The Horror Zine
Al Capone
Richard Hill

Richard Hill is the May Selected Poet

You can email Richard at:

Richard Hill


Last night I think I dreamed of Al Capone
Quite friendly really
Sitting by my bed
“Don’t be afraid,” he said
“Just passing through, lying low
I couldn’t remember where to go”
He turned his hat around
A grey fedora
Nervous in his hands
Head down, voice muffled
Half asleep, I hardly heard him speak
Caught half words
“Gats. O’Bannion. Them stinkin’ Feds.”
Then he stood up
Brushed down his long dark overcoat
“Be seein’ ya.”
He slipped his hand in mine
I heard him clumping down the stairs
The front door quietly close
A car door slam
The engine start, noisy, a slow hearse
Rumbling down our quiet street
In my hand I felt the crispness of the dollar bills
Wondering then how much and why

(for W. W. Jacobs ‘The Monkey’s Paw’)

The walk from the cemetery was too warm, too noisy
Briefly you yearned for the moist sweet earth
The slip of worms against your lips
The insect tickles of the delvers into nostrils, ears
Not there the noisy screaming as you walk the street
You’d like to answer them
To shout, to sing,
The earth packed too tight inside you mouth
You try to smile
Everything far too heavy, your arms, your legs
You miss your eyes
Bump into wailing people, objects, as you make your way home
Memory leading you safely to the house
Imagining your family’s sweet delight
As you thump your almost hand against the door


One day someone hands you a coin
Change, payment, a man, a woman
You can’t be sure, remember
The coin to the touch is cold, is hot, vibrates in you hand
It buzzes slightly, a copper, silver, insect
That night you lie awake
A sweet, roast smell of barbecue, of bonfires, fills the room
The bed creaks as the burnt corpse, silent by your side
Begins to move towards you, its former face an inch from yours

Later it stands behind you as you shave, a shadow in the mirror
Sits beside you on the train, the office
You strain to hear its whispered words
Absurd that no one else can see it, smell that smell
Is madness as quick and soon as this?

At lunch it leans against you, its charred and clacking fingers busy
At your face, your food
Screaming in silent smiles you stand to pay, feel in your pocket
The coin stirs
You throw it on the table, hurry out alone

The burnt thing never troubles you again
But you check your money always, slowly, carefully
Become a crank about the small transactions of your life
Sleep with the light on, seldom go out at night
Knowing our hauntings are not what we deserve
But dark light slipping through the cracks that separate our lives

Richard Hill considers himself as not primarily a horror writer, but just a writer. He has written for radio, TV, and for theatres like The Hampstead Theatre in London and The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool; in fact, he would write for anyone who would give him money for words. He has an MA in Victorian Literature from the University of Liverpool. 

Since Richard was first old enough to make annoying noises, he has played in bands in and around Liverpool. Afterwards, he headed up to the Editorial Office at the University of Liverpool, producing all their magazines and prospectuses, and taught Creative Writing there as well in their English Department.

Richard had a stroke four years ago.It still amazes him that his body hasn’t yet realized that if it does succeed in killing him, he’ll take it with him. Richard had to learn to walk and talk again but, knock on Formica, he’s good now, although now he’s used to one handed typing—which sounds more Zen than it is.

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