Winter Spirits - Chapter I

Winter Spirits - Chapter I

A Chapter by Leigh
"

It was at that moment, on that gloomy Friday afternoon, I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, watching the house cats eat their dinner that I had just put down, when it all started.

"

Chapter I

 

 

 

It was Friday, December 13th 2013 and on my winter walk I saw the mighty Stag emerge from the woods and graze in the open fields. As I approached he stood across the path blocking my way, his black eyes wide in his frost coated head, his great antlers high and magnificent. In those few moments of our meeting as our eyes locked he stared into me and in his eyes I felt he had all the winter spirits in him.

 

 

It was bitterly cold everywhere, not only outside but in the house too. All around there was a festive feeling in the air as Christmas decidedly approached. In the house there was a goodwill buzz going around, people walked about with distracted smiles on their faces, saying hello to each other when they usually wouldn't even look at each other. Some had gone so far as to decorate their doors with tinsel and cards and some even had put proper wreaths up.

 

 

It was Friday 13th, which was supposed to be unlucky, but I didn’t feel unlucky. I wasn’t prone to superstition. The house was a huge detached Victorian, Gothic style mansion. It was quite square looking from a distance, with high windows and high angled roofs that pointed ever upwards. It was very well appointed and was adorned with striking stone features. It was built with materials of top quality when things were made to last, when it was never dreamt of to cut back, when a structure was created to last as long as possible. On the large dominant front gable a huge finial pierced up into the sky, like a man’s finger pointing to emphasise the ever present gloom overhead. On each corner and at regular intervals, just beneath the rickety cast iron guttering, stone gargoyles crouched, facing outwards, covering every main point of the compass, put there to warn off evil spirits. The gargoyles had crazed expressions on them, looks of fixed shock and pain and mad horrific laughter. To the north they looked with snarls, to the south they faced with gritted teeth, to the east they stared out sombrely and blankly and to the west they wore a look of open defiance.

 

 

The house stood at the top of a T-junction and so from its large front windows you could look across the long front garden left and right along the busy main road and also down the smaller side street straight ahead. To the outside world the house went unnoticed as it was set back so far, but at one time the house would have been more at the centre of things and lived in by one big Victorian family.

 

 

It would’ve been a grand and happy place, lavishly decorated, buzzing with life, with lots of children, many servants and at the head of it all the wife and husband. It would've been like that for at least the first fifty to sixty years of its life.

 

 

Now it was divided up into many separate dwelling places, rooms, flats and flatlets and was generally run down and in some need of repair. In need of repair and just general cleaning and care. There was plenty of damp and dust in every corner, it hung in the air, it was everywhere. The damp inhabited the dark places, the places that never got warm, like the sides of walls that had no light and underneath the windows where moisture dripped. The dust filled the corners of window frames and coated the uneven creaky floorboards, it built up in drifts and blew around in gusts.

 

 

The house had too many interior doors, too many for each room to cope with in fact. For example in the kitchen, which was quite a large six yard square with its various cupboards and units clinging around its edges, there were four exit ways to choose from. The main door out of it was to the high ceilinged and draughty hallway, which led on out again to the front door, the main way everybody used to get in and out of the house. Then there was the door the opposite side of it, which led out to the conservatory, through which there was a further west wing, containing a host of other smaller rooms in it. There were also the double glass doors through to the long unused dining room and finally a small side door at the back of the kitchen, to the back of the house, which in turn led out to the overgrown expanse of the back garden. Other communal rooms like the utility room, basement and the main hallway had similar options.

 

 

It was at that that moment, on that gloomy Friday afternoon, when I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, watching the house cats eat their dinner that I had just put down, when it all started. The very first thing of it all was when I noticed the door to the hall was slightly ajar, it let through a sharp flicker of red and blue light from the stained glass surround of the front door. It surprised me quite a lot because I knew I had closed it when I had come in; that was strange. As I went over to it to turn its handle shut, I felt the faintest presence of someone lurking, like a cloud on my shoulders. Turning to look around the room and seeing no one or nothing there, I dismissed it with a small sigh of relief.

 

 

I returned to watching the two house cats greedily bolt down their meal and for a few seconds was lost in their simple world. They purred contentedly, their eyes half shut in a state of euphoric pleasure. Then all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I saw the shadow of something loom in towards me and instinctively I spun around on my heels. I spun about so quickly I almost fell over, losing my balance in my hurry to see what was there. As my eyes adjusted I saw a large bulky shape, at first just an outline. I went to scream, but as my mouth and throat went into that motion, I managed to stop myself at the last second realising what it actually was.

 

 

The thing I saw, the unfigurable bulky shape on the periphery of my vision was her. It was 'HER'.  The mysterious old woman from upstairs, lumbering silently with a thick grey and black quilted blanket, hanging loosely over her shoulders, but where had she come from? She imitated my shocked expression silently with her mouth and eyes and then calmly and somewhat uncaringly smiling, turned her gaze to the chomping house cats. To the lucky, lucky house cats that were oblivious to everything.

 

 

"Oh my good god you gave me such a fright, don't…don’t do that," I shouted without thinking. I gulped hard, clutching my thumping chest and resting on a kitchen unit to get my balance, my heart racing nineteen to the dozen. My whole body tense with fear, fright and fight, ready to freeze and shut down in defeat to a superior force or react instinctively lashing out in unmeasured aggression. My whole being was completely beside itself. I was sweating, my body jarring in shakes, like it had been electrified and definitely disconnected from my brain.

 

 

“Yes, yes I bet I did," she said pointedly, with a thin, slightly evil looking smile on her face. "Hungry little beasts aren't they?" I looked at her confused and saw a distant dreamy look on her moon like face, sensing a naivety about her I hadn't noticed before. The black and white cat, named 'T-cat,' looked up at her gulping the chunks of meat. It stopped in mid gulp, wide eyed, pausing momentarily, as if to assess something it hadn’t seen very often. I don't know if I was being paranoid, but it seemed confused by her, unable to make a judgement of her. I dismissed the thought and comforted myself with the idea that cats were confused by most things.

 

"I do like to watch them eat, they look so happy." she added

 

 

"Yes they do,” I said drearily watching them, then added more sharply now with an agitated tone in my voice. “I didn’t hear you come in," Keeping to the same subject, pressing my case and trying to veil my still dying shock at the same time.

 

 

"Oh, I was in the Conservatory my dear, getting the winter sun on me, to warm my horrible cold bones. It's very cold in this house you know, especially this time of year." She looked straight at me harshly, as though it was all my fault. “Very draughty you know dear, the central heating doesn’t feel like its working at all.” She just smoothly shuffled over to the kettle, moving ever so slowly like a tortoise weighed down by its shell. Then she suddenly came to a stop against the work surface like a ship coming into dock, having to manoeuvre itself very carefully. She flicked the kettle switch and was very still, inert and inactive. I sat down at the table at the side of the room, absent-mindedly turning the pages of the local free newspaper, while she quietly hummed a sorrowful and morbid tune over the rising pitch of the boiling kettle.

 


"Want a cup of tea dear?" She shouted over the growing boiling sound, the head of steam mixing with her grey to white hair she had tied in a bun, exposing her wrinkly lined face.

 


"No, no thanks Mrs D" I refused her offer as the tea she made was awful, it was always watery and weak, with globules of grease floating on the surface, as she never washed the cups. It was generally badly made with little thought for the recipient. Mrs Davenport must have taken umbrage as she just cursed and muttered under her breath

 

 

“Very draughty and very, very cold dear,” she came out with in response and as if in reply the radiator behind her made a loud gurgling noise. She looked at it with disdain.


 


 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winter-Spirits-Leigh-Green-ebook/dp/B01B1U5RDC/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=winter+spirits&qid=1571392890&sr=8-1



Winter Spirits by [Green, Leigh]



Apologies, I cannot embed link into cover image 

 



© 2019 Leigh


Author's Note

Leigh
To read further go to my website www.leigh-green.wix.com/leigh and click 'books' or type 'leigh-green wix' into Google

My Review

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Featured Review

My eyes thank you for the font - much better for reading.


Your writing is descriptive but suffers from the use of the word "very" - now, I am also prone to using this word along with other useless words that weaken writing instead of adding to it e.g stuff, totally, things, got etc.

For example: very cold = freezing; very dirty = squalid; very tired = exhausted

There are so many of these type of words that amateur writers ( myself included) use as crutches and it takes effort to get rid of the habit. I battle with: was/is/I am/ got/ went.

Ps: Please review my book! Be brutal. I hope to get some views of Chapter 2 onwards.


Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Leigh

4 Years Ago

Thank you for your review, your comments are useful



Reviews

The description of the scene was good but overwhelming, at times.
I don't feel comfortable with critiques since I have just started writing novels and short stories and my pitfalls will surely be numerous, but I hope reviewers will guide me away from them.

My comment is based on my frustration of the way Dean Koontz can get carried away with overly detailed scene/character introductions. I found that to cumbersome as a fan.
That being said!
I did enjoy the chapter and look forward to the mystery and what part the cats play in it.


Posted 5 Months Ago


Great story. I really like the descriptions of the house, and the ambiance is suitably eerie.

Keep up the good work!

-Derekv

Posted 5 Months Ago


i liked this chapter,reminded me of a bull encounter i had many times as a boy
and friday the 13 th,who knows

Posted 5 Months Ago


Opening up with Friday the 13th will always make me thingk exactly where this story is going to go. I reallyliked your description of the house (Ithink a lot of others will too) Because of the pointy roof I had the Amityville house ingrained into my minds eye. I know your house was different to the Amityville one, but becuase of the pointy roof, I couldn't shake it from my head. Loved the gargoyle touch (little details go a long way) and in particular, the fact that you added their expressions only added to it even more.
When you started describing how the house used to be - buzzing with life. For me this was like I had just entered the house and a very brigh light had just come on and I could see a lot of activity taking place - Almost like a flashback to a time of yesteryear.
When we finally got inside the house, I found myself marvelling at the details which you put into at describing the place. It really was good, just like I was standing in thier and being taken for a tour around the grand old house itself.
'Someone lurking like a cloud on my should' - Love that sentence.
Then we get to meet the mysterious figure and how she mimicked the gasp - again nice little touch. Just the right amount of detail was used to make the reader aware of the old womans expression..
'Hungry little beasts arent they' Another great line.
I really hope you do more with this. It was a great piece to have read.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Leigh

5 Months Ago

Thank you for your review and sorry for the late reply. I'm glad you like it and the description of .. read more
My eyes thank you for the font - much better for reading.


Your writing is descriptive but suffers from the use of the word "very" - now, I am also prone to using this word along with other useless words that weaken writing instead of adding to it e.g stuff, totally, things, got etc.

For example: very cold = freezing; very dirty = squalid; very tired = exhausted

There are so many of these type of words that amateur writers ( myself included) use as crutches and it takes effort to get rid of the habit. I battle with: was/is/I am/ got/ went.

Ps: Please review my book! Be brutal. I hope to get some views of Chapter 2 onwards.


Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Leigh

4 Years Ago

Thank you for your review, your comments are useful

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Added on July 11, 2015
Last Updated on October 18, 2019
Tags: Ghost, story, book, novel, chapter, adventure, life, mystery, winter, suspense, Spirits, christmas, death, green, haunted, leigh, love, spooky


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Leigh
Leigh

B R I S T O L, United Kingdom



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