VAMPIRE SHORT STORY COLLECTION Six original horror stories by Eva Glennie Maisey Hutton Gurpreet Kaur Cate McCaughey Anna McLellan Martha Willis
About the Gorbals Vampire
THE GORBALS VAMPIRE
The Gorbals Vampire is a large-scale community theatre project by the Citizens Theatre exploring a famous Glasgow myth through performance, comic art, creative writing and interviews. The Gorbals Vampire tells the story of an extraordinary series of events which took place at Glasgow’s Southern Necropolis in 1954. One late September evening, hundreds of children aged 4-14 armed themselves and gathered in the graveyard by the Dixon’s Blazes ironworks to hunt down and kill the ‘Man with the Iron Teeth’, who they believed had abducted and eaten two local boys. This entirely fictitious story had started as a playground rumour but rapidly spread across the Gorbals, culminating in the bizarre vampire hunt and leading to widespread moral panic about the ‘dangerous’ influence of American horror comics. This hysteria led moral crusaders of all political persuasions to campaign against the ‘seduction of the innocent’ through the corrupting powers of comic books, ultimately resulting in the introduction of major new censorship laws in the UK. The Gorbals Vampire project ran for ten months from January – October 2016. The project culminated in three performances at the Citizens Theatre of a new play, written by Johnny McKnight and directed by Guy Hollands and Neil Packham, performed by a cast of over 50 non-professional actors on 28 and 29 October 2016. iii
GORBALS VAMPIRE SHORT STORY COMPETITION
As part of The Gorbals Vampire project, secondary school pupils were invited to write their own short horror story set in a Glasgow location past, present or future. From more than 160 entries, six finalists were chosen by a judging panel including Philip Caveney, author (as Danny Weston) of The Piper and winner of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Award 12 – 16 age category. The finalists were presented with their prizes at an award ceremony at the Citizens Theatre on 18 October 2016. The Citizens Theatre would like to thank all of the entrants for their stories, and the teachers who supported the competition.
HIDDEN FACES by Gurpreet Kaur S4, Bellahouston Academy WINNER
I say goodbye to my mates at the end of Broomfield Drive before cutting through an alleyway and a few back gardens to reach Birnie Court. A Red Road block of flats, so tall it sends the surrounding area into dark shadow. It is spooky to passers-by, but it is home to more than a few outcasts: thugs, gangs, dealers and, of course, me. I tiptoe past the hallways, sidestepping cans and bottles of beer in the process. I keep my head down and hood up – that’s the rule around here, unless you want trouble. A group of rowdy residents crash down one hallway. They see me walking and pipe down. I feel their eyes burning holes through my hoody. I keep my eyes trained on the worn out dirty carpet. I reach the door, entering without making any noise, as if I’m a ghost who just glides through the wall. I roll my eyes; there are worse things than ghosts, like electricity bills. I shut the door as quickly as possible, so as to not let any heat escape. Dad was barely able to pay any bills last month and speaking of the Devil, there he lies on his stomach, half-falling off the sofa. The smell of alcohol is rife in my nose and I know he’s out cold. I proceed towards my bedroom, missing 2
every other loose floorboard. I let out a breath when I reach my bedroom, as a hand clamps down onto my shoulder stopping me from entering. I turn around to see my dad’s massive build blocking any escape. ‘James, we need to talk,’ he breathes in my face. ‘Sure,’ I scowl, trying not to gag. I follow him to our living room. He sits down where he was sleeping moments before, where I wish he still was. I cross the floor and sit on the edge of the wooden chair in the corner. He looks straight at me, dark eyes piercing into mine. I look away biting the inside of my cheek. I don’t want to be here. ‘Son, tomorrow you will be eighteen. I know I’ve never really cared for you, but you’re older now so I don’t need to. But I want you to know you have been loved – very dearly, actually.’ Now it’s my turn to look at him – really look at him. He’s bluffing; I know it for sure. He probably wouldn’t even attend my funeral if I died tonight. Wait, he wouldn’t even bother to have one. He plays it innocent as if he’s sure he’s hidden Death’s cloak so well that he may as well be invisible. I stand gritting my teeth ‘Fine.’ I move to leave but he blocks my path. ‘Who do you think you’re talking to, boy?’ he threatens. I stare into his heartless eyes and smile for how well I know my dear father. He’s surprised and 3
glee fills up inside of me for a second before he lunges forward. His arms wrap around me compressing my bones together. Black spots appear in my vision and I start to suffocate. I scream out all that I have left – ‘Let go!’ – my lungs burning with the effort. I reach for anything, anything, and find only half a bottle of whisky. I swing with everything that I am and hit his head. He falls, dropping me as he does. I tumble face-first onto the glass, warm, thick blood seeps down like tears. Oxygen attacks my lungs again and again and my heart cries for help, but I can only focus on the mass in front of me. Lying in a heap around the crystals of glass is a - a demon. I step backing searching for my sanity. Eyes of hell stare up at me and a voice hisses, ‘How dare you!’ It grabs my leg, slamming me to the ground. I am paralysed as it climbs upon me. It stops, allowing a strangled scream to erupt from its twisted throat; then, all at once, sharp dentures bite the side of my neck. They sink in deep and I am left helplessly thumping my broken fists against its chest. I am almost gone when a helicopter’s searchlight flashes into the flat. It’s a common occurrence around here, but not for us – unless someone reported suspicious activity. For once, I am thankful for its presence as the demon instantly scurries towards the shadowed kitchen at the other side of the flat. 4
I take the chance and move, ignoring the dizziness and searing pain. The searchlight moves away, leaving the flat in complete darkness. I search for a weapon but my hand only closes around a vegetable knife. I curse my fate as a weight falls upon me. I drop to the ground, rolling off to the side. I stand, using the wall as a guide. I stop, relying primarily on sound. Just then I hear the creak of the floorboards to my right and lunge, stabbing at anything that moves, the shadows playing with my head. But I am thrown backwards, the demon snapping at my heels. It holds my throat, ‘Stupid boy, you were always useless. Can’t kill your daddy, can you?’ it laughs, mocking me. Anger like no other builds up inside of me and I stab forwards. My breathing is too loud in my ears. Then the demon gargles; all at once black liquid splatters the cracked walls. It slumps in front of me and I shudder; a pressure takes over inside my head and I make for the door. I run out of the building, meeting the rowdy bunch outside the flat.This time I look at them and see hollow eyes staring back. They smirk; pale complexions contorting, and I notice their deadly canines. I run harder away from a truth I don’t want to understand. I stop only when I bump into someone and recognise Carly Jenkins from school. I scurry away from her like I’ve been stung and recognition reflects in her eyes. Frantically, I look for the monster inside her 5
and prepare myself for another gruesome fight. I see only sadness. ‘We need to talk,’ she whispers. I fall into step beside her and she looks me up and down. ‘Demon,’ she says, curtly. I nod. She stops after a few moments and sits on the broken wall between the school and the park. ‘So you found out?’ she asks, quietly. ‘Found out what?’ But I already know what she’s going to say. ‘The world is full of them. It never used to be or maybe it was, no one really knows. But it is now,’ she tells me, looking straight ahead. I look ahead too, no longer scared of the ghouls hanging in the trees. We talk a little more and I start to accept that I am one of many people, like her, who are able to see them. There are already organisations against them and there will most likely be a revolution or a war soon. None of this information puts me at ease as I say goodbye to Carly and make for home.
was taken by the demon. He was never really my dad, yet tears still fall out of my eyes, uncontrollably. I pull him onto the sofa, grabbing a sheet to hide his body. I struggle to stand as fatigue finally takes over and I trudge to my bedroom. I lie down, my eyes closing slowly and my breathing steadying as I enter the nightmare of reality.
When I reach the entrance of the flats, the sun is just rising. Its glow illumines yesterday’s truth and I find my dad - my real dad - lying on the floor next to the toilet. The monster has gone but I already know it has killed him. I can’t stop staring at his younger, pale face. His eyes are horrified, stuck in the moment he 6
STATIC by Anna McLellan S2, Cleveden Secondary School COMMENDED
Frank Turnbull had worked as a journalist for over forty years. He’d written for almost every British newspaper under the sun, written several articles online and even taken some of his writing abroad. But when asked about his impressive career, he was rendered speechless - for once. Frank Turnbull’s life had flashed past in a blur of colours and voices, feverish scribbling and camera flashes. Truth was, he just couldn’t remember most of it. And, to be perfectly honest, there were some components he’d rather forget. He’d hated his stint at university - would definitely not do that again. There were those nights when he and his gullible teenage friends would go drinking, coming back halfstoned with no clue of what they had been doing for the past six hours. There was that trip to Japan, the one where he returned with Hello Kitty pyjamas and green hair. Those ‘unforgettable nights’ that were so permanently etched into his brain he was pretty sure they had left him scarred, but tried anyway to delete the pictures from his database. And, of course, the very bane of his meaningless existence: apprentice journalists. He was seething just 10
thinking about them. They would come in, spottyfaced, still wet under the ears and start buzzing around, stripping away all of his hard-earned sanity. He had managed to forget some of them, that was true, but it gave him little comfort, little peace of mind, because he couldn’t help just wondering where are they now? Had they done well? So, when he got the letter about Mary-Anne Lloyd, he thought it would be good news. She was one of the few he remembered. She had been his star pupil and he hoped she’d done well. He read the letter. His smile creased into a frown. He read it again. Frank Turnbull closed the letter and starts to cry. *** Meanwhile, 345 miles away, the Glaswegian Police Department was in a state of uproar. Tempers were hanging by threads, patience was as thin as paper and all were aware that they were walking on very thin ice. But they all knew, as soon as they had slumped into their desks, that there was no hope for this case. There were no clues. No suspects. No witnesses. The only thing they knew, the only information that had surfaced after weeks of sleepless nights, was a place. There was a building, too old to be called anything 11
else, on the other side of town. As far as anybody could remember, it had always been there. It was part of their history. In fact, the locals had grown so used to the building, they found themselves subconsciously checking that it was, indeed, still standing. Their brains registered it as a safe thing: always there, an order to the chaos. Well, that is until six people were murdered in it. Just two days earlier, the building was cordoned off for the fifth time, because they had found another body, which had been identified as Mary-Anne Lloyd. A young journalist from London. Then, six days before her it was Ernest Doyle, an old landscape gardener from Swansea, Wales. Eleven days previous to him was Sara Gordon, fashionista and private orthodontist from a small town in Maine. Nine days before Sara was the first incident, a most peculiar case: a young couple, comprising a Filipino man and his Glaswegian wife, were found on the bottom floor. A day later, the body of their three-year-old daughter was discovered on the third floor. A case such as this guaranteed a veritable mountain of paperwork. The night shift were so tired and loaded with work that they didnâ€™t notice the strange voice over the intercom until the message had been playing for 12
several minutes. The voice was an unfamiliar one, with a strange accent to boot. The voice was laughing, laughing, laughing. It was a strange kind of laugh, the stereotypical giggle of a movie villain. A witchâ€™s cackle, albeit with a laughably deep voice. Three officers scarpered early, leaving five colleagues to despair. The voice just kept laughing at them. *** Frank Turnbull was driving down the M6 with nine miles to go when the forlorn violin sonata on the radio suddenly changed to hysterical laughter. The fact that his radio was laughing at him shocked him so much that his foot jolted down on the brake and he stopped with a screech in the middle of the motorway. Frank arrived in Glasgow in a shambles of creased pinstripe and sandwich crumbs. It was that particular time of night when even the chip-shops claiming to be open twenty-four hours are shut, a rare occurrence in Glasgow. It was that particular time of night when the curtains are drawn and everyone pretends not to hear the shattering of glass, or the sound of a spray can being emptied, not in the name of art, but graffiti. It was that particular time of night when the street lamps flicker on and off, or they just turn off entirely. 13
It was that particular time of night when the swings in the park creak and the roundabout begins to spin. It was that particular time of night when the radio receives only static and the dog begins to whine and even the new Nokia, one hundred percent charged, fails and dies. Frank cursed viciously when the light from his phone gave out and he promptly walked into a lamppost. Rubbing his head, he stumbled backward, lost his footing and landed with a thud on the patchy cement. He yelped in pain, his joints groaning. He sat there for a while, grimacing as the sharp ground pierced his skin, ripping his hands. The pain reverberated through him, but he heaved himself up anyway. When he stood up, his palms were slick with blood. He cursed venomously under his breath and walked on, leaving two red handprints underneath the lamppost. The red hands waved a warning at him, but Frank just walked on. He finally stood beneath the building, looking up at it. In the darkness of the night the building towered over him menacingly, a great crooked shadow. It was old and stained, the grimy bricks bloodstained in the weak shaft of moonlight. The windows - small and square, curtained by stiff fabric - seemed to be eyes, looking into him and finding his fears. The double doors seemed to be a mouth, and the building was 14
ready to swallow him up. Any other sane person would have turned back and found a nice hotel before driving back to London. But Frank, like the pessimist he was, dug his Swiss Army knife out of his pinstriped pocket and let himself be swallowed up by the doors, vanishing into the blackness behind them. He closed the doors gently and stepped cautiously forward. This, of course, tripped the alarm and the night shift shot up in their seats as the CCTV footage began to play on their screens. After several frantic phone calls, fourteen police men and women were roused from their beds and sent on their way, sirens wailing. They clutched the guns like life belts and their knuckles turned white. Frank walked to the staircase in the corner of the room. He held out his knife in front of him, pointing it unsteadily upwards and took the first step. As he went to take the second, the doors burst open and the police flooded in. They washed over Frank like a flood, pouring up the stairs and filling the building. Frank closed his eyes and let them pass, letting the noise envelop him. Five minutes later and the stampede subsided, leaving Frankâ€™s earth shaking. Two officers, armed with Glock 17 pistols on each floor. They would not die tonight. 15
The building was terrifyingly, unbelievably silent. Everything was still. Nothing moved. Frank couldn’t hear anyone breathing, and wondered if they were already dead. He couldn’t feel his toes. With this thought in mind, he surrendered himself to the silence and basked in it, waiting for the world to start moving again. In a burst of static, his thoughts were interrupted by a crackle from one of the officers’ radio. He immediately answered it, frantically calling orders. ‘Jenkins! Jenkins, are you there?’ Cried the officer, looking to be on the verge of tears. He called again. Again. The radio crackled out. The officer called his colleagues on the next floor down. The radio crackled out. And then they heard it. Faint and tinny, but audible. Something was walking down the stairs. Perfect, even, robotic steps. Slow and steady. Coming closer and closer. When the footsteps stopped, static bubbled from the radio. One floor to go. Step. Step. Step. Static. Frank walked away from the staircase excruciatingly slowly. He pantomimed his way to the door. 16
He pulled the handle. Step. The door was locked. Step. He turned around. Step. ‘Hello Frank,’ said Mary-Anne. Static.
THE BEECHWOODS by Maisey Hutton S2, King’s Park Secondary School COMMENDED
After almost 200 years of being trapped in a rusty locket, Elisabeth is finally free. It is August the 27th, 1833. Count and Countess Beechwood are throwing a party for their daughter Elisabeth’s thirteenth birthday. Elisabeth flows down the stairs in her lacy periwinkle dress and matching silky slippers, her dead grandmother’s pearls draped around her neck. For just turning thirteen, she looks very grown up, especially with her mother’s rouge smeared across her cheeks. She steps into the banquet room where her distant family sit. Golden candlesticks, silver cutlery and china plates with fancy looking foods flood the marble top table. The large gold chandelier above sways with the wind coming from through the open window behind her second Uncle Gerry. He just comes to steal things. The family pity him though, as he hasn’t been able to help himself since his wife’s recent death. ‘Hurrah!’ Her father exclaims as she walks through the doorway, giving Gerry just enough time to reach over and steal one of the Countess’ rings from off of the table without anyone noticing. The rest of the room joins in with Elisabeth’s father, 20
applauding and smiling. There’s an eerie whooshing sound; she looks up and around, but it seems no one else has heard it. They all sit down and Count Beechwood nods, signalling everyone to start eating. The butlers and maids all leave the room and everyone starts chatting and eating. Elisabeth looks up, not only catching Gerry slip a silver fork into his jacket pocket, but also hearing a whisper. ‘Fire. There will be fire’ She then feels a cold, bony finger trace a line across her neck and turns around to nothing but a painting of her great grandmother. She goes back to chewing on some venison when her father shouts out; ‘Oh jings! Would you look at that? The sun has left the sky! Gordon! Gordon? Ah, would you light all of the candles in here, it’s awfy dark!’ Fire. Did that message from earlier mean something? Or in fact, did she really hear anything at all? Gordon walks through and starts lighting all of the candles on the chandelier, the glow reflecting off everyone’s mesmerised faces. ‘I need to go and powder my nose,’ Elisabeth lies as she teeters through the doorway. The bathroom door creaks as it opens, the tall oak held together by rusty (once silver, she thought) bars. She turns the tap and sticks her hands under, catching some of the water
and throwing it at her face. She looks in the mirror, into her eyes; icy blue and filled with fear. She is awoken from her daydream when she hears a terrible shriek, and runs through to the banquet room. Flames. The whole room and her parents are engulfed in amber flames. Tears sting her eyes as she walks through the fire, the flames touching her legs that are now covered in blisters but she does not care; she needs to save her mother and father. The Countess reaches forward just to touch fingers with her daughter when a large wooden cabinet falls on top of her. Elisabeth screams in pain as her mother tries to pull the large cabinet off of her weak daughter’s body. It is no use. Her body is nothing but ashes in a matter of minutes. Others that live near the mansion are running back and forth to the River Clyde, filling up buckets of water and trying to tackle the fire. It takes hours, but eventually, the fire too, gives up and dies. Gordon survives; he goes back the next day to save Elisabeth’s ashes, as he has always been rather fond of her. He opens the locket he has saved from her bedchambers and attempts to fill it with her ashes. He then buries it and simply disappears. 22
Everyone forgets about the Beechwoods; all evidence of them ever living is mysteriously destroyed. That is, until 2016, when the locket is found. *** Ella is a tall blonde-haired thirteen-year-old with sparkly blue eyes and a flawless smile. She’s out walking her dachshund, Jaffa. They enter Glasgow Green. They have only been this way once before and Jaffa starts acting weird. They keep walking and then Jaffa comes to a stop. He whimpers and barks and starts digging. Ella nervously tugs on his lead, attempting to stop him but he’s determined and keeps on going. The council litter pickers are approaching and one shouts. ‘Oi! Stop yer dug frae tearin’ up the park! We can fine you!’ he snorts. ‘Sorry sir, he’s being awkward,’ Ella politely shouts back. Then Jaffa’s whimpering and digging stops. ‘Jaffs?’ He looks up with a rusty gold chain dangling from his mouth. ‘You better refill that hole missus or I’ll be talking tae yer maw!’ says the litter picker quite sternly, then walks off. Ella takes the chain then opens the rusty heart. Ashes and a massive gust of wind blow out along with a faint laugh. 23
Ella doesn’t feel right; Jaffa who is now caked in mud rolls over and whimpers. Jaffa is almost being dragged back, which is different to his usual running ahead. Random gusts of wind and that laugh from earlier keep on being heard. She feels a presence but knows that there is no one there and that she is just being paranoid. It’s a Tuesday so Ella has school that day. She only stays until lunch, but the time that she is there is terrible: being tapped on the shoulder and no one being there, hearing ‘the laugh’ – only it getting louder and higher pitched each time, turning into more of a cackle. This all lasts months and the cackling slowly drives poor Ella insane. The locket has burnt a hole in her pocket and her leg has a big blister on it. When the laughing is heard the locket heats up, Ella didn’t notice it anymore, she was never aware of anything. Each day is nothing but a blur up until one day when she disappears. No one knows why or how. Ella’s house is never the same. For instance, windows or doors randomly open or slam shut and in the dead of night, a high-pitched cackle echoes through her street.
You Always Hurt the One You Love
YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE by Martha Willis S2, Cleveden Secondary School HIGHLY COMMENDED
Lots of people believe in true love. I certainly do. He is tall, handsome, sporty, clever and kind. I know that sounds a little bit creepy but it’s true – he is my boyfriend. I love him and he loves me too. We are going to finish school, go to university, get married and have children. We will grow old together and be by each other’s side until the day we die. Tonight we are going out on a date. He will not tell me where it is. I am ecstatic. I love him so much. He is always full of surprises. I stand in front of my full length mirror. I despise the way my body looks. My wide, manly shoulders and my muscular arms both distract from my large chest, wide hips and chubby stomach. Well I think it’s chubby, he tells me that it’s toned and slender, that my body is just ‘athletic’. I decide to pick out an outfit to flatter my body type, hide my insecurities. I stare into my wardrobe, a black hole stares back at me. Not because I have no clothes but because I feel comfortable in hardly any of them. I turn to a chair that sits in the corner of my oldfashioned room. On the chair is an outfit ready to be worn; a baggy, green cable knit jumper, a pair of 28
dark blue skinny jeans and a pair of brown Chelsea boots. I pick up the jumper. It is still warm from the iron. It smells gorgeous. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love my mum she does all my ironing. She is just the best. I pull the jumper over my head, slip on the jeans and boots. I sit down at my dressing table, staring at my face. It is pale and pasty covered in light acne scars. I pick up my foundation Shade 1. I chuckle; even the lightest shade is too dark for me. My powder creates a cloud above my head. It makes me sneeze. I contour my face to make it appear slimmer. I do my brows. My brows are a little difficult – that awkward in between colour which no brand seems to have. I do my eyeliner. I usually manage to do it uneven but today it looks perfect. I do my lips in a ruby red. I tug angrily at my wavy auburn hair. It’s so knotty. Finally I manage to tame it into a messy French braid. I walk down the stairs and say goodbye to my parents. I grab my army green parka coat. It is so sunny yet so cold. I almost slip on the ice whilst I walk down our concrete pathway. My boyfriend is standing waiting for me outside his old, little, red Nissan Micra. It makes the weirdest sound and it often breaks down but I love it anyway. My boyfriend kisses me. His warm lips get stuck temporarily. Whoops! We hop into the car. As he puts the key in the ignition, he tells me to close my eyes. I trust him, so I do. I am 29
so excited! I have no idea where we are going. I can hear the buzz of the engine and a whole array of other weird sounds. We arrive. He leads me out the car my eyes still closed. I feel a cool breeze against my cheeks. I open my eyes. It is an old shipbuilding yard, just off the Clyde - how disappointing! I query why he has brought me here. He tells me to wait and see. He takes me across to one of the old warehouses where the end is missing. He takes me across to the water’s edge. We watch the sunset together; it is rather romantic. I hear a loud rattling noise. I try to scream. He uses his hand to cup my mouth whispering that he loves me. I turn towards him in hope of him comforting me. Instead I see him holding a sharp scalpel. I back away as slowly as a snail, being careful not to make any sudden movements. He grabs me by the jumper pulling me towards him. He slices it, the fibres tumbling to the concrete floor. I go to scream again – he silences me. Then he slices open the skin on my chest. Oddly, I feel no pain. He slices through my layers of muscle and fat. He grabs my heart out of my open chest. Blood gushes out, creating puddles on the floor. I still feel no pain. Instead I feel the cool air flowing through my body. It is an odd sensation. He holds my beating heart in his bloody hands. He tells me that he loves me and that he wants to spend eternity with me. I still feel no pain. I must be superhuman. He takes 30
a bite out of my heart. The pain is the worst most excruciating pain I have ever felt. I fall to the floor. I awake in a hospital bed, dazed and confused. I feel a strong beating in my chest. I ask the doctor, ‘Who saved my heart?’ He replies, ‘Nobody.’ I feel sick, light headed. Is this a dream? The doctor explains that I have received a heart transplant from the boy I was found with. After that last word left his lips I feel a sudden urge to kill somebody I love. I decide that I need to kill myself as I don’t want to hurt anybody else. I grab the knife off the lunch tray. I stab it into my new heart. There is a flurry of doctors. I yell, ‘Sorry!’ to my parents. My mum weeps and says, ‘I forgive you.’ I never heard that last word…
The True Me
THE TRUE ME by Eva Glennie S2, Cleveden Secondary School COMMENDED
A cold chill hangs in the air. Though it is midsummer, the numbness on my toes and fingers makes it feel like a cold winter night. As usual I’m the only person in sight, everyone else locking themselves in their small old flats. I moved here about three, maybe four years ago but I still don’t understand why people hardly ever step out their houses, apart from occasionally going to the shops, or kids who go out to play and get dragged back home by their parents in less than ten minutes. It’s just like the town I used to live in with my parents before they sent me away. I can remember it as if it were only yesterday. I was six at the time. My birthday was a couple of days away. I was meant to be asleep but instead I was sneaking downstairs to see if I could get a peek at my presents. I stopped in my tracks as I heard muffled voices from my parents’ bedroom. I can still remember the exact words haunting me, mocking me and making themselves present every day of my life: ‘He’s a monster. I don’t want him here anymore! He’s old enough to care for himself now.’ ‘I know how to get rid of him. Why don’t we take him up north somewhere for his birthday and I’ll take it
from there.’ I ran back upstairs. What were they talking about? I lay in bed thinking over what they’d been saying. Who were they talking about? Was it me? I know now that is was. We went up to Loch Lomond, up north, and as we were going to leave, I went to the toilet. They said they would be waiting for me in the car but when I came out they were gone. Since then I’ve just been travelling all over the place, mostly staying in small cities or towns. I’ve finally settled where I am now in Glasgow. I still don’t feel like people accept me and I don’t know why. Will I ever know? Recently, strange things have been going on. People have been going missing and nobody knows how or why. I don’t know how it’s happening – but I want to find out. I take my jacket off and look up to the dark sky letting the rain drip over my face. As usual, I’m out on one of my late strolls. I love going on walks as it lets me clear my mind, but I hate the sun so I hardly ever go out in the day. My skin is so pale I can burn in about 10 degrees. My parents and my grandparents all had darkish skin so I don’t know why I don’t too. I reach my house for the third time but actually go in this time. It is about 11pm and I’d been out for nearly an hour. I change out of my wet clothes and get some toast and jam. I always seem to have this jam but 35
I never remember buying it! It has no bits in it and it’s bright red. Whenever I eat it I always get that happy feeling, like some people get with chocolate. I head up to bed and go to sleep. I gradually open my eyes as lines begin to appear, which eventually turn into objects. I look at my bedside table. 6am – perfect. I’m not much of a sleeper; in fact, I love staying up. I put on my dressing gown and walk through to the kitchen. I get out the coffee and I’m about to put the kettle on when the doorbell rings. I slowly make my way over to the door. For as long as I’ve lived here I’ve never had a visitor before. I haven’t even had a proper conversation with anyone in this village. The doorbell goes off again so I open the door and look out. Standing there is a tall, dark-haired man with a very big smile. There are loads of thoughts going round my head, good and bad. Does he want to be my friend? That would be amazing. I���ve never had a friend before! Or maybe he’s here for a serious reason - for instance there’s a fire and my house is about to burn down! He introduces himself and tells me all about how his wife has just vanished - the fifth person to disappear this month - and that he has been very lonely. He knew I lived alone and though it would be a good time for both of us to have someone to talk to. 36
I am completely overwhelmed! This is amazing; he wants to be my friend! I go upstairs and get ready then follow him to his house. I’m guessing he is quite a quiet and nervous person in public because the whole way there he keeps looking left and right and doesn’t talk at all. We arrive at his house as he slowly but surely opens the door, trying to make as little noise as possible. The atmosphere is cold and shallow and I can feel shivers running down my spine. If this is what it feels like to have a friend I don’t think I want many of them. He leads me through to his kitchen and subtly picks up an axe, trying not to draw attention to himself. Maybe he’s about to chop wood. He then begins talking about how his wife has gone missing and that he thinks he knows why, the whole time twirling the pan and feeling its edges. He then moves uncomfortably closer, his eyes narrowing. He stops and stares at me with a cold-hearted look. Something doesn’t feel right. I want to get out of here. Desperately trying to change the subject I begin to slowly back away. He aggressively grabs my arms and shouts what he had wanted to say all along: how I am a vampire. I am the reason everyone is going missing and if I didn’t stop now, he will put an end to it forever. Thousands of thoughts flood my mind. I attempt to run, trying to get out of his grasp, as I see his arm rise and the axe coming closer to my head. 37
I wake up sweaty and breathing heavily. I can taste blood in my mouth and a feeling of heaviness. As I attempt to get up, a rush of pain comes to my head. I lie back down and turn over as I see a hand coming from under my bed. Fear paralyses my body but I soon find the courage to get up. Though the pain in my head is exceedingly painful my curiosity over takes. I get up and look under the bed. There I see a man. A man with his face and neck covered in blood. The man who threatened me. The man showed me what I really amâ€Ś.
The Lonely Lady of The Keeperâ€™s House
THE LONELY LADY OF THE KEEPER’S HOUSE by Cate McCaughey S2, King’s Park Secondary School HIGHLY COMMENDED
Areum and Skye stand at their doorway looking into the empty bedroom. ‘I don’t want to leave,’ Skye says, on the brink of tears. ‘I know you don’t,’ her older sister Areum replies, hugging her, ‘but we don’t have a choice.’ ‘Girls, it’s time to leave,’ their mum shouts from downstairs. ‘Coming!’ Areum shouts back. ‘Come on, it’s time to go Skye,’ she says as she leads her sister out of their room. As they reach the top of the stairs, they can see their parents waiting for them in the hallway downstairs. ‘You can go wait in the car girls,’ their dad says as he picks up a box. ‘We only have a few more boxes to put into the car and then we can go.’ Skye watches her dad leave the house as she goes downstairs, stopping to put the box in the car. She turns to her mum with pleading eyes. ‘Do we really have to leave? I like it here.’ ‘I’m sorry honey,’ her mum says, taking her hand, ‘we have to go. It’s closer to our new job and we all need a change.’ 40
‘What if I don’t like it there?’ Skye asks, tears rolling down her face. Her mum leans over and wipes away the tears. ‘You will, I promise,’ she says. Then she picks up a box and walks out to the car. Areum follows behind giving Skye a smile as she passes. Skye turns around taking one last look at her home before walking out, closing the door behind her. *** Skye is roused by the sound of gravel as the car drove through large, rusted black iron gates and notices an old wooden sign fixed, lopsided, to the gates: ‘The Keeper’s House’. It is beginning to get dark but Skye can make out large shapes surrounding the gravel drive. As the car drives down the twisted drive, Skye sees that all around are statues and strange rocks. ‘What is this place Areum?’ she asks her voice quiet. ‘It’s called the Necropolis,’ Areum whispers, looking out the window. Skye thinks for a moment, and then realisation dawns. ‘Is this place a graveyard?’ She turns to see Areum nodding in reply. ***
The car comes to a stop outside a large house in the middle of the Necropolis. Her parents leave the car and Skye and Areum take a last look at each other before stepping outside. They stare up at the old house. The roof has fallen in in some places, and in some places the brick shows underneath the paint. The windows are filthy and dark. Areum takes a key from her dad and walks to the front door which has peeling paint and an old door knob covered in rust. As Areum opens the door, it creaks loudly. The girls step into a hall which isn’t any improvement on the outside. A layer of dust covers everything. As they look down they see floorboards are missing, and looking up, they notice holes in the walls. The girls turn as their mum walks up behind them. ‘Why don’t you girls go upstairs and see your new room while your dad and I bring in the boxes? It’s the last one on the left,’ she says cheerfully. The girls nod and move upstairs, jumping slightly as the stairs creak and groan. The girls wander down the hall, past dark rooms, some with doors shut, until they come to the last room. Opening the door, the girls step into a surprisingly light and clean room. ‘Well at least this looks better than the rest of the house,’ Areum says with a chuckle. Skye just nods in response. 42
Skye wanders over to a bed next to the window and looks out. All she can see are gravestones and statues. Then she spots something else. She moves round the bed to take a closer look. In the distance she can see a figure. She gets closer to the window. She can see the figure a little better. It’s a lady dressed in a long black dress, her face hidden underneath a dark lace veil. ‘Girls, it’s time for dinner!’ their mum calls causing Skye to jump and turn around. ‘Coming!’ Areum screams back. Skye looks back out the window but can’t see the figure. She looks around the yard. ‘Ow!’ she says as Areum punches her arm, ‘that hurt.’ ‘Get your butt downstairs,’ Areum says, ‘dinner is ready.’ Walking downstairs, Skye thinks about the strange figure. ‘Must have been a funeral,’ she mutters to herself. *** After dinner and an early night, the house is dark as everyone sleeps. In the middle of the night Skye wakes up and can’t get back to sleep. Eventually she gets out of bed to get a drink of water. Returning to her room, she sits down on her bed and sips her water. Leaning over 43
to put the glass on her bedside table, she drops it and scrambles to the corner of the room as she spots a figure near her sister’s bed. The figure is tall and black. As the moon appears outside the curtainless window, she sees it’s the same figure she saw outside earlier, and that the lady is staring at her. From a dark face, two deadly eyes stare back. One eye glowing venomous green and the other bloody red. Her arm moves and hand stretches out towards Skye. Skye rubs her eyes as the figure slowly fades away. *** As the sun rises, Areum wakes up. Noticing her sister asleep she quietly gets dressed and leaves the room. Stopping at the bottom of the stairs to put her trainers on, she steps outside. She decides to go for a walk around her new garden. She heads towards a row of trees around the back of the house. Getting closer, she notices a figure through the trees. Slowing down as she gets closer she notices it’s a lady, in a long black dress with a veil and long hair, moving in the wind. The figure raises her hand in a wave. Areum raises her hand to wave back, but then stops in her tracks as the figure disappears.
*** Skye walks downstairs, still half asleep, to an empty house. ‘Mum! Dad! Areum!’ she shouts as she wanders the downstairs rooms. She stops and turns as the front door opens and Areum steps through. ‘Oh she’s finally awake,’ Areum laughs, ruffling her hair. Skye gives her famous ‘death glare’ back before asking ‘where are mum and dad?’ ‘They went out to get us breakfast and a few things for the house. Let’s see if we can find the breakfast bowls in this pile of boxes.’ Skye nods and begins to peel tape from the nearest box. Hearing a loud bang from upstairs she knocks the box over. The girls look at each other, before going out in the hall. Areum smiles at her sister and waves her hands, making an ‘ooh’ noise and rolling her eyes before going up the stairs. Skye shakes her head, but waits at the bottom. Reaching the top of the stairs, Areum walks slowly down the hall, looking into the rooms as she passes. All are dark and empty. She reaches the room opposite her bedroom and notices something on the floor in the middle of the room. She walks over and, as she bends down to pick it up, sees that it’s a locket. 45
She feels like someone is watching her and looks up towards the door. The same lady she saw earlier stands at the door. Her veil is removed and Areum sees the smirk on her face. ‘How did you get in here?’ Areum asks, her voice shaking. ‘Victoria’ the lady replies, smirking again and pointing at the locket in Areum’s hands.
‘You’ve come home,’ the lady says. Skye takes the locket with caution and looks down and sees two black and white photographs of girls inside. They are twins. ‘Mary, come give your sister a hug,’ the lady says, smiling. Skye screams.
*** ‘Areum!’ Skye shouts. ‘What is it? You aren’t funny you know!’ Not getting a reply, she stamps noisily up the stairs. ‘There you are,’ she says, then stops as she finds Areum standing facing the window not moving at all. ‘Areum, are you ok?’ Skye asks, walking closer to her. Areum turns around slowly, holding a locket in her hand. ‘What did you find?’ Skye asks, then jumps as a figure steps out from behind Areum. ‘You!’ Skye shouts, recognising the lady she’s seen before. She runs to the door but stops as it closes and locks in front of her. She turns around again to see Areum and the lady smiling at her. ‘You can’t leave now,’ Areum says, stepping closer. 46
“As theatrical icons go, few come bigger than Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre” The Herald The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres since 1945. Fondly known as the Citz, it is led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill and Executive Director, Judith Kilvington. Within a beautiful Victorian auditorium that dates from 1878, the Citizens presents a world-class, contemporary repertoire based on bold new interpretations of classic texts. As its name suggests, it places a strong emphasis on work that can enhance and transform the lives of citizens of all ages, cultures and social backgrounds through performance and participation that everyone can access. The Citizens Theatre has a strong reputation for delivering a pioneering range of creative participatory projects and places a special emphasis on work with children, young people and socially excluded adults. By placing arts, culture and creativity at the heart of learning the theatre seeks to provide opportunities at the theatre and in communities across Scotland, for young people and adults to engage with drama. citz.co.uk Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS Box Office: 0141 429 0022 Admin: 0141 429 5561 48
Citizens Theatre Ltd. Registered in Scotland No. SC022513 and is a Scottish Charity No. SC001337
The Gorbals Vampire production and community activities could not have happened without the generosity of our sponsors. The Citizens Theatre would like to extend a huge thank you to them for investing in our work.
The ScottishPower Foundation aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to society. It provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the advancement of education; environmental protection; the arts, heritage, culture or science; the prevention or relief of poverty as well as the advancement of citizenship and community development. Its partnership with the Citizens Theatre is testament to its commitment to ensuring every member of society benefits from arts and culture.
Scott & Co, part of the Marston Group, is the largest debt collection and enforcement business in Scotland. It works on behalf of a wide range of clients including local authorities, central government departments, solicitors and SMEs, in the recovery of various debts streams in addition to serving and enforcing warrants and orders emanating from the civil Courts of Scotland and abroad. It employs 250 staff across a network of 13 offices located throughout Scotland.
Spirit of the Gorbals is part of Spirit of 2012’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games legacy programme Fourteen; instigated by Spirit’s investment in the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games and its legacy around the UK. 14 communities across the UK have been identified as Fourteen communities and have received funding to invest in activity that local people themselves believe will make a difference to well-being and happiness within their community.