Archive for September, 2013

The Half-Eaten Boy on the Stairs

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Horror, Poetry
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The old man sat still in his cold pantry hole, he was grizzled and grimaced in fright.

His knees crushed the end of his snot-frozen nose; his arms wrapped around them so tight.

A spider was hiding inside his left ear, peeking out from its wax splattered lair.

But the man did not itch, for his gaze was transfixed, at the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


For seven long days sat the boy on the stairs, as still as a tailor shop doll.

His half-eaten grin peeping out from the dark, and his half-eaten eyes seeing all.

His half-eaten throat hummed a sinister tune that gargled and groaned through the air.

Neither living nor dead, with a stench full of dread, sat the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


Feeble from hunger and weakened by fear, the old man began to come to.

He fumbled around for a scrap he could eat, for a morsel to help see him through.

He spied half an apple all covered in worms and reached out for as far as he dared.

But his task was in vain, and he soon felt the pain, from the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


It began with a breath, like the whisper of wind, or the soft rolling rush of a wave.

Blackness did then start to creep ‘cross the walls, as the air turned as cold as the grave.

The old man cried out, as the darkness embraced him with hands that just sprang from the air.

Though he struggled and kicked, he could not break the grip of the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


“For what is my crime that you punish me for?” shrieked the man from the dark of the room.

“What pain have I caused?  What sins passed me by? How deserving am I of this tomb?”

Then as swift as it came, the darkness did cease, could it be, had the old man been spared?

But as silence resumed, he looked out through the gloom, at the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


How he rallied and railed and bartered and begged, for a moment, perchance, to run free.

“If you please let me go, I’ll not say what I know, and that’s the last that you’ll e’er see of me!”

“I long for the rain and the sun in the sky, and a gentle breeze waft through my hair.”

But the old man sat here, half insane with the fear, of the half-eaten boy on the stairs.


Then one stormy evening, the old man did stir from a dream of the world past his door.

He could scarce catch his breath as he stared down the hall at the boy who now stood on the floor.

“A question, have I!” spoke the boy with a start, and he froze the old man with a glare.

“Answer me true, I’ll no more bother you.” Smiled the half-eaten boy from the stairs.


The old man sat stunned and he nodded his head, as the bile burned away at his throat.

“Your challenge I’ll take, and the truth shall you hear.” The boy, then, towards him, did float.

As the half-eaten boy brushed his half eaten nose ‘cross the old man’s cadaverous face.

His stomach did turn and his eyeballs did burn, as emptiness filled the whole place.


What seemed like an age through the passage of time, the boy remained silent and still.

Hung in the air like a gallows tree ghost, left to rot in the mid-morning chill.

The old man did whimper and tremble with fear, his hands and feet wilted and weak.

Then from the abyss came the ghastliest hiss, as the wretched boy started to speak.


“Please tell me, good sir, as you amble through life, along roads that lead from there to here.”

“And standing alone on the crossed paths of fate, ‘till the way ahead soon becomes clear.”

“To which do you listen, to render your choice of direction you’re willing to take?”

“Your heart or your head? Tell me which way you’re led? The decision is now yours to make.”


The old man gave thought and he furrowed his brow, as he puzzled and pondered and pried.

He rattled his brains and he swivelled his eyes as the fear ate away his insides.

But no answer came, for the man had ne’er wondered about all the things he had done.

So rather than try, he decided to lie; and thought that this battle he’d won.


“I lead with my heart!” the old man proclaimed with a fervency seldom he’d shown.

“I stride down those paths that feel right for my soul, where my destiny remains unknown!”

“A choice from one’s head? It is not for the brave, as we gamble a future dismay.”

“An answer you craved, and an answer I gave! Now release me and be on your way!”


The boy from the stairs bowed his half-eaten head and extended a half-eaten smile.

“Now that I know your heart steadies your feet, I’ll be gone from you in a short while.”

“But as it’s your heart, your foundation in life, I suspect you’ll no more need much else!”

And without a word said, he tore off the man’s head, and the man was no longer himself.


The hapless old man watched the world tumble by as his head rolled away down the hall.

Startled and stunned by this turn of events, he soon came to rest against the wall.

He saw his poor body all gushing with blood, and its hands and feet twitching in pairs.

And the last thing he spied, as he withered and died, was the half-eaten boy from the stairs.


The lesson to learn from this terrible tale is there isn’t a lesson at all.

There can be no escape as the darkness flows in, like the drape of a funeral pall.

So when there are shadows that creep at your door, never brush them aside, please beware.

Always think with your head, as you hide in your bed,

From the half-eaten boy on your stairs.



© 2013 John Gallagher


Been a While!

Posted: September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It’s been approximately 6 months since I became a full-time stay at home Dad and also 6 months since I last posted a blog. Could the two be connected?

So what occurrences have taken place since I last posted?

Well, I’ve lost a stone in weight, acquired a beard and turned 40! How the hell did that happen? Last thing I knew I was 22 and fresh-faced, then, BANG! I’m middle-aged and hirsute (I could say the beard was an intentional image change but I think it’s more truthful to say I simply haven’t had the time to shave in 6 months). I quite like the beard though, makes me look more like a Dad, so it stays.

The most important occurrence has, of course, been the pleasure of watching Austin, my little Jedi, metamorphose from a little baby boy into a little bigger boy. He turned 1 in June and his progress is thundering forward. He can say a few fundamental words such as “Hello”, “Ma ma” and “Da da”.

He can walk a few stumbly steps before crashing down onto his bottom and loves nothing more than grabbing mine or his Mum’s hands and going for a proper walk round the house. He’s also developed a very mischievous smile which makes it very difficult to be firm with him when he’s doing something he shouldn’t; you can’t help but smile at that impish grin.

On his 1st birthday we organised a humanist baby naming ceremony for friends and family to welcome Austin into the fold. It was a wonderful day and the ceremony was enjoyed by all: Sharon read out extracts from her pregnancy diary, family members got up and read poems, we had a night sky back drop where people could write messages for Austin on the back of silver star cards and stick them to it and I wrote a poem.

I include it here for folk to read if they so wish. It’s not brilliant but it is an accurate sentiment of how it feels to be Austin’s Dad.


My Little Lad

My little lad.

My pride, my joy.

My golden sunbeam.

My baby boy.


To sit with you,

here, side by side.

To clap our hands.

To peek, then hide.


Your laughter rings,

and then resounds,

throughout my heart,

Your joy, abound.


You ask me only

for my time,

a guiding arm,

a trust, sublime.


But there is nought,

I wouldn’t do,

to keep that smile,

to care for you.


To see you safe,

to see you warm,

to hold your hand

amidst the storm.


Through Christmas lights,

and birthday cakes,

seaside days

and tummy aches.


And though our tale

has just begun,

remember this,

my little one.


The future is

not written down,

it has no plan,

our time is now


We spin our yarn

as we whizz by,

so, little one,

It’s time to fly.


From now ’til then

we’ll roam afar,

we’ll sail the seas,

Traverse the stars.


And all the while

It’s me and you,

I’ll help to guide

To see you through


Those battles lost

and battles won,

my little lad,

my world,

my son.

© 2013 John Gallagher


 The Naming of Austin Sagan Gallagher

Pic by Ron Firth Photography