Laura James’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Do You Believe?
The Highlands in Scotland seemed to have only two types of weather - rain or baking heat. Neither of which were enjoyable. With rain came dank cold and heaviness, with the heat the midges came out in force to feast on any uncovered skin. True to form a light drizzle had started, bringing with it a cold to envy Antarctica.
Godfrey had used the last of his inheritance on the Culloden project and as he stood watching the pump jack spring into action he crossed his fingers. He only hoped that the survey had been accurate and there was a small oil field under the ground or he would have to return home to Daddy with his tale between his legs.
Wrapping his jacket closer around him he contemplated heading to the onsite cabin, he could still watch the well but he would also have the illusion of warmth. All of a sudden there was a shout from the well foreman. Godfrey watched as a black mixture oozed out of the base of the pump. Cold forgotten he rushed forward to get a closer look.
More and more of the stuff was being pumped out and the two-man team had started hooking up the pipes which would take the oil away to storage. He couldn't believe his luck, maybe the Highlands wasn't a bad place to be after all. Grinning from ear to ear he clapped the foreman on the back "Great stuff, great stuff. How much do you think we'll get a day?"
Hamish finished tightening the valve, "Probly around the 10-12 gallon mark. It's comin' up real slow."
"Perfect, prefect. No hurry. I've all the time in the world." Godfrey clapped Hamish in the back one last time, "You pair keep at it." Still grinning he walked back to his hired Land Rover wondering if Helen was working, the only light in this highland hell hole, and if she would share a glass or two of champagne with him.
Back at the Inn Godfrey made his way to the bar. "A bottle of your finest champagne, Helen."
Helen looked up from cleaning the table, "What you celebration' then?"
"Nothing much, just I'm going to be rich Helen. Stinking rich." He grabbed her and twirled around the room.
"Put me down you mad fool!"
Laughing she found a bottle of champagne and gave it to Godfrey, "You can do the honours."
Godfrey raised his glass, "To you Helen, thank you for keeping me in this godforsaken part of the world."
Smiling Helen drained her glass and moved in to kiss Godfrey.
"Helen, get yer sel away from that bloody eejit afore your tarred with the same brush!"
Godfrey turned, finding himself face to face with a grizzled old face and waving arms, He took an involuntary step back as the smell coming from the figure assaulted his nostrils. "Helen, who's this?"
Helen guided the man to a chair talking over her shoulder, "Robert McKay. Don't take any notice of his ramblings, he gets folk confused sometimes." She moved to the bar and got Robert a pint of lager, "Here, drink this and calm down."
"Lass, I'm not confused. He's woke the fair folk." He took the offered drink and took a few gulps from shaking hands. "We don have much time."
Godfrey was confused, what was this strange man talking about. He'd heard tales of 'fair folk', up here you couldn't help hearing all the old stories behind the various standing stones that scattered across the hills and valleys. All nonsense of course but passed the time with a drink and good company. But he couldn't understand why the man, Robert, was talking as if he believed the 'fair folk' were real. "I'm sorry, I'm just a bit confused." He sat next to Robert, "I've heard stories of course, but 'fair folk' are just that. Stories to scare children and pass the time."
"See, I'm not wrong, he's an eejit." Robert downed the last of his pint.
"I have no idea what an eejit is but I object to you keeping calling me that."
"Fool. It means fool and I'm calling you a fool because you are one." Robert stood, "If you don't stop the pumping they'll find ye, and then....." Robert dragged his finger across his throat. "Hopefully just you, but they've been sleepin' a while, no tellin' how hungry they are."
Godfrey laughed, "Come on. You nearly had me." He turned to Helen and saw something in her face that gave him pause. "What you don't believe him do you?"
Helen shrugged. "Why take the chance?" She whispered.
"You're mad, the lot of you. Bloody Highlanders and their stories. Well I'm not a fool and I won't stay here and be treated like one." Godfrey left the bar and headed back to his car. He would head back to the site and stay there away from all this nonsense.
The rain was heavier and brought with it a darkness that made a mockery of the fact that it was mid afternoon. Glad of the land rovers ability to stick to the road in all weathers, Godfrey made slow progress to his site arriving just as lightening light the sky. Not expecting to see his men working he wasn't surprised at their lack of presence. He was surprised that the pump appeared to be inoperable.
Splashing through the muddy ground, rain blurring his vision, he misjudged his footing and fell headlong into a puddle forming just south of the base of the pump. Cursing he tried to use his arms to lever himself up but something in the puddle was moving preventing him gaining purchase in the ground. With a concerted effort he finally found solid ground and managed to slip sideways away from the puddle.
Another bright flash of lightening illuminated the ground around him and he saw what had made his life difficult in the puddle. Hamish. His eyes were missing. In fact all that was in the puddle was his head. His body also appeared to be missing. Godfrey stumbled backwards on all fours and managed to turn to the side just as his stomach emptied the champagne and what was left of his lunch.
"Shit, shit, shit!"
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, breathing heavily. He had to get out of the area and contact the police. Someone had killed his foreman and Peter was missing. Not wanting to waste time checking for Peter, Godfrey half jogged, half lumbered back to his car, his hands frantically checking pockets for the keys. By the time he reached the car his hands were shaking so much he was unable to open the door. Leaning on the window he took deep breaths, trying to calm his nerves. It would do no good to anyone if he crashed on his way to get help.
Finally in the safety of the car he took a few minutes with his head resting on the steering wheel. When he was sure he was able to drive without crashing he started the engine.
"Hello." Said a silvery voice.
Godfrey turned and saw he had company. A woman with smooth almost translucent skin sat beside him. Her deep blue eyes gazed at him causing his breath to catch in his throat.
"I've been waiting for you. You woke me up."
Any words Godfrey had to say lay trapped behind his tongue, he could only whimper.
"I'm very hungry."
The woman lent towards him, her smiling mouth opened slightly revealing small white pointed teeth.
Godfrey was trapped by her eyes, his body refusing to obey any commands. He could only watch as her mouth opened wider and her teeth grow larger.
He last thought was that he hated Scotland. The weather, the people and the bloody fair folk.
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez