Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘York

I am submitting this story to Stevie Turner´s Short Story Competition  You may want to submit one as well.

This story was inspired by a visit to Clifford´s Tower in York.

Terror in the Tower
By
Darlene Foster

The tower ruin overlooks the city from high on a grassy mound. Angela pulls her sweater tighter around her as she glances up. She experiences the same chill every time she walks past the site.
When she was seven, her mother took her up to the old stone keep. From a small window, she saw a girl looking out at her through iron bars. Fire blazed behind the child. It had frightened her so.
“Mommy, we need to help that little girl,” exclaimed Angela.
Her mother took her hand and said, “There are no children in there. It must be a trick of the sun reflecting off the water.”
The sad, terrified and helpless child appeared very real.
Angela shudders as she recalls that day. She rushes to work.
***
It was the feast of Shabbat ha-Gadol. Instead of the usual tables overflowing with food, around her lay the dead bodies of friends and neighbours. The smell of fresh blood and smouldering wood filled the thick air. Ester searched for Jacob and Marta in the crowded tower. She witnessed parents slitting their children’s throats and then their own. Terrified, Ester tried to look away, but it was the same everywhere.
Since she didn’t have any parents, she stayed with old Jacob the moneylender and his kind wife, Marta. For her board, she cleaned the house, made meals and ran errands. Ester stumbled in the smoke-filled keep looking for the only family she knew. Eventually, she found them, dead in each other’s arms on a bed of straw soaked with maroon blood. A curved butcher’s knife lay beside them.
Did they forget about me? Did Jacob slit his wife’s throat and then his own?
The flames and smoke of the burning wood tower closed around her.
A growing mob outside yelled, “Come out, you dirty Jews.”
Why is this happening? We were promised safety in the tower.
She peered through the iron bars of a low window. Angry people outside the tower waved swords, scythes and pitchforks. It was safer to stay inside. It was better to die by your own hand. That is what the Rabbi said.
In the crowd, she caught the clear blue eyes of a girl her age. A girl dressed in fine clothing. Maybe she can help me. Ester mouthed the word Help.
The girl pointed to the window and said, “Look, Mother, there is a little girl in the tower. It is burning. We must help her.”
Ester saw an elegant woman take the child´s hand and pull her away. “There are no children in there, Angelina. Let us go away from this awful place.”
Ester coughed from the thick smoke and fell backwards. The flames engulfed her.
***
Nine centuries later Angela feels the eyes of Ester pleading for help as she hurries past Clifford’s Tower on the way to her Hebrew lessons. One day she will stop and help the child.

During my visit to York, I went on a ghost walk. A city with such a long and rich history is bound to have ghosts lurking about. In fact, York is known as the most haunted city in England. Our excellent guide took us to places where ghosts sightings and paranormal activity have been reported. We began the tour at the York Minster on a chilly misty evening.

One of many Ghost Walks available in York.

The York Minster looking spooky at night.

Our knowledgeable and entertaining guide.

I expected to an apparition to appear at any moment.

 

Some say the face of a young girl appears at the small window in this house. This ghostly child starved to death after her entire family died from the plague as no one was willing to go into the house to get her. Sad times.

Working in the cellar of the Treasure’s House in 1953, plumber Harry Martindale was terrified when a group of Roman soldiers walked past him. He noted that the figures disappeared into the floor at knee height. Later investigation revealed a roman road half a metre under the basement.

York is the birthplace of Guy Fawkes and is also where he is buried. Unfortunately, his head was buried in one place and his body in another. Apparently, he wanders the Shambles at night looking for his head. I didn’t encounter him, although I did find an inn named after him.

The ghost of Guy Fawkes is supposed to wander the Shambles at night looking for his severed head.

Mysterious splashes have been heard late at night at the site of the ancient Roman baths.

During a daytime walk around town, we found these guys hanging about.

The sign says, Here lies Fat Ken, our original shop skeleton who fell to bits because people loved him too much. Please be kind.

So why all the interest in ghosts, skeletons and creepy things? Probably because I´ve been busy doing final edits on Amanda’s next adventure, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. You guessed it, there will be ghosts in this story. What do you think of the fabulous cover my publisher created?

I´ve been on a number of ghost walks. They can be good fun and the guides are usually very entertaining.

Have you ever been on a ghost walk? Do you enjoy hearing or reading about ghostly encounters?

 

Forty years ago, this farm girl took her first ever trip on an airplane to York, England, where I married my dear hubby. We recently celebrated our ruby anniversary by returning to York. We had a marvellous time retracing our steps in his hometown, enjoying the history, walking the cobblestone streets, relaxing in the many teashops and visiting relatives we hadn’t seen for some time. We’ve been back a few times since January 1977 but it had been awhile since our last visit. I fell in love with the city all over again.

The Dean Court Hotel

The Dean Court Hotel

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The York Minster

We stayed at the Dean Court Hotel overlooking York  Minster, in the very centre of the city. The Hotel was originally built in 1865 to house the Clergy of the Minster and is situated on the corner of the main Roman road that ran through the city. Waking up to the lovely bells of the cathedral was such a treat.

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I love the old Tudor buildings scattered throughout the downtown. We had lunch in one of them called Gert and Henry’s.

 

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The Shambles, once the street of butcher shops

 

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Gargoyles are everywhere

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Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s tower is the largest remaining part of York Castle, once the centre of government for the north of England. Although there has been a tower on the site since William the Conquerer the present 13th-century stone tower was probably used as a treasury and later as a prison.

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Tons of book shops to explore

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The original Roman walls, still intact. They built things to last in those days.

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I walked the Roman walls as I did the very first time I visited this city.  Eboracum was the name the Romans called the city, the capital of England 2000 years ago.

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York was later a Viking town called Jorvik and I encountered a number of Vikings while there.

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You never know who you will meet in the towers. Richard III was eager to tell his side of the story.

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The Teddy Bear Tea Shop. How cute is that?

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I went on a ghost walk and encountered a few remains of the dead.dscn7395

We enjoyed a proper tea at Betty’s Cafe Teashop, the same place we bought our wedding cake all those years ago.

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Wedding 1977 in York, England. The wedding cake was a Dougal the Dog cake.

It has been a great 40 years. Can’t believe he put up with me all these years! Looking forward to more adventures.

York is steeped in history and there is so much more I’d like to share but will leave it for another post.

 


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