The Eyes – Mokumoku Ren

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Hideo dashed through the lashing rain, his wooden clogs slipping on the dirt track, his back weighed down by his heavy travelling pack. He looked desperately around but he was surrounded by abandoned rice paddy fields and there seemed to be no shelter to be had.

He made for the nearest tree which was only just taller then himself. Hideo shivered and wondered how far it was to the nearest village. Trying hard to convince himself that he wasn’t lost, Hideo fell into prayer.

When he opened his eyes and looked down the road, he saw a gate sticking out of the undergrowth. Smiling and feeling like his prayers had been answered, Hideo walked over, the rain and wind whipping around him. He tugged himself through the half open gate and went up what had once been a path which led him to an abandoned house.

Entering, he called out and listened to his echoing voice. Normally he had would have taken off his clogs and left them at the porch but he had no idea what would be on the floors and thought it might be safer to keep them on for the moment.

The abandoned house’s roof was sound and the all the rooms were dry. Hideo went into the front room and set himself up on the floor. He was tried but he had something to eat and drink before settling down to sleep.

The rain hammered on the roof like a banging drum and the wind howled through ripped screen windows. Normally such a racket would have kept Hideo awake but he was so tried sleep came easily.

Sometime time later, something disturbed his sleep and Hideo woke up, he lay in the dark wondering what it was. Thunder rumbled and he decided the storm must have awakened him. Grateful, he had found this abandoned house, Hideo lay down to sleep again but a creeping feeling of being watched prickled the back of his neck.

Muttering that it was just the storm and tiredness, Hideo tried to rest. The feeling wouldn’t go away and seemed to grow until he was forced to give in and light his lamp.

‘I’m sorry for entering your house!’ Hideo spoke in Japanese, ‘I was only seeking shelter. Please let yourself be known. I mean no harm, I am but an old travelling merchant who became lost in the storm.’

Hideo listened to his words faded but heard no reply. He debated getting up and walking through the house, making peace and saying thank you for the shelter. Something flickered out of the corner of his eye and Hideo turned to see a shoji screen behind him.

Another flicker of movement and a human eye was staring at Hideo.

‘Thank you for letting me stay here,’ Hideo spoke and bowed low.

When he looked up again more eyes had joined the first and they seemed to be forming across the screen.

Hideo swallowed and watched as soon the whole screen was taken over by staring eyes.

‘Mokumoku Ren – haunted shoji screen. The first sign of a haunted house,’ Hideo whispered.

Quickly, Hideo began uttering prayers, blessing and thanks, everything he could think of that might keep the spirits of the abandoned house at bay.

Finally exhausted, he collapsed on the floor and fell into a deep sleep.

Sunlight tickling his face woke Hideo. Startled, he looked around, the memory of the haunting eyes hurried him to leave this place. Gathering his thing, he rushed outside then remembered to be respectful and turned back with a low bow to the abandoned house.

‘Thank you for letting me stay. Please don’t haunt me!’ Hideo called.

Spinning around, he ran down the pathway and back onto the dirt road, praying that no spirits followed him.

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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….

Sleep Like The Dead #twitteringtales

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By the time they reached the hotel, she was too exhausted to care. Snuggling down into the bed, she fell asleep right away. Throughout the night, the ghosts of the haunted hotel came into the room. In turn, they tried to wake the woman but she didn’t respond to their loud moans, their moving of furniture or flashing of lights. Her husband though, sat wide awake fascinated. In the morning, she awoke feeling refreshed but found her husband crazed with tales of ghosts.

 

(Inspired from; https://katmyrman.com/2017/07/25/twittering-tales-42-25-july-2017/ with thanks)

The Stenham House

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Everyone has heard of the haunted house at the end of the street and the one at the end of mine was no different. The Stenham House looked ancient and nothing returned there expect for crows. Though the place couldn’t have been older then any of the other houses around. Neglect and abuse had caused it to age a hundred plus years and the fact it had been abandoned for twenty of those years now didn’t help.

Standing before it, I took the place in for the last time. Nature had pretty much taken over and it was hard to see a red brick and white wood frame under all that green. There was no fence and the wild front garden came right up to the pavement. The reminds of a driveway poked through the tall grass. As far as I could tell all the doors and windows were locked and still intact.

I had lived next door to the place all my life and could just about remember the last family who had lived there. Somewhere, I have a photo of me and the three children, all older then myself standing in front of the house. I was about five and wearing a horrible red and white polka dress. The two boys had been in jeans and t-shirts whilst their sister was in a white dress. As an only child, it had felt nice to be accepted into a bigger family.

Then one day they had vanished, left in the middle of the night never to return. No one knew what had happened nor did anyone try to find out. I guess I’d asked about it and my parents had probably told me they had moved away, but I had no memory of it. What I did know was that no for sale sign had ever appeared and the Stenham house had been left to finish rotting away.

I walked around the back, the grass and flowers crunching under my boots. There seemed nothing menacing about the place in the bright summer sunshine. At night though the house became something else…Alive was the only way to describe it. Lights flashed on and off in windows, things were moved about, voices and crying could be heard but never fully made out.

A crow called out loudly, startling me. I looked up, saw flash of black on a window ledge and heard a flapping of wings. Not stopping, I rounded the corner. The back garden stretched like an unexplored jungle. Bees and other insects were buzzing about and a ginger cat was lurking in the shade of a tall bush. I walked into the middle, feeling a touch of dampness against my legs.

The roof had caved in and I could see slices of the rooms on the upper two floors. A thin curtain was fluttering in the breeze and a piece of pattern wallpaper was also moving in the first room. There was the edge of a wardrobe in the second window and the possible grey frame of a bed in the third. On the next floor, I could see children’s wallpaper peeling away and the edge of a wooden bed frame.

I fell into thinking whilst I took this all in. Everyone knew the story of the Stenham house, it was something of a legend in my town. Though really, no one was sure of the whole truth. The house had been built for Doctor James Stenham who had moved from the city with his wife who was also a doctor and their four children in the late 1800’s. They had held clinic in the house and offered illegal services, like abortions.

Across the next ten years, first the children one after the other then his wife died. Stenham tried to save them all though experiments which often involved other dying people, corpses and animals. He went insane, convinced he could bring them all back if he could just discover how to do it. He kept pet crows for company and barely talked to anyone.

Thirty years later, he was found dead at the bottom of the staircase. It had been made to look like he had fallen but he had been murdered. The rumour was Stenham had been killed by a man avenging his lover’s the death after the illegal abortion the doctor had given her.

From then on, only a few people had lived in the house and they had reported the place as being haunted. It had never seemed to be bother me expected for finding it harder to make friends and children telling me strange stories about the house next door. I had never heard the babies crying, the woman wailing or the screams in the dead of night. Nor had I seen the lights flashing in the windows, the sounds of furniture being moved or the footsteps. Perhaps, though I hadn’t been listening hard enough.

Coming back the front, I spotted a crow watching me from the collapsing porch. The black of it’s feathers and eyes looked out of place against all the green. The crow called loudly at me as if warning me to stay away. Keeping to the edge of the grass, I walked back to the pavement. When I reached it, I turned and saw that the crow had been joined by eight others. They were silently watching me.

Hurrying away, I went to say goodbye to the old woman who lived opposite the Stenham house. She had been a good neighbour and my babysitter for many years. I knocked on the door of her nicely kept house and waited for her to answer. I stole a few glances over my shoulder and saw the crows were still there.

 

(Inspired from: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/first-line-friday-26-05-17 with thanks)

Something In The Night (Part 5)

abandoned, architecture, building

Abe reached the top of the stairs then feeling too tried, he sat down. The coldness of the stone sink into his all ready cold and wet skin, he needed to get out of here and into the warmth again. The torch shook in his hand which felt gnarled as a wizard tree trunk. The light beam shone wobbly over the stairs and walls.

Shutting his eyes and taking deep breaths, Abe took a few minutes out. The abandoned asylum creaked and groaned in the background as the wind whistled and howled though any gaps it could get in. Rain pattered against the window, a relaxing note bringing the other sounds together. Then though new noises started; footsteps on a stone staircase, a whispering voice calling, the rolling wheels of a trolley.

The candle on the window sill came to life again. The flame flicking yellow and orange before coming a steady glow. Slowly, other candles above and on the walls came to life. Lighting  up as if by a magic hand that could cast flames. Shadows faded, fleeing into the deep corners were the candles couldn’t reach.

The voices grew louder, becoming a constant sound like the rain.  Footsteps running or pacing echoed off the hallways and rooms. The stink of candle wax, cleaning fluids and long unwashed human bodies swept away what had become the normal scents of mould, damp and rot. A woman’s scream rose and fell.

Abe snapped open his eyes and looked around. The sudden many candle flames burnt his eyes and he blinked away quickly. He dropped his head then rose it again and trying to convince himself he was only seeing things. The candles were still there and now he could here the voices more clearly. Abe caught snatches of words;

‘It’s not true. It’s not true!’ a male voice was mumbling.

‘I have seen the Devil! He’s coming for us all!’ a woman was shouting.

‘I don’t want it! Nurse! Nurse! Get ‘im away from me!’ a man’s voice rose above everything else.

Abe turned his head around and tried to see if anyone was there.

‘What an earth is going on?’ he muttered.

Abe looked down at his hands but instead of the torch and ring of keys that he had been clutching, there was nothing. He gasped and felt around for them, thinking he had put them down next to him. All he felt was cold stone.

‘Mr Fletcher? Did you fall?’ a female voice spoke from close behind him.

Abe turned and saw a young woman wearing a full black dress with puffy sleeves and a long white apron. She was carrying an empty grey tray. Her face was pretty with a small nose and eyes, her cheeks flushed with running about and her hair was hidden under a white cap.

‘I…’ Abe began.

‘Here,’ the nurse said.

She put the tray down and went to help him up.

‘What happened? Where am I?’ Abe questioned as she got him to his feet.

‘You are at the hospital,’ the nurse said.

‘The asylum?’ Abe gasped.

He looked around taking it all in and seeing everything so different to what he had known these last few years.

‘Let me help you to your room. The Doctor should be along to see you shortly,’ the nurse said softly.

‘Doctor Denty?’ Abe asked.

‘Yes. He’s such a good Doctor. He’s helped so many poor people.’

‘No!’ Abe shouted and snatched his arm back, ‘he removed their brains! He killed them!’

The nurse looked at him in shock. She stepped away from him, the tray she had left balanced against the banister clattered to the floor as he heels caught it. She turned to it but didn’t bend down to get it.

‘Stay away from me!’ Abe screamed, ‘Got to get out…got to…’

Abe turned and hobbled down the stairs. Behind him, he heard the nurse shouting for a porter and a doctor. He reached the top of the main staircase and cursed the coldness that had stiffed his bones. Going as fast as he could, Abe went down the stairs. Around him, he could hear people crying, screaming and saying words he could not make out.

He reached out for the banister but it was too far away. Forgetting that, he hurried on. His mind whirling as he tried to figure out what was going on. This was more then someone playing tricks and breaking into the asylum. This was real. But how could it be?

Abe felt hands touching his back. He let out a cry, lost his balance an fell down the last few steps. Tumbling to the floor, he lay there winded and hurting all over. Slowly, he rose his head and got up. The candle light was still flicking against the wall. Voices pressed through the darkness and running feet echoed off the stone.

He got up, ignoring the flaring pain in his leg and arm. He went to the front door and pushed against the wood. It was locked. He turned, shuffled away and towards a handful of doors lining the far wall. He made it to the side door and slipped though. Slamming it shut behind him, he weaved down the short hallway like a drunk old homeless man.

Reaching the side door, he opened it with easy and stepped out into a tall figure. Screaming, Abe stumbled back, throwing his arms up to his face. A voice was saying something, but he could hardly here above the wind and his scream. Hands grabbed him and stopped him from falling backwards. Then the spoken words began to make sense.

‘Police. You’re all right now.’

Abe blinked away the rain and looked up. Cutting though the night were flashing lights and torch beams.

‘I’m the night guard,’ Abe mumbled, ‘there’s something not natural going on in there…’

‘Come with us, sir,’ the policeman said and led him away, a female officer tailed them.

Looking back as they walked to the security cabin, Abe saw police officers enter the asylum. Torches lit up the darkened windows. Above the asylum, thunder rumbled and lightening forked across the sky.

The police took Abe inside and he sat down into his chair. He looked down and saw his torch and ring of keys in his hands. Puzzled he held them up and placed them on the desk.

”Did you see the intrudes?’ the officer asked.

‘Yes…but they weren’t…it was like back then…a nurse…’ Abe mumbled.

‘Your head and arm are bleeding. Did you fall?’ the female officer asked.

Abe touched his head, ‘the stairs. They were chasing me…they were going to take my brain! he shouted suddenly.

‘It’s all right, sir, you are safe now,’ the policewoman said, ‘you need to go to the hospital. That cut looks big.’

Abe looked at her and took her fully in. Her face was pretty, her nose and eyes small, her cheeks flushed with the cold and her hair was tied back under her police cap.

‘It’s you….’ Abe gasped, ‘I’m not going to any hospital! I need to go home!’

‘Yes, of course you can. I shall take you,’ the policewoman spoke out.

‘No. I can take myself!’ Abe rose then fell back into his chair, dizziness hitting him hard.

‘You could be seriously injured,’ she snapped back.

‘I’m fine. Keep away from me,’ Abe spoke loudly and waved his hands at her.

‘Please leave us,’ the policeman said.

She nodded and left, closing the door firmly behind her.

‘Now, sir. Let me take a look at you,’ the policeman commanded.

Abe looked at him. There was something familiar about that face but he could not place it.

‘The cut does look very bad. It might be affecting you…How does your head feel?’

‘It’s okay. I’ll be fine,’ Abe said, ‘do I know you?’

‘I don’t think so…Can you tell me what happened?’ the policeman asked.

Abe turned, looked out of his window and up at the asylum. Torch beams were still flashing past the windows. He tried to piece everything together in his mind but nothing seemed to make sense.

‘There was someone in the main building. They started a fire. I chased them but they came after me and I fell downstairs,’ Abe spoke softly.

‘Anything else?’

‘No. I’m sorry for all the trouble,’ Abe said, ‘I still would like to go home now.’

‘Of course, sir. I shall get someone to take you.’

Something In The Night (Part 4)

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Abe swore under his breath and reached for the landline phone again. He dialled the emergency services. The second a voice answered, Abe barked into the phone ‘Fire! At the old Asylum!’ Then he threw the phone down and grabbed the mini fire extinguisher off the wall.

Scooping up the ring of keys and torch with his other hand, Abe dashed outside. The wind howled around him, threatening to throw him back inside. Rain lashed against his face, blinding him and soaking straight through his shirt and trousers. The idea of going back for his coat flashed in his mind but then Abe looked upwards and saw the fire flicking in the middle left window.

Abe battled on and went to the side door. Doing everything by feel then sight, Abe put the extinguisher between his knees and wrestled with the keys. He found the right on and slotted it in. Going in, the wind tried to tear the door off it’s hinges, but Abe managed to close it behind him. Leaving the door unlocked, Abe turned the torch on before racing though the small corridor and out into the main hall.

The scent of smoke drifted down the staircase and stuck in Abe’s nose. He went up the stairs. The keys jingling loudly and the extinguisher letting off a metallic din every once in a while. Rain water dripped off Abe and dotted the steps with droplets. He ignored everything and focused solely on getting to the fire. At the top of the staircase, he turned left and rushed up.

Skidding to a stop, he tried to catch his breath as his eyes took in what was before him. There was no fire on the hallway. He walked slowly over, his hands and legs feeling numb. He shone the torch around and saw nothing had been disturbed and there were no markings on the floor. The torch began to shake in his hand and Abe wondered if his mind had finally gone.

He shut his eyes and took deep lungfuls of mould, rot and dust contaminated air. A linger of smoke still seemed to be there. Feeling calm and in control again, Abe opened his eyes and really used the torch to look. He flashed the light over the floor, walls and stairs then he swept back to the window. The torch beam came to a pause.

There was a white candle in a Victorian bronze holder slightly smoking on the window sill.

Abe shuffled forward and looked hard. His eyes were not tricking him. The candle was there and had recently been blown out. Maybe by his own movements. Abe looked out of the window and could see the lights of the security cabin in the grounds below. Water clung to the window back dropped by the dark night. The wind tapped more rain against the glass is it whistled passed.

With his mind slotting things into place, Abe realised the fire he had seen had actually been the flame of the candle pressed against the window. He sigh and felt all the energy drain out of him.

It’s a kid playing tricks or some photographer getting an artist shot, Abe thought, that’s all. No real fire…Where are they now? They’d heard me for sure and taken to hiding again.

Abe turned and took in the view of the main stairs as well as the hallway stretching into the blackness before him. Abe tightened his grip on the torch, keys and fire extinguisher then walked back the way he had come. Carrying everything was making his arms ache and the coldness that had sank into his skin was making it worse.

‘The police are coming! You won’t get away!’ Abe yelled.

 

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something In The Night (Part 3)

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Abe made his way up the staircase to the second floor feeling apprehensive. He had no idea who he might find up there, but he hoped it was only an urban explorer or two teenagers having private time. Reaching the top, he shone his torch down the hallway which looked the same as the one below it.

‘Hello?’ he called out, deciding to break his silence, ‘security! You’re trespassing!’

Abe listened to his voice fading. From somewhere close by a floorboard cracked and bare running footsteps sounded.

‘I know you are here!’ he shouted.

Hurrying towards the sound of the footsteps, he stopped before a closed door. Abe liked all the inside doors to be unlocked and opened throughout all the buildings, so that if anyone got in he would be able to find them more easily. Without waiting, Abe flung the door open and shone his torch in.

The light flashed around the empty room. Showing the bare floorboards and cream paint peeling walls. There was no one there.

‘Don’t play games with me!’ Abe yelled.

He was getting tried of this now.

A soft giggle, like a child’s, broke out from the dark corner at the end of the hall. Abe turned and fixed the torch light towards the sound. The beam cut through the blackness and showed him there was nothing there. Grumbling, Abe move to the corner and looked around it. Another hallway stretched before him, twice as long as the one he’d just been standing in.

‘Show yourself! I’ll call the police!’ Abe called out.

His voice faded. He listened hard, but could hear nothing other then the rain and the wind outside. He walked down the corridor, feeling duty bound more then anything else. He began checking random rooms, hoping to flush someone out. However, when he reached the end of the hallway he had found nothing and no other sounds had come to him.

Turning the corner, he walked down the west wing. This side on the old blueprints had been the rooms of the male patients. He sniffed and smelt something more acidic then mould and rot. Urine? That would make sense, but he’d never smelt it up here before. Maybe an animal had gotten in or else….

‘You’re defacing private property!’ Abe yelled, ‘I’ve had enough of this,’ he added quietly.

From his pocket he dug out his mobile phone and turned it on. The screen lit up and and a little message said he had no signal.

Swearing under his breath, Abe made his way out of the asylum. Going through the small door and into the side corridor, he heard the wind and rain louder then before. He unlocked the door, braced himself and opened it. Gale force wind drove the rain into his face and caused Abe to wonder why he’d bothered carrying on with this job. He stepped out, locked the door and walked to the security cabin.

He was drenched through and freezing when he finally walked in. Peeling off his gloves, hat and coat, he went to the landline phone that was on the desk. He called the police, explained the situation then hung up to wait for them.

Slumping into his chair, he felt his knees aching and the cold clinging to him. He moved closer to the large electric heater. Warming his hands and legs. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flash of light. He turned his head and looked out of the rain splattered window. Lightening?

No. It’s torch light again, he thought. Then he saw the yellow, orange glow growing stronger and realised it was in fact a fire.

 

To Be Continued…

 

Something In The Night (Part 1)

abandoned, architecture, building

It was raining heavily but inside the security cabin, Abe was dry and warm. The electric heater was humming loudly and beside from the rain hitting the metal roof there was little other sounds. Out of the window, though the darkness, Abe could see the looming front of the main building of the long abandoned asylum and hospital.

He knew the place like the back of his hand, but not because he had lived or worked there, it was because he had been watching over the place for the last five years. Some big development company had brought the buildings and land when the government had sold them off. Abe had been hired to keep an eye on the place for a few months whilst work on knocking everything down got started. However, things hadn’t gone to plan for whatever reason and no work had been started. Nobody had ever bothered to tell Abe but they had kept paying him so he carried on being the night guard.

Getting more comfy in his plush desk chair, Abe reached for his sandwiches on the desk before him. He began unwrapping them, wondering what his wife had put on them. Suddenly, a small bright light shone through the night and the rain. Looking up, Abe saw the light coming from a middle window.

A few moments later, the light vanished. Abe kept his eyes to the windows and just as he thought; the light appeared in the window to the left. The white ball seemed to bob and flash around. Abe sighed, it could only be one thing; a torch. Which meant someone was trespassing inside the asylum.

Wrapping his sandwiches up again, Abe picked up his large heavy torch and the ring of keys from his desk top. Then checked he had his mobile phone in his trouser pocket. Signal was hard to get out here, but there was just enough to phone the police if he had too. Then he put on his thick coat, woolly hat and gloves. It was cold outside but even colder in the asylum. He went to the door, unlocked it, turned on the torch and stepped out.

The rain hit his face like he had just got into a cold shower and the wind yanked him around as if he was an old newspaper. He closed the door, locking it again then set off. Fighting against the weather, he made bad time and it took him twice as long to get to the side door. Pressing himself against the freezing stone walls, he fumbled to find the right key and put it in the padlock.

Opening the door, he hurried in and closed it behind him. The light from his torch bounced in the small corridor. The beam was so bright and large that it was a spotlight in the darkness. He breathed in deeply, smelling the rot and mould of the place. Shuffling forward, he avoided the peeling paint walls and the long cracks in the floor.

The corridor ended in a door which Abe had to unlock.Once through, he came to stand in the entrance hall of the asylum. The huge open space engulfed him and the light. A cold chill ran through him and he felt like he was being watched. Abe swung the torch slowly around. The floor was made of large stone slabs that were covered in dust, but a few footprints could be made out. The walls were dark wood panelling which give away to large arched doorways which were dotted around.

Abe moved, breaking the silence which lay as if caught in the end of time. He walked slowly to the centre of the entrance hall. There was a pattern on the floor here; a large many pointed red star or flower which was surrounded by a large blue circle. To the right of him were the huge front double doors that seemed to be more from a Medieval castle then an asylum. To the left, the grand staircase rose up, guard by two towering winged lions.

He went to the staircase and shone the light up the stone steps. Through the dust he could only see his old footprints. That didn’t mean he was the only one to enter the building though. There was lots of side doors, windows, the underground tunnels and cellars which a person could get inside by. The two hundred year old buildings were a rabbit warren.

Abe thought about calling out, but decided against that. If there was a trespasser he wanted to catch them, not give them a chance to escape. Reaching out for the once over polished stair banister, he began to climb upwards.

 

To Be Continued….