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A little Halloween Tale of Terror

Bernice Cooke Art Artwork Galway Artist Giclée Prints Halloween Old Buildings Pen and Watercolor prints Ruinlust Short story Terror Writer

The Talisman of Loftus Hall


All this happened, more or less six years ago, believe it or not!

A dark November night beckoned in a bitterness that would curl your toes and make your teeth tap out Morse code.  Darkness formed long fingered shadows on the worn pathways below the pulsating blink of a broken street light.  The silence shattered only by the hum of erratic, loud conversation.  

Believe it or not, a small crowd had gathered at the dimly lit entrance, brief introductions were made followed by some small talk, form filling, stale finger food and inky warm coffee.

The night was about to begin.

Anticipation began to snowball as people were organized into small groups.

Lisa rejoined her group after a brief excursion to the ladies, nights like this made her go more often, her Mother always teased her about having a tiny bladder. She spotted Dot standing in the courtyard extinguishing her cigarette, she exclaimed to Lisa that she felt “this night would bore the arse of her, she’d much rather be in the pub”.

Lisa shrugged, she didn’t care, a night like this was on her bucket list and she was grateful of the company.  The chatter faded as the groups dispersed into the countless dark rooms and corridors.

Believe it or not, it felt really cold indoors, despite the group of people.  The sharpness of mould and rot tickled Lisa’s nose.  Shuffling down the corridor in silence watching the shadows dancing from the glow of flickering candlelight, “a nice touch” whispered Dot.  They gathered in a room known as the little chapel, the years hadn’t been kind to this particular room, it was littered with broken pews, crude drawings and ancient symbols decorated the paint peeled walls.

Dot dragged Lisa to the back of the room, she was never one for front and centre of a group.  Believe it or not, the energy in the room seemed to change, their guide turned off her torch and asked for complete silence as the equipment was recording.  She called out to any unseen forces to make their presence known. Dot nudged Lisa with her knee, stifling a giggle.  Lisa felt the room grow really dark, or was that just her eyes adjusting.  From behind, a deep guttural growl reverberated from behind them, Lisa felt every muscle in her body tense, Dot grabbed and squeezed her hand,” knock it off” she whispered, “that wasn’t me” Lisa said, a ripple of horror ran through the group, somebody screamed.  The hairs stood upright on Lisas neck, she felt uncomfortable as if the darkness was closing in.  She asked to leave the room, too bad if Dot was staying, Lisa wanted out, and needed to retreat to the light and warmth of the foyer.


Believe it or not the lobby seemed inviting and peaceful, the warm glow from the patio heaters brightened up the courtyard.  Lisa tried to make sense of what she just heard.  A quick trip to the ladies and she would rejoin her group, this night was meant to be thrilling not scary.  Maybe the organizers were playing cheap tricks on the crowd.  Standing over the basin she splashed some cold water on her face, the bathroom lights suddenly went out, “fucking sensor lights” Lisa fumed as she jumped up and down, nothing happened, then she heard it again, groping for the door handle she stumbled outside, and walked into Dot.  

“I wondered where you got to” she slurped her coffee, “that was a strange one, the atmosphere in the room shifted to a lighter one when you left, and others stated they could smell flowers”.  “You must have took whatever it was with you” , she laughed as she nudged Lisa.  

“Thanks”, Lisa muttered “I won’t sleep at all tonight”.

Believe it or not she didn’t, darkness crept over her, playing with her vision, she thought she could see the outline of a dark hooded figure in her room.  Day’s seemed endless and nights were spent tossing and turning her imagination running wild.  Sometimes when she did nod off she was startled awake by a loud noise, doors opened and closed by themselves, objects fell from shelves, even the dogs stared and growled at well…nothing, there was never anything there.

But still, she just couldn’t seem to shift her mood, to step out of her trance, to just get on with life.

Tired of her own mood swings and her sleeplessness she reached out for help.  She heard about a visiting Shaman to the area and made an appointment.  He spoke to her softly and encouraged her to relive her memory and experience, he said some prayers and gave her a clear quartz, whatever it was, whatever happened that night he took with him.

Lisa felt uplifted, her mind clear, and the fear had evaporated, and the quartz is her new talisman.

Believe it…or not…