Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 28 excerpt.

Fantasy Storm Macabre Horror Dark Skull Gothic

Nick froze and looked over to Mir, who was stood firmly, peering up at the landing, which surrounded the first floor and baring her teeth. Nick followed the wolf’s lead and slowly raised his head, to see what it was that had spooked them both.

The hair on her back was raised and her growling getting louder, as if something was approaching their position. Nick could see nothing but as Mir’s growl became even throatier, he could sense the danger. Frozen to the spot, he was hardly breathing and now his own hair was standing up on the back of his arms. All his senses were on high alert as beads of sweat began to trickle down his temples, despite the cold.

“Show yourself, or I’ll release this wolf and you can take your chances but I know who my money’s on and it’s not you.” Rising up he waited for any response but none came. Mir continued growling with a low fierceness and in these isolated circumstances, Nick found himself doing the same. They were both standing in the hallway issuing canine threats, to an unseen intruder, lurking somewhere in the shadows. It was Nick, who stopped being feral first.

“There’s something not right in here, perhaps it’s time to leave,” he whispered urgently and glanced over to his white friend, who was still glaring upwards and issuing a dire warning to the unseen intruder. “Come on, we’re going,” he breathed and patted his thigh as he backed stealthily away, towards the front door, with the ever-obedient Mir in his shadow. As they neared the door, there was another sound from above, only this time, it was the creak of another door opening. Then, from further along the landing, there was another ‘thump,’ which sounded almost, as if it was the delayed echo of the original but this time, it seemed to be the sound of another entryway, further along the landing, closing.

“Shit!” He bleated as he nearly fell over the keg of Cognac he’d placed by the door. Never taking his eyes off the stairway, he grabbed the keg, put it under his arm and reached behind himself, to open the door. The still growling Mir and Nick, backed quickly out of Wyndwrayth, turned and started to run towards the sanctuary of Venezuela. On his way to the gates, his mind was full of thumping sensations and the threatening banging, which had initiated this rather panicked and undignified, flight from the house.

The air outside was heavy and oppressive, almost as if it was attempting to smother him. He felt as if he was running through treacle and the path to the gates, seemed to be stretching off into infinity. Nick and Mir, ran as fast as they could down the well-tended pathway, towards the still open gate. As they burst through, it felt like they were piercing a vacuum, passing through some kind of membrane into clearer air. They both took a few more steps away from Wyndwrayth, then Nick stopped, turned around and gasping for breath, stared intently at the house, which he felt was in turn, staring back at him.

“Creepy,” he said to Mir, who was standing close by his side and watching something happening in the general direction of the residence. Nick couldn’t see, or sense anything but Mir certainly could because she’d started to bristle and growl again.

Out of nowhere, a slight breeze suddenly arose and then noticeably strengthened. It was growing incrementally stronger as each moment passed and it was starting to pick up some of the small pieces of splintered detritus, left discarded by the sides of the path. The trees were starting to bend and as Mir continued to look back towards Wyndwrayth, her growls grew louder, her teeth became barred and she began to snap threateningly, at the flying debris. Seconds later, she was barking ferociously, something was coming, something dark and malevolent, carried on the wind. Nick, squinting through slits, turned to look into the maelstrom, trying to see what Wendy’s wolf was so concerned about? Just as he turned, a splinter of loose wood bark, struck him a painful blow on his left eyebrow and he instinctively wiped the back of his hand across the wounded area, to absorb some of the pain, whilst trying not to show any signs of weakness, in the face of the unseen menace.

When he looked down, he could see there was a lot of blood on his hand, so Nick instantly dropped that ridiculous pretence. “Bloody hell!” He cursed, ducking under a low flying branch, while wiping the blood on his trouser leg. Incredibly, the wind was now reaching storm force as Nick and Mir turned tail and set off running towards Venezuela’s mooring, the whirlwind in pursuit.

Nick watched as her gait changed from a jog, to a lope and he tried desperately to keep up with her. Periodically she looked back, baring her teeth threateningly at the invisible, pursuing danger. Observing the white wolf’s reactions, Nick was able to respond almost instantly and when he saw Mir’s ears go back and both sets of her teeth become barred, the gum’s fully exposed, he dug deep and somehow increased his pace yet again. Whatever danger was coming for them in this wind, was getting closer. As they were crossing the glade, he stupidly tried to turn his head to catch a glimpse of their pursuer, which just made him stumble. Something snagged one of his shoe laces and Nick dropped the keg, which rolled off into a dense patch of magic mushrooms, struck something solid and stopped.

“Bastard!” Exclaimed Nick, as he irrationally set off in pursuit of his wayward prize, despite the unremitting barrage of this unnatural wind and the flying detritus that incessantly struck him, propelling him forward. Now alerted to where he was putting his feet, he grabbed for the keg. As he bent, Nick noticed something that appeared to be gold, glinting in the soft moss right there on the ground, next to it. So, in the process of grasping the liquor and shoving it firmly back under his arm, Nick also snatched for this new golden object,

“Got it,” he wheezed, as he felt the cold texture of metal kissing his outstretched finger’s, when they closed around the prize. Nick, glanced over towards Mir, who had stopped to guard him and was staring intently, back down the path.

“What is it?” He called out to her, his words flying away, on the storm force wind that had them in its grip. The white wolf, simply started growling again and this time, it was accompanied by another vicious show of teeth. There was something malevolent coming up quickly behind them, something in the wind, something that was spooking Mir. Nick, sensed they were running up against some kind of imposed deadline and if they didn’t get off this island quick, they never would. ‘Get out of here, get out now!’ His mind screamed.

Despite being struck by at least two more jagged pieces of shattered wood, he shoved the cold shiny object, along with a sizeable handful of moss, deep into his pocket and set off running as fast as he could towards the boat, pursued by the whirlwind of debris.

“Up you get,” he shouted out to Mir, who leapt into the boat, clambered straight into the passenger seat and stood there, looking back at the island, hackles high and barking ferociously. Nick jumped in after her, throwing the keg in behind the seats and cast off in double quick time. A quick push off the rocks with the boat hook and Nick immediately started the engine to make good their getaway from Ynys y Niwl and its dark heart, Wyndwrayth.

Venezuela roared away from the island with Mir, still standing protectively in the passenger seat. They had hardly got more than ten metres from the shore, when the maelstrom, that was playing holy hell on Ynys y Niwl, inexplicably ceased. The lake instantly became as calm as a mill pond, with only the occasional flutter of the previously howling wind, disturbing its placid surface.


Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 27 excerpt.



‘Eventually, as the years passed, only myself and Millar remained on Ynys y Niwl and new food, rarely called at the large black house any more. Now, here I am laying Millar’s latest repast remains to rest and who knows when the next warm meal will be dropping by. I’ve known this day would dawn for many decades, if the truth were told. This latest, and hopefully my last body, with its empty skull, will be easy to hide, it’s just a matter of crushing a few bones and adequately covering up the remainder of the cadaver until the rich soil of the glade has done its work and reduced the whole bloody mess to white bones.’

When the task of interring Harold’s corpse was completed, it was barely six inches below the surface but expertly hidden, underneath a thick layer of moss. Now, there was only the stranger’s boat to get rid of and the ‘Hell’s Mouth,’ as he called it, lay just beyond the reed beds at the far end of the landing spot. That place was very accommodating, it was well disguised and had unnaturally deep water, which lay within a stone’s throw of the island. It more than adequately swallowed up small craft and left no trace of their passing. He’d fed various boats to the ‘Mouth’ over many centuries and Gideon considered himself to be rather fortunate, to have found such a black abyss, so close to the island. When he had plumb lined that area just beyond the reeds, trying to find the deepest hollow, he’d been amazed, it was longer than all of his ropes put together and from that, he’d assumed the reeds grew on some kind of plateau, immediately before the edge fell away into the sunken depths. All he had to do now, was silently sink Harold’s irksome craft and watch it vanish into the deep forever.

Gideon walked around to the rear of the old house and entered, “The Crystal Cave,” as he’d named it, by means of the seemingly unusable stone steps. Everything in this area of Wyndwrayth’s bowels, was a creation of Gideon’s furtive mind. Over the many years of his internment on Ynys y Niwl, he’d had plenty of time to perfect his ‘gift’ and this hidden area, where nobody ventured, was ideal for that purpose. He trod the rough path, that had over the centuries, become familiar, until he reached the abandoned mooring, with its single ornate vessel, tied up to a stone capstan.

‘Stop dallying on the job and admiring your creation, just get on with it whilst the full moon is high,’ he thought and then realising, that dallying was exactly what he was still doing, Gideon picked up his pace and was soon approaching the small Swan headed, wooden craft. He quietly climbed aboard and slowly rowed the graceful white vessel, out onto the lake and round to Harold’s boat, untethered her from the ring and looped it round the Swan’s head. Then, quietly and stealthily, he towed the craft into the reed beds, filled her with stones, opened the bilges and for good measure, swung an ancient battle axe high in the air, bringing it down hard, deeply burying the blade in the hull of this doomed vessel. The blow cleaved a large hole in her Oak boarded bottom and the icy lake water, flooded in. As ‘The Lady T’ slowly sank beneath the surface, Gideon re-boarded the Swan and watched carefully. Wooden boats had, over the years, proved to be sometimes difficult to sink due to their buoyancy. He was hoping this stupidly pretentious white vessel, could be laid to rest with ease.

Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 25 excerpt

The Skerries and Lighthouse, Anglesey, Wales UK

Wendy had barely slept the previous night and now, as the morning’s light grew ever brighter, she was looking nostalgically at the view out of her bedroom window. Her Father had let her choose this room when the family first moved into this two bedroom, bijou property but in fact, it had hardly been much of a choice, as he had clearly stated, “You can choose any room but the front bedroom, which is not an option, as me and your mother are having that one.”

Even after his death on the lake, she had stayed put in that original room, it gave her life a sense of permanence amid all the chaos that her Dad’s death had wrought. The familiar view across the fields and out towards the old Skerries Lighthouse, with its once deep and mournful cry, was strangely comforting to her, now as then. Yet, she was about to leave this room where she had experienced all the ups and downs of a somewhat protected and initially naive adolescent life, possibly for the last time. She recalled the trauma engendered by the prospect of her first kiss, which had been negotiated within these four walls. As had the poignant personal drama of the break up with that self-same, ‘first love,’ a young lad that went by the name of Lloyd Jones. She, unlike him, had cried for days at the loss of this relationship, whereas he got over that particular anguish by picking up Katrin Parry and then, mercilessly breaking her heart in turn. Lloyd, was to feel a little of the same anguish, when his second wife, dumped him, for his continuous infidelities.

She smiled quietly as she recalled her first sexual experiences, those hot sweaty fumbles of passionate experimentation, that had taken place on this bed in this familiar, warm bedroom. She chuckled how she’d thought just locking the door could hide the ‘bloody obvious,’ from her usually absent parent. She had learnt the fundamentals of ‘what goes where,’ from an array of eager suiters, who had been only too ready to assist her. An affectionate and knowing smile appeared on her face, as the memories she usually referred to as, “The Wild Years” came flooding back. Mixed emotions, which ranged between the exuberance of eye popping joy and revelation, to the darkly melancholic hues cast by the memories of overwhelming and unavoidable grief.

Wendy found herself standing in the bay window looking out across the field, towards the Skerries Lighthouse and down to the quiet beach, that she had played on as a child. She could almost see herself and her friends, running along the sands, trying to escape the clutches of, ‘The Bogeyman’ who was usually played by the slowest kid. Cynically chosen as only children can, because it gave everyone else longer to make their escape and find an especially sneaky place, in which to hide. They had called that game, ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ and she recalled that one of the rules, which must be adhered to in order to legitimise a capture, stated that, ‘The Bogeyman’ had to put his, or her hand firmly on the shoulder of their quarry and cry, “Argh there matey” in a Piratey kind of voice. Failure to follow these simple rules, led to ‘The Bogeyman’ having to release their prisoner under the conditions of the ‘Barley’s’ rulings. Just where these archaic regulations had originated from, was anybody’s guess but ‘The Barley’s Conventions,’ were followed by all children everywhere, without exception. Strangely, she couldn’t recall an occasion, where the ‘Barley’s Rulings,’ were ever discussed by the group but there must have been a time, somewhere in the dark and distant past, where those awesome rules were hammered out over god knows how long, so that children everywhere could legitimately call a halt to proceedings, whenever all their options were cut off and defeat was inevitable.

Wendy could almost hear the screams of surprise, from the girls who were discovered by ‘The Bogeyman,’ when they thought they were safe in their chosen spot. She laughed out loud at the recollection of Annie Walton, who had tried to escape the clutching fingers of, ‘The Bogeyman’ by running for the sand dunes at the back of the beach, beyond the tide line. Unfortunately, she had tripped over a piece of driftwood and got a mouthful of fine silicate particles for her troubles. Then, to add insult to injury, instead of showing her any sympathy, Alice Evans had loomed over her, grasped her shoulder and very deliberately spoken the three fatal words: “Argh there Matey,” with such mellifluous delight, that little Annie had burst into tears. Recalling that memory of the look on Alice’s face and the boundless joy expressed in her voice, made Wendy laugh again.


Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Gideon’s Journal extract.


The Paladin of Souls has awakened!

 Yesterday, when I walked across The Glade, in yet another futile search for the Ruby lost by mine own stupidity, I detected a vibration. One which came from deep underground. Initially, I perceived the disturbance as simply another rumble in the old volcano’s roots. Yay but something fey inside, told me ‘twas more significant than that, yet I refused to pay it much heed. I told myself it was nought more than the islands roots shaking the tree.

However, the second set of vibrations were accompanied by a sort of vague spectral image, which seemed to rise up out of the ground and swirl around for a few seconds, before disappearing once more. I mentioned this occurrence to Millar and it appeared to shake him, quite noticeably. I’m getting the distinct feeling, that he has previously encountered similar events and I will attempt to draw him out a little more, the next time we dine together.

The small amount of knowledge, that Lord Meklar furnished me with, just before he ever so graciously dumped me on this rocky pimple with his wayward son, has oft been of little practical use. He failed, or should I say, neglected to impart the most important details to me, which more often than not, were also the salient pieces of the puzzle. I only discovered the error of my ways, by learning the lessons of failure. I knew, from the stories that my Father told me when I was little more than an infant, that there were forces at work in this world, that were far older than even The Gods themselves. Even though I was fully aware of his propensity to exaggerate certain aspects of the tales, I always trusted him to put the truth down and leave me to work it out for myself.

I well remember him reciting the seemingly endless Saga of ‘The Paladin and The Seer,’ which incidentally, was a boyhood favourite of mine. From the age of ten, the contest between the two protagonists for control of the spirit world, had always intrigued me. The struggle ‘tween the learned old man and the even more ancient immortal, battling for the right to die, fascinated me. The verbal arguments raged but the listener knew, that neither of them could ever win by argument alone and eventually they would resort to violence and magics.

Then one day, quite recently, I was in what I like to call, ‘My quiet place,’ innocently looking out over the lake and enjoying the first warm day of the new Spring, when that particular story, simply leapt into my mind and I realised the significance it had to my own life……. I’m actually and finally dying.

Then there is the matter of The Paladin. I have detected his presence in the glade and he must not be allowed to gain control of The Tears of Taklamakan. The dead cannot be trusted. They have a tendency to be more than a little embittered and vengeful, mainly due to Millar’s barbarous methods of dispatch, which he so revels in. It’s a bit late now for me to do anything about that, so I really must put the entirety of my efforts into finding The Tears, for if he gets hold of it, I may yet be trapped here, forever….. or even worse.


 It now seems even more unfathomable, that I can’t locate ‘The Tears of Taklamakan.’ Either my memory is also failing me, or the Tears really does have ways of eluding those it wishes. The Great Ruby is indeed powerful and it should be hidden away from the prying and desirous eyes of men, who would seek to wield its power for purely selfish reasons. Millar wants ‘The Tears,’ in order to kill his Father for his banishment. Should he ever achieve it, then it would be the end of everything we know and we can kiss ourselves goodbye, as this world and the next descend into total chaos. As to my role in this oncoming ‘Passion Play,’ I am unclear.

The rumbles I dismissed, were the heralding of the awakening of the Paladin of Souls. Now he will begin a search of his own for the Tears and as things stand at the moment, he will win, simply because I was careless. The Paladin awakening now is no coincidence, the Guardian of Souls has a role to play in the unfolding events. What that is will be revealed with time.

However, I am wary. I do not know but I fear that The Paladin has the potential to turn the tables on Millar and by implication, on mine self. For I was the fool who, without ever thinking about the consequences, has spent nigh on an eternity, supplying that pale monster with first call on all the poor souls who landed, either purposely, or by accident on Ynys y Niwl.

I must find The Tears, first. I cannot let it all slip away and allow my existence, as Millar’s Guardian for almost a thousand years, mean nothing. Now that I have found a potential replacement I must seal the deal.




Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 23 excerpt.



A deep and loud clanging of the Swiss cow bells, which hung outside the back door, made Nick noticeably jump and spill some of his coffee over the table top. “Bollocks!” Nick cursed, spitting out a shower of toast crumbs all over the once clean, gingham table cloth.

“Wazzuuuup,” squealed Alan rather too loudly, as the door opened and Nick defensively backed away.

“Jesus Man, what did you have for breakfast,” he laughed at Alan’s over exuberance. “Too much sugar, or what?” He asked and Alan, a touch shame faced, calmly answered Nick’s facetious enquiry.

“No Man, it’s just that this is like an old school field trip for me and if you remember, even in those days, I couldn’t sleep when I got over excited.” Alan was on a roll. “Wow Man, first you provided a boat trip in what could well have been Adolf and Eva’s launch, then followed that up with a treasure hunt and finally, making off with a handsome snifter of the loot and now I get to do it all over again…” He paused there and took in a long deep breath of the fresh morning air. “Ahhh Man, it doesn’t get much better than this….., what time do I get to meet Wendy?”

Nick peered sideways, slitty eyed at his friend and interjected, “Around 7.30ish and just wait until you call round, on one of our ‘Big Blast Special’ days……,” Nick held the pregnant pause, for as long as was decently possible, before adding, “when the freezing wind comes down from the mountains and the wolves, take a couple of the local children for sustenance, then and only then, do you see the true face of Llyn Isaf.” He spookily said, in a fairly good imitation of Vincent Price. “Come on in and let’s have a coffee……and a smoke, before we get going.”

A few minutes later, Alan was silently looking out of the bay window, casting his eyes across the water with Nick’s, ‘Mask of The Red Death’ eulogy, still ringing in his ears. Nick, could see the excitement blazing in Alan’s eyes, so he began to play the Father figure role and casually ‘rippled off’ a few trusty old perennials, like “one step at a time, son,” to which, he received another florid response from ‘altorro.’

“Yeah and you can fuck off ‘n all,” Alan said, as only a friend can, which elicited an equally crude, Anglo Saxon response from Nick. The niceties over, they both sat down and reached for their respective mugs of coffee. It was Alan, who broke the silence.

“O.K, then Nix, blow my mind, Man,” he drawled, as if it was 1968 and he’d been going at the Afghan Hash, all morning.

“Just wrap your ears around this,” said Nick, as he pressed the ‘Play’ button on his iPod and the music of The Butthole Surfers, filled the room. “I’ll just get a thermos together. This trip could take a while and we don’t want to be dying for a ‘brew’ out there on that rock, do we?” He enquired, without expecting a reply. The sound of The Surfers, who were Nick’s favourite discovery of the minute, distracted Alan just long enough, for him to make his escape and go and turn off the screaming kettle.

Alan was in fact, starting to wonder what on earth Nix saw, in this cacophony of dystopian notes? However, it wasn’t exactly a novel sensation. The day that his old friend had discovered Captain Beefheart, would never be forgotten. He recalled Nix rushing into a record shop, who’s name slipped his mind for the moment, to purchase the aforementioned article. When he emerged, grinning like a Cheshire Cat and brandishing his freshly acquired copy of, ‘Trout Mask Replica,’ all he’d said was, “must go” and turning on his heels, had made off towards the bus stop in an almost trance like state. That double album, which Nix had subjected him to for six solid weeks after that, had burned its way into his mind’s deepest recesses and refused to leave. Regrettably, it was still floating around in his head and now all these years later, here he was, doing it again. Sometimes, he cursed his ‘best mate,’ for ever having introduced him to, The Captain.

“Is this a ‘Best of the good Captain’, that you put together, or did you get this from Hugo?” Nick heard Alan’s question but chose to ignore it. He had a flask of coffee to make and if they were going over to Wyndwrayth, they’d better be getting a move on.

In the lounge, Alan had endured quite enough of this music and picked up Nick’s iPod, to change the sounds to something a little more conducive to the mood of the day. He scrolled down, from one playlist to another and then stopped. “Perfect,” he enthused and with just one casual flick of his middle finger, the softer, more ambient sound of Mazzy Star, replaced the barely controlled vibes of The Butthole Surfers. The more thoughtful tone of the music, changed the whole timbre of the room to a more reflective, almost ambient lilt.

“Careful, Man, or you’ll be slipping away under the water if you don’t watch it,” Nick commented on his friend’s choice of sounds.

Alan smiled his agreement, as he slowly moved back to the bay window and once again, calmly looked out across the lake, towards Ynys y Niwl and the mysterious Wyndwrayth. “Does anybody else have a boat on this lake, other than you,” Alan called out above the music. There was something else, hidden within his apparently innocent question, which at this precise moment, Nick couldn’t exactly decipher.


Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Gideon’s Journal extract



I heard a voice today, one that could curdle milk. Initially, I dismissed it as belonging to just another victim for, ‘The Pale One’ to take care of but upon listening more closely, I could detect the sound of men verbally obeying the commands of a female. Her voice sounded so arrogant and self-assured. I was greatly impressed with her obviously natural and genuinely displayed examples of callous disregard for any of her underling’s feelings. I was instantly awoken to the possibilities of finding my replacement, and why not pick a woman? That would really stick it to the pale old bastard and anyway, why should I dismiss a full half of the population, when trying to find a replacement for someone with the wherewithal to handle Millar?

She’s built strong this one, another natural trait that would stand her in good stead, if it came to holding some control over Millar. I decided this female had to be investigated further.

The minion was far too easy to scare. I passed through him and tasted his soul. He didn’t fit the overriding needs required of a Guardian for Millar. His predominantly good nature was far too easily unbalanced by even the simplest of ‘observations,’ no matter how shallow the probe.

So, I investigated the female in question. From what I could make out, she was the essence of selfish greed. The waves of avarice, just dripped off her. I was instantly awakened to the possibility that my search may be coming to a successful conclusion. So, I brought her into my room and gently tested her desires and failings, as my predecessor should have done to me. All the time, I was drawing her into the world of lost souls’ imaginings. Her ignorance of my existence and the test were essential, if I was to truly assess her potential as my replacement. After the shambles that I inherited, it would be good to re-establish the true order of things in this position.

Christine Lee Jones, as I believe she is called, is unaware that the illusions I weaved for her, are purely to convince her that I can offer her a long life in some paradise of her own vision. She bought the fantasy of opulence and power. Never for one moment did she think that this particular illusion that I’d created, was about to end with my demise. She has yet to realise that it will be her, Christine, who will have to learn how to build another reality, both for herself and Millar.

However, judging by what I’ve observed so far, Christine has a fertile imagination that naturally leans to extreme opulence, power and greed. She appears to learn fast and her desires make her open to my coercions. So, using the link I’ve made into her mind, I’m now able to swell both her avarice and her lust for power. As I send my images, both grow steadily in her mind as her will to resist me diminishes. Soon now, I will be able to surrender to death in peace, knowing that I have done all that is required of me to maintain status quo, in this nether world, which lies between Earth and Valhalla.

I’m so wearied by this existence and I’m just so sick and tired of being responsible for Millar, that death will indeed be a merciful release. After all these centuries, the trouble that the pale devil has caused me, is getting harder to bear as the years drag on. I can almost taste the sweetness of my release, as it draws ever closer. To be honest, I’m not sure if Millar yet realises that when I go, so will most of the imagery of his present world. He knows that he alone cannot access the inner souls of his victims to draw on their images from within their moribund mind’s, or recreate them within another reality, without my assistance and that of my ruby. It is the only reason he shows me any deference at all. Without me, he would be in an interminable void of space and time.

That’s where the Guardian has his, or her power over him.

The Paladin of Souls prevents myself and Millar from accessing the full imagery of the souls he has killed and stored on this island. We are restricted to those more recent souls and those wayward ones on the edges of his protection. Millar alone would only be able to draw on some few faded images. My Ruby ring has been my salvation, combining it with his has allowed me to create a physical reality within this void.

Over the centuries, image collection and recreation has become a skill which I excel at, even if I say so myself. The addition of sounds, scents, music, texture and a sense of time have all been included in my repertoire. I can even create people to converse with…… I don’t expect a new, inexperienced Guardian will easily be able to master that scenario of knowledge, built up over the centuries. It will take time. However, we all have to begin somewhere and at some time, which is oft not of our choosing.

I know that I’m certainly not unique, he’s made that perfectly clear many times during our time together….. his way of trying to exert himself over me.  He often sorely resents the power I can wield in his world. As my predecessors apparently couldn’t read, or write, they have left no record of their time as Guardian, so I have no measure.  It is one of the reasons I’ve written this journal, not just to document my progress through this existence…. No, I hope it will help the next Guardian with the tasks, that will undoubtedly lie ahead of them.

When I tried to talk with him about the transition, he just slapped me down saying he’s,

“…been through these change over’s many times before and managed perfectly adequately.”

Well, time will tell. It would certainly help if I could find the ‘Tears.’ It would ensure my route to Valhalla and its power would help the new Guardian draw out and control the souls trapped here in our world. I must redouble my efforts.

Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 20 extract.


“Incredible,” whispered Owen, staring down the length of this underground warren of previous activity. “They must have been like members of a hive, down here in their underground realm,” he whispered, for fear of being over heard. Then realising he was all alone in this oppressive darkness, he yelled, “Yeah, but there’s nobody else down here now!” As the echoes were fading into the rough walls, Owen stopped to listen to the house and its sounds. From within the heavy silence, there was no apparent trace of ‘The Boss,’ so he walked back upstairs to the main kitchen.

Opposite the cellar entrance there was a set of double doors which he assumed led into the dining room. Owen clicked off his flashlight and made his way across the kitchen. Before he opened the doors, he stopped and listened again. Not a sound. He decided Christine must still be upstairs exploring.

Turning both handles at once, Owen pushed the doors gently. They swung open silently, spreading cobwebs between them. The interior of the room suddenly lit up with an ethereal glow through frayed spider’s webs, stretching out before his eyes. Some of the discarded webs hung from the ceiling like great gossamer curtains, as if they were about to open and reveal some kind of stage. In the centre of this ghostly, spider hewn hall, was a huge dining table. It was fully laid out with complete sets of now dust covered cutlery, place mats, glasses and all the other accoutrements that would have been required to furnish the needs of a five-course meal, in the glory days of Wyndwrayth, or Y Wake Gwynt as it was known then. There were even jugs and decanters for wine, or water, whichever bodily refresher the gathered guests required.

‘Jesus,’ Owen thought as he squinted down the room, over the central table and beyond. Finally, avoiding the glare cast by the broken blinds, his eyes were unavoidably dragged down towards the floor. Right there at his feet, was a single set of foot prints made by someone who appeared to be wearing winkle picker shoes, and seemingly heading from this ghostly dining room, into the kitchen behind him.

A little freaked by the sight of those strange footprints, Owen quickly turned to see if the tracks led into the kitchen. Strangely, there was no trace of them beyond the spot where he now stood. It seemed as if they ended at his feet and disappeared. Behind him, only the steps that he himself had taken, were visible. So, he turned back to consider the path of the prints in front of him. They looked as if they had originated from somewhere near the head of the large table. Who, or whatever had made these clear marks on the dust laden floor, had advanced to this position, stopped, ‘and then what?’

“What indeed,” he whispered into the silence. Shielding his eyes from the chinks of blinding light, it was still almost impossible to see anything clearly as he drew closer to head of the room. Once, or twice he thought that he saw something move, out of the corner of his eye.

‘Get a grip Llew, it’s just the light fucking with your vision, that’s all,’ he tried to reassure himself. A few steps more and then something made Owen jump to a halt. ‘Christ what the fuck’s that?!’ His mind screamed, as he saw a form start to take shape, before his very eyes. There was something moving silently in the shadows. It was difficult to see because of the shafts of sunlight piercing the broken Plantation blinds. Owen held his breath and stared, transfixed as the vaporous vision became clearer. Slowly, it coalesced and rose from the seat at the head of old table. It looked straight at him.

‘This can’t be happening, it’s just not real,’ his higher mind was screaming at him but his deeper senses, were even now, looking for a way out. He wasn’t the bravest guy on the force and his eyes stayed fixed on this intruder, as he tried to anticipate its next move. His senses screamed fight or flight but he remained mute and rooted to the spot.

The white-haired figure, on the other hand, effortlessly glided towards him…..

Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Gideon’s Journal excerpt.


Millar, has taken three more souls recently and has grown considerably. Yet, although I must admit that I am finding it ever more difficult to control him, I cannot deny I am feeling the benefits accruing from his insatiable hunger. It has been many years since he last ate and this latest slew of passing nutrition, is beneficial to both of us. Yet, my time as his guardian is drawing to a close. Despite the sustenance, I can feel the darkness creeping ever nearer.

I took a young girl’s life recently because I could not allow him to feed, I shot her with my pistol. Unfortunately, the energy Millar wrought from her partner was enough for him to force me to ferry him across the lake last night, just so that he could satiate his need for the “Life Energy,” of others. Although, I suspect in this case it may have been to take the last soul of a male Gunderson, though he called himself Gordon, Millar could smell his lineage.

His lust for ‘fresh Gunderson brain meat,’ outweighed his desire to retain the victim’s soul and we left the carcass behind in his house on the lakeside. I was forced to calm the victims dog, while he drank it’s master’s very essence and now he wants more…..

I must find a replacement, while I still have the strength to resist him.


 Millar claims to have originally appeared in what was to become The Roman Empire, long before the alleged birth of the Christian faith. He claims to have emerged shortly after Hannibal’s victory at The Battle of Cannae, during the Second Punic War, which took place on 2 August 216 BC in Apulia, southeast Italy. This was when the army of Carthage under Hannibal, decisively defeated a larger army of The Roman Republic, under the command of Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro.

It was said, that the carnage of that day, alerted the ancient Reapers of Meklar, who descended upon the place, to harvest the souls of the dead and escort them to Hell.

Millar enjoyed all the warfare that men created and all the killing that was involved. When young and strong he roamed all across the northern lands, looking for one bloody conflict after another. I am informed, that when Lord Meklar learnt of his son’s wayward behaviour, a stronger guardian, with enhanced powers, was created. Hoping this new ‘Watcher’ could better control his son, Lord Meklar foolishly allowed himself to be distracted and even though he was now under stricter scrutiny, Millar ran amok for many millennia. It wasn’t until he washed up on Ynys Y Niwl with my erstwhile self as his appointed Guardian, that the killing mercifully slowed down.

I am aware that there had been many Guardians before me and that not all of whom completed their tenure in the position. Mainly due to their ward killing them with some past regularity. It appears they had little chance of survival if Millar grew tired of them. I believe that Lord Meklar simply kept on replacing ‘The Watchers,’ with ever more powerful Guardians.

I have read how the original saga of ‘Meklar and the Millar of Souls’ was written by the Scribes. Over time, it became a much-favoured tale that parents told their children, often to scare them into behaving. Over the years, I began to hear my own story added to saga. They tell it something like this:

 Around 1035, a Viking raiding party was washed up on the shores of North Wales, after the flight from The Orkney Islands aboard their Longship, The Red Wytch. The Guardian, Rolf Ingersson and a greatly weakened Millar, were stow away’s on the last longship to leave the North. Millar drained what was left of the life force of Rolf Ingersson on the trip but Meklar appointed a new, young and strong Guardian called Gideon, who could control the enfeebled Millar. Eventually, after being stranded on Anglesey they found a home of sorts, with Olaf Gunderson and The Norsemen, on Ynys y Niwl, Llyn Isaf.

As the power of The Vikings waned, Millar found himself marooned on the island with Gideon, his guardian. In this new world, that now sought peace over the chaos of warfare, he diminished as time passed. Lord Meklar had presented Gideon with a Ruby ring that gave him certain powers over the souls taken by Millar. It was said this ring was a chip from a far more important stone, that went by the name of “The Tears of Taklamakan.” The Guardian’s ring would glow if the Motherstone, was close by.

 Essentially correct and as the years slowly passed, the saga gradually became a folk tale and then during the middle ages, was slowly forgotten. For several hundreds of years, nobody ever mentioned the old tale, in the face of the rising tide of Christianity.


 I feel, that I must make these notes for any Guardians who follow and stress again how important it is that Millar does not get control of the Tears.

 Note 1: Millar’s and mine own ruby, are pieces of “The Tears of Taklamakan.” They transmit the thoughts and experiences of all the souls killed by Millar and buried on Ynys y Niwl. Millar feeds off those energy waves, in an attempt to escape the confines of this island. Our rubies are only sufficient in consort, to be able to furnish our world with their imaginings and experiences. Should Millar grasp the Tears for himself, then its power could set him free of this island, free of this realm and free of me. Should this come to pass I will be condemned to eternal purgatory and torture and Millar will be free to wreak havoc across dimensions and throughout time.


Note 2: In 1348, The Black Death arrived on the shore of the lake and after a long and prosperous period of calm, that event provided another glut of victims for The Pale One to exploit. With so many corpses piling up, pickings were easy to come by and Millar could take his time over regathering his strength. What had started with a scrap of flesh, soon became much more but like all the pestilences that had gone before it, the Black Death ran its course. Since then, as Guardian I have learnt that allowing Millar to feed when he wished, is not a good idea. It’s very important that you control this aspect of his hedonistic nature, for your own benefit.


Note 3: One thing, that I feel as though I must mention again, is the small matter of Wolves. Millar is terrified of them. He has, on several occasions, referred to them as “his nemesis.” Possibly useful knowledge but there have been no Wolves in Wales for hundreds of years, so I fear it’s hardly practical information.


 The days are now growing short and the time is rushing by. I feel the chill of death on my shoulders and I am, alas, no nearer to finding a suitable replacement for my ancient stewardship. Over the time of my bondage, I have faithfully, if at times somewhat reluctantly served this entity, for both mine own and his personal benefit. Now, after all these years, my strength is failing and finding a fitting replacement, has now come to be a rather pressing issue. There are so few visitors to the house these days, that I fear my promise to Lord Meklar may not hold good, when I pass over. I dread the outcome should this come to pass.






Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 17 excerpt


“I’ll have to have something prepared for Alan to look at, or at least listen to over dinner, or it’ll just be two blokes having a boozy lunch and we’ll end up having to do it all again,” he said under his breath. He’d already looked into the published documentation regarding the house, so he was going to have to be a little more inventive about this investigation. He ran his eyes down the list of possible sites to check out and dismissed everything he’d tried already. It was not an easy task, trying to discover the history of a people who didn’t like to ‘take notes.’

Nick was about to give up with this search, when he spied a link that he’d not tried before. “‘The Dark Archives,’ who could resist a name like that?” He remarked to Heddi and quickly clicked onto the site. At first, it disappointingly appeared to have been put together by a young man, who was purposely cocooned in his imagined cave, complete with posters of Bela Lugosi on the walls and plates with half eaten Pizza shoved under his single bed. “Well, I’ve come this far, it would be a pity to spoil the job for a lick of paint,” he said with exasperation, “so let’s have a gander at the goods,” and placed the curser on, ‘Dark Events’ one of the dozen or so options he was presented with and opened the link.

Suddenly, there was a rather impressive Knotted Celtic Design on the screen, with “In The Beginning” written below it. Nick was hooked, things like this intrigued him on a very youthful level and he’d never learnt to resist this kind of naive invitation. Though, as he discovered when he investigated further, his initially somewhat comedic impression was a long way from the truth. It began by mentioning much of the early history of the lake and its island, information that was already in Nick’s possession but then, just a little more reading revealed a strange tale, which rang some bells a little too close to home.

During what, as Nick knew already, were The Plague years, ‘a pale creature’ was reportedly seen, feasting on the exposed brains of those about to die. One report, given to the sheriff’s clerk by John Carpenter, intriguingly told of a ‘cutting and removing of the cap.’ This phrase was gruesomely explained later, when Nick came across eye witness accounts of the trial and subsequent execution of John, the Carpenter, who was condemned to suffer, ‘Animus.’ This was a truly grim way, to meet your death. None of the local Burgers had believed there was a ‘pale creature,’ involved and instead, laid the blame for the defiled bodies, squarely on the shoulders of the unfortunate carpenter.

These were not the kindest of days and ‘The Pestilence,’ had left ugly scars on the populations’ consciousness. So, they were not feeling too merciful at the time of his judgement. Animus, inflicted an identical punishment to that which the perpetrator had inflicted on his, or her victim. It was a particularly popular sentence, often handed down when dealing justice out to women who had offended the populace. Adultery, was the favourite offence but not the only one covered by this particularly brutal piece of legislation. The offense of ‘Defilus Mortem,’ which John Carpenter faced, was exactly the kind of crime, that it was supposed to deter.

He was delivered to the platform and introduced to ‘The Mercy Seat’ as it was parochially known, in an open cart, with his hands bound and his head shaved. His path from the delivery vehicle, to the point of execution, was up a long narrow pathway, with the crowd lining both sides of the road, throwing both faeces and buckets of urine, mixed with sputum and any manner of vile substances, over the condemned as he slowly passed by, towards the inevitable end of his life. When John, eventually reached the centre of the stage, a single rope was placed around his neck and winched up. This exercise lifted him a mere couple of inches clear of the ground and he started to thrash around futilely, as his air supply was restricted. They let him choke, for about one minute and then, when he’d lost control of his bladder and bowels, excrement running down his legs and pouring into his boots, they cut him down and bound him on the heavy wooden chair.

Then, they got one of the victim’s relatives to cut off his still twitching fingers and stick them in his still gasping mouth. Then, they fitted The Animus Cap, onto his head. The executioner started to turn the ingenious threaded top, which with each turn, cut deeper into his skull. When the turns became easier to apply, the cap was removed and the executioner parred away the top portion of the skull, revealing more, or less the whole of his brain, for the crowd to see. The guilty individual, was then left there to die, unable to move as the birds pecked away at his brain and shit into the cavity. One victim of The Animus Cap, reportedly lived for hours with his brain exposed to the crowd’s curiosity and they, in turn picked and prodded at the drying organ, until long after he died.

Even then, the defilement wasn’t over.  The mutilated corpse was then beheaded and the severed head along with what was left of its exposed brain matter, was placed on a pike and left on the platform, until the birds had reduced it to a hideous empty vessel.

“Yuk,” said Nick. “Talk about fucking horrid, these devils take the biscuit and then some,” he said wincing. “Typical,” he exasperatingly commented “and I thought The Celts were bad but they’ve got nothing on The Vikings! Yuck, yuckety yuck yuck!”

Death dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Chapter 16 Excerpt


Seth Gordon, was having a great deal of difficulty dropping off to sleep. He was blaming, those last two mugs of coffee he’d drunk while he was watching a really bad film on the television. He should have known it was rubbish from its title alone. Anything that happily goes by the name of ‘Zombie Attack. Part 3 The bloodbath,’ should have been avoided but he couldn’t resist a movie he suspected was a Grindhouse classic. Seth may have been eighty-four years old, come next January but he had a lifelong love of really bad cinema. This fascination began with Bela Lugosi and his, “Children of the night” line in Dracula, which he himself, had repeated too many times to count for the benefit of his sheep and ‘Tess,’ his faithful sheep dog.  Unlike his sheep, Tess started wagging her tail furiously and jumped up at him, whenever the broken eastern European accent appeared in the house. It was due to his increasingly bizarre taste, that Seth had been forced by lack of product to move on from Bela.

He passed through the entire catalogue of Ed Woods, the winner of many Golden Turkey Awards and then he had accidentally found George Romero and his rather spasticated members of the undead, who it seemed had a great deal of trouble chasing down their intended victims.  Much to Seth’s pleasure they seemed to have an unhealthy interest in, ‘Brains.’ Laughter, which had always been simmering just below the surface, erupted when an old V.H.S. copy of, ‘Revenge of The Living Dead’ found its way into his possession. He must have watched that movie over and over again, until he knew literally every little nuance and eyebrow movement in the whole ninety-three-minute production. At this moment, he was wishing he’d watched the damn thing again tonight, instead of the extremely disappointing ‘Zombie Attack. Part 3.’ At least he’d have got a good laugh out of, ‘Revenge’ and he wouldn’t be tossing, turning and occasionally sleeping fitfully, in this blasted and persistently overheated bed.


“Bollocks,” he cursed loudly as he swung his old gnarled feet out of bed and put them in the always comfortable Donald Duck slippers, that his grand-daughter had given him for Christmas, several years ago. As he looked down at his feet, Seth remembered his response to the unexpected gift and her words rang in his head, to this day.

“For you Granddad,” she’d sweetly said and then looked so hopefully at him, awaiting some kind of reciprocal recognition, that would display even a shred of real heartfelt gratitude on his part. In truth, he’d always hated The Disney Corporation but swallowed his political pride and smiled warmly at her.

“Thank you, I think they’re lovely and I’ll wear them every morning.” As he rose from the bed, to make his way towards the dark kitchen, he stated quite justifiably, “You see Ellyn, I’ve got them on right now.”

These slippers had seen better days and many of them. He would be eighty-five next January and lived in his own past for much of the time. All of his old friends had shuffled off this mortal coil, as of last August. It was then he’d learnt of the unexpected death of James, or Jimmy, as he had always preferred to be called, Stockwell, from a massive heart attack. Jimmy, was the go-getter in the bunch and it was no surprise, to any of the others in the clique, when he set up the rather mundane sounding traffic cone business. Jimmy bought the rights to the company, when the original owners chose to sell ‘The Rubber Cone Company,’ to stave off bankruptcy. He’d bought it for a pittance from the accountancy firm, who had been uselessly employed in a futile attempt to try and fend off the inevitable. He’d changed the manufacturing process to plastic moulded cones and a little more of his imagination, when he came up with, ‘Wizard’s Hat’ as the trading name but what did people expect from an ex-goalkeeper, in a rather successful school football team.

After a slow start, ‘Wizard’s Hat,’ simply grew exponentially and pretty soon, Jimmy Stockwell was raking in multiple millions of £’s per annum, in profit. However, all his money couldn’t save him from The Grim Reaper and now Seth, the erstwhile Centre Forward from that bunch of young lads, was the last member of the team still standing.

“Well somebody had to be,” he said, as he filled the kettle and lit the gas hob, to make his latest cup of ‘Night Time Tea.’ In his opinion, the liquid had to be boiling before another step in the process could be undertaken, so Seth settled himself down at the table and prepared to wait for a few minutes, while the water reached the required temperature.

Tess, like him, was getting on in years. She preferred to simply lie on her blanket by the stove, rather than chase after sheep these days. Loyally, she looked up at him as he opened the paper at any old page and pretended to be interested in what it said.

“Look at that girl, some fucking idiot crashed his car into a lamp post and killed his girlfriend in the process,” he read to the equally disinterested Collie. Tess, for her part, had learnt many years ago, that to appear as though you gave a damn, often earned you a tasty treat from the master’s table. So, even though she never lifted her head from the soft blanket, she never took her eyes off her owner, in case he chose the next instant to look down and check whether she was paying attention to his inane ramblings.

Suddenly, there was a noise coming from outside of the cottage. It sounded like someone casually dragging their foot through the dead leaves that were piling up outside. Tess, who had also heard the uncommon sound issuing from right outside the back door, lifted her head off her bed and was quietly growling from the back of her throat. Seth, now convinced that there was an intruder on the premises, quietly moved over to the pantry and almost silently opened the door. Standing on the floor in front of him, was his trusty 12 bore shotgun, cracked and just waiting for the cartridges to be loaded into their presently empty barrels. He rapidly located the cartridges and after slipping them into their respective chambers, snapped the gun closed.

“Bring it on, won’t you,” he snarled, then sat down in his favourite chair again and waited for the suspected thief to show themselves.