#writephoto: The unknown

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt. The standing stone looked eerily familiar to me. There has to be a link somewhere.

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The house has gone now, burned, pulled down, the stones scattered, the park reverted to wilderness and the gate walled up. There is nothing left of the people who once lived and died there, and no living memories of their persecutor. But there is a strange stone on the hill that casts a shadow even when there is no sun, where no grass grows and where frost glitters even in August. And in the local museum there is a painting with no name and no date that is fixed to the wall and cannot be moved.

Strange cries are sometimes heard in the park at night, cries that no bird ever made, and the room where the painting hangs is locked now, the other exhibits removed and displayed elsewhere.


In the big house that stands alone beyond the last bend in the lane, the electricity has become erratic, doors and windows stick and locked doors open. There was a guard dog, but after a couple of weeks of howling, the dog has fallen silent. Its kennel is empty. The owners pass, fleeting and white-faced as ghosts. In the village, we watch and wait, and wonder how long before it happens again.



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

34 thoughts on “#writephoto: The unknown”

  1. Good call — that stone looks so much like the painting. Was the stone carved as a statue that’s too weather-worn to tell now, or is that naturally occurring? Spooky, either way. And your story makes it ten-fold spooky! (shiver) I love the idea of the stone casting a shadow even without sun, and the painting that can’t be moved. I second the others: this would expand nicely into a longer story!

    1. Hmm, I just remembered a connection to my Corwallen Manor story — somewhat the opposite of your painting. The new owners find a large blank space on the wall in the main hall. Whenever they try to hang one of the paintings from the cellar there, it somehow gets knocked off the wall (and often broken). Until they finally try hanging up the spooky portrait of old man who lived there long ago, whose death began the series of mysterious events at the manor. And that portrait stays…

    1. I did think I’d have a go at writing a Gothic horror story from this, but what I’ve written so far isn’t much like it! Maybe it’s only intended to be a very short, suggestive piece.

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