|The Old Woman And Brad
It was a cool October evening and Brad was walking home from a friends house. He quickened his pace a little as he could feel drops of rain in the air. A few minutes later the rain really began to fall, and in no time at all it was pelting down.
As the evening had started brightly enough Brad had not felt the need of a jacket, and soon he was getting very wet. He decided he would shelter in a doorway until maybe the rain eased a little.
The first doorway he found was an old bookshop. The windows were filthy and the paint on the door was faded and peeling. Still, Brad thought to himself, it was dry enough.
He had not been there long when the door opened and an old lady popped her head out and looked at Brad.
"I?orry", Brad smiled at her, "I was getting very wet and I just thought I would have a few minutes shelter, I shall move away if you?ike me to."
"Nonsense, my dear", the old lady replied in a kindly voice, "I wouldn?ream of it, in fact I was going to ask you if you would like to come in and dry yourself by the fire, in my sitting room at the back of the shop."
"That?ery kind of you", Brad told her, "but I don?ant to trouble you."
The old lady ignored these words and gently took Brad by the arm and led him into her shop.
The shop was dark, and there was a slight musty smell about it. The old lady led Brad into her sitting room which had a roaring fire in the open grate.
The room was cosily furnished with a comfy looking sofa and a big arm chair, positioned close to the fire, a table was next to it, with a large book on it, and a teacup.
The old lady caught Brad looking at it.
"I shall put the kettle on again", she told him, "that is if you drink tea, do you dear?"
Normally, Brad liked Coke, but as he was still wet through, and he didn?magine the old lady would have any fizzy drinks around the place he nodded and thanked her.
Brad sat on the sofa and waited. Minutes later the tea arrived and also a plate of biscuits.
"What is your name, dear?" the old lady asked, "Mine is Glennis".
"I?rad, and this really is very kind of you", he replied, taking a second biscuit as it was offered to him.
The wind had got up outside and the old window frames rattled, and a draught blew down the chimney.
As Brad sipped his tea he took a better look around the room. All around the walls were bookcases, filled with very old books, all faded with age, and with the same faint musty smell he had got from the shop. On the mantelpiece were some very nice looking ornaments, of cats, owls and other assorted animals, and on the bookcases were plants and one or two other ornaments. The carpet was worn in places and a large rug was in front of the hearth. The only light in the room came from the roaring fire and from a few candles on another table, by the window. There was another door at the other end of the room, and, Brad gathered, that must lead to the kitchen, because that was where Glennis had gone when she said she was going to put the kettle on.
"You are deep in thought," Glennis said after a few minutes, "are you feeling warmer and drier yet?"
Brad looked at her, took his last mouthful of tea and said "Yes, thank you, but I do feel rather tired now, I don?uppose you have a phone, I think I had better ask my dad to come and pick me up, I don?hink I could walk home feeling like this."
"Oh, Brad, I am sorry, my phone is out of order" the old lady told him, then, as if he wasn?here, she picked up her book, sat back in her big armchair, and began to read.
"Glennis?" Brad tried to speak to her, but she didn?ook up, and he was too tired to say any more. Before he knew what was happening, sleep overcame him.
When Brad woke up he was not in the cosy sitting room any more. He was lying on a bare mattress, in what seemed to be a cellar. It was completely dark apart from one candle burning on the floor near the door. The walls were bare brickwork, and damp too, and as Brad looked around he could faintly make out steps just through the doorway, which gave him the idea he may be in a cellar. Also, there were no windows, and the floor was solid stone.
Brad tried to get up, but his head felt heavy and he felt slightly queasy. He called out "Glennis, Glennis", but everywhere was silent. He tried again to get up, but he still felt very tired, although not sleepy this time.
After a few more minutes Brad could hear someone coming down the stone steps. He hoped it would be Glennis, and he hoped even more for an explanation, and that he may be able to go home. He waited, and watched.
A figure walked quietly up to him. For a moment he thought it may be Glennis, but as she got closer, he could tell it was a younger woman, no more than middle aged.
"Hello, Brad", she spoke softly.
"Who are you?" Brad said, trying, unsuccessfully, for a third time to raise himself.
"That does not matter," came the reply, "but I am here to see if you are all right."
"All right" shouted Brad, angrily, "No, I am NOT all right, and I want to go home, where is Glennis?"
The woman lit some more candles that Brad had not been able to see, and then she smiled.
"I am afraid I cannot answer any of your questions at this time", she told him, "but can I get you anything to eat or drink?"
Brad frowned, "I have to get home, my parents will be worried". He felt very hungry and thirsty, but he was desperate to get away, and he did not want to accept this woman?ospitality.
She turned towards the steps, "Now I wonder what boys your age like to drink?" she mused, almost to herself.
Brad could still not get up, and this now was worrying him a great deal, he wanted to cry, yet he wanted to be strong, like he thought he should be at twelve.
He must have dozed off again, as he was woken some time later by the same woman, who this time, had brought him a large bottle of coca cola, a packet of crisps and a plate of sandwiches.
Brad took no time in finishing off the sandwiches and crisps and the coke was going down very well too, and soon Brad felt strong enough to stand up. The woman had remained with him all this time, and he thought maybe he would now be strong enough to overpower her and make his escape.
How wrong he was! He had never felt such strength in another human being before, as he tried to push passed her, she grabbed him by the arm and held him fast.
"Please, you must let me go" appealed Brad, "I must get home." He could feel tears welling up in his eyes, but he would not give way to them.
The woman pushed him back onto the mattress and hurried back up the steps. Brad tried to follow, but when he reached the top all he found was a locked door.
Brad thumped on the door until his fists hurt. He sat down on the top step and put his head in his hands and began to cry. He didn?now how long he sat there, but presently the woman opened the door and ushered Brad back down the steps. She had with her a cup of hot chocolate which he drank readily enough. Soon the same sleepy feeling he had experienced after Glennis gave him the cup of tea came over him again, and he could not fight it, so he lay down on the mattress and closed his eyes.
Brad was feeling very woozy indeed when he woke up again. He looked around him, and got a shock, for on a small stool next to his mattress sat a young woman, reading a book by the candlelight. Sensing he was now awake she turned to him and smiled. "How are you feeling?" she asked him.
"Awful" came the weak reply, "I need to get home, who are you and where is Glennis?"
"All in good time" she told him "in the meantime I shall get you some refreshments".
"My arm hurts" complained Brad, "why am I being kept here?"
"I don?hink you want to know that, my dear", the woman said, turning towards the steps.
Brad felt so weak, he couldn?et up again, "Oh no" he thought to himself, he called out feebly to the young woman, "Please tell me, what is happening to me?"
The woman just carried on up the steps and was gone.
Some time later she returned with a hot meal and a lemonade. It took Brad some time to raise himself high enough to eat, but he began to feel better as he ate.
When he had finished he asked again for an explanation. He stared at the woman, there was something familiar about her. She looked very much like the middle aged woman, who in turn had reminded him of Glennis.
"Is Glennis your Grandmother?", Brad asked.
"No" laughed the young woman, and she took the empty plate and hurried up the steps before she could be asked any more questions. Brad knew there was no point in following her, the door would surely be locked again.
A little while later Brad heard the door opening and the young woman came down the steps. She had with her a hot drink for Brad. He was just about to drink it when he remembered what had happened before. He would have the drink, go to sleep and wake up feeling very weak.
Brad thought quickly, he took the cup, turned slightly away so the young woman would not see him, and he poured the drink onto the stone floor, the other side of his mattress.
He turned back, gave the cup back and yawned. He lay back onto his mattress and pretended to go to sleep.
The young woman, certain that Brad was really asleep, the effects of the drink, of course, she took a syringe from her pocket, and was just about to jab it into the poor boy?rm. He grabbed her wrist.
"Now", Brad exclaimed, "You have a lot of explaining to do, what on Earth do you think you are doing?"
The young woman pulled herself free and fled up the steps without a word.
Brad was still no wiser, and the despair he felt was growing by the minute. He worked out the hot drinks were sending him to sleep, but this, the syringe, he had not bargained for. Who were these mysterious women, and what did they want from him?
Brad felt his arm, the one that had hurt, could it be? Yes, it must be so, he felt a slight pinprick. So that was it, the syringe had been used on him before. He could not work out why. It certainly wasn?o make him sleep, the drinks had done that.
Soon, he heard the door open. Somebody was coming down the steps.
Brad leaped to his feet. He had to think fast, should he stay where he was, or try to escape? The latter option seemed to be the best. He ran to the steps, saw the young woman almost to the bottom, and he made one almighty lurch forwards, forcing the woman down onto the steps, and pushed his way passed her.
He ran as fast as he could to the top and through the door. To Brad?elight the key was in the door and he wasted no time in locking it behind him.
Brad found himself in a kitchen, with a cauldron bubbling away on the stove. He went to take a look, as the smell coming from it was most peculiar. On looking inside he found a thick red liquid. He hoped it wasn?hat he thought it was.
Next to it was a big, old, dusty book. It was open at a page called, ? to make yourself younger?e gasped! The ingredients for the potion were, amongst other things, the blood of a child!!!
Brad turned away in horror! Could it be possible that the woman he had just locked in the cellar was the same old woman he had met that rainy night. She had been old, yet the woman in the cellar was young, but they did resemble each other.
"Brad!" came a shout from the cellar door, "Let me out of here, you will not escape"
Brad did not answer her, but went to a door which, he thought, must lead to the outside. Horrors! It was locked, and he could not find a key, he was beginning to panic as Glennis was now thumping hard on the cellar door, and it seemed as though any minute the door would give way and he would be trapped again. He knew how strong she was.
The sitting room door. Brad grabbed the handle and he found himself in that familiar room of the first night. It was dark now, there was no fire in the grate, and no candles were lit.
He stumbled through to get back into the bookshop again. He could hear Glennis still screaming and thumping, but he did not dare turn back, he knew his only chance was to get out the same way he had got in.
The shop door was locked and bolted. Brad struggled with the old, heavy bolts and searched for a key. That wasn?oo difficult, the key was hanging on a chain above the door. It was quite high up, and Brad knew he would have to stand on something if he were to reach it.
In the meantime, there came a deafening crash from the kitchen and a loud cackle could be heard. There was no need to guess, it was obvious, the cellar door had given way at last, and that meant Brad had to hurry before the horrid old woman, now, unfortunately a horrid young woman, with incredible strength, caught up with him. He grabbed a small table which was covered with books, knocked them onto the floor and climbed up to reach the key. Glennis was getting closer, Brad was sure of it, and it would be no time at all before she found him.
He tugged at the key and it came off the chain. He pushed the table aside as he fumbled with the lock.
But it was too late! Glennis was in the bookshop, approaching fast. The key turned and Brad pulled hard on the door, but at that very moment he felt a hand grip his arm and he was pulled back into the shop.
"So" screeched the voice, "you thought you could get away, did you?"
"Glennis" retorted Brad, "it is you, isn?t?"
"Yes, of course it is" came the reply with a cackle again.
Brad twisted and turned but the hand held him fast.
The door to the shop was still open and Brad screamed as loudly as he could, just in case there may have been a passer-by. "Help, Help!!" he yelled "I am a prisoner of a witch".
Glennis pulled him back into her sitting room and slammed the door shut.
She pinned Brad down onto the sofa, and, reaching for the syringe, which was still in her pocket, jabbed it roughly into his arm. He struggled and jerked his arm as much as he could, but as Glennis was so much stronger than he was, she was able to extract a whole syringe full. She reached over and put the syringe down on the table, all the while careful not to let go of the boy?rm, and from her other pocket took out a small round object which she then forced into Brads mouth. He tried to spit it out, but she held his nose and he had no option but to swallow.
The strange tiredness returned and soon he was asleep.
Glennis sighed with relief and ambled into her shop to secure the front door.
A man was standing in the doorway, looking into the bookshop. Glennis shouted at him to go away and she bolted her door again, before going back for more blood.
When Brad woke up he was not in the sitting room any more, but in the cellar again.
This time, however, he was not on the mattress, but on a long, dark table, and there were other tables around him, all full of candles.
There was a strong smell of incense, and the smoke from the incense sticks filled the room, making Brad cough a little.
He turned his head and there was Glennis, younger still, and she was dressed in black from head to foot, something glowed in her hand. Brad squinted to take a better look - it was a dagger! An ornamental dagger, encrusted with jewels which glowed in the candlelight, along with the blade, which looked freshly sharpened.
In her other hand, she held a book, which she seemed engrossed in reading.
As she heard Brad cough, she looked at him and smiled. It was a sinister smile, and her eyes were so cold and steely, it made the boy shiver, not from cold, for the room was really quite warm with all those candles, but from sheer terror.
He had never seen a look so malevolent in all his life!
Brad tried to sit up, but he felt so weak that all he wanted to do was to go back to sleep again.
Glennis stared at Brad, he thought her eyes were going to burn into him. The effects of the drinks, and the weakness from the loss of blood were taking their toll. He could not think straight. He looked at the girl standing next to the table, but he felt as though he was looking at the old woman. He knew they were the same, yet he felt confused. He closed his eyes and wished hard that it may be a dream.
He must have dozed again, because he woke with a start. Glennis was reciting, in a loud, sing-song voice, some very strange words from her book.
It was difficult for Brad to understand them, his arm was very sore, and he felt so weak and dizzy, but what few words he did catch made him feel very faint indeed.
"I have partaken the blood" went one verse "now I shall posess the child totally" went another line, "with this dagger, may I forever stay young, the child?ody to be a sacrifice for my life, and my life to stay as one of a child. On this Halloween night I shall be rescued from my aged state".
The words were very strange, and Brad could not concentrate for long enough to hear them all, but it was clear what the dagger was intended for.
Glennis raised her hand, and as she did so she raised her voice too. "This dagger, in my hand" she cried "be my deliverance from the curse of old age".
Suddenly there was a crash. Glennis cried out. Thumps and bangs could be heard from above.
Brad looked up at Glennis, she was staring at the door, unable to move. Footsteps were approaching fast down the cellar steps.
Brad cried out in his still feeble voice "Help, help, I?rapped"
Three men came barging into the cellar. Two were policemen and the other was the man Glennis had caught staring into the bookshop the night before.
The policemen grabbed the evil girl while the man helped Brad to his feet. One of the policemen was already on his walkie-talkie asking for an ambulance.
Glennis was marched up the steps and Brad did not see her again. The kindly man sat with him until the ambulance arrived, and Brad was taken to hospital.
As Glennis was being ushered out of the cellar into her kitchen, she grabbed her broomstick which was propped up in a corner. She thumped one of the policeman with it and broke free.
She ran out of the bookshop screaming "I will be back next Halloween, I shall come back for the boy!! Nobody will ever catch me!" Both policemen gave chase, but it was no good, she had got away.
Eventually Brad regained his strength and was able to go home to the great relief of his family, but is it true? Will Glennis really come back next Halloween??