Fiction, Horror, Novel

Winter Hill

I’ve had this idea for a novel on the back burner for a while now. Winter Hill will tell the story of a snow-bound village and the nearby Bronze Age burial mounds where the dead do not rest easy…

***

I froze as I heard the sound again. On the surface it was innocuous enough; the scrape of aged iron and the snap of dry twigs. But something about it froze my bones to the marrow, despite the warmth of the fire. I crept to the window and gingerly peered around the side of the curtain, being careful not to let out too much light. The glass instantly fogged from my breath. I wiped it away and consciously slowed my breathing. It was bright outside, the world rendered in the crisp whiteness of virgin snow and pale moonlight. Skeletal trees stood as solid as statues in the frozen midnight air and in the distance I could see the soft glow of village lights radiating from Winter Hill.

As I looked towards the distant lights my eyes were suddenly drawn to a trail in the garden snow. Thin, broken and halting, the ragged footfalls seemed to stumble towards the distant cottages. Of the creature that made them, there was no sign.
I hurried to the kitchen and the back window that overlooked Barrow Downs. Whoever had made the trail in the snow had certainly come from this direction, but the start of the trail was concealed in the shadow of the trees. As I stared into the gloomy wood I became aware of a vague suggestion of movement. Emaciated limbs and slender shapes swayed back and forth like bare branches in the winter wind, yet the trees above remained unmoving in the still, windless night…

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