Bat Globe

I bought myself a bat globe
A long long time ago
It's full of tiny plastic bats
Instead of flakes of snow

A haunted house sits in the centre
Waiting for the storm
I shake the globe. The bats rise up,
A small and happy swarm.

But when the morning comes
Instead of roosting in the eaves
They lie upon the plastic ground
Like fallen autumn leaves

I'd love to crack it open
And set them free to fly
To swirl like bonfire ashes
Up into the evening sky.

Trick or Treat

Trick or treat!" the creature shrieked
At the old woman who had opened the door
Its costume was very convincing:
A smart suit and shiny shoes
To show how professional it was
And a human mask tugged into a frown of concern
Though its eyes glittered behind. 

"Treat, please," she begged.

"You don't know how hard it's been.
The bills keep getting higher
And I can't afford to heat my home. 
My grandchildren eat from food banks
And I've been waiting a year for a doctor
To investigate this ache in my belly. 
The plague took my husband
While you played your party games
While the sky filled with poison
And the rivers filled with shit
And the roads filled with potholes
And your pockets filled with money
And the things you said you'd build to make it better 
Never got built
And the things you did build
Fell down 
And to add insult to injury
Someone cut down my favourite tree."

She waited for it to answer, 
With tears welling in her eyes
For some sign of empathy
Or just a human-sounding reply. 

"Aw, poor you," it said

And with a nearly human claw
It patted her on the head.
"Tell us one thing we can do." 

For a single glowing moment 
She thought maybe this time
would be different
And she whispered "I need..." 

"HA! TRICK!" it screamed
And spat in her face
While its gang of little suited friends 
Emptied her bins into the road. 

We're The Folk in Horror

We're the folk in horror but you'll find no cultists here.
We worship the same gods as you: Love Island, sports and beer.
The parish church hides no satanic rituals or rites
Just jumble sales and bingo drives alternate Thursday nights.

We're glad you've bought that run down cottage high up on the moor.
Ignore the silly stories of what happened there before
There's no reason at all to think that you will go berserk
And anyway, the local builders really need the work.

Don't worry if you hear a strange and far-off rumbling sound
Like something huge and hungry stirring deep beneath the ground
No buried monsters, grabazoids or troglodytes a-snacking
It's tunnelling for HS2, or else more bloody fracking.

No, we're the folk in horror working hard to keep our farm
We're too clapped out with milking cows to do you any harm.
There's nothing in t'woodshed, nothing summoning the crows
No clowns hide in the cornfield, no-one walks between the rows.

And as for wicker statues, do you honestly believe
We've got the time, the labour or the resources to weave
A fifty foot high cage to sacrifice a virgin cop
When we haven't enough volunteers to staff the village shop?

It's hard to fraternise with squamous horrors in the ocean
When home is falling off a cliff thanks to coastal erosion.
And though our kids aren't frog-eyed hybrids, shambling and squat
With teenage boys the differences are sometimes hard to spot.

So we're the folk in horror, sick to death of your anxiety
The butt of all your pent up fears of urbanised society
It's easy to portray us all as sullen, inbred yokels
But please come and spend your cash; this shop's not just for locals.

The Thing Under the Bed

Well this is starting to become something of a pattern isn't it? Putting sod all on this blog for months (or in this case, YEARS) on end only to pop up again in time for Hallowe'en with some random weirdness. Ah well, who am I to fly in the face of tradition.


For some reason known only to my brain, this year it's come up with poetry. Well, doggerel for the most part. I'm not laying claim to any kind of artistic merit here. Little fragments of strangeness that get lodged in my brain, too small for a story, too itchy to ignore. If you like them, cool. If you don't - meh, go buy some of my books so that I get another novel contract (because it has been a GRIM three years, let me tell you), and I'm forced to do something more productive with my time.

I've got, like, ten or so of these things, and I'll post them throughout the month until Hallowe'en. Collect the set!

Here's the first.

The Thing Under the Bed

I can hear it breathing:
Long, slow, snuffling in-breaths
And the occasional giggle

I can smell it
Stale, cabbagey farts
Sewer breath
And something sugary
Like old sweets found in a coat pocket
Sticky and furry with lint. 

It's scratching lightly on the underside of my bed
Not because it's trying to get through
Just to let me know it could if it wanted to
It plucks at the springs:

I can't move

I feel something pulling the edge of my mattress down
And I know that it's reaching up
From underneath 
And its hand or claw or whatever 
Is crawling like a spider towards me
And any second now
It will touch my face
And I open my mouth and I scream


So hard my throat hurts. 

There's running footsteps up the stairs 
And the bedroom door opens
And light streams in from the hallway, 
Making me blink 
And my mum says

"For God's sake, James, stop terrorising your brother!"
And my big brother in the bunk bed below me says
"But I wasn't doing anything!"

He always says that.