The Apparition

The Apparition (with nae apologies to Robbie Burns)

ghosts-gespenter-spooky-horror-40748.jpegShe’s there again, in front of me. A hellish apparition, hair like seaweed in straggly strands, framing a meltit face like a waxwork. Pallor o’ grey,shark teeth. Ghastly, grotesque, somethin’ other. No’ quite human.

Banshee wi’ a crackit complexion, skin flakin’ awa’ like ane o’ they hags o’ mythic folklore.Ah can hardly look at her. ‘Whaur’s yer Auld Meg noo?’ ah wonder. Her eyes bulge oot o’ thir sockets wi’ an almost bovine blankness: they remind me of thon animal experiments, where the eye is cut into wi’ a sharp scalpel, and it oozes oot, tricklin’ like a runny egg yolk.

Ah fear her, this auld hag, she floats in front o’ me noo, remindin’ me o’ shadow; ma secret self, o’ the nicht terrors, the heid under the bed fae childhood. The witch prickers fae the museum’s chamber o’ horrors. The executioneers. Mind? Comin’ doon tae droon aw the hags. Tae kill aw the wummin, jist fir bein’ wummin, ken?

She reminds me aw o’ this cannae last, will no’ last. We’re but fir a brief time here. Death is encroachin’ on us.The hag o’ time, beratin’ me, goadin’ me, by just bein’ here. Just by existin’.

Clad in a ghoul’s shapeless shift, her image comes intae terrible, sharp focus, now. Ah hear the raspin’ ragged breathing.

How did she come tae be here, in ma room? Ah never invitud her here.She broke in and noo she’s stayin’ here, amongst the livin’. Ah am shiverin’  at this thing,this intruder-whit does she want wi’ me? Waitin’ for a chance tae pounce…Ah …think… ah’m gonnae pass oot…

I look rough as fuck this morning.

foggy-mist-forest-trees-42263.jpeg(Lorna Irvine)

Previously unpublished. I wrote this for my pal Gary McNair last Hallowe’en, when he said he was collecting ghost stories, and I thought it’d be fun to write in Old Scots. Gary, this ghoulish nonsense is for you. Here’s tae ya!



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