The tale of sawney bean (complete novella)

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The Tale of SawneyBean

A story by

Kevin J. Kennedy


Ebook edition

Copyright 2015 by KevinJ. Kennedy






I’ve alwaysloved the legend of Sawney Bean and everything related to it. JackKetchums Offseason is one of my favourite books and the originalHills Have Eyes was a movie I watched over and over growing up, thecreators of both saying they based their stories on Sawney Bean. Myintroduction to horror literature was the late Richard Laymon whoalways seemed to have mountain men, cave dwellers or some kind ofmutant people in his books and this just furthered my love of thattype of horror. This is my story about the bean clan and whathappened all those years ago. If you search online for Sawney Beanyou will see that details are sketchy and there is a lot of debate.I have tried to keep my fictional story within the confines of whatis most commonly thought to be the correct information regardingthe myth/legend. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1


When I metSarah I was only twelve years old and she was fourteen. I wasplaying deep in the woods. We were both pretty startled as it wasrare to see anyone that deep in the woods. There was a moment oftrepidation but I decided to approach her and see what she wasdoing. I didn't speak a lot so I didn't have a lot of friends and Ihad seen Sarah around and assumed she was in the same boat as me.As I got closer I could see what she was trying to do was cook arat over a tiny fire that she had somehow managed to build. Shewould have struggled to heat anything over the tiny fire but whatwas more shocking was that she was trying to cook a rat that shehad obviously skinned herself judging by the blood on herarms. 


"What are youdoing?" I asked her.


"They don'tfeed me." She answered in return.


"Who doesn'tfeed you?"


"My aunt anduncle, they said when I can act like a woman I'll get a woman'smeal."

I didn't reallyknow what she meant. She had always been skinny and frail but Ialways just though she was a skinny girl but here she was in thewoods trying to cook a rat, seemingly to eat. 


She nodded forme to sit next to her. Before sitting I looked around and grabbedsome kindling and twigs and set about getting the fire going alittle better for her. 

"What exactlydo you mean by act like a woman and do you often eat rats?" I askedher trying not too sound judgemental. 


"I eat what Ican she said." She offered no further comment. 


With the firenow gong strong the rat started to cook. I have to admit the smellcoming of it was not unpleasant and not having ate myself for agood few hours my mouth started to water. I didn't really have aproblem with the fact it was rat meat that was causing the smell. Iknew from my grandfather that rats were supposed to be dirtyanimals but I didn't quite see why. They seemed no different fromany other animal to me and the meat certainly had a nice aroma toit. 


We sat togetherwhile Sarah slowly turned the rat over the fire on a stick she hadspeared through it. She took her time and kept it far enough abovethe fire that it wouldn't just cremate the outside of the meat. Itwas quiet in the woods and other than a very slight breeze rustlingthe tree's there was no other sound. I realised that this wasprobably the first time I had sat with someone without feelinguncomfortable.


Although Sarahdidn't say much at all she didn't seem uncomfortable at my beingthere either. Maybe she was just indifferent to me being there ormaybe she felt comfortable around me too but didn't know whyeither. 


We sat insilence for a long time, the smell of the meat making my stomachgrowl. Sarah seemed to stare off into space a lot but I didn'tmind. It was just nice to sit with someone without being picked onfor being poor or scrawny. I had always been poor. My dad hadworked in a tavern but as his drinking had gotten worse no onewould hire him as he drank more than he sold and my mum had workedin a brothel until one customer hadn't had a good time with her andpermanently disfigured her so she could never work again. Both ofmy parents had drank more and more as the years went on and now webarely even acknowledge each other.


Just as I wasdaydreaming about my life Sarah stuck the stick with the cooked ratin my face and nodded to it indicating I should take a bite. Icould smell the cooked meat just under my nostrils and the meatyaroma smelled amazing. Without a second thought I leaned forwardand sank my teeth in. As I bit down I could feel the moisture in mymouth. She had cooked it perfectly. This definitely wasn’t Sarah’sfirst time cooking meat outdoors and I wondered if her parents hadtaught her before they died or if it was self taught from a needfor scavenging. As I chewed on the meat I looked over at Sarah andI’m sure I seen the slightest flicker of a smile touching the edgesof her mouth. It was only there for a second and so faint I couldhave been mistaking but I’d still say now that sharing that firstmeal was the moment Sarah new she would be my life partner. I’m notquite sure I knew at that point but she did. I was just a silly boyand didn’t have a lot of thoughts about the future other thangetting away from my parents but I think even now Sarah had beenplanning what she wanted out of life since her parents had died andshe had been sent to live with her auntie and uncle who owned thelocal tavern. She had never liked it there but I wouldn’t find outmuch about this until later and even then she didn’t share a lot ofthe details.


Now although Imet this skinny girl in the woods eating a rat obviously due to herlack of feeding at home she still shared it bite for bite with meuntil it was done. She may have had a cold exterior but she seemedto have a warm heart. I felt like I wanted to speak to her more, toask her questions and tell her stuff about myself but I just satthere saying nothing which she seemed happy with. I kept steelingglances at her and although she was so frail there was intensitybehind her eyes even when her mind seemed to be somewhere else.


Just as I wastrying to look her over without being too obvious she jumped upfrom the fallen tree she was leaning against, jumped over it andstarted heading back towards the town.


“I have to beback now,” she said her face expressionless. “I’ll be heretomorrow” she added disappearing into the trees.

Chapter 2


As I took mytime walking home having no where I really needed to be and knowingmy parents wouldn’t notice if I came home or not I thought about mymeeting with Sarah. She was from memory the first girl I had everspoken to. I had had girls call me names before and pick on me butnever actually speak to me in a conversational manner. I supposethat’s why I don’t say much. Why try and talk to someone who hatesyou for no good reason at all.


Sarah wasdifferent from all those girls. She might not have said much to mebut she wasn’t mean and seemed to need a friend as much as I did.She was probably prettier than any other girls in town too butbecause she often looked so worried and stressed all the timepeople didn’t pay her the same attention as some of the othergirls.


Everyone thoughshe was weird but I knew there was more too it than that. Peoplewho have an easier route in life often think everything is straightforward or as it seems on the surface but I knew better.


When I got homemy mum was in the bedroom with one of dads friends. She couldn’tcharge any more but her old trade certainly kept her and my fatherin alcohol. I went straight to my room as he mumbled something atme but it was rare at that point for him to get up from where hesat. I spent the night thinking about Sarah and caught myself a fewtimes smiling. I fell asleep thinking about meeting her in thewoods tomorrow and hoping she would show.


The next day Igot up and knew I had a good few hours until it was time to go andmeet Sarah. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself but thought Iwould like to do something nice to show her I liked her but had noidea what I should do. I wandered around town for a while lost forideas when I suddenly remembered the caves my grandfather used totake me too. I had only been there a few times but it was myfavourite place to go. He would always tell me not to tell myparents he had took me there or they would kill him but it was ourplace anyway so I never said a word.


The caves weresecluded and pretty high up but when the high tide came in itreached the caves and filled the entrance. The caves went up intothe cliff wall so you could just go deeper in but grandfather wouldalways tell me the importance of never getting stuck there too lateand getting trapped. Not that I was ever allowed to go on my ownbut I was older now, my grandfather was dead and my parents didn’tcare what I got up to.


The reason Iwas thinking about going to the caves again was there was alwaysthe most amazing shells and rocks washed into the cave opening.Some of them looked like jewels and I couldn’t think of anywhere Icould get her something so special with no money.


I didn’t havethat long left until I met her and I didn’t want to be late so Iran all the way from town down passed the harbour and out to thebeach. I made my way along the beach to the part where no one wentas the sand wasn’t as nice and it was covered in seaweed. You hadto climb from here along the rock face of the cliff but it wasn’thigh up. The rocks were just massive and jaggy below you and I’msure if you were to fall you’d be seriously injured if not dead.The foot holds were more than big enough to climb along but it justwasn’t somewhere people would ever think to go.


My uncle hadbeen a seaman and had spotted the hole in the cliff wall one daywhen returning from sea. He spent a long time trying to find a wayround to the front of the cliff and when he finally found his wayin said that after all those years had never met another personwhile there or found any trace of anyone else in his secretplace.


I managed toget up to the cave easier than I remembered but I was a good bitbigger than the last time I had been here and I had always been agood climber. I searched around the cave for a while not going toofar in but knowing the water only brought the debris in so far andafter a bit of searching I came across the smoothest stone you’veever felt. It was like marble and it was bright red. I had neverseen anything like it before. After inspecting it for a while Islipped it into my pocket and made my way back down to the beach.It took me about twenty minutes and then I was headed towards thewoods on the other side of town.

Chapter 3


Upon my arrivalat the clearing where we had sat the day before I found it empty.My heart sank a little as I climbed over the fallen tree into theclearing but just as the feeling of sadness sank into my chest Iseen her emerge from the trees at the other side. She was againholding a rat. I wondered how you got so good at catching them butthought best not to ask. I set about starting us a fire while youwatched me. There was no greeting between us, just a familiaritythat shouldn’t have been there after only having met once.


Just before shesat I noticed a red stain between her knees on her dress. It wasthe same dress she had wore the day before. I again thought itwould be better not to comment but did wonder if our new friendshipwould have any chance of growing or surviving if we didn’t speak.Was it even a friendship?


Sarahapproached me and sat down opposite me. She quickly skinned the ratwith a little knife she had in her pocket then skewered it on astick and took to the process of slowly cooking it over our openfire. Similar to yesterday she stared into space while slowlyturning the rat to make sure it was evenly cooked. I wanted to askher what was on her mind so much but worried that might scare heroff or make her decide never to talk to me again and I didn’t wantthat.


Remembering Ihad the red stone in my pocket I quickly pulled it out and thrustmy hand toward her.


“Here” Imumbled not making eye contact with her.


Without sayinga word she reached out her hand and took the stone from me andinspected it. She turned it over in her fingers and spent quitesome time looking at every inch of it. Like yesterday I could havesworn that she had the slightest smile at the edges of her mouthbut it was too quick to be sure.

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