Strange sights can arise in the indistinct hours when one is left wondering whether they are below the sun or the stars. Great forgotten beasts loom out of the murky light but wither and fade as one draws near. Trees become bulky giants towering over oneâ€™s head, while bushes are wild creatures crouching in the gloom, with intent too dark to write. Strange sounds assault one’s ears, as the creatures of the night awaken from slumber and their daytime counterparts begin their repose. The air echoes with their respective goodnight and good-morning calls, setting on edge the hair of even the most fearless man. Vengeful ghosts and spirits seem to cry your name in voices born of nightmares, reason proves fruitless in staving off the insistent fear creeping up your spine.
I found myself immersed in such a scene, hurrying along a decrepit path winding its way through even more ancient woods. Sparing not a glance to either side I half-walked, half-ran through the whispering shapes looming above me on either side, closing my ears to the calls that rang through the air. Time and time again I was forced to gulp back a gasp as things which should remain only in nightmares seemed to leap out at me, fading away at the last second to be revealed as mere trees and bushes. Grasping thorns and brambles snagged my coat but I rushed on heedless, for it would have taken a heart far greater than my own to pause for even a second in this ghastly semblance of a forest.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of stumbling, tripping, and regaining my feet in great haste while trying to shut out my surroundings, I glimpsed through the trees a floodlit clearing. The sight gave me great joy and I craned my neck in an effort to once again catch sight of the elusive patch of light. After what seemed like an eternity of more stumbling and falling, I burst out into the clearing, with relief clinging to me as effectively as the burrs I had picked up in my little excursion.
The clearing was illuminated by a light swinging below a rickety looking pole, shining down upon a man in a red sweater. He crouched, bent over a cardboard box which appeared to contain gardening equipment of all sorts. I let out a sigh of relief. The collar of an unwashed shirt peeked cheekily over the edge of his sweater. I knew that red sweater, and it was good to see a familiar figure, though I knew that for the sake of my face I could never expound upon the stress of what I had just been through. I gulped down all remaining shadows of fear, preparing my vocal chords to talk rather than hold back screams of fear as they had been for some time now.
â€śNah mate, the east plotâ€™s fine.â€ť This casual comment being a success, I began to expound further following the hunched figureâ€™s reply.
â€śI checked most of the plants but then my torch died on me so I had to ditch to get back before it got dark. Though I guess that didnâ€™t happen. Yeah, itâ€™s pretty much fine mate.â€ť He remained silent and I felt compelled to continue my efforts at conversation.
â€śDave gone back to the car, mate?â€ť He still made no reply, but stirred and began to stand up, easing his visibly stiff legs with one hand, the other apparently occupied with some small object. The dirty collar receded beneath the sweater. He turned slowly in my direction, and as I got a view of more and more of his front, I realized what was in his hand. I gasped as he pointed it at me, and in vain searched for mercy in his flinty eyes.
His hand jerked backwards, once, twice, thrice! A great noise went off inside my head and all of a sudden the world spun wildly on a crazy axis, flinging me to the ground. I felt a little drowsy, and slowly let my eyes drift shut, before they were involuntarily jerked back open again by the pounding pain in my chest. I felt a little irked by this untimely interruption of my rest; after all I had just experienced what I considered a great ordeal. But slowly, the pain faded and I was able to drift off into a tranquil darkness.