Napkin Story: ‘Hallowmas’ by Terry Buchan

Up next in the Napkin blog series is Terry Buchan and his flash fiction work ‘Hallowmas’. . .


This is your Hallowmas call.

Are you some kind of cult?

Putting you through now …

“Hello – is that George?”

“It’s Maria.”

“Hi, Maria – did anyone ever tell you you’ve got a very male voice?  Well, there’s still time.  At least you’re alive. This is Alex – perhaps I should say ex-Alex – I think I’m dead.  Can you tell George I won’t be in to work?”

“In what sense – dead?”

“My soul seems to have become detached from my physical self.  I’m worried.”

“So how are you phoning?”

“I’ve got some tacky-floaty residue around me and I can sort-of-do things with it.  Or it can sort-of-do things itself.  That’s one of the problems.  I’m not sure which bit, if any, is ‘me’.  So even if I’m not dead it would be confusing if I came to work right now.  For other people as well as me.”

“I realised you were thinking of others, Alex, because you wouldn’t normally let a little deadness keep you away from the job.”

“I wish I could say I love your sense of humour.  But since you’ve always been vile to me I can’t, if I remain true to myself – whatever self means, in my current state.  Is there anyone else, maybe someone more human, I can talk to?”

“What’s the point?  Where could it go, honestly?  And I think you’ve got a nerve, asking for someone more human when it sounds like you’re becoming ex-human yourself.”

“You’re right.  Cold, heartless, but right.  I’ll see you on All Souls Eve.”

“Not if I re-engineer my dreamcatcher first.  Take George’s personal number and haunt him yourself.”

“I’ll be damned before I do that – or maybe I am, the phone’s melting in my hand …”



Napkin Story Project Photo by Kate McDonald of McBookishness

Napkin Story Project
Photo by Kate McDonald of McBookishness

Terry Buchan started the Comedy Writers Forum in Leeds in 2009; this evolved into the Comedy Writers and Performers Group before going extinct, shortly after all the members espoused Northern Darwinism.

A contributor to the monthly Deli programme on East Leeds FM radio station – – he maintains several blogs, especially

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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