A Halloween Story

Ever since I had a good day and accidentally tagged one of my friends I wondered just how many of my friends I could tag (real names only) in place of real words. This story just kind of happened when I tried that. There is a bit of repetition due to the fact that certain words are more common as surnames. I've emboldened the names used which hopefully explains some of the more stilted writing in places.

Story

It was a nice monday evening when he decided to wade through the brown stream. The water soaked through his jeans and destroyed his wallet, which was really annoying as he still had bills to pay from the recent tax levy.

He finally made it home across the dale and retired to his chambers to dry off. He had to look his best because he had to see the chamberlain about his plan for some new recreational parks. He had always thought there weren't enough nice parks in the area and that needed rectifying.

As he got dressed the burns inflicted on him as a young boy began to pain him. The main problem with the burns was the large one across his back that made putting on shirts particularly difficult.

He took a large step to peer out of the window over the nearby dale at the young lambs in the fields. He envied the lambs, they could gadabout with wild abandon without a care in the world. Until the farmer took them to slaughter of course. On second thoughts maybe his life was better despite the large brown scars on his back.

His thoughts turned back to his financial woes. At least he had money in a bond but that would require him to go into town to the bank. At least that would give him a chance to talk to his friend the draper. Maybe he'd walk the long way round through the small park nearby that still had a peacock he liked to watch.

It could be quite an eerie park with the large statue of some long forgotten knight. He had always had an interest in chivalry but the knight's name still eluded him. He had often visited that place with his old friend the cook before they moved away. Everyone was moving to the cities these days and the days of knights seemed long gone. Maybe soon the statue would be the only remaining testament to them.

He had been so young when he first saw that statue of the knight and fell in love with parks and antiquity, oh so young. It seemed so long ago now. So many summers had passed and many things had changed. The smith had been told his services were no longer required when the manor fell into disrepair. That was the time of the last hunt too.

That had been the summer that he was the desirable young guy about town. He hadn't needed to put any effort in to garner the ladies' affections back then but it was all so long ago now. It seemed almost a dream in is mind's eye. He would give almost anything to be young again.

He felt so old. Like the Norman castle nearby with it's filled in moat and destroyed bailey. It seemed impossible that he had ever been young. The years and his worries hang heavy about him now. It had been a long time since he had lost his licence and his practice had to finish. How could he continue to pay for his small estate?

Maybe he could go and gamble his remaining savings? Though it had always been his wits that were sharp, not his luck. That's what the smith had always said. He missed them less with each passing year but it was the smith who had been the first to go and they had been such firm friends.

Now it was just him, the draper and the miller. Who knew what had become of the smith. For all he knew the poor smith had died in the intervening years and watched over them all from heaven. A place free from man's laws would suit him right about now. There'd be no more worries about money. He could become a singer in the choir invisible. He had always loved music.

The smith was surely in a better place wherever he was. Maybe he'd finally made it to Nottingham. That and keeping robins had always been his dream. He could see him now, happily leant up against a wain while he tended to the small birds and discussed the local comings and goings with anyone who would lend him a year. That made him smile.

He wish he could have cast some spell to ward against the powers of time but fate as they said was inexorable. Maybe that was why he'd so many turn to the bottle and lose themselves in whisky and rye . The White Hart was just over the hill and maybe that was the easy way out. He'd probably fall down the hill in his drunken state though and break his neck. He snorted at that!

Maybe he should just run away from everything and go live in the Brown Wood like a modern day Robin Hood? Probably wouldn't work though. He'd likely slip on some moss and kill himself that way or maybe eat some poisoned berries. His enemies would crow then. He imagined his funeral would be poorly attended. How had he made so many enemies? He had only wanted to do good...

Even his wife had left him to go off with the gardner . The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth. He tried to hold onto the memory of the first time he saw her in the Snow but the anger was still too much It was still a difficult pill to swallow.

Maybe the powers that be had some great plan in store for him? He doubted that though the Pope was probably a liar and he'd long given up on attending church.

He rested his hands on the edge of the windowsill and sighed.

The waters pooling below the window reflected the moonlight and he heard a keen, shrill sound on the air. What was that? Some Lord of Darkness come to finally dispatch him from this sad existence? He hoped so.

The keen sound stung his soul like a devilish bee. He peered into the darkness trying to find the source of the sound. He could see nothing so he picked up the candle in its holder, lit it and headed downstairs.

His limbs creaked in time with the stairs as he made his way down to the front door at the end of the hall. What he wouldn't give now for that ward against the darkness. The hall seemed to close around him as he went, the dark cloying at his clothes.

He opened the door and looked outside. The blood went from his face as he saw that alien and strange creature in front of him. It was clearly the source of the horrible noise he had heard. He was frozen to the spot as it inspected him with a cold and calculating intelligence.

It was a terrible sight to behold. Reptilian and dark. It's eyes had gigantic pupils rimmed with a dark tan coloured flesh. The candle's light flickered across its scales before it guttered and died in the wind. He was completely transfixed by the gaze of the creature when silently and with a stunning grace it gave him a blunt blow to the stomach.

The pain was sudden and searing. He moved for the first time as he felt a dampness under his cotton shirt.

"They would have to bury him now," he thought as the blood stained the cotton a deep red.

He doubled over and fell forwards onto the ground, his life flashing before his eyes. He remembered running around this courtyard as a lad. He would've bargained anything now for a chance to live longer but it was his time. The bell tolled for him as he lay there in the dirt his lifeblood mingling with the mud.

He gave one last shudder clawing marks in boggy ground and lay still.

Remember not all evil lies dormant on All Hallow's Eve...