It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was howling through
the trees. All
of a sudden CRASH! The loud peel of thunder made Tim jump, as he was hurrying
home from a night out. He cursed himself for having missed the last bus, and he
didn’t have enough money for a taxi…. Not that he’d find one in this filthy
weather anyway, he told himself.
The rain was lashing down harder than ever now, and the
thunder came almost
simultaneously with the lightning, the storm was directly overhead. CRASH!
Another, even louder, peel of thunder and Tim nearly jumped out of his wits. He
hurried along with his head down, trying to keep his face from too much lashing
from the rain. There was nowhere to shelter, and before long Tim came to an
awful conclusion. In his hurry, he’d taken a wrong turn, and he found himself
in an unfamiliar part of town. There were no houses round here, no shops, and
up ahead of him was a playing field.
He stood for a while, contemplating turning back, but he
felt sure, if he
crossed the playing field it would be a short cut to where he wanted to be, and
hopefully close to his home. The field was sodden, and very muddy. Every step
was an effort, but with what seemed like a thousand squelches, Tim had reached
the fence at the other side.
Oh no! He thought to himself. A horrifying thought struck
him… this didn’t
lead anywhere near his home at all… ahead of him lay dense woodland, behind him
the sodden playing field. The storm showed no signs of letting up, and Tim
decided to follow the direction he THOUGHT his home should be, and carry on
through the woods, at least the trees would give some little shelter from the
On and on Tim trudged through the undergrowth. The thunder
and lightning was
more in the distance now, but the rain was still pelting down as hard as ever.
He stumbled over a broken branch on the ground. Before he knew what was
happening, he was lying, face down, in a pile of wet, muddy leaves. He’d hit
his head hard, which dazed him for a few moments. Trying to get up, he swayed
with dizziness from the searing pain in his head. He was wet, muddy,
disorientated, and now his head was throbbing badly. Every movement was an
effort. Finally, Tim was able to stand. He looked around him for a few moments.
The fall had left him confused, and now he didn’t know which way to go.
Just then, up ahead, he saw a small clearing, and made his
way towards it.
As he got closer he could see a light coming from a small building. Shelter
perhaps, he thought to himself, his heart racing with anticipation of getting
out of this torrential rain, still pelting down hard, even through the dense
trees. Seeing the light gave Tim an extra burst of energy, and he hurried on,
As he approached, Tim could see the small building was,
in fact, a small,
crumbling, cottage, and the light was coming from a small downstairs window.
Taking all the courage he could muster, Tim gingerly knocked on the cottage
door, and waited. A few moments later, the door was opened by an old man, with
long grey hair, and wizened by age.
“Hello” said the man, “who are you, and
what do you want?”
“Er… I’m Tim, and I was hoping perhaps
you could give me shelter until the
storm has passed, I’m wet, and my head hurts… maybe you have a phone, I could
phone for help or something”.
The old man looked at Tim, then replied, slowly,
“Alright, you can come in. I’m sorry though,
I don’t have a phone, but I
think you are in need of some refreshment. My name is Igor…. Oh mind where you
are putting your feet, you’ll get mud all over my floor.”
Tim noticed now, that the man spoke with a slight accent,
although where he
was from, it was impossible to tell. Igor instructed him to take off his shoes,
and then showed him into a small sitting room.
“You’ll need a wash, my boy” Igor said,
with the first signs of a smile
across his thin mouth. “I will run you a bath, follow me, you can leave your
clothes on the floor outside the bathroom.”
Tim thanked him, and did as he was told. The bath water
was cold, but Tim
was just glad to be getting clean again. After his bath, Tim found an old
dressing gown, worn and tattered, waiting for him when he got out. He slipped
it on and went downstairs. There was an inviting smell coming from the kitchen,
and Tim seated himself in an old armchair in the sitting room.
For the first time, Tim was able to take a good look around
the room. It was
small, and very dimly lit, the only light coming from the last embers of a
fire, glowing in the grate, and one flickering candle, on the windowsill. From
what Tim could see of the room, there was an old wooden table in the corner,
another old chair, near the window and a big dusty bookcase against a wall. The
floor was mostly wood, with an old, tattered rug in front of the fire.
Presently, Igor came back in, carrying a tray with a bowl
of steaming hot
broth on it.
“Get this down you, lad” he instructed Tim.
“I’ll just settle myself in this
chair over here.”
The broth had an unusual taste, not unpleasant, but not
like anything Tim
had ever eaten before. It was very hot, and burned his mouth, but he hadn’t
eaten in several hours, and was very glad of it. All the while, Igor was
watching Tim carefully, from his vantage point near the flickering candle.
After his meal, Tim felt drowsy, and he leaned back into
the chair and
closed his eyes. When he awoke, several hours later, the first thing he noticed
was a cold draught of air on his head. He opened his eyes and realized he was
no longer in Igor’s sitting room. Instead, he seemed to be in a stone cellar,
lying on a cold, damp floor.
“Igor!!” Tim shouted, “Igor, where are
you?”. There was no reply. He tried
to get up, but his head was hurting even more now. He put a hand to it, what
was that sticky liquid? His hair felt matted. He smelled his fingers… yes, his
suspicions were correct, it was blood. He groaned. He was cold, he ached, and
he felt very groggy. He tried to look about him, but it was very dark. There
were no windows, wherever he was.
The old dressing gown gave very little comfort, as he tried
to pull it
further round him against the cold. Finally, head still hurting, he managed to
sit up, and lean against the cold stone wall. He called out to Igor several
times, but received no answer.
The pain in his head showed no signs of easing, and for
the next several
hours, Tim drifted in and out of consciousness. Tim was eventually roused by a
noise overhead. He tried to get to his feet. It was an effort, but Tim was
able, at last, to stand. He wavered a little but leant his hand on the wall for
stability. Just then, Tim heard a door opening, and footsteps coming down what
sounded like stone steps, towards him. It wasn’t Igor though. It was a younger
man, heavy set, and quite tall. The opening of the door had sent just enough
light for Tim to make out the features of this man.
“Oh you’re awake then” the man growled.
“Who are you?” Tim asked, but the man said nothing
Thud! A fist sent Tim reeling against the wall. He staggered,
then fell. By
now, Tim was feeling very weak, and he hurt all over. He started to sob, and
couldn’t stop. Eventually, he drifted into a fretful sleep.
“Ow!!” Tim felt a foot in his side. He was being
“Ow! Stop! Get off!” he shouted. He looked up,
and saw it was the heavy set
man. There was more light now, and Tim could see his face more clearly. He had
very dark hair, thick bushy eyebrows, a wide nose, and a snarling mouth.
“Get up!!” the man growled.
“I can’t, you’re hurting me” wailed
Tim, “Who are you, and why are you doing
this to me?”
“Not that it’s any of your business”,
the man’s voice was softer now, “but
I’m Lug, and as to why I’m doing this… well, Igor told me to” he let out a
loud, bellowing laugh “and it pays to do what Igor says”. With that, he stopped
kicking Tim and dragged him to his feet. His body ached all over, and his head
was pounding. He was dizzy and very weak.
Lug grabbed Tim’s arms, and put something metal around
them…. He was being
chained to the wall. Tim was horrified, and tried to struggle, but it was no
use. Tim wasn’t the strongest of boys at the best of times, and Lug had the
strength of ten men.
“Why does Igor want me hurt?” Tim sobbed, “All
I wanted was shelter from the
storm. He was kind to me, let me have a bath, and something to eat”.
“Oh yes” laughed Lug “a nice COLD bath,
and a gruel to make you sleep”.
“But why?” pleaded Tim, “please, just
tell me why?”
Lug finished chaining Tim to the wall, then he took a stick
of chewing gum
out of his pocket and seated himself on the bottom of the stone steps.
“Aye well,” be began, “no harm in telling
you, I suppose….”
Tim waited for Lug to pop the chewing gum into his mouth,
and he continued…
“Igor is a wizard. He’s been living in these
woods for many years. He is the
kindest, gentlest wizard anyone could ever hope to meet…. However, if there is
one thing he cannot stand, and hates above anything else, is wickedness. Seeing
as how he is a wizard, he is psychic, and it’s one of the law of wizards, to
punish anyone who is wicked, cruel hearted, or in anyway not good of heart. He
didn’t tell me what he sensed from you, but, I think I can guess it wasn’t
something nice…. Or else I wouldn’t have been called for”. He laughed again.
“But I’m a nice person, I’m good”
moaned Tim, in despair.
“Yeah right” laughed Lug, “Igor is NEVER
wrong. Anyway, I’m off now, but
rest assured, I WILL be back…. We must obey the wizards’ law.
With that, Lug went back up the stone steps and closed the
heavy door behind
him. Tim started sobbing again. He was in so much pain, and he couldn’t even
sit down, he was chained to the wall, with his arms above him, and just his
toes resting on the cold stone of the floor.
Lug, true to his word, did return, several hours later.
Tim was becoming
delirious. The blood from his head was dry now, and made his scalp itch. His
sides hurt with every breath, he was very hungry and dizzy, and could barely
focus properly when Lug came back to see him.
“S’alright” Lug told him “There’s
one last thing I have to do, then my job’s
done, and you won’t ever see me again”.
Tim was too weak to even reply, but he let out a cry of
terror when he saw
what Lug was carrying….. The pain from a branding iron is unimaginable, and the
cry Tim let out as the white hot metal burned through his flesh was
Many years later, when Igor became too old to live by himself,
he sold the
cottage and moved in with his nephew, Lug. Everyone who came to view it always
decided against it, though, saying it had a ‘strange atmosphere’. Eventually,
after several years of it lying empty, the bulldozers came to knock it down.
“Ere Tom” called Charlie “There’s
a cellar here, looks like its been bricked
up” Tom and Reg came to look. With the help of Doug, Gavin and Robbie, they
knocked it down and took torches into the cellar… all they found was one cold, damp
stone room, with a skeleton chained to the walls… remnants of an old tattered
dressing gown still clinging to its bones!!!!