Friday, 13 November 2009

As Old As Houses - Ghost Story - 5th Draft

Now many people or regular readers or those whom my blog pesters with post update emails might see it as strange or maybe slightly wrong that I put up drafts of my stories over and over again instead of putting up the final finished version. Well the truth is as a writer I need and prefer feedback from my work instead of trusting my own judgement on whether something is ready of submission. As is often the case I can not see my own mistakes (mainly in the department of grammar and punctuation) that is why I put my work up on my blogs in the hope of comments from readers, pester my former writing tutor at Uni still as well as quiz even my librarian work colleagues about it.

So yet again I will push upon you my 5th draft, edit and rewrite of my ghost story with a twist. And again I will appeal to all those who read this to be generous and give me feedback. Good or bad, all constructive comments will be noted down and acted upon. You can see the changes made in later drafts.

As Old as Houses -Ghost Story – Yorkshire Magazine

“I wonder how old this place is.”
“Who cares? It’s going to be gone after the weekend.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, there’s a notice about it in reception.”
“Oh. What a shame.”
“Why? It’s a dump.” Jenny muttered pointing at the mould covered and water soaked mattresses which lay scattered like decaying corpses amongst the trees concealing most of the old farm house walls. Staring at the tumbled pieces of brickwork, the roof with no tiles, not complete chimney stacks and the vandalism and graffiti all around, Sarah had to agree.
A wind blew down from the waving tree tops giving the girls intense shivers. Sarah paused to listen to it moan through the broken walls and empty doors.
“Come on, this place is boring.” Jenny complained.
Sarah cast one glance back at the house before racing after her friend who was already returning to the familiar lights of Storthes Hall student flats.

***

Sarah saw pure darkness yet within it something was moving. Silver edged waves lapped her feet sending shivers crawling up her bones. She could make out a faint white glow in the centre of her vision, weak but enough for a silhouette to evolve. Of a ship with a large square sail and a snarling beast head racing over the crests of black waves. Its sinister shape and swift movement made her feel like a seal hunted by a Killer Whale.
There was a flash of lightning. It illuminated an axe blade coming down upon her from above. Just before it could slice straight through her paralyzed body an unknown foreign male voice whispered into her ear.
“I am here.”
Sarah sat bolt upright in bed, freed from the nightmare at last. The image of a raven flag still lingered in the shadows of her mind.

***

It was Sunday and Sarah was surprised to find she wasn’t the only one going to see the sad downfall of the old farm house. She stood amongst the student gathering kept behind the safety barriers now that the bulldozer was in position. It was just as the bulldozer driver was about to get in, alongside a big cheer and chatter from the small crowd, that someone pushed past her. The culprit ignored the barrier and ran towards the house, straight past the demolition team unnoticed. Only when Sarah glared after the rude person did she recognise who it was.
“Hey! Jenny? Jenny!” She yelled trying to stop her friend, Jenny turned around just as she reached the old farms coal shed which was now visible because the demolition team had cleared all the vegetation. When their eyes met Sarah became cold inside, silenced by the feeling as Jenny then disappeared into the farmhouse. “Jenny! Jenny! What are you doing?” Sarah couldn’t understand this, Jenny was meant to be at home in Doncaster. Why didn’t she tell me she was planning this kind of stunt? Sarah pondered anxious and confused.
People were starting to look at her with puzzlement and the demolition team were ignoring her shouting completely as the bulldozer driver turned on the engine. The rest of her cries were drowned out in a huge cruel cheer from the student crowd.
Sarah caught the attention of the nearest man in a yellow jacket. Her frightened eyes and nervous voice persuaded him that she was telling the truth. He halted the bulldozer and went to the house with Sarah, much to the disappointment of the crowd who began booing and jeering.
“She’s in here I swear. She went right past you all. Jenny? Jenny can you hear me?” Sarah called into the dusty derelict building as her and the demolition foreman stood at the doorway. “Jenny? Please come out, you’re going to get into trouble.”
“I am here.” Jenny answered.
Sarah took her first steps inside, immediately feeling the coldness of the shadows.
“Are you sure she’s in here?” The foreman grunted, not satisfied.
“Yes, yes she is. Where are you Jenny?”
“I am here.”
“She’s through there.” Sarah began to go towards the dusty and cobwebbed doorway to the cellar. “Are you in there Jenny?”
Again came the reply. “I am here.”
It sounded strongest and closest in the one room they had yet to enter. “She’s in the other room.”
“Come off it, there’s no one here. You’re just stopping us do our job.” The foreman made a move to turn around and head back to the front door.
“No, she is in there. Didn’t you hear her?” Sarah pushed past the foreman towards the room. It was dark inside with bricked up windows but Sarah could see a darker form that wasn’t her shadow from the foreman’s distant torch light. She walked towards it thinking of Jenny. On her third step the dirt and rubble covered floor groaned, something snapped causing a shudder and the floorboards collapsed inwards. Sarah lost her balance with a wail and went down to the unknown.
The foreman came closer at the sound and shone his torch into the collapsed floor and stepped back in shock. In the dust flickering light was Sarah, on all fours amongst broken timbers and dirt but right next to her was a skull, its fixed expression so serious it was almost glaring at them both. Beside its other bones was what looked like a well rusted axe head only giving the faintest shine and a large lump of wood that was not from the broken floor. The beast’s forked tongue, jagged teeth, and painted ruby red eyes still looked menacing despite its withered state. Its age and sorry condition did not stop Sarah trembling when she looked at it.
The foreman swore before he clicked open the channel on his radio. “Dan get the Police on the phone, the damned house is on top of a grave. Until then this house stays up.”
Sarah heard words echo out of the skull by her side, it wasn’t Jenny’s voice. “I am here! ”

The End

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