H.E. Bulstrode

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The Menace of the Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels can at times possess something of a melancholy and brooding air, no more so than in the environs of Sedgemoor, where the phantom voices of fallen West Countrymen have been heard to call out in the darkness and the mist, bidding the listener to ‘come over and fight’. Standing sentinel over the expanse of the flatlands, where the wind riffles the water and rustles through the sedge, is Glastonbury Tor, itself a magnet for the strange and the unconventional. Even the most unexpected of events, it would seem, could happen here, for reality in this town takes on a certain fluidity.

Whereas the latter has served as a setting for a previous satirical occult mystery – Gwydion’s Dawn – it is the Levels themselves that provide the backdrop for Levelling, a ghost story of a different tenor set in the mid-seventies. The atmosphere of Levelling is very much of a piece with the mood of the Levels themselves: timeless and imbued with a hint of menace. It centres upon the return of one of its natives – Dr Geoffrey Meadham – who brings his wife and son to take a holiday in the parish in which he grew up after an absence of a quarter of a century or so. It would seem that he himself has largely buried the traumatic reasons for his departure, but it is not long before everything starts to go horribly awry, as repressed memories start to bubble to the surface. And then his wife notices something strange about their son and his new playmates.

Levelling is currently available on Amazon Kindle, but will also be published as part of a new paperback anthology of ghost stories next year, along with The Bread Oven and a number of other tales which will be unique to this volume.

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