Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Excerpt from The Lavender Witch




The Lavender Witch is a chilling ghost story based on the strange but true events surrounding the death of Hannah Beamish, accused of being a witch by a wealthy farmer in the small remote village where she lived in the early 1800's.
One hundred and seventy years later these strange events, only now remembered by a few, come to light when Kitty and Gordon move back to the Devon village where they were born. They buy an old orchard from a neighbouring farm and build a small house, all is fine until they move in.
Over the course of their first week in the house chilling apparitions appear and events spiral out of control bringing the past and present together until the shocking truth emerges as to what really happened to Hannah.


They walked slowly along the drive to the lane; time had passed since they had driven up to Orchard Cottage and it was now dark, the night sky was filled with winking stars and high up on Castle Hill a fox barked.
‘Right, down to Sybil’s Gordon,’ Queenie said firmly.
‘No,’ he replied sharply. ‘That’s it! We’re out of here; we’re not getting involved in any more of this.’
‘Now let’s calm down a minute, I want to know what’s going on and what my grandfather has to do with this.’ The old man had stopped and stood in front of them determined to get an answer.
‘This is a story that shouldn’t be told in a dark lane William,’ said Sybil taking hold of his arm and pulling him towards the village.
‘Well let’s go into the farmhouse then,’ he said impatiently. ‘It’s closer.’
‘No,’ Kitty put in weakly. ‘Not in there, sorry,’ she apologised to the old man. ‘But you see it’s his house.’
‘Kitty is right we shouldn’t set foot in there.’ Queenie warned. ‘Sybil’s cottage will do. Come along.’
 She led the way along the darkened lane until they came close to the entrance of the farmyard. She slowed to a halt, from across the paved yard came the sound of approaching footsteps, footsteps that Kitty immediately recognised.
‘Who’s that?’ bristled William. ‘Hi,’ he shouted striding forward, pushing past Queenie who put out a restraining hand, but he brushed impatiently it aside. ‘Who’s there? You’re trespassing.’
 His voice echoed around the buildings but the footsteps did not slow, they drew closer and closer to the group huddled in the lane.
‘It’s him,’ whispered Kitty trying to pull away from Gordon’s tightening grip. ‘It’s him Queenie,’ she hissed again.
Queenie nodded in recognition. ‘Yes Kitty it is,’ she said quietly. She raised her voice ‘Well Robert? What are you going to do now eh?’
William glanced at her quickly before returning his gaze to the entrance of the yard.
A dark shape slid into the shadows of the wall, and as they watched it gathered itself together pulling in the darkness of the night and becoming more solid.
 A figure walked slowly out from the shelter of the wall and stood in the middle of the lane and raised his head. Dark sunken eyes stared across the intervening space between him and his grandson.
‘Oh my God!’ whispered William in horror. ‘It is him.’
The old man staggered back and would have fallen if Gordon hadn’t grabbed his arm to steady him.
‘William, are you alright?’ Sybil whispered to him urgently gripping his other arm to support him.
‘What in God’s name is this? He’s dead!’ William’s voice echoed around the lane making the apparitions face wince.
Queenie took a few paces forward and peered at the shade of Robert Beamish.
‘So that’s it! William is the key,’ she said triumphantly. She turned back quickly to the others. ‘Back to the house, all of you.’
‘Are you mad woman? We’re not going back in there,’ Gordon shouted at her.                                      
 He stared at the figure in the lane and watched in horror as it approached slowly towards them.
Queenie pulled Kitty back towards the house. ‘You have no choice now, he’s not going to stop. He’ll come after Kitty where ever she is.’
‘You don’t know that,’ he shot at her.
 ‘Look at him!’ Queenie shouted at him. ‘He is on the road! This road doesn’t belong to the Beamish family, it never has done. He’s not on his own soil!’
They backed slowly away down the lane to the entrance of the drive, William last of all. He stood frozen to the spot staring at his grandfather’s form approaching along the road.
Sybil pulled at his arm. ‘Come on William,’ she shouted at him.
‘I thought I had forgotten him,’ he whispered. ‘But one look at his face and it has all come back.’
Clouds drifted across the night sky casting even darker shadows onto the road but the shadow of Robert Beamish was darker still as he paced slowly forward; the regular thump of the stick hitting the tarmac echoing off the buildings.

The Lavender Witch is available on Amazon, Kindle and Paperback, also on www.magic-myth-legend.co.uk

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