Dunkling Hall (fiction)

Dare not speak its name,
Lest it come and find you.
Yet you can hear it,
Creeping round the halls at midnight.
When you hear the creaking pass,
Stay safe in your room
Do not open the door,
Or it will get you!

This little poem was whispered to every new boy at Dunkling Hall. As the new arrivals pulled their trunks down the dark stone corridors, an older boy would lean out of a doorway, grab the younger boy by the arm, and whisper the poem to him. Then the victim would be freed to continue his slow progress to his room, now glancing around himself fearfully.

And the doorways would resound to muffled giggles and snorts. The purpose of this little poem was to free the halls in evenings, after curfew and the teachers had retired to their own rooms, for the sports and japes of the older boys. With the younger boys safely terrified in their rooms, their elders had free run of the halls. This was a fantastic plan, and every year the older boys sang the praises of the unknown genius who had dreamed it up. It worked beautifully, in fact, until the year Tom awoke the monster.

Then it dawned on the boys, as they cowered in their rooms, as frightened as any mewling First Year, that perhaps they hadn’t been whispering about a legend, after all.

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