This Hallowe’en, we asked our authors – have you ever had an encounter with ‘the other side’? Their stories will thrill and chill you!
by Eva Scott
The Ghost of Eldritch Farm
Many summers ago I got a job renovating an Elizabethan era farmhouse in the Sussex countryside. The house had been added to over the centuries but the main part retained the distinctive uneven Tudor beams of its heritage. My job was to paint the small bedrooms on the upper floor and cut in the beams. While I painted shades of lilac and primrose on the walls I’d stop once in a while to take in the bucolic view out of the tiny window.
The fields were full of horses, which the farm specialized in breeding, and a vast quantity of rabbits. The eccentric brother and sister who owned the farm, Walter and Meredith, refused to allow the rabbits to be poisoned or shot so crossing the field to bring the horses in became a dangerous occupation in avoiding a broken ankle.
Being a working farm there were several dogs running around, the cutest being a Red Setter puppy. He’d visit me regularly tracking muddy paw prints up and down the stairs and leaving stray hair in the wet paint. Occasionally he’d go crazy, barking and leaping about. My family had bred setters, so being familiar with their temperament I put it down to the dog being basically bonkers.
One morning the puppy started barking and bounding about playing some imaginary game in the room where I worked. I turned around to shush him and there standing before me was a little girl of roughly ten years old. She regarded me solemnly, dressed in an old fashioned pleated smock, the kind you see in historic paintings of the English countryside. Surprise and confusion made me freeze for a heartbeat. There were no children on the farm so where had she come from? Then I yelled with realization, the hairs on the back of my neck literally standing on end, and she disappeared.
To say I was rattled was an understatement. The dog had clearly been playing with the little girl all along. I didn’t see her again and I would have doubted I’d seen her at all had Meredith not backed me up, having encountered her once in her own bedroom. She had tried to find out who the little girl might have been but the records for the house were patchy at best. Perhaps we had disturbed her with the renovations or maybe she just liked the company of the puppy. A great many other odd things happened on that farm but that, as they say, is another story….
Tamsin Cooper’s career as a Parisian showgirl is coming to an end. Nearly thirty, with no boyfriend and no prospects of a family of her own, she decides to take up her inheritance—her Uncle Ted’s cattle farm in Queensland.
Farm life seems to be suiting her until Tamsin discovers that Uncle Ted had a secret—and her sexy neighbour Angus Walker helped him keep it.
Faced with losing her farm and her heart, Tamsin returns to what she knows best, dancing, and starts teaching the residents of Elliott’s Crossing how to get in touch with their inner showgirl.
She may have the dance moves, but can she shimmy past a forty-year-old lie and a betrayal of lost love to find her place—and rediscover love—in this country town?