I have always been fascinated by dreams. They are such strange things, aren’t they ?
One wonders, sometimes, how on earth our brains invent the weird and wonderful scenarios that drift through our heads while we are asleep.
Sometimes I hover in that ‘half-light’ …..neither dreaming nor awake …… not knowing if things are real or simply an illusion….a figment of my over-active imagination………
THE OLD MALTING HOUSE
It is always dark around this enclosure of old, abandoned buildings.
In the height of the day, when the sun sears the surrounding country-side and turns the corn-fields into liquid gold; when woodland animals shelter from the heat, in the cool, limpid shade of the leafy sycamores; even then a cold, dark, mist of gloom clings to the moss-covered stones of the old malting house.
A murky shadow hangs over the blackened stones of the tumbledown wall. The crumbling blocks lie decaying, like neglected teeth in an ogres mouth. Cockroaches, stag beetles and other, more hideously formed insects creep and crawl in every available crevice.
The courtyard is covered with unrecognisable detritus; it must be many years since this place was cleaned and hosed. Aeons since anyone cared.
Enormous cracks have opened up; deep ravines that seem to reach down to the very bowels of the earth.
Even to Hell itself !
Three tall, bare, leafless trees are starkly out-lined against the darkening sky. They are long dead. Nothing grows in the rancid soil. Only evil flourishes inside these walls.
A raven perches, malevolently, on an ebony branch; its cries alerting the buildings.
Someone approaches !
The structures seem to shift and settle, ominously. Shadows move, expectantly, from the hollow interior. Breathing; groaning; waiting ………
No-one comes here willingly………… Nothing of the day, that is.
Squirrels and foxes skirt the far edge of the field that lies beyond the ancient, dilapidated wall. Only bats and the omnipresent, giant, blue-black ravens, dare mingle with the gruesome, shadowy creatures that dwell in this place.
A rider appears from across the field. He is a stranger; surprised to find himself here. He passes a hand across his eyes as though to waft away some invisible veil…………
Curious about the eerie cluster of buildings, he advances. Night is falling and he is sleepy. Perhaps shelter can be found. But his steed pricks up its ears and stops. It senses danger; evil.
The man urges the horse forward, striking its rump with the riding crop and squeezing with his knees. The animal flares its nostrils and tracks hither and thither in distress; then rears up, tossing the rider from its back.
His vanity bruised, the stranger brushes himself with his gloved hands and clouds of dry, dusty clay fill the air. He remounts, flicking away a swarm of voracious midges that buzz, annoyingly, around his head.
Realising that his horse will go no further towards the edifices, he pulls on the reins and departs back across the meadow. He turns, once, to take one last look at the strange buildings.
He is sure that he sees some movement by the rusted, iron gates. But it is only the flapping corner of an old, long-faded poster, lifting in the slight breeze. He turns away and the horse gallops off swiftly, taking them out of sight.
The words on the poster are no longer legible. Many years of wind and rain have long since erased them. But part of a face remains; darkly hooded eyes staring out. The eyes swivel sideways, following the rider as he disappears.
An air of disappointment falls over the courtyard.
“Next time ……….” it seems to sigh.
Darkness falls and the moonlight plays strange tricks with the shadows in the black, cavernous interior of the malting house. Rats mingle with monstrous lizards and ghastly apparitions slink out from the very walls of this haunted place.
A malevolent evil fills the air.
This is the time these hideous creatures enjoy.
A time when the unsuspecting go to sleep. That’s when they appear and fill your head with your most dreaded fears.
Perhaps you have been here ?
Walked in this frightful place ?
Found yourself suddenly awake; shaking; afraid ?
This is the stuff of nightmares ……………….