Daisy chains

” I wondered how many miracles we would have needed.  I wondered how many chances we missed.”

A new flash fiction from Rufus Woodward is published this week over at Fiction on the Web.

Read it here for free.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

A Report on a Haunting and Other Stories

haunting

A Report on a Haunting and Other Stories.

Three weird tales by Rufus Woodward available now to read for free.

Three claustrophobic tales of anxiety and dread, of hidden thoughts and buried memories, and of all the monstrous things that lurk inside.

A report on a haunting at number 11 Erskine Street, Aberdeen

There are few bloodthirsty visions here, no messages from the dead, few heart-stopping terrors. In fact, and I want to be as truthful about this as I can, let me say at the outset that whatever ghosts or spirits appeared on the night I am about to describe to you, I myself did not see any of them.

That may disappoint you. It certainly disappointed me.  But if disappointment were all this story had to offer, it would make for a rather dull end to this evening. No. There is a little more to it than that. I may not have seen the ghost that appeared that night, but plenty of other people did. And here is the rub – when they saw it, the face they were staring at was mine.

Missing pages

He took a book from his briefcase and pushed it across the table towards me. “I want you to have this,” he said. “I can’t have it in the house anymore. I should probably burn it or shred it, but I suspect that might only go to make things worse. I’ve thought this through and the only way is to get it out of the house, to get it somewhere I can’t see it. Will you do that for me? Will you keep it safe for me? I don’t know for how long. Who knows, I may never want it back again. But it’s important to me that I know where it is, that I can have it back again if I need to.”

The crescent-shaped scar

“Why aren’t you dead yet?”

Sometimes they have notes, sometimes they don’t. I’ve had more than my share of bricks thrown through this window over the years and I’ve seen all possible variations on the theme. This one was a note carrier. “Why aren’t you dead yet?” in red marker pen written on lined note paper.

A Report on a Haunting and Other Stories’ is one of four chapbook volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at AmazonSmashwords, ibooksor Barnes and Noble.

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain

“Poor Sir Dominick. Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick
Some stains you cannot clean from your soul

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But what will happen to him, what will become of him when those seven years are done?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks, or Barnes and Noble.

Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick

XIV
Poor Sir Dominick. Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick
Some stains you cannot clean from your soul
He comes at midnight
Here by appointment
To keep a promise

Too late for priests and prayers now
Too late to run, too late to hide
How happy, now, how inviting looks
That old oak tree with its open noose?

Like a coward you bluster
Like a child you plead
But the stranger is not for listening
Not a gentleman any longer
His coat is ragged, his shirt torn
Long matted hair worn for breeches
He takes a step towards you
He puts his stong hands upon you
And throws you to the wall
And smashes your head in pieces there

Lights go out. A door crashes closed.
A gale blows through an empty house.
From the fireplace, ashes fly and
Hang in the air, glowing silent
For an eternity, it seems
Before dropping and vanishing

Outside there is a howling
A crying of beasts in panic
Two shadows ride from Dunoran
Silent and uncanny, while
Your body lies in the courtyard
Cold and stiffening already

Poor Sir Dominick. Lost, damned Sir Dominick
What hope did you ever have?
Your bargain is not yet ended.

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

 

A single brass needle

XI
A single brass needle pricks
Three drops of blood from a vein
Strange words scratched on parchment slips
And now our bargain is made

For seven years I serve you
When that time ends, you serve me
A master and his servant

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

 

Take this gift and belong to me

X
“Take this gift and belong to me,” he says
He does not lie to you
Though the truth he tells will be
Too terrible for you to hear

A handsome gentleman with a hollow smile
With a gold laced coat and a voice like warm wine
He does not offer a name
But you know who your master will be
It is the sharp edged taste in the air that tells you
It is the way his eyes know you
The way each hair on your neck stands high
The red itch on your chest where your crucifix lies

“Take this bag of coins and more will follow,” he says
Not pebbles, not stones, not nutshells
Not empty promises to taunt and mock
And disappear come morning
A bag as wide as a hat
Full of guineas bright and new
A dreadful brightness to take in your arms
It is the heaviest load you will ever carry

“Take this good fortune and use it all,” he says
Though your heart tells you not to
Though your scalp creeps and your hands tremble
And your skin turns cold at the thought of it
You do just as he says
Because debts are due with more to follow
And demands rise on all sides
And there are no friends left to turn to
And there is nothing left to do
But continue the journey just begun

“You found the money good but not enough,” he says
“No matter. Come with me.
Are you willing?”

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.