Thursday, 9 April 2015

On April 1st I offered to write a fictional ghost story on my Facebook page.  Stories on the Original St Andrews Witches Tour are all traditional; handed down for centuries, and to mark April Fools day I thought it might be fun to write a totally made-up modern story.  I really should have thought that one through more carefully because, although I wrote it in the right order, each episode went on top of the previous one which made it read in reverse order.  Oops!

Anyway. this is a story about Isla, Ben and Bill.

The Last Bus Home

Isla's Story

I always get the last bus home from St Andrews on Friday nights.  Jamie, my fiance used to drive me home, but we split up a couple of years ago and because I don't have a car and never learned to drive, catching the bus has been my only option since then.  There wasn't anything remarkable about that particular Friday night.  Bill, the bus driver nodded at me as I got on the bus and I headed for my usual seat.

The bus jerked into motion and we slid past shops and houses.  I was the only passenger, as usual, until the  last bus stop on the very edge of town. That's where he got on.  Tall, with dark floppy hair and kind dark eyes that looked straight through me.  He was thrown into the seat across the aisle from me as the bus moved off again.  I glanced at him, then looked away quickly, in case he noticed.

Trees and houses and hedgerows slid by  as I sat in silence. I glanced sideways at him, wishing he would look over and notice me, but he just kept reading his book. I looked out of the window again. We were passing Magus Muir, where Archbishop Sharp was dragged from his coach and murdered. The road from here to St Andrews was supposed to be haunted by the Phantom Coach, though I'd never seen it.

Ironic, really, that so many people claimed to have seen a ghostly coach, yet here was I on a modern bus sitting across the aisle from an eminently fanciable guy, and I couldn't even get him to notice me.
I found that I was muttering under my breath. "Look over. Look at me. Notice me, for goodness sake. What's wrong with me?"
Then, finally, he looked...

Ben's story

What a night. Takeaway curry and a few beers with the flatmates, then a phone call from my girlfriend. She was at a birthday party in Anstruther, and did I want to come over?

I just had time to catch the last bus. I could have driven there, I suppose, but I wasn't sure I'd have passed the breathalyzser. So, bus it was. The bus stop is about a couple of hundred yards from the flat, and I got there in time to see the bus draw up.

It was just an ordinary bus. Nothing to mark it as unusual. I paid the driver, went towards the back of the bus, and sat down. Night-time bus journeys are always boring, so I got my book out of my bag and settled down to read.

You know how sometimes you feel like there are eyes boring into the back of your head? I got that feeling. After a while I couldn't ignore it any more, so I put my book down and looked around.
I wish I hadn't...

Bill's story

That Friday was much the same as any other. I was doing a late shift. The girl got on at the bus station, as usual. She's a quiet wee thing. Never draws any attention to herself. Usually sits about halfway up the bus. I don't have many regular passengers for the last bus on a Friday, but the people who catch the last bus tend to sit right at the back or just behind me.

When Ben got on the bus and picked a seat halfway down the aisle I could see him in the mirror, and I could see that Isla was giving him the glad-eye. He might not have noticed, but it was clear to me that Isla fancied him.

What was I supposed to do? I'm the seventh son of a seventh son. I have the clear sight. I didn't think that Ben would be able to see her, but I suppose after 30 years, Isla got lonely and wanted to be noticed. You see, Isla doesn't remember that she flung herself off the pier the night she was jilted, and she doesn't realise that she's dead, but the waves battering her off the rocks didn't do her any favours.
No wonder the laddie fainted when he saw her.

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