Help the Witch by Tom Cox

Help the Witch

Tom Cox

There is a peculiar, distinctive current running through the stories in this collection. Eerie, spooky, unsettling. Each of them treads the thin line between the ordinary and the extraordinary. The landscapes the stories inhabit are vivid, creating an atmosphere, or a feeling, that hangs in the air for some time after the final words are read.

This place - this part of the Peak District - has its own particular winter smell. It followed me on a walk today: a very long one. It's different from any smell I've smelt while walking anywhere else. There is almost nothing of my former home in it. It's a little woodsmoky, but also tinged with manure and mournful old stone and a hint of Victorian industry. I feel different while within this smell. People are expected to be the same person all their life, but different places make us different people. I'm not talking about the impact of an environment over time; I'm talking about something instantaneous. My hair is different here, my outlook, even my face, maybe. I am more lethargic, which is unlike me. I don't sleep fully, though, because of the nightmares at 3.44 and my active mind.
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