Castle #WritePhoto

The lake waves lapped at the shore of the island, making the stones on the pebble beach wet. Against a stone grey sky, the dark castle rose up, the towers almost disappearing into the clouds.

The children had been looking for a boat or another way to get across the lake to the castle but they hadn’t found anything. Dipping their bare feet into the cold water, they thought about swimming across.

The oldest three would have no problems, even though it would take them almost an hour to make it. The middle two would have struggled but with help they could have done it. The youngest one though – only seven years old, could not have done it and since none of them wanted to stay behind, swimming was ruled out.

As the boys skipped stones, the girls looked at the castle on the island and wondered what could be in there. A sleeping princess? A handsome knight? Perhaps, treasure guarded by a dragon?

‘There’s nothing in there,’ the oldest boy announced, ‘I went in there last summer and it’s empty.’

The imagination bubble popped, the girls stopped daydream and debated what to do next. The youngest was hungry and wanted to go home, her brother didn’t want to as the boys were building a den in the woods. The girls not interested in this, decided to pick wild fruit and nuts.

By the time they all meet on the lake shore again a faint drizzle had started. They looked over at the castle but could barely see it in the dim light and low clouds which had come down like fog. It seemed the castle had become ghost like with just a faint outline left behind.

‘We should go,’ the oldest girl spoke.

‘Fine, take my sister with you. We are going to swim across and spend the night in the castle,’ the oldest boy replied.

‘That’s not a good idea.’

The oldest boy shrugged, ‘I’ve done it before.’

‘And what if….’ the oldest girl trailed off.

‘You are all chickens!’ one of the other boys shouted.

A brief argument started then the girls stormed off and left three boys to swim across the lake.

 

Days later, police entered the castle looking for the missing boys. Inside, just as the oldest boy had claimed, the castle was empty. The police searched the lake and the woods but the boys were never seen again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/07/11/thursday-photo-prompt-castle-writephoto/ with thanks).

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Midnight Flames #FridayFictioneers

When the police and firemen arrived, I lied; ‘I didn’t know how the fire started. I can’t do anything with this broken arm!’

The young constable flipped through his notebook and replied, ‘you called four days ago and report your husband for domestic abuse. You give a statement and he was arrested.’

I nodded, distracted by the firemen damping down the blaze. One of them pulled out bits of charred shirt and inspected it. Another picked up a blacken wedding photograph in a smashed frame.

‘I just wanted some peace,’ I muttered, ‘there’s all I ever wanted.’

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/02/06/8-february-2019/ with thanks).

Midnight Cries

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It was a few minutes after two in the morning, when on a quiet street in Liverpool the crying of a woman could be heard. Nearly all the people were in bed and only a few slices of lights from curtains not fully closed could be seen. It was also raining and had been for a good few hours, so everything was wet.

A letter slot rattled and the ghostly wailing of the woman roamed through a house and echoed up the street. People stirred in their sleep and a few started to awake up. A cat begin yowling, sounding like a baby demanding attention. The woman cried loudly and the old man living in the house woke up.

He listened to the crying for a few moments then he decided it was only the wind. He rolled over and went back to sleep. So, he never heard the woman’s voice saying, ‘please let me in. I have no place to go!’

Down a few doors, the gate clanked and someone started knocking quickly on the door. The letter slot opened. A woman’s voice drifted upwards to where a young couple and their baby slept. The wife awoke and after checking the baby, poked her husband awake. They both listened and heard a woman crying.

‘Please, help me!’ a voice shouted, ‘I have nothing.’

Hands hammered at their door then the bell started ringing. The loud sound cutting through the night. The woman screamed and began banging the letter slot. The sound echoed and faded.

The husband rose to get out of the bed, but the wife gripped him and whispered, ‘no, don’t go.’

They tried to look at each other in the dark then husband turned the light on. They both looked tried, confused and worried. The baby stirred and woke up with a feeble crying. The wife scooped the baby up, quieting the cries if she didn’t want the baby to be heard.

‘Why not? She said she help,’ the husband muttered.

‘I have a bad feeling,’ the wife replied.

From their back garden came the squeal of the gate. They looked at each other then heard someone backing on the back door window. The sound thumped through the house. The wife clutched her baby tighter and pressed her face into her husband’s shoulder. Feeling torn, he wrapped his arms protectively around her.

A few minutes later, the knocking stopped and quietness crept on to the street again. However, it didn’t last long because across the road the woman began knocking at doors and crying again.

The husband kissed his wife and told her, ‘I’m phoning the police. Maybe something did happen to her or maybe she’s just crazy.’

The wife nodded and he reported the woman to the police. They tried to get back to sleep after but couldn’t as the woman continued to make a racket. When the police arrived at half past five, they couldn’t find any trace of the woman but a lot of the neighbours were shook up and wanted to make reports.

Though no one was sure of what the woman really wanted. It was suggest she was a burglar or part of of a burglary gang. Her cries of help had been a fake though with her not being talk to or found again, it was hard to say.

 

(Inspired from true events)

Wind Back Time

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Hanging upside down and trying to control her breathing as panic floored her, Lisa tried to think about something else. Shutting her eyes which was easy enough to do because she suddenly felt sleepy, she began listing off everything she had had been heading to the shops to buy.

Tea bags, milk, sugar, bread, cheese, fruit and veg….chocolate biscuits, Lisa thought.

A fire engine siren whipped through the air, causing Lisa to open her eyes and stop the list. From her upside view she couldn’t see the red truck but she knew it was there now. Blending on with the other emergency vehicle at the scene.

Her hair felt wet and she hoped it was only sweat. Wiggling, she tried to see if she could get out, but her hand didn’t want to reach down and undo the seat belt. Dragging in a deep breath, she watched the blur of people standing outside her car. Lisa tried to count them, but the figures seemed to become one.

‘Help,’ she cried weakly. Not sure what else to do.

‘It’s okay, Miss,’ a too young looking ambulance man said.

Lisa turned her head to look at him.

‘Please don’t move,’ he added.

‘Ok,’ she mumbled.

Lisa shut her eyes again. The ambulance man was saying something else but she didn’t hear him.

How had this happened? she wondered.

One moment she had been driving along the motorway the next another car had ploughed into her side and she had spun and flipped. At least that’s how it had seemed to her. Perhaps, that was just her mind thinking of it like a movie.

She wished she could rewind this back like a movie. At least then she might try to do something differently. Maybe more lanes or slow down, just something that might have made a difference.

‘We are going to cut you out now. Please stay still,’ the ambulance man said.

Lisa took a few deep breaths and focused her mind winding back time. However, nothing she could do would change what had happened.

Street Ducks

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The streets were cold and wet. Not a place anybody would want to spend the night on. The homeless though had no other place to go.

T settled down in the doorway of what once had been a large Woolworths shop. Somehow, he had remembered that, despite the place being closed and boarded up years ago. Making sure to tuck his sleeping bag in to try and slow the cold from sipping underneath him, T lent back.

The pattering of the rain started to lull him to sleep, but a soft quacking awoke him. T opened his eyes and looked down at the large cardboard box by his feet. One of the two pet ducks inside the box was staring over the top at him with black beedy eyes.

‘There’s no more bread, Petal,’ T said gently.

The duck quacked and retreated back into the box.

T settled down again. He was just falling asleep when the sounds of police sirens cut through the quiet night. T awoke with a start. He looked around and saw a police car and van pulling up on the edge of the street. Uniform officers were getting out and coming towards him.

Sighing, T slowly began gathering his stuff.

‘Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be gone,’ T said as the first police person reached him.

‘It’s not about that,’ the man answered.

T paused and looked up. Rain was dripping off the policeman’s hat and shoulders of his jacket.

‘Do you have any ducks in there?’ the officer asked nodding to the box.

‘Yeah…’ T trailed as five more police people joined the first one.

‘I’m sorry, but we are going to have to remove them from you,’ the policeman said.

‘But why? I’ve done nothing wrong!’ T cried, ‘they were dumped and I’ve been looking after ’em. They is fancy birds, not wild ones. They’re my pets now.’

T reached defensively for the box and placed his head inside. He began stroking the ducks, who eagerly pushed against his hand.

‘There’s be concerns about their health. We have to take them,’ a female officer said.

‘I can look after ’em! I’ve been doing so for the last month,’ T declared, ‘you can’t take ’em there’re my friends.’

‘We have to. They don’t belong to you,’ a second policeman cut in, ‘just hand them over and won’t move you tonight.’

T shook his head, words failing him.

The female officer reached over and patted his arm. She guided T’s hand away from the ducks and before he could reach out again the first policeman had swooped in and picked up the box.

‘What will ya do with ’em?’ T shouted.

‘They will be fine. The RSPCA will look after them. Don’t worry. Why don’t I get you a cup of tea?’

‘Alright,’ T huffed as he watched the policeman hurrying away with his ducks.

The other officers began to disperses.

A sad hole sank into T’s chest that even the warmth of the tea couldn’t fix.

The Reaper Cometh

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Going out in a hail of bullets and under the wheels of the ten ton lorry was the only way to go. Well, I didn’t have any other choices really because there was no way I was going to jail. The murders they had pinned to me would have meant total life imprisonment and that wasn’t an option.

Committing suicide had also not been an option up until that point, to be honest. I don’t know, maybe, I was thinking I’d dodge the bullets or they’d hit non-important places and that I’d just avoid the lorry’s wheels like they do in the movies. But nope, my number was up.

Once the heavy crushing pain had faded and blackness had come I knew it was the end. When I next opened my eyes, I was standing at the side of the motorway, looking across at the scene. There were flashing red and blue lights everywhere and the sirens were so loud that they blocked the rushing traffic. Though of course, most of the cars were stopping now and people were taking in what had happened.

Police swarmed the scene; searching my fancy BMW, whilst others blocked the view of my body wedged under the lorry. The driver of which was hushed off to one side into a police car like a sleeping baby. The police officers’ whispered voices came to me; is he really dead? The serial killer? The one the papers nicknamed The Red Shadow? He killed ten people we know of, but there maybe hundreds more. Yes, he’s dead. You can see that, can’t you?

I turned away, wondering what to do. Surely a pit to Hell would open up underneath me? I’d be sucked down and spend all eternity being tortured by demons. But I didn’t believe in that.

To the left of me, I saw a black shape peeling itself away from the trees. Ah, the grim reaper coming to claim my soul!

‘Wait….What are you?’ I spoke, the words tumbling from my mouth before I could stop them.

‘I am your reaper, deary,’ replied a sweet old granny’s voice.

Stunned, I just stared. There before me was a small old woman- eighty or ninety odd-she had a hunched back and skin was as wrinkly and folded as one of those weird dogs. She was dressed in a long flowery pink dress, pink handmade cardie and was holding a large blue handbag. Her hair was dyed a strange blue color and she had large glasses perched on the end of her nose.

‘When you are ready, if you’d like to follow me, sweetie,’ she spoke out, ‘you just take as long as you need, okay? No rush.’

I glanced back at the scene behind me. Cars were parked up now and an ambulance had just pulled off the hard shoulder and was trying to get in close so they could collect my body without the public seeing. Police were all ready trying to stop people from coming over.

‘Oh, I think I got some peppermints here. Somewhere,’ the granny said and began searching in her handbag.

‘No, it’s fine,’ I said, ‘who are you really?’

She looked up at me, hand still in her bag, ‘I’m your reaper, deary, come to take you to the other side.’

‘But…I was expecting demons! Devils! A black cloaked skeleton! Black, fire wings!’ I cried.

The old woman chuckled, ‘everyone believes that, but no. We take a different form every time. Everyone is different you know and often they need to be handled differently too.’

‘Do you know who I am?’ I spit.

‘Were. Sweetheart. Who were you?’ she asked then, ‘oh, here are the mints. Care for one? Go on take a handful.’

‘No,’ I stated as I waved my hands and stepped back, when she held out a pink and white stripped paper bag towards me.

‘Not a fan of mints, huh?’ she added with a wink, ‘I got something else in here for you then…’

‘I don’t want anything! Just, let’s go!’ I yelled.

‘Now, now, don’t get upset. I’ll fix it. There now,’ she said and held up a tube of my favorite childhood sweets; lemon sherbet.

She pressed it into my hand, a large smile on her face.

I looked at it in shock then opening the lid, I tossed the white power into my mouth. It tasted just as I remembered; sour and sweet, fizzy and lemony.

‘All better? I knew that would help, petal,’ she said.

I nodded, feeling for the first time in years the sensation of tears in the corner of my eyes.

‘Are you ready to go?’ granny asked.

‘Yes,’ I mumbled out.

She held out a hand which was more like the gnarled, dry root of a dead oak tree.

I took it, feeling no heat or coldness against my own hand.

With her other hand, she patted the top of mine, ‘there, there, deary. It’s all okay now.’

‘So…no demons? No Hell?’

‘Stories!’ she laughed, ‘to scare people. There is no Hell or Heaven. Just the sky.’

I looked up and saw above me the darkening sky.

We started raising towards it. Leaving everything behind. The air rushed around me and as we met the sky, I savored the last taste of sherbet on my tongue.

 

The Burning

Burning Coal

Godson stood at the edge of the burnt grass and looked over what remained of the church. There was a lot to see, but also very little. He sighed deeply and wonder why people did what they did.

Huddling into his thick red Parker coat against the late autumn wind, Godson stepped on to the blackened ground. The dead grass crackled loudly under him, just like the fall leaves. He took a deep breath and smelt smokey, earthy air. Even though it had rained in the early hours of the morning, the scent of the fire was still strong.

He came to a large stone, the first of many scattered around. Inspecting it, Godson tried to figure what where it had come from. Maybe from the door arch or one of the windows? It was impossible to tell. The stone had a large black scorch mark across one side. The fire must have been raging hot.

Godson moved on towards what had been one of the front windows. He spotted something and knelt to pick it up. It was a shard of red glass. He rubbed it between his fingers and straight away he could see the stained glass window that had been just above his head. He looked for more glass, but couldn’t find any bigger fragments.

Slipping the glass piece into his pocket, he walked fully into the church ruins. The floor was still mostly in attached but covered with soot, burnt things and fallen stones. He walked carefully over it all and towards were the alter had once been.

‘What devil compels someone to burn down a small community church?’ Godson said a loud.

He balled his fists and gritted his teeth. The anger that he had been trying to subside was rising. A small part of him had been hoping there’d be something left, but now it was clear there was nothing.

The smell was worse here and it felt like the smoke was clogging his lungs. He coughed and had to turn away. He had to leave. Even though he didn’t want to. Perhaps, under all this destruction was something that could be saved?

It started to rain again and Godson give up. He walked back out of the burnt church and to his car. Getting in, he sat looking over for a few moments then drove home.

Days later the police report came through. Godson sat at his desk and read it. A gang had actually been stealing the brickwork, wires, roofing and in fact everything they could get there hands on, just before the fire had started. It seemed they might have caused it and so far the fire bridge had said it was accidentally. Not the news Godson wanted to hear.

‘I won’t rest till this is solved,’ Godson muttered, ‘God. You must help me to bring to justice the people who did this.’

Falling into prayer, Godson saw the image of a burning church in his mind. Somehow, he knew the answers he seeked where there still.

Creepy Clown (Part 3)

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Heavenly stumbled away from the window. She tripped and almost fell over. Steadying herself, she turned to her desk and searched for her mobile phone. A few moments later, she remembered it was still in her bag. Fumbling to find it as her mind raced, Heavenly unlocked the screen and sank down next to her bed.

She dialed the police and listened desperately to the beeping tone as if it was a life support machine.

‘Hello, nine-nine-nine. What service do you require?’ a chirpy female said.

‘The police, please,’ Heavenly breathed.

‘What’s the emergency, please?’

‘There’s a crazy clown outside my house. He followed me from the park. He chased me,’ Heavenly gushed.

‘Can you see him now?’ the female voice pressed.

Heavenly peered over the edge of her bed, but she couldn’t see the window from here, ‘I’m not sure. But I know he’s there.’

‘Do you know what he was wearing?’

‘Erm…’ Heaven cast her mind back, ‘It was like a jumpsuit. Yellow and spotty. A red wig and a red balloon.’

‘Is he carrying a weapon?’ the call operator asked.

‘I didn’t see one. Please can you send someone? I’m home alone. I’m only sixteen. My mum’s at work.’

‘What’s your address, please?’

Heaven spoke her address slowly.

I’ll send someone as soon as I can. Are all the doors and windows locked? The curtains drawn? Are you somewhere safe in the house now?’ the woman questioned.

Heavenly nodded, ‘Yes. It’s the first thing I did.’

‘Okay. Someone will be with you shortly.’

‘Thank you,’ Heavenly said and hung up the phone.

Feeling cramp in her legs, Heavenly got up and stretched. Even though she didn’t want to look, she tip-toed to the window. Trying to conceal herself, but still get a good view, she looked out. The neighbor’s security light had gone off and the back garden was in darkness.

Pulling the curtains back to, Heavenly sank on to her bed and pressed her phone between her hands. She wanted to phone her mum, even though it seemed pointless and why would she want to worry her? Sitting for a few minutes, she debated what to do.

A light tapping, like finger tips on glass broke through the silence of the house.

She looked over her shoulder. The police already? But why would they knock so lightly?

Heavenly listened and realised that something or someone was tapping the window in the back door.

She knew the back door could be seen from her window, but she didn’t want to get up to see. She bite her lip and thought; if that is the clown I could yell out the window that the police are coming. That’d scare him off.  What if it’s a neighbor or a cat?

No. I’m not moving. I’ll wait for the police.

Heavenly crossed her arms and stayed put for an hour. During that time though, she did send a text to her mum, flip through her history and English lit text books and change her clothes so that when the police turned up she was wearing more then just PJs.

The ringing of the doorbell startled her. The noise was so shrill and echoing it took her a moment to unfreeze and go to answer it. She paused, the image of the clown springing to her mind. She opened her mouth to call out who was there, but a voice on the other side beat her to it.

‘It’s the police. Are you there?’

Heavenly swallowed and opened the door. There were two officers standing on the front step. A man and a woman, both looking to be in their early thirties and dressed smartly in their uniforms.

‘Are you okay?’ the female officer asked.

‘I think so,’ Heavenly replied, ‘but the clown…I think he’s in the back garden. I heard knocking on the back door.’

‘We’ll check it out, don’t worry,’ the male officer spoke.

Heavenly nodded and let them both in. She took them into the kitchen and unlocked the back door. The man went out first, turning on his torch and shinning it around. There was no one out there, but the back gate had been unlatched and there was a red balloon tied to the handle.

He came back with it and asked Heavenly about it.

‘When I was walking through the park,’ she began to explain, ‘I saw a red balloon tied to a bench opposite the playground where the clown was sitting on a swing. When I ran out of the park and turned back, he was standing there holding it. Then when I looked out of my window before, I saw the balloon over the fence.’

‘There’s a note here,’ he announced and picked up what looked like a gift tag attached to the middle of the string, ‘I’m going to get you,’ he read.

‘Get me?’ Heavenly gasped.

‘It’ll be alright. I need to take a statement off you. Do you think you can do that?’ the female officer asked.

Heavenly nodded.

‘I’ll go and have a look around,’ the other officer said.

At the kitchen table, Heavenly told everything as she could remember it. The police officer wrote her words down and asked only a few questions. Soon, they were all at the front door again and the police were leaving. They give her instructions then went back to their car. Heavenly shut the door, locked it then went into the kitchen and double checked the back door was locked.

Turning off the lights and feeling exhausted, she went to bed. She didn’t sleep easily though. Her dreams were filled with clowns that chased her and balloons that turned into heads and tried to eat her.

Heavenly woke suddenly and pushed the duvet away. She got up, feeling hot and sweaty. It was still dark even though it was morning. She turned on the lamp and saw it was a few minutes to seven. Almost time for her to be getting up anyway and her mum should already be home. Heavenly got up and went straight to her mum’s room. In the light of the hallway, she could see there was now a shape in the bed.

Closing the door, she went and showered. The hot water helped awaken her and push last night further from her thoughts. She dressed and got her things ready to go to school. As she left her bedroom, she thought about opening her curtains but then decided against it. She went downstairs, made a lunch to take with her and grab a quick breakfast. She went into the living room and turned the TV on whilst she ate.

The morning news was on and once again they were reporting on the clowns. Heavenly turned the volume up and listened.

‘Last night, a twenty-two year old man was arrested after he chased a group of teens across a park threatening them with a knife. It was also reported that he had been following school children on their way home earlier that day,’ the male news report spoke.

The female reporter chipped in with, ‘you have been sending us photos of your clown sightings.’

The screen changed to a very dark photo in which there seemed to be a very distance white masked and wigged figure. It was replaced by another, which was clearer and showed a clown coming around a metal gate. A third photo swapped in, this one showing two clowns facing each other outside what looked like a shop.

‘Pretty creepy,’ the woman spoke.

The studio came back on and there was a shuffling of paper. They turned to other news and the weather forecast.

Heavenly turned the TV off and got up. Her thoughts racing, could that have been the guy that was chasing me? Hopefully it was.

Gathering her stuff, she went to the front door and unlocked it. A wave of nerves wiggled through her as she opened the door and looked out. A normal grey, drizzle morning met her eyes and the wind embraced her in a wet, cold hug. Heavenly stepped out and closed the door. She looked from side to side and saw nothing unusual.

She started walking down the short path that cut through the front garden to the gate. Something caught her eyes in the middle of the pathway. She came to a stop before it and saw that it a soft clown doll.

To Be Continued…

Rumbled

Graveyard, Headstone, Cemetery, Grass, Creepy, Gothic

The game was up and so was his number. Johnny sprinted through the church gate and headed to the large graveyard. He’s swinging arm scrapped against the rough, cold stone wall and he pulled back. Nearly toppling over the raised corner of a moss covered flag stone, he rounded the corner.

Breathing hard, he wondered, Can I stash my leather jacket and pretend I’m an early morning jogger? These black PJ bottoms would just pass as jog pants from a distance…his thoughts trailed as he spotted the small wooden back door of the church.

He hurried over and tried the worn ring handle. The door didn’t move. He shouldered it, thinking it was only stuck, but it turned out to be locked. Grunting, he looked around, mapping a clear run though the graveyard.

Sirens wailed in the distance, echoing through the streets and making it impossible to tell where they were or how close they were. A dog began barking and voices shouted out.

Panic filled, Johnny ran, dodging around the dilapidate headstones. Long, wet grass whipped against his legs and his eyes filled with the sight of a depressed weeping willow tree in the far corner.

If I could climb it… Johnny thought.

His foot caught on something, his toes soaking up all the pain from the hard stone before he tumbled. He hit the ground hard and spread eagle, breathing in grass and dirt. Johnny scrambled up, not wasting time on seeing what he had fallen over nor the throbbing of his foot. He weaved onto what once might have been a path and rushed on.

He reached the tree and began climbing. Fortunately, there were enough branches and leaves to hide him. Stopping on the last thick branch, he spit the foam that gathered in his mouth out. Calming his breathing, he listened and watched, but couldn’t see any movement or hearing anything else other than the police sirens.

Believing he was safe for the time being, his thoughts flashed back to less than half an hour ago. The realization of how luckily he had been sunk in. His insomnia had actually worked in his favour for once. Johnny had been in the kitchen, back door open, holding a mug of almost finished coffee and watching the microwave clock ticking the minutes to five am.

The crashing sound of his front door and the yelling of police had been surreal. Then mug had dropped, smashing to the floor and splatting coffee droplets like blood. Flight had shot through him and Johnny had raced out of the door, over the low brick wall at the back of the garden and into the alleyway.

Running on, he’d stayed in the back streets, not sure where he was going and unable to get his mind to think. He had seen the church bell tower rising above the terrace house roofs like a lighthouse at sea. Guided, he had followed it and found the front gate by chance.

Rubbing his face, Johnny started to mull things over and wondered how he had been rumbled. His small time drug gang hadn’t been working that hard lately, though he knew that the police could have been watching for months.

What about that new guy? He thought, pigs, are great at working themselves in now…  

A dog barking distracted him. Johnny looked out of the tree and saw a German Shepard sniffing the nearest headstone. A cop rounded the corner, black lead dangling from his hand. He spoke to the dog then to someone behind him, but Johnny couldn’t hear what was said. He held his breath and though he wasn’t religious, he prayed they wouldn’t find him.

The dog moved into the graveyard, nose stuck to the ground and the long grass zinging around. There was a sharp bark and a brown flicker of movement to the left. The dog shot off and as Johnny watched, he saw a rabbit bouncing away. He held his breath and bit his tongue as he saw the cops running and yelling after the dog. It didn’t seem like they had seen the rabbit.

The German Shepard darted out of a side gate and out of view. The cops followed with their voices just loud enough for Johnny to hear a few snatched words of ‘dog, scent, got him, West Church Lane.’ The police disappeared and Johnny breathed a sigh of relief. He got more comfy and decided that for as long as he could he would stay in the tree.

 

Johnny guessed it was around mid-morning, going off the bright blue, but cloud hazy sky. He could smell cooking meat from somewhere and it was making him hungry. He stretched feeling the stiffness in his back and limbs. He glanced down and saw the ground looking quite far away. Now, that he had time to think though he knew where to go.

Double checking there was no one around, he slowly climbed down the willow. His grip felt numb and his body ached with the movement. He almost lost his footing. Reaching the floor, he rubbed his hands on his pants and looked around for another way to leave the graveyard. Spotting a large black gate, he walked over and through, not noticing the white ball of light that seemed to be following him.

He walked casually down the streets, trying to look normal. There was no way he could go home. And even if they hadn’t taken his girlfriend in for questioning, someone would be staking out the place. Maybe, they were watching the streets too? He almost picked up his pace, but decided it’d look odd. Anyway, his friend’s wasn’t that far from here and he could hide in the cellar’s priest hole again.

When he arrived it didn’t take things long to get sorted. Heading down into the cellar, on the wobbly wooden steps, Johnny wondered how long the all clear would take this time. He helped his friend remove somethings that were up against a small boarded up hole in the wall. Then they ripped it open. Dust motes rose in the torch light and the faint smell of damp tickled their noses.

‘Home Sweet Home,’ Johnny muttered and chuckled.

He took the torch and crawled into the tight space. His friend put the board back then Johnny heard him moving some of the stuff back into place.

Pressing his head against the icy cold wall, Johnny shut his eyes. He dozed, just like he’d done in the tree. Black patterns swirled before his eyelids then a white figure started to form. It was tiny at first, but grew and grew until it took the shape of a young woman in a white floaty dress. Johnny didn’t recognise her.

She reached out her arms as if to hug him, but a loud knocking vanished her away. Johnny opened his eyes and listened, but the sounds were very muffled. He rubbed his head and tried to remember where that girl was from. Nothing came to him. He put his head back again and let himself doze off.

 

She haunted him for days. Every time he shut his eyes, she came to him in that white float dress, arms out reached, a begging look on her face. Countless times he had asked her what she wanted, but she didn’t reply. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but what else could she be?

‘I think it might be a ghost…’ he announced to his friend one afternoon.

The heat had almost died off and they were sat in the living room together drinking beer. In the background the TV was showing a football match whilst the sound of children playing outside could be heard.

His friend eyed him.

‘I don’t know…but what else can it be?’ Johnny added.

‘You know, my old gran use to tell me this thing…’ his friend trailed off.

Johnny nodded and took a drink off his beer.

‘If you don’t leave a graveyard the way you came in spirits can attached themselves to you when you leave.’

Johnny scratched his cheek and thought.

His friend shook his head. ‘She way lost it in the end though…thought birds were spying on her.’

‘What she say about getting rid of it?’

‘You had to go back in the way you went out and then go out the way you came in the first time. Sounds crazy don’t it?’

‘Yeah, crazy! Totally!’

Johnny laughed and finished his beer, but his mind was already planning.

A few days later he left and headed home. Almost a month had past and there was no way the cops were still watching his place. They had better things to do, he was sure. Walking home, he headed straight for the church. The woman in white had even been coming to him during the day now out, he had seen her out of the corner of his eye.

Spotting the graveyard gates, he hurried in. The place looked just the same though it was now under a darkening evening sky. He went to the willow tree and stared up at where he had sat for most of a morning. Then he looked around at the silent graves and wondered if his friend’s gran had been right. Slowly, he walked on and up towards the church. The dry grass crunched under him and the birds sing in the background.

He walked passed the church, along the path and to the gates he had entered by. As he got closer he wondered what was going to happen, but when he walked through them he felt nothing. Letting go of the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding, Johnny went home.

His girlfriend was gone. A note on the table told him so. He shrugged it off and took a shower. Then went to bed and for the first time in years, he fell fast asleep.

A Foot In The Past (Part 10)

House, Haunted House, Spooky, Scary, Old, Creepy

Scarlett and Greyson scrambled up and out of the room. Greyson reached the apartment door before her and after unlocking it, yanked it open and stepped into the dimly lit entrance hall. He held up his hand and stopped Scarlett from following him. She opened her mouth to argue, but Greyson was all ready moving off and turning on all the lights.

The hallway and staircase were empty. Greyson turned and went into the other door behind the reception desk. The alarm still continued to ringing out as Scarlett waited for his return. Suddenly the noise was cut off and instead of being deafened by the beeping, silence took over. Scarlett took a few deep breaths then walked into what was the staff area.

Greyson was lent over the desk looking through the CCTV.

‘I don’t see anything,’ he said with a glance at Scarlett in the doorway.

‘But we heard the door…’ she stated.

He nodded, ‘maybe it was the wind or we didn’t shut one in the attic.’

‘How could we hear that all the way down here?’

Greyson shrugged, ‘echo? I don’t know. Let’s wait here for the police.’

Scarlett yawed, ‘I’m going back to bed.’

‘All right. Don’t lock the door.’

‘Okay,’ Scarlett said.

Turning, she went back to their rooms and got into bed. Wrapping herself up and trying to find some warmth still in the bed, Scarlett wondered what was going on. She couldn’t be imagining these things if Greyson was hearing them too. It wouldn’t make sense for both of them to be going crazy with stress either. Shivering, she hugged herself and decided there was no way she could slept till Greyson was back.

Grabbing her book, she tried to read but she could not concentrate. Then the police arrived and disturbed her more. Scarlett listened to the rise and fall of their voices and footsteps. Feeling reassured, she turned back to her book. Turning the page, she felt a cold breeze on her hands. She balanced the book on her knees and put her hands under the duvet.

As the silence settled again, Scarlett thought she heard a soft voice whispering. She looked up and out of the doorway, thinking it nothing more then Greyson coming back or the police. Listening harder, she didn’t hear anything. Shaking her head and putting it down to the house moving, she began reading again.

‘Help me.’

Scarlett’s head shot up and her eyes darted around the room. The words resounding in her mind. There was no doubting the child’s voice she had just heard. Sitting back, she licked her lips and clutched the edges of the open book.

‘H-Hello?’ Scarlett whispered, her voice slightly cracking.

‘Please,’ the voice said after a few moments.

‘Who are you?’

The question hung in the air, unanswered. Scarlett got up and searched the room. The voice had sounded so close, almost at her ear. She checked under the bed and saw nothing but empty suitcases. Kneeling, she looked around then opened the drawer of her bedside table. The idea that someone was playing a joke or a trick on her came to mind. Closing the drawer, she checked the other furniture and found nothing out of place.

‘I’m not going crazy,’ she muttered, ‘tell me who you are and what you want. I can help you.’

She sat on the bed and listened hard, but the voice did not return. A blast of cold air had her grabbing at the duvet then she heard Greyson’s voice and the rough ones’ of the police. The front door shut and Scarlett breathed heavily. She got back into the bed and was busy trying to get warm as Greyson walked in.

‘Nothing. Again,’ he growled, ‘no sign of anyone breaking in or hiding upstairs.’

‘We should be glad of that,’ Scarlett responded.

Greyson got into bed and punched his pillow before throwing the duvet over his head.

‘You okay?’

‘I just don’t get it,’ Greyson’s muffled voice answered, ‘why is all this weirdness happening? It’s going beyond stress now. Maybe there’s someone messing with us. A local villager who doesn’t want us to reopen the hotel?’

Scarlett shook her head, ‘no, why? That doesn’t make sense. Surely, they’d be happy for the work and the tourists again. Don’t you remember what the second estate agent said? The villages were hit hard when this place closed five years ago and they have been desperate for it to re-open.’

‘Homeless people then? or a gang of teenagers?’ Greyson suggested, coming out from the duvet.

‘I don’t know. Let’s forget it now and go to sleep.’

Greyson growled and rolled over. He turned out the lights and carried on mumbling, but Scarlett couldn’t understanding him. Taking a last look around the bedroom in the light from her lamp, Scarlett reached over and turned it off. Laying down, she wondered about the whispering voice and though she had never believed in ghosts, she was starting to think it might be the answer all the disturbances.

The ringing of a phone jerked Scarlett awake. She rolled over and knocked into Greyson’s back. Pushing away, she sat up, hand going to sweep back her hair as she looked confusingly around the bedroom. Her brain started to recognize the ringing tone as being Greyson’s mobile phone. She nudged him and saw a hand groping out of the bed and fumbling along the bedside table.

‘Hello?’ Greyson’s sleepy, gruff voice said as the ringing was cut off, ‘Yes…It’s okay. Can I just…Oh…Give me a moment.’

Greyson got up and made to leave the room, phone tight to his ear.

‘What is it?’ Scarlett asked.

‘Estate agent.’

‘Why? What’s going on?

Greyson shook his head and left the room. Scarlett got up and trailed after him as he went into the study. She lingered in the doorway and listened to the one sided conversation, but she wasn’t able to gauge   much. Finally, he put the phone down and turned to her.

‘Something’s going on with the sell of the B ‘n’ B. I’m going to have to go down and sort it out today.’

‘Wait. What? I thought that was all sorted,’ Scarlett asked.

‘There’s some dispute or confusion over the land next to the car park and there’s some forms or something that need signing,’ Greyson explained.

‘I guess we should go then…’

‘They only need one of us. And there’s still too much to do here. I’ll go, it won’t take long. Though, are you going to be okay by yourself?’

Scarlett paused, ‘I guess so…’

‘Unless you want to go instead?’ Greyson asked.

‘No, no it’s fine. You’re right. The living room and dining room still need sorting and I have to get the jobs advertised too,’ she replied quickly, ‘are you going to be okay?’

‘Yes. I’ll pop into see my parents too, maybe. Right, got to move.’

Greyson kissed her and walked out of the room. She listened to him going into the bathroom then casting her eyes around the scatterings of papers and mess in the study, Scarlett decided she needed to start in there first.

To Be Continued..