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  • I have an idea for Halloween.

    The following story is open ended.

    If you want to continue it, send me a message on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hcrawford1) and I will send you a UNIQUE new piece of information, with which you can continue the story in any way you wish....

    Let's see what happens!

    On with the spookiness...
  • Late night. Halloween. Dinner over, the thoughtful gift of wild mushrooms from her neighbour providing the perfect top note in her carefully crafted vegetable casserole.

    No longer any danger of small children demanding sweets. Bored now, but too early for bed.
    No-one emailing, no-one posting on facebook. Twitter has nothing to offer. Much too late to call anyone… nothing on TV but a wee small hours re-run of Strictly Come Dancing.

    Put some coffee on. The cold blue screen invites her to do something else.

    You know how it does.

    Across the room, celebrities in sparkly dresses twirl and shake their hips – and that’s just the men…

    She googles her name, she’s done it before. It’s a common enough name – she knows all about the ballerina, the suffragette and the thirteen year old fell runner, all of whom take precedence on google.
    This time she googles her real name. Her FULL name, including her rarely used middle name. The one she dislikes.
    There is only one hit on the full name, and it’s not her…
    On the internet, she’s a dead baby.
    She reads it again.

    She died in 1903. The same year she was born. She was two months old.

    Helen Knox CRAWFORD was born on 1 Mar 1903 in Bonhill, Dunbarton, Scotland. She died on 5 May 1903. She is buried on 6 May 1903 in Free Church Burial Ground, Renton, Scotland.

    She pinches her wrist. It’s substantial enough. She looks across to the TV, bright green now, because the mandatory elderly lady celeb in emerald sparkles is hobbling about the floor barely supported by a supple boy to the tune of Green Eyed Lady. Surreal, yes, but surely not a hallucination?
    Surely she’s real? Not the celeb, she is genuinely fake.
    She checks her email again. Nothing. In fact, the emails she received earlier have gone. Did she delete them? She checks her junk folder. It’s empty. Back to Inbox.
    Nothing.

    Alzheimer’s. She always feared it would happen. The way she forgot names and even words….

    Back to google. Surely she’s mentioned somewhere on the internet? She HAS to be there . She IS. She MUST be.
    I am not on the internet, therefore I am not, she reflects.
    Hang on, she thinks. My grandmother was born in 1903. Get a grip, she thinks, gripping her own wrist.

    As she thinks this, a mouse calmly walks across her worktop to eat vegetable stew from a carelessly discarded serving spoon.
    She looks at the mouse.
    “I’m here, right?” she says to the mouse.
    The mouse looks startled, unused to being addressed, and annoyed at being interrupted mid-meal.
    “I don’t think so,” says the mouse, eager to get back to his food.
    “It’s poisoned,” she tells him.
    They stare at each other, bluffing. The mouse is the first to break the silence.
    “I pissed on your chopping board.”
    “You pissed your last.”
    And as she says this, she suddenly realises it is true.
    And there is only a baby in the room, crying, crying, and the coffee pot, gurgling, gurgling.
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