© Copyright 2007 - Restricted - Used by permission
Storycodes: Solo-M; FF/m; village; witches; drug; capture; wrap; bandages; entomb; tunnel; ghosts; train; stuck; nc; X
It was a dark and stormy Halloween when I went to visit the old town of Lost Rising. It used to be such a lovely place, but over the years it has run down and is nearly empty. The houses mostly stand derelict. But at least I was well wrapped up in my long bright yellow rainproof coat, thick jumper, heavy jeans with a pair of women's tights underneath, walking socks and boots. I topped this with a balaclava and a wide brimmed rainproof hat.
The old church stands out eerily in the patches of moonlight, surrounded by the graveyard. Yew trees stand scattered untended amongst the silent graves. Across the lane is an old oak tree that has seen better days. The railway station long since closed and the line removed shows that at one time, it was a thriving community. Even the pub had long closed its shutters. No one wanted to live in Lost Rising anymore. A few bats, very likely pipastrals, flew around the trees looking for food. One fluttered just past my ear. It unnerved me quite a bit, I will tell you. I hate bats. I always think of Dracula when I see them!
The rain had at least stopped and the clouds had parted revealing a full moon. I chuckle to myself that the witches would soon be arriving on their broomsticks. Thoughts of Harry Potter sprung across my mind.
I can hear the hooting of an owl somewhere in the distance and watched as a black cat ran across the lane in front of me. "That is my lucky omen" I think to myself. A fox ran away when it saw me and I saw the rats scurrying away. I am apprehensive about this. This is the result of a dare. I had to spend one Halloween night in Lost Rising.
"Eleven thirty. There is only a half hour to go until midnight. I can't believe that people believe all this superstitious nonsense" I was thinking. "What could possibly go wrong?". A few clouds scudded across the face of the moon temporarily plunging the lane in darkness and making me shiver. My torch is working well. That is the beauty of LED torches. The batteries last a lot longer.
But I wish I had brought a tent. There does not seem to be any shelter here! Everywhere is boarded up. I walked on the platform of the old station and saw the ramshackle buildings that once saw many people merrily going on their way to and from the city many miles away. I looked towards the tunnel that was about a couple of hundred yards away. Perhaps if it rains again I could shelter in there. What did strike me though, why is it that I have never seen the tunnel before? There is only a hill there when I visited last time. No tunnel, just the hill.
I turned my back on the station and walked towards the church once more. The strange thing is that although the few street lamps did not work, tonight of all nights the lamp in the clock face decided to illuminate itself. I have never seen the clock lit up before. Very strange that. Perhaps I should investigate. The power supply to the small town had long been disconnected. But from investigations earlier in the week, I knew that the church was boarded up and impossible to enter. I realised I had not got a ladder tall enough. The trees were nowhere near tall enough for me to climb up to get to the roof. So how could I get into the church?
"Eleven forty five. Just fifteen minutes to go!" I pondered about the book I read about the place. I suppose it has got to me a little as my nerves are beginning to jangle and the hairs on the nape of my neck were beginning to stand on end. "This is nonsense. I must control myself or I will become a raving loony!"
Many years previously there had been a railway crash about a mile away and it is said that on every tenth anniversary, the train is seen again heading towards its inevitable demise. There had been about one hundred people killed and they never did discover the cause. If it appears tonight, this would be the tenth time it has been seen. So if this was true, why isn't the town full of ghost hunters? I am thinking of the old story of where a train was heading for a crash and the lamp man tried to stop the train, but the driver was not looking as he entered the tunnel and killed the lamp man and every night he wandered into the tunnel mouth trying to stop the train. But that is only a story. Here I am right here and now at Lost Rising, walking a bit faster now as I am feeling decidedly cold, even though I am well wrapped up. But I put it down to the October mists.
Eleven fifty five. Strange, I thought I heard a train whistle. Now it couldn't be; this must be my imagination. I must settle my nerves. I am feeling rather silly at my thoughts. The nearest railway line is thirty miles away and the whistles are not like this. Diesels have a horn. This was a steam engine whistle. "Don't be daft!" I called out aloud trying to make sense of it. I am glad there is no one about or they would think I am mad. Maybe I am.
But out of, well, I don't know if it was curiosity or stubbornness I went back towards the station once more. The clouds covered the moon now and it was pitch black. The church clock rang once to show it was on an hour. The clock said midnight. It was the first time I had ever heard the clock strike an hour.
There it was, the train, rushing past the station towards the tunnel. I could see the faces of the passengers in the lights of the carriages. I could swear some were wrapped in bandages like mummies. The rest seem to have a lost expression on their faces. They were all looking at me as if to warn me of some impending doom that awaits me. I looked at the church clock. It showed five past twelve. The train entered the tunnel and there was an almighty bang. This got to me. I turned and fled to the church praying for forgiveness from anybody and anything who would listen.
The church clock light had gone out. The door was now open, so for the first time in years I thought I would go and pray! There was an eerie blue glow in the church. Not electric lighting at all. Nor gas. It might be luminous paint that someone had used to keep the legend of the haunting going. But that did not scare me. Especially when I saw the two old ladies sitting in the front pew.
I sat in the pew behind them hoping to catch their conversation, but they were whispering too softly for me to hear, even from here. I shivered and I knocked the pew in front and the two old ladies turned and looked at me. "At least they are not witches" I am thinking, "No pointed hat, black cloak nor broomstick or black cat to sit on it!"
One of them asked if I was cold. I told them I was and asked what they were doing there. They told me they come every year since the crash. "They must be mentally unstable. That would make them over a hundred years old!" raced through my mind.
But I accepted the kind offer of some broth. That warmed me up no end. But it was not long before I fell asleep. I do not know how long I was asleep as it is still dark. I try to move, but found I was held tight by something. I looked around and saw the two old ladies. "That is another one we have collected. These ghost hunters will never leave us alone will they. They never learn!" one of them and the other agreed.
I tried to tell them I was not a ghost hunter, but merely here as the result of a dare. But I found I could not speak. My voice had gone. The two women came back and started to wrap my head in bandages. It did not take them long to use the many bandages and only leave my eyes free.
As they lifted me, I could see that I was wrapped from head to toe in more bandages. They had mummified me. My body was stiff anyway from some drug, but I suppose it wears off in time. I wonder why they want to mummify me.
With an ease that I did not think was possible from two old ladies, they picked me up between them and carried me back to the tunnel mouth. The church clock rang once. So it was now only one in the morning. Never mind, as soon as it gets light and this drug wears off, I will escape from these bandages and get the police on these two old women. But I am puzzled, why are they carrying me towards the station once more?
They ignored me completely. It was as if I were not there at all. They walked off of the end of the platform towards the tunnel and entered it. The same ghostly blue light shone in here the same as the church. They carried me along the tracks to the middle of the tunnel and I saw several other mummies lying there. I was propped up against the wall. They tied more bandages between my feet and the railway line. I didn't think there was any line left in here. I thought it had all been removed. But my mind was racing why there was a tunnel here now when at all other times there was only a hill.
"Oh lovely, he can join the other nine mummies for the journey next time!" one old lady said. I am the tenth mummy to be left here. The other never replied, but collected all their things and they left. I heard the two women cackling as they walked away, their voices getting softer and softer, even though there was some echo in the tunnel. I tried to scream for them to come back and collect me, but my voice was still silent. I guess the other mummies must have done the same thing when it happened to them.
The eerie glow receded and I was now in darkness. I heard voices at towards one end of the tunnel. "Right, let's get busy and fill this tunnel in! We have to landscape the thing in afterwards. The quicker we get it done, the quicker we go home!" I tried to scream but couldn't. I heard a terrific bang and heard the crash of the tunnel collapsing at one end and then the other end followed suit.
I was now sealed into the tunnel. Never to be found again. I don't know how long I have been sitting here, but I am getting weaker by the minute. Thirst and hunger is getting the better of me. My eyes are getting heavy and they start to close even though I do not want them to. There is a bright light in my vision and I swear I can see my old aunts and uncles ahead of me. There is mother and father waving at me. They are gesticulating at me to join them. Now everything went blank.
I woke up sitting on a train. It was a steam train like they used in the nineteenth or early twentieth century. Some of the passengers were wrapped up like mummies, just like me. All nine of them. I looked out of the window and realised I was on the train that I had seen rushing through Lost Rising heading towards its doom. I had become a passenger for all eternity! As we passed the station, I saw the church clock show five past twelve. I thought I got a glance of someone wearing a bright yellow long raincoat, a wide brimmed hat and jeans looking at me and the other passengers. Does he know what he is letting himself in for?
I try to warn him with my eyes, but he appears to take no notice of me! For all intents and purposes, he could be me! Oh no, we have just entered the tunnel. I know what happens next! I wonder if the other passengers do!