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It is a little-known fact that AJ Brown is a master escape artist. While his Houdini-like skills were not enough to save him from Craig Bezant (what could?!), his ability to slip out of handcuffs whilst hanging upside down over a tank of pirahnas kept our Goblins amused for at least a little while. We trust that you will find AJ’s I Want To Go Home similarly absorbing.
Issue 10 is scheduled for release on December 29. Pre-orders for the print version are available now!
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CRAIG BEZANT: What inspired you to write your ghost story?
AJ BROWN: I Want To Go Home is something my grandfather said to my dad when he was in a hospital and near death. He was at that stage of leukaemia where his body was having its last hurrah, so to speak. He had energy and pep in his voice. He said to my dad, “Get my clothes, Larry, I’m going home.” A small argument ensued with my dad telling Granddad he couldn’t leave and Granddad saying, “I want to go home.”
Dad told me that story a couple of days after Granddad passed. Then one night I was in the hospital with pneumonia, and I said to my wife, “I want to go home.” The story Dad told me came back, and all of a sudden I wanted to write about the dying old man wanting so badly to be able to die in the comforts of his own home. I always imagined Granddad with his clothes tucked under his arm, his fishing hat on his head and slippers on his feet, hurrying down the hall to the elevators, getting out of that hospital. The ending of this story was my grandfather leaving, though in this instance he had already passed on but didn’t realise it.
CRAIG: What is your favourite ghost story/movie and why?
AJ: Favourite ghost story would have to be Iverson’s Pits by Dan Simmons. I’m not a huge fan of Simmons, but I think this particular story is one of the best written works I have ever read. Favourite movie? I think most ghost movies are poorly done, so I don’t care much for most of them. However, the movie Fragile starring Calista Flockhart was really, really good.
CRAIG: If you could take anything into the spiritual world with you, what would it be and why?
AJ: A never-ending supply of Arby’s Beef ‘n Cheddar sandwiches. I love them and I would hope that, if it was possible, ghosts could eat.
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I Want To Go Home
By AJ Brown
I want to go home, away from here where the ghosts talk to me, whisper my name, and smile their dead smiles, and wink their dead eyes, as if they know something I don’t.
I want to go home, away from these sterile white walls and white tiled floors, mopped every other night by a balding guy with only three teeth left in his ancient mouth and skin as dark as mahogany. His jaundiced eyes glow on the backdrop of that deep skin, and he coughs the cough of a dying man, one with lung cancer or tuberculosis or some other respiratory illness. I think his name is James.
Mary, in room eight, calls him a ‘lunger.’ Mary’s a spiteful old bitty with grey hair verging on blue and a hump on her back that makes her look like a camel. She shuffles up and down the halls at odd hours of the night, her slippers whisking with each short step she takes. She doesn’t like the balding guy with the dark skin and jaundiced eyes.
She laughs when she passes my room.
I saw her peek in once, her grey eyes sitting deep in their sockets, wrinkles pulling on the corners of her face. She laughed that evening, deep and throaty, much like a man with a baritone voice. Startled at the odd grin and loud booming cackle, I spent the rest of the night sitting up, eyes focused on the doorway, heart hurting with each thump thump. She never came back and I haven’t seen her since. I only hear her whisking feet, her impish cackles, her mean words to James – at least, I think that’s his name.
I want to go home, far from the uninterested doctors and nurses who parade in and out of my hospital room, wearing white coats to make themselves feel important. Even the pretty little blond intern carries herself like she is far better than those she’s charged with taking care of. Sometimes I wet the bed on purpose, just so she would crinkle her nose and mumble under her breath how pathetic I am. Imagine that: me, pathetic. Never thought those words would come out of someone’s mouth about me. Other times I wet the bed, but not on purpose. It’s at those moments when she says I’m pathetic that I look away, my head down, and think she is right.
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