Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 20 extract.

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“Incredible,” whispered Owen, staring down the length of this underground warren of previous activity. “They must have been like members of a hive, down here in their underground realm,” he whispered, for fear of being over heard. Then realising he was all alone in this oppressive darkness, he yelled, “Yeah, but there’s nobody else down here now!” As the echoes were fading into the rough walls, Owen stopped to listen to the house and its sounds. From within the heavy silence, there was no apparent trace of ‘The Boss,’ so he walked back upstairs to the main kitchen.

Opposite the cellar entrance there was a set of double doors which he assumed led into the dining room. Owen clicked off his flashlight and made his way across the kitchen. Before he opened the doors, he stopped and listened again. Not a sound. He decided Christine must still be upstairs exploring.

Turning both handles at once, Owen pushed the doors gently. They swung open silently, spreading cobwebs between them. The interior of the room suddenly lit up with an ethereal glow through frayed spider’s webs, stretching out before his eyes. Some of the discarded webs hung from the ceiling like great gossamer curtains, as if they were about to open and reveal some kind of stage. In the centre of this ghostly, spider hewn hall, was a huge dining table. It was fully laid out with complete sets of now dust covered cutlery, place mats, glasses and all the other accoutrements that would have been required to furnish the needs of a five-course meal, in the glory days of Wyndwrayth, or Y Wake Gwynt as it was known then. There were even jugs and decanters for wine, or water, whichever bodily refresher the gathered guests required.

‘Jesus,’ Owen thought as he squinted down the room, over the central table and beyond. Finally, avoiding the glare cast by the broken blinds, his eyes were unavoidably dragged down towards the floor. Right there at his feet, was a single set of foot prints made by someone who appeared to be wearing winkle picker shoes, and seemingly heading from this ghostly dining room, into the kitchen behind him.

A little freaked by the sight of those strange footprints, Owen quickly turned to see if the tracks led into the kitchen. Strangely, there was no trace of them beyond the spot where he now stood. It seemed as if they ended at his feet and disappeared. Behind him, only the steps that he himself had taken, were visible. So, he turned back to consider the path of the prints in front of him. They looked as if they had originated from somewhere near the head of the large table. Who, or whatever had made these clear marks on the dust laden floor, had advanced to this position, stopped, ‘and then what?’

“What indeed,” he whispered into the silence. Shielding his eyes from the chinks of blinding light, it was still almost impossible to see anything clearly as he drew closer to head of the room. Once, or twice he thought that he saw something move, out of the corner of his eye.

‘Get a grip Llew, it’s just the light fucking with your vision, that’s all,’ he tried to reassure himself. A few steps more and then something made Owen jump to a halt. ‘Christ what the fuck’s that?!’ His mind screamed, as he saw a form start to take shape, before his very eyes. There was something moving silently in the shadows. It was difficult to see because of the shafts of sunlight piercing the broken Plantation blinds. Owen held his breath and stared, transfixed as the vaporous vision became clearer. Slowly, it coalesced and rose from the seat at the head of old table. It looked straight at him.

‘This can’t be happening, it’s just not real,’ his higher mind was screaming at him but his deeper senses, were even now, looking for a way out. He wasn’t the bravest guy on the force and his eyes stayed fixed on this intruder, as he tried to anticipate its next move. His senses screamed fight or flight but he remained mute and rooted to the spot.

The white-haired figure, on the other hand, effortlessly glided towards him…..

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