Monthly Archives: November 2010

A productive couple of days

The countdown to Christmas is now under way and I’m off to Ludlow Medieval Christmas Faire this weekend. We’re being told to expect snow over most of the country before the weekend and Shropshire seems to be one of the areas with a high chance.

The last couple of days have been quite productive with regard to the ghost story. Not sure if it will be finished by the end of the month but I’m pretty certain it will be on Elfwood in the run up to Christmas.

In other events, I’m a moderator on a small discussion forum and we’ve just set up a formal debate section. I’m looking for an opponent to put a good case forward that Christmas has become too commercial. I intend to argue that it isn’t. So far nobody has accepted the challenge but I will write the piece anyway and post it at

Bonfire Night weekend

Made a little headway on the Christmas ghost story today despite a busy weekend. Here is the first few hundred words of the story to whet your appetite:

Brother Edmund woke with a start. Despite the intense cold, his habit was soaked through with sweat and his heart hammered at his chest.

All around him, his fellow monks curled up tightly on their simple beds to keep warm. Some snored lightly while others muttered incantations or babbled incoherently. Not one was loud enough to disturb his sleep however and he rose gently.

The straw beneath his body shifted and ruffled as Edmund swung himself into a sitting position. He recoiled in shock as his bare feet touched the icy stone floor. He muttered a brief apology to the sleeping monks and drew his legs back onto the bed.

What had woken him?

He had been dreaming of the monastery, of being alone within its precincts and far from feeling scared, it comforted him. He remembered walking through every room, every passage of the great abbey of Tintern and not seeing another soul.

He’d finally reached the new church before the voice had called to him. A wispy ethereal voice calling softly on the wind Edmund, come to me. Despite the church being vast and closed, the voice carried through the stone and he marched toward it.

It was at that point that Brother Edmund had woken and for a fleeting second, believed that he had heard the voice genuinely before it dissipated on the wind. Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to sleep until he investigated and realising that the notion of an intruder in the church was preposterous. Even so, Brother Edmund put on his shoes and climbed out of bed.

Taking care not to disturb his fellow monks, Edmund crept to the nearest window, leaned out and ignoring the biting cold, directed his gaze toward the mechanical clock high up on the wall*. From his vantage point, it seemed to read a few minutes to midnight and he sighed deeply, in two and a half hours, their long day would begin.

Edmund’s breath formed a thick cloud as he stood in the window admiring the peace and beauty of the landscape. The land was still; dense winter clouds were taking a pause from the constant distribution of the last few days. As a result, a blanket of snow spread across the complex, virginal, untouched, fresh; all hint of yesterday’s human activity gone in just a few hours.

Moonlight cast across the garth from the north and lit up the near side of the church with an awe-inspiring beauty. He could pick out individual features in the colossal stone building, a structure that stood as a testament to the financial success of Tintern Abbey and the spiritual supremacy of the Cistercian order. At any other time of year he would have been able to hear the river Wye, but as with all other things, it was frozen.


The voice jolted the monk from his daydream. Feeling a spiritual chill as well as a physical one, Edmund pulled his white habit tightly around him. Small hairs at the back of his neck raised and he crossed himself.
Certain that the voice was no longer in his dream and equally certain that the church was its origin he withdrew from the window, slowly crossed the dorm and exited via the night stairs.

Stony silence and bitter cold greeted Edmund as he entered the church. Though he closed the door with utmost caution, the soft click reverberated around the hallowed structure, echoing intensely.

Edmund took a tentative step forward onto the intricate tiling. ‘Is anybody there?’ he called gently. His voice echoed but no reply came. He shuffled forward, slowly and carefully as his pulse continued to pound. His eyes darted left and right along the north aisle and ahead to the break between the choir and presbytery to the southern most point of the inner precinct. He advanced along the north transept with care and tentatively peaked into the choir.

‘Hello?’ He called again and turned to face the High Altar. Edmund stopped dead in his tracks and his heart skipped a beat. In front of the High Altar was a bundle of rags that did not belong.

Edmund advanced slowly, feeling annoyed at whoever had left them there. He sighed at the lack of restraint in the younger monks but at least their enthusiasm made up for their lack of self-discipline.