The Bells of Campden

Written by Miss Smiley

bells_lone

Living, breathing bells? That’s horror, for sure. Image // Vladimer Shioshvili

Campden was a small province. It was peaceful. It was a sweet place – a place you’d want to raise your children. It was practically crime-free. A place you’d want to retire to and live out your life in. It was alive. It felt alive. There was none of this dead metal people tend to surround themselves in. The land breathed and danced. And then there were the bells.

To say that they rang would be an understatement. These bells didn’t just ring – they lived, they sang, each note a clear, precise, and weirdly organic sound. Their range spanned further than a normal church bell’s, their notes singing out whole provinces, calling them into church and court in the morning, ringing out long after they’d been struck.

If you believed the myths, the bells were alive. In back streets and behind closed doors, they whispered about them.

If a man was tried in court, he was tried before the bells. Mostly it was formality, they said. But every now and then, a bell would ring by itself during a trial. And that man was guilty – guilty as sin. The lawyers knew better than to speak for their client then. Once, a lawyer had protested and no one liked to talk about his story. That wasn’t the kind of thing you wanted your children to accidentally overhear, and who knew when they were listening?

It was worse to whisper about what happened to the guilty man, though. It was a story that each child heard, just once, when they were old enough. No one ever wanted to be told twice. No one ever needed to be told twice.

You see, the bells were alive. And everything that lives needs to eat.

Miss Smiley’s short story was submitted as part of a past HHC entry, with a Horror theme. It’s possibly more suited to October’s upcoming theme “fear”, but we liked it too much to consider leaving for too long. Besides the performance from the bells is particularly enthralling. If you liked Miss Smiley’s piece, and are utterly terrified of those bells, make sure you check out some of her other tales of sneaky horror, such as “Fetish” and “Rosebed“. 

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Monthly Editorial: August’s Content Looks To A Grand Performance

Edinburgh sees the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK - 29th August 2009.

Street Acts are everywhere during Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival Image // Wiki Commons

Hey Inkblotters!

Now that August has arrived we’ve got a month full of brand new content, but first I’ll turn your attention to our undercurrent theme for the next four weeks. While June saw festival season kicking off and July welcomed in a time of dedication for our sporting heroes, August’s theme will bridge the gap between both of these and bring in a grand performance. There’s always so much happening during the summer months – both Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and London have street acts, plus there’s lots of open-air theatre whenever the sun makes an appearance. So in order to celebrate this incredibly lively time during the superb British heat wave, we’re publishing content that reflects a great performance.

As always we’ve got our regular content scheduled and it kicks off on the 5th with regular contributor Terrestris Veritas’s HHC piece named “Race”. With its fast-paced action and around-the-clock excitement rivalling the Ascot races, you won’t want to miss out. Next up on the 8th is new contributor Juwan Cross’s exceptional poem “I am the Night” and further along into the month we’ll see more of Ashcloud’s fantastic poetry, as well as Rob’s humorous HHC shorts.

If you didn’t catch our recent news post, we’ve had a small update to our submissions page which includes our new email address. You’ll also find all the guidelines for submitting a Fiction Frenzy/ HHC piece there. Speaking of the FF, it’s still running until August 31, so make sure you email your entries into us with either the theme Carnage or Virtual Reality, or a bit of both. This month’s Half Hour Challenge theme is Freakshow, so you can now get cracking on the theme.

And just as a reminder to all our regular readers, there will be no content in September, but we’ll back in October with the theme “fear” – apt for Hallowe’en.

Have a lovely August/September!

– Silver, ‘Blots Editor