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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.



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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.

2 comments:

  1. Well done on catching up with so much writing! I liked your "cheat" for V and I skipped S naturally. I think I liked U the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading them all (except S ;)). I think U is one of my favs too - it just popped into my head when I sat down to write it.

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