The following tale is a relatively tame ghost story which is guaranteed to be forgotten until you are next home alone
It had been a long day, wearily John dragged his feet upward. Stumbling forward a loose stone clattered downward, shattering with a piercing crack it spun off into a wisp of cloud and downward into the unknown. The sun was low in the sky, his batteries were low on the old head torch in his bag but the summit was so close…
The cairn stood ahead, the cloud had descended as fast as the twilight darkness. Tapping the top with a thud of numb gloved fingers on frosted stone John abruptly turned around. Nervous he begun at a swift jog, his wife had arranged to meet him at the car in a few hours, he was late.
Passing cairn after cairn through the thickening mist john begun to descend, it was nearly dark but the head torch remained in the bag bouncing freely on his back. Slipping John went head first into a large muddy embankment… choking he spat out a clump of moss, “Time for the torch” he spluttered to himself.
It was as John stood up that two events occurred both more frightening than the last. Ahead a shadow moved… growing closer and fast. Panicking John froze, unable to move. The beam of his torch flickered vainly against the mist, the shadow grew closer…. he muttered a whimper….A Red Deer trotted out of the cloud. Gasping with relief and awe at the majestic size of the beast it was at that moment John realised he was lost.
Darkness was upon him, the path had vanished as quickly as the startled deer. John was afraid but an experienced hiker did not loose his calm, pacing slowly downslope he aimed for a valley below. He knew that in that valley was a river and on that river was a bridge and his wife waiting with a warm tea and a comfortable car ride home.
Little did John know he had descended the wrong side of the mountain. Three hours John spent wandering the mist, the dimming beam of the torch flickered, occasionally he caught shadows around him. They lurked just at the edge of the beam in utter silence “Its just the beam flickering” he repeated to himself in a hushed voice. Reaching the flat valley floor and to Johns horror there was no river… now beginning to panic to the point of fear john turned downhill and marched…out of the mist a giant object appeared before him.
Crumbled stonework, rusted iron stakes and a tattered red corrugated iron roof. A Bothy! Unable to believe his good fortune John hardly noticed the eery creak of the wooden door pierce the deafening silence inside. Disappointed he realised he was alone for the night, but it was better than the hill. He would wait until morning and the mist had cleared before returning to the car. His head-torch was almost dead, in the corner of the room was a Tilly lantern. With a strike and a puff of paraffin the room was bathed in warm light. Exhausted John sat up from the bed to which he had collapsed upon and peered into the room. To his horror ever wall was decorated with paintings. Each painting bore demonic depictions of portraits. Pale ghostly skin and yellowed pointed teeth, some had blood around their lips. Wide black eyes seemed to swallow all the light from the lantern into their gaze and a matted grey hair creeped bedraggled across their bony cheeks. Each painting was more horrible than the last, John was terrified. Throwing his bag over his head he curled up on the bench and for the rest of the night in the bothy tried to sleep ignoring the paintings around him…the lantern remained lit.
Warm sunlight crept upon Johns bare arm, it raised the hairs up with a reassuring radiation that could mean only one thing. Morning had arrived. The hiss of the Tilly lantern had stopped, and from beneath his bag John could feel from the warmth that the mist had gone, it was all ok he would be alright.
Taking the bag from his head John let out an ear piercing scream!! Leaping from the bed John ran…leaving his bag and all he had behind him. Leaving no time to even put on his boots John ran into the moors…
Official reports say that John was picked up by the Mountain Rescue two days later.
Alerted by Johns wife the rescue team found John in “severe shock” alone in the moors over 20km from the bothy.
He was physically stable but would only repeat the following words over and over…
“There were only windows……”