Who needs sleep? Not you! You’d rather stay up late reading these spine-tingling ghost stories!
In these three tales of the paranormal, queer characters encounter the supernatural… with blood-curdling results! Get ready for a fright with three stories from Foxglove Lee’s Queer Ghost Stories series!
In our first story, Devil at the Door, Jack and Ren never thought life could be so perfect. Perfect husband, perfect kids, perfect house. Life is beautiful… until a mysterious knock at the door sends chills down their spines. There’s a dark force at work, and it’s got murderous intentions. Can the men save their family before an evil entity destroys everything they hold dear?
Debbie and her brothers were brutally murdered forty years ago. In our second story, Ghost Family Christmas, these ghost teens from the 1970s have nowhere to turn. They’re trapped in the room where they were cruelly killed. They need help from today’s teenagers if they ever hope to escape. Can the ghost teens find a way to reach out? Or will they be stuck in death forever?
Lonely. Divorced. Disowned by her daughter. In our final story, Ghosts of the Living, Helle is spinning toward despair when a homeless girl brightens her life. Finally, she has someone to care about. Someone who needs her. Someone she can be a mother to. When a tragic event threatens to ruin everything, what lengths will Helle go to in order to keep young Giulianna in her life?
Delve into three tales of the paranormal by Foxglove Lee… if you dare!
Das E-Book können Sie in Legimi-Apps oder einer beliebigen App lesen, die das folgende Format unterstützen:
Queer Ghost Stories Volume Four: 3 Chilling Tales of the Paranormal
Queer Ghost Stories | Volume Four
Devil at the Door | Chapter 1
Ghost Family Christmas | Chapter One
Ghosts of the Living | Chapter One
Also in the Queer Ghost Stories series:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Queer Ghost Stories Volume 4 © 2021 by Foxglove Lee
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design © 2021 Foxglove Lee
First Edition January 2021
Queer Ghost Stories Volume 4/ by Foxglove Lee. –1st ed.
Summary: Who needs sleep? Not you! You’d rather stay up late reading these spine-chilling ghost stories. In these three tales of the paranormal, queer characters encounter the supernatural... with blood-curdling results! Get ready for a fright with three stories from Foxglove Lee’s Queer Ghost Stories series: Devil at the Door, Ghost Family Christmas, and Ghosts of the Living.
[1. Ghost—Fiction. 2. Horror—Fiction. 3. Supernatural—Thrillers—Fiction. 4. Gay—Fiction. 5. Occult & Supernatural—Fiction.]
Three Chilling Tales of the Paranormal
By Foxglove Lee
When Jack set foot in the new house, the first words out of his mouth were, “It couldn’t be more perfect.”
Ren came up beside him, tossed one arm around his shoulder and said, “For what we paid, I expect perfection and then some. I expect perfection with a cherry on top.”
The kids came running in just as Ren planted a sweet kiss on Jack’s lips.
“Eww, they’re kissing!” Charlotte cried.
Her little brother echoed, “Eww! Kissing!”
“What’s wrong with kissing?” Jack asked the kids.
“It’s yucky!” Charlotte replied.
“Yeah, yucky!” Simon joined in.
Dropping to his knees, Jack grabbed hold of his daughter, making her squirm and holler and peal with laughter. When she arched her head back, he planted a big wet smackeroo on her cheek. The little girl exploded with the most gleeful giggles Ren had ever heard.
Sometimes Ren felt a jealous of his husband. Jack could show the kids affection so freely. Ren couldn’t manage it. Sure, they were both Dads to Charlotte and Simon, but the kids would always be Jack’s flesh and blood. Never his. It created a barrier. Maybe only in his mind, but that was enough to keep him a little restrained.
That was enough.
* * * *
IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG before they’d moved in all their old stuff, and bought more on top of that. After living with Jack’s mother for two years, their possessions weren’t exactly plentiful. They needed a ton of new furniture to fill all these rooms. Money went flying out of their wallets left and right, but Jack was convinced it would all be worth it.
Raise the kids in a good school district. Live a peaceful life.
They could afford it. Why not?
Never in his life did Ren think he’d wind up living in a mansion. This was the sort of house you saw in movies. Home Alone. Huge, gorgeous, high-end suburban. A black kid from the wrong side of the tracks never believes he’ll be able to afford a house this huge, and in this neighbourhood.
Imagines it, yes. Believes it, no.
A huge house. A husband. Two kids. All he needed was the golden retriever and life would be perfect.
They already had the white picket fence.
“Well, the kids are down,” Jack said, yawning as he stepped into the bedroom.
Ren was already under the covers. He felt a little guilty for re-watching Breaking Bad on his tablet while Jack got the kids to sleep.
But not guilty enough.
“Charlotte got me to read the turtle book three times. Oh, that kid! She makes me do the voices and everything, and they have to be exactly the same each time.”
Ren reluctantly pushed pause and pulled out his earbuds. He was so close to the end of this episode. Sure he’d seen it before, but the pull of fiction was so strong, these days. So, so strong.
“How do they like having their own rooms?” Ren asked, to show that he was interested in the kids, even if he didn’t take as much of a hands-on approach as Jack did.
Jack made a face. “Well, Simon’s in there with his sister, so I’d say they’re still adjusting.”
“Does Charlotte mind?”
“Nah, I don’t think so. They’re used to being together, those two. Anyway, at six and four? They’re not ready for privacy yet.”
Ren nodded. He wasn’t exactly an expert when it came to child development.
He put in his earbuds when Jack stepped into the bathroom, and got to the end of the episode before his husband emerged.
“Boy, am I beat,” Jack said, flopping into bed. “I would sure love to sleep in, just one day, just once. But when you’ve got kids, morning comes early.”
“I’ll make their breakfast,” Ren offered, knowing full-well his resolve would weaken once the alarm went off.
“Really?” Jack asked. His eyes were already shut. “That’d be great. That’d be...”
Just as Jack started slipping into sleep, there was a knock at the door. It wasn’t what you’d call loud, but it had a certain resonance, enough that he jolted upright. “What was that?”
“Someone’s at the door,” Ren said, slipping out of bed.
“Who is it at this hour?”
“It’s only 9:30.”
“Still. It’s after dark. Who knocks on someone’s door after dark?”
Ren stepped toward the window, since their bedroom looked out on the front door. He could easily see who was standing on their doorstep.
And who wasn’t.
“It’s no one,” Ren told Jack.
A look of fear crossed Jack’s face as he asked, “What do you mean it’s no one? How can a knock be no one?”
“Must have been kids playing a trick,” Ren said. “It’s October, after all. Maybe they’re getting a jump on Halloween.”
But as Ren spoke those works, another knock resounded from their front door. And this time Ren could clearly see there was no one outside to make that noise.
“Who is it?” Jack asked.
A severe chill took hold of Ren’s bare arms and legs, raising goosebumps all over his body. He sped back to bed, but the warmth he’d abandoned wasn’t sufficient to bring his temperature back up. The goosebumps remained, even under the covers.
“What?” Jack asked, sitting up in bed, staring down at him. “What’d you see?”
“Nothing,” Ren replied. “Must have been the wind.”
He closed his eyes, knowing full well Jack was sitting there staring at him. He couldn’t. He just couldn’t. This was ridiculous, being so afraid of a sound. But Ren knew, deep in his soul, that this disembodied noise meant business.
“Should I go down and check?” Jack asked.
Before he could slide out of bed, Ren caught him by the arm and said, “No!”
“Ouch!” Jack squealed. “Watch that grip, muscle man.”
Ren released him. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just... don’t go down there, okay? Promise me?”
“Why?” Jack asked. “What did you see?”
“Nothing,” Ren insisted.
He rolled onto his side, turning his back on his husband, but Jack scooched in and wrapped an arm around Ren, holding him close, warming his goosebumpy body.
“Tell me,” Jack insisted. “What was out there?”
“I am telling you,” Ren replied. His body felt so stiff. He couldn’t relax. No wonder Jack didn’t believe him. “It was nothing. There was nothing.”
“I believe you,” Jack began. He followed that up by saying, “But it must have been something.”
The worst of it was that Ren couldn’t argue.
It must have been something.
Must have been.
“Our cell numbers are on the fridge,” Jack told his mother, who’d come to babysit for the evening. “We’ll probably have them off during parent-teacher interviews, so if you need to get in touch with us urgently, the school’s phone number is also on that list.”
Dismissively, the children’s grandmother said, “You act as if I haven’t raised five children of my own!”
“Well, you know how I worry,” Jack replied.
The smiling redhead took her son by the shoulders and looked him knowingly in the eye. “You’re an excellent father, Jack.”
Ren shuffled by the front door. He didn’t mean to, only all this touchy-feely family stuff was so foreign to him. He hadn’t grown up that way. Not at all.
When Jack’s mother realized she wasn’t including him, she reached out and dragged Ren into an embrace. “You’re an excellent father too, Ren.”
“Thank you, Katherine.”
“Mother!” she replied. “You must call me Mother. Or Mom. Whatever suits you.”
“Thanks,” he said, but it wouldn’t feel right. He had only one mother, and Katherine could never fill those shoes. “Anyway, Jack, we should get going. Don’t want to be late.”
“No, no,” Katherine said. “Of course not. You want to make a good first impression on Charlotte’s teacher.”
“Are you talking about me?” Charlotte called from the TV nook.
“No, honey,” Jack replied. “We’re just getting ready to leave. Do your old dads get a hug before we go?”
Ren breathed in sharply and looked to his watch. “Jack...”
It was too late, by then. The kids were on their way over. Charlotte was faster than Simon. She launched herself into Jack’s arms, saying, “I don’t want you to go!”
“But you get to stay home with Grammy,” Jack said, holding Charlotte tight. “I bet she’ll read the turtle book.”
Charlotte’s eyes lit up at the prospect. Meanwhile, her little brother wrapped himself around Ren’s leg. When Ren reached down to rub his sandy hair, he realized the kid was busy wiping his snotty nose on Ren’s trousers.
“Simon!” Ren shouted. “Look what you’ve done!”
“What?” Katherine asked, leaning down to investigate. She pulled a tissue from her pocket and used it not to wipe the snot from Ren’s trouser leg, but to wipe it from young Simon’s rosy face. “Oh, that’s nothing. You’re meeting with a teacher. Teachers have seen it all.”
Still, Ren dislodged the decorative purple hankie from his jacket pocket and wiped away the glossy traces of Simon’s nasal excretions.
In the car, he said to Jack, “I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to this.”
Jack misinterpreted the statement, reaching for his hand in wistful wonderment. “Yeah, it’s like living in some sort of magical dreamland, isn’t it? You, me, the kids. It’s just... perfect!”
That wasn’t at all what Ren meant, but he’d let his husband have the moment.
You never knew when it would all come crashing down.
* * * *
KATHERINE WATCHED FROM the bedroom door while the little darlings slept. Charlotte looked so much like her mother, God rest her loving soul. And Simon was the spitting image of Jack at that age.
She missed having the kids at home. Jack needed so much from her after Monica died—so much love and support—and it was good to feel useful. Good to cook meals for the family. Life was lonely, without her grandkids running around the house, but Jack was right. She had faith in her son, in his new family. Of course they should have a home of their own, this beautiful house in a good school district. The children would surely thrive here.
And yet, something about this house gave her chills. What it must cost to heat such a place! Katherine usually felt warm wherever she went, but not in this house.
The kids seemed comfortable, curled together like kittens under a cartoon comforter. But Katherine couldn’t for the life of her stop shivering. What time was it? Perhaps the boys had taken her motherly advice and gone out for a bite to eat after the conference.
Parents needed a bit of time to themselves. Did a relationship good. Perhaps if she’d acknowledged the importance of time together a little earlier, her husband wouldn’t have taken off with a geriatric biker brigade at the ripe age of sixty-two. He needed excitement, he said. The kind of excitement only the open road could provide.
A shiver ran down her spine, and she grasped her arms, hugging herself tightly. When young Charlotte began to stir, Katherine realized her teeth were chattering loudly enough that she might wake these children if she didn’t move off. She’d have to get a nice cup of tea inside her.
As soon as she’d descended the staircase, she grabbed the luxurious throw from the back of the couch. If there’s one thing she could say about Ren, he had wonderful taste. Well, he had fallen for her son, after all! That proved his good taste.
She chuckled to herself as she wrapped the blanket around her shoulders. Felt soft as fur. Instantly, she felt warmer.
Even so, she clicked on the kettle and got a mug down from the cupboard. Took a moment to remember where the boys kept their tea. Most of the varieties they had in stock were terribly fancy, in silver canisters from that tea store Ren loved so much. She had to do a bit of digging to find a plain old bag of Orange Pekoe.
When the water boiled, she filled her mug, leaving room for milk. Her hands were still so dreadfully cold she wrapped them around large cup. Her palms blazed. Fingers, too. She didn’t care. Burning was better than freezing. Goodness, had the boys not paid their heating bill? Had the furnace shut off of its own volition? No, she could hear it humming. There was hot air rushing from the vents.
Why was this house so brutally cold?
Once she’d added milk, she took her tea to the television nook and turned on the set. She kept it quiet, so it wouldn’t wake the kids. Nothing much on that interested her, but she settled on a police drama with an inordinate number of attractive officers.
With Ren’s fancy throw wrapped around her shoulders and a hot cup of tea in hand, she was just starting to feel somewhat warm.
It was at that moment when someone knocked at the door.
The knock startled her enough that she jumped, spilling tea over the sides of her mug and onto Ren’s creamy white throw.
“Shoot!” she hissed. Surely he’d notice.
The knock came again, and Katherine was about to call out, “Who is it?” when she thought best not. Might wake the children.
She leaned forward to place her mug on the coffee table, and then twisted around on the couch to look at the door. What on earth was the matter with her, fixating like this? It was probably just the boys home from their teacher conference. They must have forgotten their keys.
Except she remembered seeing Jack’s house key on the ring, with the key to his car. And Ren had scooped up his keys off the table by the door, and put them in his pocket.
Perhaps they’d been mugged on their way home from the conference. Perhaps that’s what had kept them out so long. They would have had to file a police report. Goodness gracious, she hoped that wasn’t the case.
The knock came again, and she fully expected to hear her son’s voice saying, “It’s us, Mom. Open up.”
But was the door even locked? She knew she hadn’t secured it herself. And she didn’t recall hearing a key in the door as the boys were leaving.
Tugging Ren’s tea-stained luxury throw tighter around her shoulders, Katherine rose from the couch. Her spine had never felt so straight and, despite the hot tea in her system, she felt frozen once more, right down to the bone.
One force seemed to push against her as she stared at the door.
Another force seemed to be pulling her closer.
She moved across the floor, though she didn’t feel as though she were walking. She coasted along the hardwood, getting colder the closer she came to the front entrance.
Her voice sounded so tiny when she asked, “Who’s there?”
A knock, again.
She jumped back.
“Listen here, now, I’m not going to open this door unless you tell me who you are.”
But even as she said the words, she saw her arm extending. Her hand grasped the knob. This wasn’t what she wanted. She didn’t intend to do it. But she watched her hand, unable to stop it as it turned the doorknob, turned and pulled.
A cold blast of air knocked her to the floor.
The door blew open.
The unknown rushed in.
“I’m sorry,” Jack said as he grabbed another tissue. That was the last one. The box was empty. And that sent Jack crying even harder. “I used them all up!” he blubbered. “I’m so sorry!”
“Nothing to be sorry about,” the funeral lady replied. She grabbed a full box of tissues from a side table and swapped them out. “If there’s one thing we always have in stock, it’s tissues.”
Ren calmly rubbed Jack’s back as he hiccupped weird sobs.
“We’re almost done here,” the funeral lady assured them.
It was nearly time to pick up Charlotte from school. Simon could stay a little later at daycare, but Ren didn’t want Charlotte standing in the schoolyard wondering where her fathers were.
Her grandmother’s death had caused poor Charlotte a significant amount of anxiety. She was afraid all the people she loved would disappear forever. That meant she wanted to be around her dads all the time. It annoyed Ren at first—a bed cramped by Charlotte, and soon by her brother, who didn’t seem to understand death, but who still wasn’t ready to sleep alone—and yet it didn’t take long for Ren’s heart to melt for the fearful little girl.
When he woke up in the middle of the night to find Charlotte’s pudgy little arms wrapped around him, that was the moment she moved from being a child in his care to his daughter, plain and simple.
Same went for Simon. Ren gazed at the boy in the darkness of night, and suddenly it all made sense. This was his family. He never imagined it for himself, but here it was. His grieving husband. His frightened children. His family.
“These sudden deaths are some of the hardest to decipher,” the funeral lady said as Jack’s coughing sobs began to dissipate. “It’s hard to imagine how someone could be so alive and so healthy and vibrant one second, and then the next they’re just...”
“Gone,” Ren replied.
Jack started up again. Not sobbing this time. Strange silent open-mouthed whimpers.
“It was a shock,” Ren told the woman. “Coming home to a wide-open door. Finding Katherine on the floor like that. At first, we thought it was a home invasion or a burglary gone bad. Jack ran upstairs to check on the kids, but they were asleep in bed. Nothing in the house had been taken or touched. No signs of foul play. The police figured she must have thought she’d seen our car pull up, or something to that effect, then gone to the door, opened it, and...”
Jack released a violent sob, swinging his head close to Ren’s chest. At this point, Ren’s shirt and jacket were already soaked with tears and smeared with snot. A little more couldn’t hurt.
“Sometimes people just die,” the funeral lady went on. “Just like that. No explanation. And that’s hard for us, because we always want answers. Sometimes there aren’t any.”
That explanation didn’t hold for Jack, but he didn’t express his thoughts until after dinner, after the kids had gone to bed.
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