As we arrived, the car park was heaving, everyone as keen as us to get going. I was beyond excited. Dad however was concerned that we were late getting started because of traffic. So, we raced up to ‘Berm Baby Berm’ an epic track. Dad then asked, “Do you want to go down ‘Spooky Wood’?” It was the sort of trail that once you’ve done it, you’d want to do it again and again.
“What do think?” I grinned, showing my inner dare-devil.
At the top dad shouted, already having set off, “Are you ready?”
I screamed “YEEESSS!”
The track twisted and turned and we jumped and whipped our way to the bottom, not even noticing just how ‘spooky’ the wood was. Exhilarated and hyped-up we made our way back up and went again, only this time faster!
By now it had started to get dark but I wanted to go up Spooky Wood one more time. Dad was worried about the fading daylight and us not having any lights, but pester power paid off again. On the way up dad said, “If we carry on up this forest track it’ll get us to the top quicker.”
So we took the short cut. On the way up everything started to look different, like it had changed somehow in the past hour. The wood looked like a whole other world, it was like a scene out of a horror film; branches began to look like witches fingers and blown over trees like swamp monsters.
On the last big climb Dad forgot to change gear and tried to in the middle of the climb. His chain snapped under the extra pressure and he had to push his bike the rest of the way. When we reached the top, he grumbled grumpily, “It might take a while to fix.”
He still wasn’t done after about half an hour and I got a bit impatient and said “I’ll have a look around the woods.” I walked into the woods, dark at the best of times and now pitch black. After a few minutes of wandering, I heard a voice in front of me. I walked towards it. I heard another from around the same place. Curious, I kept on walking. As I got nearer the voices I saw the silhouette of a man with a shovel digging a hole and another with a suspiciously big silver barrel bearing a skull sign underneath which read’ TOXIC WASTE’. I heard one of the men talking on a ‘phone saying “Yeah, yeah, keep your hair on, we’re burying it right now.”
I felt a shudder of fright go through me like an icicle running down my back. What should I do? Run? I knew what they were doing wasn’t right but they were too many of them for me to confront them. I remembered my phone. I began filming them, creeping closer and closer, all the time hardly daring to breathe. My mistake was in getting too close because all of a sudden, ‘SNAP!’ I had trodden on a twig. My life was just about to get a whole lot worse!
All of the men turned their heads at once and shouted “Get him!” Out of fright and without realising it, I dropped my phone. I ran faster than I ever had. On reaching Dad, who had fortunately fixed his chain, I yelled in panic, “We’ve got to go! Now!” Realising something had happened, Dad jumped on his bike and set off rapidly. Breathlessly I tried to explain what had happened.
Behind us all we could hear was the engines of the men’s quad bikes squealing. Dad and I had to pick up the pace if we were going to beat them to the bottom. Spooky Wood was living up to its name. There was no enjoyment to be had here only pure panic and terror at what might happen.
When we finally reached the deserted car park, breathless but relieved, I reached for my phone to call the police, only to realise I didn’t have it. “Dad, its gone – my phone and the film. What are we going to do?” Without too much talking we decided to head to Peebles, the nearest town. As we reached the roads, we realised that the men on the quads had to slow down.
We found the police station and I managed to blurt out what I thought was a reasonable explanation to a very confused looking policeman. “Ok lad, I think I follow you but without evidence there’s not much I can do,” he explained. I was gutted. I noticed Dad was staring at my helmet. He pointed, saying “Charlie, your Go-Pro camera. Was it switched on?”
“Yeah, that’s one mistake I didn’t make!”