Still Waters

Stand tall these giants upon four squared cornerstones, dizzying to stare upon their heads in the clouds. For noise funnels across glass in this percussive urban cityscape.
All is a riot of noise, as above so below, where duck egg coloured cabs and bleating horns vie and neon billboards alive with a message to those not wakened.
A battalion bearing down is footfall traffic, a tsunami descending the sidewalks.
Drowning, in its tide that I should meet upon chaos.

For then a time of peace this early morn. That I find myself walking this canal bank on a day the colour of grey, muting all in its flatness and dullness. Linger does a wet mist that it holds and spreads from seeing what lies beyond.

The yellowing and straw coloured grasses, left wild and clumped around nutty brown dampen branch are all without vivid vitality. For a heavy, gloomy and dismal day, to find one alone and walking this towpath trodden hard by a beast of burden. For this place not a familiar pathway.

Out towards the edge ragged pale shot reeds climb, as tattered pipes whistling a mournful lament and still deep and dark are these grey waters upon rolls a wispy haze.

To my surprise, for cutting around a corner the path stopped. Before me, a wooden jetty. A square deck of bleached bone-coloured wood. A platform solid underfoot, constructed well with rounded post and thick rope barriers. Also, moored, a raft with rope cables, set to draw it across by turning the winch, that one might reach the other side and be out of sight behind a thick foggy veil.

I begin my crossing, to the clunking sound of turning wood and taut ropes taking the strain. Gentle is lapping water against the raft edge. Slowly with gentle movement, I glide the surface and enter a cloud of damp vapour that I might disappear from an unseen presence upon the bank.

For then, there came a sudden jolt, that it pushed me off balance. Enveloped in the mist and by reckoning lost as to whether near the other bank or nearer the jetty. Marooned, neither one place nor the other.

There I wait, alone and lost amidst the cold of a damp and forlorn place.

For breaking the silence, another jolt, unsteadying and causing me to stagger as the raft drawn back pulled by some unseen hand returning me back.

For what creature did look from a place hidden. That it should watch and see as we might have seen a raft returning back to the jetty and empty without its passenger.


Then I, emerging into a world of noise, lights and frantic action of chaos. For a voice and then with others urgently calling amongst where I’d fallen with others.

“Here quick! He’s alive!”


story by Jonathan Harker/John Riley

The Ghostly World Fictional Ghost Stories

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