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  1. #91

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    Default A Sat Nav without technology

    In recent years Brian had made a living with a small business selling homeopathic and other New Age remedies. He had doubted the effectiveness of some of the “cures” but didn’t feel guilty. After all, they must have worked for many of his customers otherwise they would not have kept on buying them.

    It wasn’t as though his remedies were the only ones that worked despite being scientifically dubious. Cognitive therapy was once twice as effective as it is today because it was initially hailed as a miracle cure and the placebo effect made it work because people believed in it. As its effectiveness came into question and more people stopped believing in it, it stopped working for them. This is nothing new, exactly the same reduction of effectiveness, for the same reasons, happened with psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud.

    Now Brian had retired he wanted something to keep him active and, as the business had sold for a disappointingly low sum, hopefully bring in a bit more money. Why did there have to be such a rigid dividing line between science and superstition? Maybe there was money to be made there. After all, some people consider themselves as spiritual in nature and are averse to technology but would still like to have the benefits that only technology can provide. Sitting chanting “Om” is not going to guide you to your holiday hotel in Wales.

    That was an idea! How about a spiritual Sat Nav? He could promote is as something better for us than the usual sort. The existence of electromagnetic signals has been linked to human health and other issues, the diminution of bee numbers due to phone signals for example, but Ley Lines have been around since the dawn of man and there are no proven ill effects. There are dowsing methods that are supposed to be able to find Ley Lines, so why not invent a device for a car that could follow them to a particular place? The road network is not an infinite set of straight lines from everywhere to everywhere else, so it would have to follow a complex series of linked Ley Lines. If there was no Ley Line that corresponded sufficiently with a road, perhaps there were alternative methods that could be used to adjust the path. Dowsing could also be used to detect water so perhaps a variation could distinguish a flat road surface from its surroundings in a similar way to modify the track.

    He had been working on it for a while and it wasn’t nonsense! His dowsing sensors, thin strips on the inside of the steering wheel, allowed a driver to detect Ley Lines without impairing steering ability. Minor subconscious changes in grip drove the small pointer on the windscreen. So far though, the results had been rather disappointing. He had managed to find his way to a few local places but there had been far too many errors. General direction finding was good but navigation on longer, more complex routes was poor and often sent him up the wrong road if it went in roughly the right direction. It was hardly much better than a dashboard compass that you could get in Halfords for about ten quid.

    There had to be some other alternative methods he could use, knowledge out there that he could draw upon to improve his tech-free Sat Nav. Something that saw beyond the limits of human sight. Fortune tellers were supposed to be able to inform you of major forthcoming events in your life, so, surely, they could tell you how to get to Doncaster. An old lady with a crystal ball sitting on the dashboard would rather impede your driving vision so he needed something less conspicuous, preferably invisible. Like a spirit, that could be it! He would modify the dowsing sensors on the steering wheel so they acted like a Ouija board and then he could ask members of the spirit world how to get to Doncaster.

    It seemed to be working rather well. Before starting his journey, he stuck a short list of places he wanted to go to or pass through on the steering wheel sensors. By placing his thumbs on them in turn he was able to ask the spirit world how to get there. There always seemed to be some spirit available who knew the location and the direction was indicated by movement of the dashboard indicator that acted like a planchette, that sliding piece of wood on a Ouija board. In combination with the Ley line location it gave great results, probably as good as an expensive Sat Nav. A few tweaks were needed but he was in line to make some good money out of this.

    It took a few more months and he was almost ready to start marketing his invention, it just needed one last rigorous test to ensure there were no bugs. It was nice weather for a holiday so he would use it on a drive to Edinburgh from his home in Sussex via a pre-planned meandering route, staying at various B&Bs on the way. He chose towns he had not been to before and deliberately avoided looking at any road maps to eliminate the possibility that a successful navigation was down to some subconscious effort by himself.

    It was the last day and it had all worked great so far. He left the B&B at Berwick upon Tweed with no idea which road he wanted but his spirit Sat Nav guided him through the town to a main road signposted to Edinburgh. He was not familiar with the area but knew it was only an hour or two away. He had been driving for about half an hour when the spirit Sat Nav directed him off the main road. It seemed odd but he went with it. There had been a previous occasion when he had been directed onto a minor road and had found out later online that there had been major hold ups on the main road. The spirits could predict things that a normal Sat Nav could not. He drove on and then followed the directions onto an even smaller road that seemed to be going in the right general direction. Great! It was probably saving him from hours stuck in a traffic jam.

    He began to have misgivings when he was directed onto a single-track road that looked more like a farm track than a public highway. Maybe he should have checked for a sign before turning onto it. He went on for another ten minutes before he had to stop. His spirit Sat Nav was directing him onto a barred muddy track and a sign saying, “Danger – quarry workings” He’d need his ordinary electronic Sat Nav to find his way back to the main road.

    He reached for the glove compartment. Or tried to. He couldn’t move because he was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of terror that left him frozen in his seat. Too late he realised that he should have paid more attention to warnings about the dangers of using a Ouija board, how some of the spirits it attracted could be of an evil and malignant nature. Something had been using his invention to try and lead him to his death and it wasn’t going to give up now. His thoughts were clear but the parts of his mind that controlled his body were possessed and outside his control. His mind could do nothing as his limbs took control of the car and backed it up.

    Then his foot went down hard on the accelerator and his heavy four-wheeler crashed through the barrier and roared towards the edge of the cliff surrounding the deep, disused quarry.
    Last edited by xoggoth; 18th January 2019 at 23:20.
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  2. #92

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    Default The shortest horror story ever

    A little boy was throwing stones into the lake and saw something floating. He shouted "What's that in the water mummy?"

    A hideous Egyptian mummy lurched up behind him and put a rotted hand on his shoulder.

    "It's your mother's body boy, I threw it in there earlier."
    Last edited by xoggoth; 15th February 2019 at 20:49.
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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  3. #93

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    Default The last men living

    It should have been obvious that World War 3 would come eventually.

    There had never been any wars between Innuits and Australian Aborigines for an obvious reason, thanks to geography they never affected each other in any way. Conflicts happen between people who live side by side or whose ambitions overlap, who have different and conflicting agendas, who see themselves as separate and have competing aims and ambitions for their own people. As the world became more and more crowded and free space, raw materials and natural resources grew scarcer, so the tensions inevitably grew to levels that had not been seen previously.

    There were parallels with World War 1. The trigger came on the 3rd of April 2131 when the assassination of a leader started a war between two relatively small nations. As in the first war, it soon grew into something much greater when more powerful allies piled in for their own reasons but this time it was not just Europe that was involved but the whole world. And, this time too, weapons were of a different nature. It was unclear who made the first nuclear strike but the panic spread, the desire to knock out the other side to protect your own. Numerous nations, both big and small, had them by them and most used them. By the summer of 2131 the world as we had known it was largely gone. The radioactivity, plus huge releases of toxic chemicals by smaller nations that could not afford nukes, had decimated nature and it would take hundreds of thousands of years before it would fully recover.

    Here and there, due to the patterns of winds and tides and a lot of luck, a few small areas were less affected and in some of them mankind had just about survived. In one Island in the Pacific almost five thousand people remained. An understandable loathing of what technology had inflicted on the planet caused the inhabitants to reject it and they lived as the Amish had once done, surviving through manual labour. All the things that technology had left behind, like cars, machines, TVs, radios, computers and mobile phones, were seen as evil things to be feared and avoided and were left to rot wherever they were. In the absence of any electricity, oil or gas supplies, TV or radio stations, phone lines, phone signals or satellites, most of them were of no use anyway.

    It was a tough existence, given what the radiation and other contamination had done to the environment, but it took hundreds of years before attitudes began to change and some began to argue that they could learn from the past, that they could use positive aspects of science and technology and improve their lives without using it for weapons. Their ideas gained acceptance because it was becoming obvious that they had no choice, time was running out. Although the island’s inhabitants had survived, the radiation had not left them untouched. Photographs that remained from before the obliteration showed how they had changed greatly, genetic mutations over the generations had made them appear to be an entirely different species. Some mutations appeared harmless, even positive, but there was no easy solution to the major problem, the plummeting number of women. A genetic fault was causing a much lower survival rate among females and there were now only a few of child bearing age left, all married to the powerful men in the tribe. Few of the living males had ever had any sexual encounter with the opposite sex.

    Nobody had left the island since the great extinction and they did not know if any other humans existed but finding another human population with enough females was their only hope. Reechat was put in charge of trying to revive the forgotten technology. If they could find a way to contact other humans and build some means of transport to get to them, then they, maybe mankind in general, could survive. The records indicated there was a telephone landline from their island to the neighbouring one and they had been attempting to communicate through it. It was just possible that, if anyone lived on the other island, they had not given up on technology and might receive the message. They had little hope and were amazed to receive a response.

    Communications went on for several weeks between the islands. Fortunately, their languages had not changed so much that Reechat and his counterpart on the other island could not understand each other although it was very difficult. She was a lady, her name was Feldas. It seemed that, for some strange genetic reason, it was their male population that was in danger, they had over 600 females and just 7 males, 4 of whom were quite elderly. What a perfect situation, thought Reechat, all those needy females in need of servicing to preserve our species! He couldn’t wait to meet Feldas and, hopefully, take their relationship further. She seemed just as keen as he was, in fact their conversation had become distinctly flirtatious. The next week the boat was completed and, using old maps from mankind’s better days, Reechat and his crew set off to the ladies’ island. Feldas said they would keep a look out and she would be there to meet them on the beach. She and Reechat had agreed to wear red scarves to make themselves recognisable.

    She was true to her word. He jumped off the boat and he saw her standing there on the shingle. His lower jaw dropped. Right down to his stomach. Then his middle jaw dropped almost as far. His eyes, all three of them, did not know where to look while his tail twitched nervously. He had hoped to meet a large-breasted lady and she did not disappoint in that way. The two largest ones that protruded from her hips were even bigger than the three that hung from her neck. She was clearly startled too, it was her tentacles that twitched in a nervous way.

    From his study of all the old archives Reechat knew that the radiation had greater altered mankind’s appearance. It had just never occurred to him that different groups of humans would have changed in such entirely different ways.
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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  4. #94

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xoggoth View Post
    A little boy was throwing stones into the lake and saw something floating. He shouted "What's that in the water mummy?"

    A hideous Egyptian mummy lurched up behind him and put a rotted hand on his shoulder.

    "It's your mother's body boy, I threw it in there earlier."
    I went to the Egyptian museum in Cairo and saw the mummies. A very good reason to be cremated is to not have your remains gawped at by tourists millennia later.

  5. #95

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    A very good reason to be cremated is to not have your remains gawped at by tourists millennia later
    Bah! More snowflakiness! I recall going to Horniman Museum quite a few times when I was a kid. Could never wait to see the mummy they had. Hot she was!
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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  6. #96

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    This next story is not a suicide note. You lot haven't got rid of me yet!
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
    John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)

  7. #97

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    Default In the water

    He needed to think up something to read out at the little monthly writer’s group but couldn’t seem to come up with anything and was running out of time. Damn it, he was just losing his imagination these days, it was disappearing like so many other things as you age.

    This month’s story suggestion was “What’s that in the water, mummy?“ It wasn’t that he couldn’t think of any ideas, but an idea doesn’t make a story on its own, it needs to engage its readers, have an interesting plot and characters, some twists and turns, a few initial mysteries to make people think. Most of all, it needs a decent ending to reveal all the solutions to those mysteries.

    He wasn’t sure whether he lacked the ability anymore or just lacked the enthusiasm to be interested in what he wrote. Nearly every book he read these days, often by proclaimed authors, he chucked away half read, thinking “what a load of crap!” Ah well, he’d give it one last go. Why not write down a list of ideas and see if he could think of some way to turn them into a story. Right. What’s that in the water, mummy? here we go:

    Idea 1. The most obvious one. The boy sees a body. Some nasty serial killer strangling people and dumping them in the river. Yeh! That narrowed it down, probably only about 5 million short stories and novels on that one! Details, plot, characters? His mind was blank. damn it!

    Idea 2. The boy sees a reflection of his future self who is murdered or suicides in the river. Bit more original but more details still needed, come one, come on, think of something. Ah, sod it!

    Idea 3. The boy sees the future killer who dumps him there. Much like Idea 2, really. Same problems.

    Idea 4. An evil industrialist saves money by dumping tons of toxic chemicals in a river that feeds a reservoir and kills thousands. He Googled that one. Damn, that wouldn’t work in the UK, reservoir water is treated and tested before storage in enclosed tanks. Might work in the USA with their rather lax checks but it wasn’t worth joining a writer’s club in New York.

    Idea 5. An industrialist does ditto and kills lots of wildlife. That is more realistic but not much of a story. Him being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive and issued with a huge fine is not the most exciting ending. There are no other characters, not human ones anyway. That’s an idea! Maybe all those little frogs and minnows etc. could unite and seek revenge. Disney type cartoon characters in a dark adult story? Nah!

    Idea 6. There is some strange monstrous creature in the water. Nobody would bother to read that story, easier to down a few vodkas and watch a crappy low budget film on the Horror Channel which is full of stuff about people threatened by sharks and alligators in unlikely places. Or, how about the Loch Ness monster having an away break in somebody’s garden pond? Not very convincing, it would have needed a taxi to Inverness station and somebody would have noticed.

    Idea 7. Maybe the tap water turns red and it turns out there is a body in the water tank. But why would it be there? Let’s see, come on man, think of an exciting plot. Maybe the two plumbers installing your new boiler had an argument about whose turn it was to make the tea. Yeh, right!

    Idea 8. Hang on, maybe he could use the tank in the attic idea! The little boy could be referring to the taste of the tap water. You are in one of those old terraced houses with no secure walls in the attic and a vicious neighbour sneaks in and puts poison in the tank. Just got to think of a reason, ah sod it!

    He had been sitting in front of his computer for hours getting nowhere and just had another two to go before the writers group meeting. It was looking a bit brighter outside, maybe he would go for a walk, perhaps a bit of sun would inspire him. Sometimes ideas pop into your head when you are not thinking so hard.

    He walked for an hour and got more and more angry. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t come up with a story, that was just one minor part of everything that was going downhill in his life and in his mind. Lack of imagination, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of feeling. He walked to the middle of the old bridge and stared at the sun, hoping for some last-minute hope but it did not come. Then he looked down at the swiftly flowing river.

    It was twenty minutes later, and the little boy was with his mother by the river bank throwing stones. “Mummy, what’s that in the water?”
    Last edited by xoggoth; 15th March 2019 at 18:11.
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    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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  8. #98

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    Default Another very short one

    A man invented a time machine. He had been working on it for years and had addressed every risk he could think of. A small pilot device had already given him delightful pictures from the middle ages, so the principles were sound. The full scale machine that would take him back in time was now ready.

    He checked everything out thoroughly for the umpteenth time before stepping into the machine and starting it up. It all seemed to be working as expected. The time gauge showed that external time was falling rapidly.

    Suddenly the gauge froze and started to reverse. Something was wrong with the electronics. It wasn't just that he, and the machine he was in, were going forward in time, it was becoming apparent that neither was independent of time any more. They had merged to become part of real time and yet the machine was still operating, only now it was stuck in an endless loop.

    A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine, A man invented a time machine..................................
    Last edited by xoggoth; 15th March 2019 at 18:13.
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  9. #99

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    Default A Funny Feeling

    It’s difficult to get on the housing ladder in the UK these days but Tony and Rachel had finally made it, using the government’s Help to Buy scheme and some money from their parents.

    It had been a stressful few months, with all the uncertainty, form filling and moving, but here they were at last, in a brand new flat conveniently located in the centre of town and close to their workplaces. There were still things to do, like replacing the old furniture they’d purchased second hand once they had saved enough money, but that could wait. It was time to relax and start enjoying life again. They sat in the front room with the winter sun streaming through the window and celebrated with a glass of wine.

    Having invested so much effort in acquiring the place neither of them were willing to express their concern at first. It was a few days before Rachel mentioned it. "You know Tony, I don’t know, I have a funny feeling about this front room, it feels a little creepy somehow" Tony was silent for several seconds, it was strange she felt it too, he thought his nervousness when he sat in here was just down to the stress of moving. "It’s weird Rachel, I feel that too. Yet, what could it be? This is a new build, there are hardly going to be any ghosts around. It would have been in the news if some builder got killed during the construction. Maybe something in the light is stimulating our imaginations, I’m sure we’ll get over it once we’re more used to the place"

    They didn’t. Things started to take a new more alarming turn. On various occasions both of them had seen strange shadows moving across the room and felt a distinct chill in the air. It was terrifying and neither of them wanted to be in the front room at all, but they couldn’t let it go to waste when it had cost so much. What could they do? It was hardly a problem covered by insurance or the purchase agreements, they’d just get laughed at if they mentioned it to anyone.

    They did a bit of online research and Rachel came across a story about a haunted pub, the Talbot Hotel in Oundle, North Hants. The staircase taken from a nearby castle is the one where Mary Queen of Scots walked to her execution and her ghost is said to have been seen many times walking down it. Maybe their own ghost had been imported too, it wasn’t the flat that was haunted, it was one of those items of furniture that they’d brought at second-hand shops. Who knows what history they could have had? It was worth a try. One by one they started selling the suspect items back to nearby second-hand shops, then leaving it for a week to see if there were any more frightening occurrences.

    After a few weeks all the second-hand furniture, including the sofa, the dining table and chairs, the wardrobe and two cupboards had gone. They now had a bare flat with hardly more than the bed and the TV, they had wasted a lot of money and it had not helped at all, the strange apparitions were actually getting worse as if the ghosts were becoming attuned to their new home. They were not just vague shadows; they could see real outlines of someone who appeared to be writhing in torment. Neither of them wanted to go into the front room anymore.

    What options did they have left? Hire an occultist to banish the spirit? They didn’t have much money and were afraid of being ripped off by some fraud. Maybe they could get the ghost to leave themselves. Google had a few tips and they tried them all without success. What else? Maybe they could just carry on as normal and adapt to the damn thing, if they got used to it, they’d stop being frightened. It was worth a go; they’d purchase a cheap but brand-new sofa on tick and start using the room again.

    The sofa was being delivered that day, so they went into the front room to give it a clean. The apparition was very strong, and they were both frightened, but they ignored it and carried on as if nothing was happening. Rachel was vacuum cleaning the carpet and heard a clatter; there was a paper clip on the floor. It must have dropped out of that old second-hand chest of drawers they’d just got rid of. Tony picked it up and suddenly felt he was someone else in another place, in a small dingy room, he’d just picked up a paper clip to attach a couple of forms when he felt the searing, life-ending pain of the knife in his back. He reacted instinctively, hurled the paper clip out of the window and the vision was gone.

    Later, he and Rachel were sitting on their new cheap sofa, this time actually enjoying their glass of wine. There were no strange events, no flickering apart from the shadow of leaves in the wind and no chill other than the normal one of February when the radiator had only just been turned on.

    They heard later about some strange sightings in the small communal garden where the paper clip had landed but, fortunately, that wasn’t their problem.
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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  10. #100

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    I know that story about the Talbot Hotel in Oundle when I stayed there a few years ago. I was really looking forward to the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots turning up in my bedroom. She never did unfortunately.

    Talbot Hotel - Oundle, Northamptonshire | HauntedRooms.co.uk
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
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