Sunday, October 27, 2013

Samhain by Romy Gemmell @RosemaryGemmell @KMNbooks @Tirgearr #flashfictionbash #giveaway

KAREN: Romy Gemmell's home is on the west coast of Scotland not far from Loch Lomond. It's no wonder her beautiful countryside surroundings have inspired her writing. In her flash fiction tale, Samhain, she gives us another peek at a Scotland with a legend at 'All Hallows Eve', where the dead can return to the living.

***Giveaway: A chance to win an e-download of Romy's Victorian novella, Mischief at Mulberry Manor. Read on to find out how you may add this treat to your goody bag.

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter, too. You can enter once a day for a chance to win one of the Grand Prizes!!  

Samhain by Romy Gemmell

As the festival of Samhain began on the remote Scottish island, on All Hallows Eve, the air was already thick with a swirling mist, as though the island clothed itself in an atmosphere of mystery and foreboding as befitted the season. Alaina sat by her log fire as late afternoon darkened into evening, determined to ignore the faint feeling of menace that had plagued her most of the day.
Exactly one year ago tonight, her young husband and soul mate had died when his car unaccountably swerved on the hill road and burst into flames as it toppled over the edge. A year in which her life had ground to a halt, when she began to understand what people meant when they spoke of losing your other half and how it left you only half alive. No one could fully empathise if they hadn’t experienced such loss and she struggled to be patient with well-meaning platitudes of sympathy. So people gave up trying. And now she had to be ready and waiting, alone.
Clothed in the silence of the small cottage, Alaina heard the occasional sound of laughter and footsteps passing by, but none of the children would bring their Halloween guising to her door. She’d noticed the way the youngsters avoided her and she sometimes heard the whispers in the village before escaping the speculative glances to return to her sanctuary.
One particular aspect of Samhain had peaked Alaina’s interest. Tonight, the dead could return to the living and those trapped in the other world could make their bid for escape, while the curtain between the two worlds was thinnest. The only possible chance to see her lost love again in this life. Some on the island still lit the bonfires that guided the lost souls through the darkness, as well as warning the evil spirits to stay away. But her interest lay only in what could happen within her own home. She wondered, in an idle curiosity kind of way, if she really had lost her mind. Yet she’d been able to consider all the implications of this night with a certain matter-of-factness.
Alaina shivered as she stoked the dying embers of the fire before crowning it with another log. She watched as the wood caught, the flames licking around the edges as they began to consume it with increasing hunger. Total darkness had fallen outside and time crept onward. The fire provided her only light, apart from the essential candles surrounding the room. She was aware suddenly of the silence. Only the crackling of the flames, as they curled around the log to reach towards the chimney, broke the stillness. Then the hairs on the back of her neck alerted her to a change in the atmosphere.
All her senses had heightened. She could smell the rising smoke, mingled with a stronger, indefinable essence. She saw shadows in the corners of the room where none had been before, thought she could hear whispers but no words. She touched her short hair. It was damp with sweat, yet she felt a shivering coldness in spite of the fire. Then the candles flickered one by one as though someone had passed by each flame. Alaina’s heartbeat faltered.
He was coming. The shadows shifted. She started from her chair. She could feel the love; the desperate love she imagined was lost forever. He had heard her aching need and now he was returning to be with her, when the door between the two worlds allowed his passage. The log shifted on the fire, suspended for a moment over the hearth.
Moving away from her chair, Alaina tried to follow his movement. Then she turned back towards the hearth and stood bathed in the sudden glow of firelight. She held out her arms. He stood before her. She saw him clearly, a shadow outline against the red and yellow glow. She moved towards him, wondering why he didn’t come to her. She could feel the warmth of his body before she reached him, could see the arms lift to embrace her. But still he didn’t move forward.
She could not make out his features. But it was him; it had to be. She took another step, felt the sweat begin to trickle down her face. So hot. Alaina hesitated, just as her arms reached out to touch his. The heat overwhelmed her. The smell of burning flesh. Then she heard his whispering voice at last.
“My love, come…take my hand and we shall be together once more.”
“Together again…yes,” she answered. As they should be: together for tonight and always. Her hands were almost on his. Now he would come by her side and be flesh again.
Alaina felt herself being drawn closer towards his shadow form, to a place of hot, exquisite pain, where she yet felt more alive than at any time in the past year. Then, quite suddenly, she understood.
He was not coming back to this world. He would take her to his.
Alaina lifted her arms, ready to surrender herself to his loving embrace.
“I’m here my love…”

The End

About Midwinter Masquerade

In Edinburgh, December 1816, young widow Lady Lenora Fitzallan accepts an invitation to the country estate of Edward Montgomery, the man she once thought to marry eighteen years previously. Until he left without explanation. Accompanied by her godmother, Lady Pettigrew, Lenora forms a friendship with Edward’s young niece and ward, Annabelle, who has a propensity for getting into scrapes and falling in love with the wrong man.
In the days leading up to the Masquerade Ball on the Winter Solstice, another guest arrives. Mr Henderson has a particular reason for meeting Annabelle, who distrusts him on sight. Meanwhile, Lenora struggles with her rekindled feelings for Edward, while thinking of Robert Masters, the sophisticated man who hopes to marry her when he returns from abroad. As past secrets begin to unfold, Annabelle is rescued from harm, and a dashing, costumed stranger arrives at the Ball.
Once the past is revealed and the real villain unmasked, Lenora must decide where and with whom her future now lies.
You can purchase the book at: Tirgearr Publishing (all formats)
Amazon UK
Amazon US

***Giveaway: A chance to win an e-download of Romy's Victorian novella, Mischief at Mulberry Manor. All you need to do is answer this question and leave your email: What Halloween or Samhain legend has always intrigued you? Don't have a favorite legend, just leave Romy a comment and your email and you're entered in the giveaway!  
About the Author

Rosemary Gemmell is a Scottish freelance writer whose short stories, articles and children’s stories are published in UK national magazines, in the US, and online.  Historical novels, Dangerous Deceit and Mischief at Mulberry Manor, and contemporary novella, The Aphrodite Touch, are published under the name Romy and her new full length historical romance, Midwinter Masquerade, is now released from Tirgearr Publishing, Ireland. Her tween novels, Summer of the Eagles and The Jigsaw Puzzle (as Ros), are published by MuseItUp, Canada. Rosemary is a member of the Society of Authors, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Romantic Novelists’ Association and she loves to dance!

You can visit Rosemary at:
Amazon Page
Twitter: @RosemaryGemmell 


Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks for including my story here, Karen!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


I'm thrilled that you could join us for the Halloween Flash Fiction Bash!

My favorite Halloween legends are: the Headless Horseman.
The vanishing hitchhiker
and Bloody Mary

Rose Anderson said... Best Blogger Tips

Ooh deliciously creepy!

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips


Eerie story! Great for Halloween.

What legends do I like for Halloween...What about the Lady in White?

Cara Marsi said... Best Blogger Tips

Great story. Romantic and poignant. Thank you.

Jeanne_Treat said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post! Shared.

Jean MP said... Best Blogger Tips

Perfect Halloween story
Favorite Halloween story for me is Bloody Mary and The Hook

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks for the lovely comments!

Madison Johns said... Best Blogger Tips

Great flash story!

GA said... Best Blogger Tips

Short and spooky! Loved it:) And such a contrast to your excerpt from Midwinter Masquerade. Lots of eclectic writing talent there:)

Gwen Kirkwood said... Best Blogger Tips

You can certainly create the scene and the atmosphere, Rosemary. Well done.

Nancy Jardine said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely, Rosemary. My hands are tingling - very atmospheric story, thank you.
Hi Karen. *I'm waving* It's been a while since I've popped in.

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Interesting story
legend of sleepy hollow

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Vikki said... Best Blogger Tips

A chilling and atmospheric story, perfect for the run up to Halloween!

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks again for all the lovely comments - really appreciate the interest!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Nancy JardineSo glad you could come by for a peek. :)

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't really know many. I've just always loved the mysticism behind Halloween, the possibilities.


Chris Longmuir said... Best Blogger Tips

@Rosemary Gemmell
Brilliant short story, Rosemary. I had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, even though I guessed you could only travel one way!

Helena Fairfax said... Best Blogger Tips

Spooky story, Ros - I really enjoyed it!

Theresa Ryder said... Best Blogger Tips

Terrific story! I love the ambiguous ending. Was it really her lost love? Will they live happily ever after in the hereafter? Lots of story behind the story, and that's the best kind!

Hywela Lyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, what a poignant tale, Rosemary, I really enjoyed it!

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Just noticed lots more lovely comments - thank you all very much indeed!