A sad story about a mother and her son in the Middle Age
The Haunted Mill
This story takes place in the dark days, when kings ruled over europe and uncounted lords battled for supremacy in the lands.
The late Middle Ages in europe.
It was a time of misery, fear and death. Everywhere a man could found this three things. The Black Death and other plagues swept over the land, emerging from the fever-infested and foul cities in the south and the east. Or so the people thought. While the lords and kings fight useless wars and intrigued against each other, the common people suffered. There wasn’t enough food and while the kings and lords dined in great halls, hunted in their own woods, the people outside the castles were always hungry and without any money. They sowed their small, dry fields and desperately hoped something would sprout from their hard work every day.
Could someone have found true love in those days? And could love achieve a dominant position in dark times like that at all? And what is true love after all?
A dark time can create a dark love. You’ll see it.
Chapter 1 – The Haunted Mill
The Mill stood on a small stream at the brink of a great forest that stretched many miles to the east. It was an old building, long destroyed by a heavy storm. There wasn’t a wheel on the mossy wall, only a few decayed timber beams lay forgotten in the high gras beside the stream. Long ago the miller, his wife and her two sons died from the Black Death and many days after that no one dared to sleep within these walls. “The Mill is haunted” the people in the nearest village muttered to every stranger who came to the tavern.
But twenty years later a impecunious farmer and his wife found the mill in the shadow of the great oak tree which stretched his branched over the sunken roof and the little wooden shack beside the old mill.
Henry and his wife Sara fled from the war and conflict in the south to this place at the border, where the tax collectors and soldiers of the king were rarely seen. They searched for a nice and quiet place where they could raise the baby which grew in Saras belly for almost seven months.
It was a wonder for them when Sara became pregnant. Nearly five years the pair has tried without any success. She was 29 years old and that was almost too old in these times to raise a child properly. But they were glad about the news and moved from the greater villages in the south to the lonely towns and steadings in the far north of the land.
With nothing but their clothes, a knapsack on Henry’s back and a small bag with seeds and a shovel they came to the small town. Strangers weren’t seen here very often and the people weren’t very friendly to them, as they came to the small tavern in the middle of the town.
“We searched for a place to live”, Henry said to the owner of the tavern behind the old and yellowed counter. “My wife is pregnant, and we fled from the wartorn lands in the south. I was once a farmer. We mean no harm to your people here, we only want a nice place to plant something and raise our child.”
The old man behind the counter watched Henry carefully for a few seconds, than his eyes observed the pregnant Sara for a while.
“There is no place in this town for you, farmer”, he said in a sullen voice. “We have our own problems here. Go to any other village to the east behind the woods or back to the south.”
There were two other men in the tavern, one of them an old man in shabby leather clothes with mud on the underside of his boots. On the table beside him there was a longbow and a rusty knife. It seemed that he was a hunter or maybe a deserter from the armies in the south. He stood up und walked over to Henry and Sara.
The man reeked of animals, beer and sweat. Henry’s pose was very tense, as he inspected the man carefully. He didn’t missed the glare in his eyes, as the bastard ogled the body of his pregnant wife. But he said nothing. It was not the first man who did this. So long as it was only the eyes, not the hands, Henry wouldn’t do anything.
“Hello, good folks. I’m Jacob. Two Miles to the west, near the forest there is an old mill”, the man said. His breath stank of rotten teeth and beer. “No one lives there. I think you could live in the old house and perhaps plant something on the old field nearby.”
Henry thought about it. They have wandered enough. And the baby was on the way. Perhaps, they could look at this old house…
The Mill was old, that was clear. There were holes in the roof, and the sunken walls were mossy and green. Some broken tools, a rusty hark and a old spade projected out of the sprawling gras. The place has something sinister about it, with the large, dark forest looming behind the decayed house and the little, purling stream.
Sara grabbed Henry’s arm, while Jacob stood a few feet away and chewed some stinking herb with his yellow, teeth. “I don’t like it”, she whispered to her husband. “It looks rather creepy.”
She was right, Henry thought, but said nothing. However it was the best, they could have hoped for. He was a passable craftsman. He could repair the hole in the roof with new bundles of straw and darn the few tools. And in the small clear area between the stream and the forest they could easy plant some vegetables. With the village nearby, he could ask for work in a fitting time.
“Who lived here?” Sara asked.
Jacob shrugged his shoulders. “Some miller and his family long ago. The folk fear the dark woods in the north and don’t come here anymore. They talk about ghosts in the forest and other stupid things.” He laughed. “Ghosts. I have walked all forests in this land and never encountered a ghost. Damn idiots, these townspeople.”
Henry turned to Jacob and said:”Ok, if this mill is owned by nobody, I and my wife will probably establish us here.” He hesitated. “I thank you, Jacob. God will bless you for your kindness.”
The filthy man nodded, grinning. “No, problem, sir. I’m a ranger and travel a lot between the few villages in this area. Sometimes I probably need a roof over my head for a few days in the future.”
A ranger? Henry thought. More easily a poacher. But despite his aversion against the man he answered:”You are always welcome here. Thank you.”
And that was it. Henry looked back at the ruinous mill and to his not overly excited wife. It’s done, he thought. We can’t run away forever. Here will be the place for our little family.
And so it was done.
And something in the dark forest behind the mill smiled…
The child was born two months later and was named Jack. He was a healthy little thing, babbling and crying all day and night, but that made his parents only prouder. A such gift from god, they had both not expected after their dark times in the south. A healthy child who survived the first winter in the wilds was something wonderful.
By this time Henry and Sara had settled in the old mill house and Henry has fixed a lot of things, like the roof and a few furnitures. They had two rooms in the house, one little room for the food, the tools and other stuff. And one bigger room with two little windows, a fireplace, an old chest for their clothes and a narrow bed, which Henry had build all by himself. The first winter in the mill was not so hard, as they had expected. A friendly farmer a few miles away from the mill, had given them some food, some warm hides and it was not so cold, so the wolves stayed in the woods.
It was all very well, until Sara found the bones.
It was a beautiful day, some days after a light snowfall and the land was covered in a white sheet all around the mill. Henry was in the house and worked on some carving and the baby was sleeping in the bed. Sara need some time in the fresh, cold air, and as the sun began to climb the horizon, she took her coat and a hide and walked outside. The bed was too small for two grown people and a baby, she thought. And she missed the intimate moments with Henry a lot. Sex was not possible with the baby screaming all night and wanted much attention over the day.
For Sara sex was something rare and a little bit unrewarding. But she wasn’t the fairiest of all women and she thought she should have been satisfied with what she had with Henry. He was a good man. Not cruel like some other men in the south towns. But sometimes she wants… more. As she had missed something and didn’t know how to grasp this odd nagging thought.
Anyway, on that particular day in winter she walked along the small stream and watched the thin icesheet above the water. The air was clear and she inhaled it deep, glad to get away from the small room in the old house which reeked of smoke, fire and old weed.
Then, she found the bones.
A few feet away from the stream there was a whole in the ground, where some boars from the wood had searched for some food or something and they had opend the dark earth under the thin sheet of snow. Something white and yellow glanced there and she kneeled befor it. And jerked back in horror. Bones. The bonses of two grown people and two childs…
Horrified, Sara ran back to the house and dragged her frowning husband to the place.
“Look, Henry”, she said, trembling. “What is this?”
For a moment, Henry looked at the bones, then he kneeld beside it and examined the bones more precisely. “It looks like a grave. For two children, a woman and a man. Perhaps the old occupants of our new home.”
His voice wasn’t overly concerned, Sara noticed. She however was terrified. Her anxious fears on the first day, Jacob had shown them the mill, came back to her now.
“I will take care of it, my love”, Henry said and slide his arm clumsily around her shoulders. “Go back to the baby. He needs some milk, I think.”
“But if the people were right?” Sara said sternly. “What if the ghosts of these people are near the mill, or something? I have told you this is a godforsaken plave, we should…”
“We will stay here”, Henry interrupted her firmly. “And I don’t want to here something stupid about ghosts and these old bones. On my next trip to the town, I will ask the tavern owner about it. Now, go back to the house.”
Knowing it wouldn’t make things better, if she would objected her husband now, she walkes slowly back to the mill, where the baby was already crying again for some milk.
Henry unearthed the bones and threw it in a pouch.
How could he knew that the bones were not the reason for a curse on the old mill, but rather an evidence for some greater evil in the area? Something sinister and invisible, that neither was alive nor dead.
The dark forest behind the mill was smiling again. The flies were in the net. And the spider would come to claim her price. Not now, but soon.
Five years later
It was on an warm summer day, when the horror came to Henry, Sara and the little boy Jack.
The bloddy form arived on the small hill near the stream. Clothed in battered trousers and a bloddy shirt, he stumbled to the mill.
Henry was outside and working some wood with Jack, when he saw the man coming.
It was Jacob, the man who had showed them the mill more than five years ago. He couldn’t believe his eyes, when he saw the man. He was clearly wounded, and an old rusty sword was in his leather belt. His hair was red of blood and he looked, as if he would die any second.
“Hallo, man”, rasped Jacob. His voice rang of to much alcohol and cruelness, Henry could feel it.
He threw a short look at the rusty sword, shoved the curious boy behind himself and asked slowly:”Jacob? I haven’t seen you since the last two years, when you brought us some hides and stuff from the woods. What has happened to you?”
“War” answered Jacob. “War has happened to me. I need some place to hide, Henry.”
A deserter, Henry thought. He had never liked the man much, but Jacob had shown them this new home and he thought he should help him a little bit. Also, Henry was a god-fearing christian. The man desperately need help, that he could see.
“Come. Sara will take care of your wounds and you need water and food.”
In the evening, Jack was sleeping in his little bed in the second room of the mill, meanwhile Henry, Sara and the wounded deserter Jacob sat near the firepit and talked. Jacob had found Henrys only bottle of old booze somewhere in the room. He drank a lot, Henry noticed, a little bit worried about that. He drank too much.
“What you will do now?” he asked him.
“Hide in some small town in the north hills, I think”, Jacob answered with his raw, unpleasant voice. “Take a woman and fuck a lot to forget the war, I think.” He laughed hard and cruel.
Henry noticed the short glance, Jacob shot at his wife. Something was terribly wrong here. He should never had Jacob welcomed here. But it was to late.
“You should sleep now and in…” Henry began, but Jacob interrupted him.
“Sleep?” he laughed again. A cruel smile played across his tattered lips. “No, I think not.”
Jacob emptied the bottle with the booze, stood swayingly up from his stool and drew his rusty sword. “I think, I’ll kill you and fuck your wife.”
Henry avoided the first blow of the sword, by leaping up from his stool and to the side. My wife! My child! He thought. I must protect them from him! Protect them!
Jacob snarled reluctantly and managed to leap drunkenly forward to catch Henry.
Sara was shrieking. “Henry! No! Jacob, let him go!”
Henry grapped a stool and threw it in Jacobs face, but the warrior instincts of the man let him get away at just the right time.
Henry searched for a weapon with his eyes, but there was nothing to grab and then…
It was over so fast.
Jacob was drunk, but he had the experience of a veteran soldier. And his cruelness. The next blow of his sword, caught Henry in the ribs. The rusty blade drilled threw his body and nailed him on the wooden wall. He saw only blood and his life was flowing out of him so quickly.
“Sara…” he managed to say with bloddy lips and lifted a hand in the direction of his wife. And then there was only blackness around him and no feelings any more.
For a moment, Jacob stood there, panting heavy. Then, he drew the sword out of Henrys dead body and his eyes found the crying Sara, who huddled herself in the corner of the room. Then he saw the kid, Jack, who stood in the open doorframe of the second room. The boy looked startled. He walked slowly to his crying mother and saw his dead father at the wall. He stood still and looked at Jacob. He lift his fists in a silly attempt to attack his dads killer.
“I don’t want to kill you, boy”, Jacob said with his raw voice, heavy with alcohol. He pointed the sword at Jack. “But I will, if you attack me, you understood? Your father made the same mistake.”
Slowly, Jacks fists sank down to his sides. Tears swelled in his eyes as he said:”Please, leave us alone. Please, let my mother and me go!”
“I will not hurt you, boy”, Jacob said. “Go, sit at the wall, where I can see you.” He grinned cruely, as he unbuckled his belt with one hand and walked to Sara.
Jack sat on the stool near his crying mother and watched horrified, as Jacob grabbed her by the arm.
“Come, woman. The war was hard and a man needs some love.” His voice had an aroused undertone.
“No, Jacob”, Sara was screaming “Leave me alone! Leave us alone!”
Another hard laugh. A brutal jerk yanked her skirt of her body and a second later, the mother was naked.
“Not bad, not bad”, Jacob said and took his swollen cock out of his trousers. To Jacob it looked like a gruesome machine of Torture, ready to destroy his mother. Tears ran down his eyes, but he could do nothing and he knew it.
Sara held still and Jack could see the cock slowly entering his mother’s cunt. In a while his entire cock length was immersed inside her. Then he was moving his pelvis and driving his cock in and out of her from behind. Jacob watched in horror as his mother’s naked body slide across the wooden floor. Sara emitted short gasps and her fists clenched the remnents of her clothing.
Jacobs rump was gyrating in a fierce motion, he was pulling his cock out of her cunt and then forcing it back into her with all his cruel might. A weird gurgling sound was continuously emanating from his mouth, accompanying his thrusting. Spittle ran down his chin and dripped on Saras naked back. Harder and harder the man fucked Jacks mother and Saras head was banging against the wooden wall before her. Her dark hair fell on her face and hide the clenched teeth and the streaming tears from her sons eyes.
In and out, in and out, Jack fucked. Sweat glistened on his brows. His hands gripped her buttocks and dark, red welts were left behind on her white back, when his hands moved forward under her shaking body to grab her large breasts. He pinched her dark nipples, till Sara was screaming loudly.
“Stop it” she gasped weakly under the dark curtain of her hair. “Please, please, please…”
Her voice was slowly fading away as she was speaking this words, as if she was already knowing, Jacob wouldn’t listen to her anyway.
All of a sudden, it was over. Jacobs thrusting went faster and he grabbed Saras shoulder and started ramming his cock ferociously into her cunt. He howled rigorously, like a strange animal. He remained in Sara’s cunt for a while and then collapsed over on her glistening back.
For some time the only sounds in the room were Saras faltering breath and Jacobs heavy panting.
Jack looked at the pair on the floor. His mind was ablaze with emotion, with dismay, but also with an odd feeling, as he looked at his mother’s ravaged body. He swore to himself, that he would protect his mother from all harm, if they both survived this.
Jacob thrust Sara away against the wall and put his clothes in order, before he took his sword again.
Somhow the grin wasn’t on his face anymore and as Jack looked him in the eyes, he saw a glimpse of something really unexpected… regret?
“It was the alcohol”, muttered Jack absent-minded to himself and put his left hand nervously on his forehead for a second. He saw the boy at the door and shook his head from one side to the other. For one moment he looked, like he would say something to Jack, an strange apology maybe, but then he swallowed heavyily and storm out of the house without a word.
Jack ran to his mother and helped her on her knees. They both embraced hard, glad that they had survived the horror finally. Henry lay dead on the floor. It was over. For now.
But the seed was planted. The thing in the woods was as old as the world and time was always on it’s side.