A Moonlit Walk – Mr Harvey

“The sky looks clear tonight, you can see the Milky Way.”

He was right.  Looking up, she could see a thin band of platinum dust streaking overhead.

“Maybe that’s not the Milky Way, maybe the Jet Stream has found a voice?” She looked at him eagerly, clearly seeking approval for what she’d just said.

“Nah,” he grunted, “definitely the Milky Way.”

They trudged on for another mile before he told her to stop.  The ground was sodden and her wildly inadequate footwear did nothing to hide this fact from her feet.  But then, she never planned on ending up out here tonight.  She glanced down at his feet – boots, probably waterproof.  Typical.

“Seriously, what are we doing out here? It’s late, it’s freezing and I’m soaking wet!  Why don’t we head back to the car?  We could go to the pictures…”

He glanced down at her.  In the moonlight her upturned face looked sallow, almost dead.  She had thrust her clasped hands between her thighs in a pathetic display which only angered him further.

“Shut up.  Just shut up and let me think. It’s around here somewhere.”

He set off again, and she obligingly followed.  The only scenario she could think of that was worse than being out here with him right now was being out here alone.

“Wait!  Slow down!  I can’t keep up!”

He stopped in his tracks and turned to face her.  She really was pathetic.  He opened his mouth, intent on unleashing another barrage of abuse at her, but didn’t.  He’d save that for later, when he’d get more enjoyment out of it.  Shaking his head he turned and continued to walk.

On the horizon trees were frozen skeletally against the night sky’s grey drape.  She fixed her gaze on a particularly grotesque example and set off behind him, attempting to close her mind to her discomfort and growing unease.  Each step further seemed increasingly pointless – how on earth was he going to find it out here?  Especially after all these years.

Up ahead he paused, squinting to study the Polaroid photograph he held in his hand.  He looked up and ahead, and she knew that he was comparing the landscape in the picture to that around him.

“These moors move, they’re alive, I swear it.  There used to be a small hill around here.”

It’s called erosion, you idiot, she thought but didn’t dare say.  He could be dangerous when he was in this mood.

“There used to be a hill over there and that’s where I buried it.” Veering off at a slight angle, he headed over to where his imaginary hill should have been.

“OK,” she said, trying to sound resolute, “I’ve had enough of this.  I know that phone call spooked you earlier but this is madness!  You’ll never be able to find it, and that means neither will anyone else, so what are you worried about?”

He slowly walked towards her, covering the distance between them menacingly.  His eyes were too narrow, his breath smoking away from his mouth like ghosts.  Maybe the ghosts of children, she thought.

The words came quietly. “Myra, shut up.”


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