“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.



Her throat was soaring immensely. It was August’s turn to reply the paranoid woman, asking her to untie a knot that had been troubling his sense.

– “Where did you get that jacket? And the locket, this locket?… – He showed her the copper piece. – “… How come did you possess these things!? And where is Diane!? What have you done to her!? Answer the goddamned question, where is my daughter!?”

– “It is a fit jacket, and the locket is no use to disfavor of jewelry, I have to admit. Diane gave them to me when she finished her section, because she was no longer in need of such stuffs. What does the R.O.S.E.M.A.R.Y signify, August? It doesn’t evoke anything that I know…”

– “That’s her mother’s middle name: Rosemary… Where is Diane? You tell me!?”

– “She is patiently waiting for you, August. She suffered a lot during her treatment, but she is fine now, I promise you. She is never going to feel sorrow again, and she has become a free woman, still willing and young at heart. Her dream has come true. Do you want to see her?”

– “Stop playing around and give me the straight answer. What have you done to her!?”

– “The Lord orders me to give you two options: If you consider my act as a criminal more than a helper, it shall be implied that the rotten society out there is your real origin, and you are free to call the cops and put an end to the sacred job that I’ve been doing for years. On the other hand …”

“Stop playing around and give me the straight answer. What have you done to her!?”

She dragged out a pumped syringe, whereas August became more self-aware of the reality he was in. She was probably laying tricks on him, trying to hypnotize his delicate state of mind using her library of deceit. He ignored those wicked words, despite their striking effects to the fragility of his mind. He was being weakened, paralyzed and it kept going on without a pause.

– “On the other hand, if you are willing to face the truth and accept its nature, then I will be privileged to hand you the ticket of reconcilement, that is, you’ll be able to see Diane again, and she will unveil the journey she has been through. She is here, within the estate, eager for the meeting.”

She turned her back to August, leaving the man a minute to decide which one to select. He resisted the temptation of those wicked words, and the more he denied, the more he was seduced, the more he got sucked into that vortex.

If he served the justice of a standard police officer as he used to be trained for, he would grant safety to the people of the town, which, according to her words, a blind and rotten society he would be serving to. In a second, he fathomed a sensible detail in her saying, for he saw a clear evidence based on his very experience. Perhaps, he had been acting true to the basic nature of human creature since the day he was born. Undoubtedly, he was the architect of his family’s destruction.

The tunnel, the nightmares, they were part of him, part of a ticking clock that had been reminding him of the hidden beast form under his human skin. He couldn’t deny the facts, he couldn’t bend the accuracy of the past. The event did occur, so how could he push the responsibility away? How could he state out loud the kindness, the naiveté, the conscience that he presumed he had, or he believed he had?

“I will be privileged to hand you the ticket of reconcilement, that is, you’ll be able to see Diane again”

No, he shook his head, no. Darkness, no matter how strong and devil and cruel it presents, will never defeat the glimmer of light, the beacon of hope in the end.

No, if the world truly held nothing but darkness itself, then it should have crumbled to ash and dust thousands of years ago. Human tend to have a strong feeling of love, of intimacy, of joy and delight, which have helped the human race get this far.

And the definition of love doesn’t stand for evil, instead, it is the bridge that establishes an irreplaceable connection between people in a society. 

He never felt anything much more passionate than love, and he always valued the relationship he had with his uncle, his wife and his daughter, due to the affection that shaped the lovely memories he experienced in the past time, in turn, giving him a meaningful purpose to live and fight for what’s right in life. He might have taken a wrong turn, but it wasn’t too late for him to turn back and take another as love is all about forgiveness and redemption. To earn those honors, he had to be right to its name notwithstanding the risks, and all it needed was a right move of sanity.

– “Take me to her.”

He shut his eyes firmly, knees kneeling down on the rigid floor. For the first time in years, he was inclined to unfasten the straitjacket he was the prisoner of; he was unprepared for what’s to come, and he was satisfied about it.

– “It’s dangerous, August. You already know it’s dangerous, then why risking it?”

– “I just want to do one good thing. For our daughter, for our family, for you Sara.”

– “The owls are not what they seem, darling. Please bear that in mind.”

– “Nothing is what it seems, neither hell nor heaven. We just need to learn to welcome it.”

– “Oh, August… Hang tight…”

The needle squeezed into his neck shortly, an itch was caused, following by a loss of sight, and total blackout. The locket escaped from his palm.

I’m coming for you, Diane

I’m coming

I’m coming for you, Diane

I’m coming


“Cocaine, huh? What’s wrong with you now, Diane!? I’m serious.”

“You won’t understand anyway, dad. Just forget it.”

“You’ve been acting very weird lately, Diane. I dropped you at school but the teacher said you weren’t, you sneaked out of the house and came back very late through the window, your scores dropped fast and badly. I don’t know what is affecting you, but I need that attitude to stop right away.”

“Seriously, dad, just stop. Stop that parent counselling crap you’re having. That disgusts me very much.”

“What’s the matter with you Diane? Tell me your reasons.”

“The truth that you’ve been hiding since I was little, since you gave me that stupid locket. Don’t be a smarter one here because it’s not working with me.”

“What are you talking about? What do you mean by that? Just look at me and tell me, Diane. Don’t play games here.”

“Frankly, you’re the one playing games here, daddy. How long are you gonna wait, or not at all, to spit the truth out to my face, that my mother gave birth to me as your daughter but I am actually not your daughter. Does that ring a bell, dear father!?”

“What the hell… Where did you hear that from, Diane?”

“Is that why mom drugged herself to death? Because of some broken affair?”


“No, dad, no. This is honesty right here, I want you to be honest with me. Be honest!”

“Yes, Diane, she used to meet someone before she even met me. That person’s gone and…”


“What? What did you say?”

“I said ‘liars’. You people are liars.”

“I said ‘liars’. You people are liars.”

“You haven’t heard the whole story yet, Diane. Listen to me carefully…”

“Why should I care? My whole life is nothing more than a great lie!”

“Look, Diane, calm down. You’re making a fuss about it. You haven’t heard the whole story yet…”

“It matters to me, dad, it matters most to me. These years of living not knowing who I am, where I came from truly, realizing that I am not your biological daughter. Can you imagine how hurtful that is?”

“Diane, that’s enough. It is my fault, okay, my fault not let you know sooner. I take all the responsibility. When we get home, I’ll tell you the rest. Now calm down.”

“You control freak, you liars, you and mother…”

Minutes later, when their car malfunctioned, they were stranded in the long dark tunnel, the argument was heating up very quickly until a stressful August had to deliberately stepped out of it in order not to burst his brain out, and to put an end to this enervative fight.

“Dad! Come back! It’s dark here! I’m scared! Come back!!!”

“Dad! I’m sorry! I shouldn’t yell at you! Dad! Please!”

“Dad!… Dad!…”



He never turned his back, her vain lamenting became fainter until there was only buzz in his ears. Diane, exposed to the vulgar touch of shadows, got back to her seat. She was wiping tears off her face while a skinny figure emerged from distance…

He never turned his back, her vain lamenting became fainter until there was only buzz in his ears

Privilege: đặc ân

Vortex: vòng xoáy

Straitjacket: áo bó, trói tay trói chân

Enervative: mệt mỏi, yếu nhược
Hypnotize: thôi miên

Lament: than khóc, rên rĩ



From Specialists

Spelling and Grammar Checker: Hoàng Phan Anh Tuấn
Vocabulary Editor(s): 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