Kate reached out to touch the deeply creased bark and pulled back her hand, hesitant to hope and feeling distinctly daft she checked her watch by the light of the flickering candle. 11.55.
She took a long look at Sam’s laughing face in the photo in her jacket pocket, reached out again. Her hand just kept on going as if the tree wasn’t there. She pulled it back, tried again. It was like a film special effect, her hand went straight into the tree, but it felt like there was nothing there. She flicked on the torch for a better look, but the damn thing flared and died. She shook it, banged it against her leg, tried again, nothing. Heart pounding harder now she stepped away from the tree but couldn’t take her eyes from its dark bulk. It was just a tree, and a familiar one at that, her initials and Sam’s were carved on it, but somehow it became menacing in the dark. It was midnight, in the oldest local woods, said to be haunted, on Hallowe’en. Kate would have laughed if she’d not been so terrified. She’d discussed this with Sam, almost crying with laughter, in horror films why do they always go to the woods? Why do they open the door? This was the place and time the main character should not be. Certain death was usually on its way and she might just escape by the skin of her teeth. Then Kate heard the voices.