Examples of shortlisted works – Go Gothic Monologue and Flash Fiction Competition

‘Gargoyle’ by Margaret Stenning

MONOLOGUES

A Hunting We Will Go -Emma Jones (pen name), Exeter (Local theme)

“My monologue was based on the local folk tales surrounding Richard Cabell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Cabell and his dark and dastardly deeds!” (Emma)

Monologue Title: A Hunting We Will Go

My problem has always been my master. Nobody likes him. Well, he likes himself, but his tenants are treated worse than the sheep they tend.

I mean to say that living on Dartmoor is bad enough, especially in the winter when the wind screams across the moor and the ponies shiver and huddle together and even the foxes don’t leave their dens unless they must. Although, the summer is challenging enough when it rains day after day and the bogs turn to quagmires and even the tin mining men lose their way in thick grim, grey, mists. Of course, the pixies love it, but then they thrive on anything that gives them a chance to be mischievous.

Tonight, the wind is howling, pushing its way through lintels and battering against barns.

I can hear my master shouting at the stable lads and hear the lash of his whip. How many young men have just vanished? Well, I’ve given up counting. They are supposed to have been lost on the moor, tripped and fallen off some granite outcrop. It happens to farmers daughters and servant maids as well. All the local folk know he’s a murderer. They have heard his victims’ pleas for mercy echoing around the tors and across the bleak moorland.

Tonight, the 5th of July 1677 the stars are bright, and we are gathering together as a pack to make sure that this will be his last ride of terror. We trust that what remains of him will be buried deep with a slab above his grave and bars around his tomb to keep his evil spirit buried deep.

Darkness has covered the moor and we are off. I thank God that this will be the last time I get my paws wet in the service of Sir Richard Cabell, the Squire of Brook Hall, in the Parish of Buckfastleigh for tonight we his ill-treated pack plan to hound him to death.

‘Soul Seeker’ (Local theme)

‘Soul Seeker’ (The author wishes to remain anonymous, explained that ‘after researching Lady Howard’s life I felt that she had been subjected to a hate campaign to blacken her name and achievements.) https://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/lady_how.htm

I have no idea why people are so scared of me. They have transformed me into a phantom to put fear into children’s hearts.

The truth is that I do not ride in a carriage made form the bones of my husbands. A black hound does not ride ahead of my mythical carriage every night from the Gatehouse of my former home, in Tavistock in the County of Devonshire to Okehampton as the church clock strikes midnight.  My faithful hound does not have to pick one blade of grass every night from the mound surrounding Okehampton castle until all the grass is gone at which point my soul is supposedly to be freed from its earthly penance.

Why do people imagine I should be punished? I was quite simply a chattel passed from one husband to another because I was an heiress. As a ward of court, I was taken from my mother at the age of nine, because my handsome father’s lunatic attics had resulted in his untimely death. Not, that he didn’t deserve it as he was a murderer.

My first husband was 32 and I Mary Fitz was only 12. My second was Thomas Darcy and I loved him dearly, but Death stole him away. Sir Charles Howard, my third husband died and then I married the father of two of my children Sir Richard Grenville. His constant violent treatment of me and his wicked ways made me leave him.

Perhaps, I might have seemed hard heated. I tried not to be, but Grenville had turned me sour. My heart does grieve for one of my sons who was hanged as a highwayman and of course for turning away my daughter Elizabeth when she came to see me.

When I left Grenville, I returned to Fitzford my family home with George my son, but there was no ‘sable coach, And horse two and four’. Indeed, when I died it was recorded that I had ‘no wheeled conveyance’, no carriage, but just a Sedan-Cahir.

And yet my soul does still roam the streets of Tavistock and what remains of my ancestral home. I am still searching from Walreddon and even along what they now call Old Exeter Road. I know in my heart that one day I will find her. I never got to say goodbye, never felt her arms around me or even saw her after I was taken away from her. My heart still bleeds for the one who, loved me as a person not as a piece of valuable property. One day, even if it takes me till the light of the sun and moon no longer shines, I will find my dear beloved mother and my soul will rest at last in her embrace.

Grotesques made in clay by Mount Kelly Year 9 students in a project led by Head of Art Netty Holwill.

Mount Kelly https://www.mountkelly.com/

FLASH FICTION

Flash Fiction: Pixie-led – Meg Robey (Pen Name) , Plymouth (Local theme)

“I based my humorous Gothic-style short piece on a local Dartmoor legend about the Hairy Hands.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairy_Hands (Meg – pen name).

We moorland folk were all fed up. It wasn’t the incessant summer rain that was annoying us. The irritating problem we were facing was the Hairy Hand.

Tourists and locals were all too aware that the Hand could steer the unsuspecting driver off course. Motor bikes were the Hand’s easiest target as they hurtled down the steep hill from Princetown to the Dartmoor Inn at Merrivale. The Hand lurked there on nights when grey mist wrapped itself over Dartmoor.

Darkness was an important part of the plan we laid to rid the Moor of this scourge. The Hand kept the tourists away from our car park hunting grounds where our deft fingers could open car doors silently or squeeze through the tinniest of cracks to steal things, we loved like sweets wrapped in colourful, glittery paper.

The Hand was frightening, but we were determined. We waited for the perfect night when thick grey mist swirled around the moor. Our main problem was to find a motorbike, but Fate was on our side, because a group of young farmers were having a dance. So, we borrowed a bike and drove it helter skelter style down the steep moorland road. We were cloaked in magic raiments as we didn’t want anyone to spot a pyramid of vengeful pixies driving a motor bike.

When the hand appeared, we grabbed it. It squealed. We wrestled it to the ground and our tiny shears went to work. Our problem had been solved, because we knew that a naked hand was much less frightening than a hairy hand. We have never seen it on our stretch of the Moor again and the motor bike that managed to drive itself from Princetown to Merrivale has now become one of the new folk Legends of Dartmoor.