Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hadrians: A Squeak in the Night

   Beneath the H-shaped rugby posts of some sports field on the bank of the Tyne, I finally rested.   It was 10 pm and dark. I was exhausted and was soon wrapped in the chrysalis of my sleeping and bivvy bags. My eyes were closed and I was wearing everything I had brought with me to keep out the cold. I breathed deeply looking up at the white posts above my head that swayed slowly in the breeze. I was certain to drop off to sleep at any moment. I was tired and my feet ached. I lay there. Eyes closed. Waiting for sleeps cloak to envelop my and carry me to dreamland. Any moment....any moment.
Then there came a squeaking sound. Not like a mouse per say, but like the sound a rubber duck makes in the bath.You know, like a child's toy?

'Hmm, what was that' I thought? From where I lay the sound came from above my head and to the right. There it was again, the same flat squeak sound, a little closer but still a good 100 metres or so away. It was no more than two seconds later when I heard the sound again, this time it came right next to my right ear!

At this sound, my whole body left the ground at once in some feat of levitation never before achieved, I screamed, 'WHAT THE FUCK!'. I fumbled around for my torch and on finding it shone it all around me, breathing heavily.   There was nothing but a sea of grass. My heart pounded. What was that thing? And how the hell did it  manage to cover that much ground in no time at all? And why get that close to me, doesn't it know I am a big, scary human and must be avoided.

Well, that was that for the rest of the night. It was out there and I knew it! For all the world it probably looked like a Furbie: small, cute, with big 'I-wub-you' eyes.

But it was out there.

I heard it several more times during the night, it taunted me, mocked me, tormented me, but didn't come that close again. It was the longest night of my life and I got exactly NO sleep! None!

At 4:15am, just before bay break, I staggered to me feet, packed up my things and headed up to Wylam to renew kinship with The Wall.

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