Home » Hellsmouth by Peter J Seddon

FICTION (October 2019)

Note to readers: Peter J Seddon’s use of the name Hellsmouth in the story below is, of course, mere fictional licence. We do not expect or suggest that visitors to a beach of a similar name on the coast of Wales will find themselves at the jaws of Hell. On the contrary the location has received many fine write-ups from admiring visitors awed by its superb setting and its surf. This same disclaimer applies to a similarly-titled spot on the coast of Cornwall. So, enjoy the real beaches of the British Isles and the one of Peter J Seddon’s imagination below. 

HELLSMOUTH

by PETER J. SEDDON

HELLSMOUTH is a wonderful secluded beach in a part of the world spoilt with unspoilt beaches. There are eleven in total. Ten are treasured by locals and tourists alike. The eleventh is Hellsmouth, and you will never, to my knowledge, hear its name spoken in public. It is away from any town: you must drive over rough and forgotten roads for miles to reach it, then have to leave the car behind and walk the last mile to the seafront over a choppy, sandy walkway towards the water to reach Hellsmouth.

The beach itself is rich in difficult-to-walk-on pebbles of all shapes and sizes, but once you arrive there you will gaze out at a crystal-clear, perfect watery horizon and wonder why this wonderful patch of blue sky does not see visitors more often, for all year round this particular beach is deserted. Which is why it appealed to me as a wonderful place to bring my wife, Helen, and two lovely cocker spaniels for a long weekend getaway before the unforgiving Northern autumn comes.

On the dunes surrounding the beach, you will notice some old illegible signs and broken-down fences on top of the grassy, rugged sea-facing dunes, they are fading traces of the long-ago labour of men who are now lost to time. An internal sound of peace rises with the frothy, textured waves that break gently on the shore to rescue the few beached jellyfishes from the gritty sand. The bright mirror’s edge of the sea twinkles as a reminder that things are always moving, even below the still and beautiful bloom of the late summer sky. It is peace in motion, unbroken, not even by the sound of seagulls, and no wind can be felt in this sheltered bay enclosure.

The smell of clean air presents itself as the sun beams overhead, so too does the moon – even by midday light it rests high in the sky, like a night-watchmen breaking with routine. Purple seaweed litters the beach as it dries in the midday sun. It receives an inquisitive sniff from two sandy, wet Cocker Spaniels as they cheerfully scamper back and forth, teasing the moving sea line and pondering the jellyfish.

‘Goosey! Come!’ asks Helen. Goosey is a rich brown two-year-old Cocker Spaniel, he has a big doggy face and he uses it to emote dramatically and he always gets a laugh, usually because of his characteristic gangly-teenage-male-doggy clumsiness. Wynnie is our black Cocker, small in comparison to the younger Goose, she is from working stock and she is the princess of the family. She was once employed by a hunter, who worked the farmers’ fields to cull birds, but Wynn did not like to retrieve dead birds and soon was in need of a new home. She came to myself and Helen at age three and now aged eight years old I hope we have given her a new life full of happiness away from murder. She still gets excited by the sound of a shotgun in the distance, and she is still thrilled by the sight of birds, but more so out of curiosity than menace. Wynnie is a mother figure to young Goose, and she will reprimand him for not being polite in company, or for any excessive silliness. She is a lady, and despite her initial uncertainty towards her new young friend, they now very much love each other.

‘You haven’t noticed.’ Helen says with a smile.

‘I have!’ I said, lying. I hadn’t noticed, she got me. I’d been too preoccupied with wrapping things up at work so I could go on holiday in peace. ‘Your hair looks really good! See, I noticed.’

‘Yeah, whatever!’ We laugh and kiss and the moment is ours on a beach that now belongs to our love. For the record – Helen’s hair is now blonde, but still shoulder-length, and her blue eyes still sparkle like the day I met her.

‘What do you want to do now?’ I ask her.

‘Hmmm, I dunno, what do you think?’

‘Do you want to sit on that log over there and eat our sandwiches?’

‘Yeaaaah!’

So we sat, Helen enjoys chicken wraps. Being a vegetarian, I have cheese and pickle, the dogs have meaty treats and water from my bottle served in Tupperware. Given the chance, I could watch the sea for hours and wonder what is over the horizon, to where I could sail to if I sailed a straight line, and what adventures would we find on the sea? I let the waves wash away my thoughts of work until my mind was refreshed by the meditative sea.

‘Do you want to, hmmmmm? Get some ice cream?’ Says Helen.

‘Yes! I do, that’s a great idea!’ I exclaim, ‘But there will be nowhere to get any on this beach. There should be a law that on every beach there should be somewhere to buy ice cream and coffee.’

‘I know there will be nowhere here, let’s go for a drive.’ Helen agrees.

‘OK, yeah, let’s drive to the nearest town and have a look around, Abersoch, I think, is that closest?’ I ask.

‘Let’s sat nav it. Come on, let’s get to the car,’ Helen says with a stride.

As we stood up from our log perch we trundle over the sand, pebbles and seaweed in calm mood as we re-traced our steps to the beach entrance path. As we made slow progress I was keen to absorb the view and make a sharp, fine memory of this place and this moment. As I slowly scan around I notice something nestled in-between the dunes facing the beach. I hadn’t noticed it on the way in, and it perked my interest. I gesture toward Helen, ‘Let’s just check this out,’ and I walked over with great curiosity while Helen looked at her phone planning our next move as the dogs frolicked around her legs.

The structure was partially obscured by dried beach vegetation, but as I grew closer I could see that it was made of stone bricks constructed in such a way that it made a large triangle shape, protruding up from the sand. The tip stood at the same height as the dunes around it, which were around 15 feet tall and the triangle was about 15 feet wide at its base. As Helen and the dogs stopped on the beach I circled the construction to find more information. It looked vaguely military and I assumed that it would be an abandoned World War Two fortification or lookout of some kind, but there was no entrance or exit and the triangle was shallow, only about two metres deep. It was practically two dimensional. I reasoned that it could not be a building as there could be no room inside. I look around the floor as I continued my lap of the structure. There were stone slabs pointing up from the sand as if buried, but nothing more. As I completed a walk around the perimeter of the edifice and headed once more to the beach I had to concede that I could not decide what the thing was for, or intended to be. It could be a long-abandoned start of a construction project, or indeed, it may once have served a government or defensive purpose. In any case, it would have to remain a mystery.

‘Yeah, no idea what that is, let’s go get some ice cream, then.’ As the words left my mouth I looked around in a confused fashion. I could not instantly see Helen, Wynn or Goose. I felt both silly and instantly lost, I’d obviously not been quick enough for them. I took one more good look around my immediate vicinity, and once around the structure again, just in case of silly games, but my family was not in view. I understood well that sometimes my curiosity is boring so the gang must have headed to the car without me. I hurriedly made in that direction, with an eerie, out of place feeling that was the first tremor of panic. With some early worry, I cast my gaze up and down the blank and empty beach and I saw that there was not a soul around.

‘Helen! Goose! Wynnie!’ I yelled, feeling slightly silly, a grown man should not feel so panicked as a lost child as I did at this moment. I reached for my phone and the cracked screen read noon, but no phone signal was present. I made quick ascent up to the path to where we had parked the car. I was relieved to see it, but I was unnerved at its lonely position. The car was locked and I could see no trace of my wife or dogs. I will admit that now I was starting to become scared and I again began to yell the names of my loved ones into the air with the only response coming from the distant waves crashing. ‘HELEN! HELEN! Very funny! You can come out now!’ Nothing. Not a human voice could be heard but my own.

I ran back to the beach, checking my phone again for signal, but as before, zero bars. I went up on a high dune to look over the entire beach. From this view, I could see up and down the bay, both left and right. The late summer sun was beginning to hamper my vision as I looked back down the path, and to the locked car to which Helen had the keys, I could not see a trace of movement or whisper of human noise. I was alone and the feeling of being left behind struck me and panic rippled through my nervous system. I ran to the last place I saw the three of them, the stone triangle structure hidden in the dunes. My legs made hard work of the sand but I noticed on the dilapidated fencing that there was an SOS telephone and I felt it appropriate to make use of it. I would have expected to resolve my panic by now with a wave of relief from seeing Helen, Wynn and Goose appear from behind a dune, but no such relief has come. I picked up the beaten, sun-bleached old receiver and put it to my ear.

‘Hello! Hello, is anybody on the line?’

After a long moment, there was a singular response ‘…Yes.’

‘Hi, I’m on Hellsmouth beach and my wife and two dogs have disappeared, I turned my back for a moment and they were gone, the last time I saw them was about fifteen minutes ago, by the stone triangle thing on the beach…and…’ Suddenly the quality of the sound from the phone became distorted and loud, a high pitched whine made me pull the received momentary away from my ear and the noises, similar to tuning an old-fashioned radio. Then as if tuning-in, the signal became clear to my ear again. What I heard next made my blood run cold, I thought for a moment as if I was in a fever dream or a nightmare. The crackling voice of an elderly woman spoke to me in defiant, mocking tones and slowly and deliberately sang to me the words ‘Three blind mice, three blind mice, See how they run, see how they run, they all ran after….’ And with that the signal was lost, and I could not fathom what I had just heard or why, but an un-joking, sinister shiver swept my body and consumed my mind. I tried the phone again, but there was no dial tone and I could get no one on the line. I was alone and now fearful at my family’s fate.

***

I returned to the lone triangular structure on the beach, still hopeful that I had made a fool of myself, and that my wife and dogs stood impatiently waiting for me – but no. I peered at the worn edges of the stone that made up the structure and I felt a certain pressure the closer to it I stood. It is impossible to describe, but the triangle had a personality that I had not experienced at any other statue, monument or building. I looked for footsteps in the sand and there were several leading to the structure. Some were mine, some were my wife’s and some were left by the feet of dogs winding around my wife before coming to a stop where I had seen them last. I began to feel violently out of place on the awfully deserted sand and I cried out loud the name of my wife again, but, as before, I receive no noise in response, not even from the wind.

The beach was deathly silent and it now occurred strange that this bay attracts no wind or birds of any kind. I looked out to sea and I had to drag away my gaze as I felt oddly possessed by the calm view as if it was looking into me and making some hypnotic, rhythmic suggestion. My feet were thick with soily sand and I swear I began to feel a pulse resonate from deep within the ground beneath the beach’s gritty surface. I looked down at my feet and I once again noticed that around the coarse triangle lay stones that looked as if they had been buried by the sands of time. Perhaps some of this structure was buried under the sand, I pondered… perhaps under the surface there might be an entrance to a subterranean facility of some kind? Perhaps I was not quite logical in my own mind, but still unable to call for help due to lack of sufficient signal I stood stranded and it seemed that my only hope was that the disappearance of my wife and dogs was somehow connected to this terrible arrangement of brick on the beach and that by digging I might learn more of this situation.

My wife possessed the keys to the family car, which meant I had no choice but to beat in the driver-side window with a large rock, being careful not to injure myself. After a few attempts, the rock smashed through the glass, scattering shards all over the interior. I searched our camping equipment for some tool capable of digging, but I could find only a frying pan, which I deemed inadequate for beach excavation. As the afternoon crept inward I looked out to the horizon both left and right. I could see nobody and no trace of a village. I resolved to go and find help in one direction or another. To decide the direction I did the only thing a man could: I flipped a coin – my wife’s lucky coin, as a matter of fact… the one she keeps in her glove box at all times. I faced the sea and flipped – ‘Heads right, tails left,’ I said out loud. The coin span well into the air and hit the sand of the dune.

There was no mistaking the instruction as it glinted in the afternoon sun. It was to be right along the shoreline that I would seek help. Panic had given way to a plan, a small, slender plan that I pleaded might yield hope. I still felt the possibility that this was a foolish game or misunderstanding on my part, and that my wife, little Goose and Wynn would be discovered around the next dune and I did not give up on calling out their names, but dread of the unknown beat in my heart as I marched across the dunes along the shore in search of people and contact with the outside world.

The sun beat down unmercifully on my neck and face and I felt exposed to something larger than myself. The soft ground underfoot made my work difficult, the smell of salt in the air seemed like an unavoidable stench now: no longer did it radiate health and vitality, at least not to my mind. I was glad that I brought my hat and water from the supplies in the car, sunstroke could be a very real threat if I had to stay too long on these unmerciful coastal conditions. I repeatedly checked my phone for presence of signal but I was constantly denied. It was as if I had wandered into an invisible Faraday cage. To my increasingly concerned and paranoid mind it was as if something in the air was resisting all signals from the outside world, a force that at the same time was trying to keep me inside its influence. I paused for water and to look back at the beach to track the progress I had made.

Despite my efforts, I had only travelled half a mile and no more in what seemed like at least an hour. The sand began to feel like a bog of ash and, I cannot say with certainty, but at that moment I was convinced that I could hear a low, regular throb from the bay that I was traversing away from. I scanned inland at the wild brush to observe no life, just craggy, rocky dunes sparsely populated with dead grass. In my peripheral vision I noticed a flicker of light amongst the many dunes, like a reflection of a mirror’s edge. This was signal enough for me to rush to its direction in hope of finding people and a telephone. The exertion left me panting for air and all I could grasp was hot sea air into my lungs.

I came upon what may have been the source of the flicker in the distance. I can only describe it as a small, poorly-made shack, the kind that may hold tools. It was dusty and lifeless and whoever had placed this rickety old shelter here was long gone. Outside the shack were piles of old rope and sails and some battered weather-worn iron dinghy besides a rusty set of tools whose function I could not imagine. I opened the door, which was loose on rusty hinges and had no trace of a lock. To my surprise, it appeared to be somebody’s dark and dishevelled living quarters (but when it last saw occupancy I could not say). Inside lay a basic wooden bed of small proportions, a single wooden chair and a hand basin for washing. There was only one glassless window, which was covered by material that looked as if it had been torn from a boat’s sail. Light entered the shack from this window and, illuminated by its full-beam, was a small fire pit with a kettle suspended above it.

Close by was a small table on which sat two distinctive looking books. The title’s were unfamiliar to me, one was particularly well-thumbed and titled Necronomicon and the other was named Decamerion, both of which filled me with dread. The battered old spines were faded but clearly showed grotesque figures, human contortions in an early Renaissance style, like a crude attempt to imitate Hieronymus Bosch. These esoteric books had clearly passed through some strange hands over the centuries and looking through them I felt like I was a child looking into an abattoir window and realising the horrors within. What cruel ceremonies had they been part of? I was so frightened I ran out of the door. The next thing I knew my chest hit the sandy floor with an impact that took the energy out of me momentarily. I had tripped over something in my hasty exit. I rolled on to my back and peered into the still-strong sunlight. I saw an old shovel, which fed within me a curiosity that blotted out the worst of the fear. I had not seen this shovel on my entry to the shack, perhaps I had my eyes wide open for the form of people, not tools. In any case, I was glad to have discovered this most useful aid to my cause.

I picked up the spade and had one last look around the shack, this time around the rear, which is where I found a second surprise; an old dog. A small King Charles Spaniel, to be exact. His hair was matted and had grown very long over his feet. His eyes bulged and were covered in puss, and I felt terrible concern for the elderly creature. He was almost certainly blind and half deaf, but he came aware of my presence and did not mind it. He seemed settled: this shack was almost certainly his home. I wondered if I could go to the car and get food for the poor creature, or even take the dog with me if he showed willingness. I felt a kinship with this dog, not least because he was the only other living thing that I had found in this barren, hot landscape. As I crouched to consider the dog I felt a startle that nearly ended my life, such was the shock. For all the world I did not expect to hear another human voice at that moment, ‘So you take my shovel and now you want to take my dog? Is that right, stranger?’ It was a voice as crystal clear as the sea, almost regal in a Celtic baritone.

‘My God, am I glad to see you! I’m so sorry I had no idea that you were living here. You see, I need help: my wife and my two dogs have gone missing on the beach. Have you seen them? I need help to find them… do you have a telephone?’ I urged the stranger.

Now that I looked clearly at him I would guess his age at sixty-odd. His hair was closely trimmed and grey all over, his face clean-shaven, wrinkled and tanned from a life spent by the sea, his clothes loose and his feet bare. ‘No phone here, I’m afraid. You say your wife and dogs are missing? Well…’ he paused for thought before leting out a sharp breath. ‘Son, you’d better come inside.’

‘I have only seaweed tea to offer, I’m afraid, it is the only thing that appears with any abundance in these parts, forgive the unfavourable taste, you get used to it after a few sips,’ he said in a welcoming fashion as he lit a fire under the kettle, before he turned to me and smiled warmly. ‘Tell me about your situation, you sound like you’re in a pickle.’ The old man was calm and despite his advancing years, he had a strong, commanding presence that I felt comforted by, as if he were the village constable. I sat on the sandy floor of his shack with a wooden wall propping my back. I explained my situation. He nodded, sighed and furrowed his brow in a pondering fashion.

The fire slowly warmed the kettle until a whistling noise broke out from its narrow mouth. As I talked further he poured the tea and only when I was exhausted through talk and fear did I drink. The old man had not told me his name and I omitted to ask his, yet he was helpful nonetheless. ‘My boy, he said, although I do not believe in such tales myself, there is a very old story from local lore about that beach, and it may be the reason that you are its first visitor in many years and it may be why it’s earned the name Hellsmouth. There is a legend so bloody in its unmerciful details that it makes a mockery of humanity. The story tells of an ancient spirit from a time before primitive man, a spirit that persists to this day, if you believe in such things, of course. A spirit that looks to men like men look to livestock. Except to this spirit, the cruelty of humans is thrilling, the expressions of fear on the faces of man, the uncontrollable contortions of pain through the dismemberment of limbs and the most perverse emotional agony is sustenance for the spirit. Legend has it that when enough souls have been tortured the spirit will take human form and walk the earth. All folly, of course, old stories to scare the children.’

As he finished his tale he raised his cup, ‘As they used to say around these parts – Drink this and take thy fill for the water works to the wizard’s will.’ At that moment I felt a dark dread call upon me: it was early evening now and the sun was gathering lower and my body felt cold and slow, the pressure of fear pushed my shoulders down into a slouch and my chin fell at my chest. In a cloudy, hazy moment I fainted where I sat.

***

I woke at nightfall with blurry vision and confused recollections of the hours before. In a fright, I remembered the peril of my wife and dogs and the mystery of their disappearance. A wave of panic swept over me and I gasped for air as I peered out of the window and noticed that night had fallen. The old man was nowhere to be seen and, to my terror, I became aware that my wrists were tied together behind my back, fixed with strong rope which tethered me to a wall. Anger mounted at my trapped state and then horror returned as I remembered the tea I had been served before I fell unconscious. The bitter brew must have been laced with sedatives strong enough to knock me out for hours, I couldn’t even be sure it was the same day. My heart beat fast and I struggled to gather my wits.

I realised weakness in this moment could see me dead. I summoned all of my focus and all of my bodily strength to fight the bonds that trapped me in this festering little shack. I tried to free my hands, achieving only friction burns to my wrists as punishment. My frightened mind forced me to try harder and the pain would have been worth it if I felt that it was any use at all in getting me closer to freedom, but the bounds were too great – the knots were those of the most proficient of seamen.

At last I realised that although the rope might be strong, the timber of the shack that it was tied to had been rendered weak by the elements of many years. I stood up and kicked back against the wall of upright wooden planks and after gathering momentum and velocity my awkward kicks rewarded me with the cracking of the plank. I was still bound by the wrists, but free to escape the shack, trailed by rope and a splinter of wood that formerly formed part of the wall of this den of iniquity. Outside, I felt the cold night air engulf my body. I could see the whole of Hellsmouth beach, down to the stone triangle that I had now come to loathe. It sat on the beach, mocking me, illuminated by the moonlight and protruding as part of a corpse may protrude from an ill-made grave. I felt a vibration from the sand, a low murmur rising from the stones and trembling up through my feet.

I looked to the decrepit and rusty tools that lay rotting outside the shack for anything with the edge of a blade. And that was where I found my only piece of good fortune that night, in the shape of the broken edge of a rusty old dinghy. It could not have been seaworthy for centuries, but on this night it found new purpose as my salvation. Being careful not to cut my hands or wrists I rubbed the rope slowly on the barbed iron and was free after what seemed like a very long time, but I was free nonetheless and that was all that I cared for – free to find my wife and our dogs. I searched the shack for my phone, which was missing from my pockets. But just like the old man and the old dog and my wife, it had vanished. Fear gave way to desperation and I knew that my fate lay at the feet of the stone triangular monument to the damned. I quickly made my start to the beach once again. As I ran I saw that the jagged triangle was illuminated. From a distance it looked like a fire burning in front of its face, casting a dancing shadow onto the beach.

As my feet touched the cold grit sand of the beach I could taste iron in my mouth as my heart pumped the last of my adrenaline around my body. I slowed for a moment, fearing an ambush from a force I could not describe, an otherworldly evil that slithered under the sand at night. My mind raced with imagined opponents emerging from the dark. The sea seemed to chant to me in a constant, rising rhythm, goading me to press on, as a crowd might to a bull before the bullfighter’s blade. The cold night was not mine and to whom it belonged was unclear, although I felt sure that soon I would meet its keeper.

I reached the stone point, which seemed to have grown overnight, but that was just the effect of the shadows upon the landmark. Two torches of fire burned at either side of it and in the middle I could see a dark pit gaping up into the night sky that had not been there before night fell. The open mouth seemed to be daring me to enter inside its tight, deep void so it could swallow me whole and drain the life from my body. But what choice did I have? Dangerous as it may have been, I felt certain that my wife had been taken by this thing. I cannot explain how, but I knew that my beloved Helen and Wynn and Goose were in mortal danger to some wickedness I could only guess at. To save them from the evil peril of this beach I would have to enter this small foreboding hole, and that is what I did.

Slowly and with care I eased myself inside, my heart pounding and with sweat on my brow. I forced myself deeper and deeper inside, against my better instincts, clutching a flaming torch that had illuminated the entrance, to light my way.

How glad I was for the torchlight, but not so glad of the heat it created, my clothes soaking with sweat as I continued my descent down a loose and rocky stairwell layered with sand from the beach. Further and further the narrow passage took me downward, the stairs becoming unconnected single steps that grew farther and farther apart until I had to hop from one narrow ledge to another. After some time, I cannot even guess at how long, the steps became very steep and I had to lower my body onto them feet first.

The air grew thin and eventually my torch started to suffocate for lack of air, yet it blazed by my side for some while further. I felt like I was breaching the crust of the earth to a subterranean nether world as my desent continued. The light dwindled from the torch and I was now plunged into cold, absolute dark – alone, with no vision at all. The power of touch was now my only asset, I struggled to breathe the dust-filled air my fingers reaching out at the walls around me. I began to feel mad with fear. By now I was entombed seemingly miles below the surface of the beach. I cried out in terror. As tears fell from my eyes I knew I had only one choice. Without light I could not make it back to the top. Similarly, I could not continue to climb down. I decided that my life might as well be over. I had failed my wife, my precious dogs and I had failed myself. I resolved to jump into the abyss. Blinded by darkness, I leapt to oblivion with no curiosity, only a desperate need for relief from my tomb.

The landing did not offer the impact I had expected, instead what I crashed through was wet and of a spongy texture. I was lodged inside the suffocating embrace of something organic. Still unable to see any trace of light I knew not what it was, but it was not a living animal, for I would have been surely devoured. Panic was my stimulus as I clawed my way out of the soggy embrace of my life-saving matter. My feet found solid ground at last. Now covered in an organic slime from head to foot I gasped for air and opened my eyes wide. They found a slither of yellow light. It formed one straight line around what appeared to be a wall. I stumbled over rough earth towards it and saw the flicker of a moving shadow from its source. I realised that this must be the beam of light under a door, and with all my might I pushed at the rocky barrier.

The door opened. What I saw before me, I lack words to describe. My exhausted and terrified mind raced at the abundance of light and my eyes struggled to adapt. What came into view was so devilish and macabre that only Satan himself would be comfortable gazing upon it. I surely cannot communicate the occultist vision that I saw, but I must try. It was a room lit by walls of fire on all sides, through which a lake of oil oozed. Above the abhorrent evil bubbling of the lake was a crude stone bridge, covered in markings that I could not identify below figures with sickening faces that smiled as they lifted the severed limbs of men like trophies. On the bridge was an altar on which stood the old man from the shack, now dressed in a hooded robe and silent in a Satanic tableau.

My eyes scanned the scene, below the old man and across the bridge was my wife’s body, tied and unconscious, my dogs by her side. Upon seeing me they ran to my aid. The old man was silent, seemingly unaware of my presence, or not caring. I ran into this den of the devil with renewed anger and I pushed the old man into the lake. I unbounded my wife and the room started to pulse with low energy that consumed my senses, but I now had Helen, my wife, by my side. I roused her gently and slowly she awoke from her slumber. She looked startled and gasped as I held her close. I pulled her from the room of fire and into the darker calm of the stairwell. She held me close and whispered into my ear in a voice that was not hers, but that of the old, twisted woman I had heard on the phone on the beach, ‘Three blind mice, three blind mice…’ And, with that, horror attacked my heart. I backed away from her and the dogs leapt to her side and looked upon me as if I was a stranger.

Confusion reigned in my mind and I cannot be held accountable for my next action. My wife stood tall and walked imposingly towards me, without making a single stepping movement… levitating my way, chanting words I had never before heard and laughing harsh and loud.

I backed away, but with no escape and everything in my life now lost, I took my chance and jumped into the lake of bubbling oil to end my own life.

***

… and that was when you found me, officer. I do not remember where or what the situations exactly were. Your colleagues have since told me that early morning surfers discovered me nearby washed-up on the sand. And although my legal counsel advises me otherwise, I feel compelled to tell you of my honest experience and give a full account of the circumstances of my wife’s disappearance. It was not me that took her life as your charges accuse me. I urge you to understand that she was taken by some unholy evil spirit at the beach of Hellsmouth. I urge you to use the might of the police force to investigate that exact location with extreme caution as a matter of urgency.

I beg you!

***

English writer Peter J Seddon spent ten years touring the world as a sound engineer with various rock bands. He has now retired from the road and currently lives in Wigan in the North of England. He was born in 1984 and  studied criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University.