Table of Contents
About The Author
The Haunted Pub
To a dear friend
THE HAUNTED PUB
Copyright © Melanie Tushmore 2012
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a
machine language, without the written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real locales or real people are
used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, localities or persons, either living or dead, are
Grabbing whatever clothes he could lay his hands on, Fizz jammed everything that would fit into
the only two bags he had. His packing was a mess, but it didn’t matter; he’d run out of time. Glancing
at his dresser, he snatched down the framed picture of Luke, his older brother, along with his fiancée
and three month old baby. Holding the picture, Fizz gazed at the familiar smile on Luke’s face. Luke
was happy now; he had his own family. But ever since he’d moved out things had been…different.
Fizz had always known that his parents had a favourite…that it was Luke. Hard to ignore, when
their mother always referred to Luke as “the bright one”. Their father had been more blunt, and often
joked “Get it right the first time, ‘cause the sequel is never as good”. Fizz swallowed hard, and placed
the picture carefully in his bag.
No sooner had he zipped it closed when his door burst open, making Fizz jump. No knock; just his
father barging in, looking pissed off as usual. Fizz looked up at him, waiting, hoping he’d change his
His frown was set as he said, “You ready?”
No! The plea never made it out of him. Despite being terrified, Fizz knew that begging his parents
for another chance wouldn’t do any good. As his father led him downstairs, carrying one of his bags,
Fizz saw a flash of his mother, darting into their bedroom, handkerchief in hand.
“Don’t hate me, Jamie!” she wailed after him. “I just can’t take it anymore!” Her voice echoed
down the stairs. Fizz kept his eyes down, making sure he watched where he stepped. The last thing he
needed was to trip.
At the front door, Fizz’s bags were placed outside. His father dug in his pocket, then pulled out a
twenty pound note. “This’ll get you a bus fare,” he said gruffly, shoving the money at Fizz.
The crinkled note unfolded in Fizz’s hand as he stared at it. Twenty pounds. The significance
wasn’t lost on him; he’d had his twentieth birthday only last month.
“This has been a long time coming, Jamie,” his father informed him. “Your mother has had enough.
I’ve had enough,” he snapped. Fizz flinched. “It’s time to get yourself a job, and then maybe you’ll
have something worth moping about for.”
Fizz found the door slammed shut on him before the words fully registered. He’d heard his father’s
tirades before, but never had he expected this. To be thrown out. Not when each time after his father
had shouted at him, his mother would find him and whisper how she understood, because she’d been
through “a difficult patch” when she was younger.
“You’ll grow out of it,” she used to tell him, along with a brief pat on the hand. “I did. And I’m
much better for it.”
Except, Fizz hadn’t grown out of it. At least, not yet.
Taking a shaky breath, he picked up his bags. He didn’t look back at his family home as he walked
away. He couldn’t bear to.
* * *
Sitting on the curb, alone, with no more than two bags of belongings to his name, Fizz didn’t know
what to do. The early morning cloud had cleared, and bright sunlight heated the pavement. Cars drove
past him, even mothers pushing toddlers in prams quickened their pace as they hurried past. Fizz
didn’t have any friends. He’d lost contact with those he’d known from school years ago, when he’d
stopped attending. He had nowhere to go, no one to call on. Maybe some other members of his family
could help, but Fizz was altogether too shocked to think straight. He did the only thing he could
manage, which was take out his very old model mobile phone, and called Luke.
Thankfully, he picked up on the second ring. “Hey, Jamie. You all right?”
At the sound of his voice, so reassuring and familiar, the shock finally thawed and sobs bubbled out
of Fizz’s throat. His eyes burned with hot tears, and he wished with all his heart that Luke would know
what to do.
His brother’s sigh was audible in his ear. “Where are you, Jamie?”
Less than twenty minutes later, Luke’s car pulled up by the curb. He carefully got Fizz into the car,
placed his bags inside, then sat in the driver’s seat. He expelled a long puff of air. “Oh-kay. You know
I can’t invite you to stay with us, right? I mean, with the baby an’ all, and Maz’s hormones.” Luke’s
eyes went wide as he pulled a face, trying to laugh it off. “Well, hormones ain’t the word for her mood
swings, but either way, there just isn’t space, mate. I’m sorry.”
Fizz fought hard to keep the sobs down. He nodded silently. He hadn’t expected to live at Luke’s
tiny bedsit; the baby had to come first, of course. Fizz wouldn’t have dreamed otherwise. Just as he
was about to work up the courage to ask what next? Luke cranked the car into gear.
“Well, there’s just one place left. Buckle up, mate, we’re going to Brighton.”
* * *
Luke drove them the hour’s journey down the motorway to Brighton, and that was how Jamie ‘Fizz’
Fitzherbert found himself at The Queen Anne’s Revenge public house, at ten o’clock on a Sunday
The pub wasn’t due to open until twelve, so Luke got out his phone and made a call. As they waited
on its doorstep, Fizz tried to ignore the steady rush of traffic on the road beside them, tried to block
out the real world and what was happening. He focussed on the building, the pub, remembering the
times he’d visited before, with Luke.
The pub had originally been a hotel, which was why it was so tall for a pub of its day. In the 1930s,
the hotel was converted into a themed pub inspired by Disney’s first feature film, Snow White & The
Seven Dwarves. Fizz had always remembered that part because, even now, the building looked
something like a life-size gingerbread cottage from a children’s story book. Plaster cast models still
stood over the main entrance; eight foot figurines of a king and a queen that impassively gazed out at
the Old Steine and Victoria Gardens.
They were a sight worth stopping to look at…if a little creepy.
The first time Fizz had seen the figures, he’d been interested enough to ask what they were. He
remembered the bare facts; in the 1930s, a lot of themed pubs had sprung up in Europe, including this
one in Brighton. Unfortunately, when the Second World War erupted, anything with a German
connection lost its popularity. Not many themed pubs were left now but, miraculously, this one was