My TMA2 Result came back and it looks as if I might just have passed. Again my grammar and punctuation need some work doing on them and that’s what I’m doing. It’s getting better.
Also I’m told that I didn’t use enough technical words in my commentary!!! Oh well!
The instructions for TMA2 were to write a 1500 word story that includes some use of time shift and some dialogue. Include one or more of the following list of words. I won’t bore you with the list but suffice to say I only used the word ‘knife’ from the list.
Laura and Michael had seen the old house as they drove down, what was sign posted as Frampton Hill, on their way to Exeter to meet Michael’s new business partner Bob Fairbank. Bob was a property developer and Michael being an architect was going to look at original plans for a property that Bob was thinking of redeveloping.
They had realised an hour ago that they were lost and hadn’t seen any other places to stop to get directions. Michael pulled up in front of the black wrought iron gates and turned the car engine off. The sign on the wall announced ‘The Rectory’. He looked at the house and shuddered. Laura laughed.
‘Not scared of a creepy old house are you?’ She teased.
‘Well I’m not normally easily spooked but…’ Michael started to say.
‘But it does look bit glum doesn’t it?’ Laura interrupted. Feeling just a little uneasy herself.
The house was Victorian and was very run down. Even in the semi dark it was clear that it hadn’t been looked after. Ivy grew, unchecked, up the front walls and across most of the windows, a few of which were broken. The chimney stack was leaning slightly and Michael guessed that a strong wind would bring it crashing down. Dark clouds were beginning to form above the roof adding a chilling atmosphere to the whole scene.
There was a light on in one of the down stairs windows so Michael got out of the car and slammed the door shut. He quickly scanned the whole building, his eyes stopping at a small window above the porch, where he could just make out a face looking back at him. He shuddered and hesitated, then laughed at himself for being an idiot. He decided it must be the owner and started walked toward the open gates.
‘Michael! Wait.’ Laura was climbing out of the car. ‘I’m not staying here on my own. I’ll come with you.’
‘Now who’s scared.’ Michael laughed.
‘Yes I am. Something feels odd about this place. Lets go and find another house or maybe a phone box or something. I really don’t feel right about this.’ Laura was shivering and Michael put his arm around her.
‘Come on, we’re only spooked because it’s getting dark and there are no street lights. We’ll feel better when they answer the door, I’m sure. Besides we haven’t seen another house or a phone box for the last hour or more.’
Michael gently pulled Laura along to the gates and half wished he’d taken her advice to leave. He started to shiver a little too. The path from the gates to the front door was a dusty dirt track, surrounded by over grown bushes, with the odd stone dotted around here and there, and Laura twisted her ankle on one of them.
‘Ouch!’ She hissed.
‘You OK?’ Michael asked tightening his grip around her waist.
‘Yes. Yes I’m fine. Let’s just get this over with shall we?’ The closer they got to the door the more nervous Laura became. She felt like a child scared of the Bogeyman.
Michael guided her to the porch and looked for a door bell, there wasn’t one. He felt his way along the wood of the door until his hand connected with the cold wrought iron door knocker. It felt like a ghostly hand grasping something, a ball maybe. He hesitated before slamming it hard against the door, harder than he’d meant to, making them both jump. A few minutes later Michael knocked again. Eventually they heard footsteps on bare wooden stairs on the other side of the door.
‘Who is it?’ The voice was clearly that of an elderly man.
‘Oh, uh! Hello. I’m sorry to trouble you but we seem to be lost. I wonder if you could tell us where we are and how to get to…’
The sound of two bolts shifting and a key turning in a lock interrupted Michael. The door slowly opened. Laura gasped as a smell, like that of a butchers shop, wafted out through the opening. Stale blood and fresh meat, but stronger. Laura quickly pulled her tissue from her pocket and pretended to wipe her nose. Michael had difficulty speaking for a second as the smell caught in his throat, but he composed himself and asked.
‘I’m sorry to trouble you but we’re lost. Could you tell us how to get to…’
‘What? You’ll have to speak up a bit.’ the old man shouted.
‘Oh I’m sorry. Could you tell me how to get to Exeter? We’ve seem to be lost.’ Michael spoke slowly.
‘Come in your letting all the heat out’ the old man demanded.
Laura squeezed Michael’s hand as if to say ‘No don’t go in!’ but Michael pulled her forward into the hallway. The smell was stronger now and Laura was beginning to feel sick.
The man looked to be about ninety years old. His clothes seemed even older, worn and thin with many holes dotted about his cardigan. Everything he wore was brown except his shirt which, Laura guessed, was supposed to be white and was so old and stained it wouldn’t have stood up to a wash. He smelt of mould and mothballs and Laura was sure the butcher shop smell was coming from him too. The hallway they stood in was like a scene from the 1920’s, everything was brown, just like the old man’s clothes, as if an old sepia photograph had come to life.
‘You’re lost you say?’ The old man shouted.
‘Yes how do we get to Exeter from here?’ Michael stammered feeling quite nervous now.
Laura realised that the old man was holding a very long kitchen knife and it had a blood stain on the end of it. It was rusty but looked very sharp. Maybe he was preparing his dinner with it Laura hoped, or maybe he was… Laura snapped herself back to reality. She didn’t want to think about what he could be doing with it, but she took a backwards step and put her hand on the door to stop it from closing. Something had spooked both of them, something wasn’t right and the sight of the bloody knife didn’t help.
‘Are you walking?’ The man enquired.
‘No we have our car outside. If you could just tell us if we’re on the right road we’ll be on our way’ Michael said.
‘Just carry on down Frampton Hill, when you get to the bottom turn left at the sign post for the slaughter house. You can’t miss it’ He said ‘Do you want a cup of tea? I don’t get many visitors these days, not since…’ He stopped and looked over his shoulder towards the kitchen door. ‘I’ve got the kettle on.’
‘Um. Thank you but we’re very late for an appointment I’m afraid, thank you anyway’ Laura quickly interrupted pulling Michael out onto the door step. ‘Thank you for your help. Good bye.’ As they hurried away Michael looked back, the old man had stepped out into the porch and was watching them go, he shuddered again.
They drove in the direction the old man had told them to, and twenty minutes later they arrived in Exeter. Five minutes after that they were pulling up outside Bob Fairbank’s house.
‘Thank God for that. I thought we’d never get here’ Michael sighed.
They looked at each other and started to laugh, more from nerves than anything.
‘What are we like?’ Laura laughed. ‘A pair of scared kids, but it was spooky’
Once inside Bob’s house, Michael introduced Laura, and they began to settle down. The old house was momentarily forgotten. Bob lead them to the sitting room and invited them to sit on the sofa, while he busied himself getting drinks. Whiskey for the men and Laura settled for wine. On the coffee table in front of them was a folder that, Bob explained, contained the details of the property he wanted to develop. He chatted while Michael opened the folder and started to look through the contents. There was an estate agents photo of the property, along with an old sepia photo of a man and woman standing in the door way of a house looking rather formal and straight face and Michael stared at it for a long time, then handed it to Laura.
‘I got the place for next to nothing.’ Bob was saying ‘apparently it’s been boarded up for eighty odd years, it’s called The Rectory or something. The story is that the previous owner went mad and killed his wife and their house keeper, chopped them up and hid their body parts. It’s said that neither of them were ever found. Bob laughed. ‘I don’t know if you know this area at all but the property is up on Frampton Hill. There are no other properties for twenty odd miles in any direction. The estate agent says it’s haunted, well nothing like a good ghost story to bring the value of a place plummeting down.’ Bob laughed again and handed Michael his glass of whiskey.
Michael wasn’t laughing, he was ashen faced, the glass that Bob had given him shook in his hand.
‘Did you say The Rectory?’ Laura asked.
‘Yes. Why? Is something wrong?’
All Text Copyright © 2011 Annie Green ( Trudy Chappell) All Rights Reserved.