I felt like a ghost. I was sitting in an increasingly busy market square but no one saw me. People passed by bringing their wares to sell at the market. They were dressed in grey/brown clothes. The women in long skirts and the men in baggy trousers. It was as though I was watching a black and white movie. I had to get away from here. Everything was wrong.
I walked across the cobbles and found a familiar alley that lead to the castle, and walked on the path by the Castle wall, glad to be on my own. I found a place to sit and collect my shattered thoughts. I had to be dreaming, but this felt so real. I looked across the valley below me and saw a mist creeping in. I didn’t like the way it moved. It looked alive. If I got lost in this mist, I may never be found. It was moving fast.
I made my way along the castle wall, looking for a way in. There was an area where the wall was crumbling and I climbed into the castle grounds. The mist was close behind me. Cold tendrils reached out and touched my ankles. Running as fast as I could, I crossed the castle grounds to an area that provided shelter. Where could I find safety? The mist had blotted out the sky and the rolling Yorkshire hills. A wall of mist was making its way towards me. I could see shapes in the grey white blanket. Shapes of things I didn’t want to think about. Where would I be safe?
I remembered the secret spiral staircase, it scared me, but the mist scared me more.
I ran across the stone floor, my footsteps echoing all the way to the staircase. There was a big wooden door at the bottom. That had not been there on my last visit. It was locked, I struggled with the knob, but it was futile, the door was firmly locked. I started to cry, the mist was almost upon me. I ran across the floor to another set of stairs. They would take me to the room above, but wouldn’t offer the shelter the spiral stairs would give me.
I reached the big room above. Plumes of mist started to float through the windows. WAKE UP SANDRA!
I ran to the far corner of the room, there was a trap door in the floor. I pulled on it, not expecting it to open but to my relief it did. I scrambled through, shutting it benind me, and carefully made my way down the stone steps of the dark, cold, narrow spiral stairs.
As a child I had been scared badly on these stairs, believing them to be haunted after a friend played a childhood prank on me. Now they offered me protection, or so I hoped. I groped my way to the bottom and the locked door. There were no windows, no way for the tendrils of toxic mist to get to me.
I sat there for what seemed like eternity. I wore a watch, but couldn’t see it in the darkness. How would I know when it was safe to go back out side. No light shone above or below the door. It was a solid with no peep-hole to look out of.
I crouched down, hoping to see through the key hole and almost poked out my eye as I made contact with an oversized key. At least I could unlock the door, but dare I?
Surely this must mean the mist was gone. I breathed deeply and opened the door, not at all prepared for what was ahead of me. The scene blew me off my feet, literally. There was a loud noise, like a rocket taking off. The earth trembled and seemed to move at warp speed. I was sent sprawling against the wall, before landing on the stairs. I felt my head make contact with stone and then I knew no more.
A hand rested on my back. I daren’t move or open my eyes. I couldn’t take anymore of this nightmare.
“Sandra, Sandra, SANDRA” the voice insisted.
I opened my eyes to find myself sitting in the office next to the computer room at Richmondshire District Council. Morning sunlight was streaming through the windows. A telephone sat on the desk by my hand. I stood up carefully, feeling a little weak and nauseous. The double doors opened to a computer room full of flashing lights and familiar noises. I rubbed my head and felt a painful bump at the back of it. A bump that had been caused by falling against the stairwell in Richmond Castle.
Phyllis, the little lady from accounting looked at me curiously. “Are you feeling alright? Did you spend the night here, you look awful”
The phone rang and I picked it up. It was my husband. “You never came home” he said.
I started to cry. “I don’t feel well” I said.
“Can you drive or do you want me to come and pick you up” he said concerned.
“I can drive” I answered.
I prepared to leave. Phyllis looked concerned. “I’ll be okay” I told her and turned around to say goodbye. I froze. On the desk, next to the phone, stood a little silver tray. On it was a bone china cup full of what looked like hot chocolate. A crystal glass containing water stood next to it. Phyllis followed my gaze. “Oh how pretty” she said “you must have brought them from home”
I love to write, and blogging is a great excercise for me.
I have published two short stories, which can be purchased from the links below, or downloaded free if you are an Amazon Prime member. They aren’t perfect, but over fifty thousand copies have been downloaded and I have recieved many good reviews, as well as a few bad ones. Reviews, good or bad, are always welcome and help me grow as a writer.
Girl on the Beach (UK)
(Preview) Dead of July My first full lenght novel ‘Dead of July’, will be released in late 2012/early 2013. The link above is an unedited preview of my book. It will be replaced by and edited version soon, but for now, it will give you the flavor of the story.