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Gold Coast Cassandra

haunting isn't any fun when nobody knows you're haunting

By Roderick MakimPublished 3 months ago 7 min read
Gold Coast Cassandra
Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. As far as Peter was concerned, the sky had much to blush about.

Constantly lit by the glitz of the Gold Coast - Australia's awful attempt to combine Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas all in one - the sky here was never truly dark. Lights from nightclubs and stripclubs and late night kebab shops and Babel-towers born of property developers' dreams and architects' nightmares stained the clouds purple. Brazen, hussy clouds in a sky never truly dark.

A sky that could never truly rest.

'Like me' - Peter thought, as he went about his haunting. He looked out into death and picked the person he would speak to tonight, in their dreams, as they rested.


The voice was impossible. So impossible it took Nick a long time to realise it was a voice at all.

It had a rusty metallic rattle and a disconcertingly organic buzzing to it, and was at once far too loud and much too quiet. It sounded like a cybernetic beehive had become self-aware and was shouting at Nick, just a little too far out of earshot for him to make out the individual words.

It sounded like Dorothy’s Tinman after an eternity in hell, whispering unintelligible madness from within Nick’s ear canal.

With such a mass of contradictions, it is perhaps no surprise the voice first un-nerved Nick, then re-assured him. It let him know he was still asleep. He must be. A furrow which had worked its way along his brow when the voice first spoke smoothed out above his sleeping eyes. His head shifted on the pillow and his fingers twitched involuntarily. Nick loved to fix things with his hands, and even in the middle of a dream, his fingers moved as the sheer impossibility of the voice eventually succumbed to the flying neurons of the language centre in Nick’s brain while he began to puzzle out the words.

Slowly, word by word, a bizarre sequence of three short sentences revealed itself.

Azul Pacifica and Hakiri II. Both ships wrecked. All souls lost.

Azul Pacifica and Hakiri II. Both ships wrecked. All souls lost.

Azul Pacifica and Hakiri II. Both ships wrecked. All souls lost.

The buzzing, rattling whisper-shout voice repeated and repeated and repeated.

Awareness rose slowly, like water streaming through a rent in a ship’s hull, submerging Nick’s dream and drowning the impossible voice.

By the time he had finished his morning routine of rushing through the shower and snatching an Up’n’Go from the fridge on his way to being late to work yet again, the voice was gone.

Nick worked in a garage in Nerang, and throughout the day he and the other mechanics talked cars and sports. The radio played Top 40 pop and terrible DJ chatter, and at the end of the day he went home, had a beer and watched four episodes of a new show on Netflix. He didn’t hear the news about the disaster 40 nautical miles off the Gold Coast for another two days. Two cargo ships in the night, one bound for Melbourne and the other heading in to dock at Southport.

The authorities were never able to work out exactly what caused the two ships to crash into one another in the dark – there were no survivors to question, and both ships lay at the bottom of the Tasman Sea. When he heard the names of the ships, Azul Pacifica and Hakiri II, a faint memory stirred…then sank. It had been a long day, and there was only one more episode to watch before the season finale.

The voice was forgotten entirely.


For all the attempts of glossy magazines to sell the glamour of the Gold Coast, Peter always considered it to be quite a dull place. Being dead hadn’t improved his opinion of it.

To be fair to the Gold Coast, Peter was stuck haunting a very dull part of it. An ugly block of cheap concrete units in Miami, sandwiched between a strip mall and the endless dull roar of engines and exhaust fumes of the Gold Coast Highway.

It seemed incredibly unfair to Peter that his afterlife consisted of haunting the place where he was killed, decades before. At least there was the block of units now on this spot, rather than a single house and large yard from when he was alive. It meant a constant renewal of people for him to haunt, endlessly coming and going in keeping with the transient nature of this artificial city. Nobody stayed in the units for more than a couple of years – no-one but Peter.

It was truly disappointing when he discovered he couldn’t leave this sad little concrete prison. It was another disappointment when he realised no-one really noticed his haunting in any case. He tried all the old staples – mirrors and flickering lights and the cold presence that lifts the hairs on the back of your neck, when you thought you were alone in your house.

Nothing. No-one noticed a thing.

Years passed, and eventually Peter realised dreams were the key. People could hear him in their dreams – although most could not understand the language of the dead. That was a problem, but the subconsious is a malleable thing, eager to learn, and Peter was sure that simple repetition would unlock those sleeping learning centres of the brain.

The bigger problem, Peter thought, was that they all seemed to forget their dreams soon after waking – those transient thoughts of artificial consciousness coming and going just as easily as the inhabitants of the units themselves.

There was another realisation Peter had about his afterlife. For once, this realisation was not a disappointment. Being dead, he could see death.

He could see it before it happened, and he could see much farther than this ugly little concrete block of units next to the Gold Coast Highway. He could see for miles. He could see the murders, the accidents, the tragedies and the disasters, all over city, all before they happened. Death was destiny, after all, and it was writ large on the plane of his existence - etched in the air, on the soil, in the concrete and glass and sand. Out on the sea.

Finally, Peter found the purpose of his afterlife.

He would warn the sleeping nobodies in his block of flats about impending deaths. When the deaths then occurred and they heard about them, they would remember their dream…that would be enough for them to remember, surely…

…they would remember the strange dream, warning of this very thing. They would remember his voice.

They would remember him.

And, having remembered the first one, they would listen for the next dream. Their sleeping minds would pay attention and and in their waking, they would heed his warnings. Together, they would stop tragic events from ever occurring. Together, they would save countless lives…

…and if none of this was enough for him to escape this dull, trapped afterlife, at the very least it would be better than what it currently was – which was nothing.

The shipwreck off Southport didn’t work – the man seemed to understand him eventually, but memory of the dream faded fast and by the time the man even heard about the disaster, it was gone completely.

There were eight other units though, and eleven other people inhabiting them, and death stalked every inch of the Gold Coast, every day, every night. Peter would try again tomorrow.

He had nothing but time, after all.


Ashlee shifted in her sleep, as an impossible voice whispered and shouted and buzzed and rattled in her mind. A furrow deepened on her brow and a hand shifted involuntarily, as if warding off an attack.

Slowly, word by word, a bizarre sequence of two short sentences, repeated over and over, revealed itself to the flying neurons deep in her brain.

Tammy Fifita and her son Joe. Murdered by David Holt in their home at Tugun.

Tammy Fifita and her son Joe. Murdered by David Holt in their home at Tugun.

Tammy Fifita and her son Joe. Murdered by David Holt in their home at Tugun.

Ashlee murmured in sadness and fear, and her hand moved again, now outstretched as if holding out for someone to grab so she could lift them to safety…

…but the dream shifted, as dreams often do. The strange voice became the voice of an old teacher, droning about geography while her mother argued with her friend about butterflies. The next day, the death of a woman and her child in Tugun at the hands of her junkie ex-boyfriend made national headlines, but Ashlee remembered only her mother and the butterflies from her dream…and something about her old teacher speaking in a weird voice.


The voice tried again the next night, and the next after that.

And the next.

And the next.

And the next.

A useless Cassandra, wailing mad prophecies to deaf ears.

A buoy with neither light nor bell, waving back and forth on rising waves in the dark, warning no-one of the jagged reefs ahead.

It was something to do, at least...


About the Creator

Roderick Makim

Read one too many adventure stories as a child and decided I'd make that my life.

I grew up on a cattle station in the Australian Outback and decided to spend the rest of my life seeing the rest of the world.

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