The Key to a Haunting

“As many of you know I love Halloween and ghost hunting. So let’s join Natalie and Larry Dawson as they convene with a new haunted mystery.”

To join them on there other mysteries head over the Dawson Ghost Hunts for some spooky fun!

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango — Table
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Terrific– Traditional – Wire
Your Daily Word — Puerile
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Cold
Word of the Day — Grisly

The Key to a Haunting

Larry Dawson brought his van to a sedate stop. The headlights illuminated a traditional oak gate leading through a privet hedge. The evening mist curled about carvings of cherubs adorning the posts.

A gentleman wrapped in an expensive trench coat awaited his guests by the gate. His breath created a mist indicating the chill of the night.

“We’ve arrived then?” Natalie grinned across to her husband Larry. Born a psychic medium, she could already feel the spirits of this place.

“This is it,” Larry’s eyes glinted with excitement as he leant over and kissed her. “Ready?”

“Always.” Natalie alighted from the car and took a deep breath of the misty cold October air. An owl hooted somewhere to her right as she gazed beyond the gate.

A Georgian house, with its large sash windows, awaited her. Much of it shrouded in the tendrils of mist. Like a spectral octopus trying to crush the building and drag it out of sight.

“You always bring me to the creepiest piles of bricks you can find, don’t you, husband?” Natalie remarked.

“Only the grandest most opulent abodes for you, my dear,” Larry simpered back as he drew open the van’s sliding door.

“No kidding! At least this one has proper walls,” Natalie grinned and smiled at the approaching gentleman.

“I thought you liked that caravan,” Larry handed her some ghost hunting equipment.

“Oh, of course. It was terrific; in a rotten sort of way.” Natalie accepted and tested her camera and EVP recorder.

“Good evening, you two seem awfully puerile for professional ghost hunters,” remarked the gentleman holding out a gloved hand to Larry.

“Our apologies,” Larry accepted the hand. “This is Natalie, my wife and the medium I told you about. Natalie, meet Jack the owner of this house. We like to use a little humour to keep our nerves calm as we approach an investigation.”

“Yes, it helps us be more focused when we get inside, you see,” Natalie agreed.

“I see.” Jack nodded and smiled, “Well, our spirit —”

Natalie raised a hand. “Please, don’t say anything. It’s better I go inside and see what’s going on for myself without influence. Even Larry never tells me anything about where I’m going for this reason.”

Jack looked impressed, “You must be the real deal. The house is unlocked. Help yourselves, I’ll see you in the morning.” Jack shook hands again and was soon heard driving away in his Bentley.

“Right, let’s go.” Larry grinned as he hefted a spirit box, EMF meter and his thermal imaging camera.

Natalie led the way through the gate. She could tell the garden was overgrown until recently, the remnants of vines still scarred the unkempt lawns. “The energy is strong here.”

“Are there spirits outside then?” Larry asked.

“There have been. I feel only strong residual energy just now.” Natalie entered the porch. It used to have a bell connected to a wrought-iron pull bar. All that remained was a frayed wire trapped in curtains of spiderwebs.

“Oh boy, remind me to pick a clean place next time!” Larry groaned.

Natalie chuckled, clicked on her torch and pushed through the front door. “Oh, it is!” she remarked in surprise having engaged her camera to record anything that might happen. “There’s nothing in here.”

“What?” Larry followed her into a large space with a laser thermometer switched on. A fireplace indicated it to be a sitting room. The room ran the full length of the house giving it a double aspect. There was not one ounce of furniture, pictures or even light fittings here.

“Jack doesn’t live here yet.” Natalie walked along the traditional oak floorboards. With every step, she felt the air growing colder dragging a shudder from her body.

“Bloody hell! The thermometer just recorded a ten-degree drop it’s showing two centigrade now. It was twelve when we came in.

“There’s no hell here, just a sad spirit.” Natalie saw a door to the kitchen on the right. “Good evening, I’m Natalie and this is Larry. We’ve come to talk with you. We mean you no disrespect, and would just like to know your story and help you if we can.”

Larry put his gear by the front radiator. Switching on the EMF meter he began scanning for magnetic fluctuations. He knew a regular source would indicate problematic wiring. At the same time, transient spikes could indicate a ghost nearby. “Come forward and talk, we mean you no harm.”

The house was very silent, nothing seemed to be moving within the two-hundred-year-old home.

“Let’s try an EVP session.” Natalie engaged her device. “If you speak close to this, we will be able to hear you. Can you tell us your name?”

“Can you tell us why you’re here?” Larry asked.

“Can we help you with anything?”

Natalie ended the session and played it back to no avail. “Nothing,” she confirmed with a sigh.

“It’s a little too quiet isn’t it —” Larry flinched as EMF detectors lights flashed in his hand. “Hey! Somebody just swatted my bum!”

Natalie chuckled, “Thank you for joining us. That’s my husband, his bum is only for me to spank. Please respect us by no touching. Just talk with —”

“Hey, no touching!” Larry spun around having been spanked again. He grabbed his thermal imaging camera and began searching for anomalies.

Natalie narrowed her eyes as she felt a tug on her chestnut ponytail. “It pulled my hair. Thank you for listening,” she said with a tinge of sarcasm.

“Well, at least it’s sharing the abuse.” Larry joked.

“Okay, a man went away. We have a young lady here now. She’s coughing a lot and is clearly sick. She’s showing me a table that used to be against this wall. It always had an old stack of books upon it. I see a key beside them too.” Natalie indicated the area beside the fireplace. “Why are you showing me the table?”

“Anything special about the key?” Larry said having gone into the dark kitchen.

“Letters. T. R. A. E. H. They’re etched into the fob,” Natalie confirmed.

“Traeh? Name, do you think?” Larry indicated his screen. A near human-shaped cold spot had appeared in front of the old cast-iron range.

“No, it’s oddly backwards. It says ‘heart’. What does it me—”


Two solid thumps echoed from the lounge floor. Followed by a strange skittering noise.

Larry raced around Natalie and returned to the living room. “Feel that?”

Natalie nodded as she filmed the space.

“Every hair on my body is standing on end. I think I’ve got goosebumps on my goosebumps too.”

“Me too.” Natalie rubbed away the static feeling of spiderwebs on her face. As she did she spotted something in her camera’s IR light. “Look!”

“That’s the spirit box! I left it by the front radiator.” Larry grinned. “So, now we have a poltergeist?”

“No, we have a spirit trying to tell us something. That’s right where the table used to be.” Natalie approached the spirit box, crouched and switched it on. The room was filled with the garble of FM radio stations being swept at speed. “Use the static to talk to us.”


“Why did you move our box here?”


“Beneath — is there a cellar here?” Natalie asked.


“He’s right. There’s no cellar.” Larry confirmed.

Floor b—’

Larry paced about the area and nodded.

“Floorboards!” Natalie grinned having heard his feet make a hollow noise. She illuminated the space with her torch for him.

Larry felt about for a moment. His fingers found a gap in the boards and he levered the loose one free.

“What do you see?” Natalie said growing excited as that key returned sharply to her mind.

Key.’ said a male voice in the spirit box.

“Key!” Larry agreed having come up with the bronze key baring the letters T.R.A.E.H. Now, what does it mean?”

Love – Ray — Lost.’

He loves Ray? A gay person before it was a thing. Imagine the pain of that one.” Larry said. “He was probably cast out and —”

No Ray!’ the voice sounded angry.

Natalie switched off the device and rose to her feet. “I think it’s ‘Rae’ as in the Hebrew girls name. That’s right, isn’t it?”

The bare lightbulbs in the room’s ceiling flashed twice.

“Thank you,” Larry remarked.

The husband-and-wife ghost hunting team checked out the rest of the house and the gardens. It seems as if the spirits had got the message across as the activity faded away to nothing.

As morning dawned a beautiful sunny autumn day. Larry left to do his days’ parcels deliveries. Natalie headed to the city library and hit the books for some serious research.

Late in the afternoon, they reconvened the old Georgian house.

Jack led them back into the lounge, “How did the ghost hunt go? Did you manage to find a spirit connected to a grisly death resulting in our dark haunting?”

“You don’t have grisly events or dark spirits, Jack. There are two spirits here. A young lady called Rae and her lover, a gentleman we believe is called Albert. I spent the morning researching at the library. It seems Albert was chased away from his lover and she died of an awful disease before he could find her again.” Natalie began.

“We made contact in this room. First Rae showed her mischievous self by spanking me and teasing Natalie’s hair. Then Albert appeared briefly before Rae led us to this key. It was hidden under the floorboards over there.” Larry held up the bronze key.

“Fascinating, what does it all mean?” Jack asked scratching his chin.

“The answer to that likely resides in the box this key will unlock. However, we felt the two of them lost each other. That despite them both haunting the space, they cannot see or feel each other.” Natalie felt tears coming and wiped her eyes. “You see, they’re not evil, just broken-hearted and lost.”

“That’s so sad. What’s to be done to help them?” Jack asked. “I’m happy to do whatever I can.”

“We hoped you’d say that.” Larry handed him a bundle of herbs including Sage. He and Natalie had one each too. Larry proceeded to ignite each of them like spiritual candles. “Now, Jack, help us by imagining a beautiful white light flooding in through the window.”

Jack nodded and closed his eyes.

Natalie held a beautiful filigree cross. “Rae, Albert come close to us. Even though you cannot feel each other, you are both here in this space. Allow your love to guide you into the light.”

“A place of happiness awaits with your family beyond the beautiful heavenly light. Go now and be happy there together.” Larry added.

“I want you to know, this is not a banishment. You’re welcome to visit your old home as often as you like. I promise to respect and care for it as its new owner. I will search for the box that fits this key. The key will always have a safe place here now. I did you rest and happiness.” Jack said.

“Rae, Albert. The door is open to you. May your spirits connect in eternal love and happiness.” Natalie finished having taken the key. She tied a pink ribbon to the fob and placed it on the mantlepiece. “May the lock to your heart’s love be forever open, amen.”



Amen’ a wind whipped around the three people in the room. When it settled a trail of dust on the floor formed a perfect heart shape. With it, coldness left the room in place of relaxed warmth.

“That was lovely,” Natalie said with a sigh.

“Jolly good, I have another haunted house of horrors awaiting you, dear wife.”

Natalie shook her head. “See what I mean, Jack. He never takes me anywhere nice!”

The End

Head over the Dawson Ghost Hunts for more spooky fun!

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

16 thoughts on “The Key to a Haunting

Add yours

      1. This is the issue with short stories. I don’t have 300 words to introduce my characters each time. I put a nod to a few characteristics but just try to get on with the next case if I can.


      2. That’s just it. I just thought it was an awesome stylistic choice, not a problem in any way. Robert Heinlein used to do that all the time. Some of his most famous books (ok it was his style so all of them) started as is if you’ve already read several books involving characters that he was creating in that book. You knew nothing about them, but you would learn as you read. It works well for this story. So don’t consider it a flaw or limitation of the story you’re writing. Consider it a nod to one of the greats of sci fi.

        Liked by 2 people

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