The Perennial

A little Halloween dark humour for my friends.

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

She buried my body deep beneath the winter snow. There, where autumn’s rotting foliage tickled at my face and branches aplenty dug into my naked flesh, I festered. The dead do that, fester. What else is there to do?

There is being cold and being of the cold. The former is remedied by a cardigan or two, an extra pair of socks, or a berth by the fire, whereas the latter, now, this is something altogether more chilling. There is nothing one can do but succumb. I lay immobile as the mycorrhizae tied my body in knots, just waiting to emerge as fungi bearing my deceased features. To think some sweet child might turn over a log to my unyielding, sunken flesh instead of a house for a gnome, disgusted. No, this would not do. 

Spring came in a burst of sound and a sudden blast of warmth. Even deep below my now melted mantle, where the light failed to illuminate, it still infused. And I was infused with an unshakable desire to escape. Yet, earth is earth, and dead is dead, and I was going nowhere. For now, anyway. 

This particular summer grew so hot it burnt the flowers and scorched the ground. Birds stopped singing to conserve energy. Worms hid, preferring a possible drowning on those rare days the heavens wept to certain incineration. As for mankind? The hum of their air conditioning rattled my crumbling bones. 

Winter returned. It was a mild affair, never having quite got over the Saharan months. Green remained long into the white season. Leaves fell only when bored. The soft soil invited excavations. Three badgers and a fox later, I was out.

Release is a dish best served once. To have sampled another would have lessened the effect of the first. I had no desire for diluted freedoms. 

I rose from the ground like vapour from a pond, slipping through the woods unnoticed, through the city streets, back home. She was there. 

I came upon her suddenly like a sea fret localised to her bed. “Why?” I demanded, my voice rising and falling like the sea I affected. 

“George? Is that you?”

She sat up and put her glasses on. Her dentures remained in the bedside glass. 

“Why did you kill me, bury me, forsake me? Why?” By now I was closer to a wailing gale. The curtains flapped. The walls shook. A black-and-white photo of our wedding day smashed on the floor. 

“Because you were dead.”

“You buried me in a wood beneath the snow like a dog.”

“Not this again!” She almost shook her wig off. 


“It’s what you wanted!” she exclaimed. 

“But you killed me, you Babylonian whore.”

“Life killed you, George. You were ninety-six. You couldn’t handle it anymore. It had to happen sooner or later.”

What residue of my mind remained dizzied. I felt a vortex tug at my feet, sucking me down, down, down. This, my one chance for revenge, threatened escape, and I redoubled my efforts. “I… must… kill… you…”

“I wish you’d kill me,” said the clean-shaven young man who emerged from under the covers. “She is.”

With that, I vanished back to the cemetery in the woods and the laughter of those who lay there, my grave more turbulent than ever. My festering renewed. 

Still, there was always next year. 

The End. 


Thank you for reading



By Which I Mean Me

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

We, by which I mean me, endeavoured to do right by each other. I spoke kind words, and she shoved them down my throat. I held open the door, and she vacated it. And so on, and so forth. This was our way, use and be used.

Time was not kind to us, by which I mean me. The bruises grew larger, her rages ever greater. I grew timid, as she grew robust. And still, I did my best. Still, I tried.

She, by which I mean they, buried me one cold and windy November afternoon. It rained upturned buckets. Another man already held her umbrella.

Now there was no we, no she, just me. For the first time in forever, I was alone. Nothing lasts.

I returned from the darkness like a roosting bat, flittering around our, by which I mean her apartment, every evening after lights out. She was never alone.

Our paths crossed when she went to the toilet shortly after midnight. I held the door for her, or tried.

“Do I know you?” she sneered. “You remind me of someone I once used.”

The fact I was a ghost seemed inconsequential, her attitude unaltered. I shrugged a delicate breeze, for words were beyond me now.

She rolled her eyes and got down to business.

“Well! Don’t just stand there, pass the toilet roll,” she commanded, upon finishing.

I laughed as I flapped and flailed, unable to acquiesce to her wishes. I tried so hard. Yet, this simplest of tasks was beyond me, and so I left and never returned.

We, by which I mostly mean me, often talk of her, and if she sits there still, stinking and swearing, whilst waiting for another to service her.

The End

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

In Dialogue – I Must be Brief

Photo by Chayan Purkait on Unsplash
Photo by Chayan Purkait on Unsplash

“I must be brief. By which I mean, to the point, or as some say, succinct. There is no sugarcoating this issue. No, how does one term it, beating around the bush. Being concise is of the utmost importance. Of this, there can be no dispute. I shall tell it as it is, plain and simple. To embellish would be to waste time, and time is a commodity one must cherish. I shall shock and disturb with my unerring bluntness. I shall hit the nail straight upon its head. My mind is focused. My intent is as unwavering as a sharpened, cutting edge, dagger-like. The words I have chosen are plucked from a pantheon of such for this one specific purpose. Oh yes, my young friend, you shall see how direct I shall become. You will see.”
“See what?”
“The details I must impart, of course. For they are of a delicate nature, thus this exacting conversation. To see it is to believe it, but to be told it, well… it must be indisputable. You see, my attentive, well-meaning fellow, he’s gone to meet his maker.”
“He’s what?”
“He’s defunct, lost, gone, departed, irrefutably non-existent.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“You do! How so?”
“Shall I be brief?”
“Please, I should appreciate your not withholding those same indelicacies that I have not withheld from you. I would want it no other way. There is no other way. So, yes, you must be brief. In fact, I demand it.”
“I shot him.”

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Of Words and Their Consequences

Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash
Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash

There was no particular difference in our styles. We wrote as we were, evil and worse. Yet, there were discrepancies. Some might have termed them oddities.

Kara had a propensity to exaggerate situations. I had an inclination to err. Only when our shared editor pointed this out did we ourselves notice.

It became a farce, our correcting each other. Soon after, it became more, each desperate to put the other right. Our editor said it didn’t matter. But it did.

I tore up all her notepads. She snapped my pencils in half. I flushed her ink down the toilet. Kara laced mine with something she ought not; she knew I sucked my pen whilst thinking.

I died on a Monday. Kara spoke at my funeral just three days later. I rose from my coffin and laughed when she said how good a husband I’d been. Our editor, now her editor, laughed too.

Kara self-published her book; it was under-appreciated by others and overrated by her. I read it over a person’s shoulder whilst haunting a toilet. Neither the manuscript nor the toilet was clean.

When Kara joined me in the afterlife, we joked about it. Our editor was now God. Neither of us liked what he had to say.

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.