The Bloomsbury Ghost: Part II

Steph flew, exasperated, into the room with the children in hot pursuit. Hamish’s percussive bark was a constant irritation.

“Hamish! Enough!”

Outside, the rumbling of the removal lorries could be heard, bringing a life from the home counties to reside just round the corner from the British Museum.

This house! It had an untouched feel. The last century was laid out for all to see, its original features dusty and grey but otherwise unharmed.

It was during the move that Steph thought she saw something out of the corner of her eye.

She was passing the foot of the sumptuous stairs and there it hung unsteadily, half way up.

There is something grotesque about the motion of a phantom. One can never quite capture the queasy ill-defined parameters, the freezing aura of a visitor from the land of the dead.

And then it was gone.

Steph turned away from that split second and called it something else: a trick of the eye; a stressful moment. Whatever.

She spun on her heels and hurried outside to the removal men gathering in the swift-laying snow.

During the incessant activity of the next days, the Christmas decorations went up around the newly placed furniture. The whole house was filled with the warm smell of mulled wine.

She would often see the phantom.

Once, at the far end of the corridor; another time  floating at the window, looking out onto the London street; again, most unsettlingly, blocking her path to the front door.

On Christmas Eve- the children ran helter-skelter down the corridor. “Mummy! Quickly! Hamish is going nuts at the wall!”

The dog was there: hackles raised, barking at a wooden panel, one of those which lined the lower walls of the master bedroom He would not stop. Marks on the wallpaper higher up showed the last owners had put a wardrobe there.

She had never really understood allusions to one’s flesh creeping. But a sixth sense – and Hamish’s hackles – warned her that she was close to something far from benign. Her flesh crept.

The children were sublimely oblivious.

Thomas loved puzzles. And he knew this was one. He was pronouncing: “Mummy, I bet there’s a secret room. I bet Hamish has discovered London treasure….I bet if you press here….”

The dusty old panel slid soundlessly back to reveal a time capsule: an abandoned room.

The very air inside was deathly. It dessicated the throat.

Here was an ensuite, but it wasn’t a bathroom. The walls were hung with apparatus which should surely be more at home in the Tower of London. This was not for the eyes of small children.

The little dog had tracked the walker to his lair.


 Hamish stood behind his mistress and watched the walker prowling, furious, among the living.

The walker was displeased with the family’s discovery. He was appraising the small boy who had unlocked the secret panel through those cavernous sockets with something like murderousness.

Hamish would have sacrificed himself rather than watch the walker make himself plain to Thomas.

But he was powerless to stop him.

The little dog ran to the feet of the boy and barked at the phantom with all his available life-force. He stood four-square between Thomas and the walker as the ghost began inexorably to materialise in front of the child’s eyes.

Thomas’s eyes focused, and refocused, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Shoes, a suit, and then a face….

And then he tried to scream: but no voice would come out.

He fell to the ground, unconscious.


The doctor had left Thomas sleeping, his dog on a cushion by his side.

It was late that evening when Steph heard her son calling.”Mummy! Mummy! I’ve got a message!”

She sat on the edge of the bed. There was no trace or fear or trauma about his face. On the contrary, he seemed very happy. And extremely excited.

“A lady came to see me while I was asleep,” he announced triumphantly.

Steph was caught completely unprepared. “A lady?” she asked him gently. “What kind of lady?”

“An old fashioned one, very pretty. She spoke like the people at the market. She said to tell you something, even though I wouldn’t understand what she meant.”

There was nothing for it but to ask. “What have you got to tell me, love?”

“That man- the one with no eyes. She was the one who got his eyes, when he was trying to hurt her. She says to tell you this: he’s all mouth and no trousers!” he finished with a flourish, his eyes shining.

All mouth and no trousers. Now there’s a London phrase she hadn’t heard in a long while. It had two meanings: full of hot air: and it also referred to a deeper inadequacy.

Steph was torn between an overwhelming relief that something out there was in control of the situation, and middle class indignation that this most benign of ghosts had chosen an eight year old boy to tell. The choice was hardly suitable.

Still, it would be years before Thomas tumbled to what she meant.

“You’ve got to find the music box in that room,” her son urged. “She needs you to play it and then she can get her own back on him. She says once she’s finished with him, you won’t see him for dust.”

She stepped thoughtfully out into the corridor and walked slowly to her room.

There were more things in Heaven and earth, it seemed.

And hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.


27 thoughts on “The Bloomsbury Ghost: Part II

  1. Ghosts can be so selfish. You think they would lead you to that stash of old postage stamps or that rare brooch or something. Noooooooooo. It’s always about them and their unresolved issues. There has to be some reciprocity on their part. Haunting little wisps.

  2. Oh my, you raised the hair on my neck again. What a very cool turn of events…a hidden room, a seemingly benign spirit emerging, a Mother enraged….Oh this is going to be fun.

    1. Alas, some of my regulars are frightened of ghost stories, Karen, and to go further would try their charity a little too far.

      Although I’m posting an extra Big Al post tomorrow to provided a bit of alternative entertainment….

  3. During internetlessness, I nevertheless managed to capture this episode on email. I couldn’t, of course, indicate how much I was enjoying it so this is to repair that omission.
    I now rush eagerly to seek the conclusion.

    1. Nonsense, Tooty: we all know the Hamstersapien Chronicles are epoch-making: a genre all their own: hamster-based fiction. And Clive Thunderbolt makes a thundering good read…the point is, did it creep you out??

  4. Oooh! Looks like Mr. Meanie Face has met his match – and not for the first time! I’m galloping on to the final scene…

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