Home Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10

Grand Valley Times Masthead

(Found Oct 31, 2010

Decoded over the course of the following year:

These chronicles were discovered on Halloween October 31, 2010 and have taken this long to decode.

They were left on the doorstep of the publisher of The Grand Valley Times.

We publish these herein without confirming the veracity of these documents. We neither attest to their truthfulness nor vouch for their authenticity. They are published merely as a matter of record. The reader shall be the final judge as to their genuineness.

Our Story Begins...)

Chapter 1

I walk these lands encumbered no longer. It has been many years since I have felt this great burden on my shoulders has been lifted.

To you who may find these, I hope they not burden you as they have burdened me, but much like the Ancient Mariner:

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
"By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

I feel compelled to stop you (if I may gain your attention) and tell you this my story.

It was in August of 1830 when I first met my beloved beneath the warm harvest moon as I was out strolling about my fields. I saw her come running from a distance, as if chased by some horrid mythical beast. I could feel the fear beating in her chest as if were of one heart.

Chapter 2

I stared, transfixed as I stumbled through my field of wheat and shaking myself out of my reverie, approached her with as much speed as I could muster.

She collapsed some distance from where I was standing. I kept a firm gaze upon her position as she disappeared beneath the tall wheat and did not want to lose the place where she had disappeared.

After some minutes I came across her fallen body, her heaving breast displaying a strong life force so as not to worry me too much about her condition. She appeared to be in good health and as I knelt down to cradle her head from the earthen sods, she soon became conscious.

She pushed me away with such force as to cause me to fall backward and it was only a quick reaction on my part by extending my arm to break my fall that I did not injure myself. She immediately stood up and such a look of fire in her eyes as to make me truly frightened.

As one would with a wild horse I put out my hand in a calming gesture and whispered something like "Steady ma'am I mean you know harm."

We studied each other as a hunter might study their prey before attacking and in this circumstance I was surely the prey. The fact that she looked so delicate and vulnerable was the only reason that I did not flee immediately to protect my own life. I could see she had clenched a rock in her fist that she has grasped as she had stood up.

We eyed each other for some time before she spoke. I could see her assessing the situation carefully and felt she was using all her native intelligence to determine whether I be friend or foe. I felt relieved when I noticed the rock fall harmlessly from her hand. I waited for her to speak.

"I am sorry sir." She hesitated momentarily. "I must return.." her voice trailed off as if she was saying this more to herself than me.

Chapter 3

"Well excuse me miss, but I must inquire what it is that has frightened you thus, if you don't mind". She turned as if she had not heard me speak. She started walking in the direction she had come.

I started to follow after her. She immediately turned and flashed a very intense angry gaze in my direction. Correctly surmising my unthreatening demeanour, her gaze turned gently upon me.

"Oh I am sorry sir, to disturb you. It is nothing."

I could not leave it like that and she sensed that that was so.

"I cannot believe you miss. I watched you fly across my field and then collapse in this very spot. Allow me to be concerned for you well-being."

"You need not be concerned kind sir. I will not tell you any lies but it is best that I tell you nothing further, for your sake and mine." She seemed truly concerned for my well being. "I must return from whence I came." I could feel her reluctance of doing so. I was not sure of what to do next.

As if reading my thoughts she continued: "There is no possible assistance you can render me sir, now I must be going".

"Where are you going, as least answer me that." From her manner I wasn't sure she would answer that.

"I am staying at the Procter's, just down the road."

"Yes I know the Procter's, they have been my neighbours for these last ten years."

"Well then you will know that they do not like much intrusions into their daily lives." That I did know well enough.

The Procter's as such were not bad neighbours but they did keep to themselves and were not at all welcoming of visitors no matter whether they were neighbours or not. "I cannot say I know them well."

"And that is the way they would have it. Now, if you don't mind I must return. Please, think no more of this unpleasant encounter..."

"Well other than your present excited state, I did not consider this at all to be unpleasant." I seized the chance of learning her name...."miss ahh."

I must have caught her with her guard down because she immediately replied "Miss Janice will suffice.." She hesitated, waiting for me to fill in the gap. "You may call me Gordon, Miss Janice."

She made no effort to correct me. She was then most truly a Miss and having being widowed some years earlier and as I was definitely interested in some companionship, her beauty over rode the strangeness of this meeting. Against my better judgment I wished to engage Miss Janice in a more social setting. I ventured a try.

Chapter 4

"Well as strange as this meeting has started out, maybe you would wish to join me sometime for a cup of tea in the near future..."

I could see a look of pure horror descend over her face as she contemplated this possibility. It caused me to step back a pace or two. She noticed immediately the effect her look had upon me and I could tell she had somewhat regretted it.

"No I mustn't, I must return. Forget you ever met me." And with that she was off, running as fast as she was when she approached me. I watched her fade into the distance and could see the Procter's place way in the distance. I waited until she disappeared behind the hedge row that surrounded the old Procter farm house. "At least," I thought, "I knew where to find her if I indeed wanted to pursue this."

Try as I might I could not forget Janice. In her young delicate features, masking a strength that I knew would most assuredly keep her alive, no matter how worried I may have been for her life.

And I had almost succeeded in forgetting her too and would have had it not been a chance encounter with Mrs. Procter. Of the two of them that I knew, she was the friendliest and do not know to this day why she invited it out to their farm for dinner.

She asked to attend this coming Friday, and not having a head for dates, quickly agreed hoping of course to run into Janice once more who I did not mention, anticipating that I would surely run into to her at that dinner.

That is why is struck me as somewhat odd that when I returned home, collar upturned from that damp cold October night to look at my calendar and see that Friday was All Hallow's Eve, surely an odd day to being inviting guests. However as my curiosity regarding Janice was now at the breaking point, there was no force under heaven going to keep away from this dinner.

I hitched up my horse to the jitney, wearing my dark coat, collar upturned to the frightful northwest wind that would very soon be ushering in winter. It was just turning 5:30 as it was beginning to darken, the remaining leaves forming whirlwinds around the carriage as I coaxed Max, my horse down the lane way and on to the road to travel the mile between laneways.

There was a full moon and as the clouds scraped the front of the yellow sphere, it was indeed a night that could have harboured all sorts of odd goblins and the like.

Chapter 5

I was not very superstitious and felt no fear as I travelled between the two houses, finally turning up there large treed laneway to their house, a large stone affair that Grandfather Procter had built those many years ago upon first settling on the farm, having arrived from Hull in England.

The lights were burning brightly and warmly inside as I tied up the horse and headed for the front door. I briefly eyed the barn as I turned the corner of the house and noticed the glow of a lantern through a window.

Was it my imagination or did I notice a brief shadow cross the window? I was tempted to turn and have a look but thought better of it as I knew old man Procter was a suspicious sort, and it was best to stay on his good side, especially when he had been drinking, which was most days after 5:00 pm I was told.

I knocked on the door, my curiosity seriously piqued, and was anticipating meeting young Janice and was quite excited at the prospect.

Mrs. Procter met me at the door and took my black top hat and coat and ushered me into the drawing room where a large fire was roaring. Mr. Procter stood facing me with his back to the fireplace and I could make out the head of a young male sitting on the couch facing the fire.

I approached Mr. Procter with outstretched hand and was most relieved to see him to be in a jovial mode, as probably he had not consumed much ale as of yet and was in that pleasant state that liquor in the correct amounts can induce.

Chapter 6

I held out my hand which he warmly shook.

"Good to see you again Bob."

He muttered a reply as Mrs. Procter returned to the room.

"Esther, introduce Gordon to the boy."

I looked at Mrs. Procter as she guided me over towards the young gentleman sitting on the couch. I would have guessed his age at around 25.

"Gordon this is our neighbour, Gordon, Gordon Allan."

I held out my hand anticipating a firm strong handshake in return. Instead his hand felt as if I was handling a dead fish.

I quickly withdrew from his moist grasp, trying to hide my discomfort from having to shake such a hand.

"Well shall we eat?" and with that we were all ushered into the dining room to a table laden with an inordinate amount of food.

I waited until Esther had sat down, then Gordon, then me as Bob stood to carve the roast beef. I looked anxiously around for a place for Janice, but there was none. I was close to bursting with curiosity and it was all I could do contain myself.

I had not known that Janice had affected me that deeply until the prospect of meeting her again suddenly became dashed. It was all I could do not to question her whereabouts as the mystery deepened.

The meal was delicious and the brandy was taking hold, so I felt emboldened to ask a question of Allan.

"So Allan," my face flushed and my being filled with good will that a few brandy’s can elicit, "what brings you to these parts."

Before he could respond, it was Esther who jumped in quickly.

"He’s my nephew, from the old country, my sister and her husband died rather tragically, I’m afraid and he came to live with us."

I stared at Allan to see if he was completely feeble minded or whether he could indeed talk as he had said nothing to this point. Sensing my derision, Allan finally spoke up with a thick upper crust British accent.

"It’s ok Aunt Esther, I am long over the grief," and then turning to me he said, "Uncle Bob and Aunt Esther were kind enough to take me in, so that I may finish my education. I am completing my studies to become a vet."

"Well we certainly could use the services of a vet around here." His tone was friendly enough. "So you must be working with Dr. Musgrave?"

"Yes indeed, a very good man and an able vet."

"When he’s not drunk," but I kept that thought to myself. "Yes indeed," I readily agreed.

Chapter 7

Finally I could contain my curiosity no longer. I had to ask.

"Does anyone of you know of a young woman named Janice?"

The room went deathly silent and then I could hear all three of them do a sharp intake of breath as if in unison. All eyes turned to Bob as their spokesman.

"Who did you say Gordon?" I could see he was vying for some time to gather his wits.

"Yes a young woman named Janice I believe. I came across her last August."

I let my voice trail off to give them ample opportunity to lie their way out of the situation if they so chose. And so choose they did.

"No never heard of any such a person." Bob was ruffled which was hard to do to Bob, especially after a few drinks. We were back in the drawing room by now, and his face glowed ever redder in the light of the blazing fire in the hearth.

I glanced around the room. Esther appeared with her head down almost as if in prayer and Allan seemed to form an ever so indelicate sneer.

I was not sure of how hard to pursue this as I remembered distinctly watching her as she crossed the field in that warm August day and wonder directly to this farm. It is possible she was just passing through, but I distinctly remember being approached by Amos their Australian Sheep dog, who could be quite aggressive with folks he did not know. That memory had just resurfaced now after all that time. Besides, the nearest other farm over was a good five miles in the direction she was travelling.

If their reaction had not been so shocked, I most likely would have dropped the matter right there but now it was impossible for me to let this matter go. And with sighting of a shadow in the barn, the mystery was just too intense to bear without a solution.

I let the evening proceed as if I suspected nothing. I got to know Allan a little better and though finding him quite intelligence there was something definitely quite smarmy about him. I knew it was time to leave when Bob had that one glass over the line and started to turn nasty. I did not want to provide an excuse for him to drink too much and take it out on Esther which was the rumour in these parts and was happy to see that Allan, however unctuous, was as least there to bear witness to Bob’s behaviour.

We said our pleasantries at the door as a bade Esther and Bob a good night, raising my voice to bid Allan a pleasant evening, as he seemed too lazy to accompany me to the door.

The farewells were kept brief as the wind almost tore the door from its hinges as I wrapped my white scarf around my neck and boarded the jitney for the ride home. It was a miserable wet night, but I was determined to return later to the barn to satisfy my curiosity regarding Janice. It was something that I must know and I must know this very Halloween night.

I returned to my house and lit a fire in the stove. I put the horse away because for this excursion I would require absolute stealth. I changed into something completely dark, put on my work boots, had one more drink of rum from the flask which was now in my pocket and headed out across the damp fields. As all the crops were in all that was required was to successfully navigate the muddy furrows across to the Procter’s farm yard.

The wind had died somewhat and the cloud cover had retreated and I had no trouble finding my way by the light of the full moon. The dog was no where around and even if he were he knew me well enough not to bark.

As I approached the barn I could see the orange glow of the lamplight. I snuck up very carefully, thankful that there be enough of a breeze that should I make a noise anyone hearing it could put it down to the activities of the wind.

The window was shoulder high as I very carefully leant up against the wall and then gently leaned around to ever so careful peer into the cavernous barn.

Chapter 8

At first I did not recognize her. She was fully dressed in a black robe, holding a mace in one hand her hands out stretched. She appeared to be alone, standing above a steaming pool of liquid to which she was addressing all her attention.

It was strange but not all that strange to me at the time. I peered on fascinated by this strange woman performing this most odd of rituals. I pulled back and looked at my watch and could barely see it under the bright moonlight. It said a quarter to twelve. I looked around once again.

The shock and horror of what confronted me caused me to temporarily lose my balance and collapse in a heap. If my legs were willing, all my retained faculties would surely have caused me to flee, fearful of my very life, but I was paralyzed on the spot and could not move as if totally paralyzed.

For I had seen, just on the other side of the pane of glass, just the thickness of that pane as separation surely the face of Lucifer himself staring at me with his dark ruby red eyes. If it had ended at that moment and I had returned home, I would have doubted what I had seen and would have ended up discounting the whole experience as a strange hallucination. That, however was not to be for when I looked up, there Janice stood in all her beauty, desirable beyond desire. I was totally now in her spell.

"I told you to stay away, Gordon." Well at least she had remembered my name. "I am afraid you must now come in and join us."

I could no more resist her commands, even though spoken in a low sultry voice, as a dog could resist mealtime. She offered me her hand and it seemed to impart some strange energy to me as it allowed me stand up effortlessly as if I was floating.

I followed her into the confines of the barn, at first overwhelmed by the stench of sulphur but quickly adapting my senses. The being that I had encountered in the window was sitting quietly on a bale of hay, and did not look nearly as menacing as did the image I saw in the window. He seemed totally subservient to Janice and I felt no threat at present.

I understood, like a well trained guard dog, he most likely had the potential to tear me a part with a command from Janice if she felt the need, which I was strongly hoping she did not.

Chapter 9

She motioned me over to a chair.

"It is good of you to have joined us. And you did come of your own free will."

I do not know why that sounded so ominous but it did to me at that moment.

"You see you are required to come of your own free will or none of this will work."

I did not know if it would matter what she had said because I seemed to be in some induced state of tranquility that I was quite beginning to enjoy. I had so many questions forming in my mind but they just seemed to vaporize as the mist coming off the abyss that she stood before.

I let her carry on.

"When I first met you in the field I was running from this very thing you now see before you. At once it can appear comforting and the next moment illicit such extreme terror within you that it feel that you must surely die from its power."

"I had been seduced by this power, what ever it is and then suddenly I wanted to be free of what ever it is. It sensed that and let me run away, to where I met you in the field. Well you could see my terror…"

She let her voice trail off as my mind drifted off to that encounter. "But I had to return."

She stared into the black vaporous pool before her.

"And now thanks to you, I can free myself from this wretched curse."

That statement sent a cold chill up my spine. Just as she said it, the great barn door flew open as the Procter’s entered. Alan sat in the corner hunched over, staring into the abyss rocking frenetically back and forth. The Procter’s eyes had turned icy blue and burned with an intensity that I dared not look at. I quickly looked away.

She pointed to a bench at the far end of the pool.

"You are lucky young Allan, we can take Gordon here as our live sacrifice. You may live for yet another year. Mr. Clark came of his own free will. He will do."

Obviously under her spell, young Allan made a brief grunting sign in acknowledgement.

"I must have something to say about all this." I was vying for some time to consider my next move. Although it appeared I could have freely left I knew whatever force was compelling them, most likely had me trapped also. I did not want to test it until I was absolutely sure of my next move.

"Say all you want Gordon, you are powerless beyond this point to change anything hereafter. It has been decided by a force way more powerful than you could ever possibly understand. And to free me from this thing you see before you, I will do anything."

"Well I beg to…." and it was exactly at that point that I was thrust to the edge of this pool. Staring down I was indeed at the edge of the abyss. I looked up at Janice with a certain longing in my eyes and had she had been a human at that point, she may have felt some sympathy. But she had long since completed her metamorphosis into other-worldly creature, although an exceedingly desirable one and she looked on me as if I were just some poor beast about to be sacrificed by forces beyond our control.

"Oh you were saying Gordon?"

Chapter 10

I opened my mouth to utter some words but nothing would come out. The swirling forces of the abyss surrounded me as I was cast forever into that bottomless pit, condemned forever to wander all eternity, chained to forces well beyond my control.

Some say Janice was freed at that very moment and that the strange abyss in the barn disappeared for all eternity. Some claim to see her ghost in the graveyard as no one knows what happened to her hence.

And others say that the water behind The Grand Valley Graveyard is the result of a gravel pit long unused, fed by natural spring waters.

But on Halloween night, by the light of a full moon, they say you can see the ghost of Gordon Clark hovering above it, and, it is said in the wind you may still hear the mournful howls of his agony as he is said to struggle against the force of the abyss for all eternity.

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