a brand new beginning for a brand new story in its pure, unedited rough form.
hope you enjoy it
Tina Brassel was not the nervous type. She had been sky-diving, surfing, mountain climbing, base jumping…she had done them all. Anything that gave her that much needed rush of adrenaline, and she was there. She loved the rush. But none of that had prepared her for the stomach churning nervous wreck she had become over the last few weeks. Ever since she had decided to ask Ethan to marry her, she had become a bundle of frayed nerves.
Tina had planned the proposal down to a T. First she would surprise Ethan by picking him up after work on Friday and then she would drive him to Arthur-stone National Park, where they would spend the weekend climbing and camping. Ethan had always wanted to climb Witches Nook and Tina had thought where better to propose than at the top of Ethan’s personal Everest. It would definitely be memorable.
“Come on slow poke, we’re nearly there,” called Ethan from ten foot above her.
Tina could see Ethan’s face had a fine sheen of sweat and his bandana was soaked. As she smiled up at him, she saw a playful smile crack his face as he removed his bandana and wrung it out over the top of where she was perched. His hot sweat dripped onto her forehead.
“You sick bastard. Just be glad I fucking love you.” Tina shouted up as she wiped his sweat from her brow.
With a chuckle Ethan turned back to the rock face and proceeded to work his way towards the top. Tina reached into the bum bag nestled against the front of her hips and fished out a small black box. Thumbing it open she smiled to herself. He was never going to expect this, she thought. In the box sat an entwined silver and black engagement ring. Looking up, at the love of her life, she watched as Ethan’s foot disappeared over the edge of the cliff. Tina nestled the box back into her fanny pack and started to work her way up.
“Hurry up you snail, it’s beautiful up here.”
Tina grabbed the holes that had been marked in chalk by Ethan’s hands and wound her way up the last few metres. As she neared the top Ethan’s head appeared near her own. “Alright love.”
Ethan smiled as he extended his hand over the edge. Tina grasped it and pulled. A few seconds later she was stood next to him at the top of Witches Nook. The sun was setting over the forest, casting its red glow over every tree and cliff.
“Isn’t it beautiful Tina? Just think there’s not another person for miles around.”
“Yeah, it is kinda something isn’t it.” She said as she nestled into his arm.
“Let’s get the tent setup and put a brew on, shall we?”
Tina looked up into Ethan’s eyes and could see her reflection in his shades. She looked a mess. Her blonde hair was scraped back in the tightest ponytail she had ever done and her face was blotchy and red and soaked in sweat.
“What was that?” Tina asked as a howl ripped through the air.
“I don’t know. A wolf?” Ethan unslung his back pack and put it on the floor at his feet.
“No. It can’t be a wolf; there are no wild wolves in the UK anymore.”
“Alright smarty pants. Maybe they’ve come back and banged out some cubs,” Ethan smirked as he pulled the tent from his pack.
“No, it can’t be.”
“Whatever it was it was miles away and we are way up here on the bitches’ nook. So don’t worry ok love. Come help me with this.” Tina turned back towards their makeshift campsite and helped Ethan to roll out the tent.
Once the tent was up, Ethan gathered up various twigs and branches for the fire. Tina fondled her bum bag as she stood watching him striking a couple of pieces of flint together, the butterflies in her stomach had turned into razor wire as the sunset drew nearer. She smiled as Ethan threw the flint on the floor. “Fuck this. Have we got any matches or a lighter babe?”
“Here,” she said fishing her silver zippo out of her bum bag and tossing to him.
With the zippo in hand, Ethan had the fire going in seconds and the kettle perched on top of the camping grill. Tina was glad of the warmth as the evening chill started to set in. But she craved a cup of tea more. By the time the kettle’s whistle had built to an ear piercing squeal, Tina had already prepared the cups and found the milk. She removed the kettle from the fire and it continued to whistle as she poured the water into the cups and made the tea. She looked up as their camp site was bathed in red from the setting sun and smiled. Removing the little box from her bum bag, she held it behind her as she walked over to where Ethan was sitting.
“Here you go.” Tina passed Ethan a cup. “Hey, I’ve got something to ask you.”
“What’s that babe?” Ethan asked.
Tina knelt down on one knee as a howl ruptured the air. She watched wide-eyed over Ethan’s shoulder as a large shadowy form bound out from the nearby trees. The shadowy creature growled as it jumped over the couple. Its feet skidded along the ground, kicking dirt over the fire and extinguishing it.
“Run,” Ethan shouted as he dived towards his pack. Tina stood rooted to the spot as she stared at the shadow prowling the edge of the trees. It was larger than anything she had ever seen before. At least two times larger than Samba, her Great Dane.
Ethan grabbed the handle of his climbing pick and yanked it. “Fucking run Tina,” he yelled as the pick got snagged in the fabric of his bag. The shadow turned towards him.
Tina ran. She ran towards Ethan. She couldn’t let him try to fight this…thing, by himself. Heading for Ethan, she scooped the climbing ropes up from the floor and rallied behind him. She hefted the ropes in her hands and glanced at Ethan. “You should have ran,” he looked at her, “On the count of three you throw those at it, try and get its legs tangled if you can.” The creature stopped. Cocking its shadowy head to one side, it let out a low growl.
“I love you Tina.”
“I love you too.” Tina smiled at Ethan.
The creature stepped backwards as Tina swung the ropes.
The beast sprinted for Tina and Ethan. Clearing the smouldering remains of the fire, the creature jumped. It barrelled into Ethan as it swiped a paw at Tina, raking its claws down her face and chest. Blood frothed out of every wound as she collapsed to the floor.
Man and beast rolled across the forest floor in a maddening tangle of limbs and shadow. Ethan raised his hand and brought the pick down across the creature’s spine as hard as he could. The beast howled and rolled off of him. He scrambled back to his feet and backed away from the ferocious shadow. The dark beast leapt again. It smashed into his legs and drove him backwards. Ethan stumbled and fell hard to the ground as his foot became ensnared by the climbing ropes dropped by Tina.
Ethan’s hands were frantic as he sought to remove his legs from the tangled ropes. He watched the beast as it circled around again. Dropping the ropes, he hoisted the pick in his hands and looked around. The shadow was in front of him and the cliff edge behind. He was trapped. The creature lunged. Ethan rolled his shoulder and smashed the pick into the things ribs. The beast howled as its trajectory crashed it into Ethan. The two skidded across the forest floor and off of the cliff edge.