Monday, 27 March 2006

Night on Bear Mountain

Saturday night I found myself out in Oxford with some of the lads from my College, Liam, Girvan, Sgt Bilko and Boswell. Both Liam and Girvan are Irish so it was in danger of becoming raucous, it was a relatively well behaved night although the two of them did seem to be a little overexcited by the 6 nations result. Why they seemed to have completely forgotten the world cup, which as everyone knows is the only thing that counts, at the moment anyway. So there we were in the Kings Arms, not the Turf for once on account of Wilko being the assistant manager, having worked the last 34 days without a break and being “fed up of the Turf”. You would have though that the five of us would have plenty to talk about, there was a lot of catching up to be done. We must have got tired of talking to each other as we were soon deeply engaged in conversation with the table full of girls next to us. One of them was from Australia so we sang, to the tune of “Yellow Submarine”, “you were born in a convict colony”, how she laughed. Curiously after this interlude our neighbours were still talking to us and so the conversation turned to actresses and the like, girls seem to find such things interesting not wishing to appear impolite we all feigned interest. Apart from Wilko who seemed to have a little too much knowledge about Katy Holmes and Tom Cruise. I was asked a question about a lady by the name of, can’t remember who it was as I had never heard of her, and when I asked who she was I was asked if I lived under a rock. My table collapsed in laughter, Girvan choked on his Guiness and it was a good minute or two before order was restored. All the while the girl, who had asked the question, Jo, sat there with a fixed grin and a look that went from mild confusion to deep concern.

It was not long after this that I was back in Lewknor and walking back towards home. It was a clear night, the stars danced between the leafless branches of the trees as I walked and yet it was dark, very dark, there was no moon. It was, if one were disposed to flights of fancy, a bit spooky. I was grateful that I am a reasonably rational person and so unafraid of shadows at night, this was very much the kind of night on which horror films are based I thought. It is a little bit unfortunate to be thinking such a thing at just the time you become aware of very light footsteps behind you, the next thought, being “I don’t have my torch with me”, offered little comfort. As I walked my hand slowly moved to my back pocket and my knife, there was a possibility that one of my friends was trying to scare me so I resolved that if someone jumped me I would not to stab anyone until I knew for sure that it was one of my friends or not. Emboldened by my weapon I stopped and turned, the footsteps low and quiet continued and I saw, or did I imagine? An animal shadow not much more than two foot tall. I growled and the gentle padding continued towards me. I was properly freaked out by this point, the hairs on the back of my neck were all standing on end as I turned and continued walking deliberately slowly all my senses on high alert. My ears strained to hear the slightest thing and every time I stopped to look behind to see if it was following me my eyes strained at the velvet darkness that seemed to grow from the very ground and threatened to draw me into it. My thoughts by this time were all over the place, maybe there was some malevolent spirit, maybe those horror films are based on truth, people do turn up dead in the woods sometime and who knows why. Scrambling up the hill to the relative safety of my carefully hidden rucksack I had to pause to cross a fallen down tree and something gently rubbed against my right calf I hastened up the hill and it came again a gentle rub, I yelped, spun around with knife in hand and heart beating in my ears. From a tall dead beach tree long ago struck by lightning an owl screeched in the night and is immediately answered by an owl over in the mass of shadows towards which I am heading. At this point I started to get a grip and realise that it was all just my mind playing tricks on me, but still the first thing I did when I got back was to light a fire, I used petrol just to be quick about. Sitting there protected by the fire from the creatures of the Id I eventually drifted off to sleep. I had intended to get my water bottles and fill take them down to the river to be filled, I changed my mind, far too many imaginary monsters out and about for that nonsense.


Feeling mad said...

Have you ever watch Blair Witch, your a braver person than me, good luck your doing a grand job

kizzy said...

hi! my mum is sooooo obbsessed with u (however u spell that^) shes left loadsa comments as steph...or stephie....or somthing and she loves it when u answer them!! lol*!!!! but anyway...i'm just tryng to ebarrass her really so.....yeah.....bye!

*(lol is laugh out loud, but generaly, we just tink of it as a "hehe")

kizzy said...

well my mums laptop is a bit u-know-what so thats why my typing is so u-know-what

btw im thirteen i think..... but i might be 12.....hopefully 13

Matthew Coombes said...

You had me laughing out loud with this one. Did you ever find out what it was (if anything)? Very well writ.

Hugh Sawyer said...

I have not seen Blair Witch, I'm thinking of watching it on a lap top one dark night. To make it more interesting I might also eat a lot of cheese before going to bed.

Kizzy - how much trouble did you get in?

I never did find out what it was (if anything) but if I find it I'll give it a piece of my mind. If anything I would say it was a cat. Probably a really big one with fangs and everything cos wouldn't be afraid of a pet cat or anything. It was most likely a Panther and would of eaten me but it probably was too scared of me, any one else would have been eaten. I expect it realised it was in for a fight if it attacked me and that it would loose. Thats the most likely explnation for what happened.