Ghostly lake

photo of two white ducks on water during fog

He invited me for a picnic on the banks of Lake Menace.

The name alone struck suspicion. Allegedly, it was the scene of a gruesome Civil War battle—word-of-mouth smalltown legend—you won’t read it in the official history books.

Years later, it is said the faceless ghosts of the Union and Confederate soldiers lurk near the still waters of their mass grave, hidden by a perpetual fog.

Ghosts or fog, there was something creepy about that lake.

When he broke off half his sandwich to share with me, his cool, moist fingers lingered as I brought it to my mouth and took a bite.

Only, he hadn’t moved, and I didn’t dare look down to see who was still holding my hand.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

The catch

grayscale photo of an abandoned concrete house

When he tells me he got the house for a steal, I ask, “What’s the catch?”

He raises an eyebrow. “Catch? No catch.”

“A house this size for that price in this economy? There’s always a catch. So what is it? $100,000 in renovations? Black mold? It’s in a flood zone.”

“No, nothing like that.”

“Then what?” A sudden movement of the curtains in one of the second-story windows catches my eye. “Is someone inside?”

“No,” he says, but it’s as if he’s asking a question.

I think I see something in the window.”

“Oh, about that…”

Ahh, the catch.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

White sheet

person standing in a hall completely covered in a white sheet, with large black circles for eyes

Tony was determined to scare the shit out of me by Halloween. His latest gimmick: hiding rubber spiders in my oatmeal.

“I could’ve choked on these,” I said as I plucked each out of the bowl and threw them at him.

“Not even a jump scare?”

“I told you!”

That night, as I headed to bed, he stood at the end of the hall wearing only a white sheet.

I don’t believe in ghosts!”


His unexpected emergence from the bathroom sent chills down my arms. When I looked back, the being had dissipated, the sheet flat on the floor.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

After the prom

a woman lost in the forest

We weren’t supposed to be in the woods. He told me he wanted to lie next to me and watch the stars. He even had a blanket in his trunk.

But when we lay on the ground, amongst the shrubbery and raised roots, I saw nothing but the tops of trees and a dense fog descending upon us.

“I told my mom I’d be home by 11.”

“Just a few more minutes.” He curled his finger around the strap of my dress and pulled it down my shoulder.

I saw in his eyes what he wanted, and it scared me.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Part of my “Prom Night Ghost” saga on this blog. Read previous stories here and here. The short story that all of this inspired was finally written last month! It was seven years in the making, but I did it! I still need to edit and revise, so I’ll talk more about it in a future post. Stay tuned!

Ghostly affair

When he decided to spy on his wife, the last thing he expected was to discover that she could talk to ghosts.

And that she’d been secretly seeing his father’s.

Over dinner, he asked her about her day.

“Oh, I did this or that.”

Later that night, his father stood at the foot of their bed, described to him what “this or that” meant.

“You can’t have sex with the dead,” he whispered.

“I beg to differ,” the translucent figure responded, making hip thrusts in the direction where his wife slept.

Even after death, that man continued to torment him.


Written for Fandango’s Story Starter. Click the link to read more stories inspired by the teaser “When he decided to spy on his wife, the last thing he expected was to discover that she…”

I didn’t see anything

I slam my hand down on the alarm clock’s snooze button. Five in the morning. My room is still dark. The sun hasn’t thought to rise. But today’s moving day, and I haven’t begun to pack.

I kick my legs over the edge of the bed and push myself up. I decide I’ll start with the closet. That’s when I see him. A man, or a shape of a man, squatting in the corner where the sliding mirror meets the wall.

I quickly turn on the lamp, but when I blink, he disappears.

I pack with urgency, await the movers.

© Nortina Simmons

Phantom in the mirror

Come to me,” the voice calls, “my angel.”

I’m not naïve. I know Johnathan is playing on my love for Phantom of the Opera, but I’m intrigued to see how far he will go. I approach the mirror.


In my reflection, a shadowy figure lurks behind me. I spin around, extinguishing the candle’s flame, and see nothing. At my bedroom door, there’s a knock.

“Reservation’s at seven, okay?” It’s Johnathan’s voice.

My heart skips several beats.

“Come to me, my angel.” Lips press against my ear, cool fingers curl around my wrist, and I am pulled into the glass.


Ghost tide

They’d only been married days when he confessed the sea was calling.

“I’ll go with you,” she insisted.

But he put a finger to her lips. “I’ll be back,” he whispered.

That was over a century ago. He never returned, lost at sea, and her ghost still waits…

“She died here?” Amanda scans the landscape of the tiny island.

“Sounds like the guy had another family,” Felisha says.

“Or buyer’s remorse,” Roger adds.

They laugh as the mist from the pounding waves builds.

“Tide’s coming.” The tour guide shivers, turns them away from the translucent figure curled among the rocks.

© Nortina Simmons


Her TV is haunted. The fact that the damn thing even still works should’ve been my first clue. If her grandmother were still alive, it’d be older than her. But ask anyone in this house and they’ll tell you her grandmother is in fact still alive.

She’s attached to the TV.

Today I take her to Best Buy for a long overdue exorcism.

“Grandma told me you were bad news.”

“Babe, I just want to see in color.”

After I’ve mounted the new Samsung TV on the wall, Grandma sends it flying across the room. Now this TV is haunted.

© Nortina Simmons


Tell me I’m not crazy.”

“You’re not.”

“See, why don’t I believe you?”

“Because I’m just repeating what you said.”

“So you don’t hear that?”

He opens his mouth, pauses, then closes it. We wait and listen. There’s the hum of the air conditioning, the thud of bass from our downstairs neighbor’s music, the distant chirping of crickets outside.

“I don’t hear anything,” he says. “Maybe you’re just—”

“Don’t say it.”


As he lets out a loud sigh, the foot of our bed dips down, as if someone neither of us can see just sat in the center.