'Dem Bones' was first published in Intimate Armageddons, edited by Bill Congreve, Wollongong, Five Islands Press 1992.

A sample story from Immaterial. Ghost Stories by Robert Hood

Dem Bones

Smashing up Bob Skelton was stupid, but when I think back, you can see he was asking for it.

Remember Skelton, don’t you? Everyone used to call him ‘Bag ’o Bones’, and not just because of his name. His arms and legs were like sticks, his eyes sunk, his skin all over – what you could see of it under his floppy coats – ragged and loose. If he coughed, you held your breath, expecting he was about to shake himself apart. He was so bent and thin it really seemed possible; you were afraid to touch him in case something came away in your hand. Terrible. No one paid him much attention, of course, except for us kids. Whenever he went by, we shouted stuff like ‘Hey, why didn’t the skeleton go to the dance?’ Then another kid would yell: ‘Because he had no body to go with! Ha! Ha!’.

Now and then gossip said he was deadly sick – the Black Plague or anorexia or some such thing. But he went on looking terminally wasted for month after month, with no ill effects other than the obvious, so the rumours dropped off. It’s just what he’s like, we’d say. Too bad for him and fine for us.

He lived in a disused railway tunnel and we never saw him more than a kilometre from the place. Parents told their kids to stay away from him, but no one ever urged the law to move him on. Locals just left him be. Except for the stories.

‘Keeps it close to the chest. What ya bet he’s been up to something?’

‘Like what?’

‘Hiding out. Probably a crim.’

‘Can’t imagine him muggin’ anyone.’

‘Fraud, then.’

‘Yeah, maybe. Why don’t he eat better?’

‘God knows.’

That’s how it went, and before long Bob Skelton was not only the local freak, but also the local looney millionaire, living in luxury (when no one was looking) on ill-gotten gains.

That would’ve been fine if it’d stopped there; but those were hard times, the area being hit by the bloody recession, the smelter closing down like it did. There were lots of blokes out of work and suddenly being odd was less tolerable than it had been.

Greg Garsson was one of the unemployed most known and least liked by local authorities. The Government kept paying him the dole, but everyone knew he’d never get a job, not because there were fewer around, but because he was a lazy bugger who’d rather pinch a few bucks off his grandma than strain his back at anything that looked like work.

Garsson was of middle height, dark and pretty handsome, I guess. I’d gone to school with him and for a while I was in his gang. No one had liked him then either, but he was a tough-guy, and we were all too weak not to latch onto someone with his air of leadership. No matter what you thought of him you went with him if you got the chance – it was suicide not to. With him, you were cool; without him, you were a nobody.

When his gang progressed from harmless vandalism – like painting stupid graffiti on factory walls – to actual robbery, I wanted to stop hanging around with him, not being interested in a life of crime. But it was no good. He wouldn’t let go. Threatened me, and I wasn’t strong enough to buck him. So I just shuffled around the edges of his world, hoping to stay out of trouble.

This morning, as I write these words, I wish I’d stood up to him, of course ... gone my own way. But life’s not like that. We do things ‘cause we can’t help it, ‘cause we’re too weak, or just ‘cause it seemed like we were meant to do it ... Sometimes we’re in the right place at the right time ... or the wrong place, wrong time. Depends where you stand.

The day I regret – and Garsson’s regretting it even more right now, I reckon, wherever he is – was in the middle of a cold, bitter, winter day. Me and Johnno Davis and Garsson were at Johnno’s place watching the footie, and Johnno said out of the blue: ‘Let’s go see what ol’ Skelton’s got?’

‘What?’ I said, ‘Skelton? Why?’

‘We’re broke, that’s why. Look at us. A bunch of bloody losers. But they reckon Skelton’s got lots of top stuff in his hideout. Maybe he can be made to share it, eh?’

‘That’s just a stupid rumour.’

Garsson suddenly looked up from a dull bit of play. ‘What are you two goin’ on about?’

‘We’re gonna visit Skelton,’ Johnno said defensively.

‘Old Bag ‘o Bones?’ Garsson laughed. Then he went glum and serious. ‘Visit him, eh? Yeah, why not? I been thinkin’ about him lately. Quite a bit.’

‘Hang on,’ I interrupted, getting worried by Garsson’s intensity. I knew that look, and it spelt trouble. ‘Skelton’s old and harmless, a bum ... I think we should leave him alone.’

‘Harmless? He’s a crook.’

‘Who says?’

Fire swirled in Garsson’s eyes. ‘Me. You wanta make something of it.’

I didn’t. An hour later we were sneaking along the old railway track like a pack of hoods, which is what we were, I guess. I felt more annoyed than anything ... but I should’ve been scared. If I’d known what was going to happen, I guess I would’ve taken off then and there. But we were ignorant. All of us are. The future’s a fog-bank and most of the universe a great black hole. We don’t know our way around, and that means we blunder about in the dark, and more often than not end up putting a foot right in the bloody hole and disappearing for good.

For sure the hole we stepped into that night doesn’t have a bottom.


Skelton’s tunnel was long and overgrown. We scurried down a watery embankment, over old sleepers and rusty track, and then stood staring stupidly into what seemed a thick, almost liquid darkness. ‘Don’t like the look of this,’ Johnno muttered. ‘We better come back tomorrow ... during the day.’

‘What’s the matter, bubs?’ Garsson mocked. ‘You scared of the bogeyman?’

In the end we took the plunge, not going home a mix of laziness and pride. Garsson had brought a torch, but its beam just scraped away at the dark, as though the tunnel’s lightlessness was too thick for it. ‘You been here before?’ I asked Garsson, as he neatly sidestepped an open drain the torch hadn’t really shown up. ‘Sure,’ he said. ‘Me and Skelton are old mates.’ He wouldn’t explain further.

Inside the darkness it was dry, but the air stank as though the tunnel connected up with a sewer. ‘What’s he live here for?’ Johnno muttered.

‘He’s a disgustin’ weirdo,’ said Garsson, pointing toward a patch of wall the torchbeam shot right through. ‘He’s in there.’

We came across old Bones in his hole. It was pitch black and silent like a bloody tomb. At first we couldn’t see anything, then Garsson’s torch picked out a man-like shape against the far wall. The shape didn’t move as light slithered over its gaunt features. I thought I could make out a face, profile on, but it didn’t look alive.

‘Is he okay?’ whispered Johnno. As the sounds echoed hollowly, Skelton swivelled his head so the dimming torchlight cast deep shadows over his face. I couldn’t see any eyes in his eye sockets.

‘What’re you doing here?’ he said.

Johnno squealed and leapt back with shock.

‘That you, is it, Garsson?’ Skelton added.

His voice seemed ... I don’t know ... to echo, like there was a slight reverb on it. Probably an effect of the tunnel.

‘What if it is?’ growled Garsson, pushing over closer to the old man. Johnno and I hung back. ‘We thought ya might be lonely.’

‘Nice thought,’ said the old man, ‘Pull up a pew and we can have another chat.’ I noticed for the first time then, as my eyes focussed on the narrow field of vision lit by the torch, that Skelton was sitting on the floor, his thin back leaning against a muddy wall.

‘Why are you sitting here in the dark?’ I said.

His head, like a skull without flesh, swivelled toward me. ‘What else would I be doing?’ he said. ‘It’s the middle of the night – the longest night – and there’s no ‘lectricity here.’ Maybe he grinned, but it might’ve been the sort of grin a skull makes, not trying, not amused.

‘You got any money stashed away?’ Johnno said suddenly.

‘Shut the fuck up!’ snarled Garsson, flashing the torchbeam away from Skelton onto Johnno’s pale face.

‘It’s bloody spooky, Greg. Can’t we just take whatever he’s got and get the hell out of here?’

‘Take what I’ve got?’ Skelton’s voice crept from the darkness we’d left him in. He laughed grimly. Garsson moved the light back onto him. ‘What do you boys think an old dero like me’s got, eh? Stolen goods? Gold?’

‘Maybe,’ said Johnno.

‘I’m just a poor old bastard who’s been around too long. I barely keep myself together. Sure, I’ve been places you couldn’t even dream about, I’ve seen things would make your hair fall out like mine has ... but I’ve got no treasure.’ He laughed again, hollowly.

‘Bones, a few rags and a memory. But no treasure.’

‘We heard ...’

‘What? That I’m a crim in hiding? Maybe I am, but why would I hide out here, eh? You think I’m stupid? No one’d stay here unless they had to.’ He suddenly looked straight into Garsson’s torchbeam. Oddly, the light didn’t find his eyes. ‘You’re not saying much, Garsson, my friend. What did you tell them? That you left me a few bags of gold last time you came here? That now you were comin’ back for the rest?’

‘Shut up!’

‘Did he tell you he was the one brought me here? That he robbed me of the few bucks I had, kicked me around a bit and left me for dead? He tell you that, eh?’

‘No,’ I said, looking at the dim shape of Garsson lit by spill from the torch, ‘He didn’t.’

‘Left me for dead and must’ve been pretty surprised when I didn’t disappear. Just hung around. You worried I’d rat on you, Garsson? Put in a complaint to the cops?’

‘Why should I? I didn’t do nothin’ ... and who’d believe an old drunk like you anyway?’

‘Drunk? I haven’t been drunk for years.’

‘Why’d ya stay here then?’ asked Johnno.

‘Maybe I had no choice. After Garsson left me for dead, maybe that’s what happened. I died and had to haunt the place where I was killed. What you think of that idea, Garsson?’

‘It’s crap,’ Garsson replied, his voice tense.

‘Maybe I been waitin’ all this time. Waitin’ for you to come back. I been calling, Garsson. You been hearing my voice, have you?’

And then he started to sing:

‘Ezekiel cried “Dem dry bones!”
Ezekiel cried “Dem dry bones!”
Ezekiel cried “Dem dry bones!”
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.’

‘Shut up, old man!’ said Garsson.

‘Why? Don’t you like songs?’ Skelton didn’t turn around. But he began to stand. Watching him get up was like watching a lump of rags and old sticks drag itself into the shape of a scarecrow. We all jumped back, but Garsson kept the light on him. It seemed dimmer.

‘Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
Now, hear the word of the Lord.’

Parts of Skelton’s anatomy shook separate from other parts, as though settling uneasily into place. He moved toward the source of the light.

Garsson held up his hand to shut Skelton up. ‘Stay away!’ he whispered. There was a pause that afterwards seemed to stretch out forever; then his palm lashed the old man on the side of the head.

I jerked into motion, horrified – because hitting an old man, especially someone as frail-looking as Skelton, was something I’d been brought up not to do. I was planning to step in, to get between Garsson and the old man as Skelton crashed down across the ground; but when what happened happened I froze. I couldn’t have been seeing what I was seeing because ... well, it was impossible ...

Skelton’s head jerked backward; but his body didn’t go with it. Instead his neck stretched, then the skin around it tore apart like rotten gauze. The head – a skull covered in loose skin – kept going, crashing onto the dirt floor with a thud. There was no blood coming from his torn neck; and the body just stood there, neck open to view, if I’d been at an angle to see in it. The narrow, broken light made it difficult. Garsson could’ve seen Skelton’s neck clearer, and I don’t know what he saw, but I’ll bet it wasn’t flesh and blood and intestines. All Skelton had in him was bones, lots of dry, disconnected bones, and in that darkness which was the hole where the old man’s head had sat, there would’ve been nothing but the cold glimmer of backbone and ribs.

Johnno gave out a sort of gargling moan and ran for his life, fumbling out of the ‘room’ through the darkness.

Garsson seemed to go crazy. He began laying into Skelton’s body with a vengeance, perhaps hoping for the gore and bloodiness we’ve all been led to expect from someone getting their head knocked off. With the gore he’d be a murderer, but without it he was mad, and he couldn’t bear the thought of that. He kicked and punched, tore at Skelton’s clothes and skin with his fingers and then his teeth, swearing, screaming ... It was all too much for me. Just stood there paralysed, unable to move.

Meanwhile, as I watched through the jerking movement of the torchlight, Skelton’s body was stripped, first of clothes and then of skin. Under the skin, bones. I didn’t know much about bones. They’re just in there, you know, keeping me from going all floppy, and I didn’t think about them at all. I certainly didn’t remember all those biology lessons we mucked up through in school. No, that night I was no expert; but I’ve become an expert since. I’ve read books on anatomy. Memorised them. So, as the bones appear in my mind, I know them by name, while Skelton’s voice drifts through the night and the violence:

‘Ya toe bone’s connected to ya foot bone
Ya foot bone’s connected to ya ankle bone
Ya ankle bone’s connected to ya leg bone
Ya leg bone’s connected to ya knee bone ...’

It goes like this: Garsson pulled off Skelton’s arms and tossed metacarpus, carpus, radius, elbow, humerus in a clattering mess across the floor; he knocked down the scapula, peeled aside the backbone and smashed it into handfuls of vertebrae, like jacks; he broke the ribs apart as though they were wishbones; he skated the sternum through the air like a frisby; he kicked ilium from pelvis from pubis from coccyx; he pulled out the femur, kneecapped the unmoving legs, wrenched off the fibula, scattered the tibia, trod on Skelton’s feet so that the metatarsus splintered and all the toe-bones burst out like the cores of squeezed pimples. This parade of bones passed into my consciousness as though it were part of some bizarre nightmare. Sometime during the show, Garsson stopped, turned to me, growled something I could barely hear.

‘What do you mean shut up!’ I yelled, staring at the bone he held in his hand – a leg-bone, ‘Shut up, for god’s sake. Bones! You’ve made him into a heap of bones! You killed him – took him apart...’

‘Sure. Everyone’ll believe that.’ He kicked at the scattered remains of the old man, flashing the light that way so I could see them.

‘These are the bones of someone who karked it long ago. Look at ’em. Dry bones, bloody dry old bones, that’s all.’

‘We ... we’ve got to ...’

‘Gotta what?‘

‘I don’t know. Report it ... I must be going mad. You hit him and he went to pieces. You murdered old Skelton and I’ve gotta tell ...’

The words barely left my mouth before Garsson came at me. ‘You won’t say a bloody thing!’ he said and struck me fair on the jaw with Skelton’s leg. I reeled back, half afraid that in whatever fruit-cake world I’d become part of, his strike would send my head spinning off and out along the floor. But all of me went; I hit the dirt hard. ‘You’ll say nothing,’ he said.

He lay into me then. With the leg-bone and the torch. Kicking at my head. Screaming at me. I lost consciousness. When I moved again, he was gone and it was dark. My head was throbbing, the beat of it ripping the world to tatters. My jaw felt like it was broken; I could feel blood running down my neck. I blinked, and maybe hours or days went by ... I couldn’t tell.

I blinked again and looked around, hoping Skelton would be sitting against the wall, or I’d be in my own home, asleep in front of the telly.

‘You dead?’ I whispered.

But it was dark and the night stank of sewer and earth. I reached out and felt bones. I pulled my hand back sharply and began to whimper. Body and mind both hurt really bad.

Later I made myself crawl toward where I thought the entrance was; I kept finding bones. Animal bones, I hoped, but I knew they weren’t. It was Skelton, scattered around his ‘lounge room’, which must have looked like the lair of some hungry monster. I groaned.
And then a voice I recognised as Skelton’s, sang:

‘Ezekiel connected dem dry bones.
Ezekiel connected dem dry bones.
Ezekiel connected dem dry bones.
Now, hear the word of the Lord...’

Not being there, you probably reckon I was dreaming, right? You probably reckon I thought I was dreaming the whole thing from start to finish. But in fact that explanation never occurred to me. It was real, all the time it was real, and when I heard that singing I knew straight away it was Skelton. If there’d been lights I knew what I would’ve seen: a skull lying over where the old man’s head had bounced to, its dead jawline moving up and down, sending out an impossible voice. Skelton’s skull had produced a voice before he went to pieces; no reason to assume it wouldn’t do the same now I knew he’d never been anything but dry bones all along.

‘Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
Oh, hear the word of the Lord...’

I stopped and just sat there, listening. My mind had refused to work in any reasonable way by then, and all I could think of was that the spectral Skelton would be after me and it was Garsson’s fault. I hoped real hard that Skelton, who obviously couldn’t be got rid of as easily as Garsson hoped, would pull himself together and go after the louse that had broken him up, ignoring me. That’s what happens in the gore flicks. Victim goes after the scum that did him in. Great! I’d be in that. Garsson was no good; Skelton could wreak whatever revenge he liked on him. I pictured Garsson sitting in his bedroom smoking a joint and reading one of his military magazines. Suddenly there’s a scraping on the window. He frowns, gets up and pulls aside the curtain. There’s a skull behind the glass and the skeleton it belongs to smashes the window and Garsson screams at last, like he’d made me scream. In terror. Utter terror. He screams for a good long time.

Meanwhile Skelton’s voice was singing:

‘... Shoulder bone’s connected to ya neck bone
Ya neck bone’s connected to ya head bone.
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.’

And I suddenly knew what I had to do. Skelton couldn’t do it himself, could he? He was scattered and helpless. My role. My part. My penance.

I was Ezekiel.

I began crawling around on the ground, running my fingers over the dirt, gathering in the bones. The bits of toe, the hip bone, the ribs, the vertebrae; painstakingly, delirious no doubt, I found each and every bone. Must have taken me hours, but I did it. I don’t know how I knew, so I guess it was Skelton who knew, but I knew I’d gathered together all the bits of dry bone that Garsson had scattered that night. I gathered them up and put them in a big heap. All of them.

Only one missing. A vital one.

Garsson had hit me with the bone of Skelton’s lower leg; he’d hit me, then rushed off into the night with it. He still had it; and Skelton, connected up but only incompletely, couldn’t do any walking around without his leg. He’d need it. Need it to walk around.

My penance was to help him.

‘I’ll get it back for you,’ I said, ‘I promise.’


Garsson was in his bedroom smoking and drinking beer. I guessed as much when I saw the light leaking from his window. I needed some sort of weapon, so I fetched an axe he used to cut firewood sometimes, and let myself in with the key he always left on a hook above the door.

It was quiet, nearing dawn. It had taken me a while to walk from the railway tunnel to Garsson’s on the other side of town; but I’d moved fast, despite my pains. I kept hearing sounds behind me, like rattling bones, scrambling along in the dark. By the time I got to Garsson’s, I was tired and scared, but full of an urgency created by Skelton’s presence in the night around me. I opened Garsson’s door fast.

‘What the hell...?’ he spluttered, spraying beer over his prized copies of Soldier of Fortune.

I stalked toward him, holding up the axe.

He said, ‘What the fuck are you doing here?’

‘You didn’t kill me, that’s what. Left me for dead, but I’m not dead. Not like Skelton.’

‘Put that bloody thing down...’

‘Where is it?’ I shouted.

He sat up slightly, a spark of fear catching in his eye. ‘Where’s what, man?’

‘You know,’ I growled, ‘You know. The bone.’

His face darkened. ‘Don’t start that shit. There weren’t no bones ...’ He moved to get off the bed and I lashed out at him with the axe. He screeched, fell back, the blade ruffling his shirt. ‘Watch that bloody axe, ya fool...’

‘Where is it?’

‘I dunno what ya talkin’ about?’ He’d gone white and forming words was hard for him. Shock.

‘The bone,’ I said evenly. ‘Skelton’s bone that you hit me with. His leg.’

‘What’d you want it for?’

I raised the axe. ‘Where is it?’

‘I dunno! I dunno! Okay?’ He gestured with his hands raised, feebly. ‘I tossed it away someplace ... broke it up. I just dunno where it is! Don’t kill me, Barry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, honest. It was a mistake. I just freaked out.’

I looked at him coldly. He must have felt the seriousness of the situation, because he was swallowing a lot, like there wasn’t enough spit in his mouth.

‘Honest,’ he said, ‘The leg’s just gone, you know.’

For a moment more I said nothing, letting him shrink further into his bed. He made to get up, rush me, but I gestured with the axe and he sank back, defeated. It was easy.

‘Skelton needs that bone,’ I said. ‘How’s he going to walk around without his leg bone, eh?’

‘Skelton? Walking around?’ His eyes were filling with tears. ‘You’re mad.’

‘Maybe,’ I replied, ‘But what are you going to do about his leg?’

‘What can I do, for god’s sake? It’s lost. Gone. Get that through ya thick skull!’

I shook my head. ‘Not good enough. He needs a leg bone, and if you’ve lost his, I guess it’s only fair you give him another.’ His left leg was lying stretched out in front of him.

‘What? How can I, you dickhead? I haven’t got bloody leg bones lyin’ around the place.’ He’d never been very bright.

I raised the axe higher. ‘You’ve got two of your own,’ I muttered.
At last he must have caught a glimmer of what I was going to do.

‘No, I remember where I threw it!’ he yelled, ‘I can find it...’ He tried to pull his leg out of the way, but the axe came down just above his knee, sinking in deep and spraying blood everywhere ... different, a lot different from when he did Skelton. Since Garsson was on a soft bed, which provided a surface with too much give, the axe didn’t sever his leg, though I heard it splinter the bone. He screamed, thrashed. I pulled out the axe blade for another blow, but he was jerking around so much I couldn’t get a bead on it. His fear must have made him strong, because he suddenly kicked out at me with his good leg, hitting me in the chest. I stumbled back, tripping over some junk on the floor. Garsson tried to get up, but blood was pouring from his leg and it gave under him. He was screaming.

I tried to get up too, but he saw past his agony and picked up a small bar-bell that was lying to one side of his bed. ‘You fuckin’ moron bastard!’ he yelled and threw it. I tried to dodge, but the object smashed on my shoulder, slamming me against the wall. It hurt like crazy. Garsson found the mate of the first bar-bell and decided to try for my head this time.

About then the door crashed open – it hadn’t been shut properly – and something came in. If the stuff we’d already seen that night suggested we’d gone mad, this one said: ‘You’re dead, man, and hell’s come to get you.’ Yet I didn’t scream; I’d known who it was even before I recognised the skull draped with threads of dry skin, when the creature was just a crunching, rattling sound outside the door. Sure, I knew it was Skelton, but I doubt his mother would have recognised him.

Now he really was just a pile of bones. When I’d gathered up the pieces of him in the dark, and piled them all together, I hadn’t been thinking much. It was compulsive, something I had to do. I was reconstructing the poor bastard, sure, like I would a jigsaw puzzle. Putting him back together. Without knowing how to. And seeing him now, I realised I sure hadn’t done a very good job of it. None of his bits were in their right place, so he wasn’t a human skeleton walking around – or hopping, ‘cause I still hadn’t collected his missing leg-bone. Instead he had arms connected to bits of leg, fingers sprouting from his hip-bone, a hand wearing ribs like a spiky haircut, backbone like a wonky spiral staircase, even a leg poking out the front with his skull attached to it instead of a foot. It was silly – or would’ve been if it hadn’t been there, for real, all connected up and clumping across the room.

‘Keep it away from me!’ Garsson screamed.

I did nothing, couldn’t have, even if I’d wanted. The thing moved too quickly. It suddenly leapt like some giant, bony spider and bore Garsson down under its surprising weight. He tried to thrash at it, break it up again as he had once before, but it was too late now. Skelton’s skull bit into his neck and tore out his windpipe in a flash. Blood and flesh splattered everywhere, as Garsson’s scream turned into a gurgle. Then, once he’d gone still, the creature began tearing him to bits.

Once again I couldn’t move. I just lay there watching as the monstrous skeleton disconnected Garsson’s parts, removing his head, stripping off the skin, popping out the eyeballs, shaking his brain onto the ground like an old, damp sponge; pulling arms and legs off, slitting the stomach, flaying him, emptying out his guts into a colourful, smelly pile; sliding bones out from their envelopes of red flesh, scraping them clean with teeth and sharp, bony fingers. It seemed to me as I huddled there in a stupor, that it was actually eating fillets of Garsson’s meat and stews of intestine, as well as adding the bones – redder than its own and more pliable – to the expanding construction that was its body. It took a while for me to realise what was happening, but soon it was clear enough. I watched, fascinated and sickened, as Garsson’s bones became part of the Skelton-monster and his blood and flesh wove itself like a mesh that began to spread over the whole structure, giving it solidness. It was like a ghost – the phantom of some unnatural freak – taking physical form in front of me.

Time sort of went funny then, as though it was being squeezed through a narrow gap and mightn’t make it. Was this a prelude to the afterlife? I was afraid the thing would eat me too and I’d become part of it. Or maybe it had. Wasn’t until the bone-creature slipped off into the night, giving me a merry wave with a hand sticking out of what might have been its backside, that I knew I wasn’t dead. My head ached too much and I wanted to throw up. I looked around the room. There were a few smears of blood – and scratches and gouges in the walls and floor where the bones had touched them – but nothing else. Skelton was gone, Garsson was gone, and whatever the two of them had become was gone too. I crawled outside and puked violently on the front steps.

Dawn was bleeding into the sky by the time they found me there, wanting to know where Garsson was, what we’d been up, why the street had been terrorised by noises in the night. I told them and they thought I was mad of course, but they never found Garsson’s body, and Skelton was never seen again, and Johnno was able to confirm he’d left us all there in Skelton’s tunnel that night...

You know, as I sit here now, it strikes me as really funny. There’s that ... what? That skeleton ... just a pile of bones that keeps walking around. What is he, eh? A derelict murdered in the disused tunnel who couldn’t get away afterwards, a sort of haunting? Did eating his killer give him the strength to leave? Who knows? But it’s funny to think of dem bones of his walking around the world, while I ... well, my room’s pretty small. Pretty small indeed. Apart from an occasional few laps of the exercise yard, I don’t get out much. They never let me through the gates. Guess my walking days are over.

No bones about it.


Return to Main Page © Robert Hood, 1992, 2002