The Curious Story of Hattie Brown 

The winning author of’s 2015 Crime Short Story Competition brings you this unusual tale. 
Bethnal Green, England, 1962 

After the tragic death of her father fourteen year old Hattie Brown begins to have a recurring dream of a strange and mysterious oak tree. Built into the trunk is a red door with a golden door knob and a lion head door knocker. The dream always ends with the door opening to reveal a blinding white light that Hattie walks into. What do the dreams mean for Hattie and her family? 

After spending two years in Brixton Prison for armed robbery Terry Stapleton is finally being released early for good behaviour. But everyone isn’t pleased to see him out in the open. Terry has a score to settle. Somebody grassed him up to the police for his involvement in the robbery. He aims to find out who did even if it means him tearing Bethnal Green apart in the process
Hattie Brown made her way through a wild wood with a Jack Russell by her side. Its fur was snow white with patches of hazel brown. The woodland floor, covered with fallen leaves, crumpled and cracked beneath their feet. Hattie knew she was alone in the woods but she had the strange feeling that someone was watching her. Suddenly, without reason, the Jack Russell darted off out of sight. Hattie quickly broke into a run after it. The deeper she ventured into the woods she still couldn’t see any sign of the dog. 

Hattie cupped her hands together and shouted again and again for it to come back. Panic set in. Tears were about to fill her eyes when the Jack Russell began barking in the distance. 

Hattie ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She jumped over a rotting tree stump and ran around a group of trees that were huddled together. She sighed with relief when she saw the Jack Russell sitting on its hind legs barking at an old oak tree that took centre stage in the middle of the wood.

Hattie rushed and knelt beside it. 

“It’s just a tree,” she said. 

The Jack Russell took no notice of her. It continued to bark. Hattie’s jaw fell open in amazement as something unexpected and surreal began to happen. The body of the tree began to move and expand as the woodland floor shook. Leaves floated around Hattie like confetti. After a few moments the shaking stopped and the tree became deathly still. Hattie couldn’t believe her eyes. Built into the trunk of the tree was a red door with a gleaming gold door knob and a door knocker in the shape of a lion’s head.

Open the door, Hattie, instructed a soft male voice in her mind. 

Hattie did as the voice commanded and walked towards the door. She held out her hand, twisted the door knob, and as it creaked open she was engulfed in a bright white light.

 Hattie jolted awake. Her forehead damp with sweat. She found herself standing facing the bedroom door with her hand outstretched towards the handle.

She sighed with frustration then slid back into bed. It had been the fourth time she had dreamed of the woods, the Jack Russell and that mysterious tree. The dreams had started two weeks after her dad died


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