Thursday Tiny Tale 444 – In The Dark

You could cut the darkness with a knife, feel it’s heaviness. Once the land rover had driven out of sight there was no light. This was the night my ancestors knew; when the last embers had died and the lard lamp guttered. There was no moon and no starlight penetrated the forest canopy.

I knew I was only yards from the track we had just driven along, but my sense of direction had deserted me, though I had not turned or moved a step. I reached in my pocket for my phone, though I knew it was not there. A warm coat and a bottle of water the only concessions to basic needs. Minutes ago, what lay ahead seemed so easy; use my other senses, feel my tread, listen to the sounds of nature and walk in a straight line the way I had been sent… keep going until the first glimpse of dawn or the village lights, whichever came first.

But if I set off in the wrong direction I would not find anywhere or anyone and they would not find me.

I should have timed how long it took to reach this spot from the edge of the track, but I had no means of telling the time, I had not even a sense of how many minutes I had stood on this spot. Should I start walking, then after an indeterminate interval stop if I did not feel the soft autumn carpet change to the gravel track?

Was my heart really beating so loudly I could hear it? I reached out my hands and felt solid tree trunk. Perhaps I should curl up in its roots and wait till sunrise, but then they would find me if they returned. I needed to find the village we had passed. A bleakness descended on me that I had never known before, a loneliness that was complete. I had no god to call on and I could not reach out to the seething mass of humanity that I so often wanted to get away from. My soul was stripped bare and I was found wanting, I was not capable of existing as an individual.

Foolishly I started running in sheer panic and found myself flung to the ground by The Green Man. Spitting leaves out of my mouth a glimmer of sense returned; it was not the spirit of the woods, merely a tree root that had tripped me. Relief was replaced by pain then despair at my own foolishness; why had I been talked into joining a boot camp that promised to clear my brain and cure my addiction to screen time?

For more dark tales dip into one of my collections, only 99pence on Amazon or available in paperback.

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