A Tale of Chirbury has been published in ‘Darker Times Anthology, Vol 3’ – Amazon Kindle and Paperback

Darker Times Anthology Volume Three

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Times-Anthology-Volume-ebook/dp/B00CBNQOPO/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1365752999&sr=1-3&keywords=darker+times+anthology

The short stories here range from the plain gruesome to the psychologically sinister, black comedy to gritty drama, the playfully spooky to the downright disturbing. The winning stories were picked for their style, their technique, their originality, or their ability to invoke something ‘dark’ within the reader: fear, despair, doubt, regret, loneliness, pain. These aren’t just stories that will have you wondering what’s lurking under your bed or hiding in your closet; they’ll have you looking into your own life, peering into your past, glancing at your own personal ghosts. When you start delving into the darker times, it’s hard to get back to the light.

A Tale of Chirbury by PJ Hodge

A door to Chirbury Church

A Tale of Chirbury

A Tale of Chirbury

A Tale of Chirbury

“No sooner do they reach the entrance to the church when a blast of wind, violent and from nowhere, blows out the candles. The procession stops suddenly, each of the hunch-framed bodies consumed by an ice-cold chill. One of them screams and points into the near distance. Ahead, through the swirling mist, they make out a dark shape. It is moving towards them. As it approaches, the apparition grows; and from its black mass stems a gnarled, grey hand, the outstretched fingers of which drum out an invisible beat. Worse still, deep within its shapeless body comes a cold whisper; a voice that calls each of their names in turn: Henry Edwards, Matthew Bradeley, John Thynne, Martha Thynne… the unseen tongue continuing until all twelve names have been spoken.”

A tale of Chirbury

A door to Chirbury Church

Cowering under the deep shadow of St Michael’s church lies the little village of Chirbury, its population rarely venturing beyond the crooked line of buttresses that maintain its walls. Equal in number are those that will not pass through its cemetery; for here, the tendrils of time have reached across the ages to bind brick and soil to an ungodly power, a power diffused into the village conscience. Step into its realm and one feels touched by a sense of suffering, a gateway to the past.

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Walk with me (to the estuary) – a ghost story for Christmas

walk with me...

A bolt is thrust aside and one half of a stable door swings back. The sound of a sharp kick announces the peeling back of the second. A bulk of a man steps through carrying a thick meshed bundle of sticks and logs searching for a suitable spot to dump the damp load; his nose is held aloft, at a distance, enduring the sickly-sweet aroma of the mildewed bark. His face fidgets nervously until the wood is set down on a sheet of newspaper, neatly dragged into position by his foot. The dispatching of the load relieves his body, but his expression still retains the weary slump it entered with.

It is almost time for Manning to leave, a suitable moment to consider the sweet restorative powers of a few days by the coast. And with this thought, he finds his spirits lifting. It has been several years since he last visited Leet and walked its impressive shores; he has missed the place. No longer resisting, he succumbs to the pleasantness teasing his lips.

Perhaps you know Leet? It is a south facing sandy beach next to the entrance of the Beaulieu River in Hampshire, a landscape rich in character, with great stretches of open and unspoilt countryside.

Lete, walk with me (to the estuary)

But it is the agents of erosion that have defined this sea-place. The shore is littered with corpses: trees that have finally, but grudgingly, relinquished their fragile grip on the sandy soil, just a few metres above. Tendrils of seeping rainwater and the gnawing effect of the wind have gradually removed the earth, exposing roots to the mercy of encroaching elements. It is a natural decay, but not one that removes all evidence of existence; for old trunks lie entombed in wispy layers of sand, creating fragile barrows on the shore. In the early hours of a wintry morning, the landscape transforms into a surprisingly gloomy affair; the dead bodies of trees are thrust into the greyness, and any living thing roaming amongst the decay looks quite lost, as lost as a child. Continue reading

The Terror of Tichborne (a generational curse)

tichborne 1

Listen …can you hear her?

Strain your ears, press them close to the soil and you will. That wretched wheeze; a drawn-out throttling of the throat that sounds like murder. Then comes the coughing; a diseased hack-hack-hack, like a seal gasping for air.

I am dying.

She is dying; but slowly.

What an odd place to die.

Tiny trickles of earth spill over the back of her legs; pathetic limbs angrily propelling her body through a plough-ravaged soil.

I will not let him win.

She has crawled this field many times before, every accursed March 25th for the past eight hundred years.

And crawl it she must, for without her spirit, and the curse that is renewed each and every Lady Day, Tichborne would be nothing more than a dream of the past.

So, let us bless the soul of Lady Mabella and allow her to tell her tale, for it serves to reveal the true terror of the place that was once her home. Continue reading