A jaunt through Wonderland.

So I have been reading Alice in Wonderland recently and just thought when I was bored at work, fuck it. why not do a bit of my own take on it? So here you go. as always, unedited.

 

Slowly and cautiously you open up the small wooden door and, down on all fours, you crawl through it. As you reach through the doorway you can feel grass under our fingers and the light breeze that wafts through brings with it a myriad of sweet smells that drive you on to crawl through the small opening. Even at a crawl it is a squeeze to fit through the doorway and the further through it you go the smaller it seems to be until finally you pull your heel painfully through it and turn to see that what was once a doorway is now nothing more than a knot on a tree no bigger than a pool ball. Ignoring the curiosity that was how you have just crawled through a door that turned out to be a tree you decide that it would be best to decide where upon you were rather than how you thought you got there.

Looking around you discover yourself to have emerged in a bizarre and expansive forest. The sun shines down from above, floating through the trees and illuminating their foliage and making it almost glimmer in shades of green and red, orange blue purple and every other colour you can think of. In fact some for the trees didn’t seem satisfied to be just one colour at all and each branch seemed to be a different colour like an art exhibition that had been created by a committee.

Still more curious was the fact that the trees were so built up and crowded together that they formed a seemingly solid wall of wood that was completely unpassable with the exception of what seemed like a purposely made path of clear grass that lead to the tree from which you had just emerged and nowhere else. Still with no obvious way back that left you with only one way to go so you start to follow the path through the trees.

The path beneath your feet was oddly springy, as if walking across a trampoline and each step bounces you along and you realise this must be what people mean when they say they have a spring in their step. As an experiment you jump but the floor when you land seems no less resilient and you merely bounce back as if you had just taken a normal step, a feeling that was rather disconcerting given how you had expected it to react. Rather than following on with that you concentrate instead on the sweet and somehow warm smell that was still drifting along in the breeze and getting stronger as you followed the pathway.

It was the smell of sugar for sure, almost like a fairground stall or perhaps the bakery when they have just taken a fresh load of pastries out the ovens. It was intoxicating and the more intense the smell the faster you walk until you turn a corner of the makeshift path and emerge in a clearing with a table set up in the middle. The table is covered with a bright purple tablecloth and a spread of the most amazing looking food you have ever seen. There are pastries and buns dripping with icing yes but also pies still steaming warm and jelly that was wobbling on its plate seemingly of its own accord.  Pails of ice cream add to the compliment while a gigantic teapot takes makes the centrepiece with steam flowing from the spout.

It is a sight to behold and the whole clearing is surrounded by huge mushroom talks with bright blue cap with yellow polka dots so bright they almost glow and wrapped around there mushrooms and descending low over the table are lines of silky white bunting with bright and multi-coloured flags hanging down from the strings. Entering the clearing you duck low under several lines of bunting and settle yourself into an armchair that sits at the head of the table. You there is a plate sat before you with everything you would have grabbed to eat and like a starving animal you tuck into it. The sponge cakes are the softest you have ever experienced with jam that runs down your throat and the cherries onto of Belgian buns are the richest perhaps in the whole world. Unable to stop yourself you dive hands first into the nearest pail of ice cream and the chocolate is sweet, rich and milky as it melts in your hands, never too cold.

You gorge yourself until you feel you can eat no more, slumping back in the chair satisfied and feeling the greatest sense of satisfaction. On the verge of napping you look up and see the bunting, fascinating from the way the sun is shining through the plastic flags the light is coloured, raining down on you like through a stained glass window and you trail your eyes along the string until it meets another one, changing to follow that line instead you marvel at the intricate pattern that has been made by all the lines of bunting as they crisscross each other until curiously they all come together to lower to the ground and underneath the cap of a huge mushroom that curiously seems to have no stalk.

Getting up reluctantly from your seat you follow the bunting strings to the mushroom, kneeling to try and get a peek underneath the cap but it is too low down. Curiosity takes you and you grab the bunting strings and give them a small tug. They have very little give in them and you are surprised to find they are actually incredibly taught. You decide that it isn’t a mystery worth following and try to go back to the table for some moor food but the bunting is stuck to your hand. Very stuck. In fact you can’t even open your hand, it’s as if all your fingers have been glued together. You try and pull away from the bunting, leaning back in the grass as you pull against the sticky string and to your horror after a few hard tugs on the string, the string tugs back.

With incredible strength you are pulled forward, losing your footing and crashing down on your belly in the grass there is a pause where you are trying to make sense of what is happening before you are pulled forward through the grass towards the mushroom cap. In a moment of madness you can only think about how you are going to get the grass stains out of your clothes before you are brought back to your predicament by the mushroom cap flipping back and opening up like a huge lid and exposing a deep black hole beneath.

You try to get to your feet and dig your heels into the ground but the force that is pulling you forward just drags you along regardless and you leave three deep gouges in the ground behind you where you heels and your one free hand have sunk deep into the ground, pulling up the emerald grass and revealing deep red soil beneath.

Desperately you look around for anything that could help you and you see he table sinking away from you as your legs descend into the hole. For a moment you see a glint of something metal on the table, a knife for cake cutting but it is far too late for that as your backside drops away into the hole. Looking down you see that the drop is deep with tree roots sticking from the side and the glistening line of bunting disappearing into the dark. But at the bottom of the hole there is movement and something shiny glints up at you. Eight somethings.

As you slide deeper into the hole, dragged by the bunting from which you can’t let go, you manage to reach out and grab a sturdy tree root, temporarily stopping your descent though the pain that tears up your arm is intense and for a moment you could believe that it is about to be torn from the socket. And then there is a voice that filters up the hole towards you. Cold and menacing it is like nails on a chalk board and your blood curdles at the sound off it.

‘Oh don’t fight, you know it’s hopeless. You’re not my first choice of meal but you know we all have to eat.’

You want to scream but you can’t the sounds just don’t come out right and all you can do is gurgle in fear as your arm is once again tugged on. And then whatever it is that spoke moves again, slowly but surely dragging itself up the tunnel towards you. Two long appendages thicker than your arm stretch up out of the darkness towards you with small forked ends to their legs that latch into the red soil and then pull the rest of the creature they belong to forward. These limbs are covered in thick spine like hairs and as the creature below you looms towards toy you see the glistening was eight black round eyes that all stare up at you as the body of the spider comes into view. Its dark brown body filling the entire width of the tunnel and the bunting disappearing beneath it, fed along buy two more, smaller arms.

‘You know what the spider said to the fly? Come into my web. And in you came. You filled yourself up on my little treat and no I get to gorge myself as well. Is that not fair?’

What you thought at one point was a branch sticking from the tunnel wall comes loose in your hands and as you once again start to slide inexorably towards the petrifying creature you look at what you had grabbed to see the light reflecting off a human jawbone, ivory in colour with the teeth still in place. Below you there is the rasp of swords being drawn from their scabbards and you look down to see two fangs, jet black and glistening, unfurl themselves from the spiders mouth and it chittered as the creature reared up above you, your legs sliding underneath it as the mandibles waved back and forth madly.

Finally you find your voice and managed a scream but by the time you had sat down in the chair it was already far too late.

‘I would like to tell you this would be painless…’ said the spider mercilessly ‘but it would be a lie.’ There was cruel mirth in its voice.

Your screams continue to float up the hole and out into the world above right up until the cap of the mushroom slams shut again and you are plunged into darkness, left alone with your own cries and that maddening chittering.

 

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A little slice of Nanowrimo

I’ve been finding it hard to write recently, not that my output was great before but there is just something killing my creative process at the moment. Even the small side projects I work on to stop my writers block have been stunted recently, who know why. Hopefull it doesn’t last too long but in the mean time I thought why not post something this year, so I settled on this little extract from my National Novel Writing Month last year. I didn’t actually enter it into any competition of course but it’s just a good excuse every year to do some writing and Technically the final product is a skeletal draft of a full novel.

Anyway for a little context Hayley here has been trying to escape the monsters of the book and has fallen off the back of a jeep and been knocked out, this is her after she comes around on a dirt road in Belize.

‘She had not been out long before something woke her. Opening her eyes slowly she saw the road in front of her, innocuous as it was it still surprised her for a moment until the events of the day came flooding back to her. She tried to move her arms but the resulting throbbing in her head made her want to throw up and she gave up, lying in the underbrush looking pathetically out before her. She heard the wind in the trees, swaying the leave as it gently sailed along, accompanied by the quiet hooting of an owl somewhere above her.
But that didn’t make sense. The hooting came again and then was joined by barking off in the distance. Hayley went cold. She wanted to move more than ever but she couldn’t then the tree above her shook and the branches rattled off each other. A slow, carnivorous rattle similar to that of a crocodile flowed down to her and Hayley closed her eyes, waiting for the thing to descent on her. She could hear a gentle his and opening here eyes again she saw the black body of a snake similar to the one that had almost attacked Vera, slowly making its way across the path away from her. Whatever it was that was above Hayley made it’s rumbling noise again before springing from the tree and landing on the path before Hayley. Through horrified, open eyes Hayley got her first sight of what it was that had attacked them.
The creature was not quite as large as they had seemed in the dark, it was about five feet tall and very reptilian except for it’s human like arms and it walked with a hunched posture. It’s large eyes were amber and it’s long snout opened and closed to let free a flicking lizard like tongue, revealing large yellow teeth as long as Hayley’s finger and sharp as could be. Blood still oozed slowly from it’s jaws and both of it’s four fingered hands were covered in blood dried to a dark brown colour. It’s scaled body was dark green but the under belly was cream to Hayley’s surprise it wore a tattered loincloth made of some sort of leather as well as a small necklace with more of the carved stone hanging from it, like it had found the cache of artefacts and decided to play dress up. It crouched down next to the snake and cocked it’s head as it looked at it, using it’s thick tail for balance. Hayley was reminded of velociraptors in dinosaur books and films but it was far too large. The snake between it’s feet reared up, ready to strike but the creature didn’t seem afraid, indeed it reached forward to pick the snake up. The snake lunged and sunk it’s teeth into the creatures arm, striking twice and retreating before striking a third time at which point the fangs stuck. The creature stood, though still hunched and looked at the snake closer now, holding it with one arm while the fangs were still stuck in the other, causing the snake to coil slightly.
A tall fin slowly rose up on the creatures head, almost a foot high like a strange mohawk, with bright red flap between the top and the neck. Then the creature bit into the snakes body, cutting it in two with a quick shake of it’s head. The body in it’s hand fell limp while the head stayed resolutely stuck in it’s arm and the creature looked at the head thoughtfully while it’s jaws munched on the chunk of snake it had bitten off. Hayley tried to move, as scared as she was she was fascinated and wanted a better look around the bushes she had buried herself under. This caused a rustling and the creatures head shot up again as it scanned the trees. Hayley held her breath, cursing her inquisitiveness and praying it wouldn’t see her. The creature stood stock still for a moment looking around through narrowed eyes, it’s muscles tensed and Hayley was sure it would soon spring forth and grab her. But then it relaxed and took another bite of the snakes body before dropping the rest and plucking the head from it’s arm. Bright red blood ran from the puncture wounds and the thing lapped at it for a moment before looking at the head and manipulating the fangs. Slowly venom flowed forth from them and the creature held out it’s free hand, allowing the venom to cover it’s claws.
Then came a hooting off in the distance, followed by a sharp bark. The creature raised it’s head and released two barks of it’s own before rapidly srpinting off into the jungle, gone in a second. Hayley let out a sigh as she untensed. Then she passed out again.’

The Girl in the Road

Three hours and seven minutes. That’s how long Cathy had been driving that night. Leaving the protest at around nine o’clock and after setting off at five in the morning to drive the same time across boarders to get there. She was exhausted, her legs ached, and her voice was horse from shouting, but she was happy. She felt she had really achieved something during that time and she was sure that the next protest she would do the same again.

The lights above the motorway glowed a dim orange and the rhythmic flash as they passed overhead was hypnotic and Cathy could feel her eyes trying to close. Shaking her head and reaching blindly for her cup of coffee she tried to force herself awake again. It worked to a degree, she didn’t feel her eyelids fighting their way down again and the coffee gave her a slight jolt, if only because it was cold and pretty unpleasant. Added to the lights in the dark there was the thumping of hundreds of raindrops as they exploded off the cold car exterior. The rain had started towards the end of the protest and slowly built until now it was a fierce downpour playing a drum solo.

After about ten minutes Cathy felt her eyelids trying to do their escaping act again and she reached for her coffee again. This time the base caught on the lip of the cup holder and, in her tired hands, she accidently tipped the coffee into her lap. With a yelp she bounced in her seat, looking down to see what she had done and moaning as she felt the cold coffee soaking into her skirt. Sighing in irritation to herself she reached for a handful of napkins to try and dry herself off, only after that looking up over the wheel for the first time in several seconds.

There was a person stood in the middle of her lane. A girl and Cathy screamed and slammed the wheel to the side. The wheels of her car screeched and skidded in the rain and the car slid sideways and slid towards the girl in the road. Cathy continued to scream as the car slid. Closing her eyes and waiting for the thump and her car flattened the poor girl. But it never came. The car slowly stopped and Cathy was left with the sound of the rain and her own beating heart. Finally daring to open her eyes Cathy saw that she had come to a halt, side on across two lanes of the motorway. It was a small miracle that there was no one else on the road at the time, due to it being so late.

Remembering why she had slammed on her breaks Cathy jumped from her car and staggered out into he road, looking for what she expected to be the flattened body of the girl. At first Cathy didn’t see the girl, thinking that she must have sent her flying or worse, caught her in the bumper of her car. Looking around Cathy was beginning to reach new levels of panic when, looking back to where the girl had been she saw her. The girl was crouched in the road, her hands over her head as if bracing for impact. She was pale, with long blond hair that was plastered to her by the rain which had turned the strappy red dress she was wearing dark. She was bare of foot and as Cathy ran up to her she yelled and fell to the side, trying to escape.

Cathy took her arm carefully and tried to calm her.

‘Shhh, Shhhh. It’s ok, you’re ok.’ She tried to coo but the girl still struggled against her for what felt like minutes, sat in the road but finally the girl gave up and just sat sobbing.

‘Are you OK? what happened to you?’ Cathy tried to ask but the girl didn’t reply. Just sobbed.

‘Why were you in the road?’ Cathy asked all to aware of how soaking wet she was getting crouched there in the rain.

‘He…he…he jus…’ started the girl but then she was reduced to sobbing again.

‘Come on, come with me, I’ll take you to the police.’ Cathy said, taking the girl by the arm and leading her, without objection, to the passenger side of her car where the girl slid into the sat and sat with her head in her hands.

Cathy sat down behind the wheel again and careful turned the car back onto the road, driving cautiously now after her close encounter. And very aware of just how wet the inside of her car was getting which in any other circumstance would have infuriated her but at that moment she could ignore that. As she drove Cathy tried her best to talk to the girl but she got very little out of her beyond stifled sobs and quiet weeping. All that she managed to find out was they the He the girl had been talking to was her boyfriend. Upon learning this Cathy very quickly started to put the story together, or at least put a story together in her head. She could imagine the kind of swaggering jock that this poor girls boyfriend was. The kind of meathead that thought he was the gift that god gave the world and thinking he could to whatever he wanted to whoever.

Well he wasn’t going top get away with it on Cathy’s watch. She was going to take this poor girl to the police and make sure that they nailed this sick bastard to the wall. Looking over at the girl again Cathy thought she couldn’t be much older than eighteen and even they it may have been pushing it. Despite her makeup having run down her face in the rain she was still exceptionally beautiful, with exceptionally smooth skin and gorgeous blue eyes which looked so doe like and innocent despite the red whites. Her body was slender and the soaking wet dress clung to it, accentuating her figure for anyone to see. Her pale skin shimmered with the rain water and seemed to almost sparkle in the dazzling lights as they passed overhead.

Cathy pulled her attention away from the girl and back to the road. The street lights were still a dull orange. Why had they seemed to be so bright and sparkling? Risking a glance back at the girl she saw her in the dull light. Sitting there quietly snuffling to herself. She was still tired Cathy thought, the adrenalin rush was wearing off. There were still only a few miles back to town and Cathy wanted to stay alert. It was going to be a long night yet.

‘So what’s your name?’ Cathy asked, hoping to distract herself.

The girl didn’t answer.

‘Where do you live?’ Cathy asked now

‘London’ the girl said in a quiet voice.

‘That’s not exactly close.’ Cathy replied. Glad that maybe there was a conversation she could develop.

‘No’ the girl replied

‘How did you end up all the way out here?’

‘I was staying with my boyfri…’ started the girl before she started to cry again, softly.

‘Oh it’s ok, It’s ok. I’m going to make sure all this gets fixed.’ Said Cathy. Anything to try and calm her.

The girl didn’t stop crying, but she quietened.

Cathy turned back to the road again. Her eyes had been lingering on the girl’s long legs, her skin smooth as silk even here and how her delicate feet were covered in scrapes and bruises from walking barefoot down the road. Cathy’s wanted to just pull over and hug and comfort the poor girl but there would not be prudent at the moment. What she needed to do was get the pair of them to a police station where they could report what happened. But Cathy looked over again and saw the girl was looking at her, their eyes met and she was drawn into her beautiful eyes. Just staring at her, full of tears still and engulfing like a hole had opened up and swallowed Cathy. It almost pained her to look away but she managed to fix her eyes o the road again.

‘Thank you…’ the girl said in her gentle voice. There wasn’t a crack in it.

‘You don’t need to…’ started Cathy

‘Thank you for stopping and helping me. Not many people would have.’ The girl continued.

‘That may be right, but I always look out for a woman.’ Cathy replied.

The girl sobbed again quietly but didn’t start crying. There was an almost irresistible force trying to pull Cathy’s head around to look at the girl again but she fought against it, trying not to think about her soft, round lips. Her cold skin. It was insane. She was a happily married woman and had plans to adopt maybe someday and yet the appearance of this girl was rapidly driving her insane. What was wrong with her? Keeping her eyes glued to the road she tried to keep her eyes fixed to the whiter lines flickering in the headlights. Counting them as she was acutely aware of the sweet-smelling perfume the girl was wearing. Surely that should have been washed off in the. Then the girls hand closed gently around her hand on the gear stick.

Cathy’s heart beat quickened as she felt the girls soft skin on hers and her breath seemed harder to pull back. She glanced across at the girl who was staring longingly at her, her perfume was filling her nostrils to such a degree that Cathy thought she would smell this girl when she was in her grave. Slowly the girl leaned in and Cathy felt herself doing the same. But then she pulled herself away. She was probably twenty years older than this girl who had just been through something truly horrific and was not in her right mind. Cathy tried to open her mouth to say something to that effect, to try and be gentle with this girl but all she could manage was

‘What are you…doing?’

The girl didn’t need top reply, her hand was still on the gearstick and Cathy felt, almost against her will, the wheel of the car turning over and the vehicle slowing as they entered the hard shoulder. Cathy wanted to object but she couldn’t bring herself to say anything. That perfume was so strong and even as the car slowly drifted to a stop she knew she had nothing to say. Somewhere inside she knew she didn’t want to be doing this but wherever that part of her was it was far away. Tucked up and being supressed by the desire that she felt, the smothering need to touch this girl’s skin and feel it against hers. The car stopped and Cathy heard the flick of the hazard warning lights.

The girl didn’t need to say anything either. Almost as soon as they had stopped her hand was on Cathy’s face and Cathy felt she would have her rest it there forever. But there was no forever as the girl leaned in to no resistance from Cathy. The girl whispered something briefly in Cathy’s ear, so quiet that even with straining her hearing it was too quiet. Then heir lips locked. The kiss felt like an explosion in Cathy’s brain as thousands of pleasure receptors exploded to life and she felt her head spinning in the clouds. It was the best she had ever felt and she suddenly felt like this was the only thing in the whole world that was right, this one glorious moment that had brought the two together through tragedy. Her hands were on the girls legs and her skin was as soft as she had imagined, without out any blemish and as smooth as she had ever felt. Almost too smooth. Like running her hand over a glass pain.

Something wasn’t as right as she had thought. Her tongue felt strangely warm and there was a wetness between her chin and the girls. Like she was drooling. Cathy tried to pull away but the girl resisted, pulling her back with surprising strength. Cathy tried to pull away again, struggling this time and she felt a sharp pain in her tongue. She yelped and pulled back harder, leaving the girl to finally let go. Only the girl didn’t leg to entirely. As Cathy pulled back the girl’s tongue stretched comically out in front of her like a piece of gun a child would pull out from their mouth, the end still plunged into Cathy’s mouth and as Cathy tried to scream she realised that their tongues were connected. More precisely, the girls tongue had latched onto hers.

Then Cathy tried again to scream when she took on the full effect of the girl’s face. the girl’s chin was cleft in two by a huge tear in her skin, the bone revealed beneath it and when Cathy screamed the girl’s head rolled backwards and the rip split open. The girls lower jaw split clean in two in a shower of blood as the thing let out a harsh, croaking screech. It’s eyes had rolled around in it’s head and were pure white while it’s teeth popped from it’s jaws like popcorn from a machine and were replaced by yellow razors. Cathy tried to pull away bodily but the things legs kicked forward, it’s feet folding like claws to a chorus of snapping bones and seized hold of Cathy, pulling her forward with horrendous strength. Blood was now filling Cathy’s mouth as her tongue was mauled by  the things own tongue and her scream became a gurgle.

The things arms shrived like a balloon with all the air released from it and the thing’s dress fell gently down to it’s waist, revealing it’s pale body, alabaster white and from it’s belly button exploded a plume of blood, drenching Cathy, as four fleshy claws burst from inside. Between them was a membrane, making it appear like some horrific flower with gnashing teeth in the centre. More tongue like appendages sprouted from the mouth at the centre of the flower and even more from between the things legs, all wrapping around Cathy and pulling her towards the creature. Cathy’s flailing became weaker and weaker as she felt herself sliding across her seat and towards the thing. The whole interior of the car was red with blood and there was a thick, cloying scent of it everywhere. Somehow despite this, as Cathy was relentlessly drawn to the centre of the flower, she could still smell the perfume that had intoxicated her so just moments earlier. Then her face was mere inched from the horrific mouth.

A car sat at the side of the motorway, the hazard lights flashing and the interior blocked by red. There was no sign of movement from it until the passenger door opened and a young girl emerged. She was soaked in blood from her hair to her bare feet. When she stepped out of the car the closed the door with a small snap before looking up to the heavens. The downpour was as heavy as it had ever been and thunder rattled in the distance. The girl stood in the rain for a moment, arms outstretched and a huge smile on her face as she let the blood run on her body, mixing with the rain before the happily skipped off down the road, splashing in the water that had filled the drains.

Things that go Bump in the Night. Part 1

‘And Finished’

 

Robbie sat back triumphantly on the sand and wiped the sweat from his brow, slicking back his long blond hair in the process. Anna, his girlfriend walked over and placed a hand gently on his shoulder while adjusting her own dark, pixie cut hairdo with her other.

‘Well done honey, you stuck some sticks in the ground.’ She said sarcastically

It was true, Robbie had spent the last half an hour since the group had arrived at their campsite hammering some wooden stakes into the ground at intervals, creating a perimeter about fifteen feet around the two tents.

‘Yes, they are sticks in the ground, but once I wrap this string around them, it will create a fence that will stop us wandering off into the desert if we need to move about at night, it will likely be getting quite dark at night.’

‘Well that is what tends to happen at night. The sun goes away!’ came a voice from one of the two tents surrounded by the wooden perimeter. A few seconds later Robbie’s best friend, Kevin appeared from the tent, clutching a pair of beer bottle in one hand and a bottle opener in the other. He was tall but unlike Robbie who was well built, Kevin was scrawny. His short dark hair, like Robbie’s was slicked with sweat and his clothes were slightly too large on his light frame. As He approached Kevin managed to trip on what must have been the only rock they hadn’t cleared from their area and almost managed to fall on his face, barely managing to save himself at the last moment. When he reached his friends, he offered one bottle to Robbie before popping the top off his own and tilting his head back for a big swig. Anna coughed dramatically to gain his attention.

‘And where is mine?’ she asked sweetly

‘You had one when we arrived.’ Replied Kevin as Robbie popped his own bottle and took a swig

‘So, I can’t have one now?’

‘We’re out here for five days sweetie and there is only so much beer.’ Replied Kevin

‘To be fair…’ chimed in Robbie, ‘The cooler will only keep it cold for so long, might as well drink it all tonight or it’ll be warm by morning and warm beer is just gross’

‘Thank you, Baby,’ said Anna, quickly pulling the bottle from Kevin’s hand to little fight and taking a quick swig.

Robbie chuckled and held his hand up to Kevin who helped pull him to his feet.

‘I know you are going to side with your girlfriend Rob, but just remember we have known each other longer’ joked Kevin

‘I know man, but you need to learn to stand up for yourself, can’t just let her push you around cos she’s a woman, now help me with this string would you.’

‘I’ll get it for you’ said Anna, handing the now half-finished bottle of beer back to Kevin and walking off back to the tents.

Robbie started to walk his perimeter again but Kevin watched Anna as she went. Her long-tanned legs climbing up to underneath her white shorts which were cut to show off just enough of her backside to be enticing, her hips swaying slightly as she walked. Kevin felt his temperature rising and decided it best to move on before Robbie saw his looking.

‘So, the rope gets wrapped around the sticks?’ he said as he jogged up to where Robbie was standing staring out into the desert.

‘That’s right, and then if we need to go for a piss or the like during the night then we won’t go too far out else we’ll walk into it, plus if we need to find then tents all we need do is follow the rope around and it’ll pass by the back of them.’ Replied Robbie with a smile

‘It’s genius’

Robbie laughed

‘Thanks, wish I could say I was the one who came up with the idea.’

‘Don’t worry, I didn’t accuse you of having come up with it.’ Laughed Kevin

‘Hey, screw you too’ replied Robbie, giving Kevin a light punch to the shoulder.

The pair laughed and Kevin rubbed his shoulder, hoping that he was exaggerating it enough to hide the fact that it actually had hurt.

Night had started to fall by the time the trio had managed to get their camp fully set up with a small generator running some camping lights and their truck had been unloaded of all their recording equipment which was now placed around their perimeter at various locations to try and get them the best coverage. By the time everything had been finished and a small fire had been set to cook over many more beers had been consumed by all parties, most notably Anna who now was helping Robbie paw over the map while Kevin kept an eye on the sausages and tended the fire, occasionally glancing up at the couple when they weren’t looking.

‘Hey Kev, you’re one hundred percent sure we are in the right place, right?’ called Anna, exaggerating the E sound in his name.

‘Right place right’ chuckled Robbie, quietly repeating what she had said.

‘Shut up’ cried Anna, laughing too.

‘Don’t touch the markers, I’m one hundred, hundred percent sure we are in the right place. I’m the map guy remember!’ replied Kevin

‘Oh, sorry Mr Map Guy’ laughed Anna as she sauntered over to the fire and sat down, rather harder than she had intended, in her chair.

‘Don’t call him that, it’ll just add to his ego’ chuckled Robbie, taking his chair next to Anna rather more gracefully.

‘Well then you can call me Mr Food Guy as I serve up the first plate of hotdogs!’ called Kevin triumphantly as he managed to flip a sausage surprisingly deftly into a bun and passed it to Anna who cheered.

‘Hey Kev, feeding my girl first? Trying to make a move?’ Said Robbie, trying to keep a straight face but failing after a few seconds.

‘Wouldn’t dream of it Rob, I only gave Annie that one because I’d burnt it slightly, but don’t tell her that.’ Replied Kev, managing to get another sausage into a bun and passing it to Rob.

‘Aww Kevvie you’re breaking my heart. You’re really not trying?’ said Anna in a whining tone.

‘I…feel like there is no right way to answer that question’ replied Kevin, laughing

‘Pretty sure that’s the right way to answer it’ replied Rob and the three laughed.

Kevin tried to go three for three on sausage flipping but this time managed to miss his own bun and the sausage padded softly to the floor. His two friends booed as Kevin shrugged and got to his feet, giving the sausage a clumsy kick out of the perimeter, spraying sand up into the air, before carefully skewering a fourth sausage and carefully placing it in his bun before sitting back down with a thump.

‘Always have a spare’ he said with a chuckle.

‘Hey Kev, didn’t you say there was an old ghost story about this place? When we were riding in’

‘Yea there is, there are a bunch to be fair but only a few of them are widely told.’

‘Oh go ahead, tells us a story Kev’ Said Anna who had slipped out of her seat and was now cross legged on the sand by the fire.

‘Right Ok then. Well, you know we are in the middle of the Oregon Trail right? Well not right in the middle of course we would be more along the…’ started Kevin.

‘You can spare us the really nitty gritty details Kev, just get to the gruesome bits.’ Interrupted Robbie who had slipped down to sit beside Anna and placed an arm around her.

‘Right well, there was a group of pilgrims on their travels, maybe about ten or so and when they reach this desert, some of them start getting sick.’ Continued Kevin also slipping sown onto the sand so that his face was partially hidden behind the dancing flames.

‘So a small group of these ten, two guys and a girl in face. They decide they don’t want to get sick and they are going to split off and go back, find another group to travel with as they can’t go ahead with just three.’

‘How were they getting sick? What were their symptoms?’ asked Anna between a sip of beer. Her eyes were starting to glaze a bit as the alcohol started to take a greater toll.

‘It’s a ghost story Anna, I don’t think the clinical details of their illness is the main issue’ laughed Rob pulling her closer to him.

‘Well you don’t know do you’ she replied belligerently.

‘Don’t worry, Annie, it’s not’ chuckled Kevin

‘Spoilers’ muttered Anna as she snuggled closer to Robert.

‘The spoiler is that I’m not going to finish this story if you keep interrupting’ said Kevin with another smile and Rob covered both his and Anna’s mouths with his hands.

‘Thank you, now, where was I? Well these pilgrims, they were trying to head back, and something happened down the road and in short, one of the pilgrims was married to the woman, but he felt that the other man was, essentially, having an affair with his wife. He starts to pull their caravan of course, leading them around in circles so that they could spend more nights out in the desert so that he could have more chances to catch the two being adulterous…’

The duo of Rob and Anna are silent as they curl up together listening to the story being told, letting Kevin get into his grove as he built towards the climax of the story.

‘Finally, the man catches his wife talking with the other man and he loses his temper, attacking his friend and in his blind anger he kills the friend but in doing so his wife is knocked into the fire they had set up for the night. Screaming she runs off into the desert flailing and the man chases after her and to this day it is said that the ghosts of the three prowl the deserts, seeking each other out. The legend even says that everyone and a while a group will be traveling out here and will disappear. Their stuff will be found, but they will be gone.’

There was silence over the group for a small while as Kevin takes a bit from his hotdog. Finally, it is Anna who breaks the silence.

‘So, the guy just sees his wife talking to their friend, goes crazy and kills them both?’ she asked cautiously

‘Well it’s never made clear how they were talking. They may have actually been having an affair, maybe they were just talking about the fact that the husband had gone crazy, leading them around in circles.’ Replied Kevin.

‘And so, a woman was set on fire and decided to run off? Not stop drop and roll?’ Said rob mockingly.

‘It was the 1800’s dude I don’t think they had invented fire safety yet’

‘You’re full of shit’ laughed Anna

‘Well it is a legend, nothing says it has to be true.’ Replied Kevin

‘Well I still don’t get it, what kind of disease do you get in the desert?’ asked Rob

‘Oh shut up’ replied Kevin

The trio laughed and joked with each other for a few more hours, as more beer was drunk and they progressively got crazier. Anna flicked on the radio they had brought and the soft tones of music wafted across the desert around them as they danced under the moon and the stars. It was about one o’clock when they decided they had better turn in. Kevin used his flashlight to give all the recording equipment a final adjustment, making sure the cameras had a good view of the sky before he at last climbed into his tent. Throwing himself down onto his unfolded sleeping bag and passing out without even getting undressed.