Amongst the Trees
Mel lowered the binoculars.
“What is?” I asked, looking up from the notes I’d been taking.
“There’s something not right in the woods.”
“Teddy Bears’ Picnic?” I suggested comically, but the humour died on my lips as I saw Mel’s unsettled expression.
“There! Did you see it?”
I peered further into the trees. There was a dappled light from the leafy shadows which created a mystical patchwork on the forest floor. Had I seen it? Or had I only imagined that darkness because of Mel’s words?
But no, all around us shadows were moving. They seeped down from the branches or stretched out from each fern leaf’s filigree twist. Where, only seconds earlier, greens, reds and golds had shone, blackness had now taken over. The woods were alien, hostile even. It was as though the trees knew we were there to study them, and the wood had grown tired of our voyeurism.
The shadows were closing in on us from all angles, pushing against us with their suffocating darkness. Only the path behind us remained safe.
I snatched Mel’s sleeve and ran. We didn’t stop until the grassy route opened onto the car park, and I scrambled into our old banger.
“What was that all about?” Mel panted.
“You pointed it out to me,” I replied defensively.
“I meant the leucistic blackbird.” Mel stared at me with an expression which made my blood freeze. “What the hell did you see?”