Solent Writers Circle

It was the scariest thing

By Lesley Taylor

“I’ve got an idea,” said Lissa. “Let’s scare Dopey.”

Olivia sighed. “How on earth do you propose to do that?”

“It’s Halloween. We’ll let her see the ghost. She’ll be cared out of her wits.”

I don’t want anything to do with it, Olivia thought. Last time Lissa thought up something to upset Henry, her mother rang up Miss Belcher in a right old lather because someone chopped her little dear’s plaits off. We all got told off, and had to do lines. Mind you, I feel sorry for Henry, having a mother like that. “I don’t think we should do it,” she said firmly.

Lissa turned her fierce blue gaze on hr. “You’re either in or out,” she said angrily. “You going to tell on us?”

Olivia met her gaze. “You know I wouldn’t. But I don’t particularly want to be up before Miss Belcher again, that’s all.”

Camilla sighed. “Well, if Ollie’s scared, I’m not. How are we going to do it?”

“The Grey Lady. Ollie takes Dopey out Thursday night, and you help me, and I appear in front of Dopey with a sheet over my head.”

Camilla considered it. “All right,” she said eventually.

Olivia sighed. “Oh, all right, I’ll do it. I’ll think of something to get her out.”

“Right, it’s on. Might send Dopey mad.” Lissa gathered up her history prep and stood up.

Olivia picked up her folder sadly. Sounds like that’s what Lissa wants, she thought crossly. She’s got such a down on Henrietta, she must really hate her; I can’t think why, unless it’s Henry’s stupidity. She’s like a big baby. Well, if the poor kid does go off her head, I hope I can handle her. She looked at Camilla. “Hope there’s Battenburg cake for tea.”

It was decided that Lissa would play the ghost, with a torch under her chin, and Camilla would moan from the bushes. The performance would happen by the three chestnut trees halfway along the drive, at 10.30 precisely; the ghost had been seen at that time and place several times.

“And you be thre, Ollie, no going somewhere else,” Lissa said bossily. Olivia pretended not to hear; she had her doubts as to its success.

At 9.30 precisely Ollie escorted Henry out of the school building by the kitchen door, the key to which hung in Cook’s office. Knowing Henry was boy mad, she had concocted a story to the effect that one of the village lads had asked her, Ollie, who the pretty girl with the ginger plaits and glasses was; Henry had fallen for it completely.

When they reached the three chestnuts nothing could be seen. We’re early, Ollie thought. Damn, what do we do now?

“Hurry up, or they’ll be gone!” Henry said, pulling at Ollie’s sleeve. But Ollie was looking behind the trees.

Out from between them glided a white figure, looking as if it had been created from mist. It glided towards them, then behind them and across the grass towards the house, till it disappeared behind a box hedge.

Shaken, Ollie looked at Henry, but she was looking down the drive; obviously she had seen nothing at all.

Henry abruptly dropped Ollie’s arm and ran down the drive; Ollie started after her.

It took some time for Ollie to stop Henry ogling three lads in the Porteous Arms, and persuade her to come back home, and all the way back Henry complained bitterly because nobody had bought her a drink. By the time she had got Henry to bed she was quietly furious. She was aware the other two were not asleep, although they pretended to be. Henry went to bed, still muttering; Ollie wondered if she had managed to cadge a drink after all.

She went to the bathroom, and began to clean her teeth, when she became aware of Lissa behind her. “What happened to you?”

“More like what happened to you,” Olivia retorted “We never saw anything of you.”

It was the scariest thing

By Lesley Taylor

“We were out there on time, where were you?”

“Chasing Dopey down the drive,” Olivia grumbled. “The girl’s barmy. I caught up with her in the Porteous Arms, making eyes at some lads. They thought her ever so funny, quite cross when I eventually got her out of there and back here.”

Lissa sighed. “We’ll have to do it again,” she said.

Olivia opened her mouth to tell her about the ghost, but Lissa had gone back to bed. Olivia followed her.

“Have you ever seen the White Lady, Gran?” Eleanor asked, as she found a seat for Ollie.

“Who told you there was a White Lady?” Ollie asked.

“Everyone knows about her.” Eleanor looked incredulous. “But she doesn’t appear if you go and look for her.”

“True.” Ollie chuckled. “Who’s that woman over there, with that awful ginger hair?”

“Oh, that’s Casey’s Gran, Henrietta. Casey says she’s been married four times, divorced three. Keeps having affairs. She’s having one now, only her husband hasn’t found out yet.”

“Indeed.” Ollie nodded slowly. “When we were all here, Henrietta was so boy mad she missed seeing the White Lady.”

Eleanor’s eyes rounded.”You’ve seen her, Gran?” she repeated, awed.

“Yes.” Ollie patted the seat beside her. “If you’ve got a minute, I’ll tell you about it.” And she did.

“Er, excuse me.” A well dressed lady stood behind them. “It’s Olivia, isn’t it?”

“Yes, and you’re Melissa.” They hugged each other.

“Why didn’t you tell us you saw the White Lady?” Lissa asked.

“I couldn’t be bothered,” Ollie said. "I was fed up with Henry, and missing you. It was the scariest thing, seeing her trotting across the park. Henry didn’t even see her – all she wanted to do was get to the pub.”

“I always knew there was something wrong with that girl,” Lissa said. They all burst out laughing.

Across the room the woman with the ginger hair turned and looked at them.

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