An innocent man goes to the gallows. Flash Fiction.
|The Legend Of The Phantom Of The Hallows
As dark clouds were forming overhead; outside of East Ayrshire, Scotland there was going to be a Shinicle. At Shinny Hill a bonfire was lit to signal a hanging on Halloween. It was medieval times, and crimes were punishable through death by hanging at the gallows on a hill near a castle.
This time it was different. They were going to hang an innocent man. The curious onlookers came from all around to climb the hill where the fire raged. The fire also drew the man’s tenants, Jamie and Nathan, a pair of rough reckless lads who had betrayed him and falsely accused him out of their own greed for land. They had shared with him a Barony: an area of land from the King of Scotland. Both men loved to drink and their follies caused them to go on rampages and rape the women who lived on the properties.
When the council got news of these rapes, the men turned on Jack, and convinced the court it was he the Baron, or tenant in chief, as he was called who committed the crimes against the King. Both men proclaiming:
“Spare us, it is Jack’s duty to hold power over his clansmen, he is the legal head of the Barony!” they shouted out at the council.
The two friends refused to admit any wrongdoing or guilt and stood before the council looking as if they were innocent. A hush fell over the courtroom as councilmen put their heads together whispering amongst each other.
BAM! A gavel slammed down and the court deemed Jack’s guilt and announced his 'doom' as the sentence was called. He was granted his one last wish, to be able to sit upon his Herial Horse, which was the best horse his Barony possessed.
As he was being led from the courtroom, his glazed eyes met with those of his shameless accusers, and he retorted in fury:
“I curse you, Jamie and Nathan. Your souls will never rest and you will never be rid of me. My soul will be free to wander the earth as a mortal until the dawn after All Saint’s Day. I warn you both: I will come for you someday.”
Jamie and Nathan felt their blood run cold as their faces turned pale with fear.
Thunder rolled in the distance and it began raining in torrents. The innocent man plodded to the gallows upon the back of a monstrous black steed. A noose was placed around his neck. Just then a deafening crack was heard, the nostrils of the great beast flared in fright as he reared back, then bolted, snapping the neck of his rider and freeing the rope from it's wooden frame. Lightening streaked across the hilltop as the black beast and his slumped rider galloped off into the shadows of the night, never to be seen nor heard of again for centuries.
A stream of sightings began in the early 1800’s and never ceased. In the graveyards or kirkyairds, as they are called in Scotland, two figures clad in robed disguises were said to have been running through the cemetery grounds, weeping and moaning. Upon being approached they would simply disappear before one’s eyes.
On one dank chilly evening, a huge horse and rider stopped near the entrance of old Dalnellington Cemetery and the rider asked a passerby if they knew where two certain lads were buried.
“Try the crypt over there,” he was told. Then, he and his horse vanished in the mist.
It’s especially spooky on Halloween night. Beware, if you go near the narrow pathway winding down to the crypt.
You will hear loud shrieking coming from inside the walls!
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LINE COUNT: 43
Note: This story is based on my poem "The Phantom Of The Hallows". You will find it here -