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The Old Boggart

Something lived here before. Before the town or the castle, even before the legions marched this way. It was a thing of the marshes, a hungry thing which haunted the lost and the travellers.

It dwells here still, between the town and the river, where the filth leaks out, and the Mill Race dribbles. 

It does not matter what it once was… a Baggard or a Bogun or an old Lancashire Boggart. It matters that they gave it a name.
Probably it was some crooked granny or nasty big brother or some storyteller who should have known better. They called it Flincher and it lurched between the shadows of the slums. Its hands were heavy and filthy and they pawed hungrily at anyone foolish enough to linger there.
Later, the grannies and the yarn-spinners spoke of Owd Reek. A stinker, a malingerer who spilled out from the Mill Race drains. He returned every summer with a stench as heavy as mud until every one of those grandchildren grew old themselves and refused to speak his rotten name.

Then some fool of a schoolyard bully tried scaring a junior class. It was the Gobbler that sneaked into children’s bedrooms and plucked off their ears. He’d gobble them up or he’d save them for later. Sometimes you’d see the ears, pegged to a washing line, drying in the wind.

Nowadays, these tales are rarely told but the old Boggart lives here still. So be careful with the stories you tell and never, ever name a Boggart.


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