What The Witch Couldn’t Say

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This is the third part in an ongoing serial I’m writing. To read from the beginning, click here.

Damon the Demon took great pride in his job as the cemetery’s custodian. He could never have claimed his job was an easy one, but he could guarantee each night he worked would be different from the one before and the one that came after which was something he relished.


And, during the course of his work, he met a great variety of beings. Some living. Some dead. Some good. Some bad. But they were all interesting in their way – a point which was becoming very clear as he had begun writing his memoirs the previous year.

And yet…

He had followed the path he was on a little way, before it split, after which he took the right hand branch, believing the scream he had heard earlier (but, rather worryingly, hadn’t heard since) had come from that direction. Here, great stone memorials to the dead loomed out of the ground, and towered overhead, which was probably how he had missed it.

It being a very wide, very tall and very furry squirrel.

With jaw falling open, he stopped dead in his tracks and stared up at the thing in surprise and horror, which only grew in magnitude as the creature spotted him and leaned down for a closer inspection.

Footsteps clattered on the path behind him, accompanied by a frantic shouting. ‘Wait! Stop! Damon, please!’

It was Tabitha.

Damon wanted to turn to face her, to give her a piece of his mind, but he was rooted to the spot, unable to move, unable to speak.

‘Ah, you found my new…friend.’

‘Friend? What did you do?’ he growled through gritted teeth.

Tabitha giggled nervously but said nothing.

‘You could have warned me.’

‘I didn’t really think you were going to walk off and leave me,’ she answered sheepishly.

‘You watched me walk away. Surely you were not that cross. You could have said something.’

‘Such as?’

‘I don’t know! How about, “Earlier today I tried out a new spell and wickedly conjured up a gigantic squirrel!” I think that covers it, don’t you?’

‘You wouldn’t have believed me. Now, if you would just like to step backwards slowly…yes…that’s it…the poor thing gets a little jumpy if you make any sudden movements. Then I’ll explain everything.’

To be continued…

To read Part 4, click here

Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 3 – A Wicked Conjuring

Not While I’m Working

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To read the first part of this story, A Suitable Job For A Monster, please click here.

A scream in a cemetery could mean all sorts of things. Sometimes ghastly, gruesome things. Other times it might herald nothing more than a practical joke.

Damon, scratching his chin, mused that in the days running up to Samhain, it could be either. So there was only one way to find out which one it was that night. He was going to have to investigate.

The scream had come from Damon’s left, so he headed off in that direction at a brisk pace. The path he was on took him down a steadily sloping hill and then meandered through a small clump of trees which was lovingly referred to by the residents as “The Wee Woods” because of its size. On the other side, the landscape opened up once more to reveal a densely-packed swathe of memorials, dating to some of the earliest – and grandest – burials.

‘Are you going to walk past me without even a hello or a nod?’ a sulky voice said from out of the gloom.

Damon stopped and turned. Sitting on top of a long, flat tomb of marble was Tabitha Stephenson, all dressed up like the witch she was.

‘I thought we were friends,’ she pouted.

‘We are.’

‘I thought we were best friends.’

‘We are.’

‘I thought we were besom buddies.’

Damon rolled his eyes. Tabitha was easily offended and knew how to hold a grudge. ‘I heard a scream. Thought I better check it out.’

‘There’s always screaming round here. It’s a cemetery. What do you expect?’

‘This close to The Veil thinning…it could be serious. And it is my job.’

‘But you could spare a few minutes to exchange pleasantries with an old pal.’

‘Not while I’m working. Someone could very well be getting murdered as we speak.’

‘Suit yourself,’ she muttered, switching on a little lantern and pulling her knitting from her bag. ‘Run off and save the world. Don’t spare a thought for a lonely friend.’



And, believing a time-sensitive issue might be unfolding as he stood there wasting time, Damon did just that.

However, he didn’t get very far…

To be continued…

To read Part 3 click here

Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 2 – Besom Buddies

A Suitable Job For A Monster

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Damon the Demon had overslept. The neon clock on his crypt wall said 10pm. He sighed. Grabbing a handknitted poncho from the coat stand (capes were so last millennium), he raced up the narrow, twisting stone staircase, until he entered the only part of his home which was above ground: the mausoleum.

He stepped outside and inhaled the cold, crisp autumn air. In the clear night sky above, the moon was waxing towards full. It was his favourite time of year.

Damon worked the graveyard shift at the graveyard. At least living on site ensured there was no commute and no traffic to get stuck in. Oh, how he hated traffic! Damon had counted his lucky stars the day this job fell into his lap way back in 1878. And he had an attendance record to be proud of, having worked every night since…My, had he seen some strange things!

He looked about, surveying what he liked to call his domain of the dead. Gravestones of all shapes, sizes and colours, stretched away into the distance in every direction. Only the presence of trees, some alone, some growing in little copses, some towering into the sky, some small, twisted and gnarled, broke up the landscape, injecting the only bit of life this world of the dead could now experience.

That was of course, if you neglected to count the undead and other creatures of the night that periodically made an appearance and disturbed Damon’s sense of peace. Oh, and don’t forget the squirrels. There were a lot of squirrels.

Now that Damon was fully awake, he was alert and felt ready for anything the night might bring him.

Which was good because just at that moment, a scream tore through the silence of the cemetery.

To be continued…

Read Part 2 here

Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 1 – Graveyard Shift

A Favourite Haunt

Today was surprisingly warm after the cold spell we had at the beginning of the week here, and so, with the sun shining, and me being in desperate need of some kind of mind-refocusing, we went off to explore a favourite haunt… the local Victorian cemetery.  I’ve blogged about it before, here, and perhaps elsewhere but I have a brain like a sieve at the moment and can’t remember lol

Favourite names spotted on gravestones on this visit were: Septimus, Towers, Euphemia…

Musings on a Walk Through a Victorian Cemetery

Cemeteries, although perceived by some to be dark and morbid, can serve as an immense source of inspiration and provide a very real connection to the past.  And it is in just such a place that I spent my Saturday afternoon…The cemetery in question was to be found in Bedford.

It opened in 1855 and reminders of Victorian gothic art and architecture are dotted all over, from the monuments themselves – obelisks, angels, Grecian urns and Celtic crosses – to the buildings, including the cemetery chapel and the gatehouse.  For such a small town, people from all over the world ended up being buried there, and it makes you wonder about their stories, especially how come it was this small town where their story reached its conclusion.

It is also interesting to see how inscriptions on the stonework changed over time.  Sometimes only the names of the deceased are recorded, perhaps alongside the date of their birth and death, whilst other gravestones bear witness to the manner of the death, such as an accident or as a result of war.  Other information includes where they lived in life, not just the name of the town or village, but the exact address, as well as who their close family were…Finally, it is the names themselves that perhaps, alongside the skilled stone-masonry, which draws the most fascination.  Some certainly sound exotic to our modern ears.  The one that I found most unusual was Hepzibah…A quick Google search says that the name means ‘my delight is in her’ in Hebrew.

A walk in a Victorian cemetery can tell us a lot about contemporary attitudes towards death and the departed.  Although there is no doubt that they are places whose primary function centres on sadness and grief, there is beauty and light here too.  Landscaped grounds, gently twisting paths that are lost to sight behind a carefully placed tree, benches for you to sit and stay a while…it’s as if they were trying to create their own little Eden, a place for the living as well as the dead…