The blood red ball of the sun dipped below the horizon and the purples, reds and golds of the sky, slowly faded to an inky-black, as darkness draped itself across the land.
The rising moon later bathed the dark landscape in a silvery light, bringing forth an ethereal quality that whilst beautiful, still filled one with that sense of the unknown, the unseen.
Sounds unlike those that inhabit the daylight hours accosted the ears of fifteen year-old Andrew as he trudged along the path between the tall sycamores, cursing at having missed that last bus. He stumbled onwards, misreading the terrain where dappled moonlight cast eerie grey pools on the uneven ground around him.
The noise of an animal in the undergrowth became the furtive movements of a monster, watching its prey from the safety of the deep, deep shadows. The call of an owl from high in the trees suddenly became an evil portent and twitching shadows became all sorts of demons patiently waiting…
A crunch of rotten wood and a rustle in the undergrowth to his right, stopped him in his tracks. His heart thumped wildly as he looked about him, seeing nothing and everything in the amorphous shapes of the shadows. He pressed on, his pace quickening as he strove to make the clearing beyond the path, his senses working overtime.
More unidentifiable sounds and the young lad pelted, full-tilt through the remainder of the woods, not stopping until he was at least fifty yards clear, wheezing and fighting for breath, his chest burning with the exertion.
Meanwhile, back in the relative quiet of the woods, a badger looked on, curious.
“What was the matter with him?” it wondered, ducking back beneath the ferns with a rustle and the crunch of dead sticks.
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