High Spirits

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #103, where we write about this photo from Tim Grundtner at Pexels.com.

“Come and look at this! This looks really creepy”, Suzy exclaimed with excitement.

Having gained his attention, Duffy checked the monitor. They were partnered up in the after-school photography club, and experimenting with how they could use one of the school’s copies of Photoshop to manipulate images. Suzy had figured out how to reduce the opacity, then merge two completely different images together.

“Oh man”, agreed Duffy, “that image looks really spooky. Like she’s some kinda poltergeist or somethin’. How’d you do that?”

So Suzy gave the tutorial. “Well, I just picked these two separate images up off the web, the attic and the girl”. She then started going into more detail, until Duffy interrupted her “Whoaaaa…”, pleaded Duffy, “slow down, there, sis”. It was true, Suzy was a natural with computers and Duffy had hardly taken in anything she’d said. His mind was racing, though, but in a completely different direction.

“Could you do that again?”, he asked. “Oh, yeah, now that I know what to do, it’s easy”, came the reply. “Then what say we have ourselves some fun?”, suggested Duffy, picking up their camera. “You wait here, see if you can find any photographs of any of the teachers.  I’m gonna get some photos of the school, that we can use as backgrounds. It’s about time some of ‘em get spirited away, don’t you think?”


I just found out that one of the people I speak to each week has died.

About October they stopped answering. I thought that was strange, because we got on well. You can always tell when there is a rapport.

The charity has a procedure: after several weeks of no answers, I notify them, and they send a letter out. The wording is flowery, but it is basically asking for confirmation that they still want the calls.

Obviously somebody has been going through the client’s mail, found this letter, and got in touch to explain.

It comes with the territory, I suppose, especially as the charity specifically works with seniors. but from the conversations I have with clients, I was quite gobsmacked because I had no inkling that they were anywhere near death. I’ve had clients die before, but usually the signs are there.

It’s weird, because I phone these people up each week to say hello, have a chat and along the way to get some kind of feel for whether they are all right. It’s a bit like on here, especially when somebody doesn’t appear for a while. And if they happen to be *not* all right, tough. There’s not much I can do about it. I struggle with that.

It felt similar during our first lockdown, although that was more direct. We were asked to make “reassurance” calls. They were mainly focussed on direct needs. Have you got enough food? are you managing your anxiety ok?and so on. Again, there was a limited amount we could do, if someone said “no”. We could signpost them to services which could offer concrete assistance, but we couldn’t actually do anything ourselves. We couldn’t put fresh food on their table, say.

It’s kind-of a weird feeling. You’re helping, but… there’s a limit to what you can do. Ultimately… you’re on your own.

Rainbows and Unicorns

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 1 February 2021, unicorn.

We went off for a break by the sea,
Where a cheeky gull shat in my tea,
When we tried to eat lunch,
Got attacked by a bunch,
Gotta get me a gun, sharpishly