Writing me Down

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Stones

Jennifer felt the stone, rough and warm against her back. Her heart still pounded, fast and loud like the flint-knapper’s hammer. Each stone in the circle seemed to lean towards her, like curious observers. Around them, the trees were still and hardly a rustle could be heard, only the occasional ‘hoo hoo’ of a wood pigeon. Her back felt damp and sticky against the stone.

Don’t look back.

Jennifer pressed her head hard back against the stone, her eyes tight shut. She heard a snap, as if something had trodden on one of the dry twigs that littered the edge of the wood. In her mind’s eye, she saw a shadowy form blocking out the sunlight that filtered through the leaves.

Don’t. Look. Back.

Jennifer’s throat felt dry, and her shoulders ached with tension. Her hands were pressed onto the dry ground beside her, small stones grinding into the flesh. In her mind, the shadow grew, forming itself into a figure that beckoned, demanding. She started to shake against the stone. Where was it? The silence was absolute. Maybe she was mistaken. Maybe they had been lying to her. Just a tale to stop her wandering into the woods on her own. She opened her eyes. The stones looked on, harmless, safe. Slowly she turned and looked behind her.


“Mum, look at that stone!” The little boy in blue striped t-shirt and matching baseball cap tugged on his mother’s arm. “It looks like someone sitting down – look, there’s the head, and there’s the knees, and that looks like an arm …”

“Yes, dear,” murmured his mother, looking around nervously. “Come on, let’s go. It’s kind of creepy here.”


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