What a lovely day this has been! The wind was blowing and the shade was cool. I imagine that the summers in my little fictional town are like this; people don't mind being outside and in each other's company. I also imagine that days like this are no fun when you're alone.
The people of Dren are a sensible, even minded folk not easily given over to fancy. They can’t afford to be too whimsical; life on the edge of the woodlands is not easy, even for a town the size of Dren. These are a people who believe an honest day’s toil will cure any ailment. They simply do not dabble in the nonsensical.
Therefore, when the people of Dren say a place is haunted, it should be taken as the gospel truth.
On the outskirt of town there is a deep gulley through which a creek of modest size used to flow. Where the water ran out of the dark, cool forest and tumbled over the crest of the hill stands a mill. This mill was once the pride of Dren. It was a magnificent building; two stories of the finest craftsmanship the region had seen. Beside the mill, where the water had poured from its hidden source, was the water wheel.
No one knows why the creek had diverted, they were not willing to venture far enough into the woodlands to find out, but the water stopped turning the wheel and the mill had to be abandoned. All the useful parts were taken for the new mill and only the basic structure was left. For decades the grand old building was left unused and alone next to the untamed woodlands. There were those in town, the very old who remembered how things were, who said that the mill had gone feral.
Feral buildings weren’t unheard of in Dren. Many people traveling from the east had seen them. When people leave, the abandoned places are left at the mercy of their surroundings. Some buildings find it necessary to become aggressive and forbidding, others just fade into the environment and hide.
As the people of Dren were a sensible lot, they would not admit outright that something was wrong with the old mill. But there were stories, there were always stories.
Most of the people in town had some version of mill lore. Mothers would tell their children that the mill would swallow them whole if they went in it or that an angry ghost would steal their souls. Some of the elders would look wistfully into the distance and speak in hushed tones about the Fair Folk who lived in the woodlands and used the mill as a banquet hall.
So, naturally, the children of Dren would sit at the crest of the gulley and watch the mill intently, looking for signs of movement. Every so often, a brave young soul would step over the threshold and return later with tales of strange sounds and whispered words. Those few who dared to enter the mill always came back unharmed, but a little sad and a little wiser.
When pressed for details, they all said the same thing. It was a very lonely place.