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An excerpt from the book, "An Impasse at Waywickshire, and Other tales of Impossible Truths."
In the area of Waywickshire, in the late 1780's, a hotel was built near the village of Wight. Wight, having never been particularly large or prosperous, being situated out in the very middle of the moors, and only seemed to be designed for farmers and workmen to live in, welcomed this new source of revenue.
The hotel, at first, was only host to the tired few rich enough passing through to afford the Wight Inn's bed and board, and was known generally only in this exclusive group.
However, with the advent of the railways extending throughout the depth and breadth of England in the 1820's, the Wight Inn became the Wight Station Inn, and significantly better staffed thereafter; people from all over Britain, unknowing of the small area Wight had to offer, was obliged to take refuge in the Wight Station Inn.
The Wight Station Inn quickly grew popular. Events were hosted here by the 1830's, and it was praised by those across Britain.
And then, in September of 1837, a local boy named Danny Pitt went missing in the area near the Inn. At first, no-one paid much heed; most people speculated the boy had gone wandering in the moors in the gloaming and had gotten lost. No doubt, he'd wandered his way into a marshy bottom in some fen. Or, barring that, he'd run away, possibly to the nearest large town.
The only voice of discontent was the boy's mother, alone in the world after her husband, the boy's father had died.
"He's a good boy," she would plead to anyone who would listen. "He takes care of his Mammy. And he knows the shapes of these moors better than his own bed! I would like to see the place you could put him where he couldn't find his way out of again. I don't care what you say. It's the Downs that's got him."
And no one had much to say on that matter. Everyone would turn and regard their drafts of ale and plates of stew, and wondered where the music had gone, and why it was so dreadful cold inside.
Wight Station Inn continued its prosperity, despite an unusual amount of children disappearing from the area in the following years. And the most curious thing was the nature of their disappearance. The last time they were seen, universally, had been in their beds, when their mother or father kissed them good night, and no one had noticed anything strange about the children that night. Except, that was to say (and this was generally disregarded by the police), for the past few weeks they had been afraid of their window, especially at night. When asked why, they would all, without exception, say that the Tall Man was there, and he asked them to come out to play. Most parents did not press their children about this Tall Man, but when asked, they said he would come shortly after they had fallen asleep, and he would tap on the windowpanes with his fingers like bones, and smile a smile that curled up to his ears with teeth that were sharp and ragged and "like a monster", and watch them with eyes like black holes in his head.
Their parents usually dismissed this as a nightmare. The few who did not were often the staunchest advocates of the kidnapping theory.
Where did they go? People were eventually obliged to wonder. Were they taken, or did they leave? And if someone had taken them, why had they not been seen? Not once, from one wandering traveler to the local homeless man, was any trace of the missing children discovered. Not even the barest scrap of clothing or bone fragment.
It was as if they had disappeared, without the smallest trace, leaving only a space in the minds of those who knew them.
Then they began to wonder, by 1840, if there was not some truth to this Tall Man. Many locals began sighting something excessively tall and thin moving in the trees at twilight. And if they happened to stop to look at it more closely, and they did not immediately dismiss it as a figment of the gloaming, it would sometimes happen, they would swear, to look back. Or, at least, that's the feeling they got from those two pinpricks of light from between the upper boughs of the trees. They were being watched. Worse yet, they were being hunted.
The reports of sighting this tall, thin thing became a steady stream, but were regarded no more seriously than when the missing children had initially sighted it.
"And what makes you think you saw this Tall Man?" asked the sheriff, Daniel Blake, sucking on his chaw and regarding the man with some speculation.
Jonathan Grimm, a farmer from some ways off from Wight, only knitted his hands, and across his face came the most curiously frightened expression.
"Well, sir, it frightens my animals. For three nights in the last week, I've woken from a sound slumber before the moon has set, to the cows making a most awful racket, and the horses screaming their skulls off. When I ran out to see what the matter was, it was standing there with the most peculiar expression."
"Expression?" the sheriff had asked.
"Yes, sir. I could swear that it was smiling at me."
For some moments after, the sheriff's office, which was slowly beginning to darken with the beginning of dusk, was silent. Shadows began to slowly creep in from the corners, and the sun painted the Western window a bright and unabiding red. Finally, the sheriff dismissed the man, and told him he would take it as a matter of investigation.
"But that wasn't all, sir," Grimm had piped up again. "When I came back to the house, sir, Lot, my old dog, was dead. I do not know what it was that killed him. He did not have a mark on him sir. I thought he had been sleeping, sir, except he never sleeps before the door."
"Dead?" asked the sheriff, becoming now more alarmed, for this was the first death that occurred in the case, animal though it was.
"Yes, sir," Grimm said. "And beside him, at the window, I thought I could see scrape marks, as of feet beside the window, except it was dark, sir." The sheriff asked if Grimm had anything else to add. Grimm said he did not, and the sheriff told him he could go.
Once again, universally, the circumstances were the same, despite who reported them. Eventually, Jason Downs, the Innkeep of Wight Station Inn, on one October evening was obliged to visit the sheriff. But he was shaking all over, and could hardly be persuaded to tell a straight tale. It was full of fits and starts, and ran around in circles in itself.
The sheriff was able to get one piece of clear information from him, and that had been "the Downs". And from there, the man was obliged to reconstruct his story from the jumble of information he'd been given.
At around eight o'clock the previous evening, Jason had been walking out on the moors and found himself out near the ancient burial grounds some ways from the town, called the Barrow Downs. It was where, generation after generation was told, kings of old were buried. Or, saving that, it was another world. But, in any event, Jason Downs found himself walking these hills at dusk, and there saw something he could not adequately explain, except it had been the Tall Man, and he had issued forth from one of these hills some ways away from Jason. As he watched, he said, it strode, with a few steps, to the forest that lined the hills, and disappeared.
This account, taken from the sheriff's journal at his desk, was the very last taken from any one in the Wight Station Inn at all. The following morning, the Inn was found deserted, devoid of any trace of any person at all. There was no evidence any one had struggled. Breakfast, in the kitchen, was being prepared; the butter was left out on the counter, and water was being filled in a pot. A basket of linens had been left near the cabinet. A horse, drawn up for saddling, had wandered some way away from the Inn, and was peacefully cropping grass.
Every man, woman, child, guest, employer, and employee from Wight Inn had disappeared. And there was no suggestion that anyone had known that it was coming, save for in Room 203, where a suitcase had been started to be packed in some haste, and the only evidence of violence at all was there.
Great, splintering scratches, as if from nails, had been drawn upon the closet door.
Today, Wight Station Inn remains abandoned, and the stop was discontinued. Many people ask today why, in great dudgeon, should the railways inconvenience anyone wanting to go to Wight in such a way.
But how or why, they don't understand.
And so it is today that if one should ever want to visit Wight, you'll be given a map of the place, and a warning. Not to seek these things that lay beyond the limits of Wight. And if you should ever see bright lights in the trees you don't understand, not to go looking for them.
The Editors would like to note that at the time of compiling these stories, the cases at the Hamlet of Wight in Waywickshire are still open. We endeavor to keep all persons therein safe, and have edited minor details of the story at the request of the Waywickshire police.
Original Author Unknown