“Eric,” huffed Steven, “You’ve got to come and see this! There’s a woman in the old farmhouse!”
Eric regarded his friend carefully, Steven was a slightly chubby twelve year old boy with a reputation for exaggeration. Eric was also twelve years old, but was wary of any story that seemed too incredible to be true. Since no one had lived in that big old farmhouse for years, he was duly suspicious of Steven’s account immediately. However, Eric was secretly afraid of going to the farm house on his own and since Steven was willing to do it that gave spurs to his courage to go there too.
Steven lead Eric around to the backyard of the old two story weatherboard house. The summer heat had killed off the garden leaving it a shrivelled and brown. There was a rectangular depression in the ground near a window of one of the back rooms. Eric looked at the weathered grey husk of a building and shivered. The atmosphere of emptiness within the building was so great that it seemed to be drawing the boys into its jaws. Steven was moving towards the back door as though in a trance so Eric tapped him urgently on his shoulder and pointed to something written on the waterboards next to the door. Steven looked groggy for a few moments before he focussed on what Eric was pointing out to him. Just faintly the word “WITCH” could be traced on the exposed wooden panels. Continue reading “The Old Farmhouse”
“Hey Bree, what’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much, I just wondered if maybe you had heard any news about Amelia recently.”
“You mean about how she’s pregnant?”
“Yah, that’s it. I mean, yeah, I know about that, but I was wondering if you knew of anything else, since you’ve known her since high school?”
“Not really, she’s always kept a lot to herself, in fact I was chatting to the guys about her last night, and we’re all kind of confused, we didn’t even know she was dating anyone, then she announces online that she’s pregnant out of the blue. I kind of thought one of the other guys might have been secretly dating her, but we soon found that’s what everyone else was thinking! Some of the guys even thought I might be the father. But we had established by the end of the night that no one here knows who the father is.”
“Yeah, that’s right, the other girls don’t know either, Amelia is being really tight lipped about it. It seems to be a pretty well guarded secret because I haven’t found anyone else who knows.”
“Yet she seems really happy about it all.”
“Yeah, she is. Too happy if you ask me.” Continue reading “Amelia’s Baby”
“What did you tell her, sir?”
“That I might need to murder Otto if he should ever return here,” said Randall flatly.
“Sir Randall, that was most improper of you to say. Even though it may well be true the girl is young and easily frightened by such ideas.”
Randall smiled and looked at Klara warmly. He motioned for her to sit on the stool Ennlin had just vacated.
“Well said, lady Klara, I heed your wisdom and will watch my tongue around such tender minded girls in the future.”
“You do me too much honour, sir; I am merely serving you faithfully.”
“No, you are being honest and speaking your true mind. That is the mark of a lady, and I appreciate that.”
Klara bowed her head courteously.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Tell me what is the situation with the villagers?” Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 6”
Otto shook his head dismissively. Randall fixed his attention on the big man.
“Do you have a problem with my plan, Otto?”
Otto cocked his head to the side smiling casually, then swinging it back about to face Randall his expression had transformed to one of abject fury.
“Yes, sir I have a problem, do you have any idea how much work we villagers have to do just to put food on our tables and to survive the winter? Yet you come here and cause a scare telling everyone about some unseen threat to them and demand we do as we are told. Heinrich here got lost in the woods because he believed your tales; there are no monsters out there. But yet you want a motte and bailey, well that’s just great, because I’m the woodsman here and you basically want me working all day every day to get the timber for such a work. Will I get any payment for it? Will I get any thanks? What about these other folk? They have more important work to do. Why should we do what you want us to do?”
Randall maintained a steely gaze at Otto throughout this entire outburst. He looked on as though completely unaffected by the torrent of extreme emotion that had just been poured forth. Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 5”
The creature stopped by the torch and at first looked like it was pulling something out of her eye. Then Heinrich realised the creature was actually tugging at one of her eye balls. She tugged and until she ripped out one of the pig eyes and threw the putrid seeing organ onto the ground. Then reaching down she picked up a small case at the base of the torch stand. Inside this case was a dozen disembodied eyeballs. The creature selected one and proceeded to jam it into the empty eye socket. Heinrich watched the creature adjust the eyeball by rotating it into position with both hands. Once the creature was satisfied with her new eye she picked up the container and the torch, and plodded off into the forest.
Heinrich watched the light slowly grow dim and then disappear into the abyss of tree trunks. Buried in the blackness of the forest he wrapped himself up tightly in his cloak. He caught himself murmuring prayers and had to cover his mouth for fear that the other creatures might be lurking in the forest nearby. He eventually decided against moving and thought better to wait until sunrise. Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 4”
“It’s hard for me to say. They might have been stolen weeks ago, or immediately after they were put into storage. Considering how much is missing, it was probably over several weeks and several raids in the night. While we keep a careful stock on the meat, we don’t often check the other goods in that shed. Rather we did not notice until we were taking an inventory in preparation for the harvest, sir.”
“It is possible, but as yet I no idea how they managed to do it, sir.”
“And what are your guards men armed with?”
“Farming equipment, clubs, and a few axes, sir.”
“No armour, sir.”
Randall took a moment to consider all this.
“If I needed a band of fighting men, how many could you muster?”
“Sixteen fit young men, and maybe another twenty older men still able in body enough to fight, sir.” Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 3”
In the centre of Humhyde, Heinrich and Otto were discussing the village’s troubles.
“I don’t know how or even when this happened, but nearly all our supplies of pig fat and offal have been taken,” exclaimed Heinrich.
“What? Did they steal our meat too?” asked Otto.
Heinrich shook his head, “No. That’s the thing. The bacon and the hams were stored in the same shed, yet they didn’t touch any of that. They only took the fat and the offal. They took it from the vats, and then resealed them so no one would notice.”
Otto laughed, “Someone must be playing a joke on us. What kind of thief breaks in and goes to that much trouble to steal pig fat?”
“It’s not funny. The offal doesn’t matter, it was going to be used as fertiliser, but we needed that pig fat to preserve our food supplies for the winter. We might not have enough to store enough food properly this year. We might have to ration this winter out.”
Otto frowned and placed a hand over his belly. He was a woodsman and like most woodsmen he was a tower of a man. Easily the tallest and strongest in the village as his job required him to cut down trees and haul the logs by hand through the forest. The forest was not a safe place for most people; only big men like Otto could work in the forest with some degree of security. Only a fool starts a fight with a giant. However, the problem with being so big and strong like Otto was that he needed to eat more than most men and no one suffered more from rations than men like Otto. Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 2”