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Thriller Drama Suspense

The wipers whimpered across the clouded windshield of the car to reveal a dark and narrow lane; trees reached down from behind weathered walls, channelling the car further and further into the shadow of the wood. The engine of the red Golf mk2 spat and sputtered, its wheels splashing through the puddles across the pox marked road. Ollie King was driving, his narrow eyes squinted to see through the gloom of rain and condensation.


'Put some music on, my password is 6665,' he said, feeling down into the dirty ash tray to find his phone and hand it to Jack sat beside him in the passenger seat. Jack Lake took it and unlocked the phone, finding Spotify.


'You said what to Lisa?'


'Do not go through my messages,' replied Ollie, stretching over the gear stick to retrieve his phone. Jack held the phone out of reach and said: 'I am joking, I am joking. What song do you want on?'


'Who is Lisa?' asked Annie Hughes from behind Jack, rubbing a pale hand across her eyes.


'Where are we?' asked Beth Davy from beside her, rubbing away the shadow of her breath from the glass and peering out into the dark space between the trees. 'I thought it was only a mile from the pub.'


'Who is Lisa?' asked Annie, taking hold of the front seats to sit up straight and glare into the back of her boyfriends head. 


'What song do you want on?' asked Jack, scrolling through Ollies playlists. 'ABBA?'


'No,' sneered Ollie, turning the wheel to turn the car around the bend; trees, and more trees, tangled claws groping down above the steel roof of the car. He had heard stories of ghosts in these woods; ghosts of travellers and headless horsemen.


'I will break up with you if you do not tell me who Lisa is.'


'A Friend from Uni,' replied Ollie, following the eyes of a horse, its long white face hung low over an iron rail. Strange creatures. He turned the wheel. The stereo crackled and thumped; Jack prodded at the buttons and said: 'The aux is not working.'


'It has Bluetooth,' said Beth from the back. 'Press the rune.'


'Rune?' asked Jack.


'That,' said Ollie pressing the B on the stereo; a low hum of an organ began to vibrate from the speakers slowly building up with a guitar.


'Very fitting,' said Beth.


'What is it?' asked Annie. 


The words MR CROWLEY erupted, breaking out from all around them. WHAT WENT ON IN YOUR HEAD. OH MR CROWLEY, DID YOU TALK TO THE DEAD?


WAITING ON SATANS DOOR. 'Turn it off.'


'No,' said Jack.


'Be Nice,' said Beth, reaching over to flick Jack behind the ear.


'Get off,' said Jack, laughing. 'We will leave you here.' He pointed at the blur of passing trees. 


'Fuck off, you wouldn't dare,' replied Beth with a smile, slapping at the top of his head. Jack took hold of her hand and held it down behind his headrest. 'Let me go.'


'No.'


'Stop flirting with her Jack and let her go,' said Annie.


He let Beth's hand go and she fell back into her seat.


'If you think that is what flirting is, I worry for you and Ollie.'


'We are here,' said Ollie, easing his foot on the break and turning the car off from the road. Stone growled under the wheels.


'How do you know?' asked Annie.


'I remember,' he replied, easing the car to a stop and winding down his window to get a closer look at something he had seen through the trees. 'There.' Beth wound down her window and saw it; stones, five of them, standing tall and alone in a clearing in the forest.


'Is that it?' she asked, breathing in the damp earthy scent of the trees. Spots of rain dampened her face as she leaned out, peering to get a better look at the stones. 'What are they called?'


'My Dad called them the Six ladies. But I have heard others call them the Ivy Stones.'


'Six?' asked Jack


'I have heard of the nine ladies in Derbyshire,' said Beth. 'Is it the usual story, dancing on the sabbath and turned to stone?'


Ollie leaned his head back against the headrest with a smile and replied: 'I think so.'


'Why are they called the six ladies when there are only five?' asked Annie.


Beth opened her car door and stepped out, narrowly avoiding a puddle. She slammed it shut behind her and began to walk towards the stones.


'Beth?' asked Annie.


Jack got out, and Ollie turned off the engine and followed, leaving Annie alone in the car.


'Come on Ann,' said Ollie, retrieving his heavy workman's coat from the boot, before putting it on. She watched them go. Muddied white shoes and boots, stepping with care over the muddied floor of the wood until she saw them step out to stand before the stones.


'They are bigger up close,' whispered Beth, craning her neck to look up at the tallest. A whiff of smoke on the wind. Jack had lit a cigarette, puffing out his cheeks as he exhaled into Ollies face. 'Put it out.'


'Why?' he asked, before taking another inhale. Wood creaked. The wind whistled and blew rain down from the tops of the trees. Leaves shivered silver under the strain of their shaking branches.


'Where are the birds? I can not hear them,' asked Beth.


'It is so quiet,' said Ollie, walking into the centre of the circle.


Jack began to squawk, cupping his mouth between his hands and calling out into the stones. His voice echoed.


'Stop it and listen,' said Ollie, putting his hand to the air. Jack stopped. The wind whistled and hummed through the stones. Cracked and lined, weathered by thousands and thousands of years. 'I wonder how old they are.'


'A few thousand years,' whispered Beth. 'Look at the clouds.'


Above the swirls of cloud were painted red. 'It will be dark soon.'


'You have been here with your Dad?' asked Jack.


'Before-,' replied Ollie.


'Was that the year we went to stone henge for the solstice?' asked Beth.


'And Dan had to be taken to hospital,' replied Ollie. Wind roared. 'We should be getting back.' He shivered. 


'Already?' asked Jack, kicking with his heel at the earth. 'Look.'


Jack pointed to a gap in the stones, to where once had stood another. 'A hole.'


'It must have been stolen,' said Ollie.


'Or broken,' whispered Beth. The three of them looked around at the small clearing to find nothing.


'Perhaps one of the women has come back to life?' asked Jack grinning, as he began to roll another cigarette.


'Perhaps,' said Ollie, his own smile wavering. 'We should get back to Ann.'


'Is she still in the car?' asked Beth.


'Leave her there,' said Jack, cupping his lighter and cigarette from the wind.


'Why do you not like her?' asked Beth, turning to face Jack.


He shrugged, and replied: 'I know her type.'


'Jack,' said Ollie.


'I know you are cheating on her,' he replied. 'Lisa?'


Ollie's face flushed red. 'Come over?'


'Ollie is this true?' asked Beth.


'No. Beth you can not say anything,' he stammered, reaching out to take her by the arm.


'Why not? Just tell her,' replied Beth, wriggling free.


'Because her Daddy is his new boss,' said Jack, stabbing at the wet ground with the front of his boot.


The light was fading. The wind whispered and writhed at the trees around them. The wind was cold. Beth shivered, and hugged her arms around her shoulders and said: 'We should be getting back, it is a long drive back to the hostel.'


'But we have only just got here,' said Jack.


'Please do not say anything to her,' said Ollie.


'I will not promise anything,' replied Beth walking away from the stones into the trees.


'You have done it now,' said Jack as he passed Ollie after her. 'Wait-'


'Why have you done this?' asked Ollie, taking hold of Jack by the arm and knocking his cigarette from his hand. 'Is everything a joke to you?'


'Tell her the truth.' Jack shoved Ollie back and walked after Beth. Ollie stood and stared as his friend passed into the darkness, his body shifting in the low light. Blues and black. He could see through the trees the dull red of his car parked beside the road and Annie sat staring back at him. He sighed and turned, looking back to see six stones standing tall; the dust settled and the ropes fell to land in the long grasses of the meadow. Birds chirped in the low summer light as the stones were lit by the fires of the pyres burning brightly all around. Dark faces twisted with joy and song, that lifted and fell; many dancing limbs moved up and down and around and around the towering stones.


'We're not alone,' said a man in a language long dead, his face white with chalk. All eyes turned to see Ollie. Voices faded and did the fires. Darkness fell on the tired faces of the five stones and Ollie was alone. He walked back with his breath tight in his throat and opened his car door and sat down. Annie was crying and Beth was holding her. Jack sat slouched with his chin rested on his hand. Ollie turned the key, pressed the clutch to the floor and eased into first gear; he steered back around onto the road and drove back up the dark and narrow lane.  

August 05, 2023 15:20

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3 comments

Tom Skye
16:04 Aug 13, 2023

Good stuff Ben. It went in a totally different direction to what I expected. Enjoyed it. Nice job

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20:52 Aug 12, 2023

Nice twist on the prompt, dude!

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David Sweet
13:35 Aug 12, 2023

Interesting twist!

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