The Easter Bunny – A Creepy Tail

Easter Bunny

There is something extremely disturbing about the Easter Bunny.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Easter Bunny doesn’t speak or maybe it’s the weird eyes? Or is it the outfit? It could be anyone inside there! Give me Santa Claus any day, over this creepy character!

Easter Bunny

My irrational fear of the Easter Bunny led me to write the disturbing tale/ tail below.

Judy Graham was collected at 5.30 am on Holy Monday by a limousine. She  wheeled her suitcase out the front door and pulled the door of her cramped semi-detatched house behind her. She didn’t say goodbye. There was nobody to say goodbye to since her parents had tragically died last year.

The driver took her suitcase from her and wordlessly motioned her towards the back seat of the giant car. She thanked him and he simply nodded. She had never travelled by limousine before, so she assumed it was chauffeur etiquette. If the driver was this posh, imagine how posh the family who had hired her would be.

Judy was going to Addington House, in the Cotswolds, to play the Easter Bunny for the next week. She had played many children’s characters in the past year, including Elsa, a North Pole elf, a witch and a pirate. Judy loved being a freelance children’s entertainer. It meant she was able to travel to lots of different places to work and bring laughter and fun to so many children. Seeing their tiny faces light up with wonder and excitement was the highlight of her working day.

Judy  had never been an Easter Bunny before, but it seemed like fate. Her Mother had named her Judy, inspired by the actress Judy Garland’s role in the film ‘Easter Parade’. Her Mother would go around the kitchen every Easter Sunday, singing the Easter Bonnet song as she made lunch. That was one of her nicest memories of her.

She had been headhunted by the Addington family. Judy was ecstatic that her hard work and love of the job was finally paying off. The Addington Easter Bunny was iconic, children all over the surrounding areas came to Addington Manor to meet the Easter Bunny. On Easter Sunday, there would be the exclusive Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the sprawling Addington family.

Judy had visited the Cotswolds many times as a child with her parents and had wonderful memories of stone thatched cottages, rolling green hills and ice-cream from quaint little shops. She thought going back there might make her feel closer to them. She would be staying in one of the thatched cottages on the grounds of the manor for the week. Her duties would end early Sunday morning, once the eggs had all been hidden for the giant Easter egg hunt. Nobody saw the Easter Bunny after Saturday, that was the tradition.

She sat in happy silence, admiring the view, as they drove through the different counties of the beautiful Cotswolds. The closest town to the Manor was Blockley. The town looked serene and peaceful and golden Cotswold cottages punctuated the rolling hills. They arrived at the manor at exactly 8 am. The chauffeur opened the door for her and motioned silently for her to walk into the giant stone house. Lord Addington stood waiting in the hallway with an amused look on his long horsey face.

“Miss Graham, if you’d care to follow me into the drawing room and we can go through some of the finer details.” He said, his voice echoed with the high ceilings. She smiled and said “Of course, Lord Addington” and followed him into a stuffy, dusty looking sitting room. He handed her a timetable. Each morning, breakfast would be brought to the cottage at 7.45 am. At 8.30, she would be guided to the children’s play area in her Easter Bunny outfit.  She would do greetings and photographs for two hours. She would be guided back to the cottage for a powder room break and a small lunch. At 1 pm she would return for greetings for a further three hours. Dinner would be brought to her cottage each evening at 6 pm.

She nodded as he went through the itinerary with her. She thought it all seemed very military but he was her employer and he was paying her well. She would do exactly as asked. He told her that it was most important that the uniform must be worn every time she left the cottage during the day. The illusion must be maintained, he explained. The uniform was vintage, it had been worn by every Addington Easter Bunny in the last twenty years. She thought that was gross, but kept quiet.

Easter Bunny

There was no small talk and he led her out to the door where the chauffeur stood waiting by the car. She sat in and was brought to the most charming thatched cottage she had ever seen. A stern looking woman stood waiting by the door. She quickly went through the lighting and heating and left immediately, these people did not like small chat. A giant box with a bow was waiting in her bedroom. She opened it and saw the Easter Bunny outfit. The black eyes of the head stared at her and sent shivers down her spine. The teeth in the mouth protruded over a black mouth. Vintage Easter bunny outfits were really creepy. But the material was soft and fluffy, despite being vintage and smelled of fresh cut grass.

When she tried on the uniform, a queasy feeling came over, she thought she might vomit. She took it off and immediately felt better. The stern woman knocked on the door with a small lunch. She ate every morsel and went for a stroll around the magnificent grounds, they went on for miles. Today was her only day off, as she would be on a schedule from tomorrow.

The next morning she put the suit on and as soon as the suit touched her skin, she got a funny turn again and felt queasy. She ignored the feeling, put on the head and started at herself in the mirror. The outfit was terrifying!

She could see out of the eyes, but there was no trace of the real Judy to be seen. She was brought to the greeting area by the stern woman and she was surprised that the children weren’t afraid of her. They hopped on her lap for pictures and wrapped their small arms around her. Maybe this vintage outfit wasn’t so bad.

Only the babies and small toddlers screamed their heads off when she held them for the photos, the poor mites. All day long, Judy felt strange. Shivers ran down her neck and back. She was freezing, then roasting. Judy hoped she wasn’t coming down with anything. Her eyes were stinging too. She put that down to the heaviness and stuffiness from wearing the head. She was exhausted that night and went straight to bed after her supper.

The next morning, she felt some bit better so she went on with her day as per schedule. As she sat for the greetings, new symptoms emerged. Her fromt teeth were sensitive and sore and her hands were pained and felt swollen.

She returned to the cottage and took the outfit off for a break. She looked in the mirror and sore red-rimmed eyes stared back at her. She spotted something sprouting from her ears, something white and bushy. She yanked it out with a squeal, it was a tuft of white hair! What was going on with her body! She had no further time to investigate as the knock came for the afternoon shift. She would have to ask the stern woman if there was a doctor nearby when she brought her supper.

She got through the rest of the afternoon and was delighted when she was able to return to the cottage and get the horrible Easter Bunny suit off her. Had she caught something from the suit?! It was twenty years old, after all. At 6 pm, she stood by the door, ready to talk to Mrs. Stern. She threw the door open when she heard the knock and the woman jumped back. “Oh, Miss Graham! You look under the weather this evening” she said, her voice surprisingly warm this time. Judy told her she was feeling ill, she needed a doctor. “Sorry to hear that, Miss Graham. There’s no doctor available in the evening in these parts. I can try to arrange a visit for tomorrow and bring you something medicinal?” she said. Judy thanked her, that would have to do for now.

The woman returned with a bottle of syrupy medicine and told her to take two spoons before bed. Judy took the medicine and went straight to bed, she didn’t touch her supper. When she woke the next morning, her eyes were bloodshot and the red rims had grown. It was then she spotted two white whisker growing from her cheeks! She grabbed a tweezer and plucked them out! More tufts had sprouted from her ears, and despite the pain, she pulled them out. Her teeth had never been perfectly straight, but now they were protruding slightly over her lip! There was something happening to Judy, there was something very wrong.

The day passed in a blur as children were passed into her swollen hands. Her legs and feet were aching. When she returned the cottage for lunch, she avoided the mirror, afraid of what she might see. She looked down at her belly and saw that it too was swollen. She’d also put on a huge amount of weight on her lower body in only a couple of days. She’d always been a pear shape, but this was ridiculous.

That evening, her thoughts were foggy and scattered. The only thing she could focus on was the Easter egg hunt and the children. She had to keep going for their sake. She heard a knock on the door, but didn’t open it until a few minutes later. She clumsily carried the tray in, ate her supper and left the tray outside. She drank two sups of the medicine and went to bed for the evening. She tossed and turned.  She woke from a bad dream in the middle of the night and to her horror, she felt something growing on her backside! Something large and hairy! It was a bushy small tail!

She squealed. Her mouth felt funny too. When she looked in the mirror, her mouth had morphed into a grotesque shape and four long whiskers now grew from each cheek. Tufts of white hair sprouted from every orifice. Words tried to form in her head, but when she opened her mouth, she couldn’t speak. Her hands and feet were even more swollen and covered in fine hair. She touched her face, not believing what was happening to her.

She put on the bunny head to cover her monstrous face and squeezed herself into the now very snug bunny outfit. As she did the morning greetings, she though about running away. But she had no car, no way out. And what would people think of  her transformation anyway, even if she escaped?

Was this all her imagination? Was Judy imagining that she was a real-life Easter Bunny??

Her thoughts became even more blurred. When she looked in the mirror Good Friday, she could only think of the children and their little faces. The Addington Easter Egg hunt would be unbelievable this year, she would make sure if it. She put on her uniform and bounced out the door after Mrs Stern. On Holy Saturday, she looked in the mirror and realised that she didn’t need the uniform any more. She WAS the Easter Bunny and tomorrow was the most exciting day of the year!

By early Easter Sunday, all of Judy’s memories had faded. Her only task was to get the hunt ready for the children. She spent hours hiding the eggs, even though it was difficult with her furry swollen hands. She heard the excited shrinks and laughter from children in the distance. She bounded away out of sight, feeling satisfied. But the shouts followed her, even though she was going in the opposite direction to the Easter Egg hunt.

“My first hunt, Arthur! I hope I catch it” a girlie voice shouted. “No one catches one on their first hunt, you idiot. You need to learn how they move and how to track them” a boy’s voice said.

Them? It? She bounced away as fast as she could with her giant furry feet.  Someone left out a high pitched scream. “This way! The hunt is on.” The Judy bunny realised that the hunt was for her, not for Easter eggs.

The Judy bunny tried to get away from the children. It had no memory of its former life as Judy. All it wanted now was to escape. A misplaced hop landed the Judy bunny in a giant animal trap. It lay on the grass, it’s broken mangled foot caught in the vice. It struggled and whimpered.

A tiny girl, no more than six years of age stood above it and shouted to the other approaching children.  “I won the hunt! I won the hunt! The head is mine!”

The Lord of the Manor appeared above the Judy bunny. “Oh, Cordelia, Grandfather is so very proud of you. You caught the Addington Easter Bunny.” The Judy bunny stared up  at him. One chocolate tear streamed out of her glassy black eye as Lord Addington chopped it’s head off with a sharp axe. He held up with a cheer, to the delight of the children. The Addington Easter Hunt was over for another year.

Author Q&A: Alessia Giacomi

A. Giacomi

I was very lucky to do a question and answer session with Alessia Giacomi, the author of the Eve Brenner zombie series. To read my review of book one in the series  click here.

I hope you all enjoy the answers as much as Alessia and I did!

I’m so excited to have you as a guest on the blog! Thanks a million for agreeing to this!

 I loved Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl, the first book in in the Eve Brenner Zombie series. I’ve never read a zombie book like it! A zombie book with bite and heart! To read my review of book one in the series  click here.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

1. If you could pick 5 people for a dinner party (dead or alive), who would they be and why?

I feel like my answer to this changes all the time. It’s such a fun question and I would like to geek out with so many people! I think currently I would love to sit down with Tim Burton, Kevin Smith on the film side of things. I love how their minds work, they’re quirky, like me. In the literary world I would love to sit down with Anne Rice and Jane Austen, I feel like I could pick their brains for ages and learn a lot. And as for my final guest I would choose Elvira, she’s simply so fabulous and I’ve grown up watching her, she’s a big reason why I dig all things creepy cute.

2. Books or movies?

BOTH! I’m not sure I could choose. I simply love storytelling in any format. As long as imagination is involved I’m in!

3. You can be any mythical creature to be for a day, what would you be?

Hahaha, fun question. I think I would have to say a mermaid. Might be fun to have a different perspective for a day and underwater is about as different as it gets. It’s a whole other world I could be a part of. I’m just hoping singing is not required, not so great at that…might have some deaf fish by the end of my adventure.

4. You seem like a girl who likes to dress up, what was your favourite costume? Can we see photos?

Oh yes! I love costumes and I’m very much in love with Halloween. I typically dress up as something scary. I’ve been a zombie multiple times, a vampire, a witch, corpse bride, dead doll, ghost, and on the cutesy side I’ve been Snow White and summer pixie. I still think my favourite is zombie though, I think I could dress up as one every year and not be disappointed. I’ve included a photo for ya.

Alessia  Giaocomi zombie
Zombie Alessia

5. What’s your favourite beverage?

Depends if we are talking adult beverage or other, ha ha ha. I do love my coffee, I can’t go without it, it’s necessity! I also love a glass of red wine from time to time, I’m Italian so it’s a dinnertime staple. And then there is my weird obsession with Dr. Pepper, I don’t know many people that like it so I’m always so excited when I hear someone loves it! I might need to start a Dr. Pepper fan club just so I can know others who like to drink it ha ha.

6. Clearly you love zombies, what is your favourite zombie movie?

This is always a tough one. I love all zombie films, but if I had to choose one it would be Night of the Living Dead. It’s a classic and I’m a sucker for classics that stand the test of time.

7. Do you have an idol? If so, who is it and why?

Probably Tim Burton, he’s a creator of worlds like no other. I think he might even be part human, part magic, but I suppose I would have to meet him to find out. He has such vision and he’s not afraid to be different, and I love that! On a side note, I would most likely throw up if I met him, just far too big a fan hahaha.

9. You meet someone who has never read a book, what book would you recommend to them and why?

I would start with YIKES! WHAT? NEVER? And then I would tell them that they absolutely had to read The Divine Comedy by Dante. I recommend it
to everyone, it’s referenced in so many other texts, films and television show, so I see it as sort of a stepping stone to pop culture. I also find it very profound and poetic. Kinda my thang.

Alessia Giacomi Zombie selfie
Zombie Selfie

About your writing and your books

1. Where did your inspiration for the Zombie Girl saga came from?

It all came to me in a dream back in high school. I remember grabbing for my journal on my nightstand and jotting down ideas about an undead superhero named Eve. It grew from there.

2. The character development in your books is excellent – do you spend a lot of time observing people for your books or eavesdropping?

Firstly, thank you! And secondly I am a total eavesdropper/observer. I find people so fascinating and yes sometimes I add things I’ve heard a total stranger say into my work! So it benefits me to listen in ha ha! My favourite place in the world to watch people is at the airport. I love to watch people interact and talk about their travels. I especially love to see if I can guess what their story is and perhaps where they’re from. I’ve become pretty good at people reading that way.

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little bit of both, but perhaps more so a pantser. Like I said earlier, sometimes the unplanned writing is the best writing. The words that just come naturally to you are always the ones that are closest to the truth and although I’m creating fiction, it should still breathe life.

4. What does a typical writing day in your life look like?

I usually start with some tunes to get me revved up to write. A little Metric is usually my go to band, but I mix it up depending on the scene I’m writing or the mood I’m in. Once I start writing though, it’s time to turn all the tunes off and get sucked into the writing. I let the writing just flow, some of it is planned in an outline but then sometimes the writing takes on a life of its own and I just go with it. Oddly enough it’s the stuff I didn’t plan on writing that I end up loving the most.

5. I’ve always felt sorry for Frankenstein’s monster and at many points in Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl I empathised with Eve. Is there any fictional character you identify with and why?

I’m right with you there. I have always been a fan of classic movie monsters, I know we’re supposed to fear them, but there is something unfortunate about them that I can’t help feel empathy for. Like Eve, these ‘monsters’ didn’t choose their path, but they are forced to live it anyway. It’s funny you mention Frankenstein because it’s who I thought of immediately. The story just celebrated its 200th anniversary and I think many generations will continue to feel torn between fearing him and wanting to hug him, because being different shouldn’t be a curse.

6. I think Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl would work really well as a TV series or film, is there anyone you could imagine playing the parts of Eve, Cam and Alex?

YES! I always cast my characters before I write, so I’ve had them in my mind for ages. I would cast Sophia Bush as Eve, firstly because all her characters seem strong and confident, and secondly because her voice, it’s raspy perfection for an action heroine. I would pick Brandon Routh to play Cam, he played Superman and speaks to my inner geek, but also because he’s this big buff guy who also seems so innocent. Cam is that enigma he looks like a bodyguard , but is too afraid to hurt a fly. As for Alex I would pick Jennifer Lawrence, Alex is this sort of unpredictable chameleon in the story and if we know Jenn, and the world does, she can play a versatile character like nobody’s business.

sophia-bush jenn-lawrencebrandon-routh

7. What’s next for you after the Zombie Girl series?

I’ve been working on multiple things, but have been so busy polishing up this series and marketing it that it hasn’t given me much time to fully finish anything else. I’m looking forward to starting new things, even though I’ll miss these characters. I currently have two short stories out in charity anthologies (And The World Will Burn, Man Behind the Mask) So be sure to check those out. I’m also working on a paranormal romance, but I don’t write typical romance, so it will be more on the scary side. It’s nearly done and was really fun to write. After that I want to dive into a new YA Series I’ve been dying to start, it deals with a certain classic monster and blends with ancient history and mythology, a jumble of all my favourite things!

Thanks so much for the interview! This was a blast!

For more about ME, you can find me on Social Media:
Blog: www.poeticzombie.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepoeticzombie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agiacomi/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.giacomi/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alessiagiacomi/

For more on my BOOKS, you can find that all here:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13311317.A_Giacomi
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00SUFK4Z8
PURCHASE LINKS:
Zombie Girl: The Zombie Girl Saga Book 1
USA http://tinyurl.com/EBZombieGirl
CAN http://tinyurl.com/ZombieGirlBook1
UK http://tinyurl.com/ZombieGirlPart1

Zombie Agent: The Zombie Girl Saga Book 2
USA http://tinyurl.com/EBZombieAgent
CAN http://tinyurl.com/ZombieAgent
UK http://tinyurl.com/ZombieAgentBook2

Alessia, I’m so glad you enjoyed the questions! Your answers were amazing and I love the zombie pictures! Thanks so much for doing it and being an absolute rock star 🙂

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl series poster

The Visitor – Part I

http://loftushall.ie/
http://loftushall.ie/

 

 

Today I have, in preparation for Halloween, the first part of a very special post inspired by the wonderfully creepy Loftus Hall in Wexford. Loftus Hall is famed as the most haunted building in Ireland, find their website here. This year Loftus Hall celebrates it’s 666 year anniversary. Paranormal Lockdown tours have been running all year, the next three tours are already sold out! People enter the house at 8.30 and with a group of paranormal investigators and partake in an investigation until 3.30 in the morning. I’m dying to do one of these tours!

http://loftushall.ie/
http://loftushall.ie/

After visiting Loftus Hall a couple of years for a Halloween tour, I whole heartly agree that it’s one of the creepiest places I’ve ever been. The building is eerie (even in daylight_, even from outside, coated in darkness and set against the stark, exposed Wexford coastline. I have to add that the staff there are passionate, helpful and I would highly recommend it a tourist destination.

loftus-3

Various special Hall’oween Tours are running through October. For adults there is the Loftus Hall Hall’oween Adult Night Tour which I highly recommend. General tours can also be taken of the house and it’s magnificent walled gardens. Special Loftus Family tours also run for Halloween –one suitable Over 5’s and one for Over 12’s. To book a tour click here.

 

Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and relax for a while with the first installment of “The Visitor.”

As I write this, I find myself reminiscing on the terrible events over the past months; the pain, sorrow and bewilderment it has brought myself and my family. Yet it feels like some dream in my mind, one of which I cannot leave, which consumes my every waking minute and confuses all reality, draining me like some fiend, thirsty for my being. The things I find myself thinking of are something not of this world. Those I have spoken to of it either proclaim me as a mad man or pity me as someone distraught by the events which have passed. I question if they are right? Perhaps I have gone mad? I have pondered the idea of entering a sanatorium to be treated for this apparent delirium but deep down in my soul I know these things are true and I curse he who is responsible for it.

I have always been close to the Loftus family, through ties from marriage and business. Charles or The Baron Loftus as he is formally known has been a companion of mine since my youth. We frequented much of the country on together during our younger days and share in our adoration of hunting and angling, through this we had bonded and were in contact regularly throughout the past years. When Charles had requested over dinner one evening that I care for Loftus Hall while he and his family left for Europe I instantly agreed; it would be a break away from our own home and beneficial for my wife Jane and daughter Anne. The girls were ecstatic upon hearing the plans when I returned home and on August the 1st we arrived at Loftus Hall.

http://loftushall.ie/
http://loftushall.ie/

Loftus hall is an immense building; the three stories are filled with beautifully furnished rooms. The library on the first floor is true beauty to behold; containing unending amounts of books, some of which are ancient, the volumes being some of the only found in these aisles. The room which the girls seemed to frequent most often was the Card room in the western wing of the house with its high ceiling and comfortable chairs. Many nights were spent within it playing bridge and its walls echoed with our laughter as the fire in the far edge of the room burnt bright. This was until the night of the storm and the arrival of our guest.

On the night of August 25th I had been near the coast in Fethard at a town hall meeting, not far from Loftus hall. As a representative of the area I chaired the meeting and gave the locals news decisions and changes which would affect them.  The town’s rural inhabitants were mild mannered descendants of protestant settlers who came here during the plantations from Britain. The hours after the meeting were spent in the local pub “The Boatman” with the mayor and wealthy land lords from the surrounding area. The pub was a large thatched building usually housing forty or fifty at a time with a large stove in the centre which burned bright for many a night. We discussed business and pleasure and although a storm had begun to brew outside, we enjoyed the night wholeheartedly.

It was midnight when I prepared to return to Loftus Hall and the storm was at its worst. A forceful gale shook the rafters of the establishment. O’Toole my carriage driver nodded to the publican for a final shot of whiskey and I stood up from our table and grabbed my coat from. The door of the pub swung open violently and a gush of wind and rain poured in, blowing out the lanterns near the door and filling the pub with the cries of the storm outside. In strode a tall figure hooded in a finely woven ebony coat. He stood first motionless in the doorway as water began pooling around his feet. The pub went deathly silent in anticipation as the man withdrew his hood and smiled roguishly, his features somewhat hidden in the shadows of the extinguished lanterns.

Looking back now, I am bewildered at the fact I had not noticed how the mood in the pub suddenly changed and the glassy look in the eyes of all those around me including myself like rabbits transfixed by the moon. I watched as the man walked across the pub, still deathly silent and removed his coat. I should have left then but something held me there as if trapped in some miasma with no control over myself.

The noise began again in the pub as people began to speak again, the sound was different to before the man had entered. People spoke louder and laughter could be heard bellowing across from tables; a stark contrast to the hushed and somber mood from moments before. Someone played the fiddle in the corner of the bar – a quick mad tune being struck along its cords. I glanced across to O’Toole and saw he had ordered a large bottle of whiskey from the publican when only minutes before he was preparing to leave. I found myself sitting on a stool next to a small table, the idea of leaving fading away and an urge to stay now filling my mind and watched as the stranger walked between the other tables the drunken men sat on their stools laughing and shouting in their new found joy. He moved as if gliding, never touching or bumping against anyone and sat across from me placing a large glass of brandy before me. How in God’s name did he know what I was drinking? These and many other questions I should have asked but somehow had never entered my mind as if not present and being distracted somehow by the man.

The Visitor

He smiled at me as he outstretched his hands something about it comforting yet chilling at the same time, his dark eyes stared purposely into my own holding my stare, he was young and no older than thirty with a slightly dark complexion as if Mediterranean in descent. He wore his long jet black hair in a ponytail like some of the Argentinian nobles I had met in business and introduced himself as a Mr. Fulicer Natas. I shook his hand and returned the smile and felt myself relax as if I were sitting across from an old friend.

 I forgot the time and began to relish in the man’s company, laughing and joking more than I had in many years and felt transfixed by what he had to say. He told me of how his ship had to dock in the harbour nearby due to the storm as it was nearly run aground near the cliffs of the peninsula, how his crew had decided to watch the boat while he sought shelter for himself. He asked me if I knew of any such establishment nearby. I found myself eagerly offering him a room at Loftus Hall and insisting he stay with us.

He smiled somewhat slyly as the mood in the pub suddenly became somber once more the noise dying down, the fiddle now silent and perhaps it was my imagination but the light in the pub became dim.

We decided to leave and both stood up from our tables and along with O’Toole left “The Boatman” and accompanied the man to the carriage the storm still raging around us and began to make our way back to Loftus Hall.

I struggle to remember the journey back as it seemed I had fallen into a drunken stupor which was unusual for the amount of brandy I had drank on the night. I recall arriving at the entrance, the house illuminated in the flashes of lightning about us and the mad dash to reach the door as to get out of the dreadful storm rampaging around us. I hammered down the large oak door while Mr Natas stood motionless in the rain. I heard the noise of the locks being withdrawn from the door as it opened. Our butler Fintan hurried us in and showed our guest to his sleeping quarters for the night. I staggered my way through the dimly lit halls and towards my bedroom, stumbling a number of times and ending up against the walls or peering into the faces of the paintings covering them. I did my best not to wake Jane on entering our room stepping lightly along the wooden floor. I slipped cautiously into bed and into a deep sleep.

I awoke to Fintan’s voice, commenting on how late I had slept as my eyes fluttered open struggling to focus. I watched as he placed a platter with breakfast on my lap – toast and bacon along with a small bowl of oats. He then turned and left the room as quick as he entered. My head throbbed with pain and I found it hard to come back to reality after the strange events during the night, still confused by how it had all come to pass, but slowly my alertness returned. After finishing breakfast, I could hear the sound of joyful laughter from outside and upon dressing made my way into the house and towards wherever it seemed to

http://loftushall.ie/
http://loftushall.ie/

originate from.

As I arrived in the dining room I found Anne and Margret in conversation with our guest Mr. Natas smiling and joking playfully. Upon seeing me he stood from his chair smiling and opening his arms and welcomed me in. Immediately like the night before I felt myself relax and the pain in my head was replaced with delight at the site of the man as if we had known one another for years. His English was exemplary and now without the noise of the bar around me I could hear the slight accent he spoke with. He told us of how his business involved dealing with persons who had made wrong decisions in their lives and those who worked for him in some way or another that he performed some type of judgement upon them. I am surprised to this day as to why I did not question him more but it seemed as if he swayed and controlled the conversation like an angler reeling his catch towards him one way and then another, not allowing it time to question what is happening.

The storm was relentless for many nights and we found ourselves delighted in the company of our guest. We partook in drinking, dancing and singing, he had even showed us his skills on a fiddle which were remarkable to say the least. We danced jigs and reels to the music, perspiring profusely. Hours were spent conversing in all manner of things and we found ourselves retiring to bed in the early hours of the morning exhausted from our escapades. An air of excitement and tension lay about the house as we all struggled to rest caught up in the madness of it all.

It felt as if I had entered some trance in which I could not leave and rather than fight, allowed myself to be carried along by it like a boat on the river Slaney.

 Anne in particular took to Mr. Natas and the two became inseparable over the passing days. They would walk about the house talking and joking among one another or playing games within the card room. The way she stared at him as he spoke I remember being struck at how infatuated she seemed to be; perhaps I was the same in some way or another. I had begun to believe they were having liaisons in the night as I would awake to the creaking of floorboards in the halls outside my room, as if someone was skulking along them or would hear hushed whispers in the night. My dreams became disturbed, I dreamed of the house in flames and dark figures swooping around me whispering in some ungodly language before I would awake in a sweat and grab for my wife Jane to ensure she was beside me.

One evening as the wind bellowed outside and rain crashed against the windows of the house I made my way towards the library in search of Mr. Natas to request he join us for a game of bridge in the Card Room. I found him sitting near the fire his dark apparel contrasting against the white silk of the upholstery he sat upon. He sat reading a large tome which turned out to be Dante’s Inferno, he commended me on having one of the first volumes and talked of how the book had always amazed him, how he wondered how a man can write and draw such things in such reality as if he had somehow seen them for himself. I had assured him I did not know but that it was indeed amazing and frightening in some senses. He laughed and inquired what I had come for, I told him of the game of bridge we were about to play and he accepted smiling slyly as we made our way out of the library and towards the card room. He had told me how gambling was something he had always enjoyed partaking in it as regularly as he could in his own homeland.

As we entered the card room we were welcomed by Fintan firstly and then the girls. Mr. Natas held Anne’s hand kissing it softly and staring into her eyes before sitting down around the table. Her eyes never seemed to leave him once during the whole game. Fintan poured drinks for each of us and presented me with the deck of cards we normally play with, before I could remove them from their packet our guest requested if he deal the cards for the game. I accepted and handed him the deck. Never in all my life have I seen a man handle cards the way he did. The way his hands moved as he shuffled them in ways I had never seen at any table the cards bouncing from one hand to the other as if with a life of their own. We all sat infatuated by the sight as he dealt us our hands and we began to play. The mood changed once more and we all rejoiced in the fun we were partaking in laughing uncontrollably at the very slightest of things seemingly unable to stop. It seemed to have no effect on our guest who appeared more collected than us all focused on the game at hand and never truly losing composure.

Upon winning the second game in a row Mr. Natas dealt yet another round of cards. They fluttered along from his hands towards the table in front of us, landing perfectly as if carried by some unseen force.

I received my three cards and peered around the table only to see Anne had but two in front of her the apparent third sliding off the table and onto the floor beneath her. Natas stared at her smiling toothily almost menacingly as she bent down to pick it up. Fintan made his way towards her to help when suddenly Anne began screaming from beneath the table and fell backwards pulling the table cloth with her and crashing against the ground in apparent fright. Fintan rushed towards her and my wife and I jumped from our seats in shock and bent down to question her actions. As we did she began to shout “his feet…”, “his feet…” “Look at his feet”.

The Visitor

You can read Part II right now by clicking here!

My return to writing

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This time last Summer I started to write again and  I’ve started working on  a YA (young adult) novel. When I was younger I wrote constantly, I even wrote a book when I was 11! Thankfully I don’t have a clue what happened to that gem! It was a tragic tale of a boy and a girl who live next door to each other and fall in love. The girl has an incurable form of cancer and dies, leaving the boy heartbroken. It doesn’t sound unlike a popular YA novel from the last few years so maybe I was on to something 🙂

I wrote on and off since then but never made proper time to for it; study, college, work and life in general took over. When I took a year off work to travel the world I recorded all my travel adventures in two journals with plane tickets and postcards from different countries, it’s a great keepsake.

I had many creative outlets such as painting and life drawing classes down the years. Yes, life drawing nude people, that one wasn’t for me. The same man in his 50’s was in different poses every week, it must be the Irish prude in me but I just couldn’t relax in that class!

The one thing I never stopped is reading and I devour books. I read absolute anything! I continued to dream about writing a book and shared the dream with one of my best friends.

Dawn moved back to Cork for the Summer and suggested joining “Writing Inside Out” a writing group in the City. I had nervous butterlies in my tummy before the first group meeting in Camden Palace but going along with a friend made it easier.

Joining this group reawakened my creative side and I’m so grateful to Dawn, the facilitator Ann Heffernan and the other group members for motivating and inspiring me.

The writing group was a safe place to share our stories, memories and inspirations. There was no pressure to share and no criticism of our pieces. Each group member had a different writing style and Ann brought along different books, stories, poems and graphic novels – anything that might bring inspiration. Every week we wrote something to bring to the class, thus forcing me to write. The more I wrote the more I enjoyed it. We had two four week courses over June and July and I’ve continued writing.

If you want to try something but you’re scared, just go for it! Life is too short not to and you never know you might even like it!

#Justkeepdreaming

#Justkeepwriting

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