He Doesn't Believe in Ghosts

Geoff Mead

If he did, he wouldn't have killed us.

There are five of us buried in these woods, raped, strangled, dismembered. I can sense the others through the fine connecting threads of fungal mycelium that are slowly dissolving us into the soil. The others have been here longer than me; they can’t speak anymore but I can still hear the echoes of their screams.

Patrick – or whatever his real name is – will be back before long. Serial killers don’t stop until they are caught. He’ll be back here with another victim, doped up with Ketamine, conscious but unable to put up a fight. She’ll know exactly what’s happening to her. He likes it that way, gets off on it. When he’s finished with her, he’ll stick her in the ground with the rest of us.

Which is what I'm waiting for.

A single impulse through the mycelial network will burst the puff balls nestled among the leaf litter into a cloud of spores that he will breathe in. They’re not toxic, that would be too easy. But I shall use them to enter his body and his mind.

I will haunt his dreams. Night after night, he will experience for himself every indignity and wound he inflicted on us. On waking each morning, he will feel so violated that he will want to kill himself. But I won’t let that happen, not for a long time.

He doesn’t believe in ghosts.

But he will.

Geoff Mead lives in a house appropriately named Folly Cottage, in Kingscote, Gloucestershire. The first thing he ever wanted to do as a child aged 8 was to write stories. He has published fiction, non-fiction, poetry and memoir, including Coming Home to Story, Gone in the Morning, and Bear Child.S