Hey Folks! Hope you all are doing great....as promised by the specifications of the TOURZ DE CODEX, I present to you all the last tour spot of author B.Lloyd's UnGentle Sleep "Haunted House Virtual Book tour". Let me present before you all a guest post and the only exclusive giveaway of the tour.....enjoy....
|A Beautiful artwork by the author.|
A Bustle attached to a keyboard, occasionally to be seen floating on a canal …
After studying Early Music followed by a brief career in concert performance, the Bustle exchanged vocal parts for less vocal arts i.e. a Diploma from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.
Her inky mess, both graphic and verbal, can be found in various regions of the Web, and appendaged to good people’s works (for no visible reason that she can understand).
About the book:-
When Aubrey Marchant's engagement to Eleanor Maydew was announced to his friends, he received mixed blessings.
‘The Maydews are a bohemian lot – not many servants, even before the War.’
‘Keen on brown bread and vegetables – don't expect too much in the way of creature comforts.’
‘Brave chap, I am sure you'll find the country air bracing.’
‘And Eleanor comes of good stock, too. Never mind the burst water pipes.’
Aubrey managed to shrug off most of these under a jocular guise. One of his closest friends however, let slip something that would come back to him later.
‘I wouldn't mind the rest of it – only I believe it may be a House of Spirits. Hope you can sleep all right at nights.’
Aubrey laughed at the time. ”
A crowded house party – with more guests on the way. Despite instructions to the contrary, the older part of the house is opened up . . .and something is inadvertently let out, to wreak mild havoc and insanity on the Maydews and their guests. That nasty incident involving Eleanor, followed by unpleasantness over Penny’s dress, and what is it Aubrey can hear, on the outer edge of his dreams?
Hysteria, missed cocktails, and something nasty in the attic.
Snrrip, snrrip. Snip, snap.
Even the rats run away.
A ghost tale, almost not quite long enough to qualify as a novelette, created in celebration of M.R.James’s 150th anniversary.
Exclusive Guest Post
As part of the Haunted House Virtual Tour here is a quick peek into another of the famous houses in ‘mock’ gothic literature (we’re not saying which one it is – you can either guess from reading, or from working out the anagram at the end!)…
‘Mind the step and try not to fall down any cracks,’ advised my host, stepping precariously between the broken up flagstones.
‘I shall indeed…’
Crunch, crinch, plod, plod plod.
A creaking, squealing gate (of course), a great rusty key in a great rusted lock (naturally), and a fearful screeching sound as the one turned in the other – quite ear-spittling.
‘Eh? What?’ asked my host.
‘I said – quite ear-splitting,’ I repeated, hands over ears.
‘Oh, yes – never oiled, acts as something of a deterrent to poachers and trespassers, however. Worth the occasional torture. This way,’ and the impervious host led the way across the uneven ground, up the uneven steps and through a broken doorway into a magnificent courtyard.
Only one wall still stood up to defy the sky in craggy, uneven shape, empty window frames, like eyeless sockets staring vacantly into nothingness.
‘Must have been quite an impressive building, once,’ I commented, taking in the breadth and sweep of the land, dotted with rubble, overgrown piles of bricks and stone quoins.
‘Indeed, I believe it was once. I may even have a print of it somewhere …now, down these steps, and mind the last one …. Yes. Here we are.’
A pile of earth, some shovels and a handsome L-shaped hole confronted us. Two men were kneeling at the base of the hole, brushing away at the soil.
‘Good afternoon, gentlemen. Your colleague has come to give you a hand.’
‘Oh hello, Jameson – you took your time,’ was the jovial response from one of the men, standing up and gesturing at me with his brush.
‘Yes, sorry about that,’ I replied, ‘the train was late, and I had to walk from the station.’
‘Well, now you’re here, there’s an interesting little item here, looks like an oil lamp. And Parker thinks we may have a mosaic as well, so tread careful.’
Our host left us to it and for a couple more hours before the light went we brushed and trowelled and brushed away, occasionally muttering and exclaiming as we picked out bits of terracotta and glass. The dig had been something of a last minute thing, from a reference Parker came across in the archives, and now he was almost convinced we might be onto the remains of a third century Roman villa. He and Lewitt had been free to start on the dig before me, thereby gaining a whole day’s work. We hoped to clear a good deal more before going public, so everything was kept under wraps for the time being. Nobody apart from our host knew we were there and we only had resources for a few days to complete the whole enterprise.
Once the light began to go, we wrapped our tools up and got ready to leave; there was a thread of yellow pink across the horizon and the trees took on a dark and dreary aspect. The faint breeze which had caused them to rustle was now gone, not even the birds had remained to keep us company. A certain air of desolate eeriness took over and dampened my spirits – and I suspect, my companions, for they were quite taciturn and began to look about them in a nervous way. I attempted to lighten the atmosphere: ‘Bless us, who are you expecting at this hour? Mind, I ate all the sandwiches, we’ll have nothing to offer them!’ At which Lewitt stared around him once again, and Parker grunted. Something was certainly affecting them and they seemed disinclined to stay longer than absolutely necessary after dark.
Once we reached our host’s home and were treated to some wine and cheese, our spirits rose a little – but we none of us referred to the dig, which was unsual.
The following day we were up at crack of dawn, and back at the site with renewed enthusiasm. The weather held, and soon we felt the scorching sun beating on our backs. It was a hot summer and our flasks of lemonade soon emptied. Our chatter remained cheerful and lively until the evening – when again that uncanny silence fell on the trees, the birds – and us. Once more, my colleagues packed up hurriedly as if fearful of being caught there; this was infectious and I made similar haste, questioning our irrational behaviour at the same time. We were a little later than the previous evening, and as we crossed the ruined courtyard leading to the gate, I thought I heard a distant cackle of laughter. I turned my head, and noticed the other two do the same; yet Parker did not stop and walked faster, encouraging us to ‘hurry up, a chap’s appetite needs feeding…’
Again, once back in the house with food and drink and warm lamp light we relaxed once more; the eeriness and uncanny feeling left us completely.
Come the third day, and a series of incidents occurred over the course of the morning and afternoon which caused first Parker then Lewitt to leave the dig; each of them on leaving counselled the others not to work late; Lewitt in particular stressed this as he left me, and even suggested I leave together with him. It was but four in the afternoon, the light was excellent and I had just come across something of particular interest: part of a tile, and the beginnings of what promised to be a complete pitcher. I was in no mind to leave just then; a form of devil-may-care took over and I carried on regardless. I was rewarded for my efforts by recovering the pitcher intact, but the hour was indeed quite late and I discovered not only the last of the light was going but even a full moon was riding high already. I was so cheerful about my find however that I did not notice the silence, or the atmosphere. I even whistled as I packed up; my back was aching and I had thoughts of a hot bath. I could not have been more carefree as I tripped up the old cracked steps and crossed the old ruined courtyard. The greater the shock then, when I stepped forward – into a towering inferno. Flames, high as trees billowed up about me, crashes and groans of timber being wrenched asunder by sheer heat, shrieks and shouts of people, thudding, banging, the running of feet – all of this and – and - I looked up, bewildered, horrified, and saw silhouetted against the blinding light the figure of a woman at the top of the ruined wall – standing with arms spread out, dress streaming behind her – and next, a fearful laugh – the same laugh I had heard the night before … and she threw herself into the sky.
I could not speak nor shout nor move as the frightful figure sailed down to the ground. Not even when I heard the frightening, sickening thud of a body coming into contact with the cold hard earth. Only when I heard a man’s voice, raised above the sound of crackling fire and crumbling masonry, shouting one word. ‘Earth’ was it? ‘Birth?’ No, it was a woman’s name, surely – Bertha…
How I stumbled out of that nightmare, I do not recall – my next memory is of being grasped by the arms by Lewitt and Parker who, concerned I had not yet returned to the house, had set out again to look for me. ‘And thank goodness we did,’ commented Parker later on, over a very late supper. Our host nodded. ‘I imagine it was the final fire you saw – the one that destroyed the original building. Legend has it the owner kept a mad woman locked up in one of the upper rooms, and that she escaped one night and set fire to the place. Can’t say I have ever experienced anything myself. Wouldn’t want to, either.’
We went all together the following morning, made our final notes and left by the afternoon train. Parker has written up a paper on the site itself and who knows, there may well be a bigger dig organised next year. I doubt I shall take part in it myself, though …..
This was one ‘visit’ to a gothic place from literature – if you hadn’t already guessed the place referred to, the place name or book from which it is derived is below – as an anagram ... have fun ! and think about your favourite gothic place in literature: what would it be like to visit …
Anagram: Lad hen hill fort