On my home page I mentioned I would be posting some of my short stories for you to enjoy. So I thought it was about time I shared the first one and what better story to begin with than the story that won first place in a Halloween Contest and ended up in an anthology alongside some other amazing scarey writing.
A Renovator’s Delight came about after hearing a ghost story in
the perfect setting, arounf a bon fire one cold winter evening. I mulled
it over in my head, added a little twist or two, shortened the time
frame and before I knew it a spine tingling tale was born. So sit back
with a hot chocolate, be prepared for goosebumps up your arms and
whatever you do, don’t forget to leave on a night light.
was the one who insisted we buy the old English pub. ‘A renovator’s
delight,’ he had said. ‘Just a little TLC and we would be making money
in no time.’ It stood deserted on a lonely corner at the edge of a tiny
country town. Run down, it had been empty for many years.
We moved in on the morning of All Hallows Eve, so again, Bill had the
brilliant idea to invite the townsfolk to a Halloween party that very
evening. Afterall he argued, ‘What better place to get to know the
neighbourhood than in a spooky looking old pub before we begin to fix it
up?” There were already webs and spiders aplenty. The curtains were
faded and shabby, the shutters broken and worn. The floor boards all
creaked. The carpets were covered in mildew and stank of must. Not to
mention the paint was peeling from the walls both inside and out. Lichen
grew all over the broken tiled roof and moss grew through the cracks in
the concrete floors in the downstairs bathrooms. Other than supply the
food and drinks we only had to add a few candles and pumpkins and the
scene was set for a perfect spooky Halloween night. I handed invitations
out around town and posted a few on the shop windows.
Darkness engulfed the countryside quickly that evening as thick grey
clouds swept across the plains leaving no hint of the moon or stars to
guide our visitors down the street. Bill hung a lantern on the pub’s
verandah and watched with eager anticipation to greet our first guest’s
arrival. Gradually they began to file up the stairs, shook hands and
entered the bar, all eyes ablaze with curiosity. There were ghosts,
ghouls, vampires and witches galore. A mummy and even a zombie or two,
it was great to see everyone had come prepared for the occasion.
The party was in full swing when I noticed a group whispering in the
corner. I grabbed a plate of chocolate coated noodle spiders, jelly
frogs and other assorted treats and wondered over to join them in the
pretext of offering them something from the platter. A young girl
dressed in the cutest devil’s costume stood looking quite horrified as
she listened to a tall man in a vampire’s outfit.
‘Is there anything wromg?’ I asked feeling somewhat concerned by the
expression on the faces of the entire group now that I glanced at them
‘You do know the reason why this pub was such a bargain, don’t you?’
the vampire replied. I shook my head, I assumed it was because it was so
run down. The tall vampire figure leant closer to my ear and whispered,
‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ I laughed.
‘No, it’s true,’ he nodded. ‘People who stay here overnight hear
doors slamming and someone screaming, then there’s the constant flooding
of the sinks for no apparent reason.’
‘Bad plumbing is all,’ I offered, after all, what other explanation could there be?
‘Just you wait. You’ll see!’ He grinned, turned and walked away.
Either he was a superstitious fool, or townsfolk were playing tricks as
they didn’t want outsiders buying into their local businesses. I was
just about to go and find Bill and discuss my thoughts on these turn of
events when I first heard it.
A blood curdling scream came from somewhere in the hotel rooms above
us. Everyone suddenly froze. You could hear a pin drop. Another door
slammed shut and the piercing scream shrilled out again.
‘Stay here!’ demanded Bill as he raced up the stairs towards the
hotel accommodation that was attached to the pub. No one moved. The only
sound we could now hear was Bill’s footseps overhead as he ran from
room to room. The silence was deafening. Time seemed to stand still.
Gasping he evetually came rushing back down. ‘There’s nothing up
there!” he sounded surprised. ‘Someone’s playing a very good joke, well
done,’ he laughed in an attempt to calm everyone down. I looked around
at the crowd huddled together at the bottom of the stairs, none of them
were laughing. They all looked terrified. ‘Come on!’ Bill encouraged.
‘We’re all here to have fun. Start the music back up, let’s get this
Slowly our guests began to relax and enjoy themselves once more when
Bill burst back into the room and rushed over to me quite annoyed. ‘Damn
kids are playing more tricks.’
‘What’s wrong now?’ Although I needn’t have asked as he dragged me
towards the main bathroom fascilities I could see the problem. Water was
spilling out over all the sinks onto the floor, out the doors soaking
the already musty carpets.
‘Someone stuck all the plugs in every sink in every bathroom of the
hotel and turned on all the taps full blast!’ Without another word or
hesitation we ran through the building making sure all the taps were off
and collected all the plugs. Bill locked them away in the safe in the
office. ‘Let’s see them try that again,’ he said triumphantly rubbing
his hands together rather smuggly.
We rejoined the party and tried to calm down but it wasn’t long
before the blood curdling scream returned. Doors banged and water poured
from the bathrooms once more. ‘This is ridiculous!’ Bill was really
getting annoyed now. While I ran to the main bathroom to see what I
could do, Bill raced back upstairs to try to catch the culprit in the
act. The screaming and banging grew louder and more persisitant uptairs.
Whenever I heard Bill at one end of the building, the screaming would
start at the other. It seemed no matter where he was the noise harrassed
us from the opposite end. Our guests had obviously reached the ends of
their limits, they also started screaming in terror and began to pour
out the front door.
I found the bathroom sinks had all been blocked again but this time
with toilet paper and rags. Shaking somewhat I cleaned up the mess as
best I could then staggered back to the bar to collapse. Bill also
‘Nothing,’ he shook his head. “I just don’t understand. Who could have done any of this or how?’
‘Well,’ I hesitated. ‘I hate to say it, but I was told this evening that this place is haunted.’
‘I think I need an energy drink,’ mumbled Bill. ‘I put a box down in the cellar. Come on. I’m not going down there alone.’
When we reached the bottom of the cellar stairs, Bill stopped and
looked around. ‘You know, this room doesn’t look big enough.’ He started
to pace it out across the floor. ‘The room above is twice the length of
this one. Most pubs this age had a cellar the same size as the floor
above.’ He stepped it out again to confirm his suspicions. Then before I
knew it Bill had picked up a sledge hammer and begun slamming into the
brick wall in the middle of the room. A thick dusy cloud billowed around
us and engulfed the room as brick after brick crumbled at his feet.
It was strange, I hadn’t heard anyone come down the stairs behind us,
but all of a sudden a young girl stepped up beside Bill. She wore very
old tattered clothes and no shoes. Bill saw her at the same time I did
and stopped breaking down the wall.
‘I’m sorry love,’ he gasped a little out of breath while he looked
her up and down. The party’s over and you shouldn’t be down here. It’s a
bit dangerous. Did all the noises you heard tonight frighten you?’ She
didn’t reply though. Instead she simply stared for a few moments as Bill
wiped the sweat from his forehead. Then she turned and to our shock she
walked right through the brick wall as if it wasn’t there.
‘What just happened?’ I whispered unable to believe what I had just
witnessed. Bill shone a torch to gaze through the hole he had just made.
We could see the rest of the cellar stretched out in front of us, racks
of old dusty wine bottles lined the cobwebbed walls.
‘You’re not going to believe this,’ he said as he pointed the torch
towards the floor. ‘There’s a skeleton lying on the floor on the other
side of the bricks directly opposite where we watched the girl just walk
We put the pub back on the market the next day. We may have found the
ghost’s body, but we weren’t prepared to share the pub with a restless,
Note:If you enjoyed this ghost story you may like to read the
others in the anthology, however unlike this one, most of them are not
recommended for children.