Summer on the Hillside

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Old houses can be very atmospheric. Some feel cosy and some feel less so. When I was a young teenager I lived in a house like the one in this story. It had odd corners and strange quirks, including a dining room door that would mysteriously lock itself. The servants stairs at the back of the kitchen used to creak as though somebody was walking up and down them at times. But that was as malevolent as it got and we liked living there. This house in the story though is on a different level...




It was a beautiful house. Georgian, with a colonial style verandah running along the front. A sweeping staircase was the first thing you saw as you opened the front door, and it was easy to imagine the sight of a grand lady sweeping down the staircase in a long silk dress. The kitchen was large and five acres of ground lay to the back of the property. It had been there since 1820 and until now had remained in the hands of the same family. Now it belonged to Rita and she loved it. A house with commanding views of the South Downs and room for a horse and some chickens was a dream come true.

Rita had admired the house, indeed coveted it, for many years. She was surprised and indeed delighted to see it was on the open market, and six short weeks ago she had paid in full for this fine piece of architecture. It still had all the original windows with solid wooden shutters, and had in terms of the kitchen and bathrooms been brought up to reasonably modern standards. The bathrooms would need a refit she thought, as she surveyed an avocado coloured bath, but it was serviceable and had been kept clean. The décor was in good order and she had been able to move her belongings in and start to live in her grand surroundings with minimal work. Wanting to live alone in such a big space had seemed rather odd to her friends. Rita had sold a very nice flat in London with river views to move out here, Sussex, with nothing around her for two miles but sheep and open fields. To Rita it was heaven. She had open skies and fresh air, lots of walks and lots of inspiration for her art work. Rita was a successful artist and sculpture and this was going to be a whole new chapter in her work. Since a night ten years before, when she had been invited there by the previous owner to deliver a painting, she had known it would one day be hers.

There were two rooms in particular that made this house perfect. One was a downstairs drawing room with huge south facing windows. It was divided by wooden doors half way along , so one part could be a lounge and the other her studio. Also, for storage. a very large and dry cellar. It was ideal for her paints and canvases. A small winding stone stair case led down to the cavernous space cut into the chalk hillside under the house. It was heated with two long radiators which kept all damp at bay. The first thing Rita had unpacked was her equipment and it was all stored away neatly, to her great satisfaction. The kitchen and bedrooms were less well organised but she had been actually resident there for only three days. Winding up all the affairs in London had taken longer than she hoped. It was now heading for high summer and she decided to take a break from the inside work and take a walk out in the warm sunshine.

The driveway brought her out on to the South Downs Way. She was half a mile from the nearest road along a bumpy chalk track. The four by four on the drive had always seemed superfluous in London but had become a must have now. Heading away from the house she took the first turning left which started to wind up the hill. The fields on either side were filled with contented sheep and fast growing lambs or arable fields with families of partridges scuttling along the edges. As she reached the summit the ring of trees on top of an iron age fort came in to view. This was one of the subjects she wanted to paint. She had thought about maybe making a study of it every month of the year to catch all the colours and moods of the place. It was steeped in legend and folklore and even had a reputation for being a UFO hotspot. Now, in the bright sunshine with a breeze rustling the leaves, it didn't seem as though anything sinister could possibly take place in such an idyllic spot.

As she drew closer to the trees she thought she could hear voices. It sounded like children, maybe a school outing she thought. Perhaps it was a trick of the wind. But there they were again, voices singing.

“Ding dong derry. Let's all dance on the Bury!”

It drifted on the breeze and didn't seem to have a source. Rita scanned the hillside and looked down into the valley. Perhaps the sound was coming up from a local school, but she couldn't see anything. There it was again.

“Ding dong derry. Let's all dance on the Bury!”

Finally she caught sight of them. Six little girls all dressed in grey outfits were dancing in a ring and singing at the top of their voices. As Rita drew closer she could hear them laughing to themselves. One girl was taller than the others, Rita estimated she was about nine or ten years old, and the others were probably only about five or six. It seemed a drab uniform to inflict on little girls, a grey dress with black tights and shoes. Their long hair was pulled back into regimental neat plaits. When they saw Rita approaching they stopped their game and the little ones huddled around the tall girl.

“Please, don't stop your game girls. I didn't mean to disturb you.” Rita told them.

“We should probably be heading back.” the tall girl answered “We've been out for a while. What time is it please Miss?”

Rita reached in her jeans pocket for her phone to check for them.

“It's half past two.” she told them.

The only thing was, that by the time she looked back up, the girls were gone.

At that point Rita woke up in her armchair. A post lunch glass of wine stood on the floor beside her. She was confused for a moment as the scene had been so vivid. She had felt the breeze on her face and could feel the warmth of the sun on her back as she walked up the hill. She could even remember the smell from the fields of sheep. She looked at the wine and vowed not to drink at lunchtime again.

A couple of weeks later Rita was organised enough to be able to have friends visit for the weekend. The house had five bedrooms and two bathrooms so accommodating five guests was no problem. She had read so many books with stories about country weekends she was looking forward to hosting her own. True enough in the past a country house like this would have had a couple of staff in residence to do much of the work, but she was going to put her own twist on it. She had found a lady from the village to employ as a cleaner three times a week, so she had been able to prepare the rooms. Bookings were made at the village pub for the Friday night and for Sunday lunch. Rita had spent time baking and cooking in advance to feed everyone on the Saturday. She was sure it was going to be an enjoyable weekend.

At six on the Friday evening the first of her guests arrived. Melanie was one of her oldest friends and had been the most vociferous critic of the plan to move. She was closely followed by Derek and Marcia, a long married couple who Rita had known for about ten years. They had been her neighbours before she moved. Then finally Steve and John, again a married couple, who tumbled through the door clutching bottles of champagne and huge bunches of flowers. Once everyone was in and she had made the introductions Steve opened a bottle of champagne and they all drank a toast to the new house, new beginnings and the glorious isolation that Rita had imposed upon herself.

“We had thought about moving to the country” began Marcia “But the commuting to work would be hellish. I mean why would you cram yourself onto unreliable trains every day for hours to get to the office when in the city you can walk or take a ten minute tube journey?”

“Indeed” added Derek. He never said very much to qualify Marcia's deliberations. It was as if she was spokesperson for the two of them.

“And, where on earth do you go for entertainment, meals, hairdressers even?” Marcia continued.

“If I was desperate to see a show in London no doubt I could book a hotel or even better, stay with one of you overnight.” Rita replied.

“Oh! Absolutely Rita. You can stay with us any time.” John told her.

Steve was brandishing more champagne in her direction.

“Best not have any more yet Steve. I'm taking you all out to dinner at the local gastro pub. I will drive, so the rest of you can tuck in. Table is booked for 8.30 so you have time to change if you want or just relax and unpack. We will all get in my car with no problem.”

Everyone thanked her for the generosity of buying them all supper, but all of them also knew that the move had left her with a considerable amount of money in the bank. Her flat had sold for a fortune, with its river views and close proximity to the city. She had bought it when it was very run down and turned it into something very desirable. This house, she had bought for well below the market value. The previous owner had decided to go abroad and wanted a very quick sale. Rita's offer, which she thought was quite cheeky being thirty thousand pounds below asking price, was snapped up. Then just before she left London she had a very successful exhibition where every piece had sold. With her bank account duly filled she had no hesitation about sharing her good fortune with her friends.

The local pub was very smart. It had been taken over by a French restaurateur the previous summer and he had turned it into a popular place, with people coming from far and wide to eat. Rita had heard that the locals were not so keen as they could no longer afford to go there, but Pascal had employed a substantial number of them. He needed the catering staff, gardeners and building trades to keep his dream running. The back of the building was still being renovated and as they pulled in to the car park scaffolding was visible. The front however was bright and cheerful, decorated like a French country house. It was a little snapshot of Provence dropped into the English countryside. The menu included French classics alongside local produce. The meal was a delight and Pascal a great host. The wine cellar contents were proving popular with her friends too so on the drive home her car load of guests were very talkative.

“What I can't understand Rita, is why you have put yourself all the way out here on your own. I mean I bet you could go for a week and not see a soul! It's not going to be much fun in the winter either. I bet that old house is going to cost a fortune to heat. You won't be able to just pop out for a coffee with your friends if you're bored.” This was Melanie, trying to find a hundred reasons why her old friend would not be happy here. She wanted Rita to move back to London as she missed her. It was selfish but it was how she felt and she had never been a person to hide her feelings.

“You will have to come and stay with me regularly Melanie. Keep me company and I'm sure that once you have seen the countryside tomorrow you will understand why I want to be here. It's stunning. I have planned a walk for us that shouldn't prove challenging and a nice pub at the end of it. It will work off your breakfast!” Rita told them.

“Walking? Darling you are already going native!” This was John from the back of the car.

“ Everybody walks John. It's part of being human.” she answered.

In London John would have taken a taxi to the corner shop if he could.

Back at the house they congregated in the lounge and opened another bottle of champagne. At this rate they would all be too hungover for breakfast Rita thought. It was approaching midnight so she politely offered to escort them all to their rooms and fell into a deep sleep herself.


She was on the hill top again but it was a dank day with low cloud and drizzle. She couldn't see more than a few yards in front of her. The cold damp air seeped into her bones and she shivered. The voices were there again. The little girls.

“Ding dong derry, Let's all dance on the Bury!”

Rita couldn't see them and the voices seemed to be all around her. There was giggling and she could hear the footsteps of them running behind her. Finally in the centre of the ring of trees she saw them. They were still dressed the same way in the drab grey dresses with no coats or scarf to protect them from the immense cold. She approached them.

“Hello girls. What are you doing out in this weather?”

Once again the smaller girls huddled around the older one as if seeking protection.

“We keep warm with our dancing Miss. You could join us for ago. It's fun!”

The tallest girl held out a hand. Rita took it and the ice cold feel of the little fingers was shocking. It almost burned, like when you are handling frozen food. She couldn't let go. Once the girl had a grip on her Rita was compelled by something to join them. An equally cold and tiny hand slipped into her other one and the girls started to sing and pull her along in their circle.

“Ding dong derry. Let's all dance on the Bury. Another girl has joined us, so let's be merry!”

The girls danced faster and faster until Rita struggled to keep step and felt really dizzy but could do nothing to break the grip of these two girls. Her hands were burning with the cold and she just wanted to get away.

She woke up with a start and sat up in bed. It was 3am and she felt sick. Rita dashed to the next door bathroom and tried to vomit as quietly as possible so she didn't wake her guests. She had only had two glasses of champagne all evening, certainly not enough alcohol to elicit this violent evacuation of her stomach contents. She hoped she hadn't caught some kind of virus, not with her house full of guests. If it didn't settle down she would have to send them all home early for their own safety. After half an hour the vomiting stopped and Rita felt much better. Perhaps Pascal's food had been too rich for her? What about the girls? What did it all mean? It was just past 3.30am. She decided some sleep would make her feel much better and clear her head for the morning.

Three hours later Rita was wide awake and tossing and turning under her duvet. She felt hot and clammy, craved coffee, and decided to get up again. She went down to the kitchen to make herself a drink, the sunrise pouring through one of the side windows, and took it into her studio. The early light was soft and tinged with yellow as she picked up her brushes and stood before a fresh canvas. The next thing she was aware of was Melanie knocking softly on the studio door. Rita was standing in front of a finished painting. It was a scene of the hilltop in the mist with the figures of six little girls dancing in a ring. It was just as she had seen it the night before, the mist swirling and the bare winter skeletons of the trees reaching up into a murky sky. Rita shuddered as she surveyed the picture that she could not remember creating. Melanie entered the room and stood behind her.

“Wow! That's very different from your other work. Much more figurative. Where has that come from? I love the effect of all the mist.”

“ I don't know. I suppose it's the landscape. Shall we get some more coffee?”

“You didn't drink the first one you made Rita. It's stone cold.” Melanie told her and picked up the mug from the side table.

The two women made their way to the kitchen and Rita saw it was half past nine. She had finished the painting in a little under three hours. It would normally take days. She drank the hot coffee Melanie gave her and then turned her thoughts to breakfast for her guests. Things inside her own head were undoubtedly a little strange and confused, but she didn't want to let her friends down or indeed let them think she was anything less than absolutely fine. They started to appear in various stages of readiness for the day. Marcia was dressed, showered and had her make up on. The three males were still in dressing gowns and taking a little longer to shake off the excesses of the previous evening. They decided that they had possibly been too keen on the champagne.

“Well, if we can all be ready to roll by about half eleven that would be great. I have a walk planned that will take about two hours and bring us back here in time for lunch. Mrs Etheridge, my lady who comes up to help is kindly going to pop in and get it all heated up and ready for our return. I made some dishes in the week and put them in the freezer.”

The guests had some of the cereal, warm croissants and fruit she had laid out for them. Coffee and fruit juice washed it all down and her obedient companions all dispersed to get dressed. About ten minutes before leaving Mrs Etheridge arrived.

“Thank you so much for giving up some of your Saturday. “ Rita said “ I'm very grateful.”

“It's no bother. My husband has gone fishing with the boys. I would only be at home alone. So you just want me to make sure the food is hot for half past one and prepare some side salad and sort out the dishwasher.”

“Yes please.”

“ I'll give the hoover a push round while I'm here. Keep it freshened up.”

As the women walked through from the hallway, where they had been discussing the domestic arrangements Mrs Etheridge caught sight of Rita's new painting through the open studio door.

“I see you've heard the story of the workhouse girls then?”

Rita stopped and looked at her curiously. She hadn't heard any local stories. She had only spoken to a few of the local people and then only on a superficial level. There hadn't been time since the move to find out very much about the local history.

“Briefly.” Rita bluffed. “What can you tell me?”

“It's a sad story. The people who lived up here in the 1840's used to take in girls from the local parish workhouse. They did it under the guise of giving them a home and some rudimentary

education and skills, you know, so they could make a living when they grew up and not be dependent on the workhouse themselves. Some of them had parents that were drinkers, or their fathers were dead and widowed mothers couldn't keep the family together. If they were illegitimate they might have been born in there and looked on as a financial burden on the place. All the usual hardships that made people end up in there. Anyway, the little girls kept coming up here and were never seen again. Of course all kinds of rumours started to go round about what was happening to them. Some of the locals thought they were being worked to death. Some even talked about their little souls being sold to the devil. They were frail little things in a time when children had to be tough and lucky to grow up. They probably just got sick and died. The family gave them all a good Christian burial in the churchyard and apparently the lady of the house was always very upset. In the end they stopped taking the girls in. The parish board put a stop to it. Something was going on up here that wasn't right. Your painting of them dancing on the hill is really good. You must have spoken to people who have had sightings of them?”

Rita went quiet and looked at the floor.

“Oh good lord! You've seen them yourself haven't you?”

“No, of course not. It's just a local story. I expect like you say, the poor creatures just took sick and died. I don't believe in ghosts.”

“That won't stop them coming to find you.”

With that Mrs Etheridge carried on through to the kitchen and made no more mention of the subject.

With her guests ready to go for the walk, Rita led the way out of the big front gate and the group headed off up the hillside. It was an idyllic day with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. From the highest point up by the tree ring they could see the sea in the distance to the south and out across the Sussex Weald to the north. The paths wound down the other side of the hill into the village. Steep cuttings from old chalk workings made the path narrow in places with steep drops. At other points it wound between farmland or was covered by a canopy of trees. Her friends watched fascinated as buzzards soared over head and the sound of skylarks filled the air. They agreed that it was a lovely place but were all quite pleased to be in the local pub after walking for over an hour. Pascal greeted them like old friends and offered them menus as they ordered drinks. Rita explained that she was catering at home today, but was looking forward to the following days Sunday lunch. After the pit stop, they continued back through the village and back up the hill to the house in time to see Mrs Etheridge gathering up her bag and cardigan to go home. Rita thanked her again and slipped her an envelope with some cash in it. Time and a half had been agreed and to Rita it was money well spent. All she had to do was dish up the food and put everything in the now empty dishwasher at the end of it. The afternoon was going to be spent relaxing around the house and garden. Rita mentioned that she had some bottles of drink stored in the cellar, and if anyone would like some Pimms there were two bottles down there. Steve offered to go and fetch it.


In the hallway near the cellar door he was surprised to see a little girl standing smiling at him.

“Hello! How did you get in here?”he asked.

The child just turned on her heels and ran towards the stairs down to the cellar. He could hear her laughing as she went. He wondered how a child could find its way up here and into the house and made after her. On the cellar steps there was no sign of the girl. They fell away in a steep spiral, and as he switched the light on he expected to find her hiding beyond the sharp twist in the stair well. He would persuade the little girl to come with him back to the kitchen and find out how she had got there and where she was from. A pale little waif in a grey tunic was the last thing he expected to find in his friends house. There was no sign of her on the stairs. Instead he heard the giggle from behind him and felt a firm shove in the middle of his back. He fell the rest of the way down the stone steps. As he lay at the bottom he saw the girl standing over him, watching as he struggled to try and get up. A searing pain told him his lower leg was probably broken and he could feel blood trickling down his left cheek.

“Oh God! Quick child, go and get the others. I can't get up.”

Steve watched as the girl shook her head and walked away. To add to his terror, she walked straight through the wall and disappeared. He started to scream at the top of his voice, partly because of the pain and partly from fear that this phantom might return.

Eventually he made himself heard. John got on the floor next to him and held his hand telling him it would all be ok. An ambulance had been called and luckily wasn't far away. He told them all about the encounter he had with some kind of apparition, but being logical people they told Steve it must be something to do with the bang on his head. He was seeing things. He must have just missed his footing and fallen. Rita remained quiet and said she would go and wait out on the drive for the ambulance. It was easy to miss the turning. As she passed the door of her studio she glanced at the painting she had created earlier in the day. The faces of the figures, instead of looking into the centre of the circle they were making, had all turned to look out of the picture at her. She shivered and ran out of the house.

The fall had left Steve with a fracture of both bones in his lower left leg and in need of stitches to his head. He needed surgery to the leg and had concussion. He was going to be in the hospital in Brighton for a few days before he could be discharged home. John returned from the A+E, packed up their things and left for a hotel he had found close to the hospital. Rita didn't know if Steve had convinced him of the story of the apparition, but John threw all their things into a case and almost ran to his car. He thanked Rita very politely but could not disguise the fact he was desperate to get away. Rita checked her painting. The faces of the girls had turned back and they had resumed their dance.

Most of the day had passed by the time John had gone leaving the four remaining occupants of the house in need of dinner and a stiff drink. The weekend was not going as Rita had planned at all. Derek and Marcia were talking about heading back to London the next morning, but Rita persuaded them it would be a terrible shame to miss out on the lunch she had planned. They could at least go home on full stomachs. They agreed finally and decided at around ten to head for bed. It had been a tiring day. Rita once again tossed and turned in her bed. She wondered why the girls from the hillside had decided to target her, if indeed they existed outside of the imagination. There must be some plausible explanation for what happened to Steve and what he saw. Rita fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Marcia was missing. Derek raised the alarm at around seven and a full search of the house did not yield any clues as to where she might have gone. The only things missing were her dressing gown and walking shoes. They decided to search the gardens. With no sign of her outside, Derek rang the local police and reported Marcia missing. The three remaining friends dressed and headed out up the hill in hope of finding her, which indeed they did, moments before the police arrived with a search and rescue dog. Marcia was unconscious, but alive. She was laid out in the centre of the ring of trees, hands folded across her chest like a corpse. She was surrounded by wild flowers that had been picked from the hedgerows. She had a head injury. The whole thing was totally bizarre. Marcia was air lifted to hospital and once again Rita had to watch as one of her friends threw their belongings into a case and almost ran away from her door. Just Melanie remained now and she was getting spooked too by the events of the previous twenty four hours.

“I think you should come back to London with me Rita. Something very wrong is going on here.” she told her friend.

“I think perhaps I need to find out what it is Melanie. I mean, this is my house and I owe it to my friends to get to the bottom of this. Whatever it is...”

A knock came at the front door and Rita opened it to be confronted with two detectives from the nearest large police station twelve miles away. They took names and details of all the parties who had been in the house over the weekend. They asked for every tiny detail of Steve's accident and anything that they could remember to explain how Marcia might have ended up on the hill in her night clothes. They could offer very little to help the detectives but they left Rita with the distinct feeling that she was their prime suspect. They requested that Melanie stay put for a few days and not return to London as planned. It was almost lunchtime on the Sunday now and the two friends elected to go for lunch as planned at Pascal's pub if only as a way of getting out of the house. The atmosphere in the place was becoming oppressive and every creak and groan from the pipes and floorboards was making them nervous. When they turned up with just two for lunch instead of six and told Pascal the strange story he was sympathetic to the point of giving them brandy for the shock and a free bottle of wine each to go with the meal. Unlike the Friday night, Rita did not hold back with the alcohol. Her nerves were gradually being shredded and she needed the 'Dutch courage' just to face walking back through her own front door. They walked home, stumbled into the lounge and slumped into the sofas. It wasn't long before the wine and food had sent them both into a deep sleep.


When Rita awoke it was dusk. Melanie was no longer on the seat opposite and Rita presumed she must be either in the kitchen or had taken herself off to bed. On investigation she wasn't in the kitchen or dining room, so Rita grabbed a bottle of whisky and a glass from the sideboard and took it back with her. She found herself confronted by the tallest girl from the group apparition.

“What do you want?” Rita shouted.

“We want a mother.” it replied simply.


“We never had one. Not one of us ever had a mother. We was brought up here thinking we might be looked after nicely. But the mistress beat us when we got things wrong. There wasn't no kindness Miss. Just short rations and cruelty, worse than the workhouse at times. I was the first one and my little sisters that followed over the next few years all got the same. Some died of hunger and some got sick. So we never had anyone to look after us Miss. I was older than the others so I have done what I can for such a long time. Over a hundred and fifty years of looking after them, and they are all so sad for the lack of a mother. I had to promise them one Miss. That's all I've been trying to do. Your friend we took up the hill, she didn't want to do it so we had to leave her like we did. I hope she wakes up.”

“What about Steve? Why did you hurt him?”

“That was little Doris being naughty Miss. She has a devil in her. Always pushing people. I took my eye off her for a moment.”

“Where is Melanie? My god , what have you done with Melanie?”

The child took off and ran through the closed front door, Rita in hot pursuit. She left the door wide open and ran after the ghost child who was heading back towards the ring of trees. Walking the hillside wasn't too much of a challenge to Rita but running up the incline was hell. Her leg muscles were on fire and she was heaving big lungfuls of air in and out. Her breathing was reduced to ragged gasps as she reached to top of the hill. She was relieved to see Melanie standing in the centre of the tree ring seemingly unharmed. The girls were huddled in a group behind her and about ten feet away.

“Melanie! Thank goodness you're ok. Can you see them?” Rita asked between trying to catch her breaths.

“Of course I can Rita. Why didn't you tell me about them. Such good little girls and all so pretty. They are adorable.”

“Melanie, they aren't real. They're....hell! I don't know what they are but they aren't just little girls.”

“Well certainly little Doris has a devil in her.” Melanie replied.

One of the girls stepped forward and snuggled up to Melanie. The little head wasn't much past Melanie's hip and she hugged the figure of the adult. Melanie stroked her hair.

“I think you should show Aunty Rita what you have done Doris and say sorry.”

The little arm raised and pointed towards the other side of the ring, the opposite side of the hill from the house where the banks of old chalk quarries had left steep drops and escarpments. Rita ran to the edge of the nearest one in the fading light and could see at the bottom of a thirty foot drop the crumpled body of her best friend. They had killed Melanie outright and claimed her for themselves. Rita turned and saw the figure of Doris running towards her. She screamed like a banshee as Rita dodged out of the way and Doris carried on over the edge.

Rita took the opportunity to turn and run back towards the house. She needed to ring for help for her friend. There was a chance Melanie might be alive, although Rita doubted it. As she ran all she could hear was the sound of the girls singing.

“Ding dong derry, let's all dance on the Bury. We have found our Mama so let's all be merry!”

The song got louder and louder inside Rita's head so by the time she was falling back through her own front door it was unbearable. On the way to find the phone she caught a glance of her painting through the open studio door. Instead of the misty still life she had supposedly created, it showed the figures of the six little girls dancing in circles, singing at the top of their voices and there in the middle of the ring stood Melanie smiling benevolently at the girls. Rita screamed and grabbed the picture. She smashed it against the easel, swung it against the door frame and finally jumped up and down on it. The noise finally stopped, but when Rita looked down the remnants of the canvas were white, new, unpainted and she was covered in blood. When she looked up the detectives who had been there earlier that day were watching her. They had received a call reporting a body on the hillside found by a dog walker, and answering the description of the woman they had seen in Rita's house that morning.

Rita did nothing to resist the arrest. She was bundled into the back of the police car in a daze . She had no idea what she had just experienced and felt she must have gone completely insane. She felt something touch her leg and when she looked little Doris was sitting next to her in the back of the car. The detectives had never heard cries of such abject terror come from another human being before. By the time they got to the police station some twenty minutes later their ears were ringing. Their prisoner could hardly stand and when she was asked her name by the desk sergeant she couldn't answer. The doctor was called but by the time they arrived it was too late. Rita's heart had given out and try as they might nothing would revive her.

The old house was falling into a state of disrepair. It was a shame that the fine Georgian building had been neglected for the previous five years. A young couple stood outside proudly surveying the edifice of their bargain purchase and contemplating how they would bring it back to life. Their little boy ran around on the gravel drive. From inside the house two women watched out of the window.

“They look like a nice couple Melanie.”

“Yes they do Rita. And look at the little boy. He's very sweet. Doris has always wanted a brother.”



Submitted: May 17, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Petula Mitchell . All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



This was really nicely told. The haunting atmosphere was excellent as you built up layer upon layer of paranormal activity. Yep, I really enjoyed this!

Sun, May 17th, 2020 6:29pm


Hi there. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I had this one buzzing around in my head for a while with different possibilities and endings. Hope the one I have gone with is entertaining and very glad you enjoyed it.

Mon, May 18th, 2020 3:23am

Vance Currie

An eminently readable story, Petula. I enjoyed it too, as I am sure others have done.

Mon, May 18th, 2020 8:38am


Hi Joe. I had this one buzzing in my head for a good while before committing it to a finished version. Glad you found it an entertaining read. A good old fashioned haunting!

Mon, May 18th, 2020 3:25am

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