Remember, the witch has bright green eyes…

sketch-1558015815990it was late when she arrived. The rain had been pelting down all day, flooding the lanes. The car had struggled through the murk. But the hotel looked warm and inviting. She signed in and opted for a quick visit to the bar.

Soon she was chatting with the hotel owner. He told her how quirky it was. Wait till you see it in daylight. He said. It’s got a lovely feeling to it, ancient yet beautiful. She smiled as she chatted. Just what she needed, a quiet scenic stay in a plush hotel. Pampering and relaxing.

It’s  a few hundred years old, he told her. Some parts are ancient. You can see the timbers. Old oak beams, even some wattle and daub in the older parts.

That’s great, really interesting. I bet you could tell some tales? She only asked with the expectation of some story for the tourist trade.

The hotel owner smiled. Well there is one story about the witch, he said. Oh, not a ghost? She replied.

No, it happened in the room next to where you are tonight. An old woman, they decided she was a witch simply because she had bright green eyes. The story goes they didn’t want to hang her so they walled her up in a cupboard in the wall. We’ve never seen anything, he reassured her. Just one of those spooky stories you get in old buildings.

Still, she felt a little nervous on the way up to her bedroom. The lighting was very low, making every shadow ghostly puddles of blackness. I can’t wait for morning, she thought.

Up two flights of stairs, the porter showed her into the bedroom. It was en suite with a four poster bed! Satin drapes to keep the damp breeze out. A tray full of goodies and proper coffee. The bathroom had a roll top bath, gold taps, luxurious. Soon she was feeling relaxed and calm. She drank a gin and tonic and read her book for a little while.

She decided to turn in about midnight, with the drapes round the bed pulled tight it was too dark so she put the side table light on and settled down.

She was very tired and soon fell asleep. She was only a light sleeper and something woke her.

A hand was pulling the drapes aside, a face appeared at the bottom of the bed. Two bright green, glowing eyes stared at her.

The old wood

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Step over into the wood and you will be lost forever. Keep this side of the fence. That was what she was always warned as she grew up. There are wolves, bears, screech owls. Spiders big as dinner plates. The boogy man lives there.

For twenty years she kept out. But she knew one day she would have to climb the fence and go and look.

She was twenty one today, she had been to a birthday party at the village hall. Now she was walking home along the lane. The sun was setting and the wood loomed up above her rising up the hill, shutting off the sunlight.

One step led to another. Pine needles softened her footsteps, tree roots started to tangle round her ankles. She looked back to check where the path was, but could not see it through the trees. She tried to retrace her steps, but could not find the fence. Fear crept into her, she trembled as the cool night air touched her skin.

The night was darker and a cold rain fell, still she walked, tripping and falling into bushes, scratched from thorns.

It was early morning when the ranger found her wandering. She could not speak. Her eyes were staring into space, out of focus. No one ever found out what happened to her that night. But the Green man of the woods smiled to himself as she was taken away in an ambulance.

Eyes digitally drawn

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Don’t look at me like that. It’s scary, she said. The screen stared back, green glaring eyes and red scaled skin. Only the slow movement of its pupils indicated life. The screen had been blank up until a few minutes ago. A voice had said humans were under control by the Jranson Collective and if all people worked with them they would be spared destruction.

She scanned her phone. The same image was being sent to it. All computer services are in our power, said the staring eyes. Do not attempt to attack us.

What the devil can we do? She thought. Nothing came to mind, but maybe? She picked up the land-line phone, a steady dialling tone greeted her. Now what’s the Doctors number? she thought.

 

In the morning

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In the morning her hair had turned white. She didn’t know why. It had been a normal evening, nothing out of the ordinary. Bed at a reasonable time. Nothing had woken her until her normal waking time at 7am.

And yet, her hair had turned white overnight? It was meant to happen if you were scared or had a shock. Something she never understood as there is no blood supply to hair. It’s dead, it’s colour is created as it grows and as you get older grey or white hair gradually takes over. But overnight? What could have happened?

She had had a shower…… Oh.. …

Peroxide! She had used the wrong shampoo. Her daughter used it normally…. .

Eye don’t know…

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Something appeared on the cliffs above the village that night, but no one saw it till much later.

The wedding had gone well and the happy couple were now on their way to catch a plane to their honeymoon destination. The rest of the party were sleeping the evening off either in the hotels 6 guest rooms, or in the two bed and breakfasts in the old harbour.

Half of the village had been invited and were now dreaming of the festivities while the other half were either too young or too elderly to have gone.

A dark figure, about eight foot wide, was shambling along the path down from the cliff. It’s movements were jerky, like an accordion being played, several legs moved in a strange caterpillar like rhythm and gleaming eyes looked out in long rows along its sides.

Most peculiar of all was its gaping mouth. This was filled not with teeth, but with arm like protruberances which ended in long thin suckes. Each of about twenty arms could reach out of its mouth to either lift or pull objects. They were also able to grasp things and pull them inside the thing.

A feral cat was stalking a mouse as the strange being came round a corner of the pathway. The alien seized the cat with one of its suckers and pulled it into its mouth which snapped with an audible crunch as it closed.

As the light came again to the village open doors greeted the dawn. Most were torn from their hinges. Others wear ripped apart as if a chain saw had cut through them.

Of the villagers there was no sign, the guests who had come down from towns and cities were gone. There were strange gouged marks on the roadway leading to the harbour wall, but no sign of life. Even the sea birds had gone.

Only the lighthouse keeper further up the valley had seen something glowing and gleaming in the dark, but he was saying nothing.

(I seem to be writing more of these, I’m trying to work out how to describe things. To make up a story that is slightly different, not too derivative?) all writing and art copyright Christine Mallaband-Brown 2019.

In the Dark (part four)

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I had got to the front door and was trying to unlock it when he caught me. I squirmed out of his grip and opened the door, feeling myself falling down the front step. My arm was yanked back in its socket as he gripped my wrist but I slammed the door on him. I felt his nails scratch me as he clawed at my trailing hand…

Out, I was out, back in the cold dark street. Into the car, fumbling at the lock. He was not following? Something to do with the street lights?

I revved the engine and put it in gear. Where to go so late? All my friends would have gone to bed. My sister? She lived miles away. Far enough away to be safe from him.

I drove out of town, into the dark of the countryside. The street lights dwindled and I drove along, marvelling at my night vision. Normally I struggled to see but tonight? There must be a full moon.

My hand itched where he had scratched me…..

I could not seem to concentrate and sweat dropped into my eyes. The heater was on full blast so I turned it down.

Now I was close to my sisters home. I drove into her street. The lights were out but I have a spare key.

I looked in the mirror to tidy myself up. Golden eyes glowed back at me… My eyes…. And I was suddenly very very hungry……

 

The End

In the dark (part three)

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I had walked into my bedroom and seen the shadowy figure of my partner sitting in a chair by the window. I tried to see his face but the full moon in the window behind him cast darkness across his face.

“What’s up with the lights?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.

“I took out the bulbs” he replied..

That was something I had not thought of. “Why?”

“I need the dark” was all he would say.

I felt the chill air seeping into my body, something was wrong with the heating, it had been playing up before I went out to choir practice. Now it was as cold inside as it had been out in the night.

“It’s cold” I said simply. “Do you want a coffee?”

“No”

I was getting worried and scared, Henri was usually a happy, talkative man. His manner now was just not like him.

“I’m going downstairs” I said,

“No” again..

“Well this is stupid” I started to edge towards the door.

Then he opened his eyes….they were glowing gold….

I ran. Down the stairs, tripping and falling but catching the bannister I managed to halt myself. I felt a bone crack in one of my fingers, but I found I felt no pain, I just wanted to get out. Get back in the car, get away……

(To be continued…..?)