Mists of Time

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


12. The Ravine

They walked though a gate and straight away went down into the woods. All around here was moorland, but this wood was in a smallish ravine. It’d been there as long as anyone in Stockby could remember. In the past it had been coppiced but now it had just left to nature.  

An hour later they were all making shelters. They’d found the ideal spot. It was a small clearing just beside the stream. About 14 metres across, trees were on all sides with the ground rising up steeply behind them. The stream was quite wide at this point, about 3 feet across and came in through the open area curving slightly as it exited.  There was enough break in the  

The plan was to make all the shelters open at the side facing into the clearing. Then in the centre they’d put a fire.  

Mai, Sarah and Sinead were much further on with their shelters than the boys. As usual Paul and Terry were doing everything half-heartedly. Tom worked methodically at his smaller shelter. They’d brought some polythene to help with the water proofing. It would make it a lot easier to do quickly. Although it was June, the light would soon drop off in the dense woodland around them. The faster these shelters were up and ready the better. 

Tom finished his simple small lean to and stowed his gear in the back. Looking around he saw that he’d probably have to help the two lads.  

They’re turning into explorers before their time. Tom thought. The girls however were hard at work and looked like they’d finish anytime. Mai was working alongside Sarah both girls chatting to each other in that carefree manner that girls do.  They were really chalk and cheese but did seem to get on well. He looked again at Mai. What had happened between them this afternoon ? They’d hardly said a couple of words to each other since they’d arrived. 

Tom went to the centre of the clearing and started to get a few stones together to build a fire in. There were quite a few handy within arms reach. Someone had obviously had a fire here and they’d not moved the stones very far.  

‘Can I help you’ Mai said as she kneeled down besides him 

‘Yes, could you get me the spade from over by my bivvy ?’ 

Mai stood up and went over to the pile of equipment. It gave Tom a chance to catch his breath and control himself. His heart was beating like a steam engine on the local heritage railway. He arranged the stones in a largish circle. Mai came back with the small spade. 

‘This one ?’ She asked 

‘Yes that’s great’ 

‘What are you going to do ? 

‘Well I’m going to cut around the edge of these stones and lift the turf, then we’ll lift them and place them over by the stream. Then I’ll dig down a little to make an area to put the fire on.’ 

‘Oh, I thought we’d just light it on the ground?’ 

‘No this way when we finish, we’ll be able to put the turfs back on, if we keep them moist, put the stone in the river’s edge and place the turf back in place. After a few weeks it’ll look like we haven’t been there 

‘Oh that’s clever, never thought about scouts being friendly to the environment, all that tree cutting down 

‘No we only take dead wood, the rest of it is no good for burning though, when it’s living it’s too wet to light well’ 


Tom, using the spade, made a few cuts in the turf in the shape of a square and then without fuss eased the turf out. He placed them grass side down on the area near the stream bed. Then he started to dig down a sort way. 

‘Why are you digging down?’ Mai asked watching curiously. 

‘Well, if I don’t then the fire is likely to burn the grass around the pit’ 

After a few minutes he’d dug down about 3 inches when he stopped. He put the spade down and kneeled down next to the pit. He started to move some of the earth to one side when he suddenly gave a yell 

‘Thought there was something here’ he said pulling a charred object 

The cries had been heard by the other four and they raced over from where they had been making their bivvies towards Tom and Mai. 

‘What’s up’ Terry said as they all looked at the object in Tom’s hands. 

‘Not sure, I was just digging the fire pit when I saw this. 

They all looked down at the small black object that was in Tom’s hands. It was around the size of an phone or mp3 player but looked a lot older than that. There was blackened all around as if it’d been in a fire. On the top appeared to be shattered glass. Tom ran his finger through it and gave a yell dropping the object on the floor. 

ouch’ Tom said . He looked down and saw a small sliver of glass in his finger. He carefully extracted it and checked his finger sucking the blood up. 

‘What you done?’Sinead asked looking worried as she saw blood coming from Tom’s hand.  

just cut my finger’ Tom said examining the finger in question. ‘I’ll be OK when it stops bleeding. 

‘ I’ll get you a plaster’ Sinead said running towards her bivvy 

‘It’s Ok, it’ll stop soon’, Tom said. 

Sinead however came back with  a plaster and took hold of Tom’s hand and applied the plaster to his finger. 

‘Thanks.’ Tom said slowly removing his hand from Sinead.

‘It’s a iphone’ Paul said. 

They turned around and saw that Paul had picked up the object. 

‘Look you can just make out the apple symbol on the back of it.’ 

Indeed when the four of them looked, they could see the tarnished apple trademark. Paul wiped his finger over the rest of the side away from the glass.  

‘Yes I can just make out the words iphone here’ said Paul looking up ‘I wonder who’d burn their iphone and then bury it here’ 

‘Probably you would in a fit of anger’ Terry joked with him. 

You saying I have a temper?’ Paul said half laughing 

‘Yep, you know you have, remember that time when your mum wouldn’t buy you that new skeateboard ? You threw the old one through your hut window’ 

Paul went red with the memory. ’Oh yes,’ was all he had to say. 

‘It’s funny though, isn’t it. Who’d have buried it here’? Sarah said with a shudder. 

Yes, it was a few feet down and the grass looked as though it hadn’t been disturbed recently.’ 

Tom looked down at the ground. It looked lush, there were hardly any signs that this clearing had had any fire activity in the last year or two, but then sometimes you couldn’t tell, especially from this angle. 

‘Thought that model of Iphone had only just come out?’ Terry asked. 

‘Yes it only came out last week in the UK’ Paul said proudly ‘I was one of the first to get it in the UK’ 

‘So hows one got here ?’ Sinead asked. 

There was a moment of silence from all the scouts. They looked to each other, each expecting the other to come up with an explanation. As if one they all turned towards Tom. 

‘I don’t know any more than you lot. I just found it here’ Tom said. 

Sarah suddenly chilled, she folded and rubbed her arms vigorously 

Sinead looked at her and put her arm around her shoulders in a friendly way. 

‘What’s up Sarah, you look as though someone has walked across your grave.’

‘Just gone cold that’s all.  she shuddered. 

They all looked up at the sky. It was getting dark fast. Mai looked at her watch and saw that it was nearly 9pm. Tom looking over her shoulder saw the time. 

‘Come on everyone, it’ll soon be dark. Lads, get your shelter finished. If you girls are done get some firewood collected and we’ll have supper. As he looked around the five scouts, he realised how the mood had changed in the last few moments. Finding that phone had been weird. If it was the new model, then why was it buried here and why did it look like it had been here for years?

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