As the founder of The Reader Berlin, it isn’t often I get to share my writing. Sometimes, I feel bad that after all the butchering I do with my editor’s pen, I don’t offer participants a chance to return the ‘favour’. So it seemed only fair that I contributed something over the course of our Fort Gorgast festival. This little piece is actually adapted from a novel I wrote that never saw the light of day and I confess it felt absolutely wonderful to let it slip out of its dark drawer and float loose amongst you.
YOUR HEART’S DESIRE
Welcome to Fort Gorgast and the first of our terrifying tales. It is wonderful that you could all join us. This is the first event at which we have all got together, albeit it in a cold and shadowy tunnel, and while it might be a touch hippy-ish of me, I would like you to do something you may be familiar with from yoga class. I would like you each to set an intention, that is, to make a little wish. Eyes closed everyone. Out goes the torch…wishes done…? And we’re ready.
As one of the organisers of this weekend’s festivities, I had planned to write my own scary story but I am afraid things got a little busy, so this one is from a decaying book I found in a pile in a decrepit second hand bookshop in Berlin. You are, no doubt, familiar with the kind.
This story begins with a group of friends sitting around playing cards late into an autumn night in an ancestral home in one of the English shires, shortly before the beginning of the First World War