“Oh come on Shane! Booring! Is that the one where the father has his head chopped off? Everyone knows that story. Can't you do better?”
“Yea, but you haven't heard what really happened.”
“Oh get over it. Let me tell you a story from around here.” And so it was my turn, and I told Shane about the man who was pushed off the mountain just above our farm. His ghost had been seen by many, and was still hunting the district for the person who had pushed him over the edge. “You can always tell when his ghost was around, because the wind would suddenly blow real strong. The trees would creak in a certain musical rhythm; evenly – creeeaak-creaking, creeeaak-creaking; only more rapid than the wind could have made them to creak.” I finally finished the story and actually scared Shane, but he wouldn't admit it though. I saw the terror and shiftiness in his eyes. Mind you, neither would I, 'cause I scared myself too.
It was a long time before we clambered into our sleeping bags. It was really dark by now and the fire was only smoldering with a few hot coals scattered about. We never did get out for our rabbit hunt. Oh well we could go early in the morning. No doubt we would be waking up at sparrows fart! Hopefully we might have even caught a rabbit in the snare we set up before dinner.
The sudden spine tingling chill of the cold sleeping bag lining gushed up our bodies, causing goose bumps all over us. Then after a few moments we were warm and cosy. After a few little giggles I couldn't stay awake any longer, I was too tired. The tent door flapped, and rocked me gently into my favorite place where anything could happen.
Creeeaak-creak. Fillitttt flltttt. Creeaak-creak. Fllitttt fllttt!
“Shane. Wake up! What was that? My eyes had sprung open like a mouse trap, only in reverse. The tent door was flapping wildly. "Shane! Are you awake?” He turned, cumbersome in his bag. "Shane! wake up!" I shouted in a hushed whisper.
"Whilmbldlree slrlrthtsd" He mumbled. I was shoving him now.
"Come on Shane. Wake up!”
"Whhhhgg!" he replied. This was hopeless. Finally his eye lids rose painfully open, slowly flapping resistantly. "Whadayuowant?"
"Did you hear that?"
"What?" The distant sound of creaking was piercing the night's eerie symphony. Flit-flit's and thunk, thunk-thunk, thunk's. “It'scoming down from the graveyard."
"Graveyard? Wadiya mean?"
"You know. Up the hill, above us. Where the cows are buried. Come on wake up! Can't you hear that?"
“Yea, yea.” He shot bolt upright, definitely wide awake now. “What the heck is it?” I could have sworn whatever it was would have heard our hearts thumping inside our chests. The door spoke furiously, angry! My heart raced like a rock concert.
"There it is again!" I felt trapped inside the walls of the tiny tent.
"What do you think it is?" Shane asked quietly, like he didn't really want to be heard. "Maybe its that man you told us about" He said with noticeable shakiness.
"Shhh! Don't say that" I could feel my blood pumping wildly through my veins.
"But what if it is?" He said strained and swallowing dry air. The noise changed slightly, and came closer to our tent. The trees still creeak-creaked and groaned in the distance. Suddenly the creeak-creaking stopped and the thunk, thunk-thunk, thunk's started again. They were coming toward us and definitely sounded like foot-steps. However, strange and irregular, as if the man, or whatever had a stagger. We hid right down in our sleeping bags, lying there waiting for a crazed attack on our defenseless fort. It seemed to take forever.
What was he doing? We could hear the loud pounding in our chest, surely this madman could hear our hearts too! The blood draining from our faces. I could almost make out Shane's face as a pale corpse. I wondered if my face was shrouded the same. The staggered plodding of heavy feet came closer, and closer. It was right outside now, I knew it! We were hopelessly trapped, throat's coarse and dry with fear. I reached for my torch, would that be enough to whack over his head – if he had a head? To knock him out? I was preparing to find out. The plodding stopped, but our hearts went ever faster, almost bursting out of our chests. No matter how still or how quiet we were, we knew that whatever was outside could hear the loud beating of tom tom drums inside.
“Shane.” I nodded for him to open the tent flap with my head while I held tight to the torch. I was ready for my most powerful swing. He hesitated, which I was glad about anyway. I guessed our only hope would be to yell as loud as we could and freak him out more than he freaked us out; we hoped. The silence was raging. His breathing was deep, coarse and wet.
"MMMMMoooooooo” We sat stunned and shocked in the tent, minds racing and confused. The silence went on. Then with a breath of relief we burst into uncontrollable laughter. It was only one of mum and dads cows. We felt so stupid, yet relieved. I shot out of my bag and Shane was close behind. We slowly pulled open the tent door to see who she was. Through the crack we saw her.
“Rosemary! You scared the crap out of us girl!” She towered above us. Her big brown eyes looking straight at us glistening as they caught the moon light. I'm sure they were laughing at our expense. She looked so funny, like a hand puppet gone wrong. She wiggled her ears, and gave us a gentle moo as if she was saying "Don't worry boys, I'll stand guard for you tonight."
"Rosemary, you really had us worried." I said in a timid voice. She was only a cow but with her looking after us that night, we felt safe. We went back into the tent laughing our heads off.
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