Down in the Dark Woods by Gavin Ough

darkwoods75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Clood agrees to drive Trewana to Kielder water. Once there, readers voted they encounter some local people at the end of a wooden pier.

Episode 7

We must have seemed a ghastly sight looming in the gathering darkness as we walked along the pier. The T-shaped head was occupied by two men securing a boat, one of whom nudged the other as we approached,

“Evening, gents.” I announced, trying to make myself sound friendly and not in fear of my life, “Lovely night isn’t it?”

The pair, possibly father and son, looked at me as if I’d pleasantly offered to butcher and eat them,

“How do?” the older man spoke with a thick accent.

“I’m Nate,” I introduced, “And this is my research assistant, Miss Trewana,” I’d always had a talent for making up identities and characters, aided by my writing career,

The younger of the two leaned sideways to get a better view of Trewana who had hidden behind me,

“Research assistant, eh?” he said suspiciously, “Looks might’ young to be doing that.” His eyes met mine, “What you want?” There was an air of hostility from both of these men and I wondered if it was because I was from the south.

“Well, we think there might be the remains of a Pictish settlement on that small island and wondered if anyone might take us there?”

“Bit late in’t it?” the old man asked, “Where’s all your gear?” He fixed me with a distrustful look now too.

“Back in the car,” I said fast, “We wanted to make sure we could get there first.”

“Well,” said the oldster, “Ain’t no one goes onto yonder island since them boys went missing.” He paused for a beat, “So maybe you should take your research assistant and go off somewhere else.” His sarcasm spoke volumes. My heart fell.

I sighed and started to turn away when Trewana stepped around me and towards the two men,

“Where is the chivalry?” she demanded in an angry tone, “You men should feel shame to deny us passage across this tiny stretch of water!” I felt a smile lift the corners of my mouth as I looked at the pair’s shocked expressions, “I will cross to that island,” Trewana carried on, “If you pathetic excuses for gentlemen will not aid us, we will swim!”

The Wood Nymph sat on the edge of the dock and slid her bare feet into the water, gasping at the chill.

“Now hang on,” the younger man stopped her, “You’ll catch your death like that. I suppose we could lend you a small rowing boat.” Trewana sprang to her feet and beamed at him.

An hour later and with darkness complete, the bow of the boat thumped against the island and we made our way up into the woodland.

“Come, Nathan Clood, let us get to the Sitaloloquan.” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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