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On The Moors

 

On The Moors

 

Copyright 2015 S.G. Grant

Published by S.G. Grant at Shakespir

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

About S.G. Grant

 

 

Also by S.G. Grant

 

The Scroll of Days Series

 

 

The Tomb of Kings

Chapter One

‘It’s so cold,’ David heard Kathryn complain, her boots squelching in the mud as she walked along behind him.

Acknowledging her with a noncommittal grunt, he kept walking. He would have been inclined to voice his agreement if it hadn’t been, what he guess, the twentieth time she had mentioned the weather in the last half hour alone.

In truth spending the day hiking on Dartmoor at the end of October might not have been the best suggestion he had ever made. It hadn’t seemed like a bad idea when they had set out earlier that morning, the sun beating down on their backs as it tried to bolster the low, autumn temperatures. In the end though they had spent most of the day walking across the windy moors sidestepping muddy puddles and heaps of cow crap.

‘We should probably be getting back soon anyway,’ Kathryn’s older brother, Edward, said to the group in general as he glanced at the Rolex watch on his wrist, beside David.

Their group consisted of Edward, his best friend whom he had known since before he could remember, who walked beside him. Behind them followed Kathryn, his younger sister, and Amy, Edward’s girlfriend of four and a bit years. Sidestepping a puddle, David agreed with a nod. Slowly, throughout the day, the dark clouds had rolled in over the moors.

It seemed Edward’s suggestion hadn’t come a moment too soon as David felt a couple of spots of rain on his face. Pulling the hood up on his thick black coat he heard a rustling as the girls behind him did the same. However, beside him, Edward didn’t bother. David couldn’t actually remember a time he had seen Edward wear a hood. It seemed he always preferred to let his messy black hair get wet for some reason.

With a squelch David looked down, finding one of his boots almost an inch deep in a puddle. Sighing, he lifted his foot out of the water, the mud sucking at the bottom of his boot as he stepped back on to dryer ground. As Edward paused to see why he had stopped one of the girls bumped in to the back of him.

Turning, he found Kathryn stepping back as the wind whipped around the flimsy hood on the thin, baby blue raincoat she was wearing. It was no wonder she was so cold, he thought as she muttered an apology, pulling the hood back over her head.

Beside her stood Amy, several strands of bleach blonde hair sticking out from under the hood of the thick coat she was wearing, trying not to laugh.

‘You alright?’ he asked Kathryn as he looked at her.

‘Fine,’ she said as she struggled to get the hood to stay up. After a few more frustrated tugs she gave up, her long, curly black hair spilling out around her shoulders. Brushing her hair aside she looked up at him, her piercing blue eyes meeting his own hazel ones with a smile.

‘The car isn’t too far,’ Edward said as an ominous rumble of thunder echoed across the moors. The echo had barely faded away when it was replaced by the sound of raindrops bouncing off their coats as it began to pour.

‘Let’s go,’ David shouted as the rain bounced up off the ground, puddles beginning to appear rapidly at their feet. Suddenly it seemed a lot darker than it had been five minutes ago.

Pulling his hood further over his head, David set off in the direction of the car, Edward walking quickly beside him with his head ducked against the rain. Glancing over his shoulder he saw the girls half walking half running to keep up with them. He could see Kathryn saying something but the sound of the rain on his hood drowned out her voice.

As the unrelenting rain hammered down on the moors the path that they had picked across it earlier that day had become submerged in some places. It was now impossible to avoid the puddles, the four of them splashing through the water now just desperate to get back to the car.

Beside him Edward shouted something and, although he couldn’t pick out the words, he looked up. Following the direction that Edward was pointing, he spotted the car. Cutting the corner of the path off, David led them over the uneven terrain in an attempt to save them some time. Perhaps it hadn’t been such a good idea, he thought as he stepped in a deep puddle, the ice cold water rising up and over the top of his boot.

With boots full of water the four of them managed to bundle their way across the uneven ground. Sighing with relief, David felt the firm surface of the small car park, which had been carved out of the moor and covered with stone chippings, beneath his boots. Earlier it had been packed. Now it was only Edward’s old blue Honda, sitting alone in the darkness.

Pulling the keys from a pocket somewhere underneath his coat he unlocked the car, the flashing indicators lighting up the car park briefly. Grabbing at the door handle, David pulled the door open, Amy and Kathryn bundling past him and into the back of the car. Pushing the seat back into its normal position David jumped in after them, slamming the door shut as there was another flash of lightning. Only a couple of seconds later there was a rumble of thunder. The storm was getting closer.

Pushing his hood back, David felt several drops of rain roll down the back of his neck, the icy trail making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. ‘I didn’t think we were getting a storm today,’ he said as he turned to Amy. She had been the one who had suggested the trip because it looked like the last decent day for a while.

‘I didn’t see anything about a storm last night,’ she replied as she unzipped her own coat and pulled it off awkwardly.

‘Nothing like a nice surprise,’ Edward laughed as he shook his head, his soaked hair spraying water all over them.

‘Edward!’ Kathryn screamed as she tried to pull her coat up to shield herself from the spray. With a glance in his rear-view mirror he laughed harder. Leaning forward Kathryn’s hand appeared between the gap in the seats, smacking Edward as hard as she could at the awkward angle.

‘How about we get out of here before we all get hypothermia?’ David suggested, intervening before a sibling fight broke out in the car.

He knew that they were only play fighting but that didn’t stop the cold water from running down his neck. Edward and Kathryn had always been close and their play fights had been a longstanding part of their lives growing up, often to the amusement of David and any of Edward’s friends that were with them.

For some reason Kathryn had preferred to hang about with them rather than her own friends that were her age. To her the two year gap between them hadn’t meant anything. However, since Edward and Amy had been together her appearances had been less frequent.

Kathryn had been the one who had called him about the trip, demanding that he come as well because Edward was making her go. After complaining bitterly about feeling like a third wheel for ten minutes straight David had agreed to go as well just to shut her up. After all the time Kathryn had spent with them growing up she had become like a sister to him.

‘Good point,’ Kathryn agreed. ‘I’m freezing as well.’

‘We know!’ Edward and Amy replied together. It seemed like they had both been keeping count of the number of times she had mentioned it as well.

Starting the engine, Edward turned on the headlights. For some reason they seemed a lot dimmer than they usually did.

‘Is it me or are they normally brighter than this,’ Edward asked with a glance at David. He had spotted the difference as well.

Before David could voice his agreement they flickered several times before they went out altogether. With a shudder the engine cut out as well. As the two of them exchanged a worried glance Edward tried to restart the engine. After half a dozen clicks it died completely.

Slumping back in his seat heavily, Edward sighed. The last time David had seen him he had complained about having issues with the car a lot lately. Clearly it had decided that today was the day it had had enough.

‘Piece of crap,’ Edward muttered under his breath as he hit the steering wheel in frustration. ‘Can one of you pass me my bag out the back?’

Amy was the first to react, Edward’s battered old rucksack that he had been using since he was fifteen appearing between the two seats. With a muttered acknowledgement he pulled the bag through, opening it quickly as he rummaged through it.

‘I’m going to see if I can find out what’s wrong,’ he said as he pulled a torch out of the bag before turning to David. ‘Give me a hand?’

‘Sure,’ David nodded as he pulled his hood over his head again.

Together they opened their doors, climbing out in to the rain again. In the light of the torch they could see the rain falling like stair rods. Pulling his coat tighter around him, David met Edward at the front of the car.

‘Hold this,’ Edward called over the lashing rain as he held out the torch. Taking it from him, David watched as he crouched down, releasing the catch that opened the bonnet of the car. With a click it jumped open, Edward lifting it up quickly.

When he had propped the bonnet open he took the torch from David, shining it deep into the engine. Edward had always been the one who had been into cars when they were growing up. David just stood to the side watching on as Edward began examining the parts.

‘Try and start it,’ Edward said as he moved his hand away. ‘The keys are in the car.’

With a nod, David moved around behind him to the driver’s door. Climbing in, he found the keys still in the ignition. ‘What’s wrong?’ Amy asked from the seat behind him.

‘No idea,’ he replied as he tried to start the engine. For a moment it spluttered loudly before falling silent again. Before David could try again Edward appeared beside him, leaning on the top of the open door.

‘What do you think?’ David asked, looking up hopefully at Edward.

‘I’m not sure,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want to fiddle about too much in case I make it worse. It’s probably better if we get a rescue out here to take a look at it.’

‘Sounds like the best option,’ David agreed as he slipped out of the driver’s seat. Following Edward round the front of the car he watched as he slammed the bonnet back down, cursing the car again under his breath.

With the torch in one hand he delved into his pocket with the other, withdrawing his phone. ‘You don’t have any signal out here do you?’

Pulling out his own phone, David glanced at it before shaking his head.

‘I can just about get one bar but it’s patchy,’ Edward said as he took a couple of steps one way then the other as he tried to pin it down.

‘Want me to see if Amy or Kathryn have any signal?’ David asked as he put his phone back in his pocket.

‘There’s no point, Amy’s phone is at home and Kathryn is on the same network as you,’ Edward replied, looking at the dark moor around him. ‘I’ll try and find somewhere with better signal.’

‘You want me to come with you?’

‘I’ll be fine,’ Edward said, brushing off David’s offer. ‘Stay with the car. I’ll be back in a few minutes.’

‘Alright.’

‘There’s another torch in my bag if you need it!’ Edward called over his shoulder as he set off, picking out a path that led back on to the moors.

As David watched, Edward’s figure was swallowed by the darkness. It was only when he caught sight of the beam of light from the torch swaying in the distance that he could pick him out. He had said he would be back in a few minutes, there was no point standing out in the rain any longer than he had to.

Turning away he headed for the passenger side door, pushing back his hood as he opened the door. He had barely put one foot in to the car when Kathryn’s face appeared in the gap between the two seats.

‘Where’s Edward?’

‘He went to see if he could get better signal, it was too patchy here,’ David replied, pulling the door shut against the rain as he sat down. Leaning across the driver’s seat he pulled the other door shut in an attempt to drown out the sound of the rain. Thankfully the thunder and lightning seemed to have stopped for now.

‘You didn’t go with him?’ Kathryn asked quietly.

‘He said he would only be a couple of minutes,’ David replied as he picked up Edward’s bag, rummaging through it for the torch he had been told was in there.

‘What if he breaks an ankle out there in the dark or something?’ Kathryn demanded, slapping away the torch when David turned it on right in front of her.

‘He’ll be fine, he has the other torch,’ David said rolling his eyes. ‘I know which direction he went anyway. If he isn’t back in ten minutes then I’ll go and find him.’

‘What if you break an ankle trying to find him though?’ Kathryn asked.

‘Kathryn! Shut up,’ he sighed as he turned away, rolling the torch in his hands.

She seemed to heed his warning as her head disappeared from between the seats. Behind him he vaguely heard her mutter something about having a bad feeling. He had to admit that he wasn’t feeling great about their situation but he didn’t agree with her. Instead he ignored it, turning his attention to the darkness outside the window.

For several minutes they sat in silence. Kathryn not daring to ask him any more questions about his plan. In the end though it became too much and he saw her lean forwards again. Just as he turned to look at her he thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye.

Holding his hand up to silence her before she could say anything he opened the door. Flicking on the torch he stepped out of the car, shining the light in the direction of where he thought he had seen movement.

‘Edward?’ he shouted as he tried to see through the combination of darkness and pouring rain.

Before he could call out again he heard a scream somewhere in the distance. It sounded like it had come from the same direction that Edward had set off in.

Chapter Two

‘Damn thing,’ Edward muttered to himself as he watched the lonely bar of signal on his phone disappear again. With one eye still glued to his phone screen he wandered over the uneven moor, his boots squelching in the mud as the rain continued to pour. Maybe he should just turn back. The storm wasn’t doing anything to help him get signal out here, he thought, glancing over his shoulder in the direction of where the car had been parked. Perhaps they could wait until the storm had passed over to get someone out to take a look at the car.

With a sigh Edward shoved the phone back into the pocket of his soaking jeans, rubbing his hands together in the hope that he could warm up at least one part of himself. Torch in hand, he turned back in the direction that he had come from. He had only taken a handful of steps when movement in the darkness to his right caught his eye.

‘David? Is that you?’ he called, turning in the direction of the movement. Perhaps he had been walking in the direction. After all, it was so easy to get lost out here. Everything looked the same in the dark. ‘I thought I said to wait with the car.’

When David didn’t reply he turned the torch on the moor, scanning it through the pouring rain for David where he had seen movement a moment ago. There was no one there. Shaking his head, Edward turned back in the direction he had been heading. It was probably just a cow that had wandered off or something, he thought. David would have brought the other torch with him if he had come looking for him anyway.

For some reason the movement he had seen out of the corner of his eye still played on his mind. Surely a cow wouldn’t have completely disappeared so soon, it wasn’t as if he had paused before searching for the source of the movement. ‘Whatever,’ he muttered to himself but it did little to appease the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach.

With the back of his hand Edward wiped the rainwater away from his eyes as he splashed his way through the puddles, no longer caring that the cold water was filling his boots. His feet were already numb from the cold water that he barely even noticed.

‘David! What the hell are you doing?’ Edward shouted as he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. Turning the torch on the spot where he had seen the movement he realised that the thing he had seen wasn’t David. Instead it was some sort of creature with piercing red eyes, what looked like black fur matted by the rain. Somehow the fur seemed to be a pure black darker than anything around it.

Deep down in Edward’s stomach the uneasy feeling knotted tightly. Run, every instinct told him but he found himself frozen to the spot, staring at the strange creature as it turned in his direction, a rumble like growl coming from it. Slowly Edward lowered the torch slightly so that it wasn’t shining in the creatures eyes.

As soon as the light dropped from the creatures face it growled louder, the red eyes narrowing before they bound towards him. Over the pouring rain he heard it splashing through the puddles as it charged towards him. Shaken from his intrigued state, Edward turned, running as fast as he could across the uneven moor. He knew he wasn’t heading in the direction of the car anymore but something told him that he wasn’t going to be able to get past that thing and find the car any time soon.

Stumbling as one foot sank in the mud, Edward tumbled forwards, arms flailing as he tried to regain his balance. Suddenly the rain didn’t seem to be making a sound as he heard a roar like growl right behind him. He had barely had a chance to realise what it was when something sharp tore at his left arm, ripping the torch from his hand as one of the claws snagged on his watch, snapping the strap. With a splash he collapsed into a huge puddle, the icy water pressing against his skin beneath his already soaked clothes.

Scrambling through the puddle he turned to see where the creature had gone. A few feet to his right he spotted the torch lying on the ground, the light shining off the metal of his watch which was lying a foot or so away from it. With a growl the creature appeared again, one huge, bear like paw crushing the torch with a crack and plunging him into darkness.

The only thing Edward could see as he lay on his back in the puddle were the blood red eyes of the creature staring him down as it crept closer warily. Perhaps it didn’t realise that he couldn’t see anything without the torch.

Drawing closer, the creature seemed to grow in confidence as it snarled at him.

With one bounding leap, it closed the distance between them, Edward screaming as it landed on his chest, the claws ripping at the thick raincoat he was wearing. Dissatisfied with the resistance that the coat was putting up the creature shuffled forwards until its eyes were level with Edward’s. Growling, a wave of hot air passed over Edward’s face, the foul smelling breath of the creature making him recoil instinctively. Pulling a paw back it seemed to poke at Edward’s neck, testing the flesh to see if it would be able to penetrate it.

Just as the creature was drawing back its paw, preparing to strike what Edward knew would be the final blow, it froze, its head twitching up as if it had heard something that Edward couldn’t hear. With one final glance at him it jumped off of his chest, bounding off into the darkness.

Stunned, Edward heard the creature splashing through the puddles over the sound of his own heavy breathing. He was alive, he thought, hardly able to grasp the fact as he lay in the puddle of rainwater shivering uncontrollably. The next thought that crossed his mind was that he had to get away from here in case the creature came back for him. Crawling out of the puddle on his hands and knees, Edward pushed himself back to his feet, running blindly into the darkness in the opposite direction of the creature.

Chapter Three

David hadn’t even had a chance to react to the scream when there was a crash as the seat he had just vacated flew forwards, Kathryn and Amy piling out of the car.

‘What was that?’ she demanded as David scanned the moors with the torch.

‘I don’t know,’ David said quietly as he shone the torch in the direction that the scream had come from. ‘I thought I saw someone out here.’

‘Edward?’ Amy screamed, moving round the car before either of them could stop her. Before David or Kathryn could go after her there was another scream.

‘Amy!’ he tried to shout after her as she took off in the direction of the scream. ‘Wait in the car.’

It only took a couple seconds to realise that Kathryn had ignored him when he heard her splashing through the puddles as she tried to catch up with him.

With the light from the torch wobbling side to side as David and Kathryn jogged on to the moor they caught brief glimpses of Amy ahead of them. All of a sudden there was a scream and a squawk as she disappeared from view.

‘Amy?’ they both shouted as David shone his torch around, trying to see where she had gone.

‘I’m okay,’ Amy’s voice called out of the darkness.

Changing course slightly, the two of them hurried across the uneven terrain as quickly as they could. When they finally caught sight of her again she was sitting on the floor, her hands holding her right ankle. Perplexed momentarily, David cast the light around, spotting a narrow chunk of rock that was sticking about a foot out of the ground covered in moss.

‘What happened?’ Kathryn asked as she crouched down next to Amy.

‘I tripped on a rock,’ she said bitterly as she rolled up her torn trouser leg to reveal a nasty gash on her shin. In seconds the heavy rain had diluted the blood that was running down her leg.

‘Are you alright?’

‘I think so,’ she muttered as Kathryn helped her up.

‘Are you sure it was a rock? I can’t see anything apart from this one and it wasn’t in your path,’ David asked as he looked around at the ground. When he couldn’t find anything he looked up at Amy who was leaning against Kathryn.

‘I don’t know,’ she replied. ‘It all happened so quickly. All I know is that it was solid.’

‘The only thing around here is this,’ David said, pointing the light in the direction of the rock.

‘Is that something written on it?’ Kathryn asked, pointing at a shape that had been carved in to the stone.

Crouching down beside it, David ran a hand across it, brushing at the soaked moss on the rock. Kathryn was right, there was something carved in to the stone. ‘Lavern Danner?’ he said slowly.

‘Wait, is that a gravestone?’ Kathryn asked as she looked at it over his shoulder.

Pushing more of the moss away, David examined the stone. Beneath the name that had been carved in to the rock were two numbers. ‘If it is then he’s been dead since 1796.’

‘I didn’t know there was anyone buried out on the moors,’ Amy said as she tried placing her foot on the ground gingerly.

‘I wouldn’t know, you’re the one who was looking into everything the other day,’ Kathryn said as she watched Amy stand uncomfortably.

‘Are you alright to walk?’ David asked, shining the light on Amy’s leg for a better look. He could just about make out the cut through the rip in her trouser leg.

‘I think so,’ she replied, taking a couple of steps to see.

‘Kathryn, can you help her back to the car?’ David asked. ‘I’ll find Edward, hopefully he’s managed to get some signal.’

‘No way. We aren’t splitting up,’ Kathryn said adamantly.

‘Why don’t you listen to me for once Kathryn?’ David sighed in frustration.

‘You’ve already seen what happened to Amy when she went off on her own!’ she snapped back. ‘What do you think I’m going to do if something happens to you and you don’t come back?’

‘Fine,’ David snapped back, not bothering to mention the fact that he had a torch and she didn’t. ‘Let’s go.’

Turning his back on Kathryn he set off again, trying to remember the direction they had been heading in. Maybe it would be better if they were here, he didn’t really fancy wandering the pitch black moors on his own. Especially not since they had found that gravestone. There was something weird about it being there.

‘There,’ Kathryn said suddenly, interrupting his train of thought. Turning to see where she was pointing he spotted a faint light nearby.

Nodding, he changed direction as he tried to shine the torch at the light. Through the rain he thought he could make out someone in the darkness. Whoever it was they hadn’t spotted the three of them yet. Fighting back the temptation to call out for Edward, David started in the person’s direction. If it was Edward he might still be on the phone.

‘Something doesn’t feel right,’ Kathryn said quietly beside him. He had to agree with her. How had Edward not noticed the light dancing around him as they walked towards him? All the time that they had been walking the light Kathryn had spotted hadn’t moved.

As they approached David realised that it was a piece of metal. It was lying on the floor beside a large dark puddle. That explained why it hadn’t moved. What it didn’t explain was where Edward was.

Picking up the piece of metal he examined it. It was a watch, a watch that looked a lot like the one Edward always wore. Without a word he slipped the watch into his coat pocket.

‘Where’s Edward?’ Amy asked as she looked around.

‘He can’t be far,’ David said confidently as he moved forwards, scanning the moors for Edward. Perhaps he had tripped on something like Amy had. Lowering the torch as the thought crossed his mind he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. ‘Edward?’

At the sound of his voice whatever had moved froze. Slowly it turned as the beam of light from his torch fell on it. It looked like a creature of some sort. In the darkness he saw its eyes flash.

‘What is it?’ Kathryn asked quietly.

‘I don’t know,’ David replied as he moved closer for a better look. It was probably a cow that had wandered off from its herd.

‘David what is it?’ Kathryn asked.

Before he could reply there was a low growl.

Looking up he found the creature that he had seen standing several feet in front of him. In the torchlight it was definitely not a cow. It seemed to be some sort of huge dog, its piercing red eyes flashing dangerously in the light.

‘Get to the car,’ David said quietly as he backed away slowly.

‘What?’ Kathryn asked in confusion.

‘Go!’ David shouted as he turned, pushing her ahead of him. As they stumbled forwards the creature let out another growl.

Grabbing hold of Amy’s arm he forced her around, pulling her along with them as the creature let out a loud roar that echoed across the moor. Glancing over his shoulder he saw it bounding after them. Ahead of him he could see Kathryn running as fast as the terrain would allow her.

‘Come on,’ David said encouragingly as he felt Amy slowing down. The creature was almost upon them.

‘I can’t,’ she breathed heavily. ‘My ankle-’ she started, breaking off into a scream as the creature leapt between them, knocking them both flying in opposite directions.

Crashing to the ground he managed to keep hold of the torch. Rolling over, he saw that the creature had clamped its jaws around her bad leg. As it dragged her away from him the sound of her leg breaking echoed across the moor, mingling with her screams. Through the darkness he saw it stop a little way away, pouncing on top of her as she screamed again. As it began to tear at her chest he turned away, trying desperately not to listen to Amy’s screams.

When Amy’s screams finally stopped David looked up. In the darkness he could just about make out the outline of the creature through the rain. He had to get back to the car.

Scrambling to his feet he took off in what he hoped was the right direction, the torch light bouncing across the moor in front of him as he ran.

Behind him he heard a loud growl. The creature that had attacked them must have spotted him. Without looking back he focused on the ground in front of him as he ran trying not to trip on anything.

It was a relief when he finally made it to the car park and the flat surface. Glancing over his shoulder he saw the creature bounding through the puddles. Grabbing the door handle he threw the car door open. Diving in, he scrambled to slam the door behind him. It was then that he noticed Kathryn slumped in the back seat breathing heavily.

‘Where’s Amy?’ she asked when she realised that he was alone.

Without replying David leant across the passenger seat, slamming the other door shut. It seemed he was just in time as the creature crashed in to the side of the car with a bang.

‘Where’s Amy?’ Kathryn asked again more urgently.

‘It caught up with us,’ David said, breathing heavily as he watched the outline of the creature in the wing mirror as it disappeared round the back of the car. ‘It happened so fast, there wasn’t anything I could do.’

‘Edward?’

Silently he shook his head, producing Edward’s watch from his pocket. ‘I think it might have gone,’ he said quietly as he turned to look at her.

‘What was it?’ she asked, trying to see out of the back window.

‘No idea,’ he replied. ‘It definitely isn’t very friendly though.’

‘What do we do now?’

‘I don’t know,’ he admitted. ‘Hopefully Edward managed to find some signal and call someone.’

‘And if he didn’t?’

Before he could reply there was a huge crash. Spinning round in his seat he saw the creature on the bonnet of the car, its hairy black face pressed up against the glass, a giant paw hitting the windscreen. It looked like some sort of cross between a dog and a bear. With a shout, David jumped back in his seat. Baring its teeth it hit the windscreen again, a small crack appearing in the glass.

As the crack began to spread David scrambled backwards, climbing awkwardly between the seats and in to the back of the car. Leaning over he shone the torch around the boot of the car, looking for anything that they could use to try and defend themselves from the creature.

Apart from a dusty old blanket and a couple of empty shopping bags the boot was empty. Sighing, he turned around again, slumping in to the seat beside Kathryn as the creature continued to pound on the window, the crack growing bigger with each passing second.

‘We aren’t getting out of this are we,’ she said quietly, her eyes fixed on the creature.

‘I don’t think so,’ he said gravely. There was no way that they would be able to get the doors open and get away. The creature would be on top of them before they had managed to make it to the road.

‘What about the window?’ she asked quickly as she looked behind her. ‘We could break it and climb out the back.’

‘Is there anything we could use to break it?’ he asked as he climbed over the back of the seats and in to the large boot.

Glancing around frantically, she grabbed Edward’s bag, rummaging through it desperately. ‘Only the torch,’ she replied as she upended the bag, an assortment of food wrappers and empty bottles from their hike falling out.

‘We need that if we get out of here,’ David said shaking his head as he looked around the boot, his eyes falling on the old blanket. ‘Hold on,’ he said as he grabbed the blanket, wrapping it round his leg. ‘Climb over here.’

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m going to try and kick the window out,’ he explained as he handed the torch to her. ‘We need to get out of here as fast as possible when it breaks. You go first, I’ll need to untangle the blanket.’

‘Where do I go?’ she asked as she watched him lining up a kick at the back window.

‘Just run, I’ll catch up with you,’ he replied between kicks. Behind him he could hear the creature pounding furiously on the windscreen. With a powerful kick the glass around his foot fractured, a small hole appearing in it. Kicking quickly he started making the hole bigger, a mixture of broken glass and rain covering the old blanket.

With one last kick the best part of the window shattered, falling out the back of the car. ‘Go!’ he shouted as there was a crash behind him. The creature had finally managed to break through the glass. Pulling the blanket off as quickly as he could he watched Kathryn scramble out the window with the torch.

Throwing the blanket off, he scrambled after her, the broken glass tearing at the palms of his hands as he climbed out. ‘Go!’ he urged her when he saw her hesitating. Still she didn’t move.

Grabbing her by the arm he dragged her with him as he glanced over his shoulder. The creature had managed to extricate itself from the car and was now standing on the roof. With a growl it jumped down, bounding after them.

‘Run!’ David shouted as they ran out of the car park and on to the road, the creature gaining on them with every second. With a glance over his shoulder he saw that it had managed to get impossibly close to them all of a sudden. He could see it getting ready to pounce.

It was right behind them when out of nowhere there was a gunshot that echoed across the moors. Ducking, David pulled Kathryn low with him. He had no idea where the shot had come from or what the person might be aiming at. Looking up he saw the creature bounding away in to the darkness, scared off by the gunshot.

‘It’s gone,’ David breathed as he let go of Kathryn’s arm.

Slowly he stood up straight again, casting the torch around to try and see where the gunshot had come from. Walking up the road towards them was and old man, a rifle slung over his shoulder.

‘You two alright?’ he called, pushing a hand through his retreating grey hair.

‘I think so,’ David replied slowly as he felt Kathryn move slightly closer to him.

‘What are you doing out here in the dark,’ he asked gruffly as he stopped before them.

‘Our car broke down, we were trying to call for help when that thing attacked us and our friends,’ Kathryn said, regaining his voice. ‘How did you find us?’

‘I was in the kitchen when I saw your torch run past,’ he replied, gesturing to the small single storey house set back from the road. Glancing at it, David and Kathryn looked at each other in confusion. He was sure they hadn’t seen the house earlier in the day.

‘Do you have a phone we could use to call someone?’ David asked hopefully.

‘You won’t get anyone out here at this time,’ the man said. ‘You’re welcome to stay in the house if you want. Dare say it will be warmer than your car.’

‘Are you sure?’ David asked.

‘Sure, the moors are no place to spend the night,’ he said. ‘My names Lavern by the way.’

‘David. This is Kathryn,’ he replied, introducing themselves.

‘Let’s get out of this weather,’ Lavern said shaking David’s hand. ‘Come on.’

In silence Lavern led them a little way up the road before turning off on to an uneven rocky driveway. The rusty old iron gates squeaked as Lavern opened them, letting the two of them past him before shutting the gate again.

‘How long have you lived out here?’ Kathryn asked as she looked up at the slightly rundown house.

‘A long time,’ Lavern replied without giving them an actual time. He seemed more than happy to walk in silence as they headed for the house.

Pulling a large ring of keys from his pocket he leant the rifle against the doorframe while he unlocked the door. When the door finally swung open again he picked up his rifle, stepping inside.

‘Come on, don’t let all the rain in,’ he barked as he beckoned them in, slamming the door behind them.

‘Thank you for letting us stay here,’ Kathryn said gratefully as they followed him through to the kitchen, parting the white beaded drape that hung over the doorway.

‘It’s no trouble, people get stuck out here from time to time,’ Lavern replied as he picked up an old kettle that sat on the side, filling it with water. ‘Tea?’

‘Yes please,’ David and Kathryn said together. Both of them would surely be chilled to the bones when they got home. With a nod Lavern placed turned the kettle on as he picked up a skull shaped pot. Lifting the lid he pulled out three teabags.

‘You keep your teabags in a skull shaped jar?’ Kathryn asked as Lavern returned it to its place.

‘Sometimes you have to make use of what you have out on the moors,’ he explained as he pulled three mugs out of one of the cupboards.

Tossing a teabag into each of the mugs he picked up the kettle as it boiled, pouring the water into each mug. Turning away he crouched down, pulling a half full glass milk bottle from the tiny fridge. With a glance at them he added the milk when they both nodded.

‘You can stay in here,’ he said as he handed them each a mug of tea, leading them through a door at the other end of the room and in to a tiny lounge which had a battered old brown sofa in the centre. ‘I’ll let you two get yourselves sorted, I’ve got a lot of work to do.’

‘Thank you,’ Kathryn said gratefully as she sat down on the old sofa, coughing slightly as a plume of dust rose from it. With a nod Lavern disappeared out of the room. ‘At least it’s better than staying in the car.’

‘I’m sure I didn’t see this house earlier,’ David said as he sat down beside her.

‘I know, me too,’ she replied, sipping at the tea she had cradled in her hands. ‘David, what happened to Edward and Amy out there?’

For several minutes he sat in silence, contemplating what to tell her as he sipped at his tea. ‘I don’t know,’ he sighed.

‘I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you,’ she said quietly as she put her empty mug on the table beside the sofa before leaning against him. ‘If I had listened to you I might have got Amy back to the car.’

‘You did what you thought was right,’ David replied slowly. ‘Perhaps if I had been quicker I could have stopped her from running off in the first place.

‘It’s not your fault,’ she replied softly as she took his hand in hers. ‘We should get some rest and we can try and piece all this together in the morning.’

Standing up he nodded as he slipped of his soaked coat. ‘That’s probably best,’ he agreed as he lay down on the floor beside the sofa. ‘We could both do with some sleep.’

Silently he wondered just how much sleep he was going to get as he watched Kathryn take off her coat and lay down on the dusty sofa. His damp clothes weren’t perfect for sleeping in but they would have to do, he thought as she looked down at him from the sofa.

Chapter Four

With a groan Edward’s eyelids fluttered open. In an instant he shut them again, the dim light pressing in on him, his head pounding. He had no idea how he had got here, wherever here was. The last thing he remembered he had been running blindly across the pitch black moor. What had happened to the others? Were they still waiting by the car for him to come back or had they gone looking for him? He hoped they hadn’t gone looking for him, he thought, remembering the huge creature that had pinned him to the ground in the puddle.

It was only as the memories of what had happened came back that he realised he was shivering uncontrollably. His clothes were icy cold, sticking to his skin. He had to find something warmer before he froze to death but that meant opening his eyes again.

Opening his eyes slowly his vision swam as his head throbbed painfully. Had he tripped and hit his head on something? When his vision had settled Edward looked around. He was in a dimly lit room that looked like it belonged to an old abandoned house. But it couldn’t be abandoned, not if he was here. Someone else must be here if the lights had been left on. Sitting up he realised that whoever had brought him here had left him lying on a battered old wooden table. It looked as if it was as old as the house as he compared the wood to that of the walls that surrounded him.

Opposite where he sat he spotted a door that had been left ajar, a narrow strip of light from the room beyond falling on the dirty floor. For a second he considered calling out to whoever else was here but he stopped himself just as he opened his mouth. Something didn’t feel right about this place, about anything that had happened tonight.

As quietly as he could, Edward shuffled to the edge of the table, swinging his legs over the side. Perhaps he could sneak out of here if he was quiet enough. Gently he lowered himself to the floor, the boards creaking slightly under the weight of his boots. Pausing, he listened, making sure that no one had heard him moving.

When he was satisfied he crossed the room carefully. He was just about to open the door when something glinting in the dim light caught his eye. Turning, Edward found himself faced with an entire wall of hand tools, a large collection of different saws taking pride of place hung on the wall. Perhaps he should take a weapon of some sort, he wondered. After all there was a good chance that the creature was still lurking outside on the moors, waiting for its unsuspecting victim. No, he would be ready for it this time.

Turning his back on the door, Edward crossed the room in a handful of quiet strides, examining the wall of tools. For a moment he considered them all, trying to think of everything he knew about the creature. He would need something he could use at close range if it jumped on him again but he wanted something else with more range in case he saw it coming.

In the end Edward settled on what looked like a large butcher’s knife. Taking it off the hook on the wall he set it down on the side, turning his attention to the muddy shovel that sat, leaning against the side. Picking it up, he weighed it in his hands. It seemed to be fairly sturdy without being too heavy in case he had to run. With the shovel in one hand he turned back to the knife. He hadn’t been looking when he had put it down but now he realised that the side he had placed it on was covered in pieces of paper, photographs he realised as he looked closer.

It took everything he had not to shout out or throw up as he looked at them. There must be hundreds of them, each of them showing bodies at various stages of dismemberment. With the knife in his hand he raised it to his mouth, willing himself to look away but he found himself transfixed by the scattered pictures. How many people were in these pictures, he wondered as he saw a mixture of men and women, all of them stripped off?

Maybe he hadn’t tripped and hit his head on the moor like he had thought. Had someone been lurking in the darkness, praying on unsuspecting people to fulfil their sick habits? But if there had been someone else out there then why hadn’t the creature attacked them as well? He had to get out of here, now, before he ended up as nothing more than another collection of photographs. Tucking the knife into the waistband of his jeans, Edward turned towards the door, the shovel in his hands, ready to strike at the sign of the slightest movement.

Edward had just reached the door when he heard a voice in the distance.

‘You won’t wake her,’ the man said quietly. Her? Who was he talking about?

A moment later Edward heard a voice he recognised. ‘What the hell?’ David shouted.

No longer caring about keeping quiet, Edward threw open the door, charging out into the brightly lit corridor, shovel at the ready. He had to find David before he ended up like one of the people in those pictures as well.

Chapter Five

Yawning, David cracked an eyelid open. It took him a moment to remember that he had been sleeping on the floor of Lavern’s house. The room was dark. Obviously at some point he must have turned the light off after they had fallen asleep. Somewhere nearby he heard something scrape on the floorboards.

Reaching out with a hand he nudged Kathryn in the side. ‘Kathryn?’ he whispered. He had no idea where Lavern was sleeping and didn’t want to wake him. As much as he had appreciated him taking them in he had woken with an uneasy feeling as if someone was watching over him. ‘Kathryn,’ he whispered again a little louder as he shook her.

As he looked up at her sleeping form on the sofa he felt something drip on the side of his face. ‘You won’t wake her,’ Lavern’s voice said quietly in the darkness.

Almost jumping out of his skin, David rolled over, his eyes now wide open. Standing over him was Lavern but that wasn’t what drew his attention. In one hand he was holding a long carving knife. The thing that had dripped on the side of his face was the blood from the knife.

‘What the hell!’ David shouted as he scrambled away from Lavern, his eyes not leaving the bloody knife.

‘We have to make the most of the things that we find on the moors,’ Lavern said levelly as he stepped towards David. ‘You look like you have nice strong bones and I have a chair that needs some new legs.’

For a second David froze in confusion. Slowly his mind made the connection with the jar of teabags in the kitchen. ‘Wait, the teabag jar in the kitchen is actually a skull?’

‘Well done. I’m impressed you made the connection. Normally they’re too scared to think,’ Lavern said. ‘Or dead,’ he added with a shrug.

Backing away David glanced at Kathryn lying on the sofa. As his gaze fell to her legs he saw that her jeans had been cut off just above her knees, the flesh underneath hacked open to reveal a bloody mess of muscle.

‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ David shouted as he backed away, his eyes not leaving Kathryn’s legs.

‘I have a chair that needs new legs,’ Lavern replied. Glancing away from Kathryn, David saw him holding a blood covered bone in his other hand.

‘Is that?’

‘A bone from her leg? Yes,’ Lavern said. ‘A very strong bone I might add.’

‘That creature was yours as well wasn’t it,’ David demanded. ‘You’re a murderer!’

‘A murderer?’ Lavern said slowly as he advanced on David. ‘I don’t think so. I’ve never killed any of them.’

‘She’s still alive?’

‘Just about,’ he replied as he placed two bloody fingers against her neck. ‘She’s probably got another couple of hours, give or take.’

‘You won’t get away with this,’ David said as he spotted the mug on the floor beside the sofa. Slowly he inched his fingers towards it.

‘Who’s going to tell people what happened?’ Lavern asked as he took his hand away from Kathryn. ‘Your friends are dead or will be soon and no one knows you’re out here.’

Snatching the mug up, he hurled it as hard as he could in Lavern’s direction. Without waiting to see if it found its mark he hurdled the sofa, running out of the room. Behind him he heard Lavern shout out and the sound of the mug breaking.

As Lavern’s footsteps thundered across the old floorboards David threw whatever he could find in the path behind him as he ran, searching for another door.

‘You can’t leave!’ Lavern screamed as he appeared in the doorway, the rifle he had had on the moor in his hands. Backing away, David found himself trapped in a corner.

Slowly, as if he was playing with David now, Lavern loaded the rifle carefully. When he was satisfied he lifted it, pointing it directly at David’s face. Closing his eyes to the dark barrel of the rifle he thought about his friends. Maybe, by some incredibly long shot someone would happen across the house before Kathryn died. At least one of them might survive to tell their story that way.

‘Surprise, you creepy old bastard!’

Wait, he recognised that voice. Eyes snapping open, David looked up just in time to see a shovel hit Lavern in the side of the head, knocking him sideways. As he fell, the rifle discharged the bullet he had just loaded with an echoing bang. Ducking sideways instinctively David felt the wall vibrate as the bullet struck it.

‘Edward?’ he muttered in confusion as he saw him standing in the middle of the room, shovel still raised.

‘We need to get out of here,’ Edward said, lowering the shovel slightly as he stepped over Lavern, pulling David to his feet.

‘Kathryn.’ It was all David could manage to say as Edward led him out of the room. He had no idea whether he was shaking out of fear or because of the soaked clothes he was still wearing.

‘She’s still alive,’ Edward said as he checked her neck for her pulse. ‘Can you carry her?’

Silently, David nodded, trying not to look at her blood soaked leg as he scooped her up in his arms.

‘Where’s Amy?’ he asked as he looked around for his girlfriend.

‘It got her, that thing on the moor,’ David said quietly.

‘Let’s go,’ Edward said, striding in the direction of the kitchen. Whatever he was feeling right now he kept it hidden from David. Instead he led the way through the house purposefully.

Slamming the bolt on the front door across, Edward wrenched the door open, the freezing night air buffeting them as they stepped outside. At least the rain had stopped, David thought as he shifted Kathryn’s limp body in his arms gently. They hadn’t even got halfway down the driveway when they heard a sound that David had been dreading.

Somewhere off to their left there was a low, rumble like growl, a pair of blood red eyes appearing in the darkness. Laughing, Edward lifted the shovel threateningly. ‘Don’t worry, I’m ready for you this time,’ he whispered to the creature. ‘Go!’ Edward shouted as he stepped towards the creature.

With a wild swing he aimed at the creature as it launched itself at him. With a crunch the shovel hit it in the side of the head, knocking it sideways with a yelp. It had barely landed on the ground again when it bound back to its feet, eyeing Edward warily. ‘What are you waiting for? Get her out of here!’

Looking back at Edward one last time, David turned, running as fast as he could down the driveway with Kathryn in his arms. He had just about made it to the rusty iron gate, kicking it open with one foot, when there was a deafening bang that echoed across the moors.

‘No! You can’t leave!’ Lavern shouted as he appeared in the doorway, his rifle trained on David.

Freezing in the gateway, David watched as Edward hit the creature with the shovel again. The sound of the creature in pain drew Lavern’s attention away from him for a moment. For a moment he was grateful before he saw Lavern lifting the rifle again, firing it at Edward. He might have missed David and Kathryn from a hundred yards but he wasn’t going to miss Edward from five.

David barely registered the echoing gunshot as he watched Edward crumple to the floor, the shovel he had been defending them with falling from his hands with a clatter. Slowly Lavern turned his attention back to David when Edward didn’t move.

Backing away, David ducked as Lavern fired in his direction. Not caring where the bullet had ended up when it didn’t hit him, he turned, sprinting up the road in the direction they had come from last night. The sky was just starting to get light. If he was lucky he might be able to find someone out here who could help him.

As a second bullet just missed him he spotted the car park where they had parked the day before. Sat beside the old blue Honda was a police car. Changing direction he headed for it.

‘Help me!’ he shouted as loudly as he could while breathing heavily. Just as he saw someone appear from between the cars he heard a third gunshot. This time Lavern found his mark as the bullet caught David in the shoulder, sending him spiralling to the ground where he and Kathryn landed in a heap in a puddle.

Lifting his head he tried to scramble forwards, shielding Kathryn as a second person appeared by the cars. At the sound of a fourth gunshot he felt a blinding pain in his back as he slumped on top of Kathryn. Vaguely he was aware of a shout in the distance as the moors around him slowly disappeared, replace by darkness.

Chapter Six

David sat in silence as he watched the TV that sat on the wall bracket opposite the bed. For the last ten minutes he had been watching the news, his right arm in a sling and a bandage wrapped around his stomach.

It had been just over a week since he had woken up in a hospital bed connected to a whole host of different wires. Now though, the wires were gone as he sat in the uncomfortable chair.

‘In the early hours of this morning, police who had been searching Dartmoor for the missing hiker, Edward Henderson, found a body. Although the body is yet to be officially identified there is a strong belief that they have found the missing hiker,’ the news reporter said as the camera cut to a shot of a white tent that had been erected on the moor.

From the bed beside him there was a soft moan. Quickly picking up the TV controller he turned it off, dropping it on to the bedside table as he turned to the bed. Covered in a maze of wires and tubes was Kathryn, her black hair fanning out around her head. With a cough her eyes opened slowly.

‘Hey, how are you feeling?’ he asked as he leant forwards, wincing as the bandages around his chest tightened. Slowly she blinked, turning her head at the sound of his voice. When she saw him she smiled.

‘Hi,’ she whispered croakily. ‘Where are we?’

‘We’re at the hospital,’ David explained gently as she tried to sit up. Grimacing she slumped back down in to the bed again.

‘What happened?’

‘What do you remember?’ he asked.

‘We were at Lavern’s house. I think I felt something prick me in the neck. After that I don’t think I remember anything,’ she said as she looked around. ‘What happened to your arm?’

‘Lavern drugged you,’ repeating what the doctors had told him when he had found out she was here as well. ‘I woke up and found him standing over me with a knife.’

‘What did he do?’ she asked worriedly.

‘The doctor will explain it all when he finds out that you’re awake,’ David said. He didn’t feel strong enough right now to tell her what he had done to her legs. It was a credit to the surgeons that they had been able to repair most of the damage that Lavern had done.

‘What about your arm?’

‘I was trying to get help,’ he explained. ‘I had just spotted a police car parked next to Edward’s car when Lavern shot me.’

‘At least it was only in the arm,’ she said with a weak smile.

‘He shot me in the back as well,’ David swallowed. ‘Apparently the bullet just missed my spine.’

‘Did they catch Lavern?’

‘Not as far as I know. I’m sure they’ll find him soon,’ David tried to assure her.

‘Did they find Edward or Amy?’

‘They found Amy not long before I found them apparently,’ David said. ‘That creature left her in a bad way, they tried but there wasn’t much they could do in the end.’

‘Amy’s gone?’

Silently David nodded. ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered before she could ask about Edward as he took her hand in his. Gently he lifted it off the bed covers slightly, wrapping his hand around hers as best as he could.

Slowly tears began to roll down her cheeks. ‘And Edward?’

‘I don’t know how he found us in Lavern’s house but he did. If it wasn’t for him we never would have got out of the house,’ David said slowly. ‘He took on that creature with a shovel so that we could get away. That was when Lavern came out of the house,’ he said, trailing off.

For the next hour David sat beside her while she cried, offering any comforting words that he could think of until the doctor appeared. With the promise that he would be back as soon as he could, David allowed the doctor to usher him out of the room and into the corridor.

About the Author

S.G. (Stephen George) Grant has enjoyed writing fiction since a young age. Born, raised and living in Berkshire, England, his fondness for travel has helped to inspire many ideas and create some of the incredible settings for the first instalment of The Scroll of Days Series.

It wasn’t until early 2014 that the first idea for an epic fantasy novel was created. Since then it has developed and expanded to create the epic fantasy series now known as The Scroll of Days Series.

With a detailed plan created, he began writing and in April 2015 completed the first book in The Scroll of Days Series, The Tomb of Kings.

 

 

[*To hear about new releases first visit www.sggrant.com or follow @sgrant1992 on twitter. *]

 

Also by S.G. Grant

 

The Scroll of Days Series

 

The Tomb of Kings


On The Moors

David had never been one for hiking but, under the insistence of his best friend's younger sister, he had agreed to spend the last Saturday of October walking on Dartmoor. It hadn't sounded like such a bad idea at the time, at least until they got caught in a thunderstorm. But there are far worse things that you can be caught by in the dark on Dartmoor. When things start to go from bad to worse it will be up to David to try and save his three friends and himself from a sinister creature that lurks in the darkness. What is the creature on the moors? Who is Lavern Danner? And how did none of them notice the house on the moor sooner?

  • ISBN: 9781311981523
  • Author: S.G. Grant
  • Published: 2015-10-16 16:40:08
  • Words: 10392
On The Moors On The Moors