The Ghost Experts


*Formerly Bump in the Night*

The Ghost Experts is a ghost-hunting programme that’s different from all the others. That’s because none of it’s real.

Tony has always wanted to be a real paranormal investigator. His co-workers are perfectly happy to build their careers on falsehoods and cheap tricks, but Tony’s always wanted something more. Something real. Unfortunately, he’s about to get his wish.

When the crew set up in the infamous Lansfield Hall, it soon becomes clear that this won’t just be another normal day. One by one, the crew start to realise there’s more to those spooky ghost stories than they first thought. Subtly spooky antics turn into all-out carnage, bottled-up tensions rise to the surface, and a simple job turns into a fight for survival. If they want to live to see the sunrise, they’ll have to abandon the script.

They aren’t real ghost hunters, but that doesn’t matter any more, because these ghosts don’t want to be hunted.


10. Cabin Fever

“Okay, guys,” Jean said, smiling as she walked into the room. “Are we ready to go?”

“Sure,” Tony said. Deadpan but passable.

“Alright. We’ve got the, uh… the EVP recorders and stuff here. I’ll take them down to the master bedroom and talk to, um… Alice, shall I?”

Tony felt a pang of guilt as he noticed the pained look on her face. He and Dave still hadn’t told her the ghost she’d seen was a prank, and he doubted they ever would.

“Sure, you go ahead, and I’ll head outside, to the hanging tree.” Tony looked out of the window, watching the black stripes of branch cutting through the white reflections on the glass. “I want to see if I can capture any of that, um…” He looked at the ground to avoid catching Dave’s eye. “Legendary poltergeist activity.”

“Right.” Jean paused and glanced to her left.

There was a long silence. Dave was starting to shake with silent laughter in the corner of the room. Tony shook his head and tried to focus.

“Cut!” Philip’s bellow drowned the room. Tony looked up and saw Kevin sighing and lowering the camera for the eighth time that hour.

“Andy!” Philip said.

Andy looked up, hands still wrist-deep in his pockets. “What?”

“Andy, stop glaring at Jean, would you?”

“Screw off.”

Dave tittered. So did Tony.

“Tony, shut the fuck up, you goddamn piece of shit!” Andy shouted, pointing his finger at Tony.

“The fuck’d I do?”

“Everything, Tony! Everything!”

Tony raised his eyebrow. “You sure? You sure you’re not just moody?”

“Tony, sod off,” Jean muttered, standing up and tucking her hair behind her ear before taking another step away from Andy. “You’re not helping.”

He shrugged. “Sorry.”

“You’ve got a bloody nerve, Jean!” Andy shouted. “After what you just-”

“Andy, stop it,” she hissed.


“We’re stuck here for the night,” she said, closing her eyes and holding her hands up, “so it’ll be easier if we just stay professional. Just leave me alone.”

“Sure, babe.” Jean flinched like he’d slapped her. “I’ll leave you alone when Philip stops yelling at me and Kevin stops glaring at me!”

“I wasn’t,” Kevin muttered, too quiet for Andy to hear him.

“Well, then, stop looking at Jean already. I warned you!”

“I, uh…” Kevin looked down at the camera in his hands. “I’m filming her. I’m filming you. How can I do that without looking at her?”

“Quiet!” Philip yelled. “I’m sick to shit of this ridiculous high-and-mighty bullshit drama! Just shut up and get the hell on with the bloody scene, would you? My patience is thinner than the fucking walls right now! David?”

Dave looked up, forcing his smile flat. “Yeah?”

“If I see you giggling your fucking girly giggle one more time, you’re fired.”

He blinked. “Uh, okay.”

“Wait a minute,” Andy said. “I was never fucking told what I was supposed to fucking say.”

“You never need telling!” Philip said. “You’re a bloody actor!”

“Well, how come Tony gets lines?”

“Because I fucking suck!” Tony yelled.

“Yeah, because Tony fucking sucks,” Philip said. “Come on. This isn’t like you, Andy.”

“Well, tell me what the fuck I say!”

Philip dragged out his sigh. “You’re going to the kitchen, Andy, to experience the fucking heat change bullshit.”

“Right, from Mary-Jane.”

“Mary-Ann, dipshit,” Dave muttered. Andy reeled around and was about to take a step towards him.

“Action!” Philip yelled. Andy looked at Philip, who shrugged and pointed to Andy’s starting position. Curling his hands into fists, Andy took his place.

Tony watched Jean shoot a smile at Kevin as he fumbled with the camera for the ninth time.

“Okay, guys,” she said. “Are we ready to go?”

Tony inhaled a particularly scratchy chunk of dust from the ground and his voice scraped as he said “Sure.”

Dave barely squeaked with laughter behind the camera. Philip glared at him. He shrugged and shut up.

“Okay. We’ve got the EVP recorders and stuff here. I’ll take them down to the master bedroom and talk to Alice.”

“Sure, and I’ll go outside to the hanging tree,” said Tony. “See if I can capture any poltergeist activity.”

“Sounds good,” Jean said. “Andy?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Andy said, barely injecting a scrap of false enthusiasm into his voice. “I’m going down to the kitchen to experience the, uh… the fire.”

“Cut!” Philip said. “Andy, there’s no fucking fire. Just heat changes and the smell of smoke.”

“Tony said there was a fucking fire.”

Philip looked at Tony. “You did what?”

“No, I didn’t.”

He turned back to Andy. “No fire, got that? There isn’t going to be a fire, so you’ll be chasing fucking nothing, won’t you?”

“Oi!” Andy said. “Have some respect, alright, Philip? I just had a fucking horrible shock, and I-”

“Oh, really?” Jean said from next to Kevin. “And what the fuck was that?”

“I just found out my girlfriend fucking cheated on me, okay? Give me some space.”

Tony and Dave looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Jean and Kevin simultaneously burst out laughing.

“I’m sorry,” Jean said, “You fucking what?”

He shrugged. “You know what. Looking at you, Kevin, you piece of shit.”

“Right, right.” Kevin looked at Jean as he put his camera down on the windowsill. “Not true, but whatever. We don’t care, right, Jean?”

She was fuming, but she said “Right.”

“Okay,” Dave said. “Now I’m confused.”

“I don’t give a fuck!” Philip said. “Just deal with it in your own goddamn time, alright? Kevin, pick that camera up. We’re staying on schedule. Andy, Tony, Jean, Kevin, David, one more scrap of distraction and I swear to Christ you’re in for the worst fucking night of your entire lives.”

Tony and Dave exchanged glances. Philip ignored them.

“Right, so now we’ve got that out of the way-”

“We haven’t!” Andy said. “I feel bloody ganged up on!”

“Andy, Kevin couldn’t say boo to a goose,” Philip said. “I don’t know what the fuck you think he’s planning to do to you, but I can assure you it’s not going to bloody happen. Now, for the final goddamn time, everyone shut the hell up and finish the scene. We can cut there. Andy, say your line again. Action!”

Andy narrowed his eyes as Kevin pointed the camera towards him.

“Stop squinting!”

Andy stopped squinting. “Yeah, I’ll go down to the kitchen and check out all the rumours of the heat changes and smelling smoke.”

“Yeah,” Jean grinned. “Hopefully you won’t get caught up in any more fires, Andy!”

He gritted his teeth and laughed back. “Yeah, let’s hope not!”


Andy turned to Jean. “The fuck was that?”

She shrugged and slouched back, smirking. “Ad-libbing.”

“You bloody-”

Leave it!” Philip said, stepping between them. Jean flicked her hair over her shoulder as she turned and walked out of the room. Andy glared after her.

Tony snorted, and Dave started spluttering behind him. They both dissolved into laughter.

“David!” Philip yelled.

He covered his mouth with his hand. “What?”

“I told you not to bloody giggle while we’re filming!”

“I’m not giggling. And you’re not filming.”

Philip lifted a finger. “Yeah, but-”

“The heck’s wrong with giggling?”

“Dave, chill out,” Tony said.


“Are we done?” Tony asked Philip.

“Yeah. Yeah, you know what? We’re fucking done. I’m fucking done. Everyone get your arses back in here! Everyone!”

He stumped out into the corridor and threw a million yells into the broken hallway. “TRAVIS! GERRY! Get your arses up here!”

Jean and Kevin walked back into the room and went to lean against the wall furthest from Andy. Tony and Dave sat down on the massive chunk of windowsill sticking out of the wall.

“This is gonna be a long night,” Dave muttered to Tony.


Gerry and Travis came into the room, looking at each other with a tiny fraction of shock. Only Tony seemed to notice.

Philip said, “Right-”

“What happened to you guys?” Tony said without thinking. Travis glared at him, but Gerry didn’t bother even turning his head.

Philip turned around and noticed Gerry’s face. “Yeah. The hell happened, Gerry? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

Dave burst out laughing.

“Sod off, David,” Travis said. “Gerry just started stressing coz it was a bit hot. What’s the big fucking deal?”

Dave shrugged. “Yeah, you’re right. I retract.”

Philip, his face smouldering with anger, turned back to address the group. “Right, so, we’ve done all the set-up stuff already-” He glared at Tony and Dave- “more or less. It’ll pass. This location’s a real juicy one, so all we’ve gotta do is ham up the acting and it’ll do most of the scaring for us.”

“True,” Dave muttered into the air in front of him. Tony turned and noticed he was nursing the brown-black crust on the back of his hand. They looked at each other, but said nothing.

“Okay, so Jean and Kevin, you guys are heading down the corridor, dealing with the master bedroom stuff.”

Andy snorted. Jean glared serrated knives at him, but dropped her scowl when Kevin looked at her.

“Oh, and take your jumper off, girl.”

She flicked her head up, hair striping the scowl on her face. “You what?”

“The jumper. Take it off.”

“But it’s fucking freezing. Why?”

Because-” Philip curled his hands into fists. “The blokes who watch this show aren’t after you for your pretty face, Jean.”

Kevin opened his mouth, showing a rare smidge of emotion other than placidity, but Jean held her hand up. “Right. Whatever.”

Andy’s grin flared up as his ex-girlfriend started unlacing her jumper.

“Andy!” Philip spun on his heel so he was facing Andy, with his back to the rest of the group.

Andy tore his eyes off Jean. “Yep?”

“You know where you’re off to.”

Andy chuckled, like they were sharing some friendly joke. “The fucking kitchen?”

“Yep. The fucking kitchen, Andy. And what are you doing in the kitchen?”

Andy’s grin dropped and his eyes darkened. “Heat changes. Smelling smoke.”

“Sure thing. Oh, and don’t forget the cameras. We could try some EVPs in there too, but not sure that’s such a big deal. Whatever we have time for.”

“I don’t have them.”

“You what?”

Andy glared daggers at nobody in particular. “I don’t have them. Don’t have the cameras. What are you, deaf?”

“Cool it, Andy. What d’you mean, you don’t have them? What the hell happened to them?”

“They went missing.”

“I found them!” Jean yelled, chucking her jumper up in the air to land on the dusty ground.

Andy’s head whipped sideways. “You fucking what now?”

Jean blew air out of her mouth and fixed him with her eyes. “I found the cameras.”

“You bloody liar.”

“Nope,” Tony said. “We got them. They’re still outside on the front steps, if you want ‘em.”

“Why the FUCK do you have them?”

Tony shrugged and Dave and Jean looked at him. “Like I said, if you want them, they’re on the steps.”

“It’s tipping down with rain, you pieces of shit! They’ll be wrecked!”

Dave sniffed with laughter. “You could say that.”

Andy shot to his feet, pointing at Tony. “Fuck you!” He turned and pointed at Jean. “And fuck you too!”

Philip sighed and rolled his eyes as Andy bolted out of the room.

“Right, so now that’s over with, um… Tony!”

Tony had been looking at the bruise on Dave’s neck, but shot his eyes away when Dave turned to look at him.

Tony rubbed his eyes. “Uh, yeah?”

“You know where you’re going?” Philip smirked.

“Well, yeah.”


He hated when Philip patronised him.

“Under the hanging tree, Philip.”

Dave sniffed again. Tony nudged him.

“Right. Sir will do fine; failing that, don’t talk to me like that. You’re capturing poltergeist activity, right?”

Tony looked up from his tangled hands. “Right.”

“And you know what that means, David.”

Dave looked up and gave a falsified, showbizzy grin that almost made Tony lose his composure. “Yep.”


“I get to chuck stuff at him, right?”

“Yes, but keep it subtle, David. We had a couple tweeters calling bullshit on the Ledgely episode thanks to your table escapade.”

Dave frowned. “You told me to tip that table over.”

“You were too heavy.”

“I thought I was a fairy, sir. And a-

Philip’s eyebrows shot up. “Stop being a smartarse.”

Dave grinned sideways at Tony and pointedly scratched his fucked-up neck with his fucked-up hand. “Oops.”

Philip visibly blinked something away from his eyes and might have twitched from the beginnings of a retch. Tony had to fight to keep the laughter out of his mouth.

“Jesus, Dave,” Gerry said. “What the hell happened to you?”

Dave shrugged and dragged his mouth sideways. “Pretty much everything, mate.”

A thunder of footsteps clattered across the hallway and bounded up the stairs, shaking and rumbling in every inch of the broken house’s woodwork. Andy tipped into the room like he was being chased, strode right up to Tony, and dropped the white box of curdled black plastic onto the floor with a massive CRUNCH. He was practically snorting as he panted and his overripe face was stung livid red.

“What the FUCK is this?” Andy huffed. “The FUCK did you do? The FUCK?”

Tony looked up at him. Instead of giving a question, answer or comeback, he just shrugged.

“Ghosts,” Dave muttered.

Philip walked up, looked in, and frowned so deeply his eyes disappeared. “Yeah, Andy, the fuck is this? This isn’t-”

“All my bloody cameras, yeah.” Andy kicked one fragment of the box, which exploded on impact and burst apart. “Kevin and Jean fucking took them and fucking… and fucking…”

Even Philip was looking at Andy like he was mad.

“Melted them?” Dave said, cocking his eyebrow.

YOU shut the hell up, you stupid twat!” Andy yelled.

“Andy, they do look like they’ve been melted,” Philip said. “Who the hell did this?”

“Like I said,” Andy said. “It was Kevin and Jean. And I bet Tony-”

“Piss off, Andy,” Jean said. “It wasn’t us, and you know it.”

“How the hell d’you explain the handprints then, you fucking psycho-bitch?” Andy yelled.

“Hey, hey.” Philip said. “Everyone calm the fuck down and-”

“Wait.” Jean stood up. “Handprints?”

“Yeah, Jean,” Andy said, stuffing his hands back in his pockets, self-satisfied. “The handprints on the sides of the box. I caught you red-handed, huh?”

“Wait, let me see this.” Travis pushed past Andy and muffled his gasp with his hand. “Holy shit.” He looked at Andy. “Man, you got fucked over.”

“I know,” he said.

Jean shoved Tony and Dave out of her way and knelt down next to the box’s shrapnel. She picked up a white sheet that had once been the side of the crate, prickled with spikes of black congealed plastic, and held it up to her face. Her squint widened to twice its size and her smirk dropped past the ground floor.

“What the hell?” She muttered. “Kevin, look at this.”

“Let’s see.” Dave snatched up the opposite side of the box and held it up so Tony could see over his shoulder. He felt the pit of his stomach wringing itself out as he spotted the handprint moulded into the ruined plastic. It wasn’t a trick of the light, wasn’t a coincidence. It was definitely there. The fingers were slenderer and the palm was narrower than Tony’s; at a guess, it had been planted there by a woman. Or a child. While the plastic was still molten.

“See?” Andy whined, his voice strangling itself into submission. “I fucking told you!”

“Fucking told us what?” Dave looked up at him. “You never believed in ghosts bef-”

“I wasn’t talking about ghosts, you fucking loon,” Andy cut in. “I was saying-”

“Let me guess,” Jean said, standing up. “That it was me, right?”


“That these are my handprints.”

Tony snorted.

“Yes,” Andy said.

She giggled without smiling and stuck her chin in her hand, looking up at the sky, thinking. Then, without a word, she took a step towards Andy, whose eyes were fixed downwards, shrugged and said “Yeah.”

Andy faltered. “You-”

“Yeah, it was me, Andy.” Sarcasm was drizzled over her words. “It was me. I did it. Because, you see, I’m actually a FUCKING superhero who can blast FIRE from my hands, you FUCKING idiot!”

“Woah! Shut up, ALL of you!” Philip yelled.

Jean let go of her portion of the box and drop-kicked it into the far wall, where it narrowly missed smashing the window. It broke into halves on impact with her foot and quarters on impact with the wall.

Andy raised his hand towards Jean’s face, stopping himself from slapping her with inches left. She narrowed her eyes at him and they were saying You dare. I dare you.

Andy lowered his hand and stepped away from her.

“Okay, okay.” Philip said. “So we apparently can’t use the cameras.”

Dave opened his mouth. “Yeah, because-”

“No, David, shut up. Now. We’ll deal with this bullshit in the morning, but for now, I need the lot of you to just pretend everything’s fine. Just pretend, for the bloody cameras. This is the season finale, so you can tear chunks out of each other after you’ve made us all the money, I swear to Christ.”

Andy, scorned and ignored, screwed his face up and then strode out of the room with a stroppy “Ugh!”

Dave snorted again, and this time, so did Jean. Even Kevin was grinning.

Philip watched Andy leave, then turned back to the rest of the group.

“Right. Where were we?”

“Poltergeists,” Tony said calmly.

“Yeah, right. Poltergeists,” Philip repeated. “And, uh… screaming, I guess. Need some creepy stuff since you’re in the woods in the dark.”

“Is that gonna be me?” Dave said.

“You what?”

“Am I gonna be doing the screaming?”

“Oh, well, I’m not sure, David,” Philip sneered. “I mean, who’s got the girliest scream, I wonder?”

He was interrupted by a scream. Tony’s stomach dropped and his blood froze as the sound shuddered through the air towards him, cutting the low hum of the wind in half. The rest of the crew visibly jumped, including Philip.

“Hell!” Philip said. “Who the hell was that?”

“Probably Andy,” Travis said with a grin.

“Right, right. That fucking shrill-ass scream was Andy, was it?” Philip’s voice wriggled away from him. “Uh, any volunteers to go check it out?”

Nobody moved.

Then, a chorus of running footsteps bolted down the corridor and Andy swung back into the room, one hand on the doorframe. His red face was boiling into purple and fear thrashed in his eyes like a drowning swimmer.

“Okay, okay,” Andy said. “Okay. So who the fuck was it?”

Jean bolted to her feet, looking around wildly. “Who was what?”

He ignored her. “Who the FUCK was it? You lot know I’m smart enough to… to see through your bullshit, so just- just tell me who the fuck it was!”

“Andy!” Tony yelled. “The fuck was what? The fuck happened?”

“You know bloody well what!” Andy, realising everyone was watching him, slackened his face and tried to neutralise his expression. “The lady in there, or the bloody mannequin or whatever the fuck it was. White dress, you know? Classic bullshit.”

Jean’s eyes widened. “You saw it?” She laughed. “You didn’t believe me, you prick, and now-”

“Jean, it was a bloody prank, don’t you get it?” Andy turned on her. “You’re falling for Tony’s or Dave’s or someone’s bullshit!”

Jean faltered. “Well-”

Tony turned to Dave. Dave’s face had bleached, setting off the nauseous purple of his bruise like paint on a white canvas.

“Did you-” Tony mouthed, pointing to the ground where Dave’s backpack lay.

“Oi!” Andy yelled, clapping his hands in Tony’s face. “I saw that shit! It was you, wasn’t it?”

His frantic yelling was so obviously a cover-up for shock and fear that he may as well have had I AM SCARED written in indelible ink on his forehead.

“No,” Tony said calmly, sneaking another sideways glance at Dave, who’d reached for his backpack on the ground.

“Yeah, it bloody was! I can see through your bullshit, Tony!” Andy stepped back into the doorway. “I swear to Christ, you asshole, you’re out to get me, and it ain’t BLOODY working, is it? You can fool a dumb bimbo like my ex-”

“Fuck off, Andy!” Jean yelled.

“You can fool her, but you can’t fool me.”

“Sure,” Tony said.

Andy pointed at him as he backed into the doorway and disappeared. “Watching you, you prick.”

Tony shrugged and turned back to Dave.

“Dave, I can’t believe you-”

He stopped as Dave brought his handful of white lace out of the bag.

Dave looked back at Tony, raised his eyebrows, then shook his head.

Tony’s stomach dropped. “It wasn’t you.”

Dave shook his head again.

“Right!” Philip yelled, startling everyone but Andy, who was missing in action. “It’s ten-fifty-two, so everyone get their arses in place! Jean, Kevin-” He pointed behind him. “Hallway. Camera’s in the still-functional box. Travis, go find Andy, get him down to the kitchen. Tony, Gerry-” He coughed. “David, bugger off down to the tree. Gerry, stop them from being ridiculous. Okay, everyone go! I’ll be checking on you. Let’s make this a good night!”

There were a million things Tony could have said. He could’ve made a joke about leaving Jean and Kevin alone, or another about Travis getting lumbered with Andy. He could’ve protested that he and Dave weren’t ridiculous, even though he knew they were every cameraman’s nightmare, or that there was no point in being so bloody punctual when they had all night to film. Maybe. Assuming everything went right. It probably wouldn’t.

Maybe, just maybe, Philip might’ve actually listened to him if he’d insisted it definitely wasn’t going to be a good night. Gerry was tetchy, Andy was freaked out no matter how many times he tried to cover it up, Jean had been stunned into silence, and Dave had been fucked over more than anyone deserved to be in their entire life. He, meanwhile, was so dizzy from apprehension he felt drunk and high on it. His head was singing and his stomach was sobbing and his heart was screaming, but, as always, Tony said nothing.

He was great at saying nothing.

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