Awakened Bones

This is a story about Whitby to do with the cliff collapsing and the discovery of the bones. It is about a young adult called Hattie who is about to embark on a chilling adventure caused by Dracula's curse...

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1. Arrival

The holiday cottage was a neat little house, inside and out. It was part of a strip of terraces which stretched through the labyrinth of narrow, cobbled grimy back streets. Its front was shadowed by the sweep of 199 steps which lead up to the ancient graveyard above. If you peered up through the front bedroom window, you could see the tips of crucifixes and graves peeping from above the jagged cliff edge. In the morning, light bounced into the house from the shimmering ocean behind, however during the afternoon, the staircase blocked out the sun, submerging the house in indefinite shadow. The powerful salty wind had battered and bruised the paint on the cottage until just a washed-out, sickly blue colour remained staining the walls.

 Originally, the cottage was intended for fishermen to live in because of the easy access to the harbour. Through the back bedroom window, you could see a line of rowing boats nodding up and down with the waves. They looked like they had once been loved by their owner of decades ago but now they lay deserted, oppressed, lined up next to each as if in some watery grave. They would never set sail again. Some of the boats always remained in the same place, forever bobbing up and down knotted up with a frayed old rope, never serving their purpose. Their bows clung onto the sand and the tails threatened to wash away in the sea. However harsh the incessant waves were, the rope never gave way and led them astray. Each one was covered with thick, green algae which thrived on all of the damp, hidden places in the boats and the wood was rotten and served more as a bird perch for the local seagulls than as a reliable form of transport.

Hattie sat in the back bedroom, staring out at this scene. The house was empty except for herself and would remain like this for the rest of the winter. On her left, she dumped her suitcase on the floor and dived across her bed, legs and arms stretched out as if she had just woken up from a wondrous dream. Instantly, she felt relaxed; it took her back to her childhood days where nothing mattered except from whether she attended school. Times were different now though, there was too much to care about and not enough to enjoy. Hattie used winter breaks as her time to enjoy, no one would bother her the whole season; not work, not friends, not anything and she would cease to think about them. Just in case anyone tried, Hattie clumsily grappled for her old Nokia phone in her handbag and turned it off with a wry smile. The connection between her and her current hometown in Manchester had been cut off. The phone would remain switched off for the next 60 days, but maybe she would call a friend or two on Christmas to share a hollow happy greeting. Maybe, if she could be bothered.

The room that Hattie presented herself in had remained pretty much the same ever since her Granddad had died. As time went on, a couple of modern touches had been added like the television sat on the walnut drawers and the elaborate full length mirror which hid the damp patch on the back wall but except from those, it remained stuck in the prior century. Guests who stayed at the cottage didn’t seem to mind though, they must enjoy the authentic fisherman feel about the place; simple and nautical. There was a definite blue theme going on in the bedroom which had the possibility of being cold but waking up to the shriek of seagulls and the gush of waves, it only felt natural. Hattie rolled over in the double bed and picked up the photograph frame from the bedside table. She ran her fingers on the smooth edge, it felt so cool and familiar. Inside of it was the portrait of her late Granddad, he looked like a stereotypical fisherman: a greasy yellow rain mac, a bushy grey moustache hiding a jolly smile and a pipe fuming smoke from under it. Although he looked like any other fisherman, this was Hattie’s fisherman and he was the reason she had this charming cottage.

Many generations of fishermen had owned the cottage and slowly it had been passed down to Hattie; with no family alive she was left with the family gem. Even though it was tiny, it was worth a fortune. The harbour town of Whitby was extremely popular and house prices were way higher than average. With the cottage being in prime position, it had more than tripled in price. Hattie had promised herself that she’d never give it up though; even if it was worth a million pounds. Selling it would be like losing a vital organ and if she did, she’d feel like she was betraying her family. No, she would part with it when she parted with life.

A couple of hours passed where Hattie just pottered around the cottage, not doing much but feeling like it was well spent. She often spent the entire break ‘just pottering’ and when she went back to Manchester and people asked her what she did, she had to make up a whole list exciting and impressive activities to feed their curiosity. By about five o’clock, it was pitch black and temperatures had plummeted to under freezing. Hattie lit the old wood burner in the lounge which would remain on during most of the vacation, it burnt like a dream. Then she set herself down for the evening with a pile of newspapers and a strong cup of tea. This was her bliss. The simple pleasures in life were always the best. Kicking her feet up of the fake leather pouf, she grabbed the first newspaper she touched and read the headline: “Whitby Cliffs Rain Human Bones”. This captured her attention and worriedly opened it up to the article. She read: “The cliffs under St. Mary’s church crumble away to uncover human bones from the famous graveyard above, renowned for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. Experts claim that there should be no more major subsidence and the church will not be affected. The police are currently clearing away the bones and burying them into a mass grave further on in the cemetery. Hopefully, this time they’ll stay put.

This concerned Hattie, the cliffs were just in front of her cottage and presented a danger to its future. She’d just have to trust the experts though, there was no use in worrying, plus, it only made things worse. Still, it sparked her interest and so she made a mental note to explore the cliffs tomorrow. The thought of seeing human remains made her excited but apprehensive, it was not something she had seen before and she did not know how she would feel looking straight at death. There was only one way to find out though.

It was only a stone’s throw away for a quick escape to the ocean which was a refreshing change from the hustling, tourist side of the popular town. Most of the tourists stuck to the main street of Whitby where commercial shops sold tacky Dracula merchandise and where the constant smell of fish and chips lingered in the air like the seagulls which also patrolled the area. However, it worked as a great selling point for tourists and they flocked in to stay there.  For all the years that Hattie had owned the cottage, she had never even considered re-painting it because the peeling paintwork, she thought, was part of the charm.

 

The water was so still that it looked like a piece of sapphire blue silk and when a small fishing boat cut through it, the surface looked appeared creased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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