The moor. Always a cold and unforgiving place, but at this time of year there was an air of power and death about it, as if it wanted to try its best to consume anybody on it. Melissa had got the call about 4pm about deathly moans coming from somewhere near the old village, as the nearest ranger she had to see what was going on. David was supposed to have joined her by now she thought as torch shone out in the blackness.
“Damn him!” She muttered to herself, pulling out her radio she tried to raise him again but heard nothing but noise. She stood there for a moment, about to turn back because whatever it was had either gone or was dead by now, either way she couldn’t help it.
The cry that shot through the night at that second made a her blood run cold, she had heard nothing like it before. For a moment she thought it’s not dying but wants to cause death. Banishing the thought from her mind as she comforted herself that in the natural world it didn’t work like that. At least not with anything natural in Devon. Walking towards where she thought the cry came from she carefully watched her way, the recent rain had made the ground very soft underfoot and the moor was full of sink holes, keeping to the path was essential. Again she tried to raise David on the radio. Nothing. Fuck.
Something really strange was going on, then in a second she stopped. “What was that?” Melissa thought. Blood, loads of it. The cry rang out again, getting closer, Melissa reckoned that it was now less than a hundred metres away. The thoughts that ran through her head were spiralling out of control, could this be David’s blood, was he dead, or just hurt?
Every fibre of her being told her to turn and run but she knew this was now useless. If the beast making this cry was tracking her, running would only ensure her demise. She had to think her way through this. Drawing her commando knife she walked forward, the torch now off, relying only on her own night vision. She wasn’t sure if this was going to help, but she knew it would make her location a bit less obvious. The fog was thickening fast and her visibility was getting shorter and shorter.
Her thoughts were to find a place where she could hide and give the beast more of a challenge and her a fighting chance. An old moor house wasn’t far from where she was, the path turned to meet it not far ahead, every step she took she was convinced more that a monstrous animal would leap out at her. At the corner of the bend a dead and gutted Pony lay. The sight made her nauseous and sick when she was met with it, but she also felt relief, it wasn’t David.
Turning the path she walked slowly, her hearing trying to reach out to detect the approaching beast, the knife held out ready to strike in an instant. Melissa knew she was prey now, nothing she had seen on the moor before had prepared her for this and being alone her only hope was the old house. The fog was thick, but a bright full moon was pushing it’s light through, she could see the roof of the old house as was feeling some relief. Then the cry again. it was even louder this time and it was right behind her. Maybe only twenty metres back, the house was further than that ahead.
Melissa in a blind panic broke her walk and ran, her breathing hard but pushed with adrenaline her legs sped her as fast as was possible towards the relative safety of the old house, picking up the torch from her belt she shone it ahead to show the door. Old and mostly rotten she headed for it as she was suddenly thrown to the ground with a thud. Sliding along she gathered her senses and quickly turned lashing out the knife and the snarling creature.
In a flash of the dropped torch she made out the hideous shape of the beast. Like a dog but huge and the face was almost human she thought. Again the beast leapt towards her and her knife was slashed wildly in it’s direction. A howl of pain echoed from within it. Melissa’s feet slid as she struggled to get up and ran to the door of the old house. The howling had stopped, she knew it was closing in for a strike. Her hand met something metal and jagged. Pulling it free she turned and swung it at the attacking creature.
“Get… the… fuck… away!” She screamed as she smashed the body of the beast, now whimpering the beast retreated. Melissa pulled open the door to the old house, without her torch the was no light to see much at all. She pulled the door shut and found some old joists to brace it. Then turned to she where she could hide. In a corner was an old cupboard, the door creaked as it opened, screaming as a bird flew out if it. Her heart racing still she climbed in and pulled the door shut.
For what seemed like hours she waited, listened. Nothing came. Eventually the adrenaline wore off, exhaustion overcame her and she fell asleep.
Through what seemed like wild dreams Melissa saw brightness, the shape of a person and her body being shaken. She thought at first the beast had found her, then she realised she was waking.
Melissa… Melissa… Wake up!
Her vision cleared, the face she recognised. The light blinding her, blinking wildly she looked up.
“David?” He smiled as she recognised him. Then she realised she was shaking with cold, this wasn’t just any cold she was cold to the core. David helped her out of the cupboard, her legs stiff and numb. Melissa tumbled over as David tried to help her. Helping her sit up he put a thick blanked around her, he gave her a flask cup of sweet tea. Clasping it with her shaking hands she sipped on it, it felt good. The hot liquid warming her from the inside.
“What happened?” David asked.
“Something… Some beast attacked me!” Melissa shivered “Where were you? I was almost killed!”
David said nothing, let’s just get you home and warm. You can tell me more about the beast later. Nodding Melissa was helped up, slowly making her way out of the house, covered in webs a Land Rover was waiting outside. David helped her in, the engine was running and the heat felt good. David got in next to her and drive off.
“How did you find me?” Melissa asked.
“Your trial led me here, there was some hell of a struggle outside!”
“It was… I almost died and you were nowhere!” Again David said nothing, Melissa noticed that his hand was bandaged and bloodied and there was quite a cut on his face. His hands were covered in mud as well.
“What happened to you? You’re in a mess!”
“I fell and rolled down a ditch Melissa, don’t worry about it!”
Melissa suddenly felt cold again, glancing into the back she saw torn and muddied clothes, covered in blood. At that instant, she realised the impossible. Her blood ran stone cold, she didn’t know where they were going right now, except deeper into the moor, this wasn’t the way home and she knew it. Looking back at David she cleared her throat.
“Where are we going?”
David said nothing, he looked round at her. His eyes had changed, his pupils slitted and angry.
“Do you ever stop asking questions?” he growled, his human tone had gone and was monstrously wild. Melissa’s hand had been close to her knife. Screaming at him she drew the knife and plunged it into his heart. Un latching the door she threw herself out of the car, landing hard onto the muddy floor.
Turning to watch the Land Rover drive into a mire, it stopped suddenly. The engine was still revving as it started sinking deeper into the murk of the mire. Standing now, breathing hard as tears ran down her face, she simply watched, listening to the dying cries of the beast as it sunk with the car. In a few short minutes the roof was covered and it was gone.
Nothing was left except silence, the birds resumed this cawing and chirping as Melissa turned and started the long walk back. The time was early afternoon, she would be lucky to make it back before dark.