Here’s how it started. We were driving to a holiday let in the depths of December. It was the kind of winter day that’s dark by 3pm, where the cold settles over the damp fields in thick grey vapour.
We turned off the main road and passed through a pair of stone pillars that looked like they had once belonged to a grand house. One was now toppled. Wow, a gate to nowhere.
A very different nowhere. A narrow lane with branches tapping at the doors on each side of the car. No signposts, no streetlamps. Our vision shrank to just what we could see in the headlights. Trees with roots like massive gnarled hands. Stone walls carpeted with ancient moss. Moths as big as bats. It wasn’t like we were in charge of the journey any more, the road was taking us.
And then the row of pumpkin lanterns along the edge of the road. Pumpkin lanterns in December, long past their time. Mouths caved in like they had lost their teeth, eyes shrivelled to malevolent slits. And finally, a castellated, gothic gatehouse. Home for the next seven days. If we survived…
We bolted ourselves inside and, a few bottles of mulled wine later, were batting around ideas for a story.
Later on, Dave did proper work on it and enlisted the artist Martin McKenna… And as it is the season for giving, here, for you, is an eerie story for Christmas. You can download a PDF of it too – and they ask that if you like it, you pass it on to two other people… and if they like it, ask them to do the same. Enjoy!