H is for Haunted Hangout

Day 8 of the challenge!

My theme is NIFTY NUGGETS. Little nuggets of writing based on a photo, a phrase and an object, which is designed to encourage lean, tight writing. I’m aiming for a word count of under 300 words.

Thank you to L.Diane Wolfe for providing the beautiful photo prompts.  You can visit her blog to check out more pictures.



PHRASE – as thick as thieves

OBJECT – lamp

Steps hug close together.

They whisper in shadowed corners about the strange occurrence that had befallen Still Waters Bed and Breakfast.

The master of the establishment, grizzled old Ben Skinnerd, was closely linked with Mr Tanner, an out-of-towner who lodged at the B&B for about two weeks. The visitor had been in town for business purposes, or so the story went. He left the B&B every day at exactly 7.00 a.m. and returned a little after 2.00 p.m. At exactly 3.00 p.m. the two men would enjoy a glass of the finest whiskey that money could buy. They would then light up a cigar and hearty laughter would ensue. They were as thick as thieves.

On a particular day, Mr. Tanner returned later than usual, at 4.00 p.m. and in the company of vivacious, red-headed Ms. Blackridge. She had an odd habit of pressing her lace handkerchief to her mouth, in order to suppress uncontrollable giggles.

Just what occurred during the hours of 4.00 and 8.00 p.m. on that last evening… nobody really knows. The trail of blood along the banister, down the steps and into the dining area, ended at the overturned lamp which lay in front of the fireplace. A lace handkerchief lay crumpled on the floor. Ben Skinnerd is the prime suspect in the investigation, but he is as baffled as everybody else.

There is no sign of Mr. Tanner or Ms. Blackridge.

A journalist from the local gazette pulled an article from the archives, about an incident which took place a few years earlier. It involved a ‘non-existent’ visitor who had disappeared along with the gentleman she was last seen with. The similarity in story details are chilling, from the crumpled handkerchief to the rich oil rubbed bronze-finished base of the overturned lamp in the dining room.

The steps huddle closer.

They know.

They’ve seen it all before.

It’s not the first… it won’t be the last…


  1. Patricia Lynne on April 11, 2015 at 2:56 am

    An eerie ghost tale. Love it!

  2. Rosie Amber on April 11, 2015 at 7:39 am

    A good mystery here.

  3. Trisha on April 11, 2015 at 9:37 am

    oooh, creepy! Love it 🙂 And that photo is definitely very fitting! I love being inspired by images that way 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on April 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      Nice to see you around Trisha! 🙂
      I loved your A to Z photos!

  4. Alex Hurst on April 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Creepy! I love the idea of the stairs standing witness to the crime. Excellent use of personification.

  5. Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    That was excellent! Only the steps know. And I’m sure they are well soaked in old blood.

  6. Susan Gourley on April 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I swear that picture looks just like the one in my grandmother’s house. The upstairs always seemed so creepy and now your story convinced me my childhood instincts were correct.

  7. Carol Kilgore on April 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Oooh, cool!
    Great story!

  8. Debbie D. on April 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Fascinating ghost story. Gripping from beginning to end. Loved it, Michelle!
    P.S. the woman pressing a lace handkerchief to her mouth was a bit of a clue, that this was from a bygone era. You’d not likely see that in modern times.

  9. Donna Cummings on April 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Eeek! Very evocative writing. 🙂

  10. C. Lee McKenzie on April 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Shudder. It won’t be the last? I’m not going near that place. Great connection to the image.

  11. Chrys Fey on April 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I love ghost stories! You held me captive with your words, and the ending gave me chills. No lie! 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on April 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Chrys, you’ve made my day!
      Thank you for the wonderful comment! 🙂

  12. Celine Jeanjean on April 12, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Ooh, I like this! And I like that you made the steps sentient – that’s a nice little twist.

  13. Sara C. Snider on April 13, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Ooh, creepy! I love it. 😀

  14. Julie K Pick on April 13, 2015 at 6:02 am

    A spine-tingling mystery at its best! I love your fine attention to detail, Michelle. Now I’m afraid to turn the lights off!

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