K.T. Burnett - Lantern (2014)

“Lantern” by K.T. Burnett (2014)

‘Tis the season of the pumpkin once more, and what better way to celebrate than with a suitably spooky story to tickle all thirteen of your haunted bits.  Here’s a tale about a ghostly encounter that goes from bad to worse and upsets a homeowner deeply.  Written on the 28th September 2017.


Tabitha crept down the stairs into the basement and held the torch in front of her. “Who’s there?” she whispered into the gloom.

“Me”, replied a coarse voice from the shadows.

Tabitha paused. “Who’s ‘me’?”

I’m me” came the reply. It wasn’t very helpful.

Tabitha wondered if she should press the disembodied voice for further details. But before she had a chance to speak again, the voice spoke once more. “Actually, I’m a ghost. Now before you get all scared and go running off, hear me out; I’m a good ghost. And furthermore, I live here”.

Tabitha was annoyed. She was not a fan of supernatural entities, especially ones that materialised in her house without permission. “A ghost? In my basement? This isn’t your home, spectre of the shadows, it’s mine. Now get out of here before I call a priest and send you back to Hell”.

The voice sounded mildly upset now. “I’ve got nowhere else to go!” it eventually lamented after it had sobbed for a minute straight. “And I didn’t come from Hell, for your information. I came from the graveyard over on Mayfield Road. Not like it’s any of your business”.

“Stop crying this instant!” barked Tabitha, banging her fist off the drywall in agitation. “I’ve got no time for blubbering ghosts, I’ve got guests coming round any minute and I don’t need a crybaby spook haunting the place up like some kind of petulant child. Now will you kindly leave?”

After the crying had stopped and an awkward minute passed in which it became clear that Tabitha would not have a change of heart and allow the ghost to stay, there came a shuffling sound from the far corner of the room. Then came a dull thud followed by a pained exclamation, and after that what sounded like somebody stuffing something squashy and fabricy into a duffel bag.

“What are you doing?” asked Tabitha, tapping impatiently on the dent in the wall.

“Rolling up my sleeping bag, if that’s okay with you?” came the short answer. The voice sounded more frustrated than upset now.

Tabitha didn’t reply. It was probably best not to engage the ghost in further conversation, lest the thing somehow take even longer to leave.

A couple of minutes later and Tabitha felt a cool breeze rush past her followed by rapid footfalls racing up the steps towards the kitchen door. Seconds later and the front door slammed shut.

Satisfied, Tabitha returned upstairs, and seeing no sign of the ghost, finished getting the tea and biscuits ready for her approaching guests.

Some time later, the doorbell rang and Tabitha warmly greeted her friends. “Hello my dears, how are you?” she asked, hugging each of them in turn and accepting their unnecessary gifts of biscuits.

“Good, thanks,” said Matilda. “But listen to this. On the way here we were passed by a floating sleeping bag!”

Mary nodded solemnly. It was a nod that did not need translating.

Matilda continued, “I turned to Mary and I said, ‘hey, isn’t that Tabitha’s sleeping bag, the one with the floral pattern on it?’”

“It’s true!” interjected Mary, unable to content herself with simply nodding any longer. “I’m certain it was yours. It just glided past us, like some kind of supersized free-floating worm”.

“That little thief!” blurted Tabitha. Both of her friends looked confused. “I just chased a ghost out of here a half hour ago, it had been kipping in my basement. The thing must’ve stolen my sleeping bag while it was down there!”

“Oh Tabitha, I’m so sorry. I wish I’d stopped it in the street now”. Matilda offered a consolation hug.

“But you didn’t. And now here I am, bereft of sleeping bag like some kind of plum”.

“It’s okay, Tabitha. You wouldn’t want it back anyway, a friend of mine once had a ghost under her stairs that slept in her sleeping bag. Full of ectoplasm when she finally found it. Washed it twenty times but still couldn’t get the smell out”. Mary patted her upset friend on the shoulder.

“Yes, you’re better off without it,” said Matilda. “Now let’s get inside and have some tea and biscuits, that’ll make everything better. It always does”.

20 thoughts on “Kleptophantasmagoria

  1. Well that was… unexpected. Just a ghost in your basement to be kicked out like some illegal ectoplasmic vagrant. Trust you to come up with something so unique Neil! Great story anyway. Your characters are always on point 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Kleptophantasmagoria – Fictionspawn Monsters

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