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Friday 17 September 2021

The Haunted Bell Tower


    It was a little before curfew, two Top Hat administrative officials were walking through the village. The evening was quiet, the air still.
    “What are you looking so pleased about?” No.56 asked of his friend No.89.
    “You’ve been up to something, you’re looking too pleased with yourself.”
    “Well to tell the truth I’ve had a short story published.”
    “In the Village Mercury.”
    “I never knew you were a writer.”
    “I dabble” No.89 confessed.
    “What’s the story about?”
    “A haunted bell tower.”
    “Why is it haunted?”
    “Because someone hanged themselves at the top of the bell tower.”
    “Why did he do that?”
    “It wasn’t a he, it was a she.”
    No.36 and her husband No.35 had been brought to the village in order to serve the community. However the village and its community were not what they were purported to be, and so life in the village did not suit her at all. Her husband tried to make her settle down, telling her that there was nothing else for it, there was no chance of leaving because once you are in there is no out. But the wife pleaded with her husband to take her away from this hell. So he planned an escape, but it failed, her husband was attacked by the Guardian and suffocated to death in front of his wife. She was not the same after that, and attempted suicide more than once. And then one night, just like a night such as this just before curfew, she stole herself away, and climbing to the top of the bell tower removed a rope from one the bells and hung herself. Why she hung herself instead of throwing herself off the top of the bell tower we shall never know. But on certain nights, when the air is still and calm a bell can be heard to toll, and sometimes there’s a death in the village.
    “Are you going to buy a copy of the Village Mercury?”
    “Why should I, I’ve had the story straight from the author’s mouth!”
    “Oh fiddlesticks! We had best get a move on it’s almost curfew.”
    And it was getting dark, the village lights were lighting up, and then the tolling of a bell could be heard.
    No.56 stopped and listened “What’s that?”
    “What’s what, oh that’s just the tolling of the bell sounding curfew no doubt.”
    “The bell.”
    “Yes the bell in the bell tower.”
    “The bells have been removed; they have yet to be replaced with new ones” No.56.
    “So what’s that tolling bell?”
    “More to the point who tolls the bell?”
    “Hope not that it tolls for thee!”
    The two men went to investigate the bell tower, luckily No.56 had a small pocket torch. The door to the bell tower was unlocked, the bell continued to toll as slowly they entered. There was nothing and no-one to be seen on the ground floor, no-one was hiding, there was no place anyone could hide save under the staircase, but investigation showed there was no-one there. So up the staircase the two men went, up to the next level and the one beyond that. Again a search was made, but to no result, there was no-one, and nowhere to hide.

    And so they climbed the ladder to the top of the bell tower, by the time they had climbed to the top of the ladder the tolling bell had stopped. There was no-one there. No.89 wasn’t keen on heights, and he stood with his back to one of the four columns as No.56 shone his torch about. They decided to go back down, but as No.89 moved to step down onto the top rung of the ladder he slipped and almost fell, but No.89 was quick to grab his colleague’s arm and save him from the long fall to his doom.
    “That was timely” 89 said “very timely.”
    “There will be no death at the tolling of the bell this night” 56 said as he put a foot on the first rung of the ladder and began to climb down.
    No.89 followed his colleague down to the next level and finally down the staircase to the ground floor. They closed the door behind them and bid each other a goodnight. It was then the scream occurred, a woman screaming in the night.
    In the control room an Observer brought the scream to the attention of the supervisor who instantly ordered a complete sweep of the village via night vision cameras.
    The maid was found dead, having been suffocated to death. It appears she had been hurrying on her way home having been busy making nightcaps for a number of citizens in the privacy of their own homes, but had left it rather late. Why the Guardian attacked No.139 is unknown, however the order was swiftly given to de-activate, as the tolling of the death bell drifted over the still air of the village.

Be seeing you

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