Saturday, October 22, 2016

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Paranormal Folklore - The Dark Corridor - Castle of Spirits

This article comes from Castle of Spirits, reprinted and shared with permission.


The whole, frightening experience began at around 5 O’clock on the evening of the 23rd of December 1969. The chill night air was biting and the last remnants of day were creeping over the horizon. The thought of spending another night away from home, away from the comfort of the family over the festive period would be enough to fill most with melancholy and yet, here in the Wayfarer’s Inn, there was not the slightest feeling of loneliness. Quiet contentment appeared to be shared by all of the residents. Jonathan Harper was a travelling sales representative. Nothing too much could be said about him except that he gave the impression of someone uncomfortable with the thought of Christmas alone. If there were anything that left one to assume he was not part of the crowd, this would be it. Otherwise he was no different to anyone else in the inn.

Outside a thick, cloying mist rolled in off the hills spreading icy tentacles across everything in its path. It wouldn’t be too long before the landscape were covered in a heavy, white coat of frost. The residents knew that they would be here for some time - transport to these far outreaches was, at the best of times, limited and as for their own vehicles, parked in the yard around the back of the inn, no one was going to risk driving in these conditions - no one with any sense that is.

The Wayfarer was a small Inn, only ten rooms; each one bijou but welcoming; yet it exuded a warmth that was easy to comprehend. This hotel, deep in the English countryside, offered a respite for the exhausted traveller. The site of a lonely inn, lights glowing like a beacon to the lost, would act as a welcome break for the weary.

Sat in a comfortable, wingback, leather armchair Jonathan mused over the day’s business. He had completed a successful mission into Scarborough and his company would reap the benefits of these labours with a healthy contract, sure to earn them a huge amount of money over the coming year. Jonathan took a sip of brandy and looked into the comforting fire that was burning brightly in the fireplace beside him. Thoughts of his family, the children opening expensive parcels on Christmas morning without him, left him with a small tear rolling down the side of his cheek; yet over the next few days he would have little more time to think of them - he would be too busy trying to survive.

It was about 5 minutes to 5 O’clock and he was almost asleep in his chair when he was approached by a cheery gentleman. Not too unusual a man, except for his dress. His clothes seemed odd, out of place for the modern style of the day. Jonathan, avoiding comment, stood and introduced himself. He invited his fellow resident to take a seat opposite him. The man appeared a jovial sort, ruddy cheeks and a broad grin that Jonathan responded to straightaway: “I couldn’t see myself going much further in that”, he said, pointing to the atrocious weather outside, “I’m just glad that I found this place when I did” he added. “It’ll be here for a while, according to the Inn keeper. Says it often gets like this in these parts with it being so open to the elements” said the man. He held out a warm hand of friendship to Jonathan, “Henry Clement, or should I say Pilot Officer Henry Clement, DFC”.

The two men sat down, Jonathan thinking it rather strange that his guest should introduce himself in such a way. It was a little unusual for people, in his experience, to introduce themselves twice, once to affirm military status. “Perhaps he assumes I am a military man too”, he thought to himself.

“Come far?” the gentleman asked.
“London - Kensington to be precise. I was hoping to get back home tonight but when I saw the fog was getting worse I phoned the wife to say I’d find somewhere to stay for the night and be home tomorrow,” Jonathan replied.

As soon had the words left his mouth he felt taken over by doubt. Was it the expression on the gentleman’s face? Was it the fact that the weather was that bad? Was it even, the thought that facing Christmas ‘alone’ somehow appealed to his sub-conscious? No specific reason occurred to him, he just sensed doubt. In any way the feeling of contentment, of comfort, in the company of Henry somehow appealed more than the prospect of leaving the safety of this place. Being with his family on Christmas day may still be possible if the fog lifted in time.

For a while the two men continued in deep conversation, occasionally laughing, occasionally arguing, but in all, remaining friendly with each other. It was apparent that his guest had been a serving officer during the Second World War, originally flying missions across Germany in the reconnaissance corp. before joining the mission to ‘Arnhem’ as a pilot transporting the parachute drop safely to their destination. Jonathan was fascinated. Such tales of heroism were often seen on the television yet here he was, listening to every aspect of a life as a pilot during this daring time.

“I haven’t so much as been involved in the boy scouts”, he told Henry, “And here you are, telling me all about a time I could only be in awe of. Well here’s to you, Henry”, added Jonathan, raising his glass. His companion gratefully accepted the plaudits.

Several hours had passed before both gentlemen chose to draw the evening to a close. Tiredness had encroached upon them without notice as they yawned almost in unison, neither having any idea how long they had been in conversation, except to say that several drinks had passed their lips and further chatter would result in either or both falling asleep where they sat.

Bidding his guest a good night, Jonathan moved slowly to gather his things. Since his arrival he had neglected to check into his room - he was told that it would have to be prepared as he was an unexpected, but never-the-less very welcome guest.

The gentleman at reception had a somewhat ‘odd’ appearance. The more he thought about it the more he noticed that his clothes resembled those of a similar period of dress to that Henry appeared to belong. He began to look around the whole reception area, at various objects, at the pictures on the wall behind the clerk, at the telephone exchange in the corner, everything reminded him of the 1940’s. Jonathan hadn’t noticed it before, but now the whole place appeared decked out as if in a bygone era.

“Excuse me?” he asked “I feel as if I have walked into some kind of themed Hotel, do you collect memorabilia at all?” A puzzled look upon the clerk’s face told him that this was not worth pursuing. “Perhaps he’s not the conversational type,” Jonathan thought to himself, contenting himself with the prospect of a warm bed and a peaceful night’s sleep.

On entry to his room he noticed that the theme downstairs carried on here too, however he was too tired to think about it any further. After turning on the bedside light and settling down his bedclothes he stepped into the bathroom for a quick wash and returned to the warm bed in anticipation of a comfortable night’s slumber. A few moments later and he was fast asleep - the rigours of a hard day’s work finally taking its toll.

It was approximately 2 am when Jonathan was disturbed by a knocking at his door. Rising from a heavy sleep, his eyes still not settled enough for him to turn on the lamp at the side of his bed; he wandered across to the door. On opening, the site of smoke rising from the corridor, in the direction of the stairwell gave cause for alarm. Calling out for whoever knocked at his door he suddenly became aware of a droning noise emanating from above. Within moments, the person responsible for waking him had returned. He couldn’t see the owner of the voice for smoke. “You’d better make your way downstairs to the lobby. We’ve been hit”.
“What?” cried Jonathan in astonishment, “You say, ‘we’ve been hit’?”
There was no reply. The disembodied voice had already made its way down the corridor, warning other residents to vacate their rooms. Jonathan followed his fellow guests safely making his way downstairs.

The lobby was crammed full with residents, so much so that chaos reigned. Nobody stood out as knowing what was going on as Jonathan searched for his friend, Mr. Clement. He was nowhere to be seen.

Grabbing at the desk clerk he asked him for some answers. “I can’t tell you much”, the clerk replied, “Except to say that we’ve been hit.”
“Hit? Hit by what? What do you mean, we’ve been hit?” Jonathan asked again, once more to be thwarted by the clerk. Nothing could explain the smoke and there did not seem to be any damage that would add weight to being ‘hit’ by anything.

Jonathan had almost forgotten about the droning noise he had heard earlier when he was still upstairs, rushing around the corridor looking for the stairwell. On deciding to ask one or two of the other guests if they had heard it too he was surprised by their response.
“That’ll be the bombers flying overhead. They’re always around at this time of night” one cried out. Another said one might have crashed on its way back home.
“On its way back to where? Where’s home? Jonathan asked, curious to know what this was all about. “Is there some kind of airbase near here? Is this a flight path for aircraft?” he questioned further; nobody offered any more information. They all appeared too concerned with themselves to give him any answers.
At that moment, a rather dishevelled and bloodied gentleman entered the building. His head was adorned with a leather cap and flying goggles. Thinking it rather strange that anyone would be flying on an evening such as this Jonathan overlooked the man’s injuries. There was something else peculiar about this chap, a familiarity about him that he couldn’t quite place. “If I’m not mistaken”, he thought, “I’ve seen his face before”. Within moments there was sudden rush of guests towards the man, each one offering assistance and subsequently disturbing Jonathan’s concentration.

“Quick, someone help the gentleman to a chair. He looks as if he’s been in the thick of it”, shouted the desk clerk. Standing in amazement, Jonathan realised something was not right here and he intended getting to the bottom of it, though he would have to wait until the morning, as the main concern was the comfort of this apparent victim of an accident.

Running to the bar Jonathan grabbed a glass, filled it with brandy before taking a swig himself and then took the remainder over to the bewildered patient.

“It came at me, straight from nowhere. I tried you know, I tried!” the mystery man mumbled.
Jonathan could not make head or tail of what he was muttering about. “Poor fellow, he must be deluded”, he thought to himself. “Whatever it was that had happened outside must have given him a shock and he’s confused”. Within moments the man had fallen into an unconscious state. Efforts to bring him round again proved fruitless; he was out for the count.

Checking on his safety, the clerk advised that the gentleman be given breathing space, whilst he felt for a pulse. With a sigh of relief, he realised that the patient would be likely to recover after some much needed rest. Putting the man’s feet onto a stool he proceeded to call out to the other guests for a blanket. Someone with forethought had already arranged for this and it subsequently was laid across the patient in order that he remain warm while he slept comfortably.

Gradually, the chaos died down and everyone began making their way back to their rooms. Jonathan following suit, felt quite confused by recent events. He was determined to find out what had happened that night but this was no time to ask.

Leaving the clerk to deal with the mystery gentleman Jonathan retired to his bedroom once more, still puzzled by the poor chap’s condition and the reasons for such. He took one final look out of his window to see if there was anything that could satisfy his curiosity but all he saw was thick, thick fog and a white landscape. Nothing else could be gleaned by further enquiries that night so, resolving to sort things out in the morning, he decided to get some much-needed sleep; it would be a long day tomorrow. Jonathan hoped he would be able to travel home for a family Christmas. The fog would make travel difficult but he was determined to make it home.

The weather conditions for Christmas Eve had not improved any. In fact, if anything they had become increasingly worse since the previous evening. Pulling his curtains apart, Jonathan noticed that where he could see the white carpet covering the surrounding countryside the night before, this morning visibility was almost down to zero. There was no way he could travel under these circumstances at all. “It would be incredibly stupid to set off in this”, he murmured to himself.

Once Jonathan had carried out his daily ablutions and dressed himself he made his way downstairs, determined to call his wife and advise her of the dangerous conditions and to tell her that he would try again later that day if things improved.

On the stairwell, crossing his path was Jonathan’s friend of a few hours, Henry Clement. “What was all the fun and games about last night then?” he asked.
Henry stared for a moment in bewilderment, almost as if he hadn’t met Jonathan the previous evening, before replying that he had no recollection of what was being asked of him. “The crash!” said Jonathan. “Last night there was some kind of accident and a gentleman was rescued. He’s probably still downstairs at this moment. I must say the poor man looked in an awful state”, he continued “I suppose they couldn’t raise you up last night so you probably missed it all. Quite a commotion, I’d say”
Again Henry stared blankly into his face. Now Jonathan was beginning to feel rather uneasy about his friend. “Henry, It’s Jonathan, we met yesterday evening, do you remember?” he asked, puzzlingly.

Without wishing to appear absent minded or ignorant, the distinguished gentleman acknowledged his companion and in an attempt to avoid embarrassment responded, rather wishing to save awkwardness on both accounts. “Of course. Yesterday! I remember. Of course you’ll have to forgive me, I may have drunk a little too much and that’s when the memory plays up, isn’t it? You’re the gentleman that erm… that erm…” said Henry, gracefully covering his ignorance. “Jonathan. Jonathan Harper”, he affirmed. “I’m sorry, I should have realised that you have probably just woken up. “Nonsense. Not at all”, said an apologetic Henry, “Perhaps we can meet up in the bar later? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to my room”, he added. And with that, Henry marched off in the appropriate direction. Once again, Jonathan felt overcome by confusion. “I could have sworn he didn’t recognise me”, he thought to himself, continuing his way down the stairs to the lobby.

Jonathan’s search for a telephone took him to an old fashioned booth at the far side of the reception area. In a fashion, this didn’t seem out of place; especially with the other furniture in the inn, but again it was not something he was accustomed to. However, his only thoughts were whether he could get through to his wife to inform her of the current situation.

Eagerly Jonathan dialled the number… 01 984 7325… “Hello operator, which number are you calling?” said a voice at the other end of the line. He hung up immediately. Calling the number twice more he received the same response. “Hello operator, which number…?”
“How odd!”, he exclaimed. Dialling once more he allowed the operator to continue before he answered her. “Yes, I’d like to place a call to London 984 7325 if I may?” he asked.
“I’m sorry sir, that number is not available”, came the reply. “May I ask who are you trying to reach?”
Nervous panic began to manifest itself in his speech as he passed details of his home address to the operator. “I’m trying to reach my wife, Mrs. Cathy… Catherine Harper, 94. Whiterush House, K… Kensington, London”.
Immediately the operator responded, “I have no such person listed at that address sir. Are you sure that you have given me the correct address?”
Jonathan was getting quite irritated by the operator’s inability to locate the correct telephone number. “It’s my home address and I should know where we live. Good God, we’ve lived there since ‘66”, he yelled back down the line. Red faced with anger he demanded that the operator try the number once more. She was having none of it. “Sir, the number you wish to call doesn’t exist and the address which you gave me does not list Harper as the subscriber and is not the number you have given me” she responded firmly. Panic, beginning to get the better of him, he slammed down the phone with such a bang that the noise attracted the attention of the desk clerk who was not amused by Jonathan’s behaviour. “Mr. Harper, may I remind you that our other guests may need to use the telephone?” Immediately Jonathan responded. “Well why can I not seem to get through to my home to call my wife? The operator keeps telling me that our address doesn’t exist. What’s going on here?”
“Perhaps the line is down sir and the operator can’t get through. The fog sometimes has that effect; causing problems with the telegraph cables. It may be better to wait until later in the day, try again then”, the clerk advised. “In the meantime, would you like anything else?” Stunned into silence, Jonathan just stood, staring at the clerk, as if he had just been informed that his dilemma with the operator was not all that important.

After a few moments Jonathan moved towards the stairs, muttering as he clambered up each step. “I can’t believe this place, what the hell is going on here?” he thought, his blood beginning to boil over. Deciding to do a little bit of finding out for himself he made up his mind to have a word or two with his friend Henry. “He may be able to provide me with some answers” mused Jonathan. On reaching the door of Henry’s room he knocked loudly. “Hello!” a voice called from within.
“It’s Jonathan Harper. I would like to have a word with you about something if I may?”
The same jovial, ruddy-faced gentleman opened the door to him. “Can I help you?” he asked. Once again, Jonathan’s friend appeared oblivious as to who he was. “We met yesterday, in the bar area, don’t you remember me?” cried Jonathan, desperate to find some familiarity. “You talked about your days as a pilot in the reconnaissance corps: The parachute drop over Arnhem? What about the bombing raids in Germany? Please tell me you remember all of that?” he pleaded, his voice progressively rising in a fit of pique, almost screaming at the bewildered gentleman standing before him.
“My dear fellow, I have neither been to Arnhem nor do I know anything about a parachute drop you refer to”, said a stern faced Henry. “And even if I had I couldn’t possibly tell you about it, could I? Now, if you don’t mind, I have a lot of things to do and I would appreciate the time to get on with it. I have to be at camp for 1600 hundred hours” he added impatiently.

An uncontrollable Jonathan forced his way into the room, grabbed at the lapels of Henry’s jacket, held the man firmly in his grasp for a few moments whilst staring into his eyes before turning his attention to the jacket that his friend was wearing: A blue surge, Royal Air Force jacket of the type worn during the Second World War. It was adorned with various badges, each representing something or other. Jonathan had a limited knowledge of military awards, having himself served his time in the draft a few years previously but the one thing he didn’t recognise was anything resembling a DFC.
“I thought you were awarded a DFC?” he asked, releasing his victim for a moment. “I distinctly remember you referring to yourself as Pilot Officer Henry Clement, DFC. Where is your DFC?” Jonathan said, accusingly.
“You have to earn one before you can attach it to your uniform and as yet, I have not received such an honour,” replied Henry, attempting to reassure Jonathan of his status. Unconvinced, Jonathan again asked about Arnhem. How would he know so much about Arnhem and the landings if they had not taken place? How would he know about the parachute drop? Operation ‘Market Garden’? The hundreds of troops flown over for the offensive? The bombing raids on Germany? How could he possibly know of Henry’s involvement if none of this had taken place? He wanted answers and he wanted them now! “Tell me what is going on and what all this has to do with the Wayfarer’s!” he demanded.

“Listen to me”, said Henry, confronting Jonathan. “Whatever it is that is causing you to be alarmed has little to do with me. I don’t know how you know of any planned military action and I don’t care how you came by this information but for the sake of national security, please keep it to yourself and don’t talk about it again. I’ll tell you what you need to know and nothing more if you will just calm down and have a drink with me”. With that, Henry moved over to his chest-of-drawers and retrieved a bottle of malt from a drawer and two drinking glasses. Pouring a measure into each he returned to an armchair ushering Jonathan to be seated and began relaying the events to which Jonathan had referred.

A couple of hours past before Henry, looking at his watch, decided to wrap up the conversation. “Now you promise that this information will remain between the two of us? Nobody outside of Whitehall knows of these events and they wish to keep it quiet until they know how things play out. Any leak and you could jeopardise tonight’s flight”, he warned. Jonathan said nothing for a few moments before responding to his friend. “It’s almost as if you believe this happened recently”, he replied, questioningly. “That was all over 26 years ago”. Rising from his chair, he began to back out of the room, still staring at Henry, occasionally nodding his head from side to side in defiance of what he had heard and was expected to believe. “26 years ago, Henry!” he cried out once more, as he exited.

Needing to have a lie down in order to get his head together Jonathan made his way to his own room, still musing over what he had just heard. “The poor fellow is living in the past. Maybe that’s why he’s here, recuperating from some delusion” he thought to himself.

It was long into the night when Jonathan awoke. Realising that he must have drunk too much whiskey whilst listening to Henry and his strange tale earlier that afternoon, he looked at his watch - It was 1.50 am. He’d slept way too long for comfort and his poor wife would be at home in Kensington, fretting about why her husband had not yet returned home safely to her and the children. Strangely, there was a noise; a droning noise emanating from above. It was a similar droning noise to the noise that he had heard the previous night; only on this occasion he could hear screeching too. It sounded like nothing Jonathan had heard before. Leaping from his bed he ran towards the window and pulled at the curtains. Nothing could be seen except a faint ball of light, something on fire perhaps and it was getting brighter by the second, its angle of elevation dipping downwards.

Suddenly Jonathan was aware something was happening; somehow he knew this mystery object was going to crash into the Wayfarer’s and he had to get out and quickly. Grabbing at his coat and suitcase lying by the side of his bed he hurriedly made his way for the door. There was little light in the hallway but Jonathan was un-perturbed as he felt his way to the stairwell, dropping his coat as he stumbled down the corridor. The droning noise was getting louder and the building had now started to shake. He had to get out fast and stopping for his coat was not a priority, or it wouldn’t have been if his car keys weren’t in the pocket. Jonathan had to turn back and pick them up. As he felt his way along the ground for the overcoat the noise from above became almost deafening. The walls were vibrating rapidly and pictures began falling from their hooks to the floor. Jonathan realised there was little time, if he didn’t make his escape now he would surely be caught in the middle of it all. The glass from the picture frames crunched beneath his shoes but he knew that unless he could get outside to safety, small cuts to his feet would be the least of his worries.

Jonathan tripped over each step as ran down the staircase, stumbling over objects that had fallen from the walls, catching his feet in the ill-fitting carpet. He eventually found the reception area. The droning was unbearable and now it appeared to be joined by a high pitch screaming or whining noise, like that of engines in high revs. He knew he had only seconds to find the exit and get outside. A clock in the reception area began the chiming of the hour as he found the doorway leading outside into the car park. Looking into the night sky Jonathan could see swirls of fog parting under the pressure of heat and flame as suddenly, the cockpit of an aircraft loomed clear through the mist. There was little time to recognise anything about the plane heading straight for the building he had just escaped from, except that it was big. Within seconds all around had became a huge ball of flame as the two objects, aircraft and building, met in a flurry of hurling brick, metal and burning debris. Diving onto the grass below his feet Jonathan covered his head with his hands and began praying. Praying for those still inside, the pilot and his crew and most of all, for his own safety.

The searing heat caused by the blast proved too much for Jonathan as he drifted in and out of consciousness. In the moments when he was aware he could just make out people running, some with buckets in hand, others with blankets, each one trying to douse the flames as they attempted to take control of the building. One whole side of the Wayfarer’s appeared to be gone, or was it just the smoke and fog? Jonathan tried rubbing his eyes in order to get a better view. No! It was indeed gone.

Wearily standing to his feet Jonathan surveyed the wreckage. What looked like a bomber aircraft was lying in flames at the rear of the Inn, its wing and engine on the right side missing from the main fuselage. It became apparent that the wing had parted company with the rest of the aircraft and collided with the back of the building causing a wall to fall away. He was lucky; if he had remained in his room he would surely have been dead by now. Gathering his thoughts he was alert enough now to realise that people inside must need help.

In the lobby Jonathan saw utter chaos as people were running in all directions trying to help each other or assist in some way with the clearing away of debris. Nobody had time for the full affects of the situation to get the better of him or her, they all co-operated fully with the desk clerk as he gave polite but firm orders. He had assembled the remaining guests in the lobby whilst he completed a thorough search of the building.

When all had calmed down inside and out people began to relax and take in the situation. Nerves gradually began to creep in with some of the female residents as they sought solace with their partners or other friendly guests. The clerk returned, grim faced as he recounted the damage to the back of his Inn. “Two rooms have completely gone; seven and nine. I’m sorry but there is no sign of any survivors at all” he said mournfully. Jonathan immediately recognised room nine as being his room. “I’m here”, he called out, “Room nine, that’s my room. I believe room seven was Mr. Henry Clement”, Jonathan added. Strangely, nobody responded to him. Again he informed the clerk. Again nobody responded to him. Jonathan manoeuvred himself in to a better position in font of the desk clerk in case, over all of the noise, he couldn’t be heard. “I am in room nine and Henry Clement is room seven”, he shouted once more. The clerk stood unresponsive, blankly looking straight through Jonathan. “I think Mr. Clement was in room seven but room nine was empty, I’m sure of it”, said the clerk working through his memory of the register of his guests. “Though Mr. Clement would have been due at camp this afternoon so I presume he’s safe”. he continued.
“This is absurd!” cried Jonathan, “I’m here, Jonathan Harper, standing right in front of you. I’ve been in room nine since I arrived, the day before yesterday. What the hell’s going on?” Still the response he was looking for didn’t come. He looked around the lobby at the rest of the guests; they too appeared not to notice him standing in front of them.

Suddenly, Jonathan was overcome by fear. If nobody saw him that meant he wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, in front of them, he must be… dead! “But I can’t be!” he screamed. “I got out! I got away! I was outside when the plane hit the building I tell you!” His normal self-control had departed him as he ran furiously around each of the guests trying to attract their attention, as if in defiance of his slowly evolving conclusions.
“Harper?” a voice called out from behind. “Harper, you’re here”. Jonathan turned sharply to see his friend, Henry Clement standing in the doorway of the inn. “You made it then?” he added.
“Henry, you can see me? Then I’m here? Alive?” Jonathan queried. “Tell them all that I’m here, they can see me”, he pleaded. He turned his attention back to the other residents and the desk clerk. “You see! I am here. What the hell is the matter with you all?” Still, his ranting went unobserved by his fellow guests.
“They won’t hear you Harper. They won’t see or hear either of us”. Said a woeful Henry. “I’m afraid that we both went down with the plane. I managed to hold on for a minute or two in an attempt to steer her clear but you’d already gone”.
“What the hell are you talking about? I wasn’t in that plane. I couldn’t have been, I was outside the building when I saw it crash”. Said Jonathan, imploring his friend to see sense.
“You were thrown clear by the impact, Harper”, replied Henry, “That’s how you ended up outside”
Jonathan continued to argue his corner. “I am a travelling sales representative and I arrived here on the 23rd. I have nothing to do with you except that I met you in the bar” Henry immediately responded. “Harper, you didn’t have a room here. You remained at the station with the crew. I only came here on the 23rd to get some rest while my billet was being repaired. You were never here!”

Gradually, Jonathan ran through the events of the evening of the 23rd in his head: He hadn’t received a room key on arrival at the Wayfarer’s, as the room was not ready for him. All of the furniture and d├ęcor was not contemporary to 1969, neither were the clothes the guests were in, especially Henry. The operator hadn’t been able locate his address or telephone number the previous morning. She didn’t even recognise his name. Henry didn’t recall the conversation they had over drinks at the fireside or even, that he knew him at all. All of these anomalies started to fix themselves clearly in his mind. But wait. There was something! Something had actually happened to him that could not be explained. During the business with the telephone the desk clerk actually spoke to him. “No he didn’t. He spoke to someone but it wasn’t you, Harper”. Said Henry.

The stark realisation of what had occurred steadily seeped through into Jonathan’s head. He was never going to see his wife and children again. How could he, as they had never happened? He wasn’t a travelling sales representative; he was apparently a co-pilot in the RAF under the command of Henry Clement, DFC as yet to be.

“But how did I end up here, at the Wayfarer’s?” Jonathan asked Henry.
“Quite simple, my dear friend. This is our main flight corridor for Germany. Something must have caught us off guard and we were hit. This particular corridor avoids all of the towns and villages in the area and was deemed the safest path over to Europe”, Henry informed his colleague. “As to how you are involved? Well, let me tell you. A driver, in a hurry to return home to his family at Christmas time finds himself in a thick fog; so thick that it becomes an unbearable nightmare trying to continue onward. Suddenly, from out of the mist, a light looms. It appears to be a safe haven for the weary motorist, the Wayfarer’s Inn. Not listed on any map for over 26 years, it was destroyed by a returning bomber crashing into it, yet here it was. A cheery welcome is accorded the traveller and the promise of a comfortable night. Naturally, the traveller accepts this luxury of avoiding possible peril in such horrendous conditions. Snugly relaxing in an armchair by the side of an open fire, the gentleman begins to reflect upon Christmas with his family. Was it, after all, going to be an enjoyable time spent with the children? They always find time to fight over something, don’t they? Perhaps the thought of the relatives dropping in caused the gentleman concern - either way, he wasn’t really looking forward to getting home, was he?”
“A welcoming face appears offering warm, friendly conversation. The traveller gratefully accepts the opportunity to converse with someone who is not part of his family. He has, by now, already made a subconscious decision to remain here. All that was left for him was to have the desire to find a resolution to the strange events that were unfolding before him. He began to doubt his reality and started to accept another. Once you make the decision to peep into an alternate reality it slowly becomes your reality and what is becomes what was. The events of the 23rd of December were very genuine but you looked a little too deep and for you and myself, and all of the guests here tonight, let this be a warning to other voyeurs of the past”.

The light gradually began to fade on both Jonathan and Henry as they continued their conversation. In the distance the sound of a radio could be heard. The interference was strong at first but became clearer as the light faded.
“Sierra one, seven. We’re at the scene. Abandoned vehicle. It looks like the driver lost the car in the fog and came off the road. Can we have a recovery team?” the voice on the radio said. “Incident call-out time logged as 2 am on Wayfarer Road. No sign of the driver, may have wandered into the fog for assistance”.

Written By: Anton Lang, United Kingdom

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The picture in the article here isn’t related to post, I just need some eye candy. Got it from Google Images.
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