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

Into the depressing woods…

person walking between green forest trees

I’m more curious than anything—not thinking about ending my life. Honest. But he’s skeptical, because of my depression.

They call it the suicide forest,” he says.

“It’s also rumored to be haunted.”

“Yeah,” he scoffs, “I can imagine.”

“I’ll go by myself then.”

“No!” he shouts. He doesn’t trust me alone. How many times do I have to tell him the knife slipped. I didn’t mean to cut my wrist.

I swear.

The next day, we follow the guide into the woods. He warns not to deviate from the path—otherwise the forest will consume us.

But a whisper in the wind welcomes me home, and I want to be eaten.

© 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

Haunted lovemaking

He invited me to spend the night in a haunted house. There was no electricity. It was colder inside than out. Every piece of furniture was covered in a thick layer of dust.

“This isn’t good for my allergies,” I said.

“I came prepared.” He shook the bottle of antihistamines.

My sneezing wasn’t the only thing he was prepared for. I saw the circular imprint in the front pocket of his skinny jeans.

“No one can intrude.”

But he was wrong. The ghosts would watch us silently as we rocked the bed in clouds of dust, wishing to be alive.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

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

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

Haunted Honeymoon

Originally published August 25, 2017

A sigh.
A drifting exhale.
An echo of a moan.
A creak,
back and forth,
rocking—or bouncing—
like bed springs.
The whine of the mattress
yields to your convulsions.
A book falls from the shelf—
you don’t stop,
bury yourself underneath
my skin, and there’s a knock
on the wall—hollow—
a whistle down the hall.
A small opening between your
lips where I fit my tongue,
and you bite and you keep going
and you suck the blood as
our bodies slap and the sticky
air sinks on top of us—
Was the door always open?
And my foot slips off the edge,
toes unfurl in the carpet,
feel the vibration get stronger—
You clamp my thighs,
hips tense to fill me—
and in the silence after, suddenly,
the room feels crowded.

#LyricalFictionFriday: On the Other Side

Kyle picks up the board and splits it over his knee, but it won’t erase from their minds the message that was just spelled out.

“Do you hear that?” Lisa asks.

“Shut up!” Kyle snaps. Even he doesn’t recognize the squeal that exits from his mouth.

“There’s no point.” Ryan clears his throat. Given that it might have been his dead brother calling for help from the other side, he seems the calmest of the three of them. “The door’s already been opened.”

“I’m not staying to see what walks through.” Kyle turns to leave but stops in the foyer in front of the closet. It’s cold outside, still winter, there’s wind, freezing rain in the forecast, he would need his coat.

“What is it?” Lisa asks, trepidation in her voice.

Kyle puts his ear to the closet door.

“You hear it too.” Ryan says it more as a statement than a question.

Kyle swallows hard. He won’t confirm or deny the echo of his own breathing on the other side.

© Nortina Simmons