Free Ghost Story

The following is a free example story. It is not good enough to be included to be included in any of the collections but should serve as a good indicator of the sort of storytelling that goes into a Ghost Story.

This example will set the stage as the beginning of my guide to writing, publishing and marketing ghost stories, which I will write over the coming months.

Also, this story raises a point I want to make in a future post. Do Ghost Stories have to be scary? What does it take to be scary?

For me, the implication of this particular story is that we aren’t aware of what we take for granted. Have your own say, and email me at or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Surrender – a free ghost story:

Walking through the cold streets to work I watch helplessly as a bumblebee lands on the pavement in front of me, rolls onto its back and dies, its furry little black legs offering themselves to the birds and the sky. The bee has surrendered. I want to surrender. Looking at my phone the battery meter says 49%. Exactly how I feel.

I don’t have a charger.

If my head were on a coin, it would be the one-penny piece. Few would stoop to pick me up off the floor. I am worth something, but it isn’t much. Even if there were several of me, we still amount to nothing.

Just another weight in your pocket.

I feel exhausted, winded. The sharpness of my vision indicates I am running on adrenaline, the twelve pints of last night having taken hold of memory and comprehension before escaping my system. I walk confidently, but behind me, my shadow staggers uncertainly.

There is something lying broken in the road a distance away. A car speeds off and all the nearby houses curtains draw themselves at once. A crowd gathers. I don’t have time to investigate though, gunna be late.

Every time I leave work it’s like I was never there, a strange dream. Whenever I get back it swaps over, my other life no longer existing. You never know what your day will be like when you work Bar. It is exciting though, once you become “part of the furniture” you know people like you, respect you, and want you to be the one filling their glass.

The long country roads are uneventful, April showers occasionally fighting the end of my cigarette, but never winning. My exhaustion is soon replaced by something else, today will be a good day. Earn some money, relax and chat to the customers, watch some football on the big screen.

The car park is full. Engines of all shapes and sizes litter the 40 space piece of tarmac. I see the emblems of vehicles forever above my pay grade. I don’t need a car though; my feet have never failed me before. I spot some of my favourite regulars entering as I arrive and shout a welcome, but they continue onwards, backs turned.

Summer sun flashes off the glass panes of the entrance doors – the earlier showers long gone- but as soon as I am through them the warmth and light fades, the inside of the bar taking on a foggy state. People bustle, but smoke is in the air, it is hard to recognise anyone. I was expecting to be the first member of staff here, but the new girl whose name I cannot recall has already raised the shutters, and is serving drinks, all smiles.

The view from behind the cramped wooden bar is vastly different from the one a few feet in front of it. From this vantage point the woeful nature of day-drinkers is all too clear. I greet the new girl warmly, but she is busy making a coffee for one of the weaker patrons.

It is two o clock sharp, but that is never too early for a large merlot. Nobody asks me for drinks. I pour whatever I hear requested and place it on the bar but as soon as I have done so the drinks disappear. I am ignored.

Several times I fill the glass-washer next to the sink, winding my way through the long but narrow bar area, retrieving empties from sticky tables. Every time I turn it on, when it finishes I find it empty. I’m probably just groggy from last night, working on auto-pilot. Over-thinking the silence.

There are probably thirty or forty people here now, each one on their second or third drink, the rain has started again and the dark clouds make the windows appear solid black paintings hung on a glass wall. The various lights on the yellow ceiling all dimmed. The staff members on site are in no mood for talking today, so I sit quietly on a wooden stool near the icebox.

I observe. My people look sad.

I can see coffee and tears. Perhaps this had been my drinking hole last night, and I was in some sort of trouble nobody wanted to admit. I had been known to overdo it after a long shift. Something doesn’t add up though. I feel invisible.

I resolve to go outside for a cigarette, unaccompanied in the fresh warm rain. I watch all the bodies through the window, flicking ash occasionally into a flowerpot. Nobody moves, but there is a unified sway about them. Earlier smiles have been replaced by an all consuming melancholy reflected in the sky above as black clouds invade their lighter brothers.

Regulars who wouldn’t normally mix talk to each other, some event has brought these people together. An event I was not invited to. Working my way back inside and twisting around the old bodies I rush to the staff rota, my name should be and is written down for every day, but a terrible black stain has been scrawled across it in each instance, and it fills me with dread.

I must be in serious trouble.

I head to the manager’s office, tucked around the back of the bar and hidden from sight. The door is closed and the blinds are down but through the window I can see Thomas sat in there staring into a cup of tea that would be steaming if it was still warm. I bang on the door and he turns, looks through the window straight into my eyes for a fraction of a second, and then back at his tea. I bang again, he doesn’t move, just stares at the tea.

Dejected, I head back to the bar. We are running low on bottled beer so I fill the fridge and nobody notices, I start to get frustrated and decide I need answers. Snatching the thickest pint glass in reach I launch it at the wall, shut my eyes and listen to the smash. For the first time people react and I feel satisfied. Confusion fills the air and I wait eagerly for people to ask me why I broke the glass.

The blame is leveled at the new girl, voices are raised and people are angry that their solemn drinking time was disturbed. She looks upset, overwhelmed and I offer words of advice that go unheeded. Things threaten to get out of hand as drunken men loom over the bar, the whiskey adding inches of height and bravado.

A dog barks, and the room falls silent. The bark so powerful it echoes within a hundred empty tumblers. People go back to their business. It takes me a few minutes to spot the beast –unlike most bars we allow dogs in, as long as they are chaperoned- a large black retriever is sat at the front of the bar right by the entrance. Only a few paces away.

It maintains eye contact with me. Through the fog and uncertainty I see its solid black form as it eyes me up. I move closer, drifting through the masses of silent witnesses. The dog is like me, ignored and useless, but there nevertheless. It features no collar, and no lead. I get down on my knees so we are level, and hold our faces close together.

I stare into the creature’s black eyes. The whole hound is a living shadow. It communicates with me thoughtlessly; it is here for me, to tell me something. I start to suspect I might be dreaming, the dreams of a hung-over teen are often surreal affairs.

That feeling comes back, the nausea and the winded sensation. My limbs begin to feel heavier and standing is an effort. I collapse onto one of the few empty chairs, wobbling on its crooked legs, begging for aid from the shirted backs of the punters. Only the dog silently accompanies me, placing its massive head into my lap. Its huge eyes look sad for me. I manage to raise one of my heavy arms onto it and scratch behind an ear. I feel something. A lead and collar have appeared around its neck, both long gold chains.

Wrapping the chain around my left wrist, I feel the beast pull at me, trying to lead me somewhere. My mouth is dry and hands clammy. I grab a discarded glass of water and it slips from my grasp landing silently on the carpeted floor. I grab an abandoned beer and go to drink the remains, only to feel nothing against my cracked lips. Nothing goes down.

Panic sets in and the nausea threatens to engulf me. I squeeze the dog’s chain tighter, fighting to hold in all the fear that threatens to rush from me as the realisation sets in. The world spins and I slump towards the floor.

I hear a sound like flowing water.

A great calm overtakes me and I feel at peace, tranquil.

A rough object rubs itself over my cheek and I open my eyes, they meet the bulbous dark cores of the dog. I don’t know how, but I can tell he is smiling at me. The dog is my friend. I look back towards the bar but the shutters are down, nobody is there, the tables are spotless and there isn’t an empty glass in sight. I look back at the entrance but instead of the familiar wooden electric doors I am greeted with tall ivory gates, white cloud spilling out through the gaps between the gleaming white bars.

My companion tugs at me and the gates begin to swing open, he looks back at me, and together we walk through the pearly entrance.