Monday, 6 December 2021

'Echoes from the Past' by Graham Smith

Another story from Terror Tales of the Scottish Lowlands, and one written in the present tense. This one has all the classic ingredients of the traditional ghost story. A woman is sleeping alone in an old house miles from anywhere. She hears sounds in the night - a baby laughing, where logically no baby can be. She checks the locked doors and windows, finds no evidence of an intruder. The setting is contemporary so there are security lights linked to motion sensors outside, and they have not been triggered. 

So begins a tale that follows a fairly predictable pattern.The main character is carrying the burden of a dark secret, and the baby's laughter offers a strong clue even before the truth is revealed. While she did no wrong, she cannot share this part of the past with her husband, a srong-minded man of the Borders. Noises persist and she calls the police, who act pretty much as cops always do in this kind of tale. Is the haunting - if that's what it is - purely psychological? 

This story, while up-to-date in many ways, reminded me of old-school TV shows that rang the changes on the ghost story.  An old folk belief is invoked, but then something very different is duscovered, quite literally in the woodwork. We are almost reassured that the mystery has been solved. But then comes another twist...

I can't say more because that would be too spoiler-y, but I suspect this one will divide readers. More from this running review very soon.

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