The Wisps on the Moor

Written by Terrestris Veritas


She felt her foot snag in a root and lost control of her balance, falling forward to a jerking stop as the ground stayed where it was and a grip on her arm hauled her upright. The grip remained on her arm, firm but not without force. She looked up fearfully, seeing the gloved hand and crisp uniform, following along until she saw the stern, scarred face. He gazed at her with savage eyes that peeped out from underneath a shiny, leather cap.

He addressed her curtly, “Why were you running child?”

“I was chasing a rabbit,” she mumbled to her shoes.

“Speak up, and look me in the eye when you talk. There’s a good girl. Now, repeat what you just said.”

“I was chasing a rabbit.”

“Well you shouldn’t do that,” he said shortly. “Many people have important jobs to do around here and you wouldn’t want to get in their way now, would you?”

“No,” she said dejectedly, making sure to look him in the eye.

“Good. Now,” he continued talking as he led her back to the house. “I’m sure your mother would like you inside before it gets dark. No matter what, you must stay inside at night. The men here are on watch and could mistake you for someone else. And they do nasty things to people they don’t know in the dark.” He chuckled to himself as he opened the side door, still gripping her arm.

**

Samantha woke to the sound of someone calling her. Blinking rapidly, she looked around, straining to hear the voice again. The house creaked eerily. She gripped her bed sheets tightly. It was never quiet in this old, draughty house. And the noise made her skin crawl. Usually, Samantha slept in her mother’s room, but currently she was unwell with the baby and needed to rest alone. Having laid down again to sleep, she thought of her little brother. Samantha thought to herself: Why was he making mother so unwell? I hope she gets better soon. Her mother was the only nice person here, apart from the old maid who had made her bed for her. But no-one seemed to understand that her mother’s husband, the sergeant, was not her father.

“Samantha.”

She sat bolt upright. The voice had come from her left, near the window. Swinging her legs out of bed, she slipped on her shoes and stood up, smoothing down her nightdress.

“Samantha,” the voice whispered.

The house creaked loudly, and she jumped from the noise, almost knocking her stack of unpacked books. She walked to the window, pressing her hand against it to look out, shivering from the cold.

A small ball of orange light hovered just outside the window. “Samantha, follow us.” The voice was insistent.

“You want me to come with you? But come where?” Samantha was curious, but still cold.

“Outside Samantha. Come and play.”

Outside was warmer somehow, Samantha thought, turning away from the soft mist. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she looked around for the light. It bobbed into view, pulsing slightly. She chased after it, as it led her away from the house and up a slight hill. She kept a close eye on the ground so as to not fall over once more. Sometimes she’d think she had lost the ball of light but it would always reappear, whispering her name softly. It was just like one of her stories, she thought.

She didn’t know how long she followed that light, but eventually she came to a clearing of sorts. She heard a strange noise that sounded like water, and the air smelt funny too. But all that was driven away when she saw what she had been led to. Some distance away from her, she saw lots of balls of light – more like wisps in the mist. They were many colours including purple, yellow, blue, green and red. They zoomed overhead, chasing each other and laughing softly. And then they directed their attention to her.

“Come and play with us Samantha,” they chorused. “Come play with us.” They almost sounded like they were begging, again pulsing softly.

Samantha smiled. “Okay.”

**

“Sergeant, the girl has not yet been found.” The corporal stood stiffly, cap in hand and eyes front. Years of discipline could not disguise the slight tremble.

The Sergeant took a long drag on his cigarette, blew the smoke out in rings and considered the man in front of him. “How long has the little one been missing now?” he said slowly, dragging out the sentence as if he found the topic distasteful.

“Since… since your wife went to wake her sir. About five hours ago.” The corporal tried his best to hide his stutter.

He waved a hand in a mild gesture. “In my childhood, my sister would disappear for days on end, especially when she was around Samantha’s age. Indeed, I used to do the same. My parents never thought anything of it – they were guilty of the same thing. Sadly, my wife does not share my reasoning that this behaviour is simply a part of growing up. She worked herself up so much that she had to be sedated. She is not able to cope, and I do not want my child or wife at risk of further ill-health. That is why the brat must be found. Understand?” He raised an eyebrow at the shivering man.

The corporal saluted. “Yes-sir!”

“Of course corporal,” the Sergeant added with a wry smile, “I wouldn’t worry unduly if she were to not be found for some time. You say there was a slight incident yesterday with a guard?”

“Yes-sir. The guard on watch took exception to the girl’s game. He caught her as she tripped and escorted her back indoors. It was heard that he believed the child was distracting him and warned her, yet again as it is, not to go out after dark. He also hinted that he may have intimidated the girl.”

“Let him be. If he did truly scare her, she’ll come back when she gets hungry. ‘Tis the way with children, corporal.” The Sergeant took another long drag and murmured, “Had she been raised with my strict hand, such a thing would not occur, for she would know the punishment. And punished she shall be.” He declared to the corporal, “All should know, understand and receive the consequences of their actions.” He winked at the suddenly pale man. “Not a bad way to live, eh?”

The corporal was saved in answering by another uniformed man rushing in. Heaving for breath he saluted and removed his cap. “Sir!”

“Private.” The Sergeant acknowledged him. “Your report?” There was a moment of silence apart from the private’s heavy breathing. “Come on man, spit it out!”

The private flinched. He seemed to be steeling himself. “Sir. Not ten minutes ago the patrol boats from along the coast radioed the barracks. They were attempting to trail the runaways from two days ago. But they spotted something else…” At this, the private hesitated.

The Sergeant stubbed out his cigarette with a hiss and stood up from behind his desk. “Private, tell me what you have come to tell me or there will be consequences.” There was another pause as the private and corporal exchanged looks. “Out with it, private!”

The private blanched. Gathering himself together hurriedly, he garbled through the words. “They saw something on the rocks, at the base of the cliffs. Riding closer, it was clearly a body. They thought it was one of the fugitives at first, sir, but then they saw the night-gown…” He trailed off, not daring to say more.

The Sergeant remained staring at the private, mouth open in disbelief. Slowly he sank back into his chair and for a moment stared at his papers, as if at a loss. With a weak wave of his hand he dismissed the other men. They left the room as quickly as possible. It was quiet in the corridor beyond, so silent that they easily heard the clink of a bottle against a glass from the Sergeant’s room.


The haunting image of a girl driven to her death on the rocks is saddening, to say the least. But Terrestris Veritas’ words dig deep in his short fiction. We love how he’s created such a wonderful setting with Samantha and the ghostly spirits of the house. Perhaps she’s not dead though, and merely wandered into Wonderland as Alice’s doppelgänger. We can only hope. If you enjoyed Terra’s work, please feel free to leave a like or comment, or perhaps read some of his other work including, “For Loved Ones” and “Diaries of the Gods”.

Featured Image CC // Derek Bruff

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For Loved Ones

Written by Terrestris Veritas


“I’ve never taken on a job like this before,” Sandy said as she stepped over the threshold. “Are you sure I’ll be able to handle it?”

Igor smiled, closed the front door after her and gestured down the hallway. “I’m sure you’ll be just fine,” he assured her, eyes twinkling. “The kids are quite good and excited to see you. I’ve barely been able to contain them.”

Sandy smiled back, the worry fading from her mind. “They must be a delight to have around the place.” She pushed open the kitchen door. “This is quite a nice house as well. What did you say your job was again?” She turned to face him but before she could she heard a muffled thud and collapsed without a sound.

**

Igor opened the door to his kids’ room. “Lucy, Chase!” he called as he entered.

The twins were sitting on their beds on opposite sides of the room. Both were slight of stature and dressed in casual clothes. They were sitting cross-legged facing each other, staring the opposing twin down, as if they were opponents. Lucy was dark of eye with straight, black hair to match, while Chase had bright, blonde hair with piercing, electric-blue eyes. Both snapped their gazes to Igor.

In an instant, Lucy was by his side, hugging him fiercely. Chase came slower, he always was slower than his sister, but hugged his father with just as much warmth. Lucy let go and took a step back. “Daddy, you were gone for ages!” she rallied, stamping her foot in fake anger.
Igor tousled her hair, “I’m sorry darling. I was getting some work done. But I’m here now.” He smiled as she did.

Chase spoke. “Daddy, can we go back to Mensington? I miss our old home.”

Igor shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry son, but you and your sister burnt the town down, remember. There’s nothing left.”

“But you can build it again, can’t you Daddy?”

“Of course it can be built again. But it takes time. Now my children,” he said, taking their hands, “there is someone I want you to meet.”

Lucy started jumping up and down, her hair blurring from the motion. “You brought us someone to play with?” she squealed.

Chase smiled widely, ever the calm one. “Did you really Daddy?”

Igor nodded. “I did. Her name’s Sandy. She’s in the box room, waiting for you. She’s your new playmate. Why don’t you go play with her?”

Both the twins hugged him again. “Thank you Daddy!” they chorused in unison. Lucy’s eyes had grown darker, gaining a red tint, while Chase’s had grown all the more brighter with excitement. They rushed from the room, eager to meet their new friend.

Igor sat on Chase’s bed, hunched over, elbows on knees and head in hands. He was dreading the time when the children came back. He would have to bathe them, bed them and wash their clothes. He knew then he’d have to clean the box room from top to bottom, removing all the blood and get rid of what remained of dear Sandy. And in a few days he’d show someone new into the house, a new friend, a new playmate. The twins just wanted to play with people, so he made sure they had someone to play with. If he didn’t, they would get angry. But the other reason was far simpler – they were his children, and a good father wants his children to be happy. In whatever way he must and at whatever the cost.


Terribly dark and creepy, with just a touch sweetness – a perfect summary for Terrestris Veritas’s fictional work. Written on behalf of February’s HHC, Fanning the Flames, this is indescribably tense and twisted. Lucy and Chase seem so innocent until Igor’s thoughts in the last paragraph, and then it truly dawns on us what these children have done. Jeepers creepers? Just about. If you enjoyed Terra’s HHC here, be sure to view his other work, including “Diaries of the Gods” and “Race“. 

Featured Image CC // Song Zhen

 

Residue

Written by Magnificent Mayhem

a_little_princess_emily_doll

Sara Crewe in A Little Princess, clutching Emily.

She is a glass doll.
Stunning in the light,
Brittle lashes and lifeless eyes,
Her slick curves, angles, cold to the touch
Until they’ve been greased with prints.

Familiar hands know every line,
Could trace these planes in darkness
Drawing forth memory
Of each previous encounter,
All dalliances with dust and dirt forgotten,
Loved now by someone’s sticky hands.
Wet with sweetness wiped
From the corners of young lips,
The kind of hands that are never clean,
That plainly show where they’ve been.

They leave trails of new care and old saliva,
Over scars feathered so carefully they were surely placed there on purpose,
Perhaps in anger, or simple carelessness
In their blatant disregard of her worth: you are nothing
These cracks scream
To be so easily abused this way.

But fingers damp from moistened mouths feel none of this.
They search eagerly instead for the curve of her shoulder, the dip of her neck,
Reveling in the reflection of ecstasy on her face, recognising an eye or lip,
Claiming it, for now, knowing later she must be relinquished.

And someone will have to wash her of the stains these filthy hands have left,
Before setting her back on display to be picked up again.
She is a glass doll, slowly shattering.

“Residue” is Magnificent Mayhem’s first published piece in Inkblots Magazine. Often writing free verse poetry in her spare time, her inspiration for this particular piece was taken from the similarities between how roughly a child may play with a doll or toy and our tendencies to treat people as property – succumbing to our selfish desires.

Fudge

Written by Silver

Creamy, smooth and oh so sweet –fudge_in_a_box
the temptation to eat is all but a treat.
Bending and stooping he hands me just one,
and taking the chunk, I nibble for fun.

Dun in colour but delightful in flavour,
I gobble the piece with nought left to savour.
When I ask for another he chuckles and smiles,
“There’s one left for later,
but we can’t ruin your dinner.”

I sulk and pout all the way home,
but Daddy is driving, taking me to Mum.
He drops me off at the door, waving goodbye,
placing the final piece in my hand with a sigh.

“I love you sweetheart, but it’s time for me to go.
You should give the last piece to Mummy you know.”
Shaking my head I plead, “Daddy don’t leave,
here’s my last piece ‘til I see you Christmas Eve.”

Bending and stooping he gives me a hug;
I don’t want to let go and start tearing up.
He ruffles my hair and gets up once more
as I traipse through the house, mucking up the floor.

Mummy shouts but I don’t really care
as I find the perfect place to put my share
of half-eaten fudge, split with the Daddy I love.

Fudge was written on behalf of The Inkwell’s Summer Writing Open Review Day (SWORD) and was inspired by Silver’s love and adoration of fudge when she was a child. She would often be given fudge if she’d been particularly good, or received a great result in school, and sometimes her dad would say that she could pick a couple of pieces of fudge in the cinema, even though it was expensive!