Low Lane: a ghost story
For quite some time, perhaps a year or more, Ada had been in the habit of going for an early morning walk, more or less every day, from her house up towards Harrow Hill.
The house where she lived with her husband and children was near the church. From there, a track led down to Low Lane, a narrow stretch of road that passed through arable fields before rising up again suddenly, twisting around a curve and crossing the top of Harrow Hill. The path then dropped down again toward a pig farm before rising as it approached another hamlet and then, eventually, the local market town.
Ada, though, generally walked to the top of the hill before turning around and walking back again.
The walk took her about forty minutes, all told.
The route of the walk was, it must be said, very ordinary. The fields were generally drilled with crops like sugar beet, oilseed or winter wheat. The one cottage that lay along the route was a low prefab, clad long ago in brick and inhabited by the elderly widow related to the the local farming family.
There were only two things that were even potentially interesting about the walk. Although there were two common stories about how Harrow Hill had got its name — either from something to do with agricultural activity, or possibly from the academic backstory of one of the farmer’s ancestors — in fact neither story was accurate. The name was actually based on the Old English ‘hearg’, denoting a spot that had once been a pre-Christian site of worship. These days, though, there was nothing on top of the hill except a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which in practice consisted of some gravel outcrops and a huge amount of bracken.
The other potentially interesting thing was that the lane was said to be frequented by Old Shuck, the legendary black demon-dog who is a central cliché of East Anglian folklore. In fairness, though, the same is said of pretty much every long stretch of lonely lane anywhere in Norfolk or Suffolk. Certainly Ada didn’t know anyone who had experienced anything notable anywhere on Low Lane. And she had never seen Old Shuck, either.Read the rest of this entry »