It’s not Halloween? Or is it?
A Weird Evening In London
Since getting off the train, Katherine seemed to be just wandering from one place to another. It was getting dark and she felt uncomfortable and a little on edge. This was unknown territory, nothing looked familiar, at all.
She wondered if she should retrace her steps and go back to the station. It was her son’s special celebration today and she was worried that if she did that, she would be really late. “I’ll try and ring again,” Katherine thought, ringing her son’s phone but it just rang and rang and finally went to voicemail.
Katherine knew it was unlike him, not to ring back after seeing a message, especially on such occasions. She had expressed her concerns over the journey, to him, the previous evening. She knew her sense of direction had never been good. He had reassured her that he would keep his phone in his pocket, so he could answer, if she got lost.
This was the third time she had rang, with no answer. She tried not to worry but her concern led to thoughts, that maybe something was wrong. She rang her husband again, but he didn’t answer either. She left a second message on his phone.
Katherine decided she would go back to the station and call a taxi. She walked back up the road but couldn’t remember whether she had turned into this road, from the left or the right. She felt hopelessly lost and with no contact from either her son or her husband, she was starting to feel extremely anxious.
Katherine thought she must have looked like an animal caught in the headlights, because a woman, she hadn’t previously noticed, came over to her and asked, “Are you alright dear?”
Katherine thought the lady had a friendly face and thought she might be able to help her. She smiled at the lady and explained that she was totally lost. “Where are you trying to get to?” The lady asked. Katherine wondered if she should answer. The area they were in, seemed a bit “rough,” and she was concerned that divulging information to a stranger might be a risk. However, she decided that the lady had taken a risk coming up to her and that she should return the honour.
“I am expected at an important venue for my son’s exhibition of Art. The exhibition is being held at The Stone Maeve. The exhibition is called, “The Celebration of my Family through the Ages,” Katherine finished, hoping she didn’t sound too pompous.
The lady looked a bit confused. Katherine thought she should have given the her the name of the road instead.
“Sorry! I am trying to get to The Stone Maeve, in Carlshalton Road.” The kind lady smiled, “I am going near that direction and will direct you the rest of the way.” “Oh, thank you so much,” Katherine answered, relieved.
She and the lady chatted about their families and other pleasant topics, as they walked. Katherine tried not to be too anxious when their walk came to an end, sooner than she had hoped.
The lady had reached her destination and gave Katherine instructions on where to go from there. She pointed to a pub on the corner, opposite “can you see that pub down the hill?”
“It’s called, ‘The Old Plough,’ just walk down the road beside it.”
Katherine could see the name and nodded her answer. She thought it was a bit strange that it wasn’t lit up.
The lady continued, “When you get to the end of the road, you will see a bridge over a stream, cross this and then walk straight on from there. You will see The Stone Maeve on your left”
Katherine was grateful for the lady’s help but her heart sank at the thought of being alone again. Her expression must have given her away, because the lady asked, “Are you okay dear?”
Katherine tried to keep her voice steady, as she answered, “Yes, I am sure I will be fine. Thank you so much for showing me the way.”
The lady smiled, “it’s not far dear. Don’t worry, just follow the instructions I have given you and you will be fine.” Katherine smiled and thanked the lady again, as they went their separate ways.
Katherine felt nervous going on without her. During their conversation, her concerns about the gathering darkness, had nearly disappeared, but now she was alone again.
Katherine put her hand in her pocket to retrieve her phone. As she opened it, a picture animation, lit up on the screen. She jumped back, almost dropping the phone. It was a Halloween picture of the Grim Reaper, with a caption, “Got You! Happy Halloween.”
Katherine stopped still for a moment, looking at it. She wondered how it could have gotten on the front screen of her phone. She shook her head, trying to dismiss the fear that caught in her throat and clambered into her thoughts. She wondered if one of her nieces had sent it, telling herself they were more technically minded. It didn’t remove her fear. She knew it was unlikely, especially as they knew she was on her own.
Katherine started walking again, quickening her pace. Everything was in darkness, as she walked down the road past the pub. She realised there were no streetlights down this path and whilst there were houses on one side, the other side was all trees. She had to pull out her phone again, to use the torch.
After a short while, she could hear water trickling. “Thank goodness,” she breathed, “I must be near the bridge.” Within a couple of minutes, she reached the bridge. Her nerves had started to calm now, as she knew she was going the right way.
She walked at a steady pace over the bridge but was startled by the sight of a man walking towards her. As he drew closer, she could see that he was dressed in Edwardian style clothes. Katherine took a deep breath and tried to smile. She thought it might be a Halloween costume and tried not to stare, as he tipped his hat and said “how do you do?”
He walked on without waiting for an answer. As he passed, Katherine tried desperately to work out whether it was really Halloween. She didn’t think it was, but with all the strange happenings that evening, she thought she might be wrong.
Katherine tried to pull her thoughts together, so that she could work out what the date was. She knew it was October, but was frustrated because she couldn’t seem to organise her thoughts.
Suddenly, she realised it couldn’t be Halloween. She was briefly, elated by the thought. “Of course, you silly woman,” she berated herself, “It’s definitely the 26th of October, because it’s my son’s celebration today!” This thought cheered her up immensely.
However, as she continued, she did think it had been a strange evening and there was something odd about it. Katherine decided to try to ring her sister. She pulled out her phone and rang the number. Nothing happened. She tried again but it cut out. She realised that she didn’t have any signal down by the stream.
She checked her phone again, to see if her son or husband had tried to ring her but there were no missed calls. Katherine checked her text messages but the only ones she could see, were the ones she had sent them. She started to feel queasy and anxious, “it just isn’t like them.”
Katherine looked at her phone, it was 8:30pm. “I am supposed to be there by now,” she thought. When she had left home, she had thought she’d planned her journey well enough, but nothing seemed to be where she thought it should be or at least how it looked on the map.
Katherine decided to give up trying to ring her family and quickened her pace, because she wanted to get there, even if a bit late. According to her phone, she might only be 15 minutes late, if she hurried. The path brought her onto a road, which felt easier to walk on. She could see a car coming towards her, the headlights were blinding. It pulled up just in front of her. A strange looking lady came out of the car, wearing an evening gown. She was obviously going somewhere important.
A moment of excitement coursed through Katherine, “This lady might be going to the same place as me.” She called out to the lady, who didn’t appear to hear her. She ran up to the woman and touched her lightly on the shoulder, but the woman did not seem to notice. Katherine was baffled. She was just about to call to her again, when the floor opened up, just in front of the lady, who, with great poise, descended the stairs.
Katherine considered following after her but thought better of it. She decided to continue walking, as the previous lady had directed. Katherine walked on and thought she must be near, The Stone Maeve by now. The lady had said it wasn’t far but still there was no sign of it.
“I wish I had asked that lady, exactly how long the walk would be,” Katherine thought, anxiously.
Katherine wondered again, if she should have followed the lady that went down the stairs earlier. “Maybe that was it?” She questioned herself, “but I didn’t see a sign or anything.” She also realised, that there hadn’t been any sign of life down the stairs, where the lady had descended. “Where am I?” Katherine asked herself out loud, trying to stop the panic that was rising.
Katherine was starting to feel really cold and began to shiver. She couldn’t imagine why it was taking so long to get to The Stone Maeve. “On the map, it had said it was about a 20 minutes walk,” Katherine thought desperately, “I just don’t understand why this is happening.” “I’ve been walking for over two hours,” she thought, looking quickly at her phone again, trying to quell her desperation. “Why haven’t they rang me? Something must be wrong,” She thought, trying not to give into tears.
Ten minutes later, the road ended. There were no houses around and no cars. Ahead of her, was woodland. Katherine burst into tears. “I can’t do this anymore.” “Where are they?” “Why aren’t my family ringing me or answering my texts.”
“This is unbearable.”
“I don’t know where I am, or where to go now. I can’t get hold of anyone” The tears streamed down her face, as she stood, looking at her surroundings, desperately trying to think of what to do next.
“I have followed the directions the lady gave me and now I am at a dead end.” She sat on the floor, sobbing. “I don’t know what to do.” She whispered over and over to herself.
Katherine was frozen cold, she tried to warm her hands but they had gone numb. She had no intention of going into the woods. “I am not going into those woods,” she said to herself. She pulled herself up with some difficulty and told herself, in a resolute voice, “I am absolutely, not, going into the woods.” She made herself turn round. There was nothing else for it now. She intended to retrace her steps and try to find the station.
However, when she turned round, nothing on the road looked familiar. “I must be going mad,” Katherine thought, then squashed it with a resounding, “No!”
She looked to her right and left, but there was nothing that she recognised. She felt sick with fear. She knew something weird was happening this evening but couldn’t work out why. “There is something very wrong. I wish I had stayed indoors.” She thought, fighting back the tears. “I wish I had gone with my family instead.”
She couldn’t remember why she hadn’t. She wondered if she had truly lost her mind.
Katherine began walking quickly again and came to the stream. There was a glimmer of hope. “I really hope this is the same stream,” she thought. Ahead, she glimpsed a slight glow. She increased her pace, trying not to trip, because the path was strewn with plants and wasn’t easy to walk on.
Katherine held her focus on the glow. “Maybe there’s a house up ahead,” she thought excitedly. In spite of all that had happened, Katherine was determined to hope. She stumbled towards it, scratching her knee on a thorn bush. It stung, but she didn’t care and just carried on.
Finally a house came into sight. It looked like a large house and the lights were on in one of the upper rooms. She couldn’t see the lower rooms because of the high wall. Her mind filled with hope, “At last,” she thought, “something normal.”
“Maybe I will get out of this nightmare night,” she thought, trying not to cry fresh tears of relief.
As she neared the house, she thought it looked familiar. She couldn’t quite be sure, whether it was a friends or a family members house. At this point, she couldn't have cared less, she was just glad to be in the land of the living.
On reaching the house, she considered opening the back gate, but thought the owners might think they had a burglar. She walked round the front instead, through a short alleyway.
The front of the house looked very familiar but she couldn’t quite remember why. She stood for a moment, composing herself. She knocked on the door, a timid little knock. Nothing. She knocked again, as hard as she could. There was no sound from within, but there were more lights on at the front.
She went to one of the windows and saw someone sitting in a chair. She banged on the window but the person did not seem to hear it. She peered in the window and realised it was her son. ‘This must be The Stone Maeve” she thought, looking back through the window.
“No! It can’t be, The Stone Maeve is a venue not a home,” her thoughts were racing now, “why is my son at home? Why can’t he hear me?” She banged on the window as hard as she dare and shouted. Her son didn’t move. He didn’t even move his head. “I don’t understand,” she thought, feeling a cold shudder pass through her.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. Katherine jumped with fear.
“So, you have come home have you?” the man said in a deep voice.
“What do you mean?” Katherine answered, searching the man’s face. He was all blooded and his eyes were mean. He looked very pale.
Katherine recognised the face but couldn’t remember from where. “Who are you?” she asked, wondering why she felt so distressed.
“Are you dressed up for Halloween?” Katherine looked up at him. He laughed, “don’t be stupid woman.” Katherine stood back a bit. Suddenly, it dawned on her. He was her husband. “Why are you being like this Derek?”
He laughed, a horrible, grating laugh. “Oh I had the best night, until your son decided he was going to interfere. Katherine knew he was her husband but he looked so fierce. ”I don’t understand, what happened tonight?” Katherine asked, “I thought we were supposed to be going to our son’s celebration of his Art exhibition.”
Derek looked at her in disgust, “do you really think I want to go to an Art exhibition, just because your pansy son is an artist?”
Katherine was really feeling confused now and had never seen her husband like this before. He could be nasty, even aggressive sometimes, when he had a drink too many, but not like this.
“I want to know what happened tonight,” she shouted up at him.
“You really want to know?” He scoffed.
Grabbing Katherine by the hand, he opened the door to the house, which Katherine still couldn’t quite recognise as her own. He yanked her through the front door and opened the door to the lounge. She saw her son sitting in the chair as she had seen earlier, but he didn’t move. He didn’t even blink.
Derek pushed Katherine forwards, “leave him, he is as dead as they come.”
Katherine fell to the floor, “how could he be dead?” she sobbed.
“How?” Derek laughed, “you don’t know me at all do you?”
“How can you be so cold? He is our son.” Katherine asked in a soft voice.
“Do you think I care about either of you?” He said, almost spitting the words out.
Katherine pulled herself up and turned on Derek, “What have you done to him?”
Coldly, Derek answered, “I killed him.”
Katherine nearly feinted, dropping to her knees. Derek pulled her up by her hair and dragged her to a chair facing the front window. Katherine gagged and fell.
“Yep! That’s you in that chair.”
Katherine looked at her barely recognisable form, which was covered in blood. She heard a scream. It seemed to go on for ages. She eventually realised that it was coming from her own mouth.
Derek yanked the head up, showing that it was severed from her body. Katherine threw up, or at least she felt like she did. “How can this be happening? Why would you do this?”
“I wanted rid of you both! I couldn’t bear to have to look at you or listen to your simpering little voice anymore. Besides, you have a fortune and I would have been the inheritor.”
Gathering her thoughts as best as she could, she answered tartly, “well, if you killed me and our son, how can you see me?”
He laughed into her face. “Our dear son came in,” Derek said slowly and spat on the floor, “when I was trying to kill you.” He laughed at Katherine’s confused face, “I was enjoying myself. You’re face was a picture, when you realised I intended to kill you.”
“It gave me more of a thrill, than all of the pornography and whores I have ever watched or screwed!”
Katherine stared at him, “you are disgusting! I don’t care what sort of a thrill you got out of killing me, but why did you kill our son,”
“Why?” Derek pushed his face towards her, “why? Because I can’t stand him, the stupid whimp.”
Katherine knew he was trying to goad her but she kept her thoughts to herself. Derek paused, looking at her face. Then he went over to their son, who sat cold in the chair and pointed at him. “I shot him and thought he was dead. He wanted to save his Mummy!” He spat the last words out.
There was a pause before Derek continued, “I went upstairs to wash and change and went back to my lover. We had a great time in bed that night.”
Katherine didn’t answer, Derek’s voice was like an annoying fly, buzzing round a bowl of food.
Derek continued, “The next morning, I went down to get some breakfast with Pauline and your son came after me. He had a gun and shot me dead. After that, he must have gone back to the lounge to sit with you and died there.”
Katherine pondered on what Derek had said, trying to grasp the enormity of it. Then she said, “something still doesn’t make sense. If you are here and I am here, where is Anthony?”
“Sitting dead in that chair,” Derek said nearly choking with laughter.
Ignoring Derek’s laughter, Katherine continued, “No, I mean, I am dead apparently, and so are you. We can still see each other but Anthony is not with us.”
“Who knows? Maybe he decided to be a werewolf instead,” Derek laughed heartily.
Katherine couldn’t understand, “why am I stuck here and not in heaven somewhere. She began to cry, “I am not a murderer.”
Suddenly both Katherine and her husband were grabbed by something sharp and pulled backwards. Katherine screamed. Shouting her innocence.
A voice, not dissimilar to Derek’s voice, laughed out loud, “You were married to this arsehole here. You knew all the underhand activities he was involved in.”
Katherine pleaded that she didn’t.
“Oh yes you did,” the voice boomed, “You knew he was a drug baron, you knew he had killed people in the past but you turned a blind eye to it all. You wanted to have your little, posh life. You didn’t intervene, leave or speak up.”
There was a long pause. Katherine was sobbing, pleading, “I am so sorry, please. I know I turned a blind eye to what Derek was doing but I never meant to harm anyone. I just wanted the best for my son. Please let me be with my son?”
“Too late,” the voice boomed. “Your punishment is eternity together, in Hell darling!”
Katherine screamed. A long, howling, scream.
About the author
I am a freelance writer for hire, writing on matters of health, mental health, herbal medicine and wellbeing. I love writing and creativity. I am a Medical Herbalist, Psychiatric Nurse, Writer and artist.