Perched upon a steep incline that reaches down to the promenade, a dozen houses stand. Their brick work is often dusted with the sands that carry up from the beach, and the paint upon their faces is weathered and worn. As it is the north sea that they face, the houses often feel cold; for the winds of the north are unforgiving and their breath chills not only the waters but the surrounding lands; and no buildings, however strong their timber or solid their brickwork can fully protect against the elements. It is folly to think otherwise, though no doubt the hands that raised the houses by the sea thought differently, and to their credit, after a hundred and twenty years the result of their work still stands; but in time the rain and the wind will win over. The cold has crept and seeped. Its touch has infected each nook and cranny; unseen it eats away at the timber and brick, until finally, the cement will crumble and like the men who laid the foundations and laboured upon their construction, all will be forgotten.
For now though, the houses are occupied. Here, at number 9, the house nearest the cliffs edge, a boy lays awake listening to the ocean. It is something he does often, even though, with his window slightly open, the cold permeates his room and causes him to pull his bed covers tighter around his slender frame. The chill is a small price to pay he reasons, for as the sounds reach his ears, his imagination stirs. He imagines himself walking upon the waves like Peter in the gospels, or sailing upon ships old and majestic, joining his shipmates as they sing of lands undiscovered, for such is the lure of the sea to a small boy. So attuned is his hearing to the sounds of the sea he has come to distinguish it’s moods. From the hush that comes as it breaths gently upon the shore when calm to the thunderous crashes of its anger as it throws its weight against rock and stone, the boy knows each well. Which is why tonight, he appears anxious – for there is a still to the air. And in the quiet an altogether different noise stirs him from his rest. Continue reading
The forest is not half a mile from our house. The area is unsuitable for cultivation, or so I am told. So, the trees continue to grow and the moss gathers ever thicker, continuing the trend that has perhaps lasted centuries; and if secrets are kept there, they remain hidden under heavy canopies of leaf and darkness.
There have been tales. Stories recited from the mouths of parents as they gather in the fading light of day. From my vantage point on the stairs I have heard them speak of children lost to the woods, and of the mothers and fathers spending the remainder of their days calling out the names of their loved ones as they search as methodically as they can amongst the elms and oaks; for no man can truly claim to know the depth and breadth of such a land. I hear claims that the children were lost to the many bogs that litter the terrain, or, in mores hushed tones, that the woods themselves stole each child, and that is the blood of the young that causes the forest to grow so tall, the foliage so lush.
I listen. But, I know these things not to be true. Continue reading
When I first moved into my present home, the building wasn’t actually complete. I always thought there was a story there, but like so many other ideas it sat at the back of my mind, gathering dust, waiting for the moment when like a forgotten gift it is retrieved once more. Yesterday, I had a clear out, and there, dusty and buried under notes about this and that, discovered the tale of the apartment. I quickly jotted out the little piece that you will find below and found that it could be worked into a larger story. I doubt the scene I share here will find it’s way into the finished product (it’s rough, having been written in half an hour or so), but I do think it raises a little chill. And I do so like to shudder in company….
I was a quiet child, and like many quiet children my days were spent alone. Perhaps, it was this loneliness that saw me turn to books for company, that in the lives of others I would find the companionship I silently yearned for. And so, days were spent brooding over the contents of my parents shelves, seeking out adventures to partake in, characters to enjoy, and then, alone in my room, with a lamp by my bedside, I found the friends that I sought. Continue reading
My vigil is showing upon me. It etches lines upon my face, it fades my once dark hair to a sullen grey; eyes once eager to see the world now no longer want to view it’s wonders, for they have seen enough. And know what hides in the dark. Yet, still I sit, fighting against the sleep that entices me with release. For it is an empty promise. There is no comfort to be found behind closed eyes. A momentary escape perhaps, but that is all, and that too demands a price, one that my heart could not bare. So, my hair greys, my face ages and I sit. Sit in the wooden chair in the corner of my son’s room. Watching over him throughout the night. Keeping him safe. Safe from what I know to be also be waiting, there in the dark.
And unlike me, it’s eyes are always open. Continue reading
There is a path not far from where I live. To the uninitiated it is by all accounts, a path like any other. It’s flank is lined by trees, which though bare in winter, bloom greatly in the spring, locking overhead to create a canopy from which one can take shade from the sun. The route of three miles or so follows the river Nene, which itself runs from Northampton through to Peterborough before branching out to the nearby town of Wellingborough, On summer days it is indeed a pleasant walk, but we are not passing through those months at present, and it is the winter days, and more particularly nights that concern me here. For it is during these times that the path draws me.
To understand it’s power I must go back a little. Twelve years in fact. A time when I was renting a small one bedroomed house a stones throw away from the Peterborough city centrer. The house itself has little baring on this story, only to say it was located in a small cul-de-sac in which 6 flats were situated at the entrance, with my house and one other at the rear. The two houses were joined and the builders of the properties, wanting to save money, had skimped on materials. The plumbing and heating was inadequate and the walls, made from plasterboard, were paper thin. One could hear just about every word that passed between their neighbour if they so wished just by pressing an ear to the wall. The rest of the time brought a muffled background noise consisting of television noise and footsteps on stairs. Quiet was not an option. Continue reading
I recently offered to help friend of mine deliver some Thomson Direct books. They, in what I can only surmise as a moment of madness, took the job of posting some 3000 books through doors up and down the city in exchange for payment, and I owed them a favour, so why not?
How hard can it be right? Exactly.
Yet, it has caused me sleepless nights. I’m to deliver the books this Saturday. I shall be working during the day, the sun will hopefully be shining and it may even be fun. But, for all this, the thought of doing it is causing me some concern. And here’s why. Continue reading
Some of you may have seen me write about a number of re-occurring dreams that I have had. Some may have not. For the latter, know this: One such dream involves a dark haired woman who has frequented my sleeping worlds on and off for a great many years. To this day, I have no knowledge of her name, whether she actually exists or is just a phantom of my imagination. Only that she haunts me, and that we have a shared bond. We are connected in some way. Today, she made her presence know once more… Continue reading
Great Yarmouth, a town thirsty for miracles. Thriving in the sixties it had drank deeply, gorging its self on new home owners and holiday camps, but now, just six years into a new decade, it’s glamour was fading. And quickly. The home owners had moved, the camps closed; unemployment was rising and the town was only spoke of by those who wanted to leave it. Perhaps, it was precisely because of this that events like the circus were so popular. That people needed a bit of colour to brighten lives darkened by lay-offs and power cuts. That they, like the town had pallets dry and looked for something to quench their appetites. The carnivals sensed such desperation and even with the summer season over, some still endeavoured to travel to the sea-side town. If not to make a fortune, to at least ease the harshness of winter trade, and so it was that the people of Keruul loaded their wares and stowed their animals, and made their way eastwards. Just as eager for custom as the townsfolk were to slake their thirst.
I spent new years eve re-watching the 1973 film ‘The Legend Of Hell House’. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a haunted house picture based on a novel by Richard Matheson (Incredible Shrinking Man, Twilight Zone.. Etc), which is in turn based on the classic ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson, which was brought to the screen as ‘The Haunting. LEGEND is a great spooky film. Lots of lingering shadows and empty corridors and fog filled exteriors with great performances from Roddy McDowell and Pamela Franklin, a wonderful actress who never really achieved the fame and recognition she deserved.
Anyway, watching it made me think about ghosts, spirits and all other manner of supernatural occurrences. Mainly, ones that I have experienced first hand. Funnily enough, I had one such ghostly encounter but days ago, which I shall recount later, but for now, allow me to express my thoughts and views on what is commonly referred to as ‘ghosts’. What they are and why we see them. I do, of course, have no evidence to back up my observations or theories, but that’s half the fun of theorizing. With that in mind, first let me begin with some examples of strange occurrences I have bore witness to. Do you have a cuppa? Yes? Good. Here we go then. Continue reading