Readers beware! It’s time for another Halloween Round Robin from Choc Lit, back by popular demand. Five talented Choc Lit authors have been working collaboratively on a wonderfully spooky short story – The Ghosts of Maplewood Hall – which we will be sharing in five parts in the run-up to Halloween (with the final part falling on the big day itself!) Come back every day to read a new extract AND enter competitions to win chocolate & book prizes.
Each author taking part has no idea where their part of the story will go, which leads to a few spooky surprises along the way. But you’ll need to read on to find out more
Kirsty Ferry is the author to bring us the penultimate part of our story before the big day tomorrow! Remember to read right until the end to find details of the competition.
A Round Robin is best enjoyed if you read each part in order.
THE GHOSTS OF MAPLEWOOD HALL – PART FOUR BY KIRSTY FERRY
‘Why, we’re going to help him, of course.’ Kate’s voice was hollow, and seemed to come from somewhere far, far away.
Martine shone the beam of the torch around to illuminate her friend, and stared at her in horror. ‘Kate!’ Kate’s blue eyes had darkened so they were almost black, and there was a weird, calculating smile playing around her lips.
‘Of course, to bring someone back who has crossed, we have to sacrifice someone living. Or make a bargain with the Devil. Your choice.’
‘Who the hell is Kate?’ Kate – or the person who should have been Kate swung around to face Martine. ‘My name is Bella. They said I was a witch. Maybe they were right. Perhaps I deserved to die as I did …’
Kate – or Bella – reached out and traced a fingertip down the perfect curve of the second man’s cheek. The man was staring at her, utterly enchanted, as if he had suddenly regained everything he had ever lost.
‘Bella! Is that really you?’ He reached out and captured Kate’s hand and pressed it to his lips. ‘I’ve waited and hoped that—’
‘Oh for God’s sake!’ Sebastian cut in and grabbed the second man’s hand. ‘Edward! Think about it. If Bella was really here, would she be talking about sacrifices and bargains with the Devil? Look at me, man! It’s Samhain.’ He pulled Edward towards him and Martine’s eyes widened as her heart thumped. ‘The Devil and all his demons are abroad with us tonight. Trust nobody.’ Wow. Sebastian was quite magnificent when he was angry. And he was definitely angry. His eyes were smouldering with some sort of ethereal fire and his brows were drawn together. Martine briefly thought about the fact that James and Patrick were off tugging each other’s shirts pathetically and wondered what she had ever seen in Patrick. She spared a thought for Kate and also wondered if she’d have a change of heart over James, but she doubted it somehow. Because here he was, pushing Patrick to the side and running into the room.
‘Kate! What’s wrong with her? Kate!’
Martine shook her head. ‘I don’t think she can hear you.’
‘Who’s she talking to, Martine? What is she doing?’
‘So many questions,’ murmured Martine, still staring at Sebastian. He had put himself between Edward and whoever this Bella person was, and had hold of his friend by the shoulders, shaking him.
‘Can’t you see them, James?’ Martine nodded towards the group. They were as clear as day now, flesh and blood, somehow made real in the flickering will-o’-the wisp light of the wall lamps.
‘See what? See who?’ James shouted.
‘Sebastian and Edward. Look. Sebastian’s the taller of the two.’ Martine felt her lips curve upwards at the edges as she watched him. He had her as captivated as this Bella creature had Edward.
‘You. Martine. Come.’ Kate’s strange new voice was authoritative. ‘Come with me. You want to be with him, don’t you? If you come, it will help us all.’
Martine blinked and looked at her friend – or at least the girl who was supposed to be her friend. A shadow seemed to detach itself from Kate and drifted towards Martine. The shadow took form and resolved into a dark-eyed, dark-haired girl with more of the fae about her than seemed possible. ‘You must confess,’ said the dark-haired wraith, ‘that you feel something for Sebastian. You must confess that you love this old Hall. Don’t you feel at home here? Don’t you wish you could spend an eternity here, with Sebastian, with him, here – at Maplewood Hall …?’
The girl’s voice was hypnotic, her eyes and smile cat-like as she drifted towards Martine. Martine took a step towards her, the world outside Maplewood Hall fading as she looked beyond the room they were in, as doors slammed open, one after another, down a tunnel of corridors and she had the impression of long dresses, ballrooms, music and laughter swirling, whirling around her—
‘Leave her alone! Enough!’
His voice was enough to stop her in her tracks.
Did you feel a shiver down your spine whilst reading this? Hopefully Berni Stevens won’t make you jump out of your skin with the final part of our Halloween Round Robin! Make sure you check back in tomorrow between the pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating to see how our spooky story ends.
If you enjoyed Kirsty’s writing, you can find her books available to purchase from all good online book stockists and retailers. Click on the image below for purchasing options.
To be in with a chance of winning a Kirsty Ferry paperback and some chocolate simply answer the question below (we hope you’ve been reading carefully!):
Who does Edward think Kate is?
To enter, send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Round Robin comp 4’ by Thursday 2nd November. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday 3rd November.