flash fiction ghost story the tin can man

The Cracks in the Statue: The story behind the ghost stories

Writing ghost stories has always been a deeply personal experience for me, but probably not in the way you expect: I don’t believe in ghosts, none of the things in these stories I write have happened to me; they’re works of fiction.

But something in the writing of them scares me quite a lot.

Like with the last collection, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the stories, what they mean, and why they’re scary.

Tin Can Man, Ghost Stories, Cracks in the Statue

The Cracks in the Statue:

Inspired by a trip to the British Museum, this story is about perception, and how the real life people we meet one moment, might be a ghost the next and we’d never even know.

This is especially true of London, where your daily exposure to other people is enormously high.

We probably walk past people who’ll be dead tomorrow every time we leave the house.

What I like most about this story is the way it demonstrates people are capable of choosing what to believe in. The male protagonist puts himself first, and only chooses to believe too late.

Was she a ghost? A real person? Or the disembodied spirit of an ancient mythological heroine?

Read the story and make your own mind up.

The Declaration of Sin-Dependence:

Taking the story out of the city centre, the Declaration of Sin-Dependence is set in the sunny vistas of south east England, with its gravelled drives and massive houses.

It revolves around something that sadly still happens today: drink-driving.

Ultimately, it is related to the other three stories in the collection, in many ways. For instance, the spiritual theme of hubris bleeds over from the first story to this one.

Also, it serves as a type of prequel to the next story and a sequel to the last, linking them all together through interconnected characters and themes.

The moral of this story is that nobody is above reproach, and believing you’re invincible is sometimes the fastest way to die. Oh, and the truth always comes out eventually, it might just take two more stories.

The Bird Feeders:

Dramatic irony is a large part of this story. You’ll have to read it to find out why, but it helps us relate to and emphasise with the unnamed female protagonist, who struggles to feel comfortable with herself in the new family house.

A jackdaw serves as the primary – visible – antagonist over the course of seven nights in an undeniably haunted house.

The Man Behind You:

Rejection manifests itself in many ways.

What if Bradley was wrong about Jordan?

He didn’t go for a joyride because he was under the influence

Who is the Tin Can Man?

The Tin Can Man is the invisible driving force behind the eight stories in the two published collections. The unseen – for the most part – villain of the saga.

He is at once both a metaphor and a palpable presence, representing how much we lose of ourselves when we spill out our soul into digital vessels.

This angry spirit seeks to claim anyone who has lost sight of their own value and ability to look within instead of without. Yes, this means he’s coming for all of us.

He is the substance in the empty tin can we kick in the street.


It’s no secret that everyone’s getting a bit bored of “convenience”; it isn’t fast enough.

The digital age means that we keep in touch from a distant and keep distant, never touching.

Well, when there’s nothing left of your character after you’ve poured it into the latest digital avatar – whether it’s an internet dating profile or a Quora profile – you’ll certainly feel the touch of The Tin Can Man as he comes to take you on to our next plane of existence.

In the first collection:

Merely hinted at in the first collection, he is a mirror image to the ghosts of the first three stories, but updated for modern society, and in some respects, all the more sinister.

In the second collection:

We get a bit more background on the human and spectral life of The Tin Can Man in ‘The Bird Feeders’.

Yes, he was once a man, and yes, he is now a vengeful ghost.

His motivation is to make others feel the disillusionment of the modern age the way he did; it’s hard and painful to be creative, so much that it consumes and overwhelms some people.

The Future:

Certainly I like this villain, and fully expect him to have more than just a cameo appearance in the next collection ‘The Dark Arm and other Ghost Stories’.