Hugh Paxton’s Blog is proud to present Chapter Two in my Tales of Terror series.

CHAPTER TWO: You Must Wait for CHAPTER THREE before I tell you about Gerald’s Mummy, His First Day at School, and the Leper’s Bell.

Before I tell you about the Leper’s Bell and Gerald’s First Day at School, let me speak a few more words about other things. Let’s start with Gerald and his house! The House on Devil’s Hill.

THE HOUSE ON DEVIL’S HILL! Do you have a pencil and paper?

It was called that, not because the devil lived there, but because it was very difficult to drive to if there had been snow and was very difficult to escape from if there HAD been snow.

Or ice. Or heavy rain. Even in summer it sometimes had all three. But that’s English weather for you. Always very busy!

The road to Gerald’s house was a battered track. A winding one with holes in it. And it went up and down through Clooty’s Wood and past a strange bare place where grass never grew called The Pate, then there was a singing well, surrounded by druid boulders, and then the ruins of a lead mine in Folly Hole field.

Gerald’s house was surrounded by a large area of land. And lots of things were there.

If you have a pencil and a piece of paper perhaps you could imagine a map and draw it.

You should, or could, include:

1. The main road, not very big. Put it at the top of your map. It isn’t very interesting. It goes to a post office and the local West of England office.

2. The gate to Gerald’s track. Not very big but with two Italian marble gateposts and on each there is a sculpture of a mythical beast. You choose the mythical beast! Make it a good one but keep it small! Gerald’s gate posts are about as tall as your mummy. Defintely not as tall as your daddy.

3. Clooty’s Wood. The trees here you must draw for yourself. Think of a wood that has a bad temper and doesn’t like you. A wood that might have anything hiding in it. A wood that has lots of roots and brambles and dangling things with spiders and the dreaded hair grabbing forest lobster!

4. The Singing Well. If you walk around the three druid stones beside it you will always find four. Standing stones in England are like that. The well doesn’t sing. It whistles but that could be just the wind. At the bottom of the well there are strange lights. These might be luminous cave fish. Or the dreaded well dwelling flying lobsters!

5. The lead mines. Before you draw these you need to know more!

There are two traction engines in the lead mines. The traction engines are the reason that Gerald’s track is such a mess! They are heavy things with big wheels and they are fun to watch but they ground Gerald’s road to crumbs.

The first came to pull out too much lead. It overbalanced and fell in. The second machine arrived to pull the first one out. It tugged along a crane for the job. It fell in and so did its crane. The owner of the lead mine came along to have a look, and the ground collapsed beneath his feet and he fell in. That was the end of the bad business. Eight men survived and they didn’t want to stay. Bits of the field continue to collapse now, as you read this. The lead mine used a series of caves to make life easier for excavation but they also used too many amateur explosives. The field looks like a battlefield and shudders, groans and then there is a new hole, suddenly, with its edges fumbling for underground company. The field was and is deadly. There are perhaps 100 dead miners down there.

Gerald used it as a short cut for his first day at school!

Ouch! I’m out of time!

I’ve got to cook dinner!

I’ll send you CHAPTER THREE

After I see a map!

It doesn’t have to be terribly good!

But think of the cliffs, the horrible winds, think of Gerald’s school! Include a sign post in your map. “To Gerald’s First Day at School!”

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