At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified

After a sumptuous home cooked late Sunday lunch followed by a glass of wine or two, my friend Barbs & I decided to enjoy one of my Dad’s favourite strolls through our churchyard armed with a flask of hot chocolate freshly made by his own fair hand; after all what woman could fail to be impressed by a stroll amongst the dead followed by a cheap non alcoholic beverage. No doubt, it was these generous & small romantic gestures that had helped capture my mother’s heart!

This particular chilly winter’s afternoon we walked through the historic graveyard reading the inscriptions on all the old headstones. As we sauntered back to the main gate we were alarmed to realise that because it was Sunday, the churchyard had closed early and a fastened padlock hung around the gate which had been secured by the warden sometime earlier whilst we were otherwise occupied. Ironically Barbs, the original “horror flick chick” went into panic mode whilst the evening twilight started to draw in and as the image of the Michael Jackson Thriller video popped into my head, I had to suppress a fit of the giggles. My “I see Dead People” impersonation also failed to impress either. Both of us were regretting the decision not to bring our mobile phones with us and neither were we looking forward to unintentionally participating in our own episode of “Most Haunted”. We quickly established that all three entrance gates had been padlocked and we were well and truly imprisoned. As I had a dodgy knee I offered to hoist Barbs over the wall but as it was fairly high, it was unlikely that we would be able to climb our way to freedom so we settled down preparing ourselves for a rather chilly night amongst the headstones

Suddenly someone appropriately whistling “I will Survive” alerted us to the fact that we were no longer alone and on further investigation we realised that someone was stumbling home from the pub having taken a shortcut through the lane that ran alongside the cemetery. In desperation we tried to attract their attention before realising that it was Ernie the Turbo, one of my Dad’s allotment buddies, tight as a tick having consumed several lunchtime shandies in the Rose & Crown. As we tried to catch his attention over the wall, Ernie stopped whistling momentarily. We continued to call him but all to no avail and we realised that extreme measures were called for if we didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in the graveyard so I unsteadily hoisted Barbs a few feet in the air in order that he could see us. However, a terrified Ernie took off as if he was being pursued by the Living Dead when Barb’s pale face & torso slowly levitated over the top of the wall whilst chanting his name and looking no doubt like a supernatural apparition.

As luck would have it, our intrepid “hero” hightailed it to my parents’ house for alcoholic fortification whilst incoherently ranting that his dead mother’s ghost had manifested in the graveyard having promised on her deathbed to come back to haunt him should he ever become romantically involved with Maureen, the farmer’s widow; whom she considered most unsuitable owing to the fact that she always wore her trademark red lipstick. His late mother was somewhat of a harridan who had haunted in him life so it was no surprise to either of my parents that he thought that she would now come back to haunt him in death.

My Dad sensing that something was awry decided to take an evening stroll up to the churchyard himself and was able to alert the warden who was laughing so hard when he eventually liberated Zombie Girl and I from our ghostly confines, he could barely get the key in the padlock.

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In Deepest Darkest Devon No One Can Hear You Scream

A few years’ ago having tearily (not) despatched my nieces for a Sea Cadet camping weekend, my sister and I set about driving to Torquay, the English Riviera no less, for a spot of lunch and some shopping. We made some serious dents in our credit cards and lunched in our favourite pub. By the time we had finished with our Irish coffees we were fit to burst but clearly not so much that we couldn’t continue on our shopping spree.

It was fairly late when we returned to the car park and it was beginning to get dark so we loaded up the boot with all our swag and headed off home. On the way my sister who was driving, said that she knew a short cut so we headed off the beaten track across country.

For some reason she decided to tell me that these remote country lanes reminded her of the horror flick “Wrong Turn” and proceeded to talk me through the plot. My sister and the girls are die-hard horror flick fans through and through but me not so much. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit it but I still hide behind the sofa when Doctor Who is aired and on the odd occasion when I’ve been channel hopping and come across a vampire movie I’ve spent a sleepless night with the lights on, a garlic bulb and a framed picture of the Pope (in the absence of a crucifix) trying to keep demons at bay.

Beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable I decided to phone Dyson Abbey to alert them that we were homeward bound to discover that we had no mobile signal. Now distinctly uneasy, particularly as my sister continued to talk me through the slasher part of the film, we realised that we were hopelessly lost and hadn’t passed any other vehicles for some time. We identified a couple of figures ahead in the fog so we pulled over to ask directions. Believe me when I tell you that these good old country boys resembled the mutant family of cannibals from the Hills Have Eyes. Never before had my Grandma’s phrase of “you see some sights when you’ve not got your gun with you” seemed more appropriate.

Regretting our decision to stop we politely asked directions to be met with rousing laughter. The older one of the two spoke first and leaning into the window “You’m lucky to have caught me and my boy, we’re just on us way home, lost are ye”? He said grinning from ear to ear with a mouthful of rotten teeth.

The “boy” cadetswho would never see forty again and clearly shared the same dental plan as his father chimed in “Them fancy sat navs no good out ‘ere, girl; got yerself an ‘usband”?

I admitted to being spoken for but my sister …… before I could finish that sentence she had accelerated away leaving the Star Wars Bar regulars behind in our rear view mirror. In fact, we got the Hell out of Dodge burning rubber with a speed that would have impressed Rover who had manufactured my sister’s ropey old car sometime in the previous century. Who’d thought we would have got 70mph out of that bad boy!

As a safety precaution and just in case we were followed by the Adams Family, I climbed over the rear seats to retrieve my new titanium knife set which I had bought earlier from my favourite shopping outlet of TK MAXX. As it was dark and it was particularly awkward to recover said items from the boot with my ample bottom firmly wedged over the back seat whilst the car hurtled along those winding English country lanes at breakneck speed, sadly I was only able to salvage the potato peeler.

My sister enquired about the effectiveness of my choice of weapon and I pointed out that it could probably take out an eye in the event of an emergency. I gifted it to her as a wedding present and suggested that it could double up as a stiletto for the nights when her intended was howling at the full moon.

Fortunately, a little further along the lane we came to a crossroads and a signpost guiding us back to home and normality. We have since retraced our journey a number of times, but we have never again seen those strange folk and try as we might we’ve not been able to find that turn off either leaving my sister pondering what might have been and hankering after an unrequited zombie love.

crossroads