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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Z is for BrenZett - Denizen by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 26 #AtoZChallenge


Z is for BrenZett

Yes, I'm late again, sorry - truth be told I just completely forgot about this yesterday! I had my head down doing other things and it totally slipped my mind. Apologies.

Today's ghost story is inspired by the village of Brenzett and a ghost story written by E.Nesbit. The ghost story is a grim one and can be found here: Man-Size in Marble. It's a great ghost story, so I recommend reading it yourself.

This one is a scary one.

Denizen

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


The church was absolutely beautiful, but that wasn't why we were here. We were after a good scare. It had been Julie's suggestion as we sat around drinking and discussing ghost stories. Our group did something every year at Halloween, but we'd already done all the ghost tours in the local area and nothing we could find took our fancy. That's when she had mentioned the ghost story about the church in the village where her parents still lived.

Of course we all read it, and it was clearly fictional, but it had our attention.

Which is why Halloween found us all in St Eanswith's while the weather helpfully closed in outside. And, yes, we had permission. Julie's father also happened to be a church warden and was happy to let us hold our vigil as long as we left everything in the state in which we found it. A donation from Grant, who is the one member of our group who is loaded (the rest of us are poor students) helped to smooth the way too.

Now, in the fictional ghost story there are two knightly figures in full plate armour lying each side of the altar, but the real church only boasts two gentlemen reclining on a tomb monument in the north chapel. However, it was close enough for poetic licence and to get us all going with spooky tales.

It was not that we expected the marble figures to get up and walk, as in the story, we merely loved the imaginative possibility tingling our spines.

October was unseasonably warm this year, hence the storm, but it was still cold inside the stone building. I must admit I've not been in too many churches during my life, but one thing I do know about all the country parish churches I have visited, is they were all cold. Luckily, we had all had the sense to wrap up warm. The cold added to the spooky atmosphere, so we drank our hot coffee and tea from flasks and didn't complain too much.

According to the story, the knights walked at eleven p.m., not the traditional twelve, which was a nice twist.

We had set ourselves up in the pews a little way up from the north chapel, so we could not directly see the monument. After all, we wouldn't have wanted to give the statues performance anxiety. Each of us had prepared a ghostly tale to tell which would take us up to the fateful hour. I have to admit, but the time eleven o'clock rolled around, I had more than enough icy fingers running up my neck.

If I'm honest, the only reason I went in for these ghost walks and spooky things was because my friends loved them. While I enjoy being scared in a nice warm living room in front of the TV, I preferred not to test out the real thing. Something I've never told the rest is that I saw a ghost once. I was only five, and my mum always said it was my imagination, but I still remember it clear as day. I was really not on board with repeating the experience. However, since most of these ghost things are completely fake and it made my friends happy, I didn't see why not.

At least to begin with.

There was something about St Eanswith's that, the longer I stayed in it, the more it got to me. Of course that could also have been the spooky stories and the shots of brady we were adding to our drinks.

"Here we go," Beth said, brandishing her phone so we could all see the time.

The clock had to be well kept up, because just before Beth's phone declared it was eleven, it wound up for its chime. We'd all gone silent at Beth's announcement and we sat there, looking at each other in the cold, dark church as the chimes sounded off, one by one. I counted them in my head because it felt as if doing so out loud would be rude.

On the strike of eleven there was the most almighty crack.

I'll be the first to admit, I jumped so hard I almost fell off my pew.

"What the hell was that?" Grant asked.

"Probably the storm," Julie said, "a tree branch falling or something."

We all nodded along, but it was obvious none of us really believed it.

"Is it me," I asked, "or is it colder all of a sudden?"

The fact I could see my breathe in billows in front of my face answered my question, really. It had been cold in the church when we had come in, but not enough to cause that kind of effect, and us sitting around talking had warmed up the air around us considerable.

"Maybe lightning cracked a window?" Beth said hopefully.

The problem with that was we all knew it was warmer outside than it was inside.

A low grinding sound carried to our little party and we all looked towards the north chapel.

"That definitely came from over there," Nathan said.

"Jules, would your dad..?"

"No," Julia said firmly before Grant could finish the question.

"Then what was it?" Beth asked.

"Probably something we've been hearing all night, but we didn't notice until we were all spooked," Julia said.

Of course, she knew the place better than we did.

"We should go look," Grant said.

He looked at us one by one and, eventually, we all agreed.

Y'know those dumb ideas people have in horror movies? Yes, I think that may have been one of those. We were closer to the door than the north chapel, but we still all stood up and followed Grant's lead.

We had with us two hurricane style, battery powered camping lamps. Apparently well-lit churches are not great for spooky stories, so we had none of the main lights on. At this point, that felt like a mistake. Grant and Julie each took one of the lamps as we made our way up the aisle en masse.

The north chapel was one big mass of dark shadow.

As I stared into the darkness, I just knew something was looking back at me. I'll be the first to admit, as the others continued forward, I was rooted to the spot.

The closer Julie and Grant got, the more of the chapel lit up.

"Oh shit," Beth said. "Look … look."

She was pointing at the tomb.

The two marble figures were still there, right where they should have been, no sign of them walking, but there was something wrong with the angle they were at. It took me a few seconds to realise what Beth was pointing at. There was a dark rip all along the edge of the tomb, right under the lip. It was as if the whole thing had been titled up and open, like a coffin lid raised a few inches.

I think I was the first to see what was sticking out of the hole and I gasped, but I could not get my voice to work. I was struck mute as cold fear lanced all over my body. It was a familiar fear, an instinctive one I remembered all to well from when I was five. There were three, white fingers, wrinkled and desiccated, like a pale mummy.

And they moved.

There was the grinding sound again and the top of the tomb lifted further.

That's when I saw the eyes, beady and red, glaring from inside the monument.

I remember screaming, but that's the last thing I can recall for what they tell me was three days. The doctors say it was shock and the police are investigating the whole thing, but they don't believe anything I've told them. They found me sitting in the churchyard rocking and muttering about eyes, and Grant, Julie and Nathan unconscious in the church. They haven't woken up yet. But the worst is, they can't find any trace of Beth at all.

They won't give me the details and they seem to think we were doing drugs or something, but Beth is just gone.

I know where she is, but they'll never open an old tomb that is completely sealed on the say so of someone they had to keep giving Diazepam to stop their episodes. They did let slip the crack we saw is completely gone, just like Beth.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.
Denizen- read by Natasha Duncan-Drake - coming soon

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Ever been sure something bad was going to happen?

Monday, 29 April 2019

Y is for the Bell Inn, hYthe - Yikes by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 25 #AtoZChallenge


Y is for the Bell Inn, hYthe

Greetings and welcome to the penultimate day of the AtoZChallenge. Where has April gone?

For today's ghost story I have taken the Bell Inn at Hythe as my inspiration. They have haunted cellars and a Grey Lady is said to walk the darkened alcoves. Legend says she it the ghost of a former proprietor who dies during childbirth - which seems very specific.

Think of this one like a tame horror movie with a jump scare.

Yikes 


by Natasha Duncan-Drake



The cellars gave Karl the creeps. It was ridiculous for a six foot four rugby player to be afraid of the dark, but Karl couldn't help it, not here. Every time he had to go down to change a barrel, he fumbled for the light switch like a six year old sent to retrieve a lost ball.

Not that the light helped that much, it was just better than the dark.

He'd just connected up the new keg when there was a tink and the single bulb in his area went out, then the other two went off as well. Karl swore very colourfully as he found himself shrouded in darkness. If he was honest it was a yelp of fear, almost a scream.

The wiring in the cellar was old, and when one bulb went, it had the unfortunate habit of throwing out the nice new trips they had upstairs. Karl had heard more than one member of staff complain about it, but he had, up until then, never experienced it.

He knew it was his imagination, but it felt a couple of degrees colder as soon as the illumination failed. Goosebumps rose on every patch of his skin and he wanted nothing more than to be out of the brick lined room as fast as possible. The only problem being, his eyes were taking time to adjust, and if he moved without being able to see, he'd end up going arse over tit.

Blinking a couple of times, he willed his eyes to cooperate. Gradually he began to make out shapes in the darkness. However, it wasn't enough. He closed his eyes and counted to three before opening them again.

The face was pale grey and only centimetres from his own.

This time he did scream.

How he made it from the cellars back into the bar he had no idea. It was as if his forebrain disconnected and his hindbrain did all the work. Surprisingly Jackie, the land lady of the establishment, didn't immediately make fun of him.

"So you met the Grey Lady, then," she said, sitting him on a stool and handing him a whiskey.

Karl took a swig of his drink and let his silence reply.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.
Yikes- read by Natasha Duncan-Drake - coming soon

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Do cellars creep you out?

Saturday, 27 April 2019

X is for Pillow Talk seX Shop - eXtraordinary by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 24 #AtoZChallenge


X is for Pillow Talk seX Shop


I had to cheat a little for X, because it's not a letter you find in many Kentish place names, but I found one that almost counts for today's ghost story.

Today's tale is inspired by the former Pillow Talk sex shop in Margate. It was rumoured to be haunted by the playful spirit of a girl who once worked in a brothel on the site.

This is definitely not a scary story, and don't worry, it's not adult rated.

eXtraordinary 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


The first thing Susan noticed when she walked into the shop was the new kinky bra display. Three of the bras were missing and the rest were all upside down, back to front or sideways in an almost artistic arrangement. She immediately pulled out her phone.

"Bryant," came from the other end of the call.

"Mr Bryant," Susan said, "this is Susan, I think the shop's been broken into."

"Dammit," her boss said, "what's been taken?"

Susan looked around; the rest of the shop didn't seem to have been touched.

"I can only see three bras missing," she said, "and the display we put up last night is all over the place."

"Three bras?"

"Yes."

"Nothing else?"

Susan walked up the shop, even the till appeared pristine.

"Not that I can see," she said. "Doesn't look like they got further than the new display. The door was still locked when I got here as well."

She moved into the back storeroom.

"The back window is fine too."

"Is there anything on the display that wasn't there before?" was the odd question that came from her boss next.

"Um, I'll just check," she said and went back into the main shop. "Oh, there's a feather boa draped around it that we didn't put there."

A rather heavy sigh came from the other end of the phone call.

"You don't need to worry, Susan," her boss said, "I should have warned you."

"Warned me about what, Mr Bryant?"

"Peggy," was the even odder reply.

"Who's Peggy?"

"Our ghost."

Susan laughed. She got it now, this was a new girl prank kind of thing.

"Very funny, Mr Bryant," she said, because she'd only had the job a week and she was discovering that she enjoyed working in the little shop.

"Sometimes I wish it was a joke," her boss replied, "but Peggy is real. Every now and then she takes a dislike to one of the displays and does a little rearranging. She also likes bras, you'll probably find them in the back room hidden under something. Just put it back as well as you can, I'll be in in twenty minutes."

"Yes, Mr Bryant," she replied.

Not that she believed a word of it. Still, she could play along until her boss actually arrived.

By the time he walked through the door, she had the display back to almost what it had been, but she hadn't been able to find the missing bras yet.

"Good job, Susan," Bryant said as he viewed the carefully arranged rack.

"No problem, Mr Bryant," she replied.

"Call me Bob," he said with a smile. "Sorry for the panic this morning, we don't usually give new staff the Peggy talk before their third week. She probably likes you if she's made herself known this soon."

Susan considered that for a moment, it didn't sound like her boss was kidding.

"It's not a joke then?" she finally asked.

"Oh, no," Bob said, "Peggy has been here longer than any of us. We think she may have worked in a brothel that used to be on the site in the dim and distant past. She's mostly a cheerful soul, but every now and then she gets artistic and moves things."

"I don't believe in ghosts," Susan said, because she really didn't know how to deal with this new information.

A box containing a feather teaser fell off the shelf just left of her ear, and her heart leapt into her throat.

"Peggy makes believers of us all," Bob said and gave her a sympathetic smile. "Come on, I think you could do with a cup of tea."

Susan nodded and stared at the fallen box as Bob walked past her. This had not been in the job description.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.
eXtraordinary- read by Natasha Duncan-Drake - coming soon

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Ever worked in a haunted establishment?

Friday, 26 April 2019

W is for Wayfield - Walking by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 23 #AtoZChallenge


W is for Wayfield

Hello and welcome to day 23 of the AtoZChallenge - can you believe we're almost at the end? I have to admit I have mostly failed this year - not only have I been late posting, but I haven't done anywhere near the visiting I usually like to do. However, I plan to finish my ghost stories, if nothing else.

W is for Wayfield in Waterslade which has a park which has a grizzly story of murder attached to it. Now I couldn't find many details, but is sounds like more of an urban legend to me than an old fashioned ghost story, so that's the idea I ran with. I won't go into details here, because it's in the story, so I shall just get on with it :).

This one is more ominous than outright scary...


Walking 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

A joke was a joke, but this was taking it too far. Mark had agreed to the dare. He had come out to the park alone and he had started walking the cursed path. The gang had promised that's all he would have to do, them pretending to be the ghost wasn't fair.

"I know it's you," he yelled into the darkness.

The sound of drum beats continued, no doubt from Kevin's phone.

"You promised you wouldn't do this," Mark tried again.

He didn't believe in ghosts, but he was still sweating under his coat. The urban legend had been told and retold for as long as he could remember. A person walking through the park while listening to music with heavy drum beats too loud to know anyone else was there, had been attacked and murdered. Their blood covered Walkman, iPod or phone, depending on who was telling the story, had been found with the body, still playing the same music. Now those who heard drums while walking down the path never made it to the other side.

Kevin had said it was just a test to prove he was brave enough. No one was supposed to be in the park with him, they were supposed to be waiting on the other side.

"This isn't funny," he shouted.

He felt cold, even though his clothes had been plenty warm enough only moments before.

Kevin had told him he had to walk, not run, all part of the test, but Mark was on the point of not caring. There was something in the air, a feeling that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. It wasn't good here.

When a figure with a white luminous face appeared near the trees, that was it, Mark was off. He was on the football the cross-country teams and he ran as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn't care about being in the gang anymore, all he wanted to do was get out of the park.

Kevin managed to hold it in as Mark vanished into the distance, but then the laugh burst out of him. That would teach the little snit who thought he was good enough to be in his gang. Now, maybe, Mark would show him the respect he deserved.

Turning off the drums he switched his phone to be a flashlight instead. He'd almost bashed his brains in by falling over a tree root already, it was dark away from the path and he didn't want to mess up his new jeans. He couldn't wait until school tomorrow, he'd tell everyone what a coward Mark had been.

It was as he was walking towards the path he realised he could still hear drums. He swiped at his phone, ready to kill the annoying track, only to find there was nothing playing.



Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.
Walking- read by Natasha Duncan-Drake - coming soon

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Would you test out an urban legend as a dare?

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Easter


Happy Easter


The joy and blessings of the season to one and all, whether you celebrate the Christian meaning or just like the chocolate :)

Have a great day.

I made the cake for Easter Sunday lunch - it is from this recipe:

Friday, 19 April 2019

Q,R,S,T,U,V - Catch up for Days 17 to 22 #AtoZChallenge


Sorry for being so behind - stuff happened, nothing bad, just lots of stuff and Easter. This is my catch up post for Q, R, S, T, U and V. I hope you enjoy the ghost stories.

Q is for Querns Road

This is a road in Canterbury and today's ghost story is inspired by the residence of Dorothy Crawford who is supposed to have lived in a haunted house for thirty years. I know nothing about the real Dorothy Crawford, or who her ghost may have been except that the ghost was a woman in nineteenth century garb.

This is not a scary story.

Quality of Life

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Staying with Auntie Dot has always been an adventure for Kathy as a child. She had spent some exciting summer holidays with her godmother from when she was seven to when she was fourteen. Her parents had always taken a week's holiday somewhere posh before picking up Kathy and her brother Steven from Dot's and having another week at a more family orientated location.

Dot was on the eccentric side and she had always found the most amazing things for Kathy and Steven to do, so they had never begrudged their parents their week alone. Of course, what Kathy remembered the most was Mary.

Auntie Dot's house had had one other resident. She happened to be dead and had been for over one hundred years, but that didn't stop her being a fixture of Kathy's childhood. Looking back, she always wondered if Mary had been a product of Dot's stories and their childish imaginations, but she had never forgotten waking up to find her covers pulled to the bottom of the bed, or the time the tea table had trembled in place.

Dot had always talked to Mary as if the ghost was really there. Kathy remembered asking once how Dot knew Mary was in the room. The answer had been simple: "The goosebumps."

Standing in Dot's sitting room so many years later, Kathy felt the goosebumps. Of course, it was probably just the whole situation.

Dot had gone out the way she would have wanted: a sudden heart attack after rescuing a kitten from a tree in the park. Dot may have been ninety four, but that hadn't stopped her from doing anything that took her fancy. Now she was gone, and Kathy was the executor of her will, so Kathy had to sort out the house.

It was bringing back all the memories.

She picked up the photo frame from the mantelpiece and smiled at the picture of her, Steven and Dot from when they were young. Dot was smiling from ear to ear as usual and she looked so happy. It sent a pang of sadness through Kathy as she decided it would be a good photo for the back of Dot's funeral service.

"Oh, don't be sad, Dear," a voice said and made her almost drop the frame.

A feeling of unreality came over her, as if the past few days had all been a dream. She turned, sure she would see Dot, just as she always was. However, she did not come face to face with the old woman she had known in later life. The woman standing beside her looked even younger than in the photo she was holding.

She looked perfectly solid, like a normal human being, but Kathy knew that was impossible. The goosebumps said otherwise.

"Auntie Dot," she said, and her voice came out as little more than a whisper.

"Of course," her companion said, smiling brightly, "you didn't think I'd just go did you? I've a few things left to do, and I couldn't leave Mary all alone."

When Dot glanced over Kathy's shoulder she turned to look and there, for the first time, was Mary. She was dressed in old fashioned clothes and Kathy could see through her, but there was no doubt in Kathy's mind it was Mary.

"I finally know why the poor dear can't move on," Dot said as if it was just any other day. "Now here's what I need you to do."

Kathy just didn't have it in her to be scared of Dot and the urgency in the woman's tone was catching. She had taken to carrying around a notepad in case the house sparked memories she wanted to put in the eulogy, so she pulled it out and began writing down what Dot had to say.

Three days later the headline in the paper read: "One Hundred and Fifty Year Old Cold Case Finally Solved".

Kathy looked over to where Dot was standing chatting to thin air. The body had been in a small cupboard in the wall of the dining room, right where the tea table had been known to shake. It had been boarded up and papered over, but it hadn't taken much for Kathy to open it up, once Dot had told her how.

They had never known that the house had once belonged to a Dr Bartholomew and his wife Mary, nor that Mary had disappeared one cold December night. Dr Bartholomew had claimed she had run away with her lover, but, just over one hundred and fifty years later, the truth was now out. Mary had been murdered and hidden away in her own house.

Kathy had not seen Mary again since the day Dot had introduced her, and Dot was beginning to look a little transparent on the edges, but the atmosphere in the house seemed lighter somehow. Life was never going to be the same without Auntie Dot always at the other end of the phone or email, but Kathy could not be too sad when Dot didn't seem to mind being dead.

When Kathy had asked how long Dot would stay around, Dot had just said: "While you need me."

It was enough.

Recording coming later.


R is for Rochester Castle

Rochester castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Blanche de Warenne who fled to the roof during a siege in 1264. Unfortunately for her she was killed by an arrow and doomed to forever walk the castle.

This is a short funny one.

Reenactment

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Blanche ran up the stone stairs and threw herself out on to the battlements.

It was a beautiful night for it, rain and high winds. Of course, none of it touched her, but it added to the atmosphere.

She gave a wail for good measure.

The ghostly arrow appeared overhead, arching its way down and she flung wide her arms, baring her breast. It thudded home and she cried out again, letting her body go limp, falling over the balustrade.

She wailed some more and made sure to vanish halfway to the ground—it never did to under-do the dramatics.

Recording coming later.


S is for Shurland Hall


Shurland Hall is a property on the Isle of Sheppey and I have never been there, so don't know the layout, but I ran with it anyway. The ghost is said to be that of Grace Davis, a woman who drowned herself in the pond there in 1769.

Be warned, this is a scary one.

Spectre

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


An open-air show, a night glamping, it had all sounded wonderful to Alison. Now she wasn't so sure. The show had been great, a travelling company with Royal Shakespeare backing and the tent was amazing with a four-poster bed in it, if you could believe it. What wasn't so wonderful was the trip to the loo in the middle of the night.

There were lights and a webbing path laid in the grass right up to the building housing the facilities, but there was something about the place that was creepy. The moment Alison had stepped out of the tent she had that prickling sensation on the back of her neck. It had continued all the way to the bathroom and was still there when she stepped back out again.

The whole glamping thing seemed to have attracted a slightly older crowd, so now, after midnight, the camp ground was virtually silent. The creeping feeling up her spine made Alison wish for the muddy tents at Glastonbury from her younger years. That was a camp that had never slept.

She began to walk as quickly as she dared back to her tent where her wife, Leah, was snuggled under the covers. Keeping her eyes forward she refused to look left or right. The instinct that something was there just wouldn't let go. She knew it was silly, but she couldn't do anything about it. No doubt, Leah would laugh at her over breakfast when she confessed what had happened.

Possibly she should have been concentrating harder on where she put her feet, not what may or may not be in her peripheral vision, because about halfway back there was a very wet squelch. She looked down and the mesh had vanished under her foot into a large puddle.

"Oh yuck," she said.

She was only wearing her sandals that she'd slipped on for the walk. The water was very cold and it felt muddy. Her only consolation was that she'd missed it on the way to the loo, at least. The sensation of mud between her toes was decidedly unpleasant and she went to pull her foot out. It wouldn't budge.

"What the hell?" she muttered, more annoyed than anything else.

Doing her best to put all her weight on her other leg she tried again. No joy. Now her anxiety came back full force. It was ridiculous to think her foot could be stuck in a puddle no more than an inch or so deep. She grabbed her knee and added her arm strength to her leg, but her foot would not budge.

Water dripped onto the back of her neck.

Alison looked up sharply, but there was nothing there. Her heart beat madly as adrenalin fuelled lightning shock through her core and she pulled at her leg urgently. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, but water hit her neck again. This time she turned, as least as well as she could with her foot stuck. What she glimpsed out of the corner of her eye made her freeze.

At just about eyelevel there was a foot in a courtly black slipper, a foot that had no means of support, but was just hanging there in the air. More water dripped onto Alison and she didn't want to move, but it was as if she was compelled to do so. Turning her neck she saw a matching slipper on another delicate foot and her eyes slowly made their way upwards no matter how she tried to stop them.

A black silk dress with ornate frills and a pale lacey collar led up to a pale, perfect throat. All dripping wet and ornamented with what looked like pond weeds. Long pale fingers on slight, delicate hands rested on the skirts of the dress.

Alison begged her body to obey her, but her gaze continued upwards. Long dark hair, once ornately styled, but hanging in bedraggled clumps, framed an expressionless, almost white face with dark, haunting eyes. Alison began to shake. The face may have held no emotion, but those eyes, they were shiny and filled with a malevolence Alison could feel in her bones.

She breathed in little gasps, wanting to scream, but finding no air to do so. Her body was beyond her control and every move felt as if she was moving through viscous muddy water.

When those pale hands twitched all Alison could do was watch. They curled into claws, arms lifting them towards Alison and the pale, unmarked skin grew blotches, shifting to dirty grey, like meat left to rot.

Still Alison's body refused to obey her, eyes going back to the apparition's face without her consent. Bits of the woman's skin were missing, and one eye was gone, but the other glinted with menace. 

"Come with me," the woman whispered, although her ruined lips never moved.

Alison whimpered.

Her foot came free from the puddle. She could not stop herself turning even as her mind screamed.

"Follow," the woman's voice demanded.

She almost took a step.

"Hey, Ali, what are you doing?"

The feeling of water vanished as the apparition disappeared between one blink and the next. Alison sagged with a sob, falling to her knees as all strength evaporated from her body. Not even the puddle remained, but she couldn't say anything as Leah ran to her side. Alison had never believed in evil, she did now.

Recording coming soon.


T is for Theatre Royal
The ghost story for T is inspired by the Theater Royal in Chatham. This establishment has several ghosts, one who shows his pleasure of displeasure by watching or walking out of shows, a woman in a long evening dress and a poltergeist which causes mischief.

Not scary for this story.

Troublesome

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Grant walked off stage before breaking character in the wings and hightailing it round the back for his costume change. He had two minutes before he was due back on.

He had the new trousers and jacket on before he realised one thing, the tie was missing. He panicked. It wouldn't have mattered except the tie was actually mentioned in the scene. It was a small line, but important.

Grant searched around desperately until he heard a disembodied giggle. He looked up, there is was hanging from a hook two metres away.

"Blood ghost," he muttered, running to get it.

Recording coming soon.


U is for Underground Tunnels at Dover

There are tunnels under the castle at Dover, which run through the cliffs and were used during the Second World War as a secret base of operations. If you ever get the chance to visit, it is an amazing place to see. The ghost story for U is inspired by these tunnels, which are said to be haunted by soldiers from the war.

Unbowed

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


I did not die here, that happened on a beach in a foreign land, but sometimes an important place calls a spirit anyway. During the war these halls were filled with activity, never still, not even in the middle of the darkest night.

Now they are often quiet, but the tourists bring in life and energy. I never meant to frighten those poor people, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes the pull of this place is too much and I'm back there, doing my duty, not watching the curious visitors in this new century. 

It's nice to be noticed occasionally though.

Recording coming soon.



V is for HeVer

Yes, I cheated a little for today - but it does have a V in it :). Hever is a lovely village with a magnificent castle which was once home to the Boleyn family, so, of course it has many ghosts. Anne Boleyn is said to cross the bridge to the castle every Christmas Eve, and her father haunts the village in a ghostly horse-drawn carriage. There is also a less high born ghost, that of a farmer who was robbed and murdered in the 16th century.

This one should make you smile, I hope.

Valid
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

"Nope."

"But it's a great deal."

"Nope."

"It'll be romantic to stay at a castle for Christmas. How many of our friends will be able to say they've done that? Why not?"

"Ghosts."

"You have to be kidding."

"Don't look at me like that, you know my family. I've been there before; the ghosts are real."

"You saw one?"

"No, I felt it, and I don't want to meet Anne Boleyn, headless or not, in the middle of the night."

"But 50% off."

"Remember my grandmother's house and the moving toiletries?"

"Hmm…"

"This would be worse."

"Okay, how about Disneyland?"

Recording coming soon.



Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

P is for Penshurst - Penance by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 16 #AtoZChallenge


P is for Penshurst

Hello, I hope everyone is stocked up with chocolate for the coming weekend :). It is day 16 of the AtoZChallenge - where has all the time gone? Today is P and I have a drabble ghost story for you.

This little story is inspired by Penshurst, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man, reenacting his journey to meet his secret love, the vicar's daughter. Being a vicar's daughter myself, I had to pick this one. I have no idea what the full tale is, but this is my interpretation. It is more sad than scary.

Penance 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

He never came.

She sits and waits for him, a lonely figure in the window of the big old house. Every day she watches, her vigil never ending, never heeding those who tell her he is gone.

Only the father knows why. Only his hand burns where it held the blood money to pay those who intercepted his daughter's lover. Only he sees the shadowy figure that stands behind his dear child through her days of solitude.

At night the spirit walks the village. Those who see it guess at the truth.

It was never meant to end this way.



Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Do you think love continues beyond death?

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

O is for Old House at Home - Obsession by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 15 #AtoZChallenge


O is for Old House at Home

Hello and welcome to day 15 of the AtoZChallenge. I'm a little late today, but I have a good reason, I was hoping my voice would stop being scratchy and squeaky so I could record today's story, but, alas, it is not to be, so it will have to wait until tomorrow to record the story.

We have a drabble today (exactly 100 words) and it is inspired by The Old House at Home pub on the Isle of Sheppey. This pub has noisy troublesome ghosts who slam doors and tip people out of bed. I went for a humorous take on this.

Obsession 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Ben woke up as he flipped out of bed and hit the floor.

"What the hell?" he growled, picking himself off the carpet.

He glared at the room in general.

"What is your problem?" he demanded of the empty air.

The bedroom door slammed and opened again in a pointed fashion.

"Seriously," he said, standing up, "why..?"

Then he saw the clock.

"Ah," he said, immediately turning on the TV.

Selecting the right channel, he settled back into bed as the nearby chair sunk as if an invisible person had sat down. Even ghosts were addicted to Game of Thrones.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Would you accommodate a phantom's needs if you figured out how to make them happy?

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

N is for Northern Belle pub - Novelty by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 14 #AtoZChallenge


N is for Northern Belle pub

Greetings and welcome to my ghost story for the letter N on this, the fourteenth day of the AtoZChallenge.

Today my ghost story is inspired by the Northern Belle pub in Margate, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman with deathly pale skin, who wears a shroud.

This story is scary at the end, even though a good 70% of it isn't, so be warned.

Novelty 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Mel would never say it out loud, because they made the pub a lot of money, but she hated theme nights. It wasn't even Halloween and she'd already had to deal with Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy, who had thought it would be hilarious to make another mummy by stealing all the toilet paper from the loos.

The local dramatics society were hosting a horror quiz evening, with a buffet and there were prizes for the best costume, so the whole lot of them were dressed up. It was not as fun for Mel as if was for them, especially as Sven (yes, her chef was really called Sven) had called in sick with food poisoning. She had not failed to see the irony, although Sven had assured her it was thanks to a salad he had grabbed from the supermarket rather than anything he had made.

It wouldn't have mattered except her sous chef was on holiday, so catering was now down to her. Hot food service was cancelled, but she couldn't just send the dramatics society members away hungry.

Luckily all the food for the buffet was already prepared and in the cold store. All Mel had to do was get it out onto the tables before halftime was called on the quiz. Which was why she was busily pulling things from the fridge and the cold cabinet, as well as putting trays of what would be hot bites into the oven and the microwave. The gentle hum of the nuking steamed dumplings was kind of soothing.

She turned and nearly had a heart attack.

"Oh my god," she said, putting her hand to her chest, "you scared me. The food won't be long."

In the doorway of the kitchen there was a woman. Mel couldn't tell if she knew her or not, what with the, admittedly, stunning makeup the woman was wearing. She knew most of the dramatics society by sight, but this woman's costume was amazing. Her skin was almost grey, but had just enough colour to make it that off-putting shade that spoke of death, and she had dark makeup around her eyes and mouth, just enough so it looked sunken, but not fake. Then there was the wig, which was long and looked to have started off light brown, but was matted with fake blood. A shroud finished off the whole outfit with morbid brilliance.

"Sorry for the delay," Mel said, busying herself with her task and checking she had all the trays on the counter, "but my chef is sick."

The woman didn't say anything. Mel looked up to check she was still there, and she was staring at her in a rather unsettling way. Not that Mel let it bother her, some of the dramatics society took their roles very seriously. She had had to ban even fake swords from the pub after they had held one of their previous quizzes. The theme had been pirates and there had been two duels and an attempt to find somewhere to make the quiz master walk the plank.

"Is there something you wanted?" she asked, trying to decide how many of the platters she could carry without dropping anything.

The woman stood there without the slightest twitch.

"You can tell Kevin it'll be about ten minutes before everything is ready in the dining room."

Not even a blink.

While Mel was sympathetic to the arty types and their one chance a month to let loose, she was a bit busy. She began loading her arm up with platters and then picked another up in her free hand. As she turned, her visitor raised an arm and pointed directly at her. It almost looked as if the woman's eyes darkened as well. The finger pointed at her had a very grubby, broken nail on it too. Mel would have been impressed if she hadn't been occupied.

"Wow, very clever," she said, "your costume is great, but, would you mind, I need to get this in the other room?"

Unfortunately, her guest did not move. 

"Please?" she tried again.

No response.

If she had had a quid for every time one of the dramatics lots had one too many and took their outfit too seriously, she'd have been rich my now. The question was, how to get past this phantom of the night without being too rude. As she stepped forward the buzzer on the oven went off.

"Dammit," she said and turned.

Cold lanced up her spine, even as she realised she was going to have to put everything down again.

Turning back to her uninvited guest she noted two things at the same time. The woman had moved closer to her and the shroud covered arm was right in the path of the platter she was holding in her right hand.  She braced for impact…

…and the metal tray passed right through the woman's hand.

Mel's stunned brain took a second or so to process this as her body froze.

The woman began to slowly glide towards her, arm still outstretched and broke Mel's paralysis. There was no gap between thought and action, she dropped everything she was holding, screamed and ran. Something deep in her soul knew that if the spectre touched her it could only be bad. Even in her panic she ducked under the arm that tried to follow her as she dodged past. 

Nothing could have stopped her, and nothing did until she found herself standing several metres outside the back door.

The evening was cold, but not as cold as she felt inside.

Something made her turn and she stumbled another pace backwards. The woman was standing in the doorway, those sunken eyes boring into Mel's. Now that she looked, Mel realised the ghost's feet were hovering just off the ground. At least that finger was no longer pointing. She didn't know how she knew, but she was sure the woman could not step outside. It was a weird feeling.

However, as Mel stood there, breathing hard, there was a bang and a crash from inside. The kitchen window cracked as something thudded against it. The phantom glanced towards the source of the sound and slowly vanished with one last look in Mel's direction.

She could only stare dumbly at the place where the woman had been, until a man came running from inside. He was dressed as the wolfman and it made Mel want to laugh.

"Are you okay?" the man asked. "We heard a loud bang."

Mel couldn't help it, the laugh finally burst out of her, a high hysterical sound. She was pretty sure she knew what the bang was. Sven had been complaining about the microwave for the past week, it had been doing strange things and now it had exploded. What Mel didn't know was had the ghost come to warn her, or had it come to claim her soul?

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Do you like to dress up as ghosts or monsters?

Saturday, 13 April 2019

L is for Lodge Oak Lane & M is for The Old Metropole - Day 12 & 13 #AtoZChallenge


I was so busy this weekend I totally forgot to post Saturday's entry, so today we have both L and M. Enjoy!

L is for Lodge Oak Lane

The ghost story for L is inspired by the Cardinals Error pub on Lodge Oak Lane, Tonbridge, and I will say no more, because the story should speak for itself ;) This one is not scary.

Looking

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Lee came out of his dream and blearily opened one eye. It was still dark. He was a seasoned traveller, being a travelling sales rep. Usually nothing woke him once he had dropped off. Not so in this pub it seemed.

It only took him a couple of seconds to realise what had pulled him from sleep: it was really cold.

"Bloody weather," he muttered to himself.

When he'd gone to bed the room had been almost too warm, but he'd opened the window rather than put up with the noisy air-conditioning unit. Now it was freezing. 

Mournfully, he glanced over at the chair where he had dumped the quilt that has been over the duvet on the bed when he'd arrived. Getting it would mean releasing what heat he did have under his current cover, which seemed like a bad idea.

Turning over he went to snuggle down under the duvet.

That's when he saw her.

She was sitting on the corner of the bed opposite to where he was sleeping, and she was staring at him. Her expression was blank, but what was more disconcerting, was the fact he could see through her.

"Oh."

The apparition almost looked put out by that reaction. Or perhaps he was imagining it.

"Hello," he said, "sorry to have disturbed you."

The woman frowned, but faded to nothing anyway.

"Good night then," Lee said to the empty air, which was already warmer. 

He turned back over the other way, pulled the duvet up to his chin and closed his eyes. That was the thing about staying in hotels and pubs all over the country—sometimes the previous occupants had never left. Lee went with a live and let not-live kind of policy, it only seemed fair. He'd have to add this one to his blog.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.




M is for The Old Metropole Hotel

For M I have a ghost story for you that is inspired by the Old Metropole Hotel in Dover. This is now a pub and apartments, but when it was a hotel it was said to be frequented by a young lady named Adele, who used to meet her lover there. This story is a little scary, but not too much.

Mood

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

The moment Saskia walked into the flat it set her teeth on edge. What was really annoying though, was she had no idea why.

The d├ęcor and the colour were pleasant enough for a short-term lease rental. Everything looked clean. Even the fittings and fixtures looked new and in perfect condition. The ad had said the flats had been refurbished recently, but sometimes real estate seemed to think recently meant after the last ice age.

It was a good price too, which was why she had jumped at it as soon as she had seen the listing. Contracting wasn't what she wanted to do long term, but it was good for now and she needed a place to stay. The flat should have been perfect.

The letting agent was talking, but Saskia wasn't really listening.

She followed the man from room to room and tried to work out what was bothering her.

The thing was, Saskia had learned a long time ago not to ignore her instincts. Her mum called it the Deacon women's gift, what she said was just a little edge over the rest of the world. Nothing grand like premonitions or psychic visions, but all the women and girls in her family knew not to push aside the little voice at the back of their heads, or the feelings in the pits of their stomachs.

It was when she walked into the bathroom that she heard the singing.

The voice was sweet and light, it was an old song.

Goosebumps rose all over Saskia's skin.

"Everything alright?" the letting agent asked.

"Um, yes," Saskia said even as she listened to the singing. "Can I have a minute?"

"In the bathroom?" the letting agent sounded dubious.

"Very important room, the bathroom," Saskia said and ushered him out.

She was almost positive there was something he hadn't told her, another one of her feelings. He'd been too eager to show the property when she had called.

The singing was changing slowly, the sound becoming more mournful as the song went on. Saskia walked over to the sink and looked in the mirror.

"Who's here?" she asked, looking past her reflection.

A cold draft ghosted over the back of her neck like icy fingers.

As she stared at the backwards room, a figure began to form behind her right shoulder. As a woman faded in, the singing faded out.

She was young, not more than mid-twenties, but the look in her eyes was old. Her uniform was not quite military, something along the lines of a nurse maybe, and it looked to be from around the time of the second world war. Not that Saskia was very knowledgeable about such things, but the victory rolls in the woman's hair gave her a clue. However, it was how sad the woman looked that caught most of her attention.

"Hello," she said.

The woman's gaze moved to meet her own. As their eyes met the sadness evaporated from the ghost's expression, hardening into something else entirely.

"She took him from me," the woman hissed, face contorting.

Her chin dropped to an impossible length and her eyes darkened into deep, black holes.

Saskia closed her eyes, turned and ran, only opening them again as she bumped into the door frame.

"Miss Deacon," the letting agent called as she made for the front door.

"You need a male tenant for this flat," she called over her shoulder and didn't stop until she hit the street.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. Some are public, some are patrons only.

Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Have you ever walked into a place and known it was just not for you?

Friday, 12 April 2019

K is for Knole House - Karma by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 11 #AtoZChallenge


K is for Knole House

Welcome to day 11 of the AtoZChallenge. Firstly I have to apologise for not popping round to visit more of those taking part this week - it's been a bit of a less than stellar few days. I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.

Every day this month I will be writing a flash fiction ghost story inspired by local places near where I live in Kent. Today I have chosen Knole House in Sevenoaks. Now this has 2 very famous ghosts, Lady Anne Clifford, who lived many more fruitful years after the death of her vane first husband Richard Sackville the 3rd Earl of Dorset, but who still returns to haunts Knole house where she lived with him. The other ghost is Richard himself, known as the Black Knight. It is interesting that the two are never seen together.

This is not a scary story and I have chosen a drabble today (exactly 100 words), because it felt right.

Karma 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Lady Anne walks the avenue of old trees, waiting for any sign of the Black Knight. Hers is a thankless task, but in death, she will do what was never permitted in life.

As his wife she suffered Richard's humiliations, his wayward defeats, but not so now.

Her life was greater, her spirit stronger. As they roam the estates which once they owned, Anne will keep her husband in check.

Only as a warning will she allow his shade freedom to ride the grove or wander the halls. In death let him be useful where in life he was not.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. They alternate between public and patrons only every other day - today's is public.


Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Why do you think Lady Anne could be haunting Knole House when she was neither happy their nor lived their for the majority of her life?


Thursday, 11 April 2019

J is for Peg Leg Jack, Sandling - Jack by Natasha Duncan-Drake Day 10 #AtoZChallenge


J is for Peg Leg Jack, Sandling

Good morning, and welcome to another spooky tale for the #AtoZChallenge, this time for J. All month I am writing flash fiction ghost stories inspired by local places.

Today I have to admit I could not find a place beginning with J in Kent. So I had to cheat a little, it's the ghost that begins with J today. The ghost's name is Peg Leg Jack and he hails from The Museum of Kent Life in Sandling. Now I have no idea if he's a nice ghost or a nasty ghost because information about him is sparse on the internet, so I have made him a nasty ghost for my story.

This story is of the scary variety. I was also inspired to try a haiku too, just because :) Both are called Jack.

Haiku - noun - a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five

Jack

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Step thud, approaches 
Fear, too cold to keep inside 
Scream for Peg Leg Jack

Step, thud. Step, thud. Step, thud.

Lanie huddled behind the admissions desk, tears streaming down her cheeks, her fist in her mouth. A scream was lurking in her throat. She dared not let it out.

"Oh, don't worry about old Jack," her mum had told her, "he just likes to make some noise."

The thing Lanie had seen didn't want to make noise, it wanted blood. The Ouija board had been a stupid idea. All she'd wanted was a spooky video for her Youtube channel. Stories about Jack made him out to be a harmless old spirit, but Miki was lying, bleeding under a cabinet of overpriced jams and preserves, and Nat had run away screaming.

Lanie volunteered at the museum where her mum worked, mostly because it would look good on her university applications. She had offered to close up this Saturday, when her mum had been invited to a party, and she'd planned the whole thing. Do a little pretend talking to the spirits with Miki and Nat, record a few noises and she'd have had a click bait video.

Jack wasn't supposed to be real.

Noises, keys going missing and turning up in other places, the odd jar being turned around – that was Jack's legend. All things that could be explained away. Lanie hadn't believed in ghosts, not until the pointer on the Ouija board had started to move with no one touching it and that putrid smell of decay and hops had filled the room.

Now she believed. Now she had seen. Now she understood terror.

 The thing they had invited in wasn't human anymore. Stick thin, almost as if he was made of the hop polls he once attended, the most human thing about him was the peg leg. Lanie had only caught a glimpse as she ran. In her panic she had run away from the door. She was trapped. Jack was between her and any way out.

Step, thud.

He could only be on the other side of the counter.

Something clicked on the counter's glass top. It squealed like nails on a chalk board as it slid towards her.

Lanie tasted blood as the scream built and her teeth dug into her hand.

She looked up, she couldn't help it. She could not breathe. Over the edge of the counter appeared first the top, then the rusty tip of Jack's hooked hop knife. It hovered above her, directly over her head, and slowly, painfully slowly, it turned. The end of the blade stopped, pointing directly at her face.

It was more than Lanie could take.

She ran, but her feet slid from under her before she reached the door. Vines with their fragrant hops, twisted around her ankles, dragging her back across the shop. All that was left to her was that scream.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. They alternate between public and patrons only every other day.


Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Have you ever played with a Ouija board? Would you?

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

I is for Ivychurch - Intervention by Natasha Duncan-Drake - Day 9 #AtoZChallenge


I is for Ivychurch

Hello and welcome to day 9 of the AtoZChallenge and my ghost story for the letter I. All month I will be posting flash fiction ghost stories inspired by local places in Kent.

Today I have chosen Ivychurch, a parish large in area, small in number of residents, down on Romney Marsh. This is close to where I grew up from the age of 3 to 11. I must confess I could not find a particular ghost story to inspire this one, but with tales of hidden tunnels and smugglers there are bound to be ghosts, right? ;)

This is not a scary one. Think of it more like one of those children's ghost tales that were really popular on TV in the 70s and 80s.

Intervention 

by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Arthur ran as fast as he could, but it was just going to be a matter of time before Steve and his cronies caught him. He should never have wandered off from the others, Steve was always looking for a chance to torment him. Because they were on a school trip, he'd forgotten.

Unlike most of his schoolmates, Arthur had really been enjoying the history of Romney Marsh with smugglers and duty men and everything. He loved learning about old places (one of the reasons Steve relished bullying him). He'd wandered towards the church with the pamphlet Mrs Garry had given them. That's when they'd attacked, throwing mud to begin with.

His heart pounding and their shouts in his ears, he ran into the church.

It was colder inside, much colder, but he welcomed the chill. What he did not welcome was how open and lacking hiding places the building seemed to be. There was a barrier across the other side between the arches, but he couldn't see any way through. The only thing that looked promising was the old fashioned looking wooden wall with the spikes on top and a door in the middle.

He ran to it, but the door didn't budge.

The sound of Steve and his friends echoed through the main doorway. Arthur became frantic, pushing on the door desperately. But it was clearly locked.

What he did not expect was for the door to be suddenly yanked inwards and a hand to grab him and pull him through. The door shut behind him and he found himself looking at a man in old fashioned clothes who put his finger to his lips.

"Come on, Arty," Steve's voice came from outside the curtained room. "We only want to show you how the dikes work."

Arthur knew how that ended, with him half drowned covered in weeds and mud.

The man very carefully turned the large key in the door's lock, but it still made a small sound.

"Hey, I heard something," came from the main part of the building.

The man beckoned to Arthur, moving over to the side of the small room and pulling back one of the  many curtains. Behind it was an alcove that looked like it was for clothes or something. Arthur did not really expect the man to lean into it and pull something, or for the back of the alcove to swing inwards.

"We know you're in there, Arty," Steve yelled, and there was a thump on the door.

With fear pushing him on, Arthur decided an old tunnel was his best option. He'd read that there were supposed to be old smugglers' tunnels leading from the church to the pub, but he hadn't realised they'd been found.

It was even colder in the tunnel, but the man gave him a small smile before closing the door and shutting them in complete darkness. Arthur fumbled for his phone, turning it on and using it like a flashlight. The man looked at it as if he had never seen a smart phone before, but then grinned and beckoned Arthur to follow him.

It was only when they were deep into the tunnel and Arthur's breathing had calmed somewhat that he realised his companion made no noise. No footsteps, no deep breaths, not even his cloak sliding against the tunnel walls. Arthur stopped walking.

His companion turned, an enquiring expression on his face.

Arthur really looked at him for the first time. He had assumed the man was a reenactor with the museum or something, but his clothes looked worn and real, not like a costume. His hair was long, dark and greasy and his beard was messy.

"Are you a ghost?" Arthur asked as he added up all the clues.

The man looked at him and smiled, a wide, mischievous grin, before giving him a shrug.

Somehow, Arthur was pretty sure that meant, 'does it matter'. Given that the man was helping him he thought it might be rude to say yes. When his companion beckoned, he followed, although the fact it was icy cold in the tunnel did seem rather obvious now.

Arthur's reading in the horror genre, although somewhat limited, had encouraged him to believe ghosts were dangerous, unhappy and a blight on humankind. He suspected he had been misled. Especially when his companion brought him to another wooden door. This one was low, but the man pushed it and ushered him through.

He found himself in a dimly lit hallway that was half lathe and plaster and half wooden panelling, within which was the doorway. On either side of him were what appeared to be the pub loos. Arthur turned to his new friend, who remained in the tunnel.

"Thank you," he said.

The man nodded, giving him a small salute, before grinning and shutting the door. Once it was closed it was as if it was never there. Arthur pushed it, just to see if it would give, but it was like pushing against a solid wall. He smiled to himself as he realised he had been given a secret he suspected very few knew.

He wasn't old enough to be in the pub, proper, but they had been told they were allowed to use to toilets if they needed to, so he did just that. Then he headed out with a smile and wave to the landlady, who smiled back.

He stepped out of the pub just in time to hear childish screams coming from the direction of the church. He saw Steve and his friends running across the churchyard as if their lives depended in it. It seemed his friend had returned to the church and had not been as friendly with the bullies. They had clearly forgotten about the dikes in the area because there were at least three distinct splashes.

Arthur grinned as he headed back to the coach. It wasn't going to be him sitting on plastic bags for the journey back to school.

Dramatic Reading on Patreon

For this month I am also recording dramatic readings of all the ghost stories. These are available on my Patreon. They alternate between public and patrons only every other day - today's is public.


Visit Other AtoZers:

AtoZChallenge Master List of Blogs 


Please do let me know what you think of the story and leave me links to your AtoZ entries so I can visit you back. I love to chat.
Would you chance an old tunnel to get away from a nasty situation?