Don’t Go Out After Dusk… by Sally Spedding
Myself and my artist husband moved from Wales to Northampton in 1996 for his new job at its university. In grief at leaving our rural idyll, I checked on a map with my ruler where the nearest coast was. Where the River Nene dividing Lincolnshire from Norfolk, meets the North Sea. So off we went. The silence hit me first, then the creeping sense that we weren’t alone. We heard muffled gunshots out at sea (seal culling) and noticed numerous isolated corrugated iron buildings which we later learned housed factory-farmed chickens. With all this slaughter, I had a title already for my first chiller to be set there: Snare. However, more research revealed that this strange area around Sutton Bridge had also moved Hilaire Belloc to describe ‘the vague intermingling of mud and tide’ and how, when the solitary man cleaning by hand the bridge over the Nene finally finished his work, ‘we stepped out into the Wringland.’ Further research showed that name originated from Old English ‘wringan,’ related to Old High German ‘ringan’ and the Gothic ‘wrungo’ meaning snare.
All I needed!
Later, back in Northampton, a shop assistant who’d apparently been born in Sutton Bridge said it was ‘the most haunted part of England.’ How she and her siblings were warned ‘never go out after dusk.’ The decider to pursue my idea of writing about a malevolent haunting set on the Fens in a new housing development, came after I almost died in bed while being suffocated by a huge force pressing down on me, when the light above became a hole in the ceiling sucking my life away. Yes, I’ve had other inexplicable experiences, but this, in a brand new house, was terrifying. When the window cleaner told us it had been built on a medieval graveyard, it was time to go! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we recall how our tough little dog never liked going upstairs; how I’d occasionally heard rough-sounding men shouting…
So, back in 2001, Wringland was born. With young, ambitious Abbie Parker meeting the mud-stained Martha Robinson in her first morning at the Holtbury Prestige Homes show home office. A woman who lays claim to Plot 2. Someone with evil in mind….
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