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The Ghost Doves of Hangleton Manor

By Vicky Heape

 The Ghost Doves of Hangleton Manor

(A group of white doves are having a conversation in the dovecote at Hangleton Manor)

It was the monk what done it. Right?

Right.

We saw it.

We’ve seen it all

Know everything that’s happened here..

..since it was a small farm..

..and this was a barn.

Hardly a barn

..freezing in winter..

..baking in summer..

..holes in the roof..

..rain pouring in.

A nightmare.

When did the monk thing happen?

Before this dovecote.

Well before the dovecote.

I remember it well...

It was a dark and stormy night.

The monk sheltered in the barn.

Lots of travellers did.

It was tipping down..

..so he stayed..

..fell asleep on the sacks of grain.

Next morning..

.. that pretty servant came into the barn.

As usual.

As usual.

What was her name?

Eleanor.

That’s right

She was treated rotten.

General dogsbody.

The farmer’s wife....chasing her with the broom,

..yelling at her:

‘Get a move on you lazy-good-for-nothing girl.’

But Eleanor was always good to us..

..chucking us handfuls of grain.

Calling us: ‘My beautiful birds’

Even let her pick me up once.

Did you?

We loved young Eleanor.

Certainly did.

Still do.

Bloody monk.

Anyway..

..morning after the storm..

..there was the monk..

..shaking off dust

..getting ready to leave..

..Eleanor humming her way to the barn.

The monk startled her:

‘Don’t mind me my dear.

Sheltering from the storm.

I’ll be on my way.’

But he hung around..

..and when she bent over..

..to fill her bucket with grain..

..he came up behind her.

We tried to warn her.

Cooed as loud as we could.

But it was too late

He grabbed her.

She gave a scream

He pinned her against the sacks.

We were less than useless..

..dithering here and there..

..in the rafters..

..bumping into each other..

..panicking.

I even flew down..

tried to distract him..

..but it was hopeless.

He finished.

Eleanor sobbed.

He straightened his habit and said:

‘Don’t be silly, stop crying.

I haven’t harmed you.’

Then we had an idea..

..looked at each other..

..nodded..

..and shat on him from on high.

He was furious,

looked up,

pointed and said:

‘In the name of God, I curse you.

You will haunt this place forever.’

And he was gone..

leaving behind a dozen ghost birds

..and a distraught young women.

Nine months later Eleanor’s baby was born.

A boy.

Cute as a button.

Rumours flew.

Didn’t they just.

The farmer’s wife blamed the farmer..

..and hit Eleanor harder than ever.

Eleanor said it was a monk..

..which made it worse.

‘You wicked, wicked girl..

How dare you blame a monk.’

Chucked Eleanor out..

...and kept the baby:

‘He’ll make a good farmhand.’

Eleanor hung around the farmhouse..

..trying to glimpse the baby.

Stayed in the barn..

..hardly slept..

..tossing and turning..

.. all night..

..muttering in her sleep.

So no surprise she did what she did.

Farmhouse door was open.

Eleanor..

..hearing the baby cry..

..rushed in.

She must have picked him up..

.. and carried him upstairs..

..to her old room.

Saw her at the open window..

..cradling the baby..

..turning this way and that..

..muttering to herself.

She looked behind her.

The farmer’s wife was in the room..

..went to grab the baby.

Eleanor leant out of the window..

.. as far as she could.

The baby dropped from her arms..

..to the ground below.

There was a terrible scream.

The farmer’s wife had hold of her..

..beating her:

‘You are evil. You will go to hell.’

They buried the baby..

..didn’t tell her where.

She hung around the house sobbing:

‘Where’s my baby?’

It was all too much

She died..

..of a broken heart.

Buried in a pauper’s grave..

..without her baby.

But of course she wouldn’t leave.

Came back to haunt the place.

Terrified the farmer’s wife.

That’s when they sold the place.

Rich geezer bought it.....

....built a posh house....

....and our dovecote.

Nice

‘specially after that old barn

Yeh, ‘specially after the old barn.

Had some good times in this dovecote.

Still do.

Brilliant since they turned it into a pub.

Brilliant.

Don’t forget the restaurant..

..all those tasty throw outs.

Yeh.

Yeh.

Have some laughs too.

Don’t we just

Those two men the other day..

..did you see the look on that man’s face?

(Conversation between two men:)

‘Bloody bird? Landed on my head.’

‘What bird?’

‘Pigeon.’

‘I didn’t see it.’

White one.’

‘Blimey, you’re seeing things now.’

Back to the doves)

That was a laugh.

Tee hee.

Tee hee.

Tee hee.

Do our good turns.

We do too.

Just the other day..

..a woman screaming..

‘Help, help, the pram, my baby.’

The pram being dragged towards the pub.

Lady hanging on for dear life.

Scared her even more..

..when we all swooped down.

She was in a right panic.

But we broke the spell.

The lady escaped.

Eleanor up to her old tricks.

Can’t say I blame her.

Always at the top window..

..waiting for a baby to pass.

Desperate for a baby..

..poor thing.

That bloody monk.

We love Eleanor

Certainly do.

But can’t have her dragging babies away..

..from their mothers..

..whatever her reasons

Of course, we’re not the only ghosts.

A building of this age..

.. loads of ghosts.

the coach and horses ..

..the coach and horses.

You hear it first.

Horses hooves..

clattering down the street.

‘Whoa’

The horses whinny..

..and it pulls up at the door of the pub.

A lady climbs out.

Brown silk dress.

Hood covering her head.

An assignation they say.

Using the manor as a meeting place..

..with her lover.

Word was Mrs Fitzherbert..

.. was meeting the king.

But why would she?

She had a house in town.

And the king was never seen.

A mystery that one.

Still the coach and horses has provided some laughs.

Remember that drunk?

Staggered out of the pub..

..tried to climb in..

..and went flying on the pebbles.

The puzzled look on his face:

‘S funny could swear it was my taxi.’

Tee hee hee

Tee hee hee.

It’s not all doom, even for Eleanor.

Pub’s a good place to be.

Families sit outside..

in the summer..

..with their children.

Eleanor is there, watching.

If she sees a child fall.

She hurries over..

..picks him up.

She loves the Easter egg hunt..

..cheats a bit..

leads the smallest children to hidden treasure.

We keep an eye on her:

‘No kidnapping, young woman,’

..and she gives us a rueful smile.

I would say that we..

Eleanor and us birds..

are the chief ghosts.

Yeh.

For sure.

The others are lesser ghosts.

Still they play a part.

Remember the other day..

..the lady in the cloak..

‘Time’ was called.

But two woman..

..sitting outside..

..busy chatting..

..didn’t move.

The bar staff cleared up around them,

looking at their watches.

the lady rustled past them.

One of the women looked up and shivered:

‘Ooh, turned chill.

Shall we go inside?’

They stood up, a little unsteady..

..and then we saw the lady in brown

....give one of them a gentle shove..

..towards the exit.

‘Did you just push me?’

‘Didn’t touch you.’

‘Someone definitely pushed me.’

‘One glass too many.

Come on we’d better go.’

 

And I swear the lady in the cloak gave a chuckle.

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This page was amended on 09/04/2014

Comments

This is my 'local' and do you know on cold,wet and windy nights I swear the place is haunted (otherwise it"s something they put in the beer!) Beguiling story Vicky

From Robin Tulley
28.02.2012 14:52:10

Ingenious pov, great story Vicky. Good luck

From Jan
28.02.2012 10:44:36
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The Ghost Doves of Hangleton ManorThe Ghost Doves of Hangleton Manor
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