Death Dances in the shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 6 excerpt


“I think that I prefer, “Wyndwrayth, rather than Wyndwryth,” Nick muttered into his beard and read on. The writer claimed that over the years, there had been many reports of a creature, occasionally seen on moonlit nights, flitting between the bushes in the undergrowth. However, when a search of the grounds had been undertaken by the staff, nothing had ever been found.  The author concluded that these stories regarding a haunting presence wandering around in the grounds, were just superstitious tales told to the families’ children, in order to scare them into being good at bedtime. Nevertheless intrigued, Nick read on. It appeared that many times the local children were told that if they made too much noise, the spirit of the lake would come and get them, carrying them away to its deep dark depths, never to be seen again! The description of this ‘shade,’ varied but it was nearly always described as small, thin and pale.

“Typical Celtic horror story,” murmured Nick, as an imagined vision flashed across his mind. “Jesus, I thought my parents were crazy! Those poor kids must have been utterly petrified.” There was more to read and research but right now, Nick fancied another joint before he ploughed on, “and a nice mug of Coffee wouldn’t go amiss right now,” he commented to Heddi, as he bookmarked the link and closed off the connection. He was two-thirds of the way through this latest information and after a relaxing break, he would be back at it, refreshed and raring to go.

Nowadays, his iPod contained close to five thousand titles, so the once simple act of choosing the correct music to match the moment, had become a lot more complicated. Calming down after a stint at Heddi’s wheel wasn’t the simplest of tasks, ‘Krautrock, or Classics?’ Nick asked himself as he made his way into the lounge, to roll another doobie. ‘Sit in front of the window, man and just take fifteen minutes to regroup before you carry on,’ his conscious mind said but it wasn’t going to be all that easy.

The house plans of Wyndwrayth, were his next topic on the list of exploration. The place had looked intriguingly constructed to Nick, as he’d stood in that entranceway with its knocker in his hand. Furthermore, there was that mysterious tower, rising up and piercing the ever-present single cloud of mist, hovering slightly above the roof of the main house.

Sitting in his recliner overlooking the lake, Nick took a sip of his coffee, waggled his foot to the music and lit his joint. The house, he mused, was around a thousand years old and it must have seen all sorts of changes in that time; ranging from the day that Olaf Gunderson had built his citadel to the dwelling abandoned by the bankrupt Richard Davis, who’d left the island, never to return in 1931. The island, it’s house, lake, lakeside land and properties had then been bought by the grandfather of the present Lord Cleaver, primarily for farming, just using the lake for its fishing rights. Its story was thus complete, nobody else had lived at ‘Y Wake Gwynt’ after the elegant but bankrupt Edwardian gentleman, departed at the start of the thirties.

In its time, the house had seen the fall of Llewelyn, the domination of Wales by the English and the bloody insurrection of Owen Glendower, followed by his mysterious disappearance. The Civil War, where a King lost his head and a huge empire was forged and then lost. Plus, two world wars, the first one had seen it turned into a hospice for returning shell shocked soldiers. “Now that’s what I call history! A citadel, a private home, a monastery and a hospice!” He excitedly exclaimed and slapped his hands down, hard on the leather armrest.

Nick couldn’t wait to get back to it but over the years, he had learnt to take things more slowly and steadily, rather than going at it like a bull in a china shop. ‘O.K, sit down, close your eyes and take in all that information. The house isn’t going anywhere, so just relax and anyway, what difference is an hour, or so going to make, really? You’re not getting paid for this one…..’

For twenty minutes, or so, Nick gazed across the water towards Ynys y Niwl, picturing the house sitting there on that island amidst the trees, brambles, thickets of bracken and lilac rhododendrons. The old Preseli, granite built house, ‘Wyndwrayth,’ had been deserted for decades and from what he had seen, would be for many more to come. It was hard to imagine Gayle and Harold renovating the place, or having it rebuilt as a restaurant, or something equally esoteric. ‘Wyndwrayth,’ in its brooding silence, fully occupied his mind and Nick found himself, both lost in the past and washed up in the stillness of the present. He’d learnt, that to get the most out of this kind of research work, it was often best to immerse yourself in the topic and just allow your imagination to roam free. Many time’s past, he had, using this method of transcendentalism, opened up whole new avenues of investigation, which from time to time, had resulted in a unique insight.

Later, back on Heddi, he opened section four of a house plan document, entitled ‘Inner Spaces.’ To his surprise, before him on the screen was a veritable maze of secret passageways, which appeared to lead from anywhere in the house, to anywhere else that you cared to go, without once being observed by anyone. ‘Wow! It’s like a honeycomb,’ Nick thought, observing there was barely a single wall which didn’t contain some form of hidden walkways or ‘priest hole.’

“I need some help here,” he murmured and Alan Turnbull’s name sprang into his mind. “He’ll know who to get hold of, so that I can start to understand the meaning of all these passageways.” Why such an intricate web should exist at all, was in itself a mystery, which Nick was determined to unravel the truth behind.

“This’ll be right up Alan’s street and it’ll give him something else to do, besides play with his train set,” he commented offhandedly to Heddi. “I’ll stick it in tonight’s e-mail and see what he makes of it.”

However, now Section five was catching his eye, it appeared to contain details regarding which levers to pull and buttons to press, to open and close all the hidden passageways distributed around this intriguing property. “Christ, it’s like a secret code. It’s going to take ages to decipher……. I need copies of all these plans,” he whispered. He searched around the cluttered desk, for some ink for his printer and loaded some paper.

This was simply exciting! Making sense of something, which on first viewing appeared to be utter indecipherable gibberish, was what Nick did best. His patience knew no bounds and he would dedicate vast swathes of time, to decrypting anything as enthralling as this was proving to be. ‘Looks like another double shift’s looming tonight, Mr. Swann,’ he thought as he reached for the print outs, grabbed a series of coloured pens and headed for his lazy boy. Resting his printouts on his lap tray, Nick settled into his leather recliner, turned towards the lake and started to use his coloured pens to trace pathways through the maze that was, Wyndwrayth.



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