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A Spooky Short Story

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No Such Thing as Ghosts

It was one of those nights when you curse yourself for not staying at home. Rain had been lashing against the window of the pub for the past two hours. The wind raged, blowing tattered clouds rapidly across an almost full moon, whilst leaves and branches were tossed around, landing in gutters and on car roofs. Now it was nearly time for the pub to close, and the thought of walking home was not a pleasant one. It had been a journey me and my loved one had completed on many occasions, however, this was not going to be one of those slow strolls home, hand in hand whilst whispering sweet nothings to each other.

By the time we stepped outside, it had thankfully stopped raining, nevertheless, the wind was still powerful enough to make walking difficult, and coats were buttoned up to the collar.

“Let’s take the shortcut through the churchyard.” I said to my girlfriend as she clutched the sleeve of my jacket, which was either for warmth or stability or both.

“Must we?” she gripped tighter.

“It’ll knock ten minutes off our journey.” It doesn’t sound like much, but at the time it seemed like an age.

“Okay then, but let’s not hang about eh?” she said. In this weather, hanging about was the last thing on my mind.

We joked nervously as we entered the churchyard, whilst at the same time, ducking to avoid some of the lower branches of the trees that were being buffeted by the wind. I took a glance around. The other people still left in the pub were gradually filing their way out, battling both the strength of the wind and their own alcohol fuelled unsteadiness. None of them were heading in the same direction as us. I turned around in order to find the path in the intermittent moonlight, whilst my girlfriend’s grip on my arm never loosened.

“I bet you wouldn’t walk over one of those graves?” she whispered. Her question took me somewhat by surprise by I thought I would play along.

“I bet I would!”

“Go on then!” she said, calling my bluff. “But don’t let the spooks get you.” she beamed.

“Don’t tell me you believe in ghosts?” I asked, stepping off the path towards the nearest headstone.

“Bet you couldn’t stay here all night?” she quipped. I had to admit that she was right, and it wouldn’t be because of the stormy weather either, the place gave me the creeps, even during daylight hours. I felt the odd spot of rain on my cheek and decided that this little game of dare should come to an end.

“It’s trying to rain again, come on let’s get back into the warm, I’ll make us some cocoa.” and with that I stepped back onto the path, and waited for her to grab hold of my arm once more.

A few steps on, and I took a look at the church, all foreboding and creepy in this monochrome setting. It was then that a break in the cloud cover shone some light onto the main door to the church. Standing there was a family. A man, a woman and two children, although the light faded again and I couldn’t say for sure what age or sex the children were.

“I wonder who those people are.” I said, nudging my girlfriend to look towards the church.

“What people?” she replied looking about her.

“Don’t be funny, that family over there.”

“What are you on about, I can’t see anyone?” she replied

“By the church door.” I replied, now visibly pointing in the right direction.

We had stopped now, and she had let go of my arm. Looking all around her she still protested that she was unable to see what I was seeing. Then she was ahead of me, striding down the path towards the wrought iron gate that led out onto the street. I followed; quickening my step until it almost became a jog. Before I caught her up I took a glance over my shoulder, the family were still stood there, their clothes strangely unflustered by the howling gale. Then they just vanished, like a flame being snuffed out in the wind. I stopped with my mouth agape, legs barely able to hold up my body let alone propel me forwards. It was then that I felt a hand grab the sleeve of my coat, as my girlfriend unceremoniously dragged me out of the churchyard and onto the street. We ran the rest of the way home.

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Week 6 – Twitterati

 

Write a piece of fiction using only 140 characters. This challenge is designed to make you think about your words, your letters and your punctuation. Write something that will allow your reader to fill in the blanks.

 

Remember, this is not ‘up to 140 characters’ – it is exactly 140 characters!

 

My first time at doing one of these challenges so here goes:

 

With her vow to walk with one more loss, he went “all-in” and as he saw the hand that beat his, he knew marking the cards had been wasteful.

 

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Why I love Wales

I visited Wales for the first time in six years at the
beginning of September, for a short holiday, and it reminded me of why I find
the place so enchanting. A few years ago my parents lived for a brief time in
mid-Wales in a small sleepy village halfway between Aberystwyth and Newtown,
all it had was a small convenience store and a quaint local pub and a
population of no more than a couple of hundred at a guess. I spent some time
there visiting my folks and it was my little escape from the hustle and bustle
of life in a major city, no noise apart from the occasional bleating sheep,
clean crisp air and surrounded by hills and fields. I was bitterly disappointed
when they moved back to Southampton and I hadn’t been back to Wales since then, until last week.

My girlfriend and I had toyed with the idea of a short break
in Belgium but the cost was prohibitive and throw in the extra travelling time
it would have been a very short, short break indeed. After a thorough internet
search we happened upon a nice little set of holiday cottages about twenty
miles southwest of Brecon, set in the Brecon Beacons national park. It was
unusual in that the main entrance to the cottages was shared with the Dan Yr
Ogof caves, a set of caves that were only discovered in the last century. It is
also home to the largest collection of life-size replica dinosaurs in Europe
and it was strange to look out of the cottage window and see various dinosaurs
looking back at you. We visited the caves as soon as they opened the day after
our arrival and it was a very enjoyable couple of hours, the cave system
contained several breathtaking (and extremely noisy) waterfalls ranging from a
slight trickle to a full on cascade of freezing cold water.

Next on our itinerary was a trip to a Welsh distillery at Penderyn, opened in 2000 it released its first batch of whisky in 2004, due to
their prolonged maturing process. The tour was a short one as the distillery is
only small and it took no longer than an hour but it was very informative and
led by our tour guide “Dave” who spoke to us with warmth, charisma and with a
touch of humour. The best part of the tour (for me anyway) was the tasting of
the whisky itself which was a delight as was the single cream liqueur (like
Bailey’s only miles better) we also received some tips from Dave on how to
serve and drink single malt whisky. It is certainly a trip I would recommend to
anyone who is anywhere near south Wales.

On our last day we visited the town of Brecon itself a
wonderful place although its high street is blighted by the usual chain stores
that have turned every town and city in Britain into a clone of itself. That
aside it is still a picturesque place and we visited Brecon cathedral and the
canal. We finished with a tour of the South Wales Borderers museum which was
very informative and the Zulu war exhibit was very interesting. The South Wales
Borderers used to be known as the 24th regiment of foot who fought
so gallantly at the battle of Rorke’s Drift. They have also fought in many
other major conflicts such as the two world wars before they were finally
merged with another regiment in 1964.

All in all a very memorable trip and the weather
was ok apart from Saturday afternoon when we had a typical Welsh downpour, no
wonder the valley’s are so green!

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Hello!

Welcome to my new blog!

In this column I will be commenting on a variety of subjects covering things such as Literature, Television and film, sports, and anything that gets my back up (that’s a long list!) and how these things affect my life.

Also I am endeavouring to write a non-fiction book (more details at a later date) and I will be publishing excerpts from this at differing times until completion. So any publishers or literary agents reading this who are interested please get in touch!

Well that’s all for now, I’m off to find some suitable material for my next entry.

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