Lovelady sees the colours of nightmares
Forty years ago, five teenagers died in horrific circumstances inside the old house known as Lovelady’s Gwal. Now, the only survivor, Jake Merrion, has returned to tell their story.
Back in 1975, sixteen year old Lovelady Jones was a boy with no identity. A boy who knew he was really a girl. A boy whose life was dominated by colour.
Lovelady can’t ignore the strange hold the house has over him, or the way it appears to respond to his emotions. Or the strange painting on the walls of Lovelady’s Gwal. Is it coincidence a new colour brightens with each friend’s brutal murder?
Is Lovelady prepared for the final reveal? Are you?
Copyright © 2015 Jane Godman
All rights reserved
Over the old house, the sky has a curious red-gold hue that causes the cameraman to click his tongue in disapproval. The interviewer flicks a strand of long blonde hair back from her face and begins her introduction. Behind her, steely shadows lengthen around a single, castellated tower.
“For the first time in forty years, acclaimed writer and director, Jake Merrion, is returning to his home town of Llanbach in North Wales. His mission? To finally tell the story of Lovelady’s Gwâl. For a few weeks in the 1970s, this quirky sixteenth-century lodge made worldwide headlines when five teenagers died in mysterious and horrific circumstances within its walls. Their killer was never found. Was it a cult? Even, as some have suggested, a bizarre suicide pact? Possibly a brief but violent psychic manifestation? Ghostly homeowner Lovelady returning from beyond the grave to express her disapproval at the noisy modern-day intruders who used her home as a drink and drugs den? Merrion himself has never talked about what happened to his friends. Yet, when the authorities proposed the demolition of Lovelady’s Gwâl it was Jake Merrion who stepped in and bought this property, believed to be the oldest in the ancient region of Clwyd.”
She turns to the tall, dark-haired man at her side.
“What was your motive in saving Lovelady’s Gwâl from the bulldozers?”
Merrion’s eyes are green and curiously catlike. He takes a moment to look up at the house before turning back to her. “Five people I knew and loved died inside that house in 1975. I suppose I wanted it to remain standing as a memorial to them.”
“Yet you must be aware of the attention this place gets from ghost hunters, goths, and conspiracy theorists. Then, of course, there has been the recent spate of teenage suicides that have taken place here, each one a grisly attempt to re-enact one of the 1975 deaths. Press and internet speculation abounds surrounding the negative energy that appears to emanate from Lovelady’s Gwâl. Have you any comment to make about that?”
One corner of his mouth lifts slightly. “No.”
In spite of her obvious annoyance at such blatant non-cooperation, his lopsided smile is irresistible. She returns it, before trying a different approach. “Who was Lovelady?”
For the first time he looks directly at the camera. “That’s something I don’t suppose any of us will ever know for sure.”
The interviewer responds to a signal from the cameraman, and turns to Jake. “The light’s going so we’ll have to leave it there for now. We have footage from 1975 to splice in and some of the newspaper reports. I also have some questions about the film you are making, but we can do those in the hotel.”
“Okay.” He starts to turn away, then swings sharply back round to face her. “What did you just say?”
“Nothing. I didn’t speak.” She takes a step away from him, startled by the intensity in the depths of his eyes. “Why? What did you think I said?”
He looks up at the house and laughs. “I thought I heard a woman’s voice saying ‘Welcome home, Jake’.” He runs a hand through his hair. “This old place can do that to you.” He doesn’t elaborate on what ‘that’ might be. “Look, unless Llanbach has changed a lot while I’ve been away, it won’t boast much in the way of decent places to eat, but would you like to grab some dinner?”
She smiles up at him. He might be in his mid-fifties, but with his cat’s eyes and black hair that has only lightly been touched by grey at the temples, Jake Merrion is stunning. She too glances across at the house. At the oddly named Lovelady’s Gwâl. A faint breeze stirs the unkempt grass. The blank windows reflect nothing back at her. And something—some primal instinct that she can’t explain—tells her it would be a very bad idea to accept Jake Merrion’s invitation.
“Sorry, I have things to do,” she says, stuffing her hands into her pockets and walking quickly away.