Bored of Halloween

From 1st September,
To October 15th,
I indulged myself,
In everything Halloween,

I watched every horror movie,
Every slasher flick,
I ate gummy snakes and chocolate skulls,
Until I was sick,

But in the middle of October,
Was when I realised,
I had gotten tired of,
Ghosts, ghouls and vampires,

I had had too much, too early,
And I had gotten bored,
Of seeing haunted houses,
Filled with blood and gore,

So now the day’s actually here,
And I don’t want to go,
To any Halloween party,
Or dress up as a ghost,

Now I’m ready for Christmas,
Oh, what a surprise,
So I’m sipping a hot chocolate,
Munching on mince pies.

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Jolly Jungleland

I not only created an entire world I could escape to, but I made money from it, too.

For as long as I remember, I’ve had an entire world in my head, one that has expanded and thrived ever since I imagined it as a child. Jolly Jungleland, a place with trees as tall as skyscrapers, with markets and cafes and funfairs, where all the inhabitants were animals. The place may have been called “Jolly Jungleland”, but in it, there lived animals from all over the world. There was Clifford the Cat, who owned a clothes shop. Zoey the Zebra, who liked nothing more than to sit and read, a bit like me, actually. Eddie the Elephant, who wrote stories, a bit like…well, you can guess.

Jolly Jungleland lived up to its name. It was a happy place, where any problems were solved quickly. All it took was a speech to get Terry the Tiger to stop being jealous of Jerry the Jaguar’s spots. It only takes a day for Clifford the Cat to get business booming in his clothes shop. There was rarely any rain or storms; it was almost always a sunny day in Jolly Jungleland, and there were bright green trees and bushes as far as the eye could see.

It was where I went in moments of stress or worry. It was where I escaped to after dealing with bullies and strict teachers. I kept escaping to it as a child, and wrote about what I saw there and the animals I met. When I was a teenager, life got a little more stressful, so I went to that world all the more, and wrote more and more stories. I not only wrote more about Jolly Jungleland when I was an adult, but I got them published.

Over 75 books in print, with the promise of plenty more. A bestselling children’s book series, each entry focussing on one of the many wild and wacky residents of Jolly Jungleland. Zoey the Zebra Wants Some Peace and Quiet. Eddie the Elephant Meets the Fairies. All of them beautifully illustrated by Zachary Guinell. I’ve stared at his illustrations for hours, for they perfectly captured the world as I imagined it. When I’ve looked at them, I feel like I could reach in and touch the leaves or the sparkling rivers.

Certainly if you’ve spent the best part of your life creating a world, you might as well try and make some money off of it. Of course, income from the series has gone towards food and bills, but it has also gone into buying cuddly toys, artificial plants, paintings of wildlife and fauna, transforming my home into my own Jolly Jungleland. The first thing I saw when I woke up was a painting of a rainforest that reminded me of Zoey the Zebra’s favourite spot to read her books. I had shelves lined with animal toys and figurines, all species that had appeared in my books. I even had a rubber bat hanging from my bedroom ceiling, a homage to Barry the Bat, who worked at the Jolly Jungleland café.

One night, I awoke to see my Jolly Jungleland destroyed.

The rainforest painting that hung at the front of my bed had fallen to the floor, the glass shattered. Barry the Bat had been ripped from his spot, with his string snapped in two. The shelves were now lined with mutilated soft toys and headless figurines.

The sound of smashing from the living room had me spring from my bed.


One of my artificial plants had been flung to the floor, with the pot shattered just like the glass of my rainforest painting. Standing over it was a giant crow wearing a gas mask. Actually, its head was a gas mask; it had gigantic blank eyes and its beak resembled a filter cartridge. It carried around the stench of rotting garbage, and I swear I saw smoke coming from its back. Its wings resembled a bat’s more than they did a crow’s, only with an entire hand where bats had a thumb, resembling crow’s feet.

As I stood there frozen, I uttered the only word I could utter: ‘What?’

‘Ah, you’re awake.’ The crow spoke clearer than I would have imagined a gas-mask-headed creature to speak. It shook its head before adding, ‘How could you?’

‘What?’ I blurted out again.

‘Jolly Jungleland,’ the crow said, its massive eyes narrowing, ‘is the name of where I live. The Jolly Jungleland you write about in your books is nowhere near as beautiful as my home.’ It picked up one of my books – Terry the Tiger Goes For A Walk – with its wing hands, and turned to a page revealing a wide forest. ‘How could you allow such disgusting imagery to be published?’

It threw the book against a wall, and from its feathers, it pulled out what resembled a giant boil with a screen embedded in it. On the screen there popped up what looked like England during the Industrial Revolution; tall, crooked houses under a sky clogged with smoke. Gigantic naked trees sprung from between the buildings, threatening to engulf them with their branches.

That image faded away to be replaced by another. A street lined with cobblestones, the streetlights resembling black snakes with glowing orbs for heads. Down the street there walked what resembled a panther, only with thinner legs and a hose where there should have been a snout.

More and more images the crow-thing showed me, each filthier than the last. Just looking at them made me smell the smoke and smog they depicted. ‘Now that is beauty,’ hissed the crow as it showed me the pictures, ‘how dare you corrupt such wonder?’ When it had finished its sideshow, it said to me, ‘Consider this a warning’ and vanished into thin air.

In times of stress and worry, I would escape into Jolly Jungleland. Now I couldn’t even do that.

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The Abominable Snowman’s Halloween

I saw frost this morning,
On grass usually green,
Even though it’s still October,
Nearly Halloween,

Such a sight makes me smile,
It makes my face glow, man,
Because I like this weather,
I’m the Abominable Snowman!

I should be a Halloween icon,
Because I have scary looks,
I’m a frightening, furry monster,
But often I’m overlooked,

No-one dresses up as me,
I can’t find a yeti mask,
No Abominable Snowman decorations,
In no fame do I bask,

But when people see the frosty ground,
They may think of me,
Then they’ll make some Snowman costumes,
Which’ll give me glee,

Halloween has long belonged to,
Witches and Frankenstein,
But if Halloween is cold and frosty,
It’ll be my time to shine.

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My Haunted Memories

This story features characters from My Haunted Home and A Visitor to my Haunted Home.

Emma walked through the halls of her home, noticing how unusually quiet it was at that moment. Normally, Calvin would either be watching TV or arguing over current events with Jimmy or Stan would be making one of his famous dishes, filling the house with the sound of clattering silverware and roaring fire. The unusual peace reminded Emma of how quiet she was; were she still flesh and blood her hooves would be echoing throughout the halls.

Reminding herself of her spectral status made Emma stop for a minute to look at her surroundings, at the faded, peeling wallpaper and the dusty paintings. Even though a human was now living in this house, it looked little better than it had been for so many decades. Then again, thought Emma, the human who now lived in this house was a student, and he only lived in the house because it had cheap rent.

Many had trespassed upon the haunted house, many had even tried to take advantage of the cheap rent, but Calvin was the only one who stayed. He entered the hall, didn’t even bother to sweep the leaves on the floor and sat down at a table to check his dongle worked.

Emma trotted in, the sunlight doing nothing to diminish her ethereal glow, and he looked at her not in horror, but in interest.

Jimmy sprung in, hanging from his ghostly noose, and Calvin didn’t flee.

He didn’t even flinch when he saw Stan Skulton the flaming skull float in.

Calvin came up with a variety of explanations on the spot. After the threat of student loans, barely anything seemed scary anymore. He had watched several horror movies and played several horror games, so he was desensitised to an actual appearance of the supernatural. It was a relief for him, as he had often feared there was no life after death.

He even said, ‘Maybe I’m like the girl in Beetlejuice’ and was surprised when the three ghosts recognised the reference.

That was when he was introduced to the fourth ghost of the household; a spectral television, which, despite being an old model, could pick up almost any channel. Jimmy had found it while floating invisible around a tip, floating from a discarded TV set. Televisions had souls of a sort, manifestations of its owners memories of watching it.

Hearing about television ghosts made Calvin smile; the revelation that there is a life after death is even better when learning your prized possessions have one too. Each of the ghosts told him their favourite programmes; Emma watched the sports, Jimmy watched the news, Stan watched the cookery shows and sometimes in the evenings, they would all get together and watch a movie. All things, Calvin said, he liked watching, even suggesting he and Stan collaborate on a dish together.

Remembering the day she met Calvin, Emma said to herself, ‘I should have told him then and there.’

The ability to talk was something animals gained when they became ghosts, and Emma quietly cursed herself for wasting her gift. When she was alive, she knew something the humans in the household didn’t, and wanted to tell them all, to yell it, to scream it to everyone who lived there. She wanted to run out of her stable and let everyone know. At night, she would wish and pray for speech, so she could say what she knew.

When she gained the ability of speech, however, she never told anyone.

She kept telling herself she couldn’t tell anyone because as soon as they saw her, they ran away screaming, the very same problem that befell Jimmy and Stan when they tried to say something. There were some people, Emma remembered, that stayed to admire her, as they found a ghostly horse more majestic than frightening. When they stayed, Emma opened her mouth to tell them, yet always found herself tongue-tied.

The present Emma took another look at the hall’s walls, and the paintings that hung from them. There was also a spot where there used to be a painting, before the ghosts removed it. It was one of Emma when she was alive, standing next to the Master of the mansion. The Master was one of the house’s residents that didn’t linger on Earth as a ghost, and Emma, Jimmy and Stan were all pleased that was the case.

Emma walked out of the hall into the living room, where she saw the rest of her friends. When Calvin had come back from lectures earlier that day, he challenged Emma to a race around the house – with Emma, perpetually-energetic, winning -and was still trying to catch his breath. Jimmy and Stan floated beside him, the latter chatting with Calvin about what recipes to put in a book he wanted to publish.

Emma smiled. Stan loved cooking in life, and he loved cooking in death. He even saw his spectral form as a giant flaming skull as an advantage, using his head to cook pies and crumbles. Ghosts could eat, even though they were no longer in danger of dying of hunger, and the ghosts of this house ate plenty, especially with Calvin being there to buy ingredients.

It was because of Stan’s love of food it happened.

Again, Emma remembered her living, breathing days, when Stan was, of course, the Master’s cook, and Jimmy was the stable boy. Despite working with meat, Stan had a fondness for animals, and made sure to visit Emma whenever he could, even giving her a few extra apples from time to time. When Stan paid a visit to Emma, he paid a visit to Jimmy too, and even gave him a few treats just to make the work a little more bearable.

Both Jimmy and Emma agreed that Stan was a fine food provider, but the Master didn’t share that opinion. Every time Stan came to the stables, he had a new story to share with Emma and Jimmy, a new complaint from the Master. The scones were stale, the cake was too dry, he just seemed to like complaining.

Jimmy had a job no-one wanted, but he kept at it with a smile on his face, because he liked Emma, even sleeping in her stable some nights.

One of those nights, the Master came into the stable himself.

Emma remembered opening her eyes, and seeing the Master creep in, a glint in his hand. Looking back, she wished she had sprung up, wished she had kicked him, but instead, she just closed her eyes again, thinking it was just a dream.

It wasn’t.

The next day, Stan was found dead, stabbed in the heart several times. Jimmy was found in the stables, beside a knife and covered with blood.

Jimmy begged and pleaded and protested, saying that he and Stan were friends and he would never do such a thing, but the Master had told the other servants that Jimmy resented Stan, and they were going to believe their employer over a stable boy. Jimmy’s reason for being in the stable seemed especially unbelievable – no-one thought he could actually like his job.

After Jimmy was sentenced to death, the Master and his other servants spoke for days about why and how Jimmy could have done such a thing, with Emma overhearing the conversations, wishing she could tell them what happened that night. She even wanted to burst out of her stable, find the Master and kick him in the back with her hind legs, but there came the thought he could do to her what he did to Stan, and get away with that too.

The only thought that comforted her was that when she died, she would be reunited with her friends, and she didn’t know how true that was.

When she became a ghost, and first saw Stan Skulton as a giant flaming skull – a form he gained from the anger of his murder and his friend being wrongfully accused – all she felt was glee, imagining the Master cowering in terror at what his victim had become.

That glee vanished in seconds when Stan spoke to her. He knew who really killed him, and followed the Master everywhere he went, screaming and screeching and letting his fire burn. Many servants screamed in terror, but the Master didn’t notice him.

You were more likely to see ghosts if you believed in them. The Master didn’t believe in ghosts. He didn’t believe in life after death, which, Emma thought, was probably why he did what he did.

Murderers were more likely to see the ghosts of those they murdered if they regretted the murder or feared a haunting. The Master felt no guilt, no fear. He felt no remorse for what he did, or feared anyone finding out, so he had no reason to expect the ghosts of his victims coming to haunt him.

When he died, he never became a ghost. Emma, Jimmy and Stan knew full well where he ended up.

Yet his crime was never exposed. In fact, it was forgotten. People still expected to see ghosts in the house, so they saw Emma, Jimmy and Stan, but only because the house now looked like the type of place where you’d expect to see ghosts.

‘Hey, Emma.’ Calvin broke Emma out of her reminiscence. ‘You want a rematch?’

Calvin didn’t know the story. He never questioned why Jimmy was hanging from a noose or why Stan was a skull or how any of them died.

Maybe he thought it would be rude.

Emma wanted to tell him the story right there and then. She no longer had a heart, yet she felt it pound. She no longer had a stomach, yet she felt clawing within.

Jimmy and Stan looked at her quizzically.

If they wanted Calvin to hear the story, Emma thought, they would have told it themselves.

Over the years, they had been trying to get the truth heard. Most people, however, belted when they saw a giant skull. Most people don’t believe the words of a hanged, undead man.

Then Jimmy and Stan realised that no-one was going to listen to them, and they spent their afterlife waiting in the old mansion for intruders, just so they could have fun frightening them. They’d spring out of floors, walk through walls, make the paintings spin, filling the halls with vicious red light.

It seemed they had forgotten Stan’s murder as much as the rest of the world had.

Calvin was here. Calvin was their friend and thus willing to listen to anything they had to say.

Stan never mentioned his murder to Calvin.

Jimmy never mentioned being framed to Calvin.

Calvin never asked about their deaths.

Maybe Stan and Jimmy didn’t want to relive their deaths. Maybe Calvin wanted them to forget how that they were undead monsters.

Maybe all three of them thought it would ruin their friendship.

‘Emma,’ said the present Calvin, ‘are you alright?’

‘Yes,’ said Emma, ‘I’m fine.’

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The Thing From the Freezer on Halloween

Halloween is a cold, cold night,
So prepare yourself for an nasty fright,
For there’ll come that horrible, frosty geezer,
We all know as The Thing From The Freezer,
It’s a night of magic, and he’s a wizard,
He’ll create a fierce and powerful blizzard,
He’ll freeze trick-or-treaters on the spot,
Then grab their sweets, he’ll eat the lot,
Or he may give you an ice lolly,
But that treat’s not very jolly,
It may, at first, taste very nice,
But it’ll make your insides turn to ice,
And then it is you he’ll eat,
Because his trick gave him a treat.

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Frankenstein’s Reign of Terror


On a cold, dark night,
In fact, Halloween,
There came a sight,
That made people scream,

Marching down the streets,
Shaking the ground,
Making a fierce,
Horrific sound,

There came a monster,
Who snarled, ‘It is time,
For all of you to be killed,
By me, Frankenstein!

‘I was created in a lab,
Now I come to your town,
To destroy and kill,
And bury you underground!’

Then a man came,
To this thing with red eyes,
And took off its mask,
It was just a disguise.

It was not a real monster,
As some did assume,
It was just a young fellow,
In a realistic costume,

“Frankenstein” said to the man,
‘How did you know?’
And the man said,
‘Well, for one thing, Frankenstein wasn’t the monster’s name and he wasn’t created in a laboratory, he was created in an attic, and he didn’t kill willy-nilly but only killed those close to his creator…’

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The Unicorn


A man was lost in the deep, dark woods,
Surrounded by snarls and moans,
He darted through the twisted trees,
Hoping to get back home,

He ran and ran as fast as he could,
And suddenly he fell,
Because of gangly creatures,
That looked like they came from Hell,

They resembled human corpses,
With wide eyes and giant claws,
They looked at him and saliva,
Dripped down their rotting jaws,

All of a sudden there came a light,
Bursting through the trees,
Then there came a unicorn,
Which made the zombies flee,

‘Come with me,’ she said to the man,
‘Before more beasts attack!
Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!
Please ride on my back!’

The man rode the unicorn,
Through the murky wood,
He finally felt he would go home,
And leave that place for good,

The unicorn galloped,
To a fog-shrouded lake,
And as did,
A new form she did take,

Her mighty horn shrunk,
Into her head,
Her flesh fell off,
Making her look dead,

Her forelegs became arms,
With fingers bony and thin,
She looked at the lake,
And tossed the man in,

The poor man drowned,
For he didn’t see,
That the unicorn that came for him,
Was in fact a kelpie.


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The Lemon Possum’s Funhouse

This is a Weirdverse story.


‘I’m certain you’re running out of ideas by now,’ sighed Karl, looking up at the multicoloured monstrosity before him. A large yellow and red and green crooked house, with the entrance being a gigantic grinning clown head, a tongue acting as a red carpet. All around the base of the house were multiple jack-o-lanterns, a reminder of the holiday the house was made for. Above the clown’s head was a banner reading: “The Lemon Possum’s Fun House! £5 Entry! Make it through and get a year’s supply of sweets!”

Karl the Kangaroo then looked down to see The Lemon Possum who owned the Funhouse, now wearing the straw hat and striped jacket of the archetypical barker. ‘I suppose this was the suggestion of your new friend “The Ringmonster”?’

The Lemon Possum chuckled. ‘What’s the matter, Karl? Is the mighty kangaroo frightened?’

Karl sighed as he remembered his previous encounters with the Lemon Possum. When the little creature had attempted to convince him to make games promoting unhealthy diets. When she invaded his house just to remind him of his troubled relationship with his adopted daughter. When she had kidnapped him just so she could torture a poor half-pizza-half-human woman. When she teamed up with a sadistic beast called “The Ringmonster” just to irritate him and others.

Whatever she was doing with this funhouse, thought Karl, I can’t let her have the last laugh.

‘Very well,’ said Karl, ‘I’ll have a go. When I win the year’s supply of sweets, I’ll dump them in the ocean just to see the look on your face when I do.’

‘Five pounds.’

‘I’m not giving you any of my money.’

‘Five pounds,’ the Lemon Possum repeated, holding out her paw before slapping her palm with her fingers.

With a groan, Karl reached into his pocket and pulled out a £5 note. As soon as he did, the Lemon Possum sprung up towards his hand and took a bite into the note, snatching it away with her teeth. ‘Thank you,’ she said as she tucked the note away in her pocket.

Karl walked towards the giant clown head and swore that its mouth grew larger as he entered.

Suddenly, Karl found himself in pitch blackness, that clown mouth entrance having vanished. A cold wind dominated the inky void, making Karl involuntarily shiver.

Then there came the laughter.

A cacophony of laughter from several different voices. Deep, booming laughter, high-pitched laughter, laughter that sounded like it was sped up, even what sounded like a mixture of laughter and throat coughs.

As the laughter got louder, the room was bathed in lurid red and yellow lights, illuminating a hall of mirrors, each mirror showcasing the source of the laughter. Clowns, their palms pressed against the panes of glass, chuckling away.

Karl folded his arms. ‘Is that the best you have?’

One mirror disappeared, revealing a wooden door underneath an “EXIT” sign. ‘If this is getting too scary for you,’ came the disembodied voice of the Lemon Possum, ‘you can always forfeit.’

‘As if I would,’ sneered Karl, before spitting in the direction of one of the mirrors.

The clowns vanished and most of the laughter stopped. Karl still heard chuckling, coming from a single source.

All mirrors were completely blank except for one, one showing a female kangaroo, one that Karl had barely seen in his life yet was far too familiar.


Karl had waited for an opportunity to speak to his mother his whole life, mentally rehearsing everything he wanted to say to her. When she was standing right in front of him, her grin slowly turning into a scowl, he stood silent.

‘Why aren’t you dead?’ Karl’s mother snarled at him.

Karl swallowed, looked up and said, ‘I know this is a trick, possum. This…’

‘I wanted you dead, Karl,’ his mother continued, ‘Everyone wants you dead. Everything would be a lot better if you were dead.’

Another female kangaroo appeared in the mirror next to Karl’s mother. A teenager dressed in a black tank top and matching boots. Sadie, Karl’s adopted daughter.

‘She would have been better off without you, Karl,’ the mother continued, ‘she was only happy when you were out of her life. Why don’t you just get out of everyone’s life so you can get what you deserve?’

Karl turned around to see the mirrors behind him filled with flames, and the shadow of a man with a goat’s head. A figure he had seen before and dismissed, yet at that moment made his stomach sink.

When he turned around, he saw another figure he had faced before: a young woman with completely white skin, eyes and fangs as grey as stone and glowing blue tattoos covering her arms.

‘Your mum wants you dead, Karl,’ she sneered, ‘why don’t you let me help you with that?’

‘If this is about the prices…’

‘Oh no,’ laughed Emily, shaking her head, ‘I just think it’s amusing to see you squirm.’

‘Well, nothing you do will…’

‘Did I see a tear?’


‘I’m certain I saw tears when you saw your mummy! What I showed did affect you!’

‘You….’ Karl’s hands shook. ‘You did not…’

Emily laughed. ‘The Lemon Possum was right about you. You’re as pathetic as she says you are!’

Karl lunged for Emily, only for her to stretch her already elongated claws so she could escape the mirror and grab Karl by the throat. She pulled Karl into another room, one that looked like the living room of a Victorian mansion. The walls were lined with crimson wallpaper with golden stripes, the furniture consisted of two armchairs and a sofa coloured the same crimson and gold as the walls, and illumination was provided by a roaring fireplace.

‘This is my own little house of horrors,’ said Emily with a wide grin, ‘what do you think?’ She gestured towards a door, one with that “EXIT” sign above it. ‘Though, if you’re scared…’

‘I’m not.’

Emily chuckled again. ‘You know, if you walk through that door, people will at least appreciate your honesty…and your common sense.’

‘I’m not letting the Lemon Possum win.’

‘If you didn’t want that, you wouldn’t have gone in at all.’

The exit door vanished, replaced by a wooden one more fitting for the setting. It slowly creaked open.

‘Must I do this, Your Evilness?’

Emily walked towards the door. ‘Yes, come on in and terrify him!’

‘But I look ridiculous!’

Emily rolled her eyes. ‘No you don’t, you look terrifying, now…’ She turned to notice Karl hopping away into a hallway. ‘He’s getting away! Go get him!’

That was the last thing Karl heard Emily say as he did what he rarely did – hopped – and explored the halls of Emily’s house of horrors. He looked at the multitude of doors before him, and reminded himself to avoid any with an “EXIT” sign.

‘Prepare to meet your fate!’


Karl turned around to see who Emily was talking to: a pale white creature like her, with similar grey eyes and fangs, only taller and thinner, towering over Karl. It had tentacles where there should have been legs, one of its eyes was a worm crawling out of its socket and in its right hand it clutched a hatchet.

‘You were right; you do look ridiculous,’ said Karl, arching an eyebrow.

The monster threw the hatchet onto the ground, threw up his arms and walked back to where he came from.

Karl picked up the hatchet, saying to himself, ‘This might come in useful.’

Feeling a small smidgen of relief from being more armed, Karl threw open a random door and stepped inside.

He immediately received a custard pie to the face.

‘Roll up, roll up!’

As Karl rubbed the cream away from his eyes, he smelled popcorn and elephant feces, he heard calliope music, he saw multicoloured lights, sights and sounds and stenches that made him feel like a weak little joey again, confined to cages for the amusement of humans.

‘I’m not…’ Karl looked down and saw that he was dressed as a clown, with a purple jumpsuit with white polka-dots, a yellow ruff, and shoes too big even for his colossal feet.

‘See the world’s most pathetic kangaroo!’

Karl raised his hatchet, only to find it had transformed into a balloon model of one.

Standing right next to Karl was a fat monster with a tall top hat and a red coat, looking over Karl with three yellow eyes. The Ringmonster, a creature Karl had met, yet still rendered him barely able to move.

Images of early childhood flooded Karl’s brain. Standing before circus audiences, shuddering at their laughter. He danced, the only thing that brought him joy during those days, but even then, some children in the audience thought it funny to throw discarded food at him.

He imagined his mother in the audience, laughing along with them, yelling that he should have died.

Snapping back to reality, Karl looked at the audience watching him perform. It was mostly made up of little blob monsters and little demons that looked like they came from Halloween clipart, but three members, all on the front row, stood out. The Lemon Possum, still wearing her barker outfit. Emily, with a grin showing all her grey fangs. Then there was one other person: a young woman about the same age as Emily, fully human but when Karl recognised who she was, he shuddered.

He had seen that woman on the news. She was wanted for murder.

That woman – Acacia as Karl remembered her being called – leapt from the audience and walked towards Karl, pushing the Ringmonster aside as she did so. ‘You could leave right now,’ she said to Karl, gesturing towards another EXIT door, ‘People won’t think less of you if you do. You’ve made it longer than most people who’ve tried to win the prize.’

Karl felt his leg twitch, as if it was demanding he run through the exit and go back home. That, he told himself, was what most people would do when a wanted killer was staring at them right in the face. Just looking at her made Karl feel like he was going to vomit.

She held a broken bottle in her hand.

Karl seized her by the wrist, holding the balloon axe as if it were a real one.

Acacia laughed, dropping the bottle to the ground. ‘Well, well, you never do give up, do you?’

The Ringmonster faded. Emily and the Lemon Possum faded. Karl was back in his usual clothes and standing in a black void again. No-one except him and Acacia.

‘You’re persistent. I like that,’ said Acacia, in a voice that wasn’t her own.

‘Wait,’ growled Karl, ‘I know you.’

‘Yes, we’ve met before, haven’t we?’


That shark. That shark from “Wonderland”. Not Derek or Jenny, the one with blazing red eyes. He was speaking through Acacia. Karl was even certain Acacia now had his eyes and teeth.

‘I’m slowly getting stronger, Karl,’ said Acacia, or what was using Acacia to talk to Karl, ‘and I have my friends to thank for that. Don’t you think that Emily has so much potential? So do you, in fact.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘Join me, Karl. Join me so I can finally be released onto Earth. Then we can get revenge on the humans that have made our lives so frustrating.’

‘If you think….’

‘But it’s the humans’ fault your mother left you to die! She wanted to be like them!’

‘Don’t you dare…’ Karl shook his fist.

‘You passed the test, Karl. You proved that even when facing your greatest fears, you still carry on.’

‘I only did it just to spite your little friend.’

‘I’m sure you’ll like her once you get to know her. Once you help us dethrone the Mad Hatter, release me into the world and finally show the humans…’

‘Shut up!’ Karl yelled, balling his fists.

The shark laughed. ‘Well, maybe Sadie will be more willing…’

Karl grabbed Acacia by the shoulders and said through clenched teeth, ‘Don’t you dare come anywhere near her or I’ll…’

‘You are just so perfect,’ said the shark, before Karl let go, ‘Claim your prize. Leave. Consider what I said. I know you’ll turn around eventually.’

Suddenly, Acacia shuddered.

‘Just…’ She held herself tightly before collapsing onto the floor. ‘Just go away.’ Karl could tell that was her own voice.

Acacia vanished, and in her place was a mountain of chocolates, cakes, ice cream tubs, gumdrops, wine gums and even a big bowl of lemon posset.

‘Keep it,’ growled Karl before he found himself back on the wet grass, no sign of the Lemon Possum and her funhouse.

He turned around to see people – humans – walking down the street. Parents taking their children trick-or-treating.

He imagined them lying on the road, dead.

The thought made him laugh.

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The Ghost Train

This story contains some death and violence.

If I told you the scariest thing I’ve ever seen was on a ghost train, you’d laugh at me. You’d think I went to the funfair and after trying to hook a duck to win a cuddly Bugs Bunny, I got frightened by a plastic skeleton dropping down on me.

Well, for one thing, it didn’t happen at a funfair.

My story begins a few Fridays ago, when my best friend Jim and I were having a couple of drinks down at the pub. Jim had just left to go back home to his wife Barbara, and I, having had one too many pints, decided to walk back to my flat to clear my head. I made sure to walk slowly, so I could take in the night air and so I could see how different my street looked at night.

One thing was a little too different.

There was this alleyway I had passed by several times, day and night, but never had I seen a small train-shaped cart there, illuminated by red neon.

The first thought I had upon seeing that was, of course, “I really have had too much to drink” but I walked down the alleyway, just to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. A funfair car in the shape of a small steam-engine, on a track that went through two wooden doors, and a red neon sign reading “GHOST TRAIN”.

I attempted to open both doors, but both were locked. Even then, I still couldn’t help but stare at this anomaly, and yes, I even sat down in the little train-car.

As soon as I did that, it moved.

As soon as I did that, the doors opened.

I half-expected myself to find myself riding through a house with bedsheet ghosts painted on the walls, but when I burst through the doors, I found myself on the streets again, the night air still blowing in my face. The tracks were on the road, close to the pavement, tracks that, like the neon sign and the doors, I had never seen on the streets before that night.

I almost leapt onto the car and back onto the pavement, but I immediately froze in my seat when I saw a man pass by my car, staring at me all the while. It wasn’t how he stared that chilled me, nor was it the blood that covered his clothes, nor the blank eyes.

It was how familiar he looked.

The car swerved away from him towards a woman, sitting on the pavement, resting her head on her hands.

A broken noose was around her neck.

As the car approached her, I heard her mutter, ‘It won’t end, it won’t end….’

I almost opened my mouth to say something to her, but the car turned around, slowly trundling towards a man cowering on the pavement. That was followed by a man hitting himself in the face, a woman looking around in confusion and even a child wailing before I burst through another set of doors back into the alley.

I suddenly found myself standing, with no memory of getting out of the car. In fact, the car, the sign and the doors had vanished.

I ran back home, my mind fixated on all the people I saw while riding the Ghost Train, especially that man who stared at me. The first thing I did when I got back to my flat was boot up my computer, forcing myself to remember where I had seen that face before.

It was on the news. A few months ago, a man was found dead with multiple knife wounds, lying not too far from the alley where the Ghost Train was found. Further searching revealed the identities of the other people I saw on the streets, stories about suicide, brawls and violence.

The Ghost Train revealed what was usually invisible.

I told Jim all about it. In fact, it was the last thing I ever said to Jim.

Just a day after I told him about the Ghost Train, he was in a car accident.

I’m going back to that alley tonight. I’m going back, and Barbara is joining me. We need to tell Jim goodbye.

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The Hungry Hedgehog


There was a hungry hedgehog,
Looking for a treat,
Then he came across a sign,
Saying “Hedgehogs: Eat!”

The sign stood close to a bowl,
And the hedgehog looked inside,
But what he saw in there made him,
Lose his appetite,

The bowl was filled with tiny skulls,
Stuck in thick green slime,
The skulls looked at the hedgehog,
With little bloodshot eyes,

A witch watched the hedgehog run,
As fast as he could,
She said, ‘I thought that hedgehogs,
Liked eating cat food!’

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