THE LOST GIRL by Alyson Faye
The door had been nailed shut but what the reason had been was lost to the mysteries of time. Berkley Osgood ran his fingers over the heads of the rusted nails. There were, at his last count, over fifty. Someone had done a really bang-up job on this door. But when? And why?
The former professor rubbed his glasses, bent down and ran his fingers along the lower door frame. When he took his hand away he saw his fingertips were smeared with an oily dark grease. He sniffed and recoiled. It smelt of bad drains.
What the hell?
Hurriedly he wiped his hand on the baby wipe he always carried with him. It stained the wipe a rancid yellow.
“You say your aunt lived here for fifty-plus years? And as far as you know she never attempted to open this door?”
Jacob, chewing nicotine gum, with a frazzled expression, shook his head. “Nah, she always told me it was nailed shut for a damn good reason and she wasn’t goin’ to risk her soul by messing with it. Iron, you see.”
Jacob nodded at the horseshoe balanced above their heads on the door jamb. “Iron for protection and strength. Kept her safe, she told me, all her life.”
“Didn’t you tell me your aunt was killed when a bus knocked her over?” Osgood asked.
Jacob looked unsettled. “Yeah, that’s right. But she was safe inside the house, wasn’t she? It was outside she had the―accident.”
The Lost Girl
A nailed-up door. An inheritance which comes with a ghost. A missing girl. A fifty-year-old mystery. Parapsychologist Berkley Osgood is hired to investigate. What he uncovers reveals secrets the living want to hide and the dead will never forgive.
Adam is having nightmares about a skeletal shadow figure, who he calls Spindleshanks. Soon his whole class are sharing the same nightmare. Adam’s dad, Rob, knows that Spindleshanks can’t be real. But is he? One terrible night Rob has to face his son’s nightmare creature and fight for his son’s life. What would you sacrifice to have your child back safe?
Meet The Writer
Insipration behind the stories
The Lost Girl started as a one line prompt - 'the door was nailed shut' which I found online, and I began writing from there. The idea of the eccentric parapsychologist, Berkley Osgood, came to me in his entirety, as characters sometimes do. I could see him very clearly with his rumpled hair, bow-tie, and no-fuss get on with it 'ghost-busting' approach. The mystery of the missing girl, I decided to set in 1970, because I wanted to show how different social attitudes were even fifty years ago, towards girls who got 'into trouble'. I wove in my love of old movies with a supporting character who's an avid movie buff/collector. I even give Rock Hudson a passing shout out. Remember him? There's always something of me or my hobbies in every story I write.
I enjoy writing about children and teens (maybe because I used to teach and still have a teen at home). The power of young children's imaginations and the monsters they create fascinates me. Spindleshanks was then born - but what, I wondered, if he was not just a dream but real in some way? And how terrifying it would be as a parent to first call your child a liar then to find they are telling the truth, and worst of all, your child has been taken? There's a lot of quiet horror in this story and the rather gory ending expresses one of my ultimate fears.
About Alyson Faye
Alyson lives in West Yorkshire, UK with her husband, teen son and four rescue animals. Her fiction has been published widely in print anthologies - DeadCades, Women in Horror Annual 2, Strange Girls, Colp:Black and Grey and in many ezines, but most often on the Horror Tree site, and in Siren’s Call.
Demain published her noir crime novella, Maggie of my Heart and SSS!18 Night of the Rider in 2019.
Recently her work has appeared in the NHS charity anthology, Diabolica Britannica, Tyche’s Air and Things in the Well’s Trickster’s Treats 4.
Her stories have been read on BBC Radio Leeds, can be heard online in downloads and she won the recent Saltaire Festival short story competition.
Alyson enjoys swimming, eating chocolate, watching old movies and happily shares the same birthday as Cary Grant.
You can find her on twitter @AlysonFaye2 and on the moors near her home, with her dog, in all weathers.