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Fear


Delerious

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I've entered a short story competition with this fictional story, based on one woman's experience with the Big, Grey Man of Ben MacDhui.

 

Fear

 

Ella Walker struggled up the rocky crevasse on the southern side of Ben MacDhui. Pausing for a moment to catch her breath, she sat down and stared out into the snowy plains of Scotland, wondering why she had even agreed to do the job. Looking back a few days, it seemed like the perfect opportunity: fantastic pay, a free hotel suite at the base of the mountain, and a story that would probably capture the world if it turned out to be true. Which she actually hoped it wouldn't. See, the thing was that a mythical monster, the Big, Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, was said to be living on this mountain. Inhuman, and supposedly guarding something, the monster brought a sense of foreboding and doom to anyone who was near it. It was her job to find the beast, and although she thought the story was a load of rubbish, a mountaineer had recently claimed to have sighted it.

"Well, sitting here isn't going to get you that money. You'd better get on with it," Ella told herself. Sighing reluctantly, she got up and resumed the physically draining climb. Half and hour later though, she found herself looking down the cliff face, feeling quite proud of herself. From here on in, it was just an easy uphill stroll to the peak of Ben MacDhui, where she would take a few photos to prove the whole thing was a ridiculous lie, and then trek back down the mountain which would certainly be easier than coming up.

Suddenly, she heard a loud crunch behind her. Pivoting quickly, she stared into the mist which had settled over the mountain a few minutes ago. Seeing nothing, she shrugged and started walking up the slope. Again, she heard another crunch, but this time it came from where she had just been. Ella looked over her shoulder, starting to feel quite nervous. She resumed walking, but at a quicker pace. The sooner this job was over, the better, because her thoughts about the Big, Grey Man weren't helping matters. Crunch! This time she spun around to face her stalker, and saw that it was just an innocent squirrel, holding a nut. She almost laughed at her fear. The mountain must have amplified the sou-

Roar!

Ella screamed as a dark grey figure jumped out at her from out of the fog. Terrified, she stumbled up the slope as fast as her legs could carry her, not daring to look behind. But after about a minute, she suddenly realized that the creature wasn't following her. She could hear no footsteps, and after summoning up all of her courage to look behind, Ella saw nothing except thick, soupy fog. She stopped running, and sat down on a rock, quite wary of her surroundings.

"Look, whatever it was, it's not after you now," she told herself, "and it was probably just a grizzly bear that got a bit agitated over a stranger in it's territory." Ella forced herself to laugh, but it sounded cold and humorless, so she gave up trying to justify and reason the experience. Scared as she was, Ella pressed on, and soon found herself at the top of Ben MacDhui. Sighing with relief, she removed her camera from it's pouch, and started taking photos, while thinking up funny and interesting captions that could go with them.

Crunch!

Ella's face drained of color, and her stomach felt like it dropped a kilometer. Trembling with fear, she slowly turned around. A creature stood before her. It looked like a man, by the way it had two legs, two arms, a head, and a bipedal stature, but the resemblance stopped there. The thing was wearing a dark grey coat with the hood pulled up, but slowly, it raised one skeletal, blood-red hand up to it's head, and pulled down the worn fabric. Ella couldn't move. Her brain had frozen. The sight of the monster's face almost made her faint, but somehow she managed to hold onto consciousness and do the one thing that her body would allow in a situation like this: run.

Ella Walker whipped around and sprinted for her life, down the haunted slope, as fast as she could go. A stupid and uncalled for thought struck her, but she complied anyway. Grabbing her camera, Ella flung it over her shoulder, clicking the shutter like mad. If she turned up at the city with nothing, no one would believe her story, and she'd become a very discredited reporter. If she even made it, that was, because every time the flash went off, the creature roared and became angrier. It's footsteps were getting closer, and out of nowhere, rain started to fall. "How ironic," her conscience whispered inappropriately. "A perfect setting, straight out of the movies." She ignored it, and noticed that the cliff edge was coming closer. An idea suddenly struck her.

Grabbing her rope, she wrapped it around her waist, knotted it, and then hastily scanned the area for a sturdy-looking rock. Noticing a big granite one, Ella started swinging the rope around and around. At the last second, she let go of the rope, and the hook on the end caught the rock’s friction-plentiful surface, hanging on. Meanwhile, Ella had leapt off the mountain, and was on her way down. She was hanging onto her camera in one hand, and in the other was a hook, scraping against the cliff-face, trying to find a grip that would save Ella. Just as the rope ran out of slack, the hook jolted and brought Ella to an abrupt halt. Her arm felt like it had been ripped out of its socket, but she knew that she had to do something before she fell.

Just then, the top of her rope flew past her face, the hook almost burrowing into her head. She caught it with her camera-arm and pulled it up, stabbing it into the rock face. Then, for the first time in that hectic two minutes, Ella Walker relaxed. “Well, it looks like the monster caught up in the end, but a bit too late!” she told herself. And then she laughed hysterically, even though there really wasn’t anything funny about her situation.

 

Epilogue

 

Five hours later, Ella was reading a boring magazine in bed, having just taken a shower. Her arm was throbbing painfully, but the resident nurse said it would be alright. The rain had gotten steadily worse, and now there was forked lighting striking the mountain.

“Hope that beast gets struck,” she mumbled sub-consciously. Her ordeal had left her shaken, and she had no wish to ever see the mountain again. On the other hand, she was considering devoting the rest of her journalism career to proving the monster’s existence. There was plenty of time to dwell over things on her plane flight, and the sooner she got to the airport, the better.

Ella reached for her bed-side lamp’s switch, and flicked it off. Turning onto her side, she looked out her window.

And there, silhouetted against the light of a powerful bolt was the Big, Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, raising its fists to the heavens as if angry that it was finally beaten.

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Why does everyone else's story get replies and feedback except for mine? sad.gif

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