he trouble with this town is its too small to have any decent stores. As he spoke Chris halted under a converted Victorian street lamp to check his money.
Too busy staring around to notice Chris had stopped, Will nearly bumped into him. I think its great. Everyones gone to such trouble with Christmas lights and decorations. And quaint old-
Well, coming from a country where nothings much older than a hundred years you would think that wouldnt you? Give me big modern stores any day.
They moved off, only to pause in surprise as they turned into another, less well lit street, and the window of a shop that Chris had said only yesterday had been empty for ages suddenly blazed with coloured lights.
Will glanced at the shops huge sign. Hey! A second-
He raced across the road
But Will hardly heard his cousin. He pressed his nose to the multi-
Yes. He could really make the kids back home scream with any of these
That was when he realised that with the exception of the lights around the window the shop was in darkness. But the door was open. He made for it.
Chris grabbed his arm. No! Come away. Its horrible.
Will shook him off. Scaredy-
Im not! Its just
Do come in, boys, said a cracked, high-
From the folds of a long shawl Will saw an incredibly thin arm, ending in a wrinkled, skeletal hand, shoot out. Wiry fingers that looked as though they could hurt gripped Chriss arm. Youll want to keep your friend company, surely? Hes going to need it.
And the old woman cackled in a way that made Wills skin crawl. The door slammed behind them and the coloured lights around the window went out. The darkness seemed to last forever. Fear started to knot up Wills stomach. Hey! Whats happened to the lights?
Just a moment, dearie. Dont be so impatient. The cracked old voice sounded right at Wills elbow and was followed by another of the crones cackles. Hastily Will stepped back. Something brushed against him and he let out a gasp in spite of himself. Then light returned.
Will found himself staring past an oil lamp at the ugliest old crone hed ever seen. Aside from being toothless, she looked severely malnourished and dehydrated as well. But the worst thing was that her bright black eyes gave the impression of being able to see past his into the workings of his mind. This way, dearies. It was now Wills turn to feel the vice-
Next moment she opened a door that shrieked on rusty hinges. Will found himself staring into a huge black hole. She gave him a shove. He hurtled headfirst down a flight of steps.
Chris? With some difficulty Will turned his head.
Yah! His scream rang in ear-
Thats what you think! cackled a voice seeming to come from everywhere.
Will scrambled to his feet the better to escape the creature. But it grabbed his leg. At the same time he bumped into something at head height. A furious buzz filled the air. He barely saw the monstrous wasp before its sting came down into his cheek. The pain was incredible. Will screamed.
Somehow he kicked the spiders legs away and ran
When next he was aware of anything he felt as though hed been coated in slime. That was when he realised the snail was busy chomping through his clothes. Snip! Snip! Why did it sound like his mothers dressmaking scissors? Would it eat him as well? Surely snails were strictly vegetarian?
Oh, yes indeed, dearie, cackled the old womans voice. But leopards arent!
Will heard the creatures snarl almost in the same instant that it sprang. Frantically he brought his hands up to protect his throat. It plunged its teeth into his shoulder and pain fountained through him. Just before he tumbled into unconsciousness with the force of the pain, the vulture flapped down and settled on his chest. Its weight seemed to drive the very air from lungs that hurt too much to allow him to refill them. Its beady eyes were the last thing he remembered.
Im here. Next moment Chriss face swam into focus. Oh, Will, we thought you were going to die! The doctors were operating for hours. Your cheekbone is smashed, sos your collar bone. And youve got broken ribs as well as a broken leg. Why did you run right in front of that car?
It took all Wills strength to focus on his cousins anxious face. Car?
Yes, the one used by the robbers of old Mrs Grundys new shop. They must have had it waiting at the back of the shop. After it knocked you down I took its number and went into the shop to ring the police and the ambulance
But Will hardly took in Chriss gabbled explanation: hed seen another figure looming up behind Chris. Mum?
Even as his mothers hand closed over his and Will tried to keep his weary eyes open, he felt the blanket of darkness return to engulf him. The hand holding his changed to hard fingers that gripped like a vice. Helpless to resist their pull, Will stumbled in the wake of the dark, shawled figure.
You surely didnt think you were getting away that easily did you, dearie? the dreaded voice cackled. You havent met all the other creatures yet
Seconds later he heard the shriek of rusty hinges again. He saw the great black hole. She didnt have to push him this time. Helplessly he tumbled through. Her voice came to him from a great distance.
And theres your shopping spree to look forward to. Imagine what you can buy here for a thousand pounds!
© L A Barker Enterprises
Did you like the story? It isnt one of my best Im afraid, but I rather enjoyed writing it. Im sure you will recognise where my inspiration came from
And by the way, if you do like scary stories, how about trying some quality ones? Try Clockwork or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman. Even if you think youre too old for illustrated books Other scary novels that are extremely well written are:
Other scary novels that are extremely well written are: