'The Banshee Path' by 'Dr Feelgood'
John unclipped the lead from the collar of the tugging springer spaniel and hoisted himself over the rusting gate.
He was on a dirt track surrounded by open fields.
He scanned the vast greenness, shielding the sun from his eyes with his palm, searching. These fields were usually lush green at this time of year and were a reliable source of mushrooms.
He left the track and headed for the hillside watching the dog's mazy antics.
The fields were quiet.
The cows were nowhere to be seen.
No bees hummed … no crows cawed….Even the dog looked puzzled as he bent lower searching for the scent of anything.
Cresting the hill the boy again shielded his eyes and peered down into the low field.
A large Oak stood tall but alone in the field, its branches extended in welcome, lush green but strangely quite, unmoving.
The dog raced downwards tongue lolling sidewards then suddenly stopped.
Bowing low it barked nervously, glancing backwards in his direction then turned tail and ran.
Ignoring John's call the dog lay low in long grass still barking even more nervously in the direction of the Oak.
Striding onwards John fixed his eyes firmly on the giant tree.
The silence seemed to intensify with every step.
Then from nothing…..A blast of wind hit him full in the face.
The skies darkened and a foaming rain smashed into him driving him down onwards.
The trees along the dirt track grimaced in a twisting leer and screamed at him.
Long meadow grasses tugged at his ankles and amid the deafening cacophony he heard the dog's howl reach new heights of terror .
He tried to turn…retrace his steps and flee.
The tree now loomed huge before him beckoning, groaning.
As if nothing had happened the day took on its previous demeanour, Sunshine but still the silence.
John wiped the moisture from his eyes and pushing the hair from his face began to circle the tree.
A path had already been worn most probably by the cows he thought as he skirted the huge Oak.
Transfixed by the towering tree he walked on and on captivated, ensnared by its every movement.
He was aware of the dog again, the barking now replaced by a low throaty growl.
On and on he walked zombie like around the tree.
He managed to turn his head away from the tree but try as he might he couldn't stop walking the circular track.
The dogs growling was now savage.
John spotted him on the dirt track teeth bared in terror in the direction of the bog .
His feet were tired. His head swam in submission as he trapesed onwards.
The Sun was sinking lower and lower and on he marched.
The dog snarled defiantly still in the direction of the bog…. Then John saw it.
Something black was making its way from the gorse thicket and heading for the Oak.
Getting larger, erect, human, hooded,…. his head ached, he prayed aloud and the Oak squealed irreverently as the shape came closer.
Then the panic hit him.
He knew where he was…what was coming for him.
He was on a Banshee trail. He musnt look on IT.
He tried to remember the piseogs and legends but his mind screamed in terror.
His fathers stories of lone bushes and fairy forts were a jumbled mess as he desperately willed himself to stop walking.
He sensed it close now, malicious, probing his senses tasting.
Then he remembered.
“Walk backwards” his father said.” on a banshee path and break the spell ere evenings out”
Forcibly clearing his mind of doubt and terror he pictured himself walking backwards.
It was closer now … he could hear it … smell it.
It taunted him ..reached to touch him…
John opened his eyes in terror he was looking down the hill at the huge snarling Oak.
A black figure pointed at him … he turned and fled.