First Chapter of a horror story set near Lewes, East Sussex
|Chapter 1 - 1993
Harriet hardly remembered that lane from all those years ago. Although she barely remembered the way she had found one of her dad’s olds maps of the Lewes area. Harriet had been living in Brighton for a while now and enjoying the party scene. The drugs, the music and the dancing all combined for her to fell taken away from her life. Just for a short while, but for long enough to feel normal. Well as normal as everyone else enjoying that scene. The trouble was that those amazing parties at the weekends were accompanied by what they called ‘black Wednesday’. Black Wednesday we getting darker. Her attempts to bypass this grinding, suffocating phenomenon that was sucking the light out of her soul on a weekly basis was only working to a point. Continuing to pop pills was expensive and served only to shift the inevitable oncoming storm of existential crisis to a later date. Kicking the can down the road, was how someone had described it to her. So she escaped black Wednesday by assuring the oncoming storm of Black Thursday or Black Friday.
At this point in time, she had managed to avoid the phenomenon for a number of weeks. Pushing it deep inside was fine for a decent percentage of her life. However, the darkness could not be fully contained and at random and ever-increasing moments it started to seep out through every pore in her body. She was starting to feel paranoid and anxious for ever-increasing periods of time. This probably wasn’t the best time to be organising an illegal party at a house she owned but had little to no recollection of. It seemed like such a good idea in the blinding hazy Sunday morning a few weeks ago. With her boyfriend Sam and coming down off some beautiful snowballs it had seemed like the best idea in the world. She would have done anything for Sam at that time, including apparently, this. He needed this to work, he needed to pay off his debts and get some dealers off his back. Part of the logic was that Harriet was a part of these debts. All the time she was running from Black Wednesday she was running up debts and trouble for both of them. So this seemed like the perfect way to get them back on track and maybe even a little ahead. All she had to do was to ignore the gaping chasm of doubt that was sitting in the darkness of her guts.
The thing about her and Sam was that they were brilliant together during a night out. Everybody said so. They worked a room like the finest of double acts. Ideas and repartee bouncing between them like marbles through a spiral kerplunk. They were the king and queen of the Brighton party scene. Sam was a DJ. He and Harri had started knocking about with a fun and interesting group of ravers who were keen to create their own parties.
That morning a few weeks ago had started like so many others. The Zap, a party over near Shoreham Power Station and then back to Sam’s flat. These new friends of Sam and Harri had bought a sound system down to the beach and asked Sam to DJ for them. They had all got on really well, it was refreshing for both Sam and Harri to spend time with people who loved the scene as much as they did. People that wanted to be more of a part of it than just going and dancing. Although they wanted to do this too.
The vibes were really flowing between them. Although by the time the sun was coming up they were all somewhat flaked out. One of the new crew, Merlin, they called him this apparently because of his ability to ‘magic’ class A drugs out of thin air. A more sober description of his abilities may have been that he knew a lot of drugs dealers in and around the clubs and pubs of Brighton. This was not particularly astonishing as they were not exactly shy about advertising their wares. Harri was charmed by him and, despite his silly name, found him to be great company and fun to be around. This particular morning the sun climbed high in the hazy sky and The Beloved chirped their blissed-out grooves for our heroic ravers. Merlin was waxing lyrical about their Soundsystem and their plans to be major players in the party scene in the south of England. Then true to his reputation he revived some of the fading and vegetating ravers sprawled around the light spacious airy flat by producing a wrap of coke.
“Come on you ravers” he conducted before breaking into a surprisingly truthful rendition of Shine on You Crazy Diamond. “You see -er of visions, come on your painters, you piper you pris’ners and shiiiine.”
The chemical pick me up tightened the focus of the conversation. As Merlin held court, regaling his parishioners with the gospel of Open Sounds and their plans to conquer the world of raves and partygoers. The problem was, the more he talked the more he realises that he kept returning to the same sticking point. The same problem. A problem which no one seemed to be able to solve. A venue. The days of breaking into warehouses were long gone. The owners had upped their security and the police had organised and rallied after the government had made ravers public enemy number one. This is when Harriet hatched her plan, she could get her and Sam in on the deal. Better money that Sam’s DJ was making them and a chance to get their heads above water for a while at least. This crew were starting to build a reputation in Brighton with their parties at Shoreham Harbour and Black rock. Trouble was though this was not sustainable. They couldn’t charge people at the beach. They had overheads to pay and of course, much like Sam and Harri they also wanted to make some money from their endeavours.
So they needed a venue.
This is how Harri and Sam ended up leading a two-car convoy down this rough dark lane just outside Lewes in rural Sussex heading toward the childhood home that she scarcely remembered. This isn’t really surprising though as she hardly remembered anything from her childhood.
She absent-mindedly gazed out of the window and wondered why the sunlight seemed to bounce off the canopy of the woods. Despite it looking like the light from the sun could not penetrate the woods it appeared that the silver trunks of the trees shone like to moon. The silver trunks stood out from their darker counterparts casting eerie shadows across each other.
All of a sudden her heart started to pound. Sweat forced itself through her pores as her body started to burn up. The outside was on fire while the inside was freezing. Her chest and head felt like they were enveloped in a clinging film of sweat. Then she saw it. The first face in the trees. Hollow, dead dark eyes and a gaping screaming mouth sucking the darkness from the shadows deep into a dark and empty void. Soon she could see face after face emerging from deep in the woods. Shadows creeping over and sliding into the dark of the trees.
“Are you okay?” Sam, slowed the car and looked over “ You look like you’ve seen a . . .”
Harri turned back, white and clammy. Her eyes were wild and wide with confusion and fear, she buried her head into his shoulder and shut her eyes, tight. Sam lifted his arm around her “you need to get some proper sleep babe, was that a flashback?” He tried to soothe her shaking y gently stroking her back. “Too much last weekend, after this party we need to lay off it for a while. He nodded his head confidently but knew he wasn’t convincing himself, let alone her.
Perhaps he was right, Harri prayed silently diving headlong into the darkness in her head. The tighter she shut her eyes the faster the gritty grey dust swirled around her head. The grey sucked her down into the void, pulling her deeper and deeper. For a moment she felt like perhaps she could relax here. A sense of comfort enveloped her. Her breath slowed and her heart calmed. Then she heard it. Like a thousand voices whispering in tune.
“Not yours, not yours, not yours,not yoursnot yoursnotyoursnotyoursnotyours”