Sunday, 20 October 2013
My first Clandestine Classic - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - was always one of my favorite stories. The whole part where the Headless Horseman is chasing Ichabod was so suspenseful and terrifying. The fact that the story had been fairly lighthearted up until that point seemed to add to the menacing quality of it. I'll tell you a little secret, I have another classic coming out soon that is also known for being rather frightening. Sorry, but you'll just have to wait to find out more. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a quick scary excerpt from my take on Sleepy Hollow that gives you an idea as to how I added to the story:
The following evening after Brom’s ravings to the farm hand—which were now circulating all over the valley, the villagers always hungry for a new story—Katrina feigned a headache that she might retire early. At this juncture, the brute who had pretended to be a malevolent horseman was lost in his own thoughts, and waved her away without a glance.
I wish I could have been inside their cosy cottage to see the expressions as they crept across the increasingly alarmed Brom’s face, but I was only able to hear the end result from Katrina the next day. You see, I was much too involved in being the Headless Horseman myself, who just so happened to be paying a visit to the mocker of spirits, the one and only Brom Bones.
I can impart to you however just how mad the dear Brom appeared to be as he came running from their honeymoon home, screaming and cursing at me and poor Barrister, who was not used to all of this commotion. He conveniently reared up as Bones halted and shook his fist, yelling out, “Begone, devil! Never return here!”
Since I dared not answer in voice, I had a little message prepared for Master Bones, wrapped about a rock and tied with string. I hurled it at his head—as much in settlement for Ichabod’s lump as anything else—where it thumped him heartily enough to facilitate my getaway.
The contents of my missive—or should I say the Horseman’s—were thus. ‘You shall forever be cursed by me, unless you leave these lands forever, and never return!’
Katrina watched through the bedroom curtains to see his response as he rubbed his sore head and read the note. Muttering more curses to himself, and gesturing wildly, he burst back into the cottage. She came downstairs, pretending to have just woken to find him there.
“My dear husband, where have you been all this eve? I waited up as long as I could, but when you had not returned for supper, and the hour grew so late, I’m afraid I could keep my eyes open no further.”
Brom stopped short, and slammed his fist on the table. “What the devil are you blathering about? I’ve been here this entire time, ever since the sun dipped low, and there was no more work to be done in your father’s precious fields. I am sick of this whole farm—I wish to hunt again—to do a man’s work. And now, now I am being taunted by an addled wife and a cursed Horseman!”
Katrina made to weep at his harsh words. “Oh Brom, whatever do you mean? I thought you were happy here with me on my father’s quiet farm. I’m just so confused as to why you did not come home this entire evening.”
“Quit speaking nonsense, Katrina, I have been here since the stew and corn muffins you served for supper.”
“Brom, I will swear an oath if need be, you were never here, and I certainly didn’t serve a stew, but if you are hungry now I can make you a hasty pudding, or reheat the roast chicken I had actually prepared for your return from the fields.”
Katrina was careful to ensure that her entreaties were done with nothing but the most loving concern for her muddled husband.
“But I…this makes no sense. Well, surely you heard the Horseman just now?”
She gasped and put a hand to her mouth, running to the kitchen window. “Where? Oh God save us, where is the Horseman? I don’t see him!”
Brom looked down, running a hand through his hair. “He was here, you must have heard him, he…wait! Here—feel this lump on my head, and look at this note he tossed at me, tied to a rock. This is the proof of it!”
Katrina obliged him, and felt the knot on the back of his head. Then she took the note—and though she could see the words as clear as the daytime—she kept with our scheme by answering, “Yes, there is a lump, you must have banged your head hard. But there’s nothing but an empty piece of paper here. I see no writing.”
He snatched the paper back from her.
“Don’t be daft, of course there’s writing here. It’s the Horseman threatening to curse me unless I leave these lands!”
Katrina dropped her face into her hands.
“What?” demanded Brom. “What are you wailing about now?”
She looked up and placed one hand tenderly on his arm. “Oh my poor, poor husband, I fear you are not in your proper senses. First you tell me there’s a book of spirit curses here, and now that you are getting written messages from beyond. Oh, what shall we do! What if they take you away to one of those lunatic asylums in the city? What shall I do?”
With that declaration, Brom had a most distressed look upon his face, and our fair lady knew that we were very close to succeeding in our plan.
To pick up your copy of Sleepy Hollow, head on over HERE