BySandra Harris, writer at


Jamie picked up his tankard of ale and downed a good half of it in one long, grateful swig. With closing time long since past, Jack Walton’s Tavern on the edge of Birney Woods was nearly empty now. A morose and tired Jamie propped up the bar while behind the counter Tamsin the barmaid washed the glasses and swept the floor.

It had been a long, disheartening day. Jamie’s pretty young lover, Rowena Sampson, had indeed gone missing, just as Jamie’s brother Simeon had told him she had. The men of Birney, every one of them that was fit to walk a goodly distance, had spent the day combing Birney Forest for the young woman, who had been absent from the home she shared with her father and older brother since last night.

The way Jamie saw things, something must have happened to Rowena as she’d walked home through the dense, dark tangle of woods last night after leaving his, Jamie’s, bed. He’d offered half-heartedly to walk her home. He’d been pleasantly tired after their coupling and it was cold outside and he had to get up early in the morning and so, in all honesty, he’d been glad when she’d refused his offer.

“Don’t be silly, Jamie,” she’d giggled, tossing her long light-brown hair over her bare shoulders and tucking her ample bosoms back into the front of her gown. “I know these woods as well as I know my own home. I don’t need anyone to walk me home. And besides, I need some fresh air after all that… well, you know!”

She’d giggled again and then kissed him lingeringly on his mouth before disappearing off into the night. No-one, including Jamie, had seen her since. If only he had taken the trouble to walk her home…! This whole bloody nightmare might not be happening now.

He couldn’t even let her father and brother, Thomas and Joshua Sampson, know that he, Jamie, had in all probability been the last person to see Rowena before she disappeared. They’d beat him to a bloody pulp if they got even a hint of what he’d been doing with her in his untidy little bedroom under the eaves. He’d joined in the search, though. He’d trudged through Birney Woods with all the other men from the village, even as far as Birney Castle, that ancient, imposing structure on the edge of the woods that seemed to overshadow Birney Forest.

“Same again, love?” Jamie said, raising his empty glass in the direction of Tamsin the barmaid. She looked at the clock, then shrugged and said with a smile:

“Well, I shouldn’t, but seeing as it’s you, Jamie Randall.” She set about fetching him his drink.

“You’re a grand lass, Tamsin,” Jamie said with a grin. As he drank his ale with relish, his thoughts wandered back to old Birney Castle, unoccupied for so many years and now suddenly tenanted again, and by a mysterious foreign nobleman too whom no-one in the village had ever clapped eyes on. There’d been no foreign nobleman at the castle today when the men from the village had called there looking for Rowena, no-one only a hunchbacked gatekeeper who’d told them that his master was away and that no lass had been seen anywhere in the vicinity that day or any other.

A creepy place, that castle, Jamie reflected, as he downed the last of his pint. The air around it had seemed dead, somehow. No birds sang in the immediate environs and no flowers grew either, only weeds, ugly, virtually indestructible weeds. Now he came to think of it, it gave Jamie the shivers, the castle and the entire area that surrounded it. He hadn’t felt really safe until he and the others had found themselves back once more on the path that would take them through the forest and back to the village. He belched now and wiped his mouth appreciatively with the back of his hand.

“I suppose I’d better be making a move,” Jamie said, realising as he did so that he was the only customer left in the tavern.

“What’s your hurry, Jamie Randall…?” said Tamsin the barmaid. “It’s not often we get the place to ourselves.” She came around the counter to stand beside him. Jamie’s eyes widened as she took his hand and placed it on her breast. Her face was plain and her long hair mousy but her breasts were full and snowy-white in her low-cut blue gown. Jamie, a long-time connoisseur of breasts, thought he could even detect a hint of nipple through the thin cotton of her frock.

“What’s all this about, Tamsin?” he said curiously. Tamsin had always greeted him as if he were a special friend but, after all, she was the barmaid and Jack Walton paid her to keep the customers happy. She treated all the other customers in the same way.

“It’s like I said, Jamie,” she replied with a smile. “You’re always busy with different girls, this girl or that girl, always the pretty ones, but tonight you’re finally alone. Maybe it can be my turn for a change…?”

Jamie hesitated. He thought of pretty, laughing Rowena, out in Birney Forest somewhere, maybe raped, maybe dead, slaughtered horribly by some madman perhaps or torn asunder by wild animals. Then Tamsin pulled down the front of her gown all the way to her waist and the largest, most perfect breasts that Jamie had ever seen before suddenly tumbled free. Jamie swallowed hard before saying with a grin:

“I don’t see why not, Tamsin my lovely. I don’t see why not…”


This story is a work of fiction and comes (almost!) entirely from the imagination of Sandra Harris. Any resemblance to any persons living or un-dead is purely coincidental.

This story is copyrighted material and any reproduction without prior permission is illegal. Sandra Harris reserves the right to be identified as the author of this story.

Sandra Harris. ©


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

[email protected]


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