To mark Halloween, all week (28th October – 1st November 2019) we will be sharing a selection of spooky stories written by members of Lockerbie Writers and A Novel Approach writing groups.
Have you heard the rumours? Something lurks above the surface, ready to pounce. Someone hides in the shadows, waiting for their chance …
It’s Halloween and we’re continuing our week of spooky stories, all inspired by our summer outing to Lochmaben Castle and the ghostly tales which we heard there from local paranormal group Mostly Ghostly.
Today, our stories today come from Kath J. Rennie (member of Lockerbie Writers group), and Paula Nicolson (member of Lockerbie Writers and A Novel Approach groups).
Read on and find out … if you dare!
The Vampire Slayer by Kath J. Rennie
On Hallows Eve, deep within Castle Lochs woodland, animals freeze with terror as tremors shake the earth. The undead, they realise, is freeing himself from his unconsecrated grave to feed on them, if no place of safety is found.
Owls and other bird-life flee, haphazardly, to an adjoining nature reserve; as do deers, badgers and mice and shrews, for all fear the rising of the blood-sucker whose killing sprees, over the years, have depleted the woodlands populations, especially those of the rabbit kingdom, their blood being the undead’s favourite delicacy.
Rabbits had become (after a plague had taken many humans) a favourite of the undead. Many from the rabbit kingdom had been murdered over the centuries.
All rabbits are ordered by their elders to take shelter far underground. They scuttle over each other until reaching the warren’s end, where many of their kin are gathered. Many feel stifled and resentful of their imprisonment, especially Buck; he no longer wants to hide from the creature. He wants revenge. On the last high moon he’d lost a brother and sister to the monster, and so with fortitude, stands tall on his hind legs; looks his elders in the eyes and delivers a speech to them and the many bunnies huddled together in the dark cramped space.
“There’s no such thing as a Vampire!” he yells. “It was our arch enemy the fox who’d killed my kin. We have nothing to fear from him now. The foxhounds got him. Listen not to the oldies! They’re cowards! Not one of them has seen the so-called blood-sucker. It’s a myth which they’ve overheard the paranormal group, ‘The Ghostly Ghost Hunters’, speak of – and they, my friends, walk above us tonight. So, if the myth is true? Surely it will be they who are attacked tonight? They have more blood than us, and it’s no longer contaminated!”
“Is that so?!” A voice rings out. “And how would a whipper-snapper like you know of these things?!”
“I just do!” Buck answers with confidence, revelling in his friends’ cheers and their howls of laughter. The elder rabbit becomes so irate, his eyes bulge with anger. His ears become inflamed with the revolts’ noise. He becomes lost for words and looks to the surrounding parents who scowl at their offspring’s behaviour. They decide between them … “Something has to be done! Buck’s leading our young astray. He’s going to get them murdered. Let’s throw him out! Let him satisfy the vampire!”
Fearful for their children, Buck is swamped by the angry mob. They force the non-believer to the warrens opening and tell him to, “GO! NEVER RETURN HERE!” Buck shakes his scut at them and runs with glee, out into the woods undergrowth, stopping once to choose a fallen branch to use as a sword, and a piece of bark to use as a shield. He feels brave. He’s become, in his imagination, a knight in shining armour. He’ll stake the vampire through its heart and return to the warren … a hero.
He swishes his sword about. Calls on the predator to show itself. A black mass appears. Buck stands on guard; fights then for his life, and as he feels his strength diminishing, a group of humans watch on, in awe of what seems a rabid rabbit, somersaulting and flaying its paws. “Aw! The poor thing!” they say in unison as a swarm of gigantic gnats bite and bite at the animal. “And so…” one from the group announces. “As you can see for yourselves, it’s not only apparitions we may meet tonight. The midges are out!”
Her Red Shoes by Paula Nicolson
I found my sister’s old shoes in the loft. A children’s size 5. The once soft red leather, now hard.
I hadn’t meant for her to die. We were messing about in a nearby loch. She was annoying as little sisters usually are and so I held her head under water to teach her a lesson; just a little too long. I never told anyone what really happened.
I left the shoes nestled in their dusty brown cardboard box on my book shelf; perhaps as a reminder that I should confess, but sleep got the better of me.
I was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of heavy footsteps in my downstairs hallway. It was her red shoes. I watched them smack the tiles as they marched forthrightly up and down the hall. But they abruptly stopped at the doormat. It was then that I saw her; through the glass pane of my front door, her long hair dripping wet and laden with pond weed. The house felt cold; cold enough to freeze the saliva on my lips. The smell of rotting flesh lingered in the linen of my night clothes.
In a bid to save my soul, I confessed my once unrepentant deed. But she still took me back to the loch, forever.
Thank you to Kath and Paula for sharing these disturbing and spooky tales of vampires and tortured souls …
Come back tomorrow for more spooky tales … if you dare!!