Our lovely hosts Denise and Yolanda who work very hard hosting this bi-monthly challenge
This month is themed for Halloween. This is not my genre and I struggle to do anything horror wise so my offering is rather tame compared to other entries.
Here are the guidelines:
FLASH FICTION – POETRY -- NON-FICTION – ARTWORK -- PHOTOS
OPEN TO ALL
OPEN TO ALL
For this challenge, share a childhood fright that might or did turn into an adult fear, real or imagined.
To start the fun you can:
1. share a favourite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots
2. in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today
3. then you can:
a. submit your own scary piece, 1000 words or less, in any format or
b. share a photograph or painting that captures the horror you've felt.
Open to all genres - Fiction works can be - Adult, YA, MG. All entries maximum 1,000 words.
1. Sharing something that happened in my middle teens (15/16 years old). I lived in a small village in the South East of England.
I had two best friends and we spent time in each other’s houses, girly stuff, chatting about boys, playing records (yes it was that far back that they were on vinyl) or listening to pirate radio stations when we could pick them up on the transistor radios. It was all very innocent and naive compared to the teenagers of today.
Patsy and I lived in council houses, I was at one end of a long winding avenue and she was at the other end, down the hill and nearly out to the main road. Mary lived in a house in the churchyard. Her parents were quite bohemian for village tastes and they weren't born and bred villagers. It was a huge house and the front door led on to the path up to the church. The living room window faced out on to the graveyard. Situated on a hill the house was divided over three or four floors. The kitchen was in the basement, a large cold room with a walk-in pantry and a huge wooden table set in the middle of the flagstone floor.
Mary had a lot of freedom, Patsy and I thought, being allowed to invite friends over and go out and about all the time. One evening we had been talking about spirits and ghosts and had seen something about an Ouija board. We decided to try it. Mary obtained an Ouija board, I think she found it in her parent’s book shelves and we decided on a night to try it out.
During this time there had been some scandal in the village (my memory of the actual events is rather hazy all these years later) concerning rumours about a certain chap in the village.
We prepared the table, candles, an upturned glass in the middle ready to use. We placed our fingers on the glass and in the semi-dark room started asking questions. ‘Is anybody there?’ The glass moved to the square marked ‘yes.’
We shivered in anticipation. After several more questions, spelling out answers that were true we asked the burning question. ‘Did he do it?’ The glass moved to ‘yes.’
We were all cold by this time and broke the circle.
We accused each other of moving the glass, all vehemently denying doing any such thing. I know I didn't sleep very well that night and we never mentioned that evening to each other again.
The white house you can see beside the church was divided in two and Mary lived on the side by the church, you entered through the lynch gate up the path and then turned in to her front door.
Photo credit: sallys-scribbles.blogspot.co.uk
Sean looked in amazement at his Nan; she was being really weird now. She went on to explain.
‘You can get a ‘feel’ for spirit, some people have seen images, shadows, wisps of something, sometimes people can hear a voice in their head and sometimes they just get a picture of something in their mind.’
Sean said, ‘I don't understand what you are saying, Nan.’
Nan carried on. ‘OK let me think how to say it. This cottage was attached to the grounds of a big manor house which the estate let it out to holiday makers and tourists. As soon as I walked in the door I felt the air change. I was breathing cold air, very cold air as if you’d just turned on the air conditioning in the car, that sort of coldness. It was a late summer’s day; I just thought it was cooler inside because of the thicker brick walls. It was only in one place in the living room if I moved elsewhere the air seemed normal.
Then as I looked out of the window I caught a glimpse of something across the field, a shadowy figure flitting across the stubble. Now this was in the daytime so it was quite unusual.’
‘Did you see a ghost then? I thought they only came out at night.’ Sean was quite astounded at what his grandmother was saying.
‘Ah now that is the myth surrounding the other world.’ Nan sat and thought for a bit and then looked at Sean. ‘Would you like a piece of cake?’
A slice of Victoria sponge each, in between mouthfuls Sean asked about the ruined church.
‘Oh yes, the ruined church,’ Nan swallowed her last mouthful of cake and finished her cup of tea.
‘If you go there in the day time you can have a look around, careful not to step on the tombstones. If you go there during at night, especially if the moon shines down through the clouds as they flit across pushed by a gentle breeze, if you stand still and listen you can hear an owl hooting, a fox baying and a whisper among the trees that ripples along the lake beside the grounds of the church.’
Sean’s eyes became rounder; he sat forward in the chair hanging on his grandmother’s every word.
‘Not much remains of the church but the rumour is that Richard Plantagenet was the illegitimate son of Richard III, he lived at Eastwell Manor and a memorial or tombstone is possibly in the grounds of the church. Perhaps that is who I saw that day.’
‘Did you really, Nan?’ Sean isn't quite sure whether to believe his grandmother or not. ‘So are there zombies then? If there are ghosts there must be zombies.’
His Nan laughs. ‘I don’t think so. They are just stories and horror films.’
‘But what if they were real and came out on Halloween, what would we do then?’
‘Lock your doors and don’t go out at night.’ His Nan winked at him. Sean really didn't know what to believe.
‘How do you know if you've seen a ghost? Do witches exist?’
So many questions unanswered.
‘People used to think that witches were evil crones, casting spells on people they didn't like, turning people in to frogs and toads and mice and rats.’
‘In the olden days that is what people believed whereas maybe they were just people who knew the old folklore and what to pick in the woods to make medicines. Don’t forget, Sean, they didn’t have Google back in those days to find out things.’
‘Nan, you are so silly sometimes.’
Sean jumped across to the sofa and gave his grandmother a great big squeeze.
Now it was time for him to get ready to go home.
If you want to know more here are two links: