Chapter 3 – A Walk in the Midnight Wood


Behind Gran’s garden gate, the trail to the bluebell woods was something the boys knew pretty well – but not at midnight. And that was the real adventure.

“Hey, it’s dead weird and a bit creepy at night,” Jerry whispered, as they slowly made their way along the rough dirt trail.

An owl hooted overhead and a tiny mouse skittered across the path, dazzled by their torchlight.

“Yeah, it’s awesome creepy,” Jacob agreed.

And then, just after the owl hoot, they heard another, even stranger, noise.

“What on earth is that?” Jacob stopped dead in his tracks.

“Sounds like something in pain,” suggested Jerry, stopping too. “Where’s it coming from?”

The boys stood quite still and listened to the whining, wheezy wail, which did not sound human at all, but not quite like an animal either. Sometimes the wailing stopped for a moment and they heard huge sniffing sobs.

“It’s a lost kid,” Jerry frowned.

Jacob shook his head. “No, it’s a puppy dog, lost, hurt or trapped. Kids don’t hang around here at midnight.”

“We do,” Jacob muttered and they continued to listen carefully, until Jerry whispered,

“It’s coming from over there, near that crabby old tree.”

“Don’t want to frighten it, whatever it is. Switch off the torch, Jerry, there’s enough moonlight to see our way.”

Jerry switched off the torch and straightaway Jacob tripped over a tree root.

“Ouch, so much for the light of the moon.” He rubbed his scratched knee.

“Shut up,” Jerry hissed. “We’ll never find it at this rate.”

The boys crouched and listened to the croaky wail. “My life, my miserable life!”

“It’s human,” Jerry hissed.

“It sounds mad,” Jacob hissed back.

“Let’s get back to the shed.” Jerry’s voice wobbled.

“No! Let’s take a look at whatever it is,” Jacob said, sounding so much braver than he really felt.

They crept through the knee-high stinging nettles. Now they could see the bent old tree and the moaning noise got louder and stranger.


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