Ring tones that go bump in the night
My friend Murgatroyd rose from his
chair, chucked another disc on the CD player, then settled back again with a
sigh. "Tell me, old chap," he said, "do you believe in ghosts?"
"I have no time for all that flapdoodle," I replied.
Murgatroyd chewed thoughtfully on his Hobnob. "My view exactly until a week
ago," he said, "Then there were some extraordinary occurrences which I shall now
relate to you.
"It was late on Tuesday night. I was sleeping fitfully as I had been watching
Film 2003 with Jonathan Ross and it had unsettled me. Suddenly, I heard the
eerie sound of a mobile phone ring tone. I searched the house, but could find
"Extraordinary indeed," I exclaimed.
"Then the fax machine started up. It seemed to be delivering some macabre
message about cheap flights."
"Somebody - or some thing - was trying to communicate with you," I suggested.
"The next day I spoke to the old man in the village who collects the cash from
the pub fruit machine. He told me a grisly tale of a young woman who was staying
in this very house some years ago. It seems this is known locally as the Cursed
House because it never gets a decent mobile phone signal."
I felt a shudder of unease run through me and discovered I had left my faithful
Ericsson on vibrate.
"One night, she could not get a signal on her Nokia, so she went to the
graveyard, which is the best spot for phoning..." Murgatroyd pushed his
half-eaten Hobnob aside. "She was never seen again."
Apparently someone spoke of seeing a ghostly white minicab in the vicinity. That
same minicab sometimes reappears on moonlit nights.
"Pull yourself together, man," I said gruffly. "I'll get us a Budweiser."
In the kitchen I was aghast to hear tapping on the window. By the spooky light
from the fridge I could make out a white face outside. I have to confess my
heart was in my mouth as I went to the back door. It was the pizza delivery man
with our order.
"Just a minute," I said. "These are two Margheritas. We ordered a Four Seasons
and a Neapolitan." The pizza man gave a blood-chilling cry, ran to his motorbike
and drove off as if the hounds of hell were after him.
Murgatroyd explained that this was the work of the Italian poltergeist. "He was
once fined for leaving his Fiat Uno outside in the controlled parking zone. Ever
since then, his unhappy spirit roams the neighbourhood seeking revenge by
muddling pizza orders."
"Uncanny," I breathed. I could feel the beads of sweat on my forehead beneath my
That night I hardly slept, listening to the ominous ticking of the central
heating pipes and thinking of Murgatroyd's tales. I thought of the Lady in Laura
Ashley who had been seen several times outside the utility room. They said she
once had an unhappy shopping experience and now she is doomed to wander,
searching for the receipt so she can exchange the goods.
I could hear the awful squeak of trainers walking slowly across the laminated
flooring. This would be the Tragic Architect. He seemed to float through the
wall he had built to make an extra downstairs bathroom. The story was that
something unspeakable had happened in the loft conversion.
Suddenly I heard a phone ring and realised it was mine. I rushed downstairs and
along the hall, then I felt myself falling, falling, falling...
When I awoke in hospital, Murgatroyd was at my bedside. "You tripped on a
pumpkin and fell down the cellar steps," he told me.
"How did the pumpkin get there?"
"It was left by the ghost of the Spurned Organic Gardener. He was in love with
the Woman with the Nokia, but she left him for another at the farmers' market."