It’s that spooky time of year again and what better way to celebrate than a Round Robin written by five talented Choc Lit authors? To start off our Hallowe’en Faerie Tale, we have our very own vampire expert Berni Stevens! Make sure you read right until the end for details on how to take part in a competition too – we’ll be giving out prizes throughout the week right up until Halloween!
I’ve always had a strange fascination for the abandoned church hall at the end of our road. It’s been lying empty and disused for years, shrouded in neglect and secrecy. I’ve never seen any birds in the trees that surround it, and I’ve certainly never heard a bird sing there. The place looks forlorn and unloved. I think it’s quite sad.
The date engraved on the plaque above the old oak door, says ‘1750’, so I assume the building is protected. Hopefully that will keep greedy property developers at bay. It has to be the only reason the hall’s still standing, and thirty ‘luxury apartments’ not put up in its place. Real estate in this part of London is valuable and much sought after. The church itself was turned into an academy for the performing arts some years ago, aimed at children aged between eight and sixteen. Know your market. There are plenty of pushy parents in this area, who want their little darlings to be famous. Actually, there’s probably plenty of little darlings who want to be the next pop prince or princess too.
I stopped by the crumbling brick wall that circled the hall. To my surprise I saw a light inside. A trick of the light reflected from the street lamps maybe?
Without thinking, I walked up the path to the front door. Stretching out a hand, I touched the rough wood. It felt strangely warm to my touch, and when the door swung open, I squeaked in alarm. A warm yellow light flooded out onto the path, and I stepped back, not wanting to intrude.
‘Come on in,’ said a deep male voice.
Yeah, like that was going to happen. Impulsive I may be, but I’m not stupid.
‘Who are you?’ Not the best line, but I couldn’t think what else to say.
I could hear someone walking towards me, and moved back to a safe vantage point closer to the pavement. A tall figure loomed in the doorway.
‘I’m called Kalen,’ he said. He sounded vaguely Irish, his voice lilting and pleasant. ‘And you are?’
‘Are you indeed?’ He sounded amused.
I vaguely remembered my grandmother telling me you should never give your name freely to strangers. I couldn’t remember why.
‘Kalen is an unusual name.’
Piercing blue eyes searched my face. ‘It means warrior.’ He said.
‘In what language?’
‘It’s Celtic. You are very inquisitive.’
I flushed with embarrassment. ‘I’m sorry.’ I turned away. ‘I should go.’
He was suddenly standing in front of me. His hand rested gently on my arm. ‘No, I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘That was exceedingly rude of me.’
He looked every inch a warrior, tall and lean with a mane of tawny hair that nearly reached his broad shoulders. A contemporary warrior in faded blue jeans and a navy shirt.
‘I shouldn’t be here.’ I made to move around him, but he didn’t move his hand from my arm.
‘I didn’t mean to make you feel unwelcome … Faye.’
The way he said my name sent a little shiver down my spine. Definitely time to go. I looked down at his hand on my arm and he moved it at once.
‘You should take care who you give your name to, especially on these dark evenings.’ He spoke conversationally, but his words scared me.
‘Why?’ I couldn’t help asking the question. Funny how his warning sounded the same as my grandmother’s.
‘You never know who might be listening.’ He glanced over his shoulder as if expecting to see a crowd of people. ‘Or who might be wanting to use it.’
‘A person’s name is a powerful thing. If the wrong kind take control of it, they control the person.’
‘You gave me your name, Kalen.’
He gave me a mocking smile. ‘So I did. But there are not many would control me. Or try.’
I tried for a change of subject. ‘Are you renovating the hall?’
‘I must go.’
He gestured for me to go around him. ‘It was a pleasure to meet you, Faye. Remember what I said about your name. Be careful – especially on All Hallows Eve.’
‘Now you’re scaring me.’
‘Much better to be afraid than to lose yourself.’
I left him standing on the path staring after me, as I trudged home down the hill. I remembered the old stories of the Seelie and Unseelie courts that Gran used to tell. They had always fascinated me. The shining good faeries of the Seelie Court, versus the dark bad faeries of the Unseelie Court. All nonsense of course. Even to someone called Faye. Although I wouldn’t mind bumping into Kalen the warrior again …
An intriguing start! But who is Kalen, and will Faye meet him again? We hope so! Find out tomorrow when Rhoda Baxter will be taking up where Berni left off. Can’t wait
If you enjoyed Berni’s writing in today’s Round Robin, you might want to read one of her fantastic vampire novels – and this could be your chance! We have one copy of Dance until Dawn and some Halloween chocolate to give away. To enter, simply comment below and tell us what you think of the story so far
There will be a competition each day of our Round Robin and all winners will be announced 1st November.