Blue, Georgia Buley

The following is a true story. It happened to me, only a few weeks ago. Even now, it feels fake, like I’m rewriting a dream someone told me years and years ago.

I work in a hotel in the CBD. Though there’s plenty of spooky stories attached to it – it used to be a children’s hospital, and the Housekeeping staff swear six ways to Sunday that the morgue we turned into a storage room is haunted by the ghosts of dead children – nothing really properly frightening has happened to me. I love scary stories. Cryptids, unsolved mysteries, all that Bermuda triangle kinda stuff. I’d have loved for some creepy ghost to come flying at me in the corridors of our back-of-house. But this is different. This is truly just… unsettling.

I work nights but my shift ends closer to dawn, so I still have the pleasure of checking out some of the early risers as they come down for breakfast, or to catch an early flight. It was a Monday morning, busy: all the corporate-types were on their way out. Down come four people who hop into line in front of me. I’m on my own, but they’re understanding, and the process is pretty streamlined so the wait’s not too bad. First a lady with peroxide blonde hair, then a businesswoman in a real snappy pantsuit. No problems. Then there’s a man with a scruffy white beard and the most piercing blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I remember those eyes the most. They felt like they cut through you, those eyes.

Our system has a timer on it, which logs out a user after a short amount of time spent inactive. I’d been distracted: his conversation was a nice change of pace. By the time he’d left, the system had logged itself out, and I lost the billing screen I’d had up to process his charges. I checked out the last person in line, and then open up the bearded man’s room number again.


The room number, the surname, all details I remember clearly are all showing up with errors. There is, nor never has been, someone staying in our hotel with those details. But I have the room number and the name – 1502, Fenris – written down on my notepad. I know I’m not misremembering, because those words are there. I wrote them.

I went through an hour’s worth of security footage, painstakingly moving the cursor through each frame, but he wasn’t there. There was the lady with the blonde hair, there was the businesswoman, and there was– the last guest I checked out. No time skip, no gap, nothing. Just my flawed memory of a man who didn’t exist.

Even now, when I think about it, he seems faint, like drawing his face back to mind is a strain. I’m sure in a few weeks I won’t even be able to remember what he looked like. But those eyes… those piercing blue eyes. I’ll remember those forever.

A Nudge in the Night, Bohdi Byles

A ghost tour at a gaol, and my friend and I would be sleeping overnight in the cells. I could finally tell people I had slept in a prison.

The tour was interesting, and a little bit creepy. The tour guide had actually been a prison guard back in the day, so he was telling us the graphic stories of murders in the showers with sharpened toothbrushes, and riots in the courtyard with people having their everything broken.

When we stopped at the prison cells for us brave souls to be locked in for the night, he pointed at the cell next to the one I was sleeping in.

“Someone hanged themselves in there,” the tour guide said with a shrug. “I don’t believe in ghost stories because I still have to patrol these grounds at night, but have fun.”

The most unnerving thing was the writing on the wall.

Of all the things I’ve lost.

I miss my mind the most.

“Oh, and one last thing,” the guide said, resting against the huge cell door. “These doors are very heavy so be careful opening and closing them. I saw someone’s fingers get chopped off from the door slamming on them.”

Once he’d left, we laid down to sleep. We were going to be sleeping on air mattresses on the cell floor, no pillows, and no blankets. When lights went out, they really went out; I couldn’t see anything at all. I rolled over and curled up into a ball, my usual sleeping pose, and closed my eyes, the stories of the nights swirling through my mind.

Twenty minutes later was when it began.

Nudge, nudge.

It was like someone was pressing into the foot of the mattress, and I could feel myself rising and falling. My heart began to thump just a little bit faster, but I ignored it. But there it was again and again.

“What do you want? Just stop it!” I sat up in bed and glared at my friend, only to realise she was snoring and facing the cell wall.

When my head was back on the mattress, it started up again.

Nudge, nudge.

A gut feeling sank through my whole body, and I clenched my eyes shut. Something inside, whether it was divine guidance, intuition, or just pure anxiety, was telling me not to open my eyes or look at the foot of the bed.

Nudge, nudge.

Horrific images were flooding my mind, the most poignant being a man hanging from the ceiling in the cell next door. He was swinging back and forth like a pendulum, threatening to fall. And all I could hear was that message from the wall.

Of all the things I’ve lost.

I miss my mind the most.

A Simple Story, Mary Raposa

This is a simple story. No metaphors or allegories. Just a tale that’s best told over family dinners or campfires. It’s ages ago, though, and the years had blurred the details. Now, I only know of the outline.

But the details are not the point. It’s the ending.

See, my cousin was getting married. I received an invitation and this being my first wedding invite I was stoked to go.

I flew to the Philippines and stayed at my uncle’s place the day before the wedding. It was a house located within a compound that would’ve been the perfect backdrop for an indie horror film. The trees were dense and cast a shadow over moss-stained paths. I arrived during the day. Upon seeing the house and the caretaker I was once again eight years old. I looked forward to my uncle’s perfectly cooked meals and raiding the stylish bar just to play with the little plastic cocktail sticks.

Turned out he was working that night. No nostalgia food for me, then.

This is where the details blur. Did I spend the day with the caretaker? Did I eat there? Did I eat out or order in? I can’t remember, but at some point I did eat. I remember not being able to raid the bar, but instead had the pleasure of getting acquainted with his bear-like chow chows. By the time I headed to bed I was exhausted; the next day I had to wake up early to get ready.

So I slept—uncomfortably. Philippine weather was humid and the portable air-conditioner didn’t help. I remember it being the middle of the night when the door opened loudly. I flinched. My consciousness hovered between asleep and awake as my bleary eyes caught a sliver of golden light upon the wall.


The voice was deep, gruff, and almost inhuman. My haziness was so severe that I felt nothing but mild annoyance; I looked over my shoulder to glare at the person who disturbed me. All I saw was a shadow—tall, dark, faceless, and almost as tall as the door. Before I did or said anything the figure stepped back and closed the door. With no more disturbances I was free to sleep again.

The next day, I was getting ready. The caretaker was with me. For conversation’s sake, I asked if they opened my door last night. Confused, they said no; they were asleep in their own room. Now, I was confused. Well, I drawled, did my uncle return home? No, the caretaker replied with concern. My uncle was still at work. There it was: dread. For the last time I asked: did anybody else—a friend or another guest I didn’t meet—open my door by mistake? No, the caretaker said, it was just the two of us.

The coldest of shivers went down my spine.