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A Horror Story ~ a Dramatic Poem

John loves to read, especially crime, fantasy, psychological thriller, and sci-fi novels. He is interested in the paranormal and unexplained

A Special Request

Now and then I write a special edition of my Poems From the Porch if I feel the topic deserves to stand alone or if one poem has turned out to be longer than the norm. This one isn't short and I think the message is important but probably the main reason for this poem to stand alone is that I just don't have time at the moment to do justice to more than one.

My friends' requests and suggestions are important to me, and I don't want to just churn out sub-standard poems for the sake of it. At he moment, during this virus pandemic when people have been ordered to stay at home, businesses closed, and jobs lost, demand for freelance writing is busier than ever. So, to get a Poems From the Porch published this week I had to restrict it to just one poem, "A Horror Story."

Apart from that everything's the same. This poem is for Chris Mills and was written as I sat relaxing on my porch at home, enjoying the fine and pleasant days as the weather starts to cool just slightly. I'd like to thank everyone for sending me suggestions for new poems too. I now have enough to keep the series going strong for at least another four weeks.

Gothic Horror: Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Gothic Horror: Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Chris Mills' (cam8510) Request/Challenge

"Okay, John, you asked for it. These poems are so good, you need more of a challenge. By the way, I loved The Special Assignment and the Four Seasons.

Now for your challenge. A ghost story in a poem. It must include an old house or a mansion, or a dilapidated building. There is an upstairs window with backlight. Someone enters the building. They are not alone. That's it. You take it from there.

Oh, my. What did I just do?

It looks like your schedule of poem writing may give you a couple of weeks for mine. Relax, no pressure, but I'll be waiting, and watching."

Thank you for the challenge Chris. It took me awhile to figure out how I would approach this, and it may not be exactly what you had in mind but I think I met most of your guidelines. I hope you approve.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

A Horror Story

The house was old and crumbling,

The rafters cracked and bowed.

The furniture would be antique

If it ever got to show.

Some said the house was haunted,

And you know how rumours spread.

The eerie house upon the hill

Filled with the ghosts of dead.

Scroll to Continue

The old man hunkered on the floor,

Trapped in an upstairs room.

Not anybody’s prisoner,

But it pained him just to move.

The house was big but mostly dark.

The only light shone from this room

And through an upper window

To light the outside gloom.

Ghosts: Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Ghosts: Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

A figure passing on the road

On this dark and stormy night

Stared up at the rundown house

And saw the window’s light.

He crept up to the carved wood door,

Rapped upon it with the knocker.

No answer was there from within..

.. what follows is a shocker!

The brass knob turned, it wasn’t locked,

The door, creaking, opened wide.

He whispered, “Anybody home?”

Then slowly stepped inside.

He shrugged his sodden jacket off

Then walked around the room,

As his eyes adjusted to the dark

And the atmosphere of doom.

Creepy Staircase

Creepy Staircase

The old man heard the creaking door,

He cried out, “Who goes there?”

But the only answer that he got -

Heavy footsteps on the stairs.

The bedroom door swung open,

The old man’s eyes grew wide.

In a wheezing voice, he croaked,

“What are you doing here?”

Then there was a wracking cough

And a fever-induced moan.

“It’s me, Papa,” soothed the younger man,

“You don’t have to die alone!”

Coronavirus: Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Coronavirus: Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The Horror of Our Times

Sometimes, real-life events can overshadow any attempt at fictional horror. That takes a lot because the mind is capable of conjuring up some pretty scary and freaky stuff. However, there has seldom been a time that so many countries and people have been as concerned and fearful of a situation as that we currently find ourselves in.

There have been some serious viruses and diseases that have attacked the world before e.g. The Spanish Flu, The Black Plague, Ebola, SARS etc. but, in my lifetime at least, there has been nothing to rival this current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Countries closing their border, grounding flights and cruise ships, closing businesses, restricting gatherings to two people, and confining people to their homes just boggles the mind.

I just hope this real-life horror story has an ending where the "monster, demon, evil" is defeated.

© 2020 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 25, 2021:

Thank you for reading this Brenda. I am pleased the ending was a surprise. This virus is the worst horror story I have experienced and I honestly don’t know what the future holds. We have to stay optimistic though. Have a good week.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 25, 2021:


You had me with this one.

I was all geared up expecting something horrible to happen.

Finding out it was his son was a welcome relief.

This virus is a horror story & I hope it can be defeated.

Just when we thought we'd turned the has come back again.

The doctors offices, the hospitals are all are hurting with not enough people to work.

Some restaurants have went back to drive thru's only, but yet I hold out a glimmer of hope.

I don't want to go back to the way it was or worse.

Great write.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on October 25, 2021:

John, I love your Poems from the Porch series and am sad to hear that HubPages believes it is not suitable for LetterPile. You always put a huge amount of effort to write these poems. :) God bless you!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 25, 2021:

Hello Misbah, thank you for the very encouraging comment. I agree with you that this poem should have been suitable for LetterPile or Discover, and in fact I submitted it to LetterPile previously but they said it wasn’t suitable as it was part of Poems From the Porch which involved readers’ requests. Funny thing is that most other editions of Poems From the Porch are now on Discover.

One good thing about it still being in HubPages is that you were able to comment. Glad you found it creepy and liked the ending. I am well, and hope you are also. Blessings.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on October 25, 2021:

John, This horror poem kept me on the edge of my seat till the very end. A creepy story with a good ending! I liked how you progressively built up the story. All the way around, this is a superb poem!

Don't you think it should go back on discover or LetterPile. ;)

I hope you are doing well. Have a great day, my friend.

Blessings always!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 02, 2020:

Thank you for reading this Peg. Fact is scarier than fiction at the present time. Take care.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 02, 2020:

Your poem blends a fictional tale with the horrors of reality during this pandemic. There will sadly be many more deaths. At least in this story, the older man will not die alone.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 26, 2020:

Anupam, although we need to uplift and try to take people‘s minds off this difficult situation with our poetry, at times we need to also express the reality that’s occurring as well. Thank you for your generous comment.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 26, 2020:

Excellent expression of the pandemic in your fictional poem which is actually the shadow of reality. Amazing poet you are!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 11, 2020:

Jo, I am sorry you came here for a break from the news and came across this. But I do think you for reading and your kind comment. stay safe.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on April 11, 2020:

I've not been very active here in a while, John, but just took a break from the horror of tv news and came here to escape for a bit. But it all hit me again. You have touched on the horror of the pandemic that haunts so many of us.

Great job.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on April 08, 2020:

Thank you John. I just reread the poem. Now tears are streaming. You've really done an outstanding job here. Maybe part of it is the moment we are in. I wear a face mask everywhere but in the house. I work in a hospital where covid-19 patients are being treated. We practice social distancing constantly. Wash hands, hope for the best. This is not NYC or any of the main centers of the disease, but Chicago is just south about an hour. If I caught this virus, I would not do well. Thank you again, John. You have entertained us with a gripping poem once again. I think this is a special point in your poem writing. It is different. It is powerful. Well done.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 08, 2020:

Chris, I knew how busy you must have been at the height of this crisis in your country. So I understand there are more pressing issues for you than reading here at the moment. That said, thank you for finding the time and I am more than happy with your response to this poem. It started out as your average stock standard “alone in old house and evil intruder” story, but my focus changed as I wrote.

Presently there are 6000 cases of the virus in Australia and fortunately only 50 deaths. The growth curve seems to have flattened but that will only continue if people obey the social distancing and travel restrictions etc.

I hope things start to improve there before they get any worse. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on April 08, 2020:

John, First I want to apologize for taking so long to read this story. I requested it before our current crisis became such an ordeal. Yes, I have been distracted from HubPages. In fact, I forgot I requested this story. I am sincerely sorry for that. But We are nearing the apex here in America. New York may soon be moving slowly toward the final stages. For now though, they are in the heat of the battle. Others are only now approaching the toughest days. At this point, 14,668 Americans have died. Nearly half a million people have tested positive. I fear for the people of Spain, Italy, and France.

How you were able to craft this poem in the midst of this catastrophe is beyond me. I asked for a horror story poem. You delivered marvelously. I am sincere, John. This is a fantastic poem. I love it. And you end it with this present horror. That took courage to even go that direction. But it was effective and you harnassed the terror we all feel. Thank you. This is a memorable poem. Again, I am sorry it took me so long to read it. Blessings on you and your family.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 08, 2020:

Cheers Benda. I am pleased that you think I nailed it, and I hope Chris does too. I may have to give him a bit of a prod if he doesn't come to check it out soon.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 07, 2020:


I think you nailed it.

This is really good. It has me at every detail.

So Chris Mills...what do you think?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 07, 2020:

Thank you Nell. I appreciate your comment. That was the effect I was hoping to achieve. Cheers.

Nell Rose from England on April 07, 2020: