The Paper Mill (Part 3)

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I went home, got my college stuff and caught the bus. Resting my head against the wet window, my thoughts drifted and before I knew it, the bus was stopping outside the college’s gates. Getting off, I headed straight for the library which was either going to be packed or….empty.

There was no one in the lobby, not even a librarian at the desk. I turned back, checked the open sign in the window then with a shrug walked though. The tables and sofas running down the left side were strangely empty. Tall bookcases set up like dominoes were on the other side. There was a staircase straight to my right which I went up.

Pushing through the double doors, I heard whispers of voices and saw two woman at a table with books scattered around them. Feeling better that I wasn’t alone, I went to the section of books I needed and starting gathering more research for my essay. It did take a little while but soon, I was totally focused on my studies.

By the time I left the library, due to the fact it was closing early, the sky was so dark it seemed to be the middle of the night. I huddled in the bus shelter with three other people- a girl and two guys- who held a mixture of conversions. My bag was heavy with books as I’d taken out so I had some more to get through the weekend with. I kept switching shoulders with it then finally give up and set it down my feet.

It was raining lightly now but the wind had really picked up and I could feel the cold through my winter coat. I looked at the bus time table again and noticed the bus was late. I hope they hadn’t cancelled. If the weather and the darkness had been better I would have walked again. The paper mill came back into my head and I hoped the girl was okay.

The bus emerged from the black road and came to a stop before us. I hurried on and took a seat close to the front. There were a few other people on the bus and they all looked as wet and cold as us students did. During the drive, I thought about getting off at the stop close to the mill, but I decided I was too tried and hungry to do that. Plus, I’d have to walk back too.

Arriving at home, I showered and got changed, so I was warmer, then I heated up a can of soup. Eating before the glow of the TV, I blocked out the loneliness of the house. My grandparents had gone for a month and wouldn’t be back for another week. Perhaps, that was why I was so desperate about the homeless girl? I was too tried to think any more.

Leaving the hall light on, I went up to bed. I read for bit before laying in the dimly lit room. The wind was still howling outside and the rain was hitting the window. I thought it would take me awhile to sleep but it came on my quickly. I didn’t have any dreams and I felt refreshed.

Getting up and ready, I saw it had stopped raining. I made breakfast and decided I had to go back to the abandoned mill. I packed up some more food- things that were going out of date from the fridge, some fruit and more tins. This time I also went into the attic and found an old but still good sleeping bag and a pillow.

Walking over, the sky threatened more rain and I past a few cars driving about. At the rows of houses there was more activity as children played outside and parents unloaded shopping. I got a look off an older man and it took me a few moments to realise he was wondering where I was going with a sleeping bag in one hand and a pillow poking out of a carry bag in the other. He’d did’t say anything though.

The paper mill looked the same though in the morning light I could see more of the decay and nature taking over. I crept in, across the courtyard and inside the main building. There was water dripping somewhere and the creaking of wood. I didn’t need my torch this time and I was able to got the right way too!

The girl was still in the room and as I entered the doorway, I saw her piling damp wood closer to the fire pit. She was wearing the coat, bobble hat and a pair of trousers that I had given her. My heart leaped and I felt better.

‘Hello,’ I called.

She stopped, give me a nod and set the wooden planks down.

‘Do the clothes fit?’ I asked walking in.

She give a shrug and said something that I missed.

‘I thought maybe you’d like this too,’ I said and held out the sleeping bag and pillow.

She came and took them from me and whilst she was looking at them, I took the rucksack off and began emptying it. I set all the food down then zipped up the rucksack and slipped it on again. I smiled at her.

‘Why…do you keep doing this?’ she said slowly.

‘I guess because….’ I frowned and really thought about why.

‘Are you sorry for me? Is that why?’ she demanded.

‘No!’ Well, maybe a little…’

‘I don’t need your pity,’ she snapped.

She crossed her arms over her chest and turned her head away.

I pressed my lips together and replied, ‘I’d have been throwing all this away anyway…’

She didn’t responded. I shifted around on my feet and decided it was time I admitted the truth to her and myself.

‘I’m lonely. I guess that’s why…’ I said.

Our eyes meet then she looked me up and down.

‘I don’t believe you,’ she answered.

Sighing, I spoke, ‘guess that is bit odd but it’s the truth.’

‘I don’t need friends. They only stab you in the back,’ she explained, ‘I’m happy alone.’

Nodding, there was nothing else to say. I began to leave.

‘Don’t come back again,’ she said quietly, ‘I won’t be here.’

I glanced over my shoulder at her. The dirt on her child-like face and her unkempt dark hair stuck in my mind. Going home, I reflected on our conversion and decided I need to make more effort in class to make some friends.

I managed to stay away from the old paper mill for a week but then I had to go back again. I went empty handed this time because I just needed to know if she had left or not.

When I arrived, there was a new metal fence around the mill and signs warning people not to trespass and beware dangerous building. I pressed myself to the gate, looking at the mill and I saw that the doors and lower windows had been boarded up.

‘I hope you found somewhere else to go,’ I whispered.

Turning away, I went to catch the bus to meet my new friends for lunch.

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The Paper Mill (Part 2)

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Laying in bed, the bedside lamp on to keep the dark at bay, my thoughts kept going back to that girl. She had either run away from home or just didn’t have a home to go back to. I tried to imagine living like her; no family or college, no money or food, no bed or clean clothes. It would be hard. Tossing about, I finally settled down but my mind still wouldn’t turn off.

Tomorrow, I told myself, I’ll get somethings together and take them to her. Maybe she’ll talk to me then and perhaps I can help. Or maybe, the other side of my mind thought, I should just let it go. It’s none of my business. But by seeing and talking to her I had made it my business.

In the morning after a shower and breakfast, I should have sat down to work on one of my essays. I didn’t have classes today and tomorrow was Saturday, so I should have been thinking about going back to the library. Instead, that homeless girl was still in my mind, so I set about finding things she could have.

My parents had died when I was ten, so my grandparents had took me in. They were currently away on holiday, visiting their other daughter and grandchildren in America. There was still a lot of my parents’ things in the attic but I didn’t have time to look through all that. What if the girl had left the mill because I’d scared her? I needed to get there as soon as possible. Luckily, close to the front door was a bag of clothes my gran was putting out for charity collection.

There were a few of my tops that were too small now, but might fit her. I also selected an old green jumper and two pairs of my grandpa’s trousers. There was my old winter coat in the closet, a bobble hat and matching gloves. Taking everything back upstairs, I put the clothes in a rucksack then brought that down. In the kitchen, I took some tins of beans and soup that had ring pulls. Some cans of fizzy drink, bottles of water, a packet of biscuits that no one of liked and a bag of dried fruit.

With those in the bag, I wondered what else would a homeless girl need. Perhaps; sanitary towels, painkillers, matches, candles  and a few other bits of pieces. the rucksack was heavy but it would be worth it. I got ready to go, saw it was raining and decided on my wellington boots and an umbrella. Was there a spare one to take her? My grandpa liked to collect useful things, so at the back of the closet were a few spare umbrellas. I chose a small pink one then set off.

The day was dull and it must have been raining to awhile because there were large puddles and everything was dripping wet. I walked slowly, weighted down with the rucksack. Some of the streetlamps were still on but they didn’t seem to be doing a good job. I hoped it wouldn’t get any darker. Following the country lanes around and to the bridge I didn’t see anybody or cars.

Going over the river, I picked up my pace and hurried through the rows of houses to the mill. I squeezed the gap in the fence and made my way over. In the gloom and rain, the paper mill looked darker and more dirtier. I could hear the rain falling into holes in the roof and dripping off metal.

In through the door and I had to get my phone’s torch out to see. There was no keeping quiet with my wellingtons and heavy rucksack on the debris covered floor. I thought I went to the room she had been in, but I must have taken a wrong turn because I ended up at a metal staircase. At the top of which was a void of darkness. Shivering, I turned away and weaved my way back again. All the rooms looked the same but at last I found the right one.

‘Hello?’ I called, ‘It’s me Darcy.’

The fire wasn’t lit but there was enough dim light from the tall windows to see that she was still there. She was sat on the floor, huddled in dirty blankets with a sleeping bag wrapped around her. She turned and realised it was me.

‘I thought maybe….I could bring you somethings,’ I spoke, not sure what really to say.

She turned away from me without saying anything.

I walked over and placed the bag down.

‘It’s not much just some food and clothes,’ I added.

There was a large piece of cardboard next to my feet, so I sat down. I opened the bag and took anything out. She kept her head turned away from me as if I wasn’t there. Whatever I had been thinking might happen, it hadn’t been like this. But why would a teenage girl suddenly gush out her life story to a stranger she’d never meet over some old clothes and food? Had I really thought we’re going to become best friends?

I waited a few minutes, listening to the rain falling and feeling the cold stiffen my limbs. She was quiet, ignoring me and because she was keeping away from me, I couldn’t make out her face. I wanted to catch her eye so at least I could try and say something else, but she didn’t move.

‘Fine,’ I sighed, ‘I’ll go.’

I picked up the rucksack and slowly walked away. Every now and then I glanced over my shoulder, but the girl hadn’t moved. At the doorway, I stopped and thought about saying something else to her, reminding her of her manners maybe? Get angry and yelling out my disgust at her? Perhaps hoping her the best?

The words, whatever they were, wouldn’t come out so I turned away and walked back through. Even though my mind was still on her, I couldn’t help but think about what the paper mill would have been like in the past. It would have been loud with machines cutting up the trees and making the paper. The air would have been heavy with wood dust and chemicals. People would have been everywhere too.

I made it out in one go, only to find the rain had got heavier and the wind had picked up. I opened my umbrella and hurried home, my heart and thoughts weighed down.

 

To Be Continued…

The Paper Mill (Part 1)

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The worse thing about autumn was it got dark far too soon and I’d always been scared of the dark. I hadn’t meant for it to be so late when I left the college library but I’d been doing research for my last two essays of the year. I hadn’t notice the time until I’d left and gone to the bus stop. I’d missed the last bus home.

So either, I walked the half an hour into town and got another bus or I walked the forty minutes home. If it had been raining which made it darker, I might have gotten the bus but I decided that I could make walking home. Most of the way would be well lit by street lamps and I had gone this way lots of times in the last year.

Drawing up all my bravery, I set off at a hurried pace. My heavy rucksack almost dragging me back whilst making my shoulders ache, distracted me as I went. My college was on a limbo boarder of just being outside a village and on the edge of countryside. The fastest way home was to half walk through the village then go up some country lanes.

I was about halfway home and just about to walk over a small bridge. Behind me an abandoned 1800’s paper mill ruled over the little houses that had once been home to it’s workers. The village had sprung up around the mill but once they had cleared all the trees, it started to get expensive importing more, sales had dropped too and the mill had closed it’s doors.

I stopped and faced off with the darkness before me. A single street lamp on the bridge was the only barrier between us. Beyond that the quiet countryside seemed to stretch endlessly away. I could hear the faint flow of the low river going under the bridge and something else in the distance behind me.

I listened harder, half turning to the sound which was like a muffled crying. I looked back at a row of houses, most had dim lights in the windows and others were draped in black. The paper mill looked eerie, like a silent empty watchman. I tried to tell myself the noise was just a cat or a baby but this feeling of strangeness grew in my stomach.

What if someone was hurt and only I could help them?

Glancing at the bridge, my mind made a choice that I didn’t get a chance to think about. I turned away and walked back towards the houses. I followed the sound along those small well lit pavements, thinking at any moment I’d find the source. Arriving at the gates of the mill and peering though the towering bars, I spotted the flicker of a fire in a ground floor window.

A voice in my head told me to go and my feet began to move away but the rest of me stayed at the gate. The crying was coming from the mill. Thoughts ran though my head; it’s a trick of the darkness, it’s an echo from something else, it’s a ghost, a homeless person, an animal. Why am I here? Go home!

I couldn’t though…

Looking further along the metal fence, I found a hole large enough to fit through and I stepped into the cobbled courtyard of the mill. Trying to walk in a hurried but quiet way didn’t work, so instead I give up trying to hide my presence and just went over to the steps. Looking up, I could make out how run down the mill was now but there was too much darkness to see further.

I went to the window the fire was coming from. I couldn’t see in though as the wall was too tall. My hands touched the cold damp stone and quickly withdrew as if something had bitten me. Coming away, I crept around for a bit, trying not to let the deep darkness creep me out more. Every shadow was a good hiding place for someone and I was just waiting for something to happen. My throat got dry, my heartbeat was loud and fear was making me sweat despite the cold evening.

Taking out my phone and putting the torch app on, give me some more light and helped to keep the shadows at bay. I found a half open metal door and slipped into the building. There was a maze of rooms and a musty smell. Carefully walking, I spent a good few minutes figuring out where the fire was burning. Trying to convince myself it was just kids messing around and perhaps one had got left behind, helped make me feel better.

Standing in the doorway of the right room, I saw a small fire on the floor and next to it was a small humped over person shape.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

The shape moved, twisting around to look at me whilst gasping. I couldn’t make anything out as my phone light didn’t reach so far and there wasn’t enough light coming from the fire. I heard scrambling and the person getting up and moving.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I spoke in a shaky voice, ‘I think I heard you crying. Do you need help?’

‘No,’ the voice of a girl sounded back.

I sighed, glad the person wasn’t a man nor hurt. I waved in the door, wanting to move closer but then not moving as there might be danger.

‘What do you want?’ the girl demanded.

‘Nothing,’ I replied, ‘what are you doing here?’

‘This is my home!’

‘Your…?’ I trailed and looked at what I could see.

Then I stepped inside the room. It was bare but for the fire and small pile of stuff on the floor. I got closer to the fire, drawn by the heat and I saw a girl in her late teens, just like me. She was wearing layers of ripped clothes, her hair and face were dirty but she was standing defensively, ready to fight.

‘I’m Darcy,’ I spoke to break up the tension.

She shook her head at me.

‘How did you end up here? Where are your parents?’

‘None of your business. Go away,’ she snapped.

I frowned and thought about saying more. I had the urge to help her but what could I do? Turning away, I walked back to the doorway. Then with a glance at her went through and tried to remember the way out.

 

To Be Continued…

Backwards Time

stress-2883648_1920She was just so far behind with everything that she might as well be time travelling back into the past. The work was piled meters high on her desk, so that it looked like paper sculptures and her computer calendar chimed every minute with another reminder about something.

She did all she could in the work time then went home to a dysfunctional house. At least her husband had remembered to pick up the kids from their after school clubs today. There was still a meal to be made, clothes washing to do, tidying up and from out of the chatter of her ten year old, a school project that was due in tomorrow and he hadn’t started yet.

There was no escaping the lack of time here either but she couldn’t easily stop like at work. Somehow and with family help, she got everything done and went to bed at midnight. The dream she had though was strange. She was walking somewhere, the colours were all washed together and she could hear a loud clock ticking in the distance.

There was a town but all the people in it had clocks instead of faces. She could hear them speaking to each other and they didn’t find it as bazaar as she did. Still that loud ticking continued. She entered a city and found all the buildings made of clocks and the noise they created was deafening. The people they didn’t seem to care because they were totally clocks themselves.

She watched them hurrying past. They had long thin black legs with shoes at the end and long black hands with black gloves and the clock face was the body and the head together. They seemed to talk in a tick tock language which she couldn’t understand. Then she saw a clock dog being walked by a clock person and it was all just too much to handle.

Hurrying away, she left the city and found herself in the colour washed landscape once more. There was a mirror before her, standing alone and seemingly waiting for her. She went up and looked at her reflection…but a clock face looked back at her instead. Screaming, she awoke from the dream and sat in the darkness wrapped in twisted sheets.

Her husband shifted beside her and awoke, questioning what was wrong.

‘Look at my face!’ she demanded.

‘I can’t, it’s dark,’ he replied.

She got up went into the bathroom and slowly stepped before the mirror. Her own face looked back at her. Breathing deeply, she shook off the dream but decided that tomorrow she was going to ask for some help and perhaps then she could live in the now and not in the past.

Trip #100WW

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He wouldn’t have liked his strangers going through his things and putting them on display. He was a private, independent and adventurous young man with a quiet talent. Those strangers probably thought they were doing a good thing; does anyone recognise this bag and contents? Handed to police (in random country). It only made me more heartbroken though because it meant he had truly gone. He wouldn’t leave his things like that. I suppose I should be happy to get them back but I’d rather it had been him instead.         

(Inspired from; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/11/08/100-word-wednesday-week-44 with thanks.)

Long Nights

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When the house got to cold the best place to be was in bed. There I could wrap up warm in the winter duvet and blankets, turn on my little heater and wait till I could feel my toes again. I read a library book to distract myself and listened to the fan whirling as well as the noises of the old house. Sometimes I’d hear other things; animals, the weather, stray notes of music. Tonight there were fireworks.

I dozed in-between reading chapters and checking the time. It was far too early for bed, yet the darkness blocking the window was suggesting otherwise. I’d never slept well in this house, even as a child when I’d come to stay with my grandparents which had been too often…

The memories were still heavy in the air, single moments playing over and over again, like ghosts I couldn’t escape from. I hate being trapped here, just like back then, but no one wanted to buy the house and without a sale I couldn’t move into other. So, it was either this roof over my head or none. I’d already been ‘none’ a few times and any roof was far better.

Perhaps, it was some unknown unfinished business holding me here or a curse? I didn’t believe in either thing. It was just the bad luck of my life. Reminding myself to contact a few people tomorrow, I closed my book and turned the heater off. The bedroom was warmer. I kept the lamp on though, I never slept in the totally darkness.

Settling down, I listened to the fireworks still going off in the distance. It was a few days after bonfire night but people still seemed to be celebrating. The loud popping, whizzing, bangs and crackles re-breaking every few minutes. I kept second guessing when it was over till it finally was.

Then, in the house I hated with a passion, blissful sleep stole me away.

Luna #writephoto

Autumn moons are the best, Luna thought as she settled her back against the tree trunk. Her pale blue eyes fixed on the clear night sky in which a crest moon could perfectly be seen. She held her palms out and felt the magic in the air. The flow was faint but there was still enough there to help complete her plans.

Luna smiled and gathered the magic into her. It seemed, for a moment, that she had a rainbow coloured thread running over her fingers and hands. Then there was nothing.

‘Soon there would be a beginning,’ Luna whispered.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/09/thursday-photo-prompt-luna-writephoto/ with thanks)

The Last Letter

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Dear Lucy,

The sickness is growing, I can feel it and if you’ve found this letter it means the time has finally come. I’m now too sick to sick to talk to you. I’ve gone to my bedroom and will die in my bed. Don’t bother coming to see me, there’s no point. My life has been so empty from the beginning that it only seems fitting that I should die alone now.

I’m trusting everything to you. Underneath this letter is the envelope containing my will. Only you and I know about how I live and that what people say about me isn’t true. I want you to up hold that imagine of me though; the quiet, yet social writer and artist. Who attend a different party or grand opening or some other important event every evening. Who’s house was always full with friends and he slept with different women each night. The too kind, mysterious, rich young man I wish I’d been in my youth.

Please carry on writing my ideas and books for me. You were always so good with new technology. I made it so in my will that you were able to write under my pseudonym, that way you can carry on perfecting your craft. You’ll make a great writer someday and finally be able to step out of my shadow.

I’m sorry to have to leave you like this. You have been like the wife and daughter, I daydreamed about having. I feel I should give you more but you already have my name and career in your hands, so what else can there be?

Good luck.

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…