The hills are completely dark this late. The night is cold enough to make me cough back up the lungful of air I took in. The grass crunches under my feet as I approach the rock. A large rock formation jutting out the ground. Frequented by me on many occasions, as the sun went down I loved to watch it disappear below the green hills all around, but the sun is completely gone now. As I hoist my body up on to the top of it I feel its ice cold surface and crunchy lichen coating it. I get my first glimpse of the landscape presented beautifully to me atop my mighty rock. It’s a void of darkness say for the light of an occasional farm house. The cloud covered moon does nothing to show the land in front of my eyes. There was a beautiful silence. The sound of wind rushing past my ears and through my hair bothers me little and the swaying trees below me creaked calmly.
But then I hear something, something to make me stand perfectly still and just listen. A moan, the distinctive sound of a mans voice in the distance below me. I’m still on the rock listening intently for the sound to repeat. Over the loud thumps of my heart I hear something to make me almost leap back off the rock.
The voice calls from below now only around ten feet away. "Hello" again in a long drawn out call. Can I be seen? Surely not! I can’t see the figure below me, and my eyes are exactly where the voice is coming from. If I can’t see him, it can be assumed he can’t see me. I must just appear to be a extension of the rock, a shadowy outcrop.
"Is their anybody there?"
The man called again. I thought now how strange his calls were. At first when I heard him, I did not call back because of the tone of his voice. There was not inflection in his voice, no emotion in his call, just a monotone wail. And now it sounded as if he wanted help. Maybe he was lost or hurt, but still his voice did not suggest so.
"Is there anybody there?"
Still as free of emotion as before, almost not human. I decided, finally to call back to him.
"Up here! Are you hurt or lost?"
Nothing, no response just silence then another 'hello', same as every time before.
"I’ll come down to you, stay there"
Hesitantly and with my fists clenched tightly I moved off my rock and down to the path leading to the voice.
"I’m coming" I called "where are you?"
I was effectively blind in the dark maze of bushes. When I looked up behind me I saw the rock, it was being back lit my the moon.
"call out, I can’t find you."
But there was nothing just silence. I searched for a while but heard nothing other than a bat sweep out of a tree, it gave me quite a start. When I turned back to the rock that towered above me menacingly there was a figure atop it standing perfectly still looking down on me. Certainly not a shadowy outcrop. I was sure now he was able to see me earlier, with the moon offering a back lighting, illuminating anything on rock I could see the figure with good detail. He shouted hello again but remained perfectly still as he did so. I didn’t even see his jaw move as he belted the same words again "is there anybody there?" I stood for a moment and looked up squinting, attempting to make out smaller features on his body. But nothing could be seen in the low light of the moon which was dipping in and out of cloud cover.
"Stay there, I’ll come up to you"
How did he get past me? He must have somehow found another way onto the rock. The place is so familiar to me yet I only ever found one way to climb that rock, and it was the way I had come.
Looking around me I realized I could see very little of my surroundings. With the rock as baring I transversed the bushes by feel, trying carefully to avoid their thorns. I stopped at a point half way between the rock and where the man was previously. I had stepped on something and pressed it into the mud. I bent down very low to see what it was and pulling it from the mud I saw it was a pocket watch. I held it to the moon light and wiped the mud from it. A beautiful piece gold with a silver chain. It had a catch on its side so I clicked it open. I opened it quickly and peered inside at the face, the hands were still and looked rusted. What happened next I shan't forget for the rest of my life; the man, who was still standing in the same position let out a horrifying scream. I dropped the watch and stared up at him in horror. He let out another as the watch hit the floor. I previously had thought he had no emotion in his voice, but now, well it was awful. He stood there perfectly still but screaming like he was being pulled apart limb from limb! Picking up the watch again I made my way toward the rock. I was no longer worried about the thorns or mud. I almost ran back to the path and to the base of the rock.
I had the pocket watch in my hand when I hurried past. I stopped, only for a moment to look up at the rock. When I looked up the man looked down, his dark face cast in shadow, no light anywhere to illuminate it. I stepped slowly back from the rock and his head followed me. Even with a dark, unseeable face I’m sure that if any normal person screamed as he did you would be able to tell. You would be able to see their jaw extend or their head tilt back. But he screamed without any movement, other than that of his head as his eyes followed me. I could tell they were on me, his eyes. As I stared up at where his face would be I could tell his eyes were baring into me.
I ran with his eyes on the back of my neck and the muddy pocket watch dangling out of my hand.
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