Once Upon a Time….








As I walked through the abandoned centuries old churchyard, in a neglected area of the Yorkshire countryside of England, I shivered in the cold, damp, morning air. I was feeling melancholy, no doubt enhanced by the gray skies that seem to want to stay indefinitely, hovering over this landscape.

As I continued walking, mindlessly, through this abandoned field, I found myself wondering about the lives that once walked through this field, that are now dust. I couldn’t help wondering when it would be my turn—to turn to dust.

In my field of vision, I noticed an odd-looking standing stone that stood at the very edge of the long field. It was all alone, as if abandoned through the ages. From a distance, I could see, no, I  could feel it’s presence. How does one feel a standing stone’s presence?

I don’t know, yet, I felt it pulling me toward it or was it my imagination?  With each step toward the standing stone, the feeling grew stronger, my steps more sure of where they were going.

As I continued walking toward the standing stone, I began to hear a whispering of words. Was the stone whispering to me? I felt compelled to keep walking toward the speaking stone, and do what? Start speaking to it? Engaging it in titillating conversation? Really? Have I totally lost my mind?

As I approached the standing stone, the whisper grew louder and then I knew that this standing stone was inhabited by a ghost! This was no trick or a twist of my imagination; I could not help but feel its pain, its loneliness. I wondered how long it, the ghost, had been alone, abandoned, forced to haunt this abandoned place.

How many centuries did this poor soul live a life in stone? It was too horrible to even a imagine. And then I knew what I had to do. I had to help this lost soul, somehow. I felt it wanted me to.

He, yes, it was a male, I somehow knew that. He had been turned to stone, this poor soul, this young man, had, no doubt, been hexed, cursed as it were, by some warlock or wicked witch. How I knew this, I don’t know. But, why was he hexed and turned to stone? I had to find out!

I felt my hand go up to touch him, this standing human stone, so lost and alone. I felt his warmth, his heart beating, his lungs breathing. How can that be? I wondered.  In shock, I realized he was alive, not dead!

“May I have…your name?” I asked him. He then spoke. His voice was rich and deep, almost soothing.

“Aye, ye may,” he said. “Christian ‘tis mah name, Christian McEwen. May I be so bold Milady, tae ask yer name?”

“My…my name? Huh…yes…my name is Lexi, short for Alexandra McCoy.”

“Aye, ye hae a bonny name, Lexi, and ye art bonny, as weel.”

“Christian, how long have you…been in stone,like this…and who did this to you?”

“Aye…’twas a Witch, ye ken. A shrew! A bonny she-devil—a vixen.”

As I listened to him tell the story of how he happened to be turned into a standing stone, I could see him as he was before he was captured in the stone. His visage, pale as it was through the stone…was a handsome, tall, blond headed young man.  I guessed him to be about twenty-five years of age. He wore the clothes of centuries past. I guessed he once lived sometime in the 15th century. Scottish Gaelic.

“Christian,” I said, “I can’t stay much longer. It looks like a storm is brewing, so please tell me how I can help you?”

“Aye, I ken ye dae. I wish ye could stay with me, Lexi.”

“I wish I could too, Christian, but I must go now. I can comeback, you know.”

“Nay, Lexi, ye only hae one chance, ye cannae return to me. ‘Tis part of the wicked Witch’s curse, ye ken. Dinnae fash, Lexi.”

“How I wish I could stay, Christian. I am so sorry. I will miss you and I am sorry I couldn’t help you somehow.”

Suddenly the sky darkened, the wind blew like the devil himself wished me gone. The earth shook beneath me. Like magic, looming up in front of me was a figure of a woman, dressed in a centuries old costume. Her laughter rang out with glee and spite. She looked at me, with narrowed eyes of the darkest black I had ever seen.

“Run Lexi, ‘tis the Witch! Run as fast as ye can, Milady! Away with ye—now!”

I couldn’t move, the Witch had me in her grip; she said something in a language I didn’t understand. I felt myself vanishing, fading away, but I was not gone, not really. I found myself inside the standing stone with Christian. Fear raced through my being. “Oh my god, what have I done? Christian, what has happened to me?”

“Lexi, ye art with me. ‘Tis her curse…I didae ken. But, ye dae so on ye own. Aye, ye hae helped me, dinnae ye. I am nay alone now Lexi. Ye art with me.”


19 thoughts on “The Ghost in the Standing Stone

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    That was an unexpected ending! Happy for one of them, at least… Great story, Karen! I am glad you decided to give the prompt a go 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh no, Karen, that was quite a twist for the unfortunate Lexi.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Roberta, yes it was. I knew the ending before I wrote the story. Lexi was melancholy and rued the day she would be dust. I think subconsciously, she, being lonely too, wanted to make contact with someone…anyone. She didn’t realize the consequences of her actions. I wanted to leave the impression that one should think before acting. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You definitely achieved that, Karen.


  3. delphini510 says:

    Karen, I love your story and couldn’t stop reading. Great work.
    Your setting on the sometimes lonely moors is brilliant, they also have a lot
    of stones which makes the story so real.

    Now, the ending was not the usual fairytale ones. He got help and they are forever joined together. As a stone. Wow.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Miriam, thank you so much! I am so glad you loved it. 🙂
      I knew at the start how the story would end. Lexi was melancholy and didn’t want to turn into dust, so, in away, she got her wish and he did too. Karen

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Suzanne says:

    Oh dear. What a grim fate!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Suzanne, not necessarily, If I had continued the short story, I would have created a way for them to find a way to break the curse and be free and perhaps fall in love, but not all stories can end the way we want them too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Suzanne says:

        That’s very true.


  5. frenchc1955 says:

    Karen, thank you for this excellent story! Your use of dialogue is powerful, and you developed the emotional state of the situation so well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I am so thrilled. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. frenchc1955 says:

        Karen, you are very welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful story from K.D. Dowdall!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really enjoyed reading this. Wow, what an ending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad you liked the ending! After all, it was a mystery and suspense kind of story, so I could not give it a fairy tale ending. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I should have seen something coming but I was caught off guard by the finish all the same. Loved it. :O)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kathy Lauren says:

    Wow, what a wonderful short story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathy Lauren, thank you for your lovely comment. Karen 🙂


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