Monday, 17 October 2011

The Machno Witch: Part 2.

The next day saw us invent a whole new sport. There was a lawn at the front of the cottage surrounded by a wall, two players would stand facing each other and try to hit the opposite wall with a football while defending their own wall against the other players attempts.

Only feet could be used to attack the other wall and to try and tackle the other player but hands could be used to defend against strikes. We gave this the imaginative title of 'Wall Ball' and it proved so popular that by the end of the week there was barley any grass left on the lawn.

So we spent most of the day kicking a football and shouting while a chicken slowly roasted in the coal burning stove and the sun climbed to it's zenith then began to sink towards the horizon.

So far so Waltons Mountain.

In the late afternoon two of my mates said they were going to drive up the mountain to the disused slate quarry. They had heard there was a small deserted village called Machno near the quarry and wanted to have a look. About an hour after they had left the rest of us were sat in the garden supping a bottle of wine when we saw a cloud of dust approaching along the dirt track at some speed.

The cause of the cloud was my mate's Renault 5 which was bouncing along far too fast to be doing it's suspension any good. It slewed to a halt outside the cottage and they both got out looking a bit wild eyed.

'You aren't going to believe what we've just seen', they said.

They had driven up the narrow road that wound up the mountain and ended in the village of Machno. The condition of the road got worse the further they went until they it wasn't much more than a track.

They arrived in the ghost village which a was a huddle of abandoned slate cottages surrounded by dense forest. Getting out of the car, the trees seeming to muffle all sound in the empty village.

Then they noticed smoke risng from a garden of one of the cottages and walked towards it. The cottage looked in better condition than the rest of the village, there was still glass in the windows. As they got to the wall they saw a small bonfire smouldering in the overgrown garden.

Suddenly a bizzare figure leapt up from behind the wall. It was an ancient looking woman with white hair sticking wildly in all directions from her head and her hands stretched out on either side of her. My shocked friends then realised that smoke was rising from her hands and in each palm she was holding a fistful of glowing coals.

Then she opened her mouth and let out a shriek like a boiling kettle, waving her handfuls of smouldering coals as she did so.

My friends did the only sensible thing and screamed like girls and ran to the car. They tried to do a 3 point turn on the narrow lane which turned into an 8 point turn in their panicky state then didn't take the foot off the accelerator until they got back.

It was after they had breathlessly told us this tale that we realised that we had run out of ten pence pieces for the electricity meter and would have to spend the night in utter darkness apart from the glow of the fire. The village shop was closed for the night so we went to The Eagles for some change to be told that they didn't have any ten pences, which made us think that they were in on it and setting us up for a Straw Dogs scenario.

However we were resourceful and drove the ten miles to the next village and got some change from a pub there.

And so we sat up that night waiting to see if a crowd of locals would come to try and sacrifice us to the Witch of the Mountain, which of course they didn't and in the morning we felt like a right bunch of pillocks.

Nearly 20 years later I was hiking in Wales and took a detour out of curiousity and revisited Penmachno. It still looks the same but the customers in The Eagles were no longer quarrymen but tourists and hikers.

The slate barman was long gone and replaced by an attractive girl from Poland.

No-one knew anything about Machno or an old lady who lived up there and I didn't go looking for her.

I'd like to say that we found out who she was and explain her story but I can't. With hindsight she was probably a some poor lost soul living alone in a dead village who had gone mad with the isolation. It's a theory, I suppose.

Still, it was a great holiday and I would recommend it to anyone.


Reilly said...

sounds like alot of fun!

dirtycowgirl said...

Sounds like the makings of a film.

Al Penwasser said...

And what a perfect tale for Halloween. Thanks!

YeamieWaffles said...

Thanks for posting this buddy. Sounds an excellent story.

LOLA said...

Aieeeeeeeeee! That's me screaming because it's very easy to frighten me since I live all alone and have no one to protect me from other people's scary stories that will give me nightmares for weeks to come.


Pat Hatt said...

I never knew Waltons Mountain could be so dangerous. Did she at last say Good Night John Boy before as you ran away?..haha

Stina Lindenblatt said...

You could have warned me not to drink while reading this post. I spewed skimmed milk on the computer screen after reading: My friends did the only sensible thing and screamed like girls and ran to the car.

Okay, that image was too funny!

Dylanthulhu said...

I've been to some creepy far-out places in the wilderness. I was going door to door in my home town inviting people to church and I came across a house set FAAAAAAAAR back from the road. I approached the door and knocked, seeing a light on in the back room. (The screen door was closed, there was no real door.) When no one answered my eyes started adjusting to the darkness and I saw it. There was a lawn chair set about five feet from the front door, shotgun leaned against the arm rest, bottle of Jack next to it on a small table. I turned around and before I ran like a scalded cat I saw several large empty bottles of ammonia on the porch, as well as a five-gallon bucket of empty match boxes and empty Sudafed containers.

I have never ran that fast in my entire life.

D4 said...

Just what I needed at this hour. Yep.

Nicki Elson said...

Don't go making excuses for her. She was a witch and you know it. Too bad the slate bartender's gone.

"So far so Waltons Mountain" - hehe

You might like to know that Wall Ball (or some variation thereof) has made it across the pond. I did a stint at my kids' school as a playground supervisor, and when I'd get on the students about being too rough they'd explain "We're playing wall ball."

Britta said...

Dear Tom,
that reminds me of someone - let's call him :

Swear by my sword
Never to speak of this that you have heard.
[Beneath] Swear by his sword.
Well said, old mole, canst work i' th' earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167

I would have been as shocked as your friends, seeing someone with glowing coals in her hands. I would shriek like a man - "oi!" - turn around and flee.

My 2 Pesos said...

I totally agree with dirtycowgirl.

Intredasting Bolg said...

Interesting read. (:

SkippyMom said...

ooooh, TOO spooky Tony. That is scary. The fact that you drove to get your 10 pence to keep the lights on is kind of cute. heehee

But I can see why. :) Loved the story.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Reilly: Scary as it was we had a great time.

Dirty: I should copyright it.

Al: I had honestly forgot Halloween was on the way. Maybe I should have waited a week or so before posting this.

Yeamie: The pleasure is all mine.

Lola: You only need to worry if you live in this area.

Pat: Waltons mountain is a death trap.

Stina: If I give a warning it wl spoil the surprise.

Dylan: I don't know which is scarier, the shot gun or the barrel of burnt matches. Do you reckon whoever lived there was making a bomb?

D4: The title should have given you an idea of the contents.

Nicki: You are right, she was a witch. Give anybody in the world a wall and a ball and they will invent Wall Ball.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Britta: Thank you for bringing a touch of class to the proceedings. As to shouting 'Oi' this is used as more of a challenge. The correct response to fear is high pitched shrieking.

Pesos: So do I.

Intrdasting: Interesting times.

Skippy: Aw, you think I'm cute.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I LOVE this! You had me on the edge of my seat. Your theory seems very insightful. I too think she was far more than she appeared.

Joshua said...

I'll go. Let's do it! Let me get my Ghostbusters backpack on first.

Padded Cell Princess said...

I'm so glad you gave us all the opportunity to laugh at your friends screaming like girls over a crazed Welsh woman! It's a much better story than them coming upon some sheep shaggers...or is there a part 3??? ;)

Craziness abounds said...

lol Tony truly this was priceless. What a great laugh. Who hasn't freaked out about something before? Oh by the way if I was giving awards for best comment your would have won today.. I laughed right out loud. Read it again and laughed again. Nicely done.

Bart said...

not bad

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

I can confidently say that had this happened to me I wouldn't have been able to sleep for months...

Loved this little series on the Mancho Witch. I was on the edge of my desk chair!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Elisabeth: I wonder what her story was.

Joshua: Who am I going to call? You.

Princess: Sorry, no sheep shagging.

Craziness: Thanks love, to be honest I can't remember what I wrote.

Bart: Good.

Hannah: Don't fall off your chair.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I loved this Tony. Freaky, a bit sinister and almost fractured-fairy tale-ish. Who knows - she could have been an old woman gone mad with isolation as you theorize or maybe she wasn't normal at all...

Vapid Vixen said...

OMFG!!!! No thank you!!

The Angry Lurker said...

I love this sort of stuff, everybody scaring the shit out of each other and having a good time.

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

Maybe I'm the witch. ***cackles*** My spell worked.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Lindsay: Or maybe..SHE'S BEHIND YOU!

Vapid: Oh yes.

Angry: We worked ourselves into a right old lather.

Samantha: You are too good looking.

Interwebs Fails said...

Interesting. (:

Al Penwasser said...

Don't worry about it, Tony. It happens. Especially with all the hoopla over Canadian Thanksgiving, how could you concentrate?

Juliette said...

You don't get holidays like that in the Caribbean. You should have gone back and asked for some ten pence pieces.

altadenahiker said...

That's what happens when a place gets gentrified -- all the old stories are lost.

Sarah said...

You lead an exciting life!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Interweb: Bloody terrifying, more like.

Al: Canadians have Thanksgiving? I can't keep up with you lot over the Atlantic.

Juliette: They didn't have any.

Alta: Very true.

Sarah: I'm like James Bond.

Dylanthulhu said...

@Tony the matches weren't burned, the boxes were being stripped of red phosphorous. The place was a meth lab. If someone had been sitting in that chair when I walked up the sidewalk I would've been shot.

Janet Johnson said...

What a great creepy little tale. I'd have screamed like a girl, too. :)

Tony Van Helsing said...

Dylan: Blimey, shows what I know.

Janet: Thanks.

Biff Tanner said...

Hell yeah that's a great idea.

Margaret said...

This is a very well told story. Kudos. I enjoyed it a lot. THanks.

Adrie said...

Wow. This story made my week. Don't ask why I'm so pathetically boring that this is possible, but it totally did. Thanks for sharing.

Bart said...

leafs, not leaves. leafs cause its a name. lol

Tony Van Helsing said...

Biff: It sure is.

Margaret: Happy to oblige.

Adrie: You are neither pathetic nor boring.

Bart: I love winding you up.

Jilda said...

I LOVE reading your posts! This one surely could be a movie! Ha,Ha I love it when guys scream like girls!