Mists of Time

As the mists swirled around them they joined hands and staggered forwards....or was it backwards?


16. The Phone Part 1

They all looked at Sarah.   

‘1,000 years ?’ Paul said, ‘what did they do up there then ? It’s right in the middle of nowhere’  

They all nodded their heads. This place must have been really isolated that long ago. All around them, apart from this little wooded ravine, was moorland.  

‘Yes, this place goes back even before Stockby was started. Apparently at one time all the moors around here were covered with trees but then when the steel works started they chopped them down for fuel.’  

They all knew about the steel works. Although Stockby was built around the steel works, it was now in these times no longer just a steel town. It was becoming more of a commuter town for the nearby cities. Samuel Badger had built the works about 200 years ago. Badgers, as it was still known even thought it was now owned by an Indian multinational, had provided work for the majority of the inhabitants of the town.  

‘I heard that it was named after a man called John Stocks’ said Terry.  

‘Yes I heard that too’ said Paul  

They both looked at Sarah to check they were right.  

‘Well’, she started, ‘Stockby may have been named after John Stocks. He had a quarry in these parts in the 15th century.’  

Paul and Terry smiled, they didn’t often get history right, but in this case they had.  

‘So what did they farm around here? Mai asked  

‘It was sheep mainly in the later years, although it must have been much more back in the early days. There were little dwelling when it was a royal wood and people used to care for the animals like deer and stop the outlaws getting them.’  

‘What like Robin Hood?’ Terry joked  

‘Yes very much like them’ Sarah replied.  

‘What else is there you can tell us about this area then, Mai asked her. Mai also liked to find out as much information as she could. She was like blotting paper soaking it all up.   

‘Well you all know that there was a gibbet on the top of Long Lane, don’t you? It used to be an old coaching route across the Pennines to Manchester. They used to hang the bodies up there where everyone could see them’ Sarah said. As she looked at their faces she could see that they’d never heard this before. She smiled. It was nice to get one up on all of them, even Tom didn’t know.  

‘So you’re saying that less than a mile away they used to hang dead bodies?’ Sinead said  

‘Yes, that’s why it called Gibbet Hill. I thought you all knew that?’ Sarah said.  

‘No, so you tell us on the night when we’re camping in the wood just down from the place?, Paul said, ‘unbelievable. This place will be spooky enough without you telling us this.’   

‘Do you think that the dead people will come and get you,’ Sarah teased him, ‘I thought you were weren’t scared of anything’  

They all laughed, however Paul, Terry and Sinead looked a little apprehensive.  

Tom looked around. They were a great bunch of teenagers, he got on with them well and although he was a few years older treated them like he would his other friends. He checked his phone 11pm, still a while before they would turn in to their bivvies. He filled the Dixie up with water again and placed it on the fire. At the same time he put a couple bigger logs on. The fire was starting to die down a bit. Even though it was summer, it’d become cooler in the next few hours.  

‘Right is this the time we start telling Ghost stories?’ he said.  

‘In a bit, Terry replied ‘In a bit, hey Paul show us your new iphone. It’s got some great apps on it.  

Paul pulled his phone out of his pocket and they all arranged themselves so they could see it.  

‘What apps you got’, asked Sarah, ‘anything useful for this weekend or just games.’  

Paul smarted, Sarah always thought he wasn’t a serious person or smart. It was an act mostly. You couldn’t be one of the cool kids and brainy. Paul always made out that he was a bit thick so his friends wouldn’t rib him about things. Sarah liked to dig at him. She knew he was clever, but didn’t like people to pretend to be what they weren’t.  

‘I’ve got a great map app’ Paul said clicking the screen. ‘It shows where you are’  

‘So do a lot of apps’ Sarah said, ‘but in the country they’re no use because you have to have a signal and the country paths aren’t shown’  

Paul smiled, this time he’d have one up on Sarah.  

‘Not this one, look it uses the OS maps and stores them on the phone’. Paul said ‘here’s where we are now’  

He passed it over to Sarah. Just as he had said, the phone was showing an ordnance survey map of the area. Sarah could see Gibbet Hill marked on it, she could see the trig point on the moors, she could even make out the stream where they at the side of. Their location was marked with a red spot. She looked carefully and saw something she’d never noticed before. The little clearing they were in had a name. She’d never noticed this before.  

‘Hey look we’re in May Glen’ Sarah blurted out looking at Mai. ‘so you’re Mai in May Glen’  

‘Hey let me look’, Terry said pulling the phone out of Sarah’s hands.   

The phone was slippy though and Terry tried hard to keep hold of it, but he didn’t get a good enough grip. The phone fell from his hands, and if in slow motion headed for the ground. Terry moved his hands to catch it, but it was already too late, he couldn’t catch it. His hand however managed to move it’s trajectory and it hit the rock on the side of the fire, falling on to the grass.  

There was total silence as they all holding their breath had watched the journey of the phone towards the fire. Paul broke the silence  

.’Terry, you idiot, what have you done’ he reached over and picked the phone up. He flicked the switch at the top and the light and screen came on.   

‘I’m sorry, I just wanted to have a look at it and it slipped from my fingers’ Terry said with a little fear in his voice.  

‘It must be all the fat from those sausages’, Sinead said.  

‘I’m really sorry Paul, I didn’t mean to. Is it still working ?’  

‘Yes but look here there’s a dent in the side where it hit that rock’. Paul said. His anger was waning now. If it was damaged, his mum would buy him another one.   

 ‘Hot Chocolate, anyone’ Mai asked. They all nodded yes and so Mai added the requisite amount of powder to all there cups and poured hot water into them.  

 They all settled back down by the fire.  

They sat with the cups in their hands, silently around the fire for about 10 minutes before Terry said very quietly  

‘Look I’m really sorry, Paul. I’ll pay for it to get repaired.’  

Paul looked at Terry. ‘Its Ok mate, my mum will sort it. She’ll buy me a new one and I might let you have this as punishment’ Paul knew that Terry couldn’t pay for it. It was only a dent after all.  

Tom was looking thoughtfully at the phone Paul was holding.  

Lets have a look at that’ Tom said towards Paul.  

‘Don’t you do anymore damage to it that Terry has’ Paul said in the direction of Terry  

‘Look I’m sorry, do you want me to go down on my knees and beg?’ Terry asked  

‘Now there’s a thought’ said Paul with a smile on his face.  

Tom took the phone and looked at it. Instead of turning it on he seemed to be examining the case. Mai was watching him and noticed what he was looking at. It was the dent on the side. She looked across to the phone that Tom had uncovered in the pit.  

‘Is that dent in the same place as on the other phone’ she asked.  

Mmm’ Tom said putting Paul’s phone down carefully and picking the other up to compare them. He examined it and put it down next to Paul’s.  

‘It’s really funny, but this old thing here’ gesticulating towards the charred remains ‘looks almost identically like yours.’  

 ‘But how can it be, what sort of probability would there be for both phones having the same dent’ Mai said.  

‘Maybe Terry was playing with that one as well’ Paul said.  


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