Friday, 27 December 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Night Before Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for that man-eating lion!
It's coming to eat me!
Someone save me.

Saturday, 7 December 2013


I was going to barf. Not because I was nervous about spending the summer at camp, but because Dad was driving like a man possessed. The speed was excessive as we drove down the motorway, but now we had hit the country roads, it was terrifying. The roads were narrow, lined with trees, and he took the bends like a Formula One driver chasing a victory.

Dad was normally a very cautious driver and always obeyed the speed limits. If he didn’t, Mum would insist in her most insistent voice, which always worked. It was chilling to the bone. Yet no noise came from the passenger seat. Mum just stared out the window, silently willing Dad to go faster.

At least that’s how it appeared. If I were a suspicious kid, I’d think they were overly keen on getting rid of me for six weeks.

Dad yanked the steering wheel to the right. The car veered around the corner and, for a moment, I really thought we had lifted onto two wheels.

“Dad, can you take it easy. I’m feeling--”

“We have to get to the camp before the registration ends,” Mum snapped. “Don’t distract your father.”

“Yes, Mum.”

Ten minutes later, we turned off the road and passed through large, iron gates and down a straight, gravel driveway. Mum and Dad both drew in a deep breath and released it slowly. I joined in. To say I was glad the journey was almost over was an understatement. The camp would be a doddle compared to the ride here.

Dad slammed his foot on the brakes and the car skidded to a halt in a cloud of dust. The seatbelt stopped me from flying through the windscreen, but the sudden jarring forced all the air from my lungs, and my breakfast from my stomach. I managed to catch it in my mouth and swallow it back down. Not pleasant.

“We’re here,” Dad shouted, a little too eagerly. “You’re going to have so much fun. Let’s get your stuff out the boot and see where you’ve got to go.”

Within seconds, Mum and Dad had bolted from the car, opened the boot and retrieved my suitcase. They were halfway to the house before they realised I wasn’t with them. My gaze had found Parson’s Retreat.

It looked more like a castle than a house; three stories high, grey, stone walls, and the windows were just small slits. There was even a tower rising from the left hand side of the building. A chill raced up my spine; my heart thumped inside my chest; my breathing quickened. This was wrong. I couldn’t stay here. The house was old. Way too old.

“Mum, Dad,” I begged, “I’ve changed my mind. Summer camp isn’t a good idea. We need to leave.”

Dad rushed back to me and knelt down on one knee. “It’ll be fine. You’ll meet new friends and have an adventure.”

My head yanked to the left. A breeze filled my ear. The Whispers were calling. They wanted me to listen.

No ... No, I had to concentrate. I had to stop them. Ignore them. Don’t listen.

“But, Dad, you don’t understand.”

The Whispers pushed harder, trying to force themselves through the void.

“We do understand. You’re nervous about being away from home for the first time.”

“No, Dad, that’s not it.”

“Of course it is. Look, when we were eleven, both your mother and I went on summer camps. And although we were both scared to start with, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the end.”

A single Whisper forced its way through: three men wearing grey trousers and blood-soaked shirts. All carried muskets. They ran across the front of the house. One raised his musket to his shoulder, paused, and pulled the trigger. A bright flash and a cloud of smoke erupted in silence from the barrel. The man then ran to catch up with the other two.

Mum knelt beside me and ran her hand through my hair. “And you’ll enjoy camp, too. Trust us. It’ll be good for you. Help you with your problem.”


She gave me a kiss, as did Dad, and before I had time to realise how embarrassing that was, they were dragging me and the suitcase towards the ancient house.

“Is there something you’re not tell--”

My head yanked to the right. An ice-cold breeze filled my ear. The Whispers called again. One overlapped with another. Five of them. Ten of them. A thousand souls crying out: This is what happened here.

Two men dressed in Royal Air Force uniforms ran down the steps of the house. They were followed by a third man dressed in army green. The taller air force officer pulled a gun from his holster, turned back, and squeezed the trigger over and over again. Flash after flash spewed from the barrel. The man in army green stumbled backwards and collapsed on the steps.

“No,” I shouted, “Stop. I can’t....”

I closed my eyes and sucked in a slow, deep breath, held it for a moment, then released it. I repeated this twice more, concentrating on a single thought: Silence.

I raised my left hand and touched my ear. It was warm. The Whispers were gone.

I opened my eyes.

And so were my parents! They were in the car and speeding down the driveway, back towards the main road, and home.

A rotund woman, who looked as old as the house, stood at the bottom of the steps leading up to the front doors. “Ah, you’re back,” she said, grinning. “You were in a world of your own there for a minute.”


“I said my name is Mrs. Bamber. Welcome to Parson’s Retreat, where history comes alive.”


Thursday, 5 December 2013

A slight re-design

After some advice from a sharky-toothed literary agent, I decided to redesign my blog. Since I have no idea about design, colour schemes and whatnot, it's up to you guys who read this to tell me if it's okay or not.

Now I'm going to have to come up with some stuff to blog about over Christmas. Hmm, that can't be too hard, can it?