Hopeful Rest (Part 2)

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I came back around to the start of the graveyard and looked out once again. I could see the tracks I’d made in the long grass. My brain puzzled over that same last line and I tried to shrug it off as nothing but there was something here! There had to be a reason why it said ‘we hope they have gone to rest’ on all the headstones.

A rumble of thunder sounded over head, blocking out the music from my headphones for a few seconds. I looked up at the sky and saw it darkening with thick clouds. Time to go home. Going back the way I’d come, I put the route into my mind map. Rain began to fall and I pulled up my hood and hurried on.

Luckily, the storm held off until I had reached a place to shelter. I’m not a fan of rain or storms. I entered the little cafe and sat down at an empty table. It was busy as it seemed other walkers had been caught out by the rain too and huddled inside. I looked over to the small pocket like window and saw a flash of lightening.

I got a cup of tea and a slice of cake. My mind worrying that they might ask me to leave if I didn’t order something. I moved tables to this little one in in a back corner which had a huge bookcase towering over it. I watched other people looking out of the windows and heard them commenting on the sudden storm. The thunder was super loud and I’d kept my music on but I could hear the rumbles over the techno beats.

Forty minutes later and the storm still hadn’t stopped. The rain was now lashing at the windows and the wind threatening to blow the place down. I sighed and hating myself, I call my mum to pick me up and drive me home. At least, I got home safe and dry and had a chance to ask her about the graveyard.

‘I think once there’d been a village there,’ she replied, ‘but I don’t really remember. Gran would know.’

The storm raged most of the night. Highly unusual for England. I slept on and off, my thoughts drifting back to the gravestone and that inscription. Finally at around midnight, I got up and turned on my computer. With just the noise of the storm and the PC fans in the background, I researched the place.

There was little to be found. There had been a village, built for the servants and their families who worked in a manor house close by in the mid 1800’s but it had been bombed in World War 2 by a lost German plane.

Disappointed, I went back to bed and next morning got up and went to see my gran. She lived a few doors down from us. She had been born in this town and never left. If anyone knew about the graveyard and lost village it would be her.

I used my key to her house and let myself in, calling out to her as I opened the door. The smell that hit me was a strong reminder of childhood; mints, faded tobacco smoke, dying flowers, coal fire and old things. I walked into the living room and found her there, in her favorite arm chair, watching TV.

‘Hello, gran,’ I said and hugged her.

She patted my arm, ‘hello, Neil. It’s so nice to see you. Cup of tea?’

‘Sure.’

I helped her up and give her my arm as we walked into the kitchen. Once the tea was made and the biscuits gotten out, we went back into the living room and I started with my questions.

‘I found an old graveyard yesterday, out in the moors and all the headstones had the same last line on them; We hope they have gone to rest. Mum said there was once a village up there. Do you remember it?’

Gran thought for a good few minutes before replying, ‘yes. I never want there. Only heard about it.’

‘It got blown up in the war,’ I added.

‘Yes. That’s what all the stories said but we always thought differently.’

I paused and waited for her to go on.

‘There was some kind of disease, more like a plague, that everyone in the village had. No one knows where it came from. Some say the manor family had it and passed it on to the servants, who then passed it on to their families. Or perhaps, one of the servant’s families had it. It was called The Restless Plague.’

‘The internet said nothing about that,’ I said aloud.

‘No one said anything about it,’ Gran cut in, ‘we were not allowed too, but everyone knew not to go to the village or the manor house.’

‘So everyone died of this plague?’ I asked thoughtfully.

‘That was always the story. You see, it wasn’t a normal plague. Once a person had it they carried on living but they were different. They weren’t all together there,’ she said with a tap to her head, ‘when they weren’t working or sleeping, they would wander around a lot.’

I frowned, not fully understanding. I had another biscuit and a few more sips of hot tea.

‘I saw some of ’em a few times. They’d just be standing, staring at nothing or shuffling along not going anywhere. Everyone was told to keep away, lest you caught the plague too. I saw this one man, once, dressed up like a farmer and he was just moaning at a tree. Another time, there was this child screaming and screaming, until she was carted away,’ Gran said with a shake of her head.

I couldn’t think of any straight questions to ask, my brain was trying to process all of this.

‘Thank goodness they’ve all gone now,’ Gran spoke out, ‘more tea, pet?’

‘No, thanks. What about the headstones, gran?’

‘They all had to be buried in another place. No one wanted them at our church.’

‘And those words? We hope they have gone to rest?’ I pressed.

‘They had no rest in life so maybe they’d find it in death? Who knows…..I’ve some angel cake left,’ gran said getting up,’ You want some? You love angel cake, just like your mum.’

She hobbled to the door then paused and said, ‘there’s a good boy. No more talk about this now.’

I nodded and sipped more tea. My brain felt better that the puzzle had now been solved. I part of me was eager to find out more but what else was there to say?

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Hopeful Rest (Part 1)

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Some days, I just mindless walk whilst listening to music. It’s a habit that comes from when I was a teenager and just had to get away from my family. I was so anger and upset all the time back then and I couldn’t talk properly to anyone about it because I didn’t know how to. Being autistic didn’t help either.

It still doesn’t, but at least things have become a little easier. I like my job as an IT assistant at a large office. People come to me with their PC problems and I fix it. Though the world still has a habit of getting on top of me.

I was wandering to cool off after a bad day at work, listening to classic Linkin Park albums on my phone when I came across the old stone gate and fence. I stopped and checked for any signs telling me not to trespass etc, it’s important to pay attention to those things. There didn’t seem to be any and now I had stopped, I realised I wasn’t sure where I was.

Around me, thick trees and bushes blocked out most of the light. The path I was on was overgrown and it seemed nothing had been here recently. I was far from any road or house, in the middle of the moors. There had been something man-made here once and nature had claimed it back.

Getting lost had never scared me, my autistic brain didn’t really understand emotions or feelings. I get them sure, but not on the same level as everyone else. Also, if you wanted to be away from people you had to get lost sometimes.

I went through the gap were a wooden gate once had been and found myself on a fading path heading upwards. There were piles of stones dotted around, all of which had fallen off the wall. Past the trees lay an open, tangled snarl of a clearing and popping up from the super long grass and trails of ivy were headstones.

Counting them slowly, I came to about thirty in total, though there was probably more hidden in the grass. So, a graveyard then. I couldn’t see a church poking above the treeline, maybe if there’d been one it was long since gone. I didn’t give much other thought to the hows and the whys. I liked burial places, they were often quiet and didn’t have that many living people about.

I walked to the first row of headstones and tried to read them. Weather, age and moss made it difficult. I traced some letters and numbers with my fingers and got a few of them. I tried to clear the stone, interested to see the date on it. 1879 seemed to be it. The last line on the stone was clear to read, as if someone had gone to great lengths to make it stand out; We hope they have gone to rest.

I moved on to the next which like the first was a plain arched shape. The inscription once again was faded but at the end were those same words again. I went down the row, looking at each headstone carefully, but they were all too hard to read expect for that repeating last line.

There was an odd sound to those words my brain realised. I had seen many epitaphs but that was just different. Who was ‘we’ ? The family? and why ‘hope’ for something that was true? I don’t really get why people do things sometimes.

I walked around the other gravestones. Some of them were clearer then others and I got the sense this resting place was for members of a small village that might now be lost to history. The earliest date I found was mid 1800’s and the most recent 1930’s close to the start of the Second World War. On all of them though were the same last words; We hope they have gone to rest.

To Be Continued…

The Mummies #SundayPhotoFiction

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I shouldn’t have been so shocked to find Egyptian mummies in my great-grandparents’ house but it was disturbing as they were the bodies of two toddlers and a possible still born baby. The two cats and bird I had found earlier, I didn’t mind so much, especially as I remembered them from childhood. Human reminds were just different.

All three mummies were wrapped safely in a wooden packing box that had faded foreign travel information on. I knew my great-grandparents had lived in Egypt for a few years, that was were they had met and began sharing their love of ancient history together. Over the years, they had amassed a huge collection of historical items.

Despite my gut instinct, I had to open the sarcophagi to know what was inside of them. All three had still wrapped bodies in them. The badges had yellowed, cracked with age and a musty dry smell like that of an old book wafted out. I closed the lids quickly and put them all back into the wooden crate. Then labeled what they were and that they should be donated to a museum.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/sunday-photo-fiction-march-18th-2018/ with thanks).

Arch #WritePhoto

Walking around, I imagined the ruinings whole and humming with life. Men shuffling around in brown robes, saying prayers and gardening. A bell tolling, the smell of smoke and tingle of food.

I entered the main part of the Abbey. I touched a cold, grey brick in the huge stone wall. How many other fingers had also pressed here? I looked at the archways on either side, stretching down the nave which ended in a massive empty window. I thought once, coloured glass depicting scenes from the Bible glowed in the sunlight there. Now, a single tree was framed perfectly.

I went over, the illusion of the framed tree breaking. I felt the draft more and wondered what had happened the window. The ledge was too high for me to lean out of. I turned and looked back. What had people thought as they stood on this alter stand?

Had God ever been here? Had He abandoned the Abbey when the monks had? Did He still come now and wonder through these empty arches? No one could answer those questions but Himself.

As for me, I enjoyed the peace that still remind in places liked this.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/03/08/thursday-photo-prompt-arch-writephoto/ with thanks).

Woodland #writephoto

I watched the rain and the sun through the oak tree’s branches and leaves. There was going to be a rainbow somewhere but I didn’t care to look for it. Wiping the tears from my face, I wonder how this had all happened to me. How could I have misread the signs of his affections? All along he had wanted my younger sister!

The oak’s trunk was damp and rough at my back, I had been ignoring the discomfort but now I eased off the tree. I looked at my muddy shoes and skirts. it would be hard to hide them when I returned. I gazed around the woods but no solutions came to my foggy mind.

I should go back to the house but they were all there celebrating the engagement. How was I ever going to face him again? I couldn’t call him out on it, he would deign it. So, I had to live with this the rest of my life; the man I loved, married to my sister and lost to me forever.

 

(inspired by https://scvincent.com/2018/01/25/thursday-photo-prompt-woodland-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Tree #TwitteringTales

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The Druid tree stood bare in a forest full of green. Only when a person of nature magic touched the empty soil at the base would the tree awaken. The branches would fill with green leaves and pink blooms then the trunk would open, revealing the secret grove of the Druids.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/01/16/twittering-tale-67-the-tree-16-january-2018/ with thanks).

Christmas Eve

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The moon shone of the freshly fallen snow, making it sparkly like diamonds. The little girl sighed and felt the chilly night air deep in her lungs. She should be home, safely tugged in bed, waiting for Father Christmas to arrive, but she wasn’t.

The train station platform the girl stood on was empty expect for her and her mother. They were waiting for the midnight train which was bringing father back to them. Huddled in her new white cloak, the girl looked up at the clear sky and full moon. A shadow in shape she recognised passed by and she pointed excitedly upwards; it was Father Christmas in his sled!

The sound of a train broke the silence as it pulled into the station, black smoke pluming through the air. There was a hiss of steam and squeal of wheels as the train stopped before them. The girl clutched her mother’s skirts and half hide behind her.

The handful of carriage doors opened and only a few people got out. The girl saw her father coming towards her and broke into a run, tugging her mother to do the same. They embraced, all hugging each other and talking at once.

Safe in the arms of her parents, the little girl looked to the sky once more and thanked Father Christmas for the best present she could have asked for.

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 3)

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In the morning, we were all too busy so I couldn’t share my experience from the night before with anyone. It was Halloween and we had to set up for ghost hunting. At breakfast which was super nice and so needed, I handed out the scripts I had made to everyone. Lexi and Quinn, who mostly hosted the show, had lines to learn whilst Victor and I had footage shooting and directing to remember.

We had base tests which involved the records of average temperatures, any drifts, creaking doors and floorboards etc, anything that was normal. That way we could either say it was natural or not natural later on. It took all morning to get all the base tests done. We stopped for the lunch time rush – a handful of people travelling through – then Colton closed the bar and we able to start our walk through filming.

Victor did the main camera work and I was on the second camera. We set up whilst Lexi and Quinn prepared then we began making our opening scenes. Everything went well and Lexi was her normal stunning self. She had chosen to wear a tight fitting dress with a Halloween theme on it. The top half was a midnight blue and dotted with white stars then it turned to a purple at her waist and large grinning pumpkins circled the skirt. She was showing too much skin. Her long pink and purple hair was down but off her face.

Quinn had gone for his normal black leather trousers, half open black shirt and roughed up leather biker’s jacket. His black hair down his back and he’d remembered all his lines perfectly. That made recording his parts faster which was great as Lexi need two or three takes for all of her sections.

Once that was done though, Victor went off to double check everything was okay and make a backup of everything we had recorded. Lexi and Quinn took a break in their bedroom. I sat in the snug corner of the bar and looked over the plans for setting out the cameras for tonight and making sure all the equipment and spare batteries were charged.

Taking a few seconds to drink some water, I looked out the nearest window. It was coming up to six and darkness pressed against the frosted glass. I could hear the rain and wind too which meant we’d have to be careful not to mistake any weather sounds for the unnatural.

A floorboard creaked and I turned to peer out of the archway. The gloomy bar was empty. I frowned and looked harder. The creak came again and some of the electric lights flickered. It was just someone moving upstairs or else it was the wind. I turned back to the script and the plans of the buildings I had drawn up. I got the feeling that someone was watching me.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

Getting up, I walked about but didn’t see anyone. Great, I was getting jumpy already. A door in the distance opened. I froze and listened as someone walked through. It sounded like they were in the kitchen. There was a ratting of pans and glasses clinked together as if to confirm my thought.

‘Colton?’ I said louder.

Finding my feet, I moved around the bar and opened the door into the kitchen. The lights were off. I turned them on and found the large space empty. I frowned and walked through, heading to the back door at the end. The signs told me it was a fire exist only and the only handle was the long metal bar which when pushed down would trigger the fire alarm.

I backed away and checked the storage rooms and the walk in fridge. There was really no one here but I couldn’t blame the sound of moving pots and glasses on the wind. Heading back, I tried to dismiss it when the fire door was yanked open and Colton and his brother Dolton walked in. I jumped, screamed a little then calmed myself.

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘I didn’t mean to. Just I heard, well I thought it was one of you, but then it wasn’t…so,’ I babbled.

Dolton, who looked so much like Colton, I was sure they were twins, shrugged it off and began putting on a white chief’s jacket and hat. Colton came over to me and we both left the kitchen.

‘I’ll get you a drink,’ he was saying.

I nodded and lent on the bar but then I had to turn because someone said my name. Puzzled, I glanced around, expecting to see one of my friends but the bar was empty.

‘They like to mess with you,’ Colton spoke, ‘once they know you a bit, they start with the small stuff. Whispering, moving things, shadows in the corner of your eye.’

‘The ghosts?’ I uttered.

‘Yep. Here,’ he added.

I took the run and coke from him, had a few sips and tried to focus again. It felt like a fog was entering my mind, clouding me over. I didn’t feel tried, just heavy headed and not able to think straight.

‘I bet they’ll be out in full force to night,’ Colton said, ‘there’s no way I’d stay here.’

‘Aren’t you use to it though?’ I questioned.

‘You can never get use to them.’

Footsteps on the stairs ended our conversation as Victor, Quinn and Lexi appeared in the bar. I smiled and decided it was still best not to tell them anything. We got drinks, a bigger table then ordered food. Whilst we waited then ate, we chatted away and finalised everything. We were all excited then Lexi told us about something she had heard and felt before.

‘I heard the bedroom door open and footsteps. I thought it was one of you but when I called out, I heard this raspy old man’s voice say ‘get out’ then I got this cold chill,’ Lexi told us, ‘I called Quinn and we checked it out but found nothing.’

‘Alice heard someone calling her last night,’ Victor chimed in.

Everyone looked at me and I shrugged, ‘I’ve been hearing lots since we got here but I didn’t want it to affect anything.’

‘Always wise of you,’ Lexi responded, ‘let’s get desert then we can get started. I can’t wait! I’ve a good feeling about this!’

After we’d eaten, we set up what we needed too and began filming again. Lexi and Quinn took turns in different rooms to try and communicate with the ghosts. We used a mixture of technology like; spirit boxes, digital records, EMF detector, trigger objects, paper and pens. After three hours we hadn’t caught any supernatural evidence but we did have some nice footage of us trying.

I checked the time and saw it was past ten. We took a break; drinking, eating, changing batteries, checking on the other smaller cameras we’d left recording in the other buildings. The weather was getting worse; the wind and rain both becoming stronger and cause natural sounds to arise within the buildings. Wood creaked louder and more often, the sound of rain dripping and splashing was more dominate and drifts were springing up everywhere.

Re-grouping in the bar, we got ready to try again. I was sat down at a table, Victor leaning in beside me as we checked what needed filming next. Quinn had flung himself on a chair opposite and was looking bored. Lexi was pacing close by.

‘I know something’s going to happen!’ Lexi said loudly, ‘come on, show yourselves!’

‘Wait, I’m not filming,’ Victor cut in, ‘there’s no point if we don’t capture something.’

Lexi groan and turned to me, ‘you try, Alice. They always talk to you!’

‘Okay…Let’s get ready then,’ I said, even though I didn’t want too.

Lexi was right though, some of the best things were had captured had been thanks to me. I had a bad feeling about it this time though, but I knew I couldn’t say no. Our YouTube channel had really been struggling this year and we were relaying on this special Halloween episode to help turn it around.

I took the spirit box and the digital recorder behind the bar and placed then down. When Victor give me the go, everyone fell silent and I started. Turing the spirit box on and letting the static fill the room, I took a deep breath and started with the normal questions.

It took a few tries and a few different places but then up in my bedroom, something came through.

‘What’s your name?’ I was asking.

‘No,’ a crackled male voice came through the speaker box.

We all paused.

‘Tell me your name,’ I spoke.

‘Dev-i lin,’ the same voice spoke, only the word wasn’t so clear.

‘Was that devil?’ Lexi asked in a hushed voice.

‘Sounded like it was to me,’ Victor replied.

‘It was Devilin. That’s the surname of a family who use to run this inn,’ I added.

‘Right,’ the spirit box responded.

I felt chills up my arms then realised I was close to the window. I walked around slowly and asked a few more questions but we didn’t get anything else.

We stopped filming and Lexi let out a big sigh. ‘what is going on here? This is so bad!’

‘You know it takes sometime,’ I snapped back.

‘Midnight and the early hours are always best,’ Victor cut in.

‘I’m going to the stables by myself. Give me a  camera,’ Lexi demanded.

Leaving Victor and Quinn to sort her out, I sat down on the bed. I listened to them go downstairs then outside. I didn’t like being alone when we investigated but I got on with it still.

I set my camera up, making sure it got a full view of the bed. I sat in the middle, crossed legged and using the digital recorder began my own ghost hunt. I spoke to the camera first, stating I was alone and the others had gone to the stables. Then I turned on the recorder and asked some questions, leaving good gaps in between so any ghost voices replying could be caught. When I was done, I played it back and listened closely.

‘Were you here last night?’ my record voice spoke into the quietness.

No reply.

‘Did you move the sheets?’

‘Did you touch me?’

An leery laugh piped up then vanished.

I stopped the recording, took it back and hit play, making sure it was closer to the camera so it could be heard. I asked the touching question again and a male laugh sounded out. It didn’t sound very nice or funny, more mocking.

‘What do you want?’ my recorded voice asked.

There was a crackle then, ‘you!’ a man’s voice shouted.

I felt a blast of cold air then something pushed into me and I fell across the bed, the recorder tumbling from my hand. Scrambling up and trying not to scream, I heard the floorboards around me creaking loudly then the bed started shaking. Pain shot through my head and I saw a shadow figure detach itself from the wall and come at me. I was knocked across the bed once more. I lay still, my chest hurting, icy air covering me as if I’d just walked into a freezer and that’s when I heard the laughter again.

Struggling up, my breath came out as mist and as I turned, I saw a man standing over me. He was naked! He had long, tangled red hair and a matching beard, his face was lined with scars and he was missing teeth. I could see him so clearer and yet I knew he was dead.

I tried to gather my thoughts and put a name to him from the research, I’d done, but nothing was coming expect a panicking. My body felt frozen and yet wanted to flee at the same time. I couldn’t scream or get words out, I could only stare.

‘Alice,’ the ghost spoke, ‘I want you.’

He moved swiftly, climbing on top of me and flatting me across the bed. A scream ripped from my throat and I tried to scramble away. He had a hold of me somehow. I pushed forward, clawing at the bedding, but I was on my back and not able to get anywhere. I felt his ice cube cold hand press into my throat. The fingers of his other hand race down and pressed into my legs.

I gasped, found my voice and yelled, ‘Stay away from me! Get off me!’

His laugh echoed in my ears and head. He pressed harder on my throat and in-between my legs. I felt the coldness sinking into my underwear and I could so feel his fingers stroking me down there!

I tried to punch him, my fist went right through him. I kicked out as well, my legs banging against the side of the bed. Somehow, I flipped over, twisting away from him, but perhaps he let me. I felt fingers tugging my hair, trying to hold me back as he mounted me. I reached across the bed and luckily it wasn’t that wide, so I was able to grab the other side and pulled myself across. I slide onto the floor, the bedding tumbling around me.

I breathed deeply, tears wetting my cheeks and the wanting to get up but I was afraid he’d stop me. My teeth chattered together and wildly, I looked around the room. I didn’t know where he’d gone. I bolted for the door in the semi-darkness, almost tripping but getting there and yanking it open. I ploughed straight into Victor and we both tumbled onto the hallway floor.

‘Are you okay? What happened?’ Victor asked.

I squeezed my eyes shut, I could still feel the ghost’s hands on me. I heard Victor get up, go into the room, look around then come back again. He helped me up, even though I stayed stiff. He kept asking me what was wrong and what had happened, but I just shook my head.

Somehow he got me downstairs and outside. The wind and rain hit me fully but I could still feel that chill behind my legs. I was shaking and sobbing so much, I couldn’t do anything. We walked away, though I wasn’t sure where he was taking me. Then we were getting into the car and Victor was closing the back doors and locking them. He put a blanket on me and held me tightly.

I don’t remember falling asleep in the car, but I must have done. Victor was there in the morning when I awoke, holding me. Rain was falling softly and the wind had cut down to a breeze. I rubbed my face and nudged him. Victor was already awake.

‘How you feeling?’ he asked.

I sniffed, ‘bit better,’ I muttered.

‘Quinn and Lexi are sleeping but I’ll get them up now. We can pack then leave.’

‘I can’t go back in there,’ I whispered.

‘What happened? Do you remember?’ Victor asked.

I nodded then replied, ‘I can’t talk about it just yet.’

When we finally left The Olde Coach Inn I was so grateful I burst into tears. Victor held me and Lexi reached over the passenger seat and patted my arm. Quinn was driving too fast, but I didn’t care, I just had to be away from that place and back in my own bed.

Normally, as soon as we return, we got started reviewing everything and deciding what to edit together. I didn’t join in this time and I didn’t want to hear or see any of what we’d recorded. It had all been too real for me. Victor told me though it was our highest watched and liked video yet.

It was also our last because I was too scared to carry on and that night haunted me for as long as I lived.

The End.

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 2)

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As a grin spread wide on Colton’s face and he got ready to launch into a story, I reached over the bar and shoved my hand up in front of his mouth to stop him.

‘No! They can’t know. It’ll affect the evidence!’ I shouted.

Colton’s face crumpled and he swallowed his words. It was clear he wasn’t a man who was stopped from speaking. He was probably use to spinning the haunting tales of the Coach inn and making sure the listeners were scared. Something he enjoyed doing whenever possible – or so the reviews online had said.

‘I’m sorry, but no. It’s the way we work. Perhaps, afterwards?’ I added.

Colton struggled for words and his face flashed an angry red. His hands became fists and he looked ready to yell at us to leave. I scrambled to find something else to add on to make it right but Lexi bet me to it.

She lent over the bar, giving Colton a full view of her cleavage in the low cut top she had on. Smiling sweetly and batting her eyes, she said gently, ‘Alice is so touchy about our locations staying secret. She thinks it helps the audience believe in us more.’

Colton’s full attention swung to her and we all saw his brown eyes become fixed on her chest.

‘On the other hand, I don’t think the same,’ Lexi continued with a shrug of her shoulders that made her large boobs wobble.  ‘and I’d love to hear some spooky stories later. I bet this place has so many!’

Colton give a small nod, but he wasn’t really listening.

‘First though, can we go on that tour? I just love this place all ready! But can you, just a little bit, hold back on the detailed history and the hauntings,’ Lexi added.

There was a pause and I heard Quinn drag in a huge breath.

‘Sure,’ Colton muttered. The beast becoming tame again.

He came around the bar as Lexi turned to us and shot us a disappointed look that really said I just saved your arses. Quinn quickly turned his head away but he was unable to hide the anger and the jealousy. We grabbed our drinks and tried to get back on track.

‘So, this here is the main bar area….’ Colton began.

The tour took about forty minutes as Colton included all the out buildings, including the cottage he, his brother and mother shared. He briefly explained about each room, giving some dates, pointing out original fittings, highlight furniture that could also be original or of other interests. He also told us that the only area out of bounds for our investigation was his cottage. Understandable.

Every time Colton looked like he was about to spill something, Lexi would ‘accidentally’ brush a boob or a hand against him, else she would stand in front of him and ask a question.

Victor and I kept an eye on Quinn who got madder each time she moved like that.

When we arrived back at the bar, Lexi thanked Colton so sweetly it was painful, then she asked, ‘what time is dinner?’

‘We start serving at five,’ Colton replied, ‘guests get a reserved table and here’s some menus for you.’

Lexi took them and pressed them to her chest, without casting her eyes away from Colton’s.

‘You’re welcome to wait here….Would you like another drink?’ Colton tacked on.

‘I’m fine thanks,’ I said, placing my empty glass on the bar, ‘and thanks for the tour it was really useful. See you later.’

I turned and squeezed Victor’s arm. He placed his glass down beside mine, give his thanks and we headed up stairs.

‘Can we get drinks to take up?’ Lexi asked behind us.

I hurried upstairs and into our room. Sitting on the bed, I watched Victor close the door and come to join me. He took my hand and we sat for a few moments. I breathed the tension out, feeling a headache starting.

‘I’m going to have a shower then a nap,’ I blurted.

‘Sure. I’ll unpack some more,’ Victor said.

The shower felt so good and my head cleared. Despite the age of the inn the bathrooms were modern. I fell asleep afterwards but was woken up by loud voices. Pushing my head off the pillow, I looked at the wall above me and realised Quinn and Lexi were arguing.

I sank back down, turned over and bumped straight into Victor. He was curled up next to me, fast asleep. I shook his shoulder and he came back too. We talked with our eyes then both got up and left the room.

I knocked loudly on their door. It took a few tries but then Lexi threw it open. I almost fell inside.

‘What? What do you want?!’ she yelled.

‘Just stop,’ I said.

I pushed her aside and walked into the room. Quinn was on the other side of the bed, pacing like a caged tiger. He was flexing his hands into fists then releasing. He was also grinding his teeth and looking like he wanted to hit something so badly.

‘Just let it all go right now,’ I snapped, ‘I tried so hard to set all this up for us! And I’m not having it ruined over a little flirting! Okay?’

Lexi crossed her arms and turned her nose up.

‘We need this!’ I shouted, ‘or else there’s no point anymore.’

Victor came over and grabbed my arm, he tried to draw me into a hug but I pushed him away.

‘Now, make up!’

Lexi sighed and dropped her arms, ‘okay, I’m sorry, Quinn.’

‘I can’t…’ Quinn growled.

‘Let’s give you some space,’ I suggested.

I took Lexi out of the room and into mine, Victor trailing us.

By dinner time we were all friends again. Sat at our reserved table in the smaller, cosier side corner off the main bar area, we watched as people arrived for meals and drinks. The inn was’t that busy. I guess the sudden turn in the weather had put people off. We order and ate, talking about how we were going to set up for filming.

We went to bed early, tried with food and travelling. I opened the window in the room and let the gale force wind and rain in. It felt so good on my flushed skin. Victor said something from behind me and I turned to ask him what, but he wasn’t in the room.

‘Vic?’ I called.

‘Just a mo!’ he called from the bathroom.

I frowned and did a full circle. There was nothing of course.

The toilet flushed, the tap ran then Victor came out and crossed the room.

‘You okay, bunny?’

‘Dd you just say something….like whilst you were in the bathroom or just before?’ I asked.

‘Erm, no,’ Victor responded.

I nodded and turned back to the window.

‘Did you hear…something?’

‘Yes. I heard you saying…I don’t know, it sounded like ‘Alice, come here’, maybe. Did you?’ I questioned.

‘No.’

I touched the curtain then pulled it across. The wind began flapping the fabric about. I pulled the curtain away and spent a few moments getting the curtains into place.

Victor put a hand on my shoulder and kissed me, ‘and so it starts,’ he whispered into my ear.

We got into bed. I listened to the sound of the wind and rain, the movement of the curtains and the bed shifting as we both moved. From the other room, I heard Lexi and Quinn having sex. I stroked Victor’s arm and we half started making love but then I couldn’t go through with it. My mind was too distracted.

‘What’s wrong?’ Victor asked me in the hushed darkness.

‘I didn’t want to say anything before. You know how I hate….’ I began.

‘Yep. You’re the most sensitive of us all but you deny the supernatural are out there all the time,’ Victor reminded me.

I pressed my lips together. The loud pleasure sounds coming through the wall filled the space were my voice should have been.

‘There’s something here,’ I breathed.

I felt my skin prickling and a waft of heat drift over me. It was hard to describe what I felt, heard or saw sometimes. My parents hadn’t embraced my ‘sixth’ sense but had taught me to ignore it and call it imagination. I wanted it to stay that way but sometimes it was hard to believe that there wasn’t something else out there.

‘With us now?’ Victor asked.

‘No. Something in the inn. It’s been following us…I think,’ I tried to explain.

‘Well, that’s good. Hopefully, we’ll capture it.’

Victor snuggled me and he was soon fast asleep. I though couldn’t and stayed awake. I watched the shadows across the ceiling and guessed every sound. I think, maybe I dozed off a few times but then in the early hours of the morning, I felt the end section of the duvet and sheets began to move.

Half asleep, I just told myself it was Victor shifting or else I’d moved the blankets before. I came fully awake, felt the duvet more move and had to question what was going on. I lay still, letting the duvet be pulled down slowly. I felt a touch of cold air on my arms then I heard the duvet shifting faster. My breathing hitched, I couldn’t move, the duvet stopped and I felt icy fingers grabbing my left boob.

I gasped, threw my arms around my chest and struggled to sit up. I thought I heard a groan or a growl. Flinging my arm out, my hand hit the lamp, knocking it against the wall. I scrambled to catch it then turned it on. Light pooled out, throwing the darkness away. There was no one next to me.

Victor stirred, mumbled something then rolled over. I glanced at him then around the room. I felt like something was watching me from the corner and I knew it was waiting till I turned out the light again then it was going to leave or come at me again. Steadying my breathing, I looked at the end of the bed. The duvet and top sheet really had been moved down.

I eased the bedding back and slipped out. The floor was cold under me, but I got up and walked to the end of the bed. I could just about make out that the duvet was almost to the floor. I breathed deeply, shook my head and tried to pin it on something natural. I went to the bathroom, switching the light on but whilst I was on the toilet, I heard a door creaking open.

I froze, listening as the noise stopped and boot steps echoing down the corridor. It could be Quinn, unable to sleep and going to read in the hallway or walk around the bar. He’d been known to do that before. But I knew it wasn’t him.

Not flushing or washing my hands, I crept back to bed. Snuggling against Victor, I squeezed my eyes shut, blocked out the sounds of someone stomping downstairs and tried to fall asleep again.

To be continued…

 

 

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 1)

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They were strange things to see hung up on the side of the inn but this wasn’t your average local drinking hole. The Olde Coach Inn with its many jointed black and white buildings dominated the bleak flat moorland. There was nothing to be seen for miles around, expect a sprinkling of small trees marking the edge of a wood far to the left. A dirt and stone road cut it’s way across the land, leading up to the car park and the front of the inn before weaving away again and out of sight.

As the four of us stood before the Tudor inn, taking it all in, I was shocked to finally be here. I’d seen the many photos on the internet and read all the reviews, but they were nothing compared to actually being here. I breathed in deeply and smelt the wild moors, the cold autumn air, old wood and pumpkin. It seemed so surreal but also perfect, like we were meant to be here right now.

The inn front was heavily decorated in a Gothic Halloween style. There were real skulls and bones framed by dark coloured boards hung up on the whitewashed walls. Plastic skeletons dangled down from window ledges and rattled in the wind, amongst all the other things like witch’s hats, bats, ghosts and grinning pumpkins. Interweave between them were green, orange and purple fairy lights which were currently off. Some real but mostly fake Jack O’Lantern pumpkins lined the base of the wall, trying to scare us away. Through the hundreds year old windows, I could see metal lanterns and candle holders.

Turning to my boyfriend, Victor, and our best friends, Lexi and Quinn, I realised that  we all fitted in with the inn. We were all dressed in heavy black clothes, wearing metal and plastic skull, bone and pumpkin jewellery. At first glace we looked like a death metal band on tour but actually, we were four goths who hunted ghosts for our YouTube channel.

‘Wow,’ Victor spoke out, ‘just wow!’

I turned to him, smiling and answered, ‘I told you so.’

‘How did you find this place again, Alice?’ Lexi asked.

‘Hard internet searching,’ I replied back.

‘Well, it’s perfect and with Halloween tomorrow we’re bound to capture some ghosts!’ Quinn the last member of our group finally chipped in.

I nodded and walked up to the front door. Most people would think the inn was just ready for a big Halloween party, but actually it looked like this all the year round. The door creaked causing me to smile widely then I was stepping down onto a wooden floor from the 1600’s. Avoiding the low, black wooden beams on the ceiling, I went to the huge bar.

There was a man with his back to me sorting out bottles on a shelf but he turned as he heard the boys dragging in the suitcases. The man was quite tall which must have been hard in this low building. He had long black hair and a beard, both tied back, he was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. He frowned but then give a small nod to himself.

‘Welcome to the The Olde Coach Inn!’ he said in a loud voice, ‘you must be the ghost hunters!’

‘Yes, we are,’ I said, ‘we’ve booked two rooms for three nights.’

‘Yeah, I know. We got no other guests,’ he responded.

I nodded, ‘good. Thank you for that.’

‘Most people don’t like being here on Halloween, anyway,’ he added.

Victor came to my side, finding a place to put down the suitcases and bags of equipment. Lexi and Quinn were close behind us, taking in the period fittings. I looked around and realised that the inn was empty. The dark vanished circle and rectangle tables and matching chairs were clean and neat. In the large fireplace to my far left, coals and wood logs were set up to be burnt. Above black chandeliers which had candle style light bulbs dangled down on twisted black chains. Small lamps were on the wall, letting out a pointless burnt orange glow. A dim gloom draped over everything like a muffling blanket. The inn seemed like it was trapped in time.

Expect the Halloween and Gothic decorations of course! There were fake spiders webs in purple, orange, green, white and black covering the ceiling and upper walls, they were completed by black plastic spiders of course. Real and fake pumpkins were dotted around, squeezed in between things; on the bar, a few of the tables, mantel and window sills. Model skeletons, witches, ghosts, vampires and masked figures were hung every place they could fit. It was kind of over kill actually.

‘I’ll be here of course,’ the bar man said sternly, ‘and my brother, Dolton. He’s the chief. Plus, our mother. Though she doesn’t get out much now. You need anything, just come find me.’

‘Okay. Thanks,’ I said, putting a polite smile on my face.

‘I’ll get the keys and show you the rooms. Then I’ll give you a tour. I’m Colton by the way.’

I made the introductions and we all shook his hand then Colton went into a back room. Leaving us to soak up the place whilst he got the keys.

‘I hope the rooms look like this,’ Lexi uttered.

‘Properly,’ Victor answered, ‘though only Alice knows.’

He nudged me and I rolled my eyes, ‘you all know why I couldn’t tell you anything!’

It was our policy and helped to make what we filmed more credible. I was the researcher, so only I knew the ins and outs of each location we visited. The others came in blind which meant they had no preconceptions and knew nothing about the history or what was said to haunt the place.

Colton appeared back and stepped out from behind the bar. He had two brass keys with numbers painted on them in his hand.

‘This way,’ he said in a bored voice.

Picking up our stuff, we followed him down the side of the bar and to a small door in the wall. There was a noticing saying Bed and breakfast guests only! Colton opened the door which was silent and took us up a narrow staircase. Turning at the top we entered a short corridor with a few doors either side and another staircase at the end.

Colton opened the doors marked one and two then give me both the keys, before saying, ‘come down for the tour when you’re ready.’

I give Lexi the key to room two and walked into room one. It was bigger then the photos had made it out to be! There was a four post bed, draped with red canopy, a large desk and chair, two arm chairs by the window, a wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom. The small, foggy window looked onto the courtyard and road. The moors beyond seemed covered in mist.

With a tried sigh, I turned and lay down on the bed. It felt hard but comfy at the same time. I shut my eyes and the four hour drive it had taken to get here hit me. I just wanted to sleep for awhile. I heard Victor moving around then Alice and Quinn talking in the next room. I half expected one of them to disturb me, but this was the normal pattern of things and they wouldn’t.

I dozed but didn’t fully go to sleep. When Victor came and sat next to me I got up and we went to see if the other two were ready. They just about were so then we all went downstairs together and back to the bar.

Colton was there, putting away glasses this time. He stopped when he saw us and asked, ‘anyone fancy a drink? First ones on the house.’

We ordered and stayed sitting at the bar.

‘Right. Let me tell you all about the inn then,’ Colton started.

To be continued….