“Two figures emerge from the darkness of the shadows by the riverbed. They seem to be carrying something heavy. They hop onto a boat and dispose of their burden on reaching the middle of the river. 45 minutes later they reach back home grinning with a wry satisfaction. The job was done. ”
Castle Combe is a quintessentially English village in Wiltshire, England. Famous for its age-old churches and the ambling Bybrook river, it’s truly a delightful example of the traditional English village. Many years from now, certain incidents took place that shook the entire town. Some of the dogmatic folk simply refused to believe in them; others who witnessed them were too frightened to talk about them. Still, there were a few whose word and wit made them a living legend.
It all started with the disappearance of Rebecca Williams, a twelve-year-old girl who lived with her parents in a fairly decent house near the river. Authorities were baffled and all investigations proved futile. Her parents, the police and the whole town searched high and low (as used to happen in small knit communities) but no signs of her could be found. Her parents were devastated but no help could be provided apart from commiseration. A year later, they had another daughter, Olivia; and life seemed to return to normal. Little did they know their happiness was short lived…
20 years after Rebecca’s disappearance, tragedy struck this family again, when her father, John Williams dropped dead on his own accord on the porch of his house…
Two officers of the force were sitting, smoking their pipes, and trying to make something of an absurd case that had been laid before them.
“No sign of forced entry or robbery. No sign of violence. The only thing that can give us a lead is a bracelet found in his shirt pocket, but can’t seem to make head or tail of it.” Said one of them, reviewing the facts they’d been discussing for over a quarter of an hour.
“Who would have a grudge against John Williams, he came across as a fine fellow.” uttered the other.
“John who?” said a gruff voice from behind. They turned back to see their interlocutor walking toward them. Brian was a veteran police officer, who’d been serving in the force for over 30 years, but had never quite lived up to his potential.
“Williams sir.” Replied the younger of the two.
“His family knows anything about the bracelet?” asked Brian, who had been intrigued.
“No, sir. Couldn’t get anything from them. Angelica Williams, his wife went berserk when we showed her the bracelet. She wouldn’t talk to us anymore. Very outlandish conduct if you ask me.”
A very shaken Brian trudged back to his chamber and fell upon his chair. Why would Angelica act so strangely upon seeing the bracelet? And how did it end up there in the first place? Death’s always around the corner for this family, he thought darkly.
Maybe I still have my files on Rebecca’s case, maybe I’ll find some clue in there…maybe and…with these thoughts he fell into a deep slumber in which he dreamt of Rebecca. He dreamt that she was sobbing on the floor of a room with her parents…or who looked like her parents; for they wore an evil look…and were laughing at their daughter’s wretched composure…the vision changed…she was drowning in what seemed like a lake….her bracelet still on her wrist…shining like the sun in those murky waters…the vision changed again….this time she was standing on the Porsche of her house…she was looking pleased…somewhat fatigued too as she stared with contentment at the dead body of John Williams staring directly into her eyes….
Brian woke up with a start. His breathing was heavy and he `was sweating profusely. He looked down at the bracelet in his hand and wondered…
….His dream, it felt like someone was making him see it. Almost as if feeding his subconscious.
After hours of rummaging through old case files, he came across the thing he was looking for…witness accounts on Rebecca. Sure enough, on a dusty page, written in ink were the words ‘last seen wearing a blue frock and a golden bracelet…’
He picked up his overcoat and after putting the bracelet in his shirt pocket, hurried along the road by the river, not expecting what was about to come…
Brian ringed the doorbell and after a few moments, was greeted by a young lady in her early twenties.
“Hi, I’m Brian; you must be Olivia.” He said in a ringing voice, trying his best to sound cheerful.
She scrutinized him with apprehension but remained taciturn.
“Who is it?” cried a voice from inside the room; Brian peeped inside to look at Angelica Williams’ figure scurrying across to the front door.
“Yes?” she said in a somewhat cavalier voice.
“Police.” Brian announced and let himself in.
“What do you want? Haven’t we suffered enough already? You won’t do much good harassing us like this.” she snapped back at him.
“I’m here to talk to you about your daughter Mrs. Williams.” The bracelet in his shirt pocket felt suddenly heavy.
Angelica who until now hadn’t been listening to the police officer looked up with a jerk. Her composure changed, she stared fixedly at him and her countenance showed signs of fear and terror of the highest order.
“W..what about me ?” said Olivia, speaking for the first time.
“Not you, Reb—” Brian was cut across by a scream from Mrs. Williams, who was pointing a finger in the direction of the kitchen.
“IN THERE!” she said giving her daughter a menacing look and her gaze turned back to Brian who had guessed what had happened.
“You didn’t tell her about Rebecca did you?” Brian said in a voice resonating with the deepest disgust.
“Tell me what! Who’s Rebecca ?” Olivia cried, quite alarmed. Her mother shot her a nasty look, but she didn’t budge.
“Your sister” he replied through gritted teeth.
And from within his shirt pocket, he took out the silver bracelet and flashed it across to Angelica, whose eyes had gone wide, and a malicious scowl spread across her countenance.
“You killed your daughter didn’t you Mrs. Williams? Your husband and you threw her body that night in the lake didn’t you?” Brian asked quietly.
He was cut short in his speech by a voice that came from behind him. It was the sound of metal upon wood. Making a mental note to check that later, he turned to face her, but was shocked to see the thing facing him. Angelica looked hundred years old. Her skin had developed a blackish tinge, her hair that had been neatly tied in a bun, were now scattered and matted. But the thing that frightened Brian the most were her eyes; for they were a terrifying amalgamation of red and black.
“MOTHER!” screamed Olivia, who wanted to help but was positively frightened by these terrifying turn of events.
And suddenly, a strong pungent smell of rotten meat filled the room; its effect was so strong that Brian began moving up and about the room, one hand covering his nose as if to investigate these queer turn of events. In the moment, he noticed that the bracelet in his hand was gone. But that was hardly of importance right now. Then a sardonic thought occurred to Brian, and he looked up at Angelica. There it was; tied around her neck, trying to choke her, as though held by something invisible. Olivia was now on the floor, sobbing, crying for help.
“KILL HER!” a demonic voice echoed from Angelica but Brian knew the voice wasn’t hers. Blood was dripping from her neck and her breathing had become irregular,
And then a terrible blood-curdling scream came from her, but this time Brian knew whom it belonged to; for this voice was petrified and reeked of helplessness and impotence.
“HELP ME!! PLEASE DON’T KIL—”
Suddenly something in her moved, her torso jerked forward, she gave Olivia one imploring look and within a second her body fell upon the wooden floor like a ragged doll and she knew no more…
The aftermath of this episode was so strong and had such a profound impact on Olivia, that shortly after this; she committed suicide by putting a gun in her mouth.
Even today, on a cold winter night, mutated versions of the events illustrated above are told by people whose grandfathers and great grandfathers were around at that time. The residence of the Williams has since been abandoned and people let it stay that way. An occasional vagabond also thinks twice before going anywhere near the property; for excruciating screams of a young girl can be heard in desolate hours of darkness…