Ghost ex machina #writephoto

This week’s #writephoto from Sue Vincent is this, and can be found here


Pearl Barley had a credibility issue. Leaving aside her name, for which she would never forgive her parents, she had yet to convince the Deacon that she had what it took as an exorcist. Several people complained she lacked focus and often failed to spot the Spirt that they wanted away, so busy was she talking. Indeed, even Pearl knew she had something of an issue with her verbosity, so she was determined, when the call came in, to volunteer.

‘Please, sir. Let me.’

Deacon Thwarp looked at Pearl and at the note he had taken

Children’s nursery, up to three disturbs, one banshee, one inanimate, one unidentified

This would test Pearl.

‘Alright but remember. Focus. Spirits feed off energy so be quiet. What do we say?’

She smiled. ‘A placid mind, the Spirits are kind; head in turmoil, the Spirits will boil.’

He sighed. Mantras were fine so far as they went. ‘Off you go. Oh, and be careful. There’s one hiding and they’re not sure where.’

‘How do they know?’

‘They just do.’


Mrs Gridtrap stood at the nursery door, arms folded, watching Pearl as she circled the room. ‘You’re young for this, aren’t you?’

‘I’m fully trained. I have a City & Guilds in Exorcism, Spirit Capture and Otherworldly Corrections.’

‘But can you do it? Stop them.’

Pearl paused by the rocker and smiled. ‘I assume this is the possessed inanimate?’


‘It quivers very slightly. And the banshee? Behind the curtains, maybe the sash window?’

‘Good.’ Mrs Gridtrap straightened up. ‘Alright. So you know a bit. But what about the actual Spirit? Can you sense that?’

‘Deacon Thwarp said there was a third but it was unidentified.’

Mrs Gridtrap smiled thinly. ‘Not quite true. I know where it is but I want to see if you do. Then I’ll know if you’re any good. Thing is Ms Barley, the Gridtrap family has lived here fourteen generations. We can hardly sell the place, what with the Possession and my ancestors tried many exorcisms but no one knew where the Principal Spirit resides. Only the family do. So if you can’t find it, well you might as well save your candles.’

Pearl nodded. She’d sensed something but she wasn’t sure what. Stepping back from the rocker to get a better view of the room she began to turn when two small dainty translucent hands wrapped themselves round her neck and squeezed, only being formless they passed right through.

Pearl screamed, making the neighbours wonder if the banshee had begun daytime visitations, and looked behind her. The picture showed a little girl in the act of reaching forward a smile playing on her lips. Pearl felt as if she had frozen to the spot and was surprised when Mrs Gridtrap took her elbow and led her to the chair.

‘Well done. I didn’t expect you to be so good.’

‘But… but… I never saw her. I didn’t know she was there.’

‘Phooey. You’ll do well enough. Trying to strangle you is just her way. After all that’s how her Uncle Rodney did for her so it’s sort of her signature greeting. When can we start?’


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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34 Responses to Ghost ex machina #writephoto

  1. Ritu says:

    Brilliant His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    Deliciously creepy…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Darlene says:

    Oooooh! Very good.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent – creepy finale

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fabulous take, Geoff. I do love some of the names you comme up with too!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Erika Kind says:

    You know how to write creepy stories, Geoffle!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s like ‘The Exorcist’ meets Miss Marple – great start Geoff 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Charli Mills says:

    Chilling! At first it was rather lighthearted, but you threw in a good, menacing twist with an unsettling ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Ghost ex machina #writephoto by Geoff Le Pard | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  10. janmalique says:

    Loved this! Wilk Pearl Barley be making another appearance? Fab heroine.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Fabulous​ as ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. emptynestman says:

    Well done, sir. Will curate this for our tribe.


  13. Pingback: Ghost ex machina #writephoto | TanGental – Empty Nest Man

  14. Pingback: Photo prompt round up -Child #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  15. kenneth says:


    Liked by 1 person

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