Presence in the Pasture

Presenting a 750 word challenge story. for the eerie photo by Kevin McElheran, in Sorrento, British Columbia, Canada.

Presence in the Pasture

The lonely edifice within the birch thicket was once the Pasture Church. The cabin like parish sanctuary had been a pillar of the community for many years. Its days were sadly numbered when its wooden structure became home to woodworm. The final straw was the roof buckling, almost toppling the little bell tower. That was twenty years ago. The parishioners relocated to a new church built within the village. The old Pasture Church, became a derelict, lonesome shadow of its former self.

Jack Cardigan lived in the closest cottage to the church with his collie Asher. Jack was a septuagenarian who loved the outdoors. He walked with Asher twice a day and again in the evening. This evening, like most, he wandered along the old gravel track toward the church.

“Come to heel, Asher. Something’s amiss tonight.” Jack slipped the lead over the dog’s black-and-white neck. His hazel eyes focused on the shadowy church. Its windows radiated with eerie white light, which set the silver birches aglow. Never had there been a light in the old building after dark; at least since the last vicar left anyway.

Jack hastened toward the trees on alert.  Not even a fox was stirring this deathly silent night.

Asher had his nose to the gravel, he snuffled away as the two neared the church. Drawing level with the bramble-ridden pathway, he let of a warning growl.

Easy Asher, let’s check, before resorting to violence, hey, lad.” Jack smoothed his head for a moment. Straightening, he studied the leaning bell tower; how it hadn’t tumbled down, he didn’t know. He cursed his inquisitive nature – now he’d have to brave the brambles and take a look inside.

Jack adjusted his flap cap and ducked into the darkness. He ignored the arched-windows, knowing he couldn’t reach them through the thorny undergrowth. The church door was always open due to being weathered and buckled. Creeping inside with Asher at his heels he blinked in the bright light. Asher wagged his tail, indicating the darkness beyond the stone alter.

“Who’s here?” Jack realised the light was coming from a phone propped on an old shelf. There were no pews, no font or anything here. Those had been relocated to the village. Just the stone altar remained.

A scrabbling reached the old man’s ears.

“Come where I can see you,” he urged while tugging Asher back. The dog was desperate to investigate – pulling on the lead.

A whimper – Jack advanced on the light, snatching the phone down. Turning it on the altar he let out a gasp. Cowering among the leaf litter and cobwebs in the corner was a girl. He reckoned, she was about twelve and suffering by the look of her. She was shivering with cold in her pink hoodie, jeans and ankle boots. Jack gave her a friendly smile and released Asher.

The dog bounded to the girl’s side and gave her a comforting lick.

“P- please don’t hurt me,” she managed in a tiny trembling voice, her arms wrapped around Asher now.

“Have no fear, lass. We mean you no harm.” Jack sat on the altar stone and took a breath, his gaze never on her respectfully. “They call me Jack, your new friend there is Asher. May we know your name?”

“I’m Abby. Asher’s lovely, but please leave me alone.”

“Nice to meet you, Abby. Now we know each other’s names, that makes us friends.” Jack took out and lit his tobacco pipe. “As your friend, I’d like to help you to somewhere safer and warmer than this old derelict church.”

“It is weird in here.” Abby rose to her feet.

“That it is. Would you like to walk Asher for me?” Jack held out the lead and the girl’s phone. He smiled when she accepted them.

“Thank you. I never walked a dog before. My parents would never have one. They’re too busy hurting each other and me too.” Abby wiped away a tear as she clipped the lead to Asher’s collar.

Jack noted a bruise on her arm as she sorted the lead. “I’m sorry to hear that, Lass. If you’ll trust me, I promise to do all I can to help you.”

Abby seemed to think for a minute then grinned as they left the church. “So long as I can stay with Asher. I’ll trust you.”

“Deal.” Jack held out a hand and chuckled as they shook on it. How he hoped he could see his new friend to a better place. Of course – only time would tell.

The End.

Thank you for reading, Do check out my Short Stories. and Short Stories 2 pages for my tales to make your day (hopefully) more enjoyable.

Have a great day.

5 thoughts on “Presence in the Pasture

Add yours

    1. Thank you, Jim. This one was leading to something Paranormal. So the challenge was to still give it the eerie vibe but not have anything spiritual, or weird going on. Glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ooo, quite tense not being sure what he was going to find – and me with my dark mind! LOL – but lovely ending. Great take on the prompt too. Thanks for joining.

    Liked by 1 person

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