“Tales From Hawthorne: An Anthology” is a collection of five short stories all taken place in Hawthorne, a fictional town located in Scotland. Each story is individual, and specifically set in a different place in Hawthorne and at a different point of time, surrounding from 1970s to 2010s, with different storylines and characters.


HAWTHORNE /haw-thawrn/: A small town located in the Northeast of Scotland. It situates near the city of Aberdeen to the north, and borders the North Sea of the Atlantic Ocean. Its population is approximately 20000.



Running…falling…and running again. A pretty young boy gets lost in a coniferous wood. It is getting dark, and then, just in one second, the whole place is heavily overwhelmed in darkness. A gasp is getting louder and louder, a boy, at the moment, is in panic. He looks around and all he can see is blackness, just like the dark has already covered him and waited for the chance to completely force him under. He gets delusions… or maybe not… Are these illusions when he feels that someone breathes to his nape and there is a man who stands there and stares at him? Dark and cold, the pressure makes him blow his mind in a bad way. And now, all his alertness is gone, left him with panic to find a way out and in this moment, he wishes he had not ran away from home. If only he could calm down and listen to his father….

“It is getting dark, and then, just in one second, the whole place is heavily overwhelmed in darkness…”

Aadarsh Watt, which means “nous”, is our boy’s name. As his name, Aadarsh is the smartest student at school but also the self-contained one. Our 18-year-old boy is now living in Hawthorne Town in Scotland. In this town, strange rumors are told in every party, meeting, even in family’s meal. With children, “blacked- eye kids” maybe the most famous, and also the scariest one. Hawthorne Town – a town is tinged with the grey color. This is the place where adults feel threatened about unidentified events and children are always excited in hearing ghost stories. But not to our Aadarsh. “Such a ridiculous way to scare children by telling a rumor like that. If they want them to do something, they have to force them.” Like other teenagers at his age in 21st century, he actually does not care about life surrounding him, just social life and his interests attracting him. Besides, everything is time-wasted and unnecessary. Aadarsh, he loves reading and merging himself with the music or anything that he can make alone. Making friends, sympathizing, etc. do not include in his dictionary. He does not care about people, and he does not need any caring, too. Living in that way, he feels extremely happy and free, but not with his parents, especially, his father.

And the fateful day came, while returning from school, Aadarsh was very excited when thinking about his new science experiment. He could not wait to do it. But right after he got home, he saw his father on a couch, smoking a cigarette, seemed like he was waiting for him.

Please God, please not about me”

But at that time, as usual, God could not help him, and he had to have a conversation with his father, again…

“Aadarsh Watt, my son, I have to talk to you”

“Yes Dad, but can we talk later? I have an important idea that I need to do now”

“Okay, That’s exactly what I want to talk about. You spend your time too much to do your work but not spend time to actually cooperate with people. What do you think about it?”

“But right after he got home, he saw his father on a couch, smoking a cigarette, seemed like he was waiting for him…”

“I know what you means. But Dad, people do not make me feel interested in, but books do. It just so complicated for me to understand the others”

“But you have never tried, just one time”


“Okay, that’s enough. Science, books, music, everything that you feel comfortable with, you can spend time on doing them all. But I require you to have one truly friend, to sympathize and to be sympathized. This is your first mission, or else, I have to force you to give up one of your interests”

“Dad, this is unfair. Lookaround you, it’s 2015 now, do people really care of each other? Or they just live for themselves? Now you ask me to understand them? Then, who will understand me? No one. I’m 18 now and I will do whatever I want”

“Aadarsh, take a deep breath and listen to me”

“No, I won’t. You always force me to do things I really hate. You never understand me like Grandma. She has never told me to love, to communicate with people. She just supports me to do everything I like. I’m leaving now”

After yelling to his father the last sentence, our boy, with anger, ran away from home, regardless of what his father trying to say. He felt guilty at that moment, but the anger was too strong to make him think that he was right… until he got lost on the way to his grandmother’s house. In his memory, he was running on the familiar path, and then, suddenly, he lost his way. Actually, there is a small wood between his house and his grandma’s house that he usually gets through. But what about this? The wood he gets lost right now, absolutely is the different one. The first time of his life, he can feel a real panic. And this is Aadarsh’s situation at the moment, getting lost and running, as fast as he can.

“After yelling to his father the last sentence, our boy, with anger, ran away from home, regardless of what his father trying to say…”

The boy is in a real panic. Deviation, hunger and darkness drive him into craziness.

“Maybe this is the last time I can see world. If only I had heard my dad”.

Then, the exhaustion takes him down. Laying on the ground, Aadarsh does not intend to stand up or continue finding a way out. He is waiting for death. Suddenly, our boy feels the lights, just like it comes from a house, and that lights, it is saving him now. With his last effort and his last power, he walks slowly to the source of that light….

And then, surprisingly, he is standing forward the light now, and it comes from a mansion, an old but very gorgeous mansion. “An old mansion standing in a dark wood, sounds weird. Between survival and my fear, I think I have no choice now”The boy steps in the mansion.

“HELLO! Is anybody here?”

There is no response. 

“May I come in?”

Silence again.

“Silence gives consent. Just come in and find out if there is anyone at home”.

The boy walks along the hallway while admiring the beauty of the mansion.

“It’s old, but its designed is no kidding”.

Every single carved detail is pretty with the green color has been faded. In the dark with low lighting, he cannot see the details clearly, but in the overall view, the mansion’s classic beauty with the sense of gothic makes him impressive. While immersing in that old beauty, suddenly, Aadarsh feels cold when one thought struck him

“But… where’s people? There is no people inside here. So… where does the light come from? Who lights it up?”.

His face turns out white as the blood drains from his face. He stands there, like a statue. And right after he has known the weirdest fact in this mansion, NO PEOPLE, there is another concern now.

All of a sudden, something like earthquake is happening and the spectacle seems like fall into darkness. With the lights went out, Aadarsh cannot see anything, even the ground which he is standing on. Surrounding him now is an endless space, and in this moment, he knows he has to run out of here. He runs and runs, trying to escape from the mansion but it is too late now. The mansion is not the mansion anymore, but a maze, a huge endless maze that makes people lost their way and fall into fright. He just keeps running, then he realizes, all he’s done is hopeless, he always returns to the beginning. However, the trouble does not stop there.

There is something which does not belong to this world is waiting for him now. While our boy is trying to escape, there are some shadows keeping moving behind him too…..

Running and running again, but this time, the boy cannot handle it anymore. Tiredness and hopelessness have drained him. And then, everything before his eyes has darkened. He knows this is his last moment and he just too tired to think anymore. He falls down and becomes unconscious…


Coniferous (adj): thuộc loại cây thông

Alertness (n): sự cảnh giác

Deviation (n): sự sai lệch


Unfeigned (adj): thành thật, chân thật

Self-contained (adj): dè dặt, thầm kín


Tinge (v): nhuộm màu, đượm màu



From Specialists

Spelling and Grammar Checker: Hoàng Phan Anh Tuấn
Vocabulary Editor: Hoàng Phan Anh Tuấn 
Executive Supervisor: Nguyễn Dương Trung Tín

The Anthology created by: Võ Thường Hằng, Đào Thanh Ngân, Danh Nhật Sang, Đặng Tiểu Bảo, Hoàng Phan Anh Tuấn from Specialists

Posted by Phương Vy from Communications