Feature Story


Dead Is Dead




"Hey. What in the blazes is going on here?"

"Why Edward Gosh, don't you know, don't you feel it? You are dead, very dead in fact and what a mess you left behind for others to clean up. It'll be years before your survivors can sort out all that paper work and money you left behind without a will, no spouse, no kids, only a collection of aunts, uncles and cousins who are at each other's throats already, fighting to inherit your estate."

"I'm 29 years old. Whoda thought it. I figured I'd live at least til I was 70. How did I die?" 

"Man you really are the ticket. You go out and get yourself killed because you wanted to ride a horse, never having done so before. Then you just had to make it run and it ran into a rail fence and jumped it and you fell off heels over head and smashed your skull on a rock and cracked it open like a big egg. It is hard to believe you don't remember that."

"What are you chattering about? I hate horses and would never go near one let alone get on one. I get within a few feet and all I do is sneeze. 

Don't be ludicrous. It's all written down here. The event of Edward Gosh's death. It's your time. Dead is dead and that's all there is too it."

"Unless of course you folks really screwed up and got the wrong guy."

"That would never happen. Never. Never."

"Ah Boss. I think you better check this out before you flap your lips any more. I think there's been an error. Look here."

"Very well. I will look but...." Oh my. There are three Edward Goshs on the list."

"Yah Boss. We picked up the wrong Eddy. The real one is still hanging around down there wandering about trying to figure out what happen." 

"No. That's not how it works. The Dead Edward will have taken over our Edward's place."

"And I am in his place."

"He's catching on Boss."

"So why not just send me back?"

"It's not that easy."

"What do you mean, it's not that easy? Just back up and put everyone where they belong."

"Sorry. No can do. We have to go before the Grim Reaper's Court and explain what happened first. Then he has to review the incident and only he can put things right, that's provided he chooses to do so. He might like the arrangement." 

"That's bull. The truth, I'll bet is, you gave him the wrong information and he came and collected me. If you go back and tell him you screwed up he is going to be real upset with you."

"Hey Boss. This guy ain't no dummy. He's got you all figured out. "

Your Boss is going to be some upset if he has to reverse his collection notice. Put me back or get me an audience with this reaper fellow. One way or another I am taking my life back."

"Very well. But it puts me in a bad spot. I'll have to go back to the beginning and start all over again. And I only had a week left before I could move on." 

"Move on to where?"

"The next level of course. You don't think you can just walk in here and prance through the pearly gates. You have to prove yourself and you have to start right at the bottom."

"Not always Boss. If you have been good in life that fellow at the Pearly Gates will know it. It's him that decides where you start. If you would have let Eddy here go there first, in the first place, none of this would be happening."

"You knew you screwed up and you've been trying to cover your butt so you wouldn't have to start all over again.

My guess is, no one has to go to any one's court. All that has to happen is you present me to this pearly gate keeper and he will know that there has been a screw up and he will put everything right."

"Hey Boss. This guy's got you all figured out."

"Wait. It was you who gave me the new list. It was....."

"You sure are a dolt Boss. I would have picked that up right off. You were too busy thinking how good you were at your job to notice me getting into your spot by getting rid of you." 

"So I am here because you wanted to get up the ladder and closer to this Pearly gate and made me pay the price because you made it look like your boss messed up. How clever of you, except I won't let you get away with it. Take me to this Gate Keeper."

"Wait!" A big voice thundered in the misty shadows of nowheresville.

"Oh Oh Boss. We're in for it now."

"No. You are in for it. You conspired to take over and someone seems to have noticed."

"You are wrong Boss. Your signature is on all the paper work. Not mine." 

"Well. You look like the pictures I've seen of you. I never quite believed you were real, but here you are, The Grim Reaper in the flesh, or whatever you are made of. Now you can send me back where you found me."

"I shall." Came the big booming voice in reply. "But first. Do you wish to lodge a complaint against either of these two spirit catchers?"

"No. I just want my life back."

Edward Gosh blinked once, twice then a third time. His right hand trembled, almost spilling his coffee as he read the name in the newspaper obituary. "Bizarre horse accident kills rider Edward Gosh of Meadowville Horse Stables."

"Now isn't that odd how dreams manage to find their way into real life."

Shadows Within Shadows

It began with a cry in the night


Donald Harry Roberts


It was supposed to be a night of fun and relaxation, out with a couple of friends, a mini vacation from the trials and duties of home life. A nice dinner, an evening at the theatre and after a quite café night cap.

It had been months since Hully Two had not been out to do anything more than necessary duties to keep the household running smooth. It was just midnight when she began her walk home when out of the dark came a scream that sent shivers up her spine and back down several times in rapid succession. But some how she managed to sprint anxiously toward the screams thinking someone had fallen into the river nearby or,  It did not occur to her until she stood over the body on the bank of the river something evil scarred the night.


It was a young woman.

Though Hully did not know her well she recognized her immediately as someone she had seen at the theatre, and her head was twisted at an unusual angle.

“Dear. How…how horrible?” Hully whimpered then, taking her phone from her jacket pocket keyed 999.

“Hello. I think a young woman has been murdered.” She reported then gave her name and location. “By the river near the foot bridge.”

And that should have been her part in it except to give a statement when the police arrived. But what should have been and what actually happened was completely different.


Hully Two decided to go stand in the light of a street lamp to wait since it was possible that the killer was still nearby, and she was right, but she only made it a few steps when a raspy, cold voice filtered out of the dark from under the foot bridge.

“You should have minded your own business.”

Hully spun around expecting to find the killer attacking her but instead all she saw was a shadow running away on the other side of the river.

“ Oh no. Now he will be after me.” Hully realized her dilemma instantly. Then she was assault by a rank odour sent her way on a gust of wind. Rank and one she recognized.


The police arrived within minutes of the call and Hully gave here statement and described what happened after she made her 999 call, emphasizing the threat, but there was little the police could do except keep an eye on her home as often as possible, which was scant since the local station only maintained a small force.

Anxiously Hully found her way home watching the dark around her with keen eyes and tense attention.

She listened to the night and sniffed at the cool air.

By the time she got home a deep sense of anxiety borne fear had settled in her heart, but as was her nature, fear summoned courage and she decided to do more than be a frightened witness to a heinous crime.


But things twisted quickly. The killer had not ventured far off. That very next morning, across the meadow by the line of trees Hully spied a shadow within the shadow of the forest. She sensed in her spirit someone was spying on her and for a moment considered calling the police.

“But what can they do. By the time I call and they get here the creep will have run off.” She thought then went to find an old pair of binoculars she remembered long collecting dust in the cubby space under the stairs that climbed to the second floor of her house.


She then went up those stairs to a window facing the forest and fixed her glass on the shadows. The creep was still there and a new fear rushed into heart.

“It can’t be you. It just can’t be.” She wept then became determined to console her suspicions by speaking with the man in the shadows.

Quickly she donned her coat and hat and pushed her feet into ankle boots then rushed out the door, careless of what could become of her by confronting the man in the shadows. Surely he would not murder her too.


She ran as fast as the uneven ground and long grass of the meadow would let her. Even at that it took nearly ten minutes to reach the forest edge. And by then the shadow, the man she recognized was gone. But that did not deter her. She knew where he lived.

She had visited his woodland cottage many times when she was a child. But he had disappeared one spring, now twenty years gone by. Odd it was that he would return just to murder a young girl.

It seemed to Hully utterly impossible. But the voice last night and the rank odour most certainly belonged to him.


Even though it was over grown Hully found the trail leading to her old friend’s cottage easily, remembering each detail as if it had been only yesterday since she last visited him.

So in just a few minutes she was standing at the little picket gate opening on to the cinder path leading to the door, a door long since broken down and hanging weakly from one hinge. Surely, he would not live here in this damp cold. But as the though wrangled through her mind she spied a tendril of smoke rising out of the tin chimney. And seconds later, looking as old and ruined as the cottage her friend appeared at the front window, oddly still intact.


“Cy. Cy Morgan. Is that really you?” She cried out. “Tell me you did not murder that young girl. Please tell me that.” Hully cried.

“I did not kill her Hully Two but I know who did and she is here. She wants to talk to you.”

“Why me? I have nothing she could be interested in.” Hully called back.

“But you do.” A voice filled with hatred came back.

“Sally.” Hully beckoned anxiously. “What could have anyone done to bring you to murder?” she asked sorrowfully.


Hully woke from her involuntary nap, face down in the key board of her laptop. She was startled to discover the entire nightmare had taken place in two minutes. She gave her head a shake and decided to go make a tea. Tea fixes everything. But as she walked along the hall to the kitchen something horrible rose up from her deepest memory, something she had kept hidden from her conscious mind for decades. “Oh dear.” She whispered, then felt to the floor in a faint. 

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