I wish you all a Happy Halloween or Samhain. I hope you have left an offering at the crossroads and may all saints and all souls be blessed.
I managed a little haunting for the occasion ( story)
and then another haunted tale
The Custodian ( or Crypt Keeper)
Mr. Wharton wearily made his way up the hill to the crypt from where the terrible sounds emanated. It was like this every year as Hallow’s Eve approached. The howling became louder each evening and each evening he would enter the crypt to check the door. It was no ordinary door set as it was into the stone pavings on the floor. No one knew who had put it there and why, and no one dared open it, but it had been there as long as any of the older villagers remembered. Thus it was a solitary journey that Mr. Wharton as custodian, made at that time of year. No one but the custodian would dare enter the cemetery at this woeful time, no ordinary mortal at any rate.
Mr. Wharton proceeded into the vault cautiously. He could hear scraping and snuffling coming from below. He always tried very hard to secure the heavy door but he knew that those from the fathomless caverns beneath were very clever. Their misshapen paws had long digits and claws. Even if the slab were cracked open a smidgen, one of “them” could get out. He would not keep his position long if the hounds of hell were allowed to run amok in the grave yard pooping their foul waste on the grass or lifting their twisted legs on the tombstones of the dear departed. Worse still, they liked to dig things up. It was a prodigious job to round them all up and send them back to their sulfurous abode. He had lost a few of his own dogs in the task.
He raised his lantern and looked around. Everything seemed to be in order. The mist reached out and curled around his legs like spectral fingers as he headed back with relief to his little cottage. His parlour was warm and the smell of the wonderful stew that Mrs. Beaton had made, still filled the room. The fireplace crackled and blazed.
Then he heard it, a low warning growl coming from his bedroom. Mr. Wharton took down a riding whip hanging on the wall and a rolled up newspaper from his chair by the fire. He could hear rasping breath and smell the odour of rotting meat. Inside the room a grotesque creature with a hairy snout full of sharp teeth and blood red eyes looked up from the bed. In one swift movement the newspaper came down sharply across it’s muzzle. “You know I don’t allow any of you on the bed!” cried Mr. Wharton as his other hand cracked the whip. The creature yelped hideously and slunk off whining into a dark corner where it sat staring malevolently at him.
Mr. Wharton went back out and looked into the kitchen. Mrs. Beaton was nowhere to be seen. He found a chewed up shoe and a torn apron by the open garden door suggesting she might have tried to flee. It was highly unlikely anyone could outrun the beast so those meager bits were probably all that was left of the poor woman. Mr. Wharton sighed. It’s not going to be easy finding another housekeeper he thought as he sat down at the table. He would have to deal with everything later. Right now he was pleased to see that the good woman had at least had time to lay out a tankard of ale beside a piece of her delicious pumpkin pie.