's 2017 Horror Write-off:

The Ghostly Rose

Submitted by Gareth Barsby

Everyone's heard the story before; there's a creepy abandoned mansion in the middle of the woods, surrounded by bare trees and complemented by a howling wind. A group of people approach it, and one person is dared by the others to enter the house and wake up the ghosts inside.

So yeah, me and my friends, after a few pints on Halloween night, approached that monochrome mansion deep in the woods people in our town constantly told stories about. There was apparently a headless woman who had been seen gliding down the stairs, a skeleton who walked around the grounds, even the classic shroud with eyeballs was said to float out of the chimney.

I was the one who was dared to go into the house and find every spectre and every spirit. What's more, I had to go through every inch of the place too, to go to every room and every corner of the grounds. Whether it was my disbelief in the supernatural, me wanting to get into the Halloween spirit or the liquid courage I had before coming to the house, I accepted.

I walked around the house in circles, looking upwards for the chimney ghost and around for the skeleton. When I entered the house, there was no headless woman gliding down the stairs. No ghosts in the living room, nor were there any in the kitchen or any of the bedrooms.

I swear I did hear moaning at one point, but I was certain that it was one of my friends taking the mickey.

Every inch of this place I was supposed to explore, so I wasn't quite ready to go home after exiting the house. No, I still had the greenhouse to explore. The small building made of algae-covered wood and grey brick, filled with withered plant carcasses. I entered through a hole where a pane of glass should have been.

Upon stepping foot inside, I heard the moaning again. As soon as I did, a ghost materialised.

A rose.

A rose glowing with an ethereal light, a mouth hiding in its petals, looking like something out of Beauty and the Beast.

It moaned.

When I approached it, I felt a little tingle of accomplishment; I looked for a ghost and I found one. I also asked myself why I wasn't running away - the only reason I could think of was that I had forgotten to water the plants so many times I had almost expected to see a plant spirit.

'I know why you're here,' said the rose, 'You want to see the headless woman or the skeleton or the chimney ghost. Well, they're not here anymore. They were here because they had unfinished business, but then they completed their unfinished business and went on to the afterlife.'

Then I asked, 'Why are you here?'

The rose then told me that while some plants have ghosts, they didn't have unfinished business nor did they have an afterlife to go to. Plant ghosts stayed on Earth for a variety of reasons; to keep human ghosts company, to remind living humans to water and take care of living plants, to provide light in dark woodland areas.

'I'm here, on the other hand,' continued the rose, 'because I don't have unfinished business or an afterlife to go to. This house is only famous because it's haunted, and a house needs only one ghost to be considered haunted. If I'm here, this house can stay haunted indefinitely. If it wasn't haunted, everyone would forget about it.'

I then asked him if he liked doing this, and he nodded.

'When I was alive, I made this place more beautiful. In a way, I still am.'