or heard from ever again. I can tell that the tower of life is becoming weak; its on longer sold and is becoming fatigued and weakened.

I can no longer continue onwards; my remaining time here is short. Fading quickly, I see my life and important memories being played for me one last time.

The floors start to fall away; and the images I see blacken and finally fade away.

The walls cave-in around me; and I can no longer see.

This tower completely crumbles and I am taken with it; all that remains is broken stone, metal, wood and faint memories. And I have faded away.

By Ecaidies

If you want to comment on this poem.

Thanks for reading it.

A Pixie's Dream Land

A Pixie's Dream Land

The wind rushed past her ears, and tugged at her clothes. Spring filled the air, with the smell of newly awakened flowers. She always felt free as she dodged the leaves and branches coating them in shimmering magic dust on her flight through the forest to the meadow.

The Pixie reached her destination in record time. Not slowing her speed even a little she reached the middle of the meadow and started spiraling into the sky. When she decided that she was high enough she stopped, letting herself fall until inches away from the ground; the rush made her head spin. Flopping down on the warm ground to catch her breath, Flopping down on the warm ground to catch her breath, all the while basking in the mid-day sun, a smile enveloped her face. When she was here she was at her best, away from all worries. She knew it wouldn't last long though, it never did.

After lying, not moving, enjoying the tranquility, finally the calls came. Pensively she gathered herself up off the ground. She made her way sluggishly back through the forest, knowing she must return home, back to work and chores and life.

Written By Lady Shade

Feel free to give constructive criticism

I generally like your story Lady Shade. It puts my head in a nice place. However, (and here comes the criticism) It's too familiar. It doesn't have a personal tone to it. Pixies swirling in meadows are nice and all but the cliche is too much to see through. If you're going to use gothic mythological icons for a story, I would suggest the phrase "variation on a theme" to apply. The more variation the better. I'm sure If I wanted I could write a story about a vampire who lives in a castle, and kills his unsuspecting victims one at a time, but I would be doing nothing more than rewriting an old theme. Variation allows a mythology to evolve, and without evolution there is only cultural stagnation. I'm sure to a degree we all want to see the scene thrive not just musically, but also literally.

Anyway, I'm just dropping copper, 2 cents to be exact. Pick it up if you wish. :)


Subscribe to Comments for "A Place For Stories and Poems"