A Short Story

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  • Published : April 4, 2012
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The cold hit him straight way, and he turned to the see the appealing glow of the gas lamp that cast silhouettes on the walls, the shadows dancing with each flicker of the small flame. The wind blew quiet but harsh and found its way through the gaps in his woollen overcoat. He turned up the collar and regretted that there was no button to keep it in place. He scurried down the well-trodden path, passing withering plants and whatever else lay in the darkness. Without warning, the headlights of an approaching illuminated him against the darkness of the forest; he threw himself to the hard ground, scurrying towards the relative safety of the undergrowth.

He didn’t dare to move, terrified that any shuffle or scratching might give away his position, as the truck stopped at the side of the road. He heard the slamming of doors and the shuffling of feet. The man could see nothing but the very top of the trucks canvas roof, but he could hear their voices. One shouted out to another in German; the reply was a harsh laugh that seemed to pierce the very core of the wildlife; a large bird that has been making its way cautiously over to the man suddenly opened its wings out and took off violently from where it stood with a loud shriek that filled the deadly quiet. The man stopped breathing, covered his head with both of his hands and screwed his eyes tightly shut, willing the other men to go away. He could hear them walking over, their hard-soled boots thudding, again and again, as they made their way closer. He had attempted to bury himself in the plantation, but it was to no avail.

A narrow, white torch beam, moved across the perimeter of the forest, and slowly made its way down to his level. He shut his eyes tight and willed them to leave him be, to go away. And just like that, the beam of light vanished, and the footsteps gradually died away. With the slam of two doors, the engine started, and the truck moved off. The man lifted his head slightly, just...
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