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					                                    The Old Barn
                                         By
                                   Anthony Walton

From the age of three I had been orphaned, passing through an orphanage and foster
homes until I was eighteen when I found a flat on my own, I was free to go where I
pleased and nothing to tie me down.
I had stuck with the same job as a television and radio engineer until I was twenty
one, from then on I wandered through every city and town up and down the country
taking all and any jobs that came my way.
It was during the time I was in Manchester having a drink with a few friends, Dave
Thompson, Andy Collins and Roy Anderson, they got around to talking about rock
climbs they had been on and they decided to spend their fortnight’s holiday climbing
in Scotland.
Rock climbing is something I had only limited experience of, but I decided to go
along with them, the next few months were spent in preparing for that fortnight, tents,
clothes, ropes and other equipment, the time and place was yet to be decided but we
finally decided on the first two weeks in August and Dave Collins my best mate said
he knew of a good place for us to start, nothing too difficult, in a small range of hills
around the valley of Glenend.
It was a damp and miserable day when we set off from Manchester but by the time the
train got to York the sun was shining brightly, it was four o’clock when we reached
Edinburgh so we had an hours wait before our connection to Glasgow, from Glasgow
we had to change trains again onto a train and by the looks of the steam engine it had
come straight from the museum.
Almost an hour and a half later it finally came to rest at the end of the line at a place
called Glenstart, when we finally got our bearings we had missed the last bus to
Glenend so there was nothing else to do but to go bed and breakfast until the next day.
When we finally got things together that Sunday morning we were informed by our
landlady that the bus to Glenend didn’t run on a Sunday so we decided that there was
nothing else but to hike, taking turns we carried the heavier loads over a long winding
climbing road that seemed more like sixty miles than six.
Our first glimpse of Glenend came about one o’clock from the tops of the hills,
looking down at the valley which ran from a very narrow gully which widened as it
reached up to a lake at the far end with the village about half way up the valley which
was still one and a half miles from where we stood and it was the far side of the lake
where we wanted to be where the valley came to a stop at an almost sheer rock face.
When we reached the village which at a glance consisted of three shops of which one
was also the post office, a pub and a small hotel where we stopped off for lunch of
sandwiches and tea kindly made up by the owners pretty daughter, as we had missed
the mid-day meal time.
We were told by the hotel owner Mr. MacGavin that his son who owned the farm at
the top of the valley would let us pitch our tents on his land.
It was late in the afternoon by the time we had our tents pitched and gear sorted out so
it would be Monday before we took a look at any possible climbs.
When we got up on Monday it was wet and misty but we went ahead with our plans
and went around the other side of the lake to have a look at the rock face, by mid-day
we had moved all our climbing gear around to the rock face where most of the rock
                                           2


face dropped straight down into the lake, we pitched a small tent to store our gear in,
it would save us carrying it backwards and forwards from our main camp every day.
It was still to misty to start a climb that day so we spent the rest of the day in the
village getting our food supplies put together and arranged.
The mist had gone when we got up on Tuesday morning but the ground was still very
wet but we made our way around the lake after breakfast.
We had climbed about fifty feet by about ten o’clock when Dave the leading man
slipped on the wet rock face pulling me down with him, I don’t know how long I had
been unconscious but when I came round I was in the tent we had pitched for our
gear, Dave was beside me, he said Roy and Andy had gone to the village to see if they
could get a doctor.
It was twelve o’clock by the time Roy and Andy came back with Mr. MacGavin’s son
in his Land Rover, It didn’t take the doctor long to diagnose a broken right leg and
two cracked ribs on the right side, Dave was only bruised with minor cuts, it appears
that I had broken his fall. Roy and Andy were left to pick up our gear while Dave and
I were taken back to the doctor’s surgery in the village where I was aptly strapped up
and Dave’s cuts were attended to.
I was taken to the cottage hospital in Glenstart where my leg was attended to, I ended
up with a plaster cast on my leg, when I arrived back the doctor said I couldn’t
possibly lie up in a tent and Dave was in no condition to carry on and do any more
climbing, so I ended up staying at the hotel, Dave, Roy and Andy hung around for the
rest of the week until Saturday when they decided that they would go back home, I
wasn’t in any condition to go back with them so I was going to stop at the hotel, Dave
said to give him a ring when I was able to get about and they would come up to
collect me.
It was during the next few weeks that I got to know Janey MacGavin very well as she
was the one that became my nurse under the doctors guidance, it was the end of
October before I was able to get around properly with the aid of a stick.
I was now being looked upon as part of the family, I’d had a couple of trips up to the
farm to give Rory a hand on the farm and we seemed to get on very well.
It was at the end of November when the doctor said I was as fit as I ever would be, the
leg plaster had been removed and the ribs had healed quite well, so now it was time to
think of going back to Manchester.
It was out of the blue when I asked Janey to marry me as our fondness of each other
had grown into love, Janey said yes without any hesitation but we still had to see what
her father would say.
That night at supper Janey excused herself and left me sitting with her father who was
a tall well-made man of six foot six inches and at first sights would put the shivers up
any man. He took to reading a newspaper after supper, when I asked him he never
looked up from his newspaper and the room fell into deadly silence which seemed to
last for ages, he cleared his throat and then stared across the table at me and said
“Well now.”
We then went into a long discussion of my past and future prospects, unknown to
Janey Rory had offered me a job on the farm, he had told me to think about it before
jumping to any decision.
Mr. MacGavin never gave any definite answer, he rose quietly from his seat and
walked around the table and went to the door, he opened the door slightly and in his
deep commanding voice called to Janey who appeared in the doorway almost
immediately, she was beckoned to sit down by her father and once again the room fell
into complete silence.
                                            3


Mr. MacGavin walked slowly over to Janey and put his hands on her shoulders and in
a deep but gentle tone said.
“Are you sure my love.”
She then looked up to her father saying.
“Yes daddy.”
He then looked over to me and said. “You better have a word with the vicar after the
service on Sunday.”
Janey jumped up and flung her arms around her father’s neck and hugged him.
That evening I wrote a letter to Dave asking him to be my best man and to clear my
things out of my flat as I wouldn’t need the use of it any more.
Now that I was able to get around the village, what at first sights that August Sunday
was a false impression, the village consisted of a market garden at the foot of the
valley which I hadn’t seen through the trees, a garage and about twenty houses dotted
around right up to the village centre where there was a pub called The Clan House
which was run by Gavin Stewart, inside it was decorated with every known tartan and
other relics of clan history. There was also the Post office come hardware shop, a
clothes shop and a blacksmith shop, which was now closed and a general dealers
come newsagents. There was also the hotel and a few more houses, the road then ran
past the church up the valley and ended at Rory’s farm after that there was only the
path to the pump house and the cold blue lake.
I came to know the people in the village quite well during the passing months more so
doctor Stewart who ran a small surgery in the village and one in Glenstart on
alternative days. Miss MacGavin the postmistress who was Janeys maiden aunt.
Duncan Stewart who ran the market garden and Angus his brother who owned the
garage and many more and quite a few of them who’s names where either Stewart or
MacGavin. I also had to get to know about the valley’s history before I could
understand a lot about the valley.
I suppose it started when the early MacGavin clan where the only people who lived in
the valley, they had a settlement right at the end of the valley in a hollow where the
lake is now. They were continually at arms with a small clan of rebel Stewarts who
lived where Glenstart is now situated.
One night the Stewarts held the MacGavins at bay in their settlement and damned up
the stream and surrounding area and watched the settlement as its occupants slowly
drowned or died fighting in an attempt to escape, but unknown to the Stewarts a few
did escape by a secret track up the hillside. Years later they resettled in the valley and
through the odd marriages between the clans they learned to stay in comparative
peace with each other. Even now and again there would still be the odd clash
between a Stewart and MacGavin family which would then be settled by Janey’s
father and doctor Stewart who had taken the role of leader of their particular family
name.
It was in early March when Janey and I got married, it was one of those occasions
when the whole village rarely all came together under the same roof at the same time,
but everything went off without a hitch.
We didn’t have a honeymoon due to the fact that it was a busy time on the farm with
lambing and Janey’s father was preparing the hotel for the start of the season. The
hotel didn’t have a lot of guests at any one time but there seemed to be a steady flow
right up to the end of September, so in a way looking back I was lucky to be given a
room at the time of my accident.
Every other Saturday Janey and myself and like most of the other villagers would
board the bus bound for Glenstart which was market day there, I’ve often wondered
                                             4


how the bus ever made it out of the valley because it was quite a pull for one and a
half miles until it got level with the footbridge over the neck of the gully then it was
down hill most of the way to Glenstart.
Time passed by quite fast, I had now been in the valley for almost a year, and
although living at the hotel was quite pleasant Janey and I were still looking forward
to the time when we had a place of our own.
Apart from having a house built which was a little out of our pockets even though I
had been left a small sum after my parents were killed in a motorway accident, the
only place that was available without having to move out of the valley was an old
barn which Janey’s brother said we could have. It was a building I never knew
existed until Rory took me up, it was a well built building about three hundred yards
up a track on the other side of the lake, which was well hidden amongst the trees.
After looking around it a few times and running the surrounding area through my
mind and making a few rough sketches Janey and I decided we would have a go at it
and make it into somewhere to live.
We spent most of our spare time for the next eighteen months knocking down and
building up until we finally got it shaped into something like a house on the inside,
but it was still far from ready for living in, but that wouldn’t take to long now in fact it
was going to be full steam ahead as Janey had so cunningly put it that I had better
finish the nursery first and this came as a great surprise but a welcome one, but we
both knew it would be later rather than sooner before we could even think of moving
in. As yet we had no electricity laid on into the old barn due to the fact that it was so
far from the village and money wasn’t in abundance.
The nearest building to us was the pump house, I never really paid much attention to
the purpose of this building, I had to pass it in order to get to the old barn and had
often heard the pumps in motion but never gave it any thought until I asked Rory one
day.
He told me that before his family had the farm the land between the lake and the
village it was virtually a swamp due to the overflow of the lake until proper dykes
were built around the lake and built the pump house to govern the lake, he said the
pumps were worked on a ball cock system, when the lake reached a certain height an
arm would drop over and start one of the petrol driven pumps, it was the job of Angus
Stewart to keep them supplied with fuel and to maintain them, apart from that they ran
without supervision and if either of the pumps failed to cut in a warning siren had
been installed and that gave them time to man the hand pump, Rory said that in all the
time he had lived in the valley only once had they to man the hand pump, if you want
to have a look inside just ask Angus the next time he goes up to refuel the pumps as
the pump house was always kept securely locked.
Electricity had been laid into the pump house years ago with the prospects of
changing over to electric pumps but cost of the pumps at the time proved to be to
expensive.
I asked him if it was possible to have a cable run from the pump house along with a
telephone cable up to the old barn when we could afford it, he stood and scratched the
back of his head as he thought for a moment with a puzzled look on his face, he
turned and said.
“Why not bring it up with the village council at their next general meet, they have one

once a year or whenever a major issue crops up that will affect the village, they might

be able to help.”
                                            5



“I don’t think we can wait another year.”
“It’s alright.” he replied. “There is a meeting coming up in a month or so, it’s a
wonder you haven’t heard about it before now in the village because debates are
generally going around in the village some time before a meeting is held especially in
the Clan House.”
I said I was spending most of my time at the old barn I hadn’t been in the Clan House
for some time but now that I know about it I would certainly bring it up.
The nights were beginning to grow in faster so I couldn’t spend much time at the old
barn at nights so Janey had taken a couple of lamps up one night, as it was quite a
walk around the lake she borrowed Rory’s old bike from the farm, it was on her way
down from the old barn, the track was rough for walking on never mind cycling.
Janey came off the bike and rolled down the hillside coming to rest against a tree, it
was lucky she did because she was only feet away from a twenty foot drop which
could have certainly have killed her.
She hadn’t passed back through the farm by the time Rory and me had finished the
evenings milking and that is how I found her when I went up to see why she had been
so long.
I carried her all the way back to the farm where Rory’s wife put her straight to bed
and called for the doctor. It was one of Doctor Stewarts days to be in Glenstart so it
was nine o’clock by the time the doctor got up to the farm, it was ten o’clock when
Doctor Stewart came down the stairs, I had my back to him at the time just gazing
aimlessly out of the window which was pointless because I couldn’t see any further
than the light that was coming from the house.
I turned around on hearing him enter the room, he looked straight at me and in a
sympathetic voice said.
“I’m sorry son but she lost the baby, but she will be fine in a few days.”
I made to go up the stairs but he put his arm out to stop me.
She’s asleep now, let her rest until the morning, she’s had a rough time.”
Rory let me take the Land Rover to get back to the hotel as her father had to be told.
The next couple of weeks Janey hardly spoke; when she did she just burst into tears
most of the time, so I didn’t spend any time up at the old barn, in fact it was some
time later before Janey came up to the old barn but during that time Rory and me had
neglected some of the farm work because we had been busy making the track usable,
we had made it wide enough to get the Land Rover up to the old barn and cleared
enough space for turning around outside the old barn.
The night of the village general meeting only a few things were brought up and were
soon discussed and finished with, I then asked about electricity being laid on up to the
old barn from the pump house, we discussed this in great lengths but it all came down
to costs, it was agreed that if I stood three quarters of the costs there was no longer
any problems, so we left it at that, at that time the alterations to the old barn had taken
most of our capital so it would be a while before we could go ahead.
It was late in December and the village was covered in a blanket of snow, the road to
Glenstart had just been made passible again to single lane traffic of which there was
very little at this time of year apart from the bus which only left the village twice a
day, so if we got any more heavy snow the road would soon become blocked again.
It was on a Tuesday night after finishing at the farm I told Rory I was going up to the
old barn to light a fire just to keep things thawed out, it was starting to snow again as I
left the farm, it took me twice as long as usual to reach the old barn due to the snow
drifts between the pump house and the road leading up to the old barn, by the time I
                                           6


reached the old barn the snow was coming down in a blizzard and it was impossible to
see any lights from farm which would have been easy to see under normal weather
conditions.
It took me a while to find the lamps in the dark, but once I found them I soon had a
couple of fires going, I had a couple of little jobs to do which didn’t take to long,
seeing that all was safe I locked up and started my way back down towards the lake
but I found walking almost impossible and it had now become impossible to see
where I was going, I couldn’t even see the trees at the edge of the road so I had no
option but to follow my tracks back up to the old barn, by the time I reached the old
barn my tracks had almost been covered.
I wasn’t worried about getting back because I knew Rory would phone the hotel and
let Janey know where I was.
We had quite a lot of furniture up at the old barn now chairs, tables, bed, wardrobe in
fact just about everything, most of which had been given by Janey’s father from the
hotel, there was a little food which consisted of a tin of soup a tin of beans and a
packet of biscuits, as I had something to eat up at the farm before I left I wasn’t very
hungry so I just made some coffee, about ten o’clock I had a look outside and the
snow was coming down just as heavy, there was nothing else to do but to stay put
until morning.
It was through habit that I woke up at five o’clock, I reset the fire while waiting for
the kettle to boil on a camp stove, I made coffee and had a couple of biscuits, it was
still dark outside so I just sat in front of the fire until it got light enough to see.
It was still snowing when I opened the door, through the night the snow had drifted up
against the door to a depth of about three feet, as I made my way down the road it was
getting deeper, I was only half way down the road and it was now almost chest deep
and it was impossible to plough my way through so once again I had to back track, I
even tried to make my way down the hillside through the trees but had to give that up
as a lost cause, as I made my way back up the road I remembered we had left some
shovels around the side of the old barn, this gave me a jolt of fresh hope so I ran the
best I could back up to the old barn.
It took me almost ten minutes to find the shovels as the snow had drifted half way up
the side of the wall, I then made my way back clearing the snow as I went, I had been
shovelling for ages and I didn’t realise the time, I stopped to catch my breath and
glanced at my watch, it was twelve fifteen and I had a problem of seeing where I was
going down the road, I was starting to tunnel in places and couldn’t see the lake from
where I was.
The snow had stopped as I made my way back up to the old barn, I was glad of the
warmth of the room as I opened the door, I hadn’t realised how wet I was, I took my
things off and hung them on the back of a chair in front of the fire, soup biscuits and
coffee was like a four course meal, I soon dozed off in front of the fire, I awoke with a
start and immediately looked at my watch, it had just gone two o’clock, my clothes
had dried out by now, at least they felt a lot drier than when I took them off, I hurried
back down the road to where I had left the shovel and started digging again, I knew
when I had reached the bottom of the road, I knew I was getting near the lake as the
ground I was clearing had changed from the hard surface of the road and was now
stony, but I could still barely see over the top of the drift I kept on digging because I
knew the quickest way out was to head straight ahead for the lake, I suddenly broke
through the snow drift which now thinned out until it melted in the water, I continued
to follow the edge of the lake until I reached the pump house but then I found myself
back into a snow drift again and in my hurry to follow the edge of the lake I had left
                                           7


the shovel over at the other side and I knew it was useless to try to plough my way
through it so there was nothing else to do but to go back for the shovel, it was almost
dark by the time I got back to where I had left the shovel and I knew it was pointless
trying to dig my way through the snow in the dark so I was forced to spend another
night up at the old barn.
There hadn’t been any more snow through the night, so I started off as soon as I was
ready the next morning, with the aid of a lamp I soon reached the pump house, from
the pump house I could just see the roof of the farm house when it got light, digging
in the snow wasn’t getting any easier, I had brought a small flask of coffee with me, it
was ten thirty when I stopped for a break, I had been shovelling almost none stop and
was soaked to the skin more with sweat than with the snow, I started digging again
soon as I had drunk my coffee as I didn’t want the cold to set in.
I now had no idea of the time as my watch had stopped at eleven thirty I some how
had forgot to wind it up what with the confusion of the past few nights, the snow drift
was now getting less I could now see the farm quite well, it wasn’t long after that I
was able to stop digging and plod my way up towards the farm.
I walked straight in without knocking as Rory and his wife looked upon me as one of
their own and they had said knocking was only for strangers, as I entered the kitchen
Rory was sitting at the table getting his tea, he jumped up as though he had seen a
ghost, the colour had quickly drained from his face.
“Where the hell have you come from?” he said staring at me as though he couldn’t
believe his eyes.
“I’ve been snowed in up at the old barn.” I replied. “Why all the fuss?”
He poured me a cup of tea and from the cupboard brought out a bottle of whiskey and
poured some into my cup; he then took a drink himself straight from the bottle.
“Get that lot down you lad.”
He sat down taking another drink from the bottle, he looked across the table at me, he
looked almost lost for words, he took another drink from the bottle then took a deep
breath and looked across at me again, his face was as white as the snow outside.
“I don’t know how to tell you he stammered.”
“Tell me what for God’s sake.” I replied.
“We thought you were at the hotel when, when, when.”
“When what? What’s this all about, come on Rory out with it.”
He braced himself in his chair and looked through me more than at me.
“The hotel was burnt down the night before last; there was nothing anybody could do
to save it.”
“What about Janey.”
He paused for a moment and then said. “There was nothing we could do, we couldn’t
get them out.”
“How for God’s sake man how.” I then took a large mouthful from my cup almost
choking as I swallowed, then Rory started to tell me as much as he could.
“Like I said it happened the night before last, I forgot about you going up to the old
barn, well I had just been around checking that all was locked up around the buildings
when the phone rang, it was Doctor Stewart, that must have been about eleven
o’clock, he told me that the hotel was on fire and to get down quick, I got down as
fast as I could but the snow hadn’t made things easy, it was about eleven thirty when I
reached the hotel and the ground floor was already blazing, it was the doctor who
came to me first, the people of the village were running back and forwards with
buckets of water but it didn’t seem to be doing any good, the doctor told me that they
had phoned for the fire brigade at Glenstart.
                                            8


What about dad and the rest I asked, I made to go in but the doctor grabbed me by the
arm.”
“We can’t get to them just yet, we can’t get up the staircase, let’s hope they can get
out the back some how.” the doctor said.
“What took the fire brigade so long?” I asked.
“I’m afraid they couldn’t get through; they phoned to say the road was blocked, we
carried on the best we could with buckets of water from the stream but it got to much
for us we couldn’t handle it, we just had to let it burn out and I’m afraid Dad and
Janey went with it, we recovered three bodies and I thought it was you until you
walked through the door, God knows who it is now that you’re here. Mary is down
there now seeing about funeral arrangements, I had to come back to see to the
animals.”
I gave Rory a hand to see to the animals but I was more of a hindrance than a help I
just couldn’t stop thinking about Janey, we finished off and drove down to the village,
we drove straight past what was left of the hotel, it was nothing but an empty shell, I
wanted Rory to stop but he wouldn’t.
“What’s the point lad there’s nothing to do there now.”
We drove on up to Doctor Stewarts, it was the doctor who opened the door and he got
a bit of a shock when he saw me standing there with Rory.
“Come in, come in.” he beckoned us into his study, he turned to Rory.
“I think you had better break the news to your wife, she is in the library.” Rory left us
alone.
“Sit down.” the doctor said.
He then handed me a large glass of whiskey. “I suppose Rory has told you the bad
news.”
“Yes.” I replied taking a sip out of the glass.
“The fire chief managed to get through this afternoon and we’ve been over the
remains of the hotel and it seems that the fire started at the bottom of the stairs,
apparently the oil heater they were using had a faulty valve, we found Janey and her
father in their rooms and a third body which we thought was you in the passage, I’m
afraid they were all burnt beyond recognition, the fire chief says they were
undoubtedly overcome by fumes in their sleep, I don’t think they would have known
anything that was happening around them apart from the third body we found in the
passage.”
Mary then came in and flung her arms around me “Poor Janey, poor dad.” she cried.
Rory lifted Mary up gently.
“Come on lad, there’s nothing more we can do tonight.”
The snow kept away that day for the funeral, the whole village were there to pay their
respects to a man whom they looked up to although they might not always have seen
eye to eye. Janey and her father were buried along side her mother who had died
when Janey was fourteen.
That night I stayed up at the farm, as I really had nowhere else to go apart from the
old barn, but Mary and Rory wouldn’t hear of it, any way I didn’t feel much like
stopping by myself.
It was a hard winter that year in fact it was the worst the valley had ever known, the
Lake had frozen over for the first time that anyone in the village could ever
remember. Rory lost most of his sheep that winter, we hadn’t been able to get them
all down from the hills due to the snow drifts, so it had been a tragic winter for the
MacGavin family, we were all glad to see the last of the snow.
                                            9


I spent more time up at the old barn and by the end of spring I had it all finished, there
was only one thing missing – Janey.
Mary and Rory wanted me to stay on living at the farm, but I think they knew how I
felt so I finally moved into the old barn.
It was late one night when Rory called on me; he had come about his fathers and
Janey’s insurances, I told him that Janey and me never got around to insurances but he
told me that his father had signed Janey’s over into my name, we talked a while about
this and I was more than surprised when he handed me a cheque for quite a lot of
money.
He said. “You can now get the electricity laid on at last; Janey would have wanted it
that way.”
I offered Rory a drink but he refused, we said goodnight and I watched him down the
road until he went out of sight.
The next day being Saturday I went into Glenstart and made arrangements to have the
electricity installed.
It was the last day of August when the contractors had finished and I could switch on
a light without bumping into things looking for a lamp which I always seemed to
forget where I had left it when last used, I didn’t get the phone put in because I didn’t
see the point of one now that Janey and the hotel were gone, if I had any need of one I
could always use the one at the farm before I left at night and if Rory wanted to get in
touch after dark we had arranged that he would hang a red lamp on the back of the
cow shed because that was the only part of the farm that was plainly visible from what
was now the dinning room window.
It was on a Sunday after church I got talking to Janey’s auntie, I think she felt lonelier
than ever since the fire and what was making her more depressed was that her radio
had broken down and like everyone else in the village it was their link to what was
happening in the world outside, because nobody had television due to the fact that the
reception was very poor in fact the radio reception could be bad at times, I told her
that I would take it home with me and have a look at it.
I still had a lot of my radio and television gear from when Dave, Andy and Roy
brought it up from Manchester when they cleared my flat out when I got married to
Janey, I borrowed Rory’s Land Rover to get the radio home as it was quite a weight to
carry all that way, I soon had the radio going again and decided to take it straight back
to her seeing that I had the use of the Land Rover and I knew it was her only comfort
now.
She was surprised to see me standing at the door with her radio.
“I thought you wouldn’t have been able to fix it she said.
“But I have.” I replied. “It’s as good as new.”
I don’t think she believed me until I plugged it in for her and turned it on, she looked
a lot happier, I said goodnight and drove back up to the farm to return Rory’s Land
Rover.
It was Monday afternoon when Rory shouted across the yard for me, Telephone call
for you, I think it was the first phone call I’d ever received since coming to the valley,
I couldn’t think who it would be, so I dropped what I was doing and ran over to the
house, it was Janey’s aunt she had been talking to Angus Stewarts wife, she says her
washing machine has broke down do you think you can have a look at it for her, I told
her that I didn’t know a lot about them but I would come down after tea and have a
look at it for her, it turned out to only be a worn drive belt and I soon had it fixed with
a little improvisation with a belt from the garage, she insisted that I took payment for
it even though I felt guilty in doing so. Word soon got around as it does in any village
                                            10


and within the next couple of weeks I had more work than I could cope with in my
spare time, apart from that I really didn’t have any where to use as a work shop and
the house was looking more like a second hand shop.
It was the vicar who came up with a solution, he said why not use the old blacksmiths
shop, he had a key for it, it had been owned by one of his cousins who had since died
and left it to him but he had never had any use for it, he didn’t want any rent for it, he
said he was only to glad to see it being put to a use again.
It didn’t need much of a clean out and a quick paint job soon had it looking quite
good, the main area where all the black smith jobs were done was out the back and I
didn’t need to use that.
Rory agreed that he could spare me Monday afternoons so I spent most of my
Monday afternoons doing electrical repairs to all sorts of appliances I even got the job
of re-wiring the garage and installing new heaters in the market garden greenhouses, I
was even getting jobs from Glenstart and I was now having to spend another full day
away from the farm so I helped Rory out on Sundays which had always my day off
but I wouldn’t have it any other way because Rory was like a brother to me.
Since starting on electrical repairs I started to pick up one of my hobbies again which
was being a radio ham, I already had my licence which I got when I was a radio and
television engineer but I moved about a lot from place to place and sold most of my
equipment but it didn’t take me long before I had a set of sorts going.
I found the reception very bad being right at the bottom of the valley so Rory helped
me to erect an arial one day at the top of the hill, it was then that I discovered that the
road up to the old barn didn’t just stop there but went a lot further, Rory told me it
went right on to an old disused quarry, he said it was where all the stone had come
from which had started the old settlement off, he said that the road went on down the
other side of the hills and ended up at Glenstart but it had never been used since he
was a young lad.
Since putting up the ariel the reception for my transmitter was almost perfect, in fact I
often went on until the early hours of the morning. Over the months of transmitting I
became very friendly with a chap called Peter Stephens in London, I found that he
was interested in skin diving, when I told him about the lake and it’s past history he
was over the moon because he was also a fanatic on Scottish history, if it ever
happened he knew all about it but this was one piece of Scottish history that he had
missed, so I invited him up for a holiday, he said that his job often took him abroad
and the soonest he could come was in September so the date was set.
During the passing months things went well at the shop and the farm was busy as
ever, it was during that time when I went up to the farm one morning there was a new
Land Rover parked besides Rory’s, I thought he must have visitors staying so I just
got on with jobs at hand, it was when Rory came out and threw some keys to me,
“What’s this?” I said.
“The old bus, it’s yours now.”
“But I couldn’t possibly take it.”
“Don’t be daft, I wouldn’t get a fair price for it, so I may as well give it to you as give
it to some smart Alec dealer, I didn’t tell you I was getting a new one because I
wanted to surprise you, I knew you wanted some kind of transport to help you out
with your business, so say no more and we will leave it at that.”
With having the Land Rover now it made things a lot easier, at least I could get home
a lot sooner, it was one night after coming back from doing a job just outside
Glenstart I found a telegram pinned to the door due to the fact that I had no letter box,
it was the one thing that I had forgot to incorporate into the house, but just like the old
                                             11


tale that telegrams bring bad news I opened it slowly and cautiously after turning it
over and over in my hands, it read “Train arrives Glasgow 2-30 Saturday. Peter.”
Peter, I had forgot all about him coming, time had passed so quick, I told Rory that I
would be going to pick up Peter, he said it was time I had a holiday myself, so he told
me not to come to the farm to work for a couple of weeks while Peter was stopping
with me.
“What about the work, you couldn’t manage on your own.
”I was on my own when you first came to the valley.”
“But that was only because old Joe had just retired.”
“I’ll manage, I’ll see Duncan Stewart his son had just left school, he will let him work
up here for a couple of weeks before he goes to work for his father, so don’t worry
about that.”
That Saturday morning I was up at my usual time because I needed a good start to get
to Glasgow because I had decided to spend a bit time there and anyway I’d never been
to Glasgow before, I dropped an order list through the letter box of the grocery shop
when I got to the village, the cupboard was starting to get a bit bare and I didn’t want
to have a guest in the house and have no food to give him, it would save me from
having to shop around in a strange place, and I could at least be sure that the
necessities would be put in with my order when I picked it up on my return journey.
Shopping was one of my down falls; I always seem to forget something.
I wasn’t in any real hurry so I just took a slow drive down to Glasgow taking in the
country side much of which I had never seen before.
I arrived in Glasgow in plenty of time to have a look around for a reasonable place to
have my dinner; I suddenly remembered that I didn’t really know what Peter looked
like, over the radio conversations we had described ourselves to each other, our likes
and dislikes but had never got around to sending each other photographs, so I thought
I would be in for a bit of a job trying to spot one person out of hundreds that would be
milling around at the station.
After dinner I strolled in and out of the shops making my way back to the Land
Rover, it was twenty minutes to two by the time I got back to where I had parked it,
the traffic was quite heavy so I started off immediately to give myself plenty of time
to get across to the other side of Glasgow to the station, it was ten past two when I
arrived at the information desk to find out if the London train was on time and at what
platform it would arrive at.
I made my way over to where the train would arrive, I just stood around taking in
what was going on around me, Two thirty, right on time when the train pulled in and I
thought this is it, I’ll have to have eyes like revolving doors, in fact it was easier than I
had imagined to spot Peter for the simple fact that he was being dogged in his
footsteps by a porter pulling a trolley with a fair assortment of gear, in fact we spotted
each other about the same time so I must have described myself quite accurately to
Peter. We shook hands had a few words then made our way out of the station to where
I had parked the Land Rover with the porter still following Peter like a pet dog, when
we reached the Land Rover we put Peter’s things into the back.
Peter thanked the porter very much and handed him a tip, the porter looked at the note
then at Peter, smiled and said in a very pleasing voice.
“Thank you sir.” taking the note from Peter’s hand giving him a quick salute, turning
he made his way back to the station.
It was a good job I had the Land Rover because Peter’s luggage and gear completely
filled the back, we chatted all the way back to the village until we reached the spot
where I first caught site of the village, it was here that Peter shouted.
                                           12


“Stop, stop.”
I pulled up quick and Peter rummaged in amongst his gear until he came up with his
camera, he got out of the Land Rover and started clicking like a trigger happy
cowboy, then he got back into the Land Rover.
“I can understand why to decided to live up here.”
After tea when Peter had all his gear and clothes unpacked and put away we took a
walk over to the farm where I introduced him to Rory and Mary, we both gave Rory a
hand that night to do the milking and clearing up, Rory didn’t want us to but it was
Peter who insisted, he said he had never really been on a farm in his life.
We all went down to the Clan House that night where Peter was introduced to nearly
everyone in the village, since the hotel had burnt down the Clan House was the only
place where you could get a drink, it was eleven fort five when we left the Clan
House, nobody ever bothered about the police, the nearest was in Glenstart, it’s not
that they never gave the village a visit it’s just that they never came up to the village
on a Saturday night.
Sunday morning after breakfast we had a walk around the lake, Peter was keen to get
his diving gear on to go exploring in the lake, he said he had brought enough gear up
so I could assist him.
“Me! I don’t know the first thing about it and I’m not a very good swimmer.”
“Don’t worry about, I will soon have you swimming around like a fish, what’s the
chance of getting a boat on the lake.”
“I don’t think there has ever been a boat on the lake before, but we can have a word
with Rory.”
So we took a walk up to the farm, Rory was just coming out of the calf pen and he
looked like death warmed up, I think last nights session had been just a bit to much
for him, we were invited to stop for lunch by Mary which we quickly accepted
because Rory wasn’t the only one feeling under the weather after last night.
During lunch we got around to asking Rory about a boat, he sat scratching his head
for a while as he always did when he was thinking about something.
“Try Angus Stewart, he did have a small boat at one time but I don’t know if he still
has one.”
After dinner we went back home, Peter wanted to check over his gear before he did
any diving, Peter gave me a good run through of how to use the breathing apparatus
and a lot of do’s and don’ts, this took us up to tea time, neither of us wanted much for
tea because Mary’s idea of Sunday lunch was a feast.
After a small tea we jumped in the Land Rover and went down to see Angus Stewart,
we were in luck he still had a boat but he didn’t know what condition it would be in as
he said he hadn’t used it for about six years, he said it had been lying in the back of
the garage all this time.
It turned out to be a rowing boat about twelve foot long and it looked to be in
reasonable condition but it only had one good oar, Peter said that wouldn’t make any
difference we could always skull the boat.
“Skull.” I said. “What are we going to be, pirates?”
Peter laughed and explained that sculling was done with one oar from the back of the
boat.
“It only remains for us to test the boat. Peter said. “Its no good dragging it all the way
up to the lake just to find out if it’ll sink.”
“Well how can you test it if you don’t put it in water.” I asked.
I was soon to find out, the boat was dragged around the back of the garage, Angus
fixed up a hose from the garage and soon had the boat filling up with water.
                                           13


“If water doesn’t leak out, then water can’t leak in.” Angus assured us.
We were in luck the boat held water all right, it only remained to get the boat up to the
lake, Angus couldn’t help us there, he had a trailer at one time but had converted it to
be used in the market garden.
After we emptied the boat we went up to the clan house for a drink and to talk over
how we could get the boat up to the lake, it was eight o’clock when Rory and Mary
came in and soon had our problem solved, he offered us the use of the tractor and
trailer.
By ten o’clock Monday morning we had the boat up on the lake and Peter said.
“After dinner would be soon enough for your first lesson.”
After dinner we played around with the boat until I had mastered the art of sculling a
boat, Peter gave me another good run through with the diving gear and by tea time he
said I’d do for now.
“We will see how you actually get on tomorrow morning in the water.”
Next morning after breakfast we put the diving gear into the back of the Land Rover
as it was a bit to much to carry down to the lake, we parked at the side of the lake and
got ready, we didn’t go far in to the lake with the boat only about twenty yards, Peter
told me to stop in the boat until he had a look underneath to see what it was like
before I went in.
Peter slipped over the side of the boat and disappeared under the water, he had been
under about ten minutes when he resurfaced about ten yards from the boat, he swam
over to the side of the boat and said it was okay.
“We will have to secure the boat first.” He said.
I gave Peter the rope that was in the boat, he dived under he reappeared soon
afterwards.
“I’ve tied it to a rock on the bottom so in you come.”
I joined Peter in the water, which was a bit of a shock at first because the water was
quite cold to say the least. Peter tied a length of cord to me.
“That’s just in case you have any problems, just give it a tug.”
He then tied the other end to himself, the lake wasn’t very deep at this point, I was
able to stand up, we swam about for a while until Peter thought I had a fair idea of
what was expected and then we ventured into slightly deeper water, it was only about
fifteen to twenty feet, the bottom was covered in rocks of all sizes and the remains of
a couple of dead trees. We swam about for half an hour, when we surfaced I was
surprised to see how far we were from the boat, Peter had to help me back into the
boat, I hadn’t realised just how difficult it was to get back into a boat from the water.
“Well you didn’t do too bad at all for your first try.” Peter said. “We will have another
try after dinner.”
The next couple of days we went a little deeper each time just so I could get used to
things, by this time Peter said I was good enough to swim without the cord tied
between us, so the next time we tried the middle of the lake.
On Friday afternoon we discovered the remains of what must have been the
MacGavin settlement, there wasn’t much left as the water had rotted all the woodwork
and most of it had collapsed, but the shapes of the cottages were still plain to see
where they had stood, there was about ten in all from what we could see because the
lake was murky in the middle.
Peter went down to the lake on his own on Saturday morning as I was feeling a bit
stiff after all the swimming around and he said it would be better if I gave it a rest for
a couple of days.
                                            14


It was eleven thirty when Peter came rushing into the house, in his hand he had what
looked like an old sword, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about but Peter was very
excited about his find, after dinner he said he was going to take the sword into
Glasgow, he knew of a chap there who would give it a good going over for him and
he was going to order some fresh air tanks, I was still aching in the leg muscles so
Peter borrowed the Land Rover and went into Glasgow on his own.
About nine o’clock that night I was sitting by the fire reading when there was a loud
droning noise overhead, I never really took much notice of it because we often got
aeroplanes overhead circling around to land at Glasgow airport, but at the time I did
think that this one was a bit low.
It was eleven o’clock when I heard Peter coming up the road, when he came in he was
still excited about the sword, he told me they had spent all afternoon cleaning the
sword, he said the blade wasn’t in too bad a state but the handle was still in good
condition considering the time it had been buried at the bottom of the lake, he said
there was some inscription on it but it would take a while to get it cleaned properly
before we could find out what it was.
Sunday morning Peter went back to the lake alone as I was feeling stiffer than ever,
when he came back at dinner time he had another find but neither of us knew what it
was, it was cigar shaped, about eighteen inches long and nine inches in diameter in
the middle, it was made of metal and looked quite new so it couldn’t have been in the
lake for very long, after dinner we cleaned it up and found it had a very fine joint in
the middle, no matter how we tried we couldn’t get it opened, we even bent a small
screwdriver in the process, we couldn’t even make a mark on the metal, what ever it
was it was very strong but it was very light for it’s size. Peter was very curious about
it and said he would take it back to London with him when he went home.
On Monday we went down to the village for a few groceries and we happened to call
in at the Post office, there was a telegram for Peter, it was from his office in London,
he had to go back to clear a few details on a contract he was working on. He said he
would only be gone a couple of days at the most for he had a good idea what it would
be.
We went back to the house and Peter packed a few things, he also put the object he
had found in the lake into his bag, I drove Peter into Glasgow and saw him onto the
train, it was getting dark when I got back to the village so I called in at the farm to tell
Rory if he wanted a hand for a couple of days I would be available. Rory said it was a
pity for Peter to have his holiday spoilt.
“Did you hear that damn thing on Saturday night I thought it was going to land in the
village, I’ve tried to get through to the airport a few times but I can’t get through, the
lines seem to be dead in fact I haven’t been able to get through to the village, I’ll have
to get the phone people to check the phone there must be something wrong with it.”
I told him that it was out of my boundaries. “I’m not supposed to tinker with them.”
After saying goodnight to Rory and Mary I continued on my way home, it was a quiet
still night and unusually warm for the time of year.
The next morning after giving Rory a hand I went down into the village with the milk
and some eggs for the grocery shop, the farm had always supplied the village with
these and along with a few other things from the farm, in the village some of the
people seemed a little put out from what I could gather, they were having the same
trouble with their phones as Rory was having, almost everyone in the village had a
telephone it was the only thing that kept them in constant touch with each other.
They asked me if I could do anything to put it right but I had to tell them that I was
not allowed to do anything with telephones and seeing that everyone was having the
                                           15


 same problem it would probably be a line down somewhere, so it would be put right
by the telephone company, so it would probably only be a short while before they
would get the use of their telephones again.
It was eleven o’clock that morning when a telephone engineer called at the Post
Office, apparently they couldn’t get through to the village from Glenstart so he had
come up to see what was wrong with the line at this end, it took him all afternoon to
check everybody’s phone, he said everything seemed alright in the village so it must
be something at the exchange.
By the time I was ready to leave the farm that night Rory’s telephone was still out of
order but there was nothing anybody could do until the engineers could put the line
right. I had left the Land Rover at home that morning as I enjoyed the walk around
the lake and up to the farm when the weather was nice, by the time I got home I was
lathered in sweat, tonight was warmer than last night in fact it was as warm as a mid-
summers day. I tossed and turned in bed it was that warm I couldn’t get to sleep, I
must have finally dozed off but at one o’clock I was woke up again by the same
droning noise I had heard on Saturday night but this time it was much louder, I
thought Rory will really blow his top when he gets through to the airport this time.
I dozed off again then about three thirty I woke up coughing and panting for breath, as
I switched the light on my first thoughts were that the house was on fire because the
air was a smoky grey, a quick check around I found everything to be in order, I then
thought could it be the farm and smoke drifting across here but I couldn’t see any
glow from the farm but I got ready to go over just the same, the air had cleared a bit in
the house but I was still finding it difficult to breath.
As I walked down the road the air was getting heavier in fact I was almost choking for
breath, my eyes and chest were burning, I couldn’t do anything but go back up to the
house where at least the air was breathable, there was no smell of burning or anything
like that so I was beginning to rule out any kind of fire from the farm but I couldn’t be
sure.
By the time it started to get light I could see that the valley was covered in a grey
mist, I tried to get back down the road to get to the farm but once again but I had to
come back up to the house as the same thing was happening again, my eyes and throat
and chest were burning and I still found it impossible to breath.
I had no idea how I was going to get over to the farm until I remembered Peters
diving gear, I soon had a tank on my back, turned the air on and put the mask over my
face. It was hot and by the time I reached the bottom of the road sweat was already
running down my face.
When I reached the farm there wasn’t a sound to be heard which was very unusual so
I went straight into the cow shed, I was bewildered when I opened the door, the cows
were all stiff on the floor, I checked each one and they were all dead. I couldn’t
understand what was happening the hen house was the same every hen was dead. I
was now beginning to tremble at thoughts of what I would find in the house.
I banged on the door but couldn’t get any answer, I had to break a window to get into
the house, I lifted the mask off my face to shout for Rory but I had to put it back on at
once, it was impossible to breath, when I went up stairs I found Mary and Rory dead
in bed, I was now nearing panic not knowing what to do next, but I knew one thing I
would have to go back home because my air tank would not last much longer.
I went to use Rory’s Land Rover but I couldn’t get it to start I even tried the tractor
but that was the same, when I got back to the house I changed to a full tank and
jumped into the Land Rover, I was in luck it started up so I couldn’t understand why
Rory’s hadn’t, I made my way to go into the village, I hadn’t got as far as the pump
                                            16


house when the Land Rover cut out, no matter how I tried I just couldn’t get it to start
so I left it and started walking along the road to the village and the grey mist persisted
everywhere, as I passed the church at the start of the village I almost fell over the
vicars dog lying dead in the side of the road, when I reached the pub I found the door
ajar, I tried opening it but something was stopping it, I put my shoulder to the door
and heaved at it, it was then that I saw Gavin the manager he had some how made it to
the door before he had collapsed but like Rory and Mary he was dead as well.
I tried the street opposite the pub, I tried only a couple of houses but I now knew what
to expect, it looked as though everyone in the village was dead. God I must be having
some kind of nightmare surely this could not be happening.
I left the houses and was crossing through the grounds of the hotel when I thought I
heard a noise, I stopped in my tracks to make sure it wasn’t an echo of my own
footsteps but I heard the same noise again, it sounded like someone shuffling their
feet, from the sights that had already met me I couldn’t be sure what was making the
noise so I ran to the side of the hotel so I could view the area from where the noise
was coming from.
Through the grey mist I could now see a shape coming down the road from the
direction of the garage but it was still to far to make it out clearly, I climbed through
the window of the hotel and crossed what was left of the hall way, this was the first
time that I had entered into the hotel since the fire and from what I could see in the
early morning light and mist Janey and her father had no chance of escaping down the
stairs. I was now looking through from a window at the other side of the hotel and I
could hardly believe what I was seeing, it was similar to a human having two arms
and two legs, it stood about five feet tall but it’s head almost covered the full width of
it’s shoulders, it had two enormous red eyes, at this moment cold shivers were
running up and down my spine, this thing what ever it was, was standing at the corner
of the grocery shop but was now starting to shuffle it’s way towards the hotel, I was
now beginning to panic, in the mist I could see another one of these creatures, sweat
was now pouring down my face and I couldn’t return the way I had come without
being seen, I was almost frozen to the spot and by this time the first creature was only
yards away from the hotel. I got down on my hands and knees and crept towards the
stairs, there was no where to hide, then it dawned on me, the cellar, that’s it the cellar.
I could now hear my own heart pounding in my head like a large echoing drum, the
cellar was underneath what was left of the staircase, by now I could hear these things
outside the hotel, I shoved the door open quietly and dragged myself in and wedged
the door shut behind me. As I stood on the cellar stairs I had a clear view of the
hallway through cracks in the stairs, one of these things was standing in the doorway
and starting to make its way towards the stairs, I had no way of knowing if it had seen
me or could sense me I could only wait in fear and by now the other creature was
standing in the doorway of the hotel as the first one made to go up the stairs.
I heard the stairs creaking above me then there was a crashing of timber and I was
showered with burnt timbers as the staircase had started to fall in at the top, the
weight of this thing had been too much for the weakened staircase.
After a while these two things left the hotel and what seemed like a life time I stood
there not daring to move, I finally plucked up enough courage to get myself over to
the doorway of the hotel where I could get a good view of the street in front of me.
Through the mist I saw them come from the pub and back along the road towards the
garage and market garden, I stood and watched them until I lost them in the grey mist.
I climbed back through the window in which I entered the hotel and followed the
building around to the back and down to the stream and I made my way upstream
                                           17


towards the lake trying to figure out what I was going to do next, I must have some
way of protecting myself. The farm, I knew Rory had a shotgun in the house so I left
the stream and made my way up to the farm. I had left the door unlocked on my first
visit but the door was not as I had left it, I crept into the house quietly but the house
was still and quiet but every room had been disturbed, in the bedroom Mary and
Rory’s bodies were lying on the floor, there must be more of these damn things and
they had been checking around the village to see that there were no signs of life. I felt
sick as I lifted Mary and Rory back onto the bed. I found Rory’s gun underneath the
bed, it was a habit Rory had got into taking it upstairs every night, and after an
extensive search I found a box of cartridges in the garage.
I left the farm and started towards where I had left the Land Rover, I took a short cut
through the hay field, this had already been cut but we were late this year with
harvesting and had only managed to get half the field gathered in, as I walked through
the hay something cracked under my foot it sounded as though I had stood on some
eggs but immediately a cloud of grey mist bellowed up around me, I lifted my foot to
find the remains of what looked like a glass ball about the size of a large orange,
picking it up it didn’t feel like glass it was soft and broke quite easily, I continued
towards the Land Rover but watching where I was putting my feet when right in front
of me lying on a pile of hay were two of these things and neither of them were
broken, I carefully lifted them up and carried them back to the Land Rover, I had
plenty of rags in the back of the Land Rover so I carefully wrapped each one up.
I let the hand break off and pushed the Land Rover back about ten yards, I got in and
turned the ignition key, the engine coughed and spluttered then fired up, I drove
forward about six yards when the engine cut out again, I pushed the Land Rover back
again so I now knew at what point the engine cut out but for what reason I didn’t
know, I piled a few rocks beside the Land Rover if I was to use it again I would know
the spot where it would cut out.
As I approached the house the mist started to thin out, there was none at all in the
house now so I ventured to take the face mask off, I coughed at first but at least the air
was breathable, the house was as I had left it so I knew those creature things hadn’t
been up to the house, I didn’t dare put any lights on in case of drawing attention to the
house so before I did anything I went around and boarded up all the windows, I then
turned on the lights and went around the outside to make sure that no light was
showing.
I didn’t feel like eating but I forced myself because I had gone all day without
anything to eat, I had to get in touch with Peter, I turned my radio transmitter on and
let it warm up, I had been calling Peters signal for almost a half an hour and was
beginning to give up when Peters voice came over, the reception wasn’t very good
there was a lot of interference.
Peter sounded anxious. “I’ve been trying to get you all day, I’ve tried the phone a few
times but the line at your end is dead.
Listen that thing I found in the lake, there’s something strange about the whole thing
I’ve had it run through a few test and the metal casing, we can’t find out what kind of
metal it’s made of, we finally got it working for a short while, it seems to give off
some kind of signal.”
“Peter, Peter.” I shouted. “Listen and listen carefully you might not believe what I’m
going to tell you but take me seriously, I’m not making any jokes. The village, the
whole village is dead, you can’t breath down in the valley, I’ve had to use your diving
gear and, and there are some kind of creatures down there, I think I must be the only
one left alive.”
                                            18


For a moment Peter never spoke then he said. “God what the hell has happened?”
“Listen Peter I haven’t time to explain but can you get some more air tanks up here.”
“Yes, yes”. He replied.
“Good and some guns.”
“Listen, I’ll fly up to Glasgow can you meet me at the airport.”
“I don’t know how I can get out of the valley but I’ll try.”
“Well listen if you aren’t at the airport I’ll try to get to you, I’m signing off now, I’ll
be as quick as I can, good luck.”
The radio went quiet and once again I was thrust into a world of complete silence.
How was I going to get out of the valley! How, all the air tanks were almost empty so
I couldn’t go through the valley, the only other way would be up and over the hills,
it’s a pity there wasn’t a road. Road that’s it, I remember Rory telling me that the
track running past the house went over the hills and down to Glenstart, it was now
dark outside and I didn’t want to use the Land Rover lights in case it drew attention, I
must try to get some sleep, I dozed most of the night I just couldn’t sleep properly.
At first light I jumped into the Land Rover and followed what had once been a track
but was overgrown, it was more like a footpath than a road, it was a bumpy ride but I
kept on going until I reached the top, I could see the whole valley from the foot bridge
over the gully right up to the old barn, the whole valley was covered in a blanket of
thick grey mist not even the church steeple showed through the mist.
I carried on until I came to the old quarry from here the track opened up to a decent
run even though it was still only a track but I could see that it had been used by
vehicles before.
There was no mist on this side of the hills it was a relief to breath clean air, I could
now see Glenstart in the distance, there was only a couple of people about as I drove
through Glenstart, even though there were only a couple of people about life still went
on outside the valley.
I didn’t stop just in case anyone asked me any questions because at the moment I
didn’t have any answers. I stopped at a transport café on my way to Glasgow because
I knew I would have time to kill and I didn’t want to find myself waiting at the airport
for hours, I bought a couple of newspapers and spent a while going through each
column and I couldn’t find any mention of anything concerning the valley, so up till
now nobody but Peter and I knew anything about what had happened in the valley.
I left the café and after getting the Land Rover filled up with petrol I had left myself
with very little money but that was the least of my concerns. If this could happen to
Glenend how much further could these things go?
I drove into Glasgow just as a clock was striking ten thirty, I got myself a little bit lost
because I had to drive around for ten minutes before I found the right road to the
airport, I pulled up outside the main entrance of the airport about eleven o’clock, I
was directed to where I could park.
I went straight to the information desk to enquire about the arrival of the plane from
London. The receptionist was a pretty girl who reminded me of Janey, in a way I’m
glad Janey went the way she did rather than face the horrible death that the valley had
met, I must have been day dreaming because the receptionist had to call me a few
times before she drew my attention.
“The plane from London arrives at one thirty.”
I said thank you and went and sat in the public lounge that overlooked the unloading
area so I would be able to see all the passengers get off the plane, I only hope that
Peter would have had time to make the arrangements to enable him to get here.
                                           19


Time seemed to pass slowly, I kept looking at the clock until over the loudspeaker
came the message that the flight from London via Newcastle will be landing in five
minutes, I rose slowly and walked over to the window, I watched the plane land and
taxi over, at last the sight of Peter brought a feeling of gladness, I hurried down to
meet Peter, when we met we shook hands, Peter put his arm around my shoulder.
“For heavens sake what has been happening, you look as though you could do with a
strong drink. Peter looked over his shoulder, I’d like you to meet Doctor Curtis.”
We said hello and shook hands.
“Let’s go and talk about this over a drink.” I said.
Peter and Doctor Curtis listened very carefully to what I was telling them of the last
few days in the valley, then Peter and Doctor Curtis told me what they had found out
about the cigar shaped thing that had been found in the lake, Peter said it was really
Doctor Curtis who had found out all about it. Peter explained that doctor Curtis is a
scientist he has known him for a very long time. At first I thought it was something
that you had thrown in the lake to pull my leg and I was just taking it home as a
souvenir, I happened to meet Doctor Curtis on the train going home, I told him about
this object and got it out of my bag so we could have a good laugh over it, but Doctor
Curtis was very interested in it so I let him have it so he run some tests on it, then
Doctor Curtis continued to tell me about the tests he had done on it.
“I put it through several tests, none of these even left a mark on the metal case, we
then tried a type of x-ray on it and we found it had a network of some kind of
transistors but only part of the object showed up on the x-ray what ever was in the rest
of the thing the x-rays couldn’t penetrate through, it was also full of water which had
seeped through the hair line joint in the casing, I put it in the electric oven we have in
the lab to try and dry it out so we could do further tests on it, it had only been in the
oven about fifteen minutes when the oven went off, in fact everything electrical in the
lab went off even the phone which is on a different power line went off, it was when
this happened I got in touch with Peter to get him to ask you if you knew any more
about it.”
“Where is this thing now.” I asked,
“Safely locked away in a bath of water, it was the only way I could stop the damn
thing from working.” replied Doctor Curtis.
Over a couple of drinks we discussed what we should do for the moment. Peter and
Doctor Curtis wanted to see for themselves so we decided on my place, we then went
to pick up Peters and Doctor Curtis’s things, Peter had brought a good supply of air
tanks but fire arms had been his main problem, he had only been able to bring a rifle
and a revolver along with a good supply of cartridges at least we had a fire arm each
as I already had one up at the house.
Dr. Curtis hadn’t much gear which was just as well because the back of the Land
Rover was absolutely packed to its capacity with air tanks.
When we got to Glenstart there was a lot more people about than usual and the traffic
was at a standstill in the town centre, Just then a policeman came towards us, I
lowered the widow as he approached, he wasn’t the local policeman because he knew
me by sight,
“I’m afraid you can’t go any further sir, I’m sorry but you’ll have to go back the way
you came.”
”What’s the trouble officer? Has there been an accident.”
“No sir it’s the village further up the valley nobody can get through, I haven’t been up
myself but I’ve heard the valley is covered with a heavy mist, so you would be
                                          20


wasting your time trying to get through.” The policeman then made his way to a car
that had pulled up behind us.
“What now?” Peter asked.
“Just hang on I’ll see if I can get turned around.”
After a detour through back streets and then across a couple of fields we finally made
it on to the track that lead us back up to the old quarry, there was no signs of a road
block on the track, with the congestion the police must have overlooked this way to
Glenend or maybe they didn’t know about it.
With the Land Rover fully loaded it was a slow bumpy up hill ride to the quarry and
the worst was yet to come, it was starting to get dark by the time we reached the top
of the hills, it was down hill to the house now.
I turned off the engine and the lights and freewheeled down towards the house.
Dr. Curtis asked. “Why no engine and lights?”
“I don’t want to draw attention; God knows what we might run into.”
“I never thought about that.” he replied. “God things must be worse than I had
imagined.”
We reached the house safely but aching after all the bumping around, after checking
around and making sure that things were as I had left them we quickly got all the gear
into the house and the door securely bolted behind us.
After supper Dr. Curtis got around to explaining about all the electrical failures that
had occurred in the lab when testing the object found in the lake, the same thing must
have happened in the valley, these creatures must have a few situated around the
perimeter of the valley stopping any communication from going in and coming out of
the valley and the signal these things are omitting must also be acting as a barrier to
keep the deadly mist in.
It was then that I remembered about the two globes that I found in the hay field, I got
them out and showed them to Dr. Curtis and Peter.
“Be very careful they break very easily.”
It was as I spoke that Dr. Curtis put his thumb through one and before we knew it the
room was filled with a choking grey mist. Luckily we had air tanks and masks at
hand, I had to take a chance on opening the door to try and clear the room and it took
almost a half an hour before we could take the masks off.
Dr. Curtis then continued to examine the remaining globe but only visually. He left it
lying on the table; he wasn’t taking any chances on picking it up.
“We had better put this in a safe place for the moment.” I said
The next morning found the valley just the same, after a quick breakfast Peter and I
helped Dr. Curtis to get his gear set up, a lot of which we didn’t understand, we
helped him set up a close circuit television camera outside the house, this would
enable us to watch outside the house for any movement outside from the safety of the
house and it was also noise activated so that it acted as an alarm.
We were all set to go down into the valley, Dr. Curtis fitted us up with what looked
like a large wishbone and ear plug, the wishbone went around the neck and clamped
onto the throat and with the ear piece in position and both plugged into a portable
pack which I slipped into my pocket, this enabled us to talk to each other while we
had the breathing equipment on while we were in the valley.
All set and with our guns at the ready we got into the Land Rover and started off
down the road. I pulled up at the pile of rocks I had left as a marker and then turned
the Land Rover around to face the way we had come; in my ear piece I could hear
Peter saying. “What’s wrong, why have we stopped here for and turned around.?”
                                          21


I explained that this was as far as we go before the Land Rover cut out and I’ve turned
around in case we need to leave in a hurry.
Dr. Curtis got out and was waving what looked like a stick wired to a box, after a
while walking about backwards and forwards he came back to the Land Rover, he
explained that he had been probing for an electrical field which he said thought came
from the far side of the lake, cutting across the lake and onto the hills on this side.
The object that Peter found in the lake was meant to send out a signal, which would
have engulfed the whole valley, seeing that it was missing was why this end of the
valley was partly free from the deadly mist.
We then made our way up to the farm, when we got to the house I was shocked to
find the place totally wrecked inside, these things had been busy even in the short
time I had been away.
There was nothing we could do at the farm but we now know that these things must
have considerable strength to wreck the place the way it was, when we left the farm
we thought it best to keep off the road we didn’t want to run into any of these things
whatever they were, we crossed the fields and headed towards the church which was
the nearest building to the farm, we got to the back of the church safely and found the
outside door to the vestry open which was unusual because the vicar had always kept
this door locked, with shot gun at the ready I cautiously looked behind the vestry
door, the vestry was like the farm the place had been wrecked.
The large lock that had always kept the outside vestry door firmly secured was lying
on the floor behind the door; there were no signs that any tools had been used to
remove the lock it appeared as though it had been pulled off, we ventured into the
church only to find this in the same state of devastation.
From the front door of the church we could hear noises coming from the direction of
the hotel, we crossed over the side road and into the Clan House and even this had
been wrecked to some extent, from here we got our first glimpse of these things but
because of the mist we couldn’t make out what they were doing. Just then two of
these things came out of the hotel and one of them pointed in the direction of the Clan
House, did they know we were there, they started moving towards us, we then made a
hasty retreat back to the church we agreed that it would be much safer if we didn’t
hang around, we retraced our footsteps back the way we had come to the farm and we
didn’t stop until we were within the safety of the farmhouse.
It was then that Dr. Curtis asked me if I found anything else out of place, apart from
the devastation I said no not really why? Everything is as we have already seen.
“What about the bodies of Mary, Rory and the barman you said you had found, there
were no signs of them.” Dr. Curtis said.
“Hell what can these things want with the bodies?” Peter said. “And what the hell are
they doing here in any case?”
This is what people thought was impossible, but we are actually witnessing it.
”What?” I said.
“An invasion from another planet and life form Dr. Curtis replied. “And they are not
friendly, as we have seen, so we have to find some way of stopping them.”
Just then there was an almighty screaming of a siren.
“What on earth is that?” Peter said
”It must be the pump house.” I replied. “I think we better make for the Land Rover
because that is bound to make those things come out here to see what the noise is.”
We left the farm house at full speed, we were close to the pump house as the siren
stopped, I saw that the door of the pump house had been ripped off it’s hinges, they
                                            22


must have been in and wrecked the pumps and the water has got to overflow level that
is why the warning siren has gone off.
We were soon at the house and had our masks off, it was a relief to get them off and
be able to breath without them.
Dr. Curtis’s thoughts on the pump house siren going off seemed feasible, because we
had discovered the cigar shaped object in the lake and removed it the two nearest
objects to each other had linked together to form a barrier for the aliens even though
the link was a weak one because it was letting the mist escape into the atmosphere,
the path of their signal now cut across the valley just missing the pump house and this
allowed the electrics of the pump house to continue working.
Dr. Curtis was busy with some of his equipment when he called to us.
“There’s a movement outside.”
“How do you know?” I asked. “You can’t see outside through walls.”
He beckoned us over to a piece of his equipment, a box with dials on, he told us that
any movement outside within a hundred and fifty yards showed by the movement of
the needles on the dials, there was a slight movement so whatever it was must be half
way up the track that leads to the house, the needles started to move more and more so
that meant whatever it happened to be was coming closer to the house.
Peter was now peering through a gap in the bottom of the boards that covered the
windows when he shouted.
“I can see them quick, quick.”
We rushed over to the window and through the swirling mist as it escaped into the air
we could just make out the shapes of the things we had seen in the village.
The portable television camera the doctor had set up had now come into action, it was
only a small picture on the receiver but it was clear enough to give us a clear view of
the road and from the picture that the doctor and I were now watching we could see
two of these things quite clearly.
There was a loud bang and crashing of glass, Peter had poked his rifle through the
boards and fired, he fired a couple of shots in quick succession and from the small
television screen these things were still there.
“You’ve missed.” I called to Peter.
“Impossible I couldn’t possibly miss at this range with this thing.”
“Well look for yourself, they are still coming.” I said.
So they now knew we were here for certain, they suddenly stopped about twenty five
yards from the house, Peter fired again and from the way one of these things
staggered back it was plain to see that that Peter had hit it full in the chest, but it was
still standing there watching the house.
“What do you want?” Peter shouted through the broken window.
We waited but there was no response of any kind from these things, they must have
stood there for about twenty minutes they then turned and went back down the road.
“Why didn’t they come any nearer.” Peter asked. “It’s obvious that guns won’t stop
them, that last shot would have gone straight through and killed any man, but that
thing just stood there as though I was only throwing stones at it.”
The needles on the doctor’s equipment were now still, Dr. Curtis opened the door and
went outside, Peter and I followed but we still took our guns with us, we followed the
doctor down the road to where these things had been standing, the air at this point was
just breathable, the ground was spattered with a green jelly like substance, Dr. Curtis
took a small plastic bag from his pocket and scraped some of this stuff into it.
“But what stopped them from coming any further?” Peter asked again.
                                           23


It was Dr. Curtis who came up with the probable answer, probably the same thing that
lets us stand here. What’s that I asked. Air he said, we can still breath here so that
must mean they can’t.
We went back to the house and Dr. Curtis took a look at the green jelly stuff he had
picked up through a microscope he had brought with him, he had been working away
for about two hours when he joined us in front of the fire, we waited for the doctor to
speak.
“Well, I couldn’t do much, I need to do more test but I haven’t got the right
equipment here but what I have discovered I don’t like.”
“What’s that then?” I asked.
“Well the reason Peter couldn’t kill that thing with a gun is as soon as its skin is
damaged it has super self healing abilities so any wound it may get starts to heal up
almost immediately, we’ve got to find some way of stopping these things.”
We sat and talked until the small amount of light that was coming in through the
boards over the windows faded away. What ever happened these things were sure to
come back but at least we had them trapped within their own boundaries but how long
would it be before they extended these boundaries so they could reach the house.
We all agreed that keeping them within the already existing boundaries was our main
task at the moment.
Dr. Curtis and I drew up a plan for an electrical barrier which we could fix just within
the creatures breathing limits and if this was a success we could move it further down
the road each day.
By the next morning we had everything ready, we were lucky that I still had a lot of
wire and cable left in the house after the electricity had been installed. By ten o’clock
we had a wire fence fixed up and a cable laid back to the house, we left it up to Dr.
Curtis to do the final touches he seemed to have more knowledge than me or Peter on
this.
We hadn’t long to wait when Peter called out; we were now taking it in turns to watch
the instruments for any readings, a few minutes later we could see three shapes
coming up the road through the mist, how many more must there be down in the
valley, they were only yards away from the fence when the doctor pulled the switch
down.
There was a flash and we could smell burning drifting our way but they pulled the
fence down as though it didn’t really exist, so that didn’t stop them. What was to
happen now?
But once again they stopped at the edge of their breathing limits and before we knew
it Peter was outside and walking towards them, Dr. Curtis and I could only stand and
watch because Peter paid no attention to our shouts for him to come back, he stopped
about five yards in front of them, we couldn’t make out what Peter was saying to
them, one of the aliens took a step forward, Peter had taken the shot gun with him and
without hesitation Peter let go with both barrels but the alien only staggered back
under the blast from the shot gun, it had little or no effect at all.
We could hear Peter cursing and swearing at these things but they made no further
movement they just stood there. Peter returned to the house.
“Its no use they don’t seem to understand anything I was saying to them, they are only
standing there watching us God they give me the creeps, the fence didn’t stop them,
what’s our next move now?”
It was Dr. Curtis who came out of the house with a rag soaked in paraffin tied on the
end of a broom, I’ll try this he said walking towards them and set the end of the
broom alight, there was immediate response from them, they didn’t seem to like the
                                           24


sight of fire, Dr. Curtis prodded at them with the broom and soon had them stepping
back until he couldn’t go any further because of the limitations to which we could go
without the air tanks but it had been enough to send these things back down into the
valley.
Our main problem now was how and where were we going to get a supply of paraffin
or petrol from, it was no use taking it from the Land Rover because we didn’t know
how much we might need to use it.
“The pump house.” I said. “The pumps are run on petrol.”
That afternoon we put our breathing equipment on and what cans we could find into
the back of the Land Rover and went into the valley, although the guns would not be
of much use we still took them with us, we also took the doctors home made torch.
I turned the Land Rover around at the pile of rocks because I didn’t want to waste any
time in case we needed to leave in a hurry. We were walking towards the pump house
when I pulled at the doctor’s arm.
“There’s something moving beside the pump house.”
Dr. Curtis set the torch alight but it kept going out, we should have realised that
earlier because of the lack of air, as we got up to the pump house it came out of the
pump house, it wasn’t an alien thing.
“It’s the vicar, It’s the vicar, I shouted. “But how the hell is he breathing down here?”
He didn’t appear to see us he just went on with what he was doing, he was bringing
petrol out of the pump house and pouring it into the lake, he was still pouring the
contents of a can into the lake when I grabbed hold of him by the shoulder.
He turned around but I gasped at what I saw, his skin was a pale grey and his eyes, he
had none they were just white balls in his head, there was no expression at all on his
face in fact he looked as though he was dead, he suddenly grabbed me by the throat,
normally he hadn’t been a strong man but he had the grip like a vice being closed on
my throat and I couldn’t pull his hand free, he was choking me, I struggled but it was
impossible to remove his hand.
Peter and Dr. Curtis came to my rescue it took all their strength to get the vicar of me
it was as though his grip was permanently locked, his hands were still in the same
position when they shoved him backwards into the lake.
We pulled the vicar out of the water but he was stone dead even though his hands
were still in the same choking position.
“God he’s like a zombie.” I said.
Dr. Curtis examined the vicar and said. “He’s been dead for some time.”
“But that’s not possible.” I said “How could a dead man do that to me?”
It was then we discovered a metal object about three inches long implanted in the
back of the vicars neck.
“That’s what made him like he was.” Dr. Curtis replied “Its exactly like you said they
have made him into a zombie, we now know what they have done with the bodies,
they must be making them work for them, there is nothing we can do for him now, the
water must have fused the workings of that thing on the back of his neck we best get
on with what we came to do.”
“It’s no use.” Peter said “He’s emptied the tank I’ve got all that is left and it’s not
much just a few gallons, how on earth could they know that we wanted petrol don’t
say they can read our thoughts and sent the vicar to empty the tank.”
“It’s not an impossibility.” The doctor said. “There is an awful lot we have to find out
about these things.”
We made our way back around the lake and up towards the house, on our way back I
noticed that the lake had extended right up to the road leading back to the house since
                                           25


the pumps had been put out of action there was nothing to keep the lake at a constant
level. Back at the house we collected up all the bottles we could find, nine bottles in
all so that left us with three petrol bombs each, we’d have to be careful and make
good use of them.
About four o’clock we got another reading on the meter, they were coming back, they
must have discovered the vicar missing from their working force of zombies, through
the failing light and mist we could make out five shapes coming up the road, how
many of these things must there be down there?
We soon made out the shapes, there were still only three of them the other two were
Doctor Stewart and the manager of the Clan House, they too had been turned into
zombies just like the vicar their skin was the same grey colour and only the whites of
their eyes showed.
The three aliens stopped but Dr. Stewart and Gavin Stewart kept on coming.
“Quick the petrol bombs.” Peter shouted.
Dr. Curtis set one alight and handed it to Peter, he ran forward and threw it at Dr.
Stewart, it hit him on the head and he immediately burst into flames, I had to turn
away I couldn’t bare the site of watching the doctor who had once been a friend
burning, it took two more petrol bombs to stop Gavin, at least we had found out that
fire would stop them as well, the sight of the flames had moved the aliens back down
the road a few yards, Peter took another petrol bomb and threw it down the road after
the aliens, this one didn’t work, he tried another one but the same thing happened.
“Hold it Peter.” Dr. Curtis called out “You’re wasting your time, the petrol won’t
burn without air but at least we know they don’t like fire.”
We now had to think of something else to try and stop these things.
Next morning I wanted to bury the remains of Dr. Stewart and Gavin, the only
reasonable place was at the bottom of the road as there were to many rocks and trees
beside the house, we put the bodies into the back of the Land Rover and drove down
to the bottom of the road but that is as far as we got because over night the lake had
stretched its self even further, it was now up to the bottom of the road, there wasn’t
any room for turning so I had to reverse the Land Rover back up to the house, so even
if we wanted to we couldn’t use the Land Rover to get into the valley.
“What about the boat.” Peter asked. “That should still be down there.”
“It is.” I said. “But the way the water has risen the last couple of days I don’t think
there is much chance of getting it I only tied it up with a short line, but we can have a
try at getting it.”
We walked down to the edge of the lake but there weren’t any signs of the boat, Peter
told us to stay where we were, he started to swim towards the pump house, he was a
strong swimmer and was soon at the pump house, we watched Peter dive under a few
times. It didn’t take Peter long to get back to where we were standing.
“Was it there.” I asked.
“Its there all right but at the bottom with half the pump house in it, it would take to
long to get it back up.”
So the only way we could get to the other side of the lake would be to swim across or
climb through the hills, only Peter and myself could swim so that was out of the
question because whatever happened we didn’t want to get separated and without
proper climbing gear the way through the hills would prove impossible even if our air
supply lasted out so it looked as though we were stuck at this end of the valley.
After dinner we decided that the only thing left to do was to get help and try from the
other end of the valley, we hadn’t had much success on our own but where could we
                                          26


get the kind of help we needed, we knew what we were up against but to plunge
untrained people into the unexpected could prove to be a problem.
We packed all our air tanks and breathing gear into the back of the Land Rover and
made our way up the track towards the quarry, we looked down across the valley but
couldn’t see any signs of movement anywhere not that we could see much for the
thick mist that choked all life out of the valley.
From the quarry we could see all the way down to Glenstart, at the bottom of the track
a barrier had been put up, it wasn’t until we got up to the barrier that we saw two
soldiers and a policeman, one of the soldiers shouted. “Halt” bringing his rifle to the
firing position.
I stopped the Land Rover and shouted. “Its all right we are friends.”
“Show yourself and be recognised.” Came a reply.
We got out of the Land Rover and walked towards the barrier, the soldier lowered his
rifle.
“How did you get passed here without been seen.” He asked.
“We came up before you put the barrier up.” I said. “We’ve had to come back down
because we need some help.”
Then the policeman asked. “What’s going on in the valley?”
Dr. Curtis stepped forward and introduced himself; he told the policeman that we
couldn’t give any information until he had spoken with someone in charge.
“You better come with me then sir.” The policeman replied.
The soldiers started to move the barrier to let us through with the Land Rover, Peter
turned to Dr. Curtis.
“Why didn’t you tell them?”
“I don’t want word to get around and start a panic, because before you know what’s
going on you’ll have reporters and heaven knows what else.”
We followed the policeman down to the town hall in Glenstart; Dr.Curtis had been a
little optimistic because the village was already milling with reporters and television
crews, there was also army vehicles parked all over the village.
We pulled up outside the town hall and were ushered into a room and told to wait, the
policeman had been away about ten minutes when he came back, he motioned by a
nod of his head for us to follow him. We were shown into what must have been the
council chambers; inside we were introduced to a couple of army majors a chief
constable and a chief inspector, there were a few others there but Dr. Curtis seemed to
know them already. We must have been in there for about two hours answering
questions and giving explanations, apparently the army had the same trouble with
their vehicles, they couldn’t get any at all into the valley without them cutting out.
It was decided that it would be best to wait until tomorrow before we made any
moves. We were shown to another room that had been prepared as sleeping quarters
for us.
The next morning we all met in the council chambers again to make out some kind of
plan to try and force these things out of the valley. It was decided that two of us,
myself and Dr. Curtis would go down into the valley with an army patrol mainly
because we knew what to expect and because I knew the layout of the village, Peter
was to stay behind with a reserve force.
After lunch we drove up to the valley, we drove as far as we could, Dr. Curtis and I
briefed the men the best we could, our main aim was just to see exactly what was
going on, we had to avoid contact with these things if at all possible, we had all been
kitted out with breathing apparatus and the means of communication with each other
so we could keep in contact with each other at all times.
                                           27


We passed the roadblock at the top of the hill and then made sure that all our
equipment was working, we made our way down into the valley under the main
leadership of Dr. Curtis, we hadn’t gone very far when our communication system
stopped working, we retraced our footsteps back up to the roadblock so we could
check it out but everything seemed to be alright, we tried again but the same thing
happened again, we returned to the roadblock again.
Dr. Curtis said. “The aliens barrier must be a lot stronger at this end of the valley
because we had no trouble at the other end of the valley.”
We still decided to go down into the valley but this time we would have to keep in
visual contact with each other, we reached the hotel without seeing anything and by
this time our communication system started working again although it wasn’t good we
decided to split the patrol in half, the doctor taking charge of one half and I took
charge of the other half, we decide to scout each side of the valley running up towards
the foot bridge then report back to the hotel by four o’clock.
Dr. Curtis and his party took the left side, we watched them cross the road and go up
towards the sports field which was really only used during the football and cricket
season, when we lost sight of them in the mist we moved out of the hotel, we crossed
over to the shops and onto the road leading up to the garage, we kept off the road as
much as possible to avoid any alien contact, we went around the back of the houses
between the shops and the garage, we inspected each one as we passed it and
everyone was wrecked inside, it was hard to believe that anyone had lived in them
only a short while ago.
As we neared the garage we could hear noises but couldn’t quite make out where they
were coming from, we reached the garage and from here we could just make out
moving shapes in the mist.
My heart suddenly started to beat faster because through the mist I could see Rory, I
wanted to shout out to him but I knew it wouldn’t be any use because I knew Rory
was dead, but here he was in front of me. What was going on?
We moved from the garage into the house opposite, once inside the house we found
that we were without communication again so from now on we would have to use
hand signals again. From the house we could see a little bit more of what was going
on, it looked as though the whole village population was working on some kind of
construction but we couldn’t quite make it out.
I motioned to the men to move back to the garage because through the mist I could
also make out the shape of one of the alien things so it wasn’t safe to advance any
further without being discovered.
Back at the garage we got communications back even though it was distorted, I told
the men that knowing what these things were capable of it wasn’t safe to go any
further, the best thing we could do at the moment was to make our way back to the
hotel because the time we got back there it would be getting on for four o’clock.
We got back to the hotel for about ten minutes to four, I posted a man at each
window, I wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t be taken by surprise from any side.
Four thirty passed and still no signs of Dr. Curtis and his party and it was beginning to
get dark and I was getting worried in case something had happened to them
We couldn’t wait any longer, we only had enough air to get us back to the barrier
safely so we made our way along the road to Glenstart, half way along the road we
met up with Dr. Curtis but he only had two men with him, they were running for all
they were worth, we didn’t stop to ask questions we joined them in running towards
Glenstart and safety.
Once behind the barrier the doctor stopped to catch his breath.
                                          28


“What happened?” I asked
“We walked right into them, I’ll tell you about it later but we better get back to
Glenstart and report our findings first.”
We drove back to the Glenstart and went straight to the council chambers to report
our findings. Dr. Curtis had to report first because of the loss of some of his patrol.
He said. “We had skirted around the valley as far as the market garden and had
crossed the stream to the other side of the valley when we discovered some kind of
flying craft, its what you might call a flying saucer for the want of a better word, I
estimated it to be about the size of a two storey house, up till then we hadn’t come in
contact with any aliens it was on the way back to report our findings we were just
coming through the trees that surrounded the market garden when two of these things
appeared from no where. The strength of these things is unbelievable they can pick a
man up as though he didn’t weigh anything at all, three of us were lucky to escape I’m
afraid we couldn’t do anything at all to save the others, if they weren’t killed by the
frantic blows from these things they would have died when their air tanks were ripped
off. We were only able to get away from them due to the fact that they can’t move as
fast as us. but we shouldn’t under estimate the speed at which they could move
because they couldn’t have been all that far behind us.”
I then reported my findings and what we had seen, they seemed to be concentrating on
the lower end of the valley, they were building something but we couldn’t make it
out.
Dr. Curtis said. “We had seen that also and they seemed to be levelling the land out
and making some kind of landing strip.”
So this meant that they were preparing the ground for a landing force, but when?
Something had to be done, up till now everything we had tried had failed apart from
fire to a small extent but that wouldn’t work down in the valley because of the lack of
air not unless we could find some way of making a flame burn in the atmosphere of
the valley.
By now it was too dark to do anything about it and even if we had time I don’t think it
would be advisable to try the valley at this end because they would have some kind of
guard now knowing that we could penetrate into the valley so now it must be a battle
of time with us to try and stop them from getting the valley ready for a landing party.
Before we closed the meeting we agreed that we would try some experiments with the
flamethrower at the far end of the valley, we would go up by the quarry road but we
would have to leave it until daylight.
Next morning as soon as it was light we made our way around to the far end of the
valley, all the equipment had been made ready for us during the night, we pulled up
before we got to the house to make sure that everything was clear, everything was as
we had left it at the house but there were signs that the aliens had been back up the
road as far as they could.
The camera that Dr. Curtis had set up had been pulled down and smashed beyond
repair, we soon had the flamethrower set up and it worked just great spreading a flame
over a distance of about fifteen yards, we now moved into the mist with it trying it all
the way but the flame got less and less until it stopped working altogether as the mist
got thicker, Peter suggested putting a tunnel of oxygen around the flame.
It took us a while to get something fixed up but even this ended up in failure because
the mist just swallowed up the oxygen as soon as it was released, we were back to
square one we would just have to think of something else, but what?
We could only go back to Glenstart for a rethink but before we left Dr. Curtis set the
flame thrower pointing down the road so that it would trigger off if anything from the
                                           29


valley approached towards it so this meant that the aliens would be held well within
their own barrier they couldn’t possibly get past the flamethrower and we knew that
fire was the only thing that could hold them back for the moment.
We had another meeting and the army decided it was time that they really moved in,
we had tried and tried gallantly at that but our attempts had failed.
By the afternoon they had moved their artillery up to the top of the road leading into
Glenend. Right on the stroke of three o’clock it sounded as though all hell had let
loose, for a full five minutes round after round was fired but they couldn’t penetrate
through the alien barrier, shortly after the firing stopped the air force came into action
but all their attempts failed, their bombs just exploded over the valley. The alien
barrier was arched over the valley and seemed impossible to penetrate.
The whole area fell silent once again, if we couldn’t attack them inside their barriers
we some how had to draw them out and the other end of the valley seemed to be the
most possible place to try that seeing that we had removed one of their links to their
barrier it had left part of the lake and surrounding area outside their barrier.
Dr. Curtis said.” Why hadn’t we thought about that before?”
“What?” I said.
“If the lake and the surrounding area are outside this alien barrier what keeps that end
of the valley continually cloaked in the deadly mist.”
I thought for a moment. The only thing that I could think of is that they must have to
keep covering the area with those gas bombs.”
“Right.” Said Dr. Curtis. “So at least we know we can draw them out there but how
can we keep them outside the barrier once we have them out, we know guns and
electric current doesn’t stop them we will have to think of something, I think it might
pay us to have another look at the area, it may be our last chance for the time being
because the army are not going to risk any more men in the valley for the time being.”
The next morning we put a small dingy into the back of the Land Rover and made our
way around passed the old quarry and down towards the house.
I shouted. “Look, look the mist has cleared away you can even see part of the lake
from here.”
We drove straight down passed the house and for the first time we didn’t have to wear
a facemask, we stopped to turn off the flamethrower and then continued down to the
edge of the lake, which was still up to the road at the bottom of the hill. From here we
could see a wall of mist that ran across the valley diagonally cutting across the lake.
“I wonder what is happening now.” I said turning to Peter and Dr. Curtis.
“I don’t know?” Replied Dr. Curtis. “But there is only one way to find out.”
We put the dingy into the water and with breathing equipment on we headed towards
the wall of mist and on the way passing the pump house which by now was partly
submerged, the lake had stretched out its boundaries and by now was almost up to the
farm, since the pump house had been put out of action there was nothing to govern the
lake, it was now taking its own natural way finding its own level and taking back the
land where it once used to flow.
We could hear noises from the direction of the farm, it sounded as though they were
pulling the place down but without any means of defending ourselves we thought it
best to stay in the dingy.
So for the moment the idea of trying to draw the aliens out of their barrier and around
the lake looked doubtful because it was obvious that they had given up trying to
occupy this end of the valley.
                                           30


We never spoke as we made our way back to the Land Rover, we put the dingy and
our gear back into the Land Rover, it was Peter who broke the silence by asking Dr.
Curtis.
“What now, things are begging to look hopeless.”
Dr. Curtis replied to Peter in an angry tone. “Its’ not bloody hopeless I’ll see the end
of this thing or die.”
It was the first time since I had met Dr. Curtis that I heard him raise his voice in
temper.
“Let’s not fight amongst ourselves.” I said. “We’ll get nowhere doing that.”
Dr. Curtis apologised to Peter for raising his voice in that manner. “But I suppose you
are right in a way, everything we have tried has failed even the army and air force
couldn’t do anything to these things.”
We drove back up to the house where we stopped picked up Dr. Curtis’s gear, he said
it was no use leaving it here as we might have a use for it at the other end of the
valley. We turned the flamethrower back on before we left just in case these things
might try to use the road.
On our way back to Glenstart we ran through a couple of ideas but soon found fault or
impossibilities with each idea we came up with. It was as we pulled up outside the
town hall it was Dr. Curtis who said that there was only one possibility that he could
now think of at the moment it was a high-powered laser gun.
“We haven’t got such a thing.” I said. “And if we had do you think it would penetrate
the alien barrier and reach right into the valley.”
“I’m not quite sure, I shouldn’t be telling you this but I know you will not let it go
beyond us. I am part of a team that has been experimenting with such a thing some
where in Scotland, it is a new generation of weaponry, I can’t tell you exactly where
for obvious reasons but I think it could be our only hope, there is only one snag at the
moment I will have to get special permission before we can make any plans.”
Dr. Curtis was on the phone most of the day making calls all over the place, when he
joined us for supper that night we sat and waited for him to speak.
“Well come on then.” Said Peter. “What’s going on?”
“Well I’ve had to speak to a lot of people, but I’m waiting for a final answer and I
should get that in the morning.”
“But why all the delay?” I asked. “Surely they know what we are up against by now.”
That’s where your wrong, outside of this valley nobody knows what is going on,
nobody comes in and nobody goes out without getting permission, not even the
newspaper and television people that are already in the village can get word out. It
means involving a lot of people on the outside and letting them know what is
happening, the government is trying their best to avoid a major panic, so until I get the
go ahead to get the use of the laser gun there is nothing we can do until tomorrow.”
We finished our supper in silence and made our way to our make shift bedroom we
had been allocated in the town hall in fact most of the town hall had been taken over
by the army and most of the offices were being used as bedrooms.
We had just closed the door behind us when an impatient knocking on the door
startled us; it was Dr. Curtis who opened the door to an army M.P.
“Excuse me sir but the major would like to see all in the conference room at once.”
We put our jackets back on and followed the M.P. to the council chambers where we
were greeted and quickly ushered to a seat.
It was Major Collins who addressed the meeting.
“Gentlemen, I have just received word from the barrier at the top of the road, there is
a humming noise coming from the valley, it has been starting and stopping most of
                                           31


the day but for the last hour it has been a lot louder and stronger it sounds as though
they are trying to make some kind of move in the valley. Dr. Curtis do you think you
could shed any light on the situation.”
The doctor stood up. “I’m afraid I couldn’t give an opinion until I have heard the
noises for myself but I hope for the moment that these things are not making their
move now as it is we are completely defenceless against them.”
“I know everything we have tried has been futile.” The major said “But you have been
making a lot of phone calls today, have you any information that you can give us.”
“I’m sorry major but at the moment it is top secret and I’m not allowed to say
anything.”
“I understand doctor but for the moment I would like you to go up to the valley to
give us your opinion on the noises because this is a little more in your line than any of
us here.”
It was the chief inspector that addressed the doctor.
“Excuse me doctor but is there no way of removing this alien barrier, from what you
told us from our first meeting you have one of the metal objects that gives out the
signal that makes the barrier, couldn’t you use a metal detector to find them.”
“I’m afraid not, although I said it was made of some kind of metal it is not a metal
that has been made any where in the world, we put it through several tests and metal
detection was one of them, we got no readings at all from it, so I’m afraid we would
be wasting our time with a metal detector, the major has had a patrol going around the
mist barrier looking for these things but they have had no luck at all.
If we could find these things our problems would be over because these things can’t
exist outside the mist, I think we have established that fact.”
After the meeting, which had been very brief, we made our way up to the valley under
army escort, when we got to the barrier the place was as silent as the grave, all ears
and eyes were trained on the valley.
The doctor spoke to the sentry at the barrier asking him exactly what the noises
sounded like.
“Well sir it sounded like some kind of electric generator starting up then dying out, it
has only just stopped a short while before you got here sir.”
Then all of a sudden we could all hear it, it was exactly as the sentry had described,
but what ever it was they were having trouble with it because it kept cutting out, this
went on for about fifteen minutes then the whole place fell into silence again. I think
we all came to the same conclusion to what it was but it was the doctor who
confirmed our fears.
“It’s a generator of some kind and from the direction of the noise it’s coming from
their space craft but let’s hope they keep on having trouble with it until I get that
phone call in the morning.”
“You will let us know if there are any further advances.” Dr. Curtis said turning to the
major.
Next morning we had breakfast and just sat around waiting for word from Dr. Curtis
or the major which ever came first we would have to do some fast moving.
At ten fifteen Dr. Curtis burst into the room. “Come on you two let’s get moving, I’ve
got the go ahead.”
We joined Dr. Curtis in the yard at the back of the town hall; he already had a convoy
of lorries at his disposal. We led the lorries out of the village at a hair-raising speed.
“Where are we going?” Peter asked.
“You’ll see when we get there.” Dr. Curtis replied. “But I thought this was top secret
so how come you are taking us with you?”
                                           32


“It’s all right Peter I’ve had the all clear on both of you, that’s what some of the delay
has been over.”
“God who’s side do they think we are on.” Peter said?
I think that kind of insulted Peter because he hardly spoke most of the journey; all the
traffic had been stopped in Glasgow for us as we were police escorted through, I think
we broke every rule in the Highway Code, Red lights, junction halt signs and
everything else and I don’t think we did less than forty miles per hour at any time
during the journey.
We stopped on a deserted road; there was nothing in sight but the hills and an old
deserted house.
“What have we stopped here for?” I asked
“This is it.” Dr. Curtis replied.
Peter suddenly came back to life.
“You must be joking, there’s nothing here but that old house over there, surely that
can’t be the place.”
“That’s it all right.” the doctor replied.
We drove down a rough track towards the house.
“But there is no signs of any guards.” Peter said turning to the doctor.
“Don’t worry about that, they knew we were here as soon as we turned onto this
track.”
“How is that?” Peter seemed more curious than ever.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that, but you couldn’t get within two miles of this place
without being discovered.”
We pulled up outside the house; it was as deserted as what it had looked from the
road, Dr. Curtis got out of the lorry and went to the door of the house, what he did I
couldn’t see but from nowhere came a security guard, he spoke to Dr. Curtis for a
couple of minutes, we were then beckoned by Dr. Curtis to follow, we followed Dr.
Curtis and the security guard into the house, we went into a room which at one time
had been the library, we stood facing the empty shelves when they suddenly opened
to reveal a lift, we entered into the lift which then took a couple of minutes to
descend, the lift stopped gently upon where we entered into a honey comb of
passages.
Peter and myself were shown into a room where upon the doctor apologised.
“This is as far as you are allowed to go, but please make yourself at home.”
The door was closed behind us then we heard the click of the lock, it was a pleasant
room, it was well carpeted with easy chairs and small tables which were scattered
with magazines there was even coffee simmering on a hot plate, we helped ourselves
to coffee and sat down to wait for the return of Dr. Curtis, we could hear plenty of
movement outside the room. Almost three quarters of an hour had gone by when we
heard the door being unlocked and Dr. Curtis rejoined us.
“Right then, lets be moving.”
When we got back up to the surface the lorries had been loaded and turned around
ready to go back the way we had come.
The journey back was slower due to the fact that the lorries were carrying delicate
instruments, it was getting dark when we got back to Glenstart, the trucks were parked
in the yard behind the town hall with a heavy guard put around them, we never saw
Dr. Curtis for the rest of the night for he was busy in conference and working with the
team of people that had come with the lorries.
                                            33


Dr. Curtis who looked as though he had been up all night woke us up about four thirty
in the morning, we dressed quickly and joined him in the yard, the trucks were
already running so we moved out straight away.
It was a slow drive up to the barrier and was almost light by the time we got to the
barrier, Dr. Curtis and his team got to work straight away setting up all the equipment,
we helped where we could but most of the time it was better to keep out of the way
and just stand and watch.
Breakfast was sent up at eight thirty Dr. Curtis and his team took it in turns to stop for
a quick break we couldn’t get much out of them in the way of information they just
referred us back to Dr. Curtis and another chap who seemed to be doing all the
organizing, they all worked almost none stop apart from the odd breaks.
By three o’clock Dr. Curtis said they were almost ready for a test run, Dr. Curtis had
run a heavy cable from the back of one of the lorries and had fixed it to all the
equipment they had been busy with, heavy screens had been erected around it so it
was impossible to see all of what was going on.
Dr. Curtis went to the back of one of the lorries and we soon heard the sound of a
generator starting up, Dr. Curtis motioned for Peter and me to follow him, behind the
screens we were amazed at the amount of equipment that had been set up, he said that
this weapon was still in the early stages of development so it was still a little bit
primitive in its set up, there were dials lights and wires everywhere, all the wires led
to a main junction box which looked like an electricians nightmare, over the top of
this was a large metal tube with a heavy glass globe at the end and coming out of this
was what looked like a barrel of a gun.
Dr. Curtis and his team started pressing buttons and pulling switches and giving
instructions to each other, there was a low buzzing at first but then the noise increased
to an almost unbearable screech then it toned down to a constant humming sound.
Dr. Curtis came over to us and said they were ready and were going to try a couple of
practice shots to see how far they could get the beam to travel, he reminded us that it
was still in the experimental stages and not to expect to much.
Dr. Curtis pointed the gun like thing up the valley and gave the order to fire, there was
a crackling noise and a flash from the globe end of the gun, Dr. Curtis had a look of
relief on his face.
“What’s happening?” I said. “Is it working?”
Dr. Curtis was looking even more pleased than before. “Yes and we can now
penetrate through the barrier with it but it’s not quite strong enough to reach right
down into the valley.”
“Can you not move it further into the valley.” Peter asked
“I’m afraid it’s not as easy as that, now it is all set up, we will have to try and increase
the power to get the range from here.”
Dr. Curtis and his team connected another generator to the equipment and gave it
another trial shot the doctor gave a shout.
“Yes! I think we can do it this time we have got enough range.”
“Good.” I said. “Are we going to have a crack at them?”
“There’s no time like the present.” the doctor replied he then turned the beam to face
down into the valley in the direction of the market garden, he then gave the order to
fire, we waited but heard nothing from the direction of the valley, the doctor adjusted
the aim and fired again, this time we could hear the crashing of glass.
“It sounds as though you have hit the market garden green houses; you want to be a
bit further over.” I said.
                                          34


Dr. Curtis went back into conference with his colleagues just then there was a flash
from the valley and what looked like a fork of lightening, then came an unexpected
explosion just below us.
“God those things are firing back, another couple of shots like that and they will hit
us.”
Dr. Curtis called to one of the soldiers on duty. “Can you get me major Collins up
here.”
“Yes sir.” He replied. “He is on his way up here now.”
We only waited a couple of minutes for the major to arrive and he came up to us
straight away.
“What is going on?”
“We’ve managed to penetrate the barrier but they have returned fire.” Peter told him.
Dr. Curtis asked the major if he could send some men over to the other side of the
valley to try and draw their attention to try and give his people some time to make
adjustments.
“It would take over an hour for anyone to get to the other side.” The major replied.
“And there is no guarantee that they would make it.”
I stepped forward. “Excuse me major but if you used the footbridge it could be done
in about a half an hour.”
“This footbridge, exactly where is it?”
I pointed into the mist. “It’s down there sir it spans across a narrow gully, it’s not
marked on any maps that’s probably how you don’t know about it.”
The major left us, just then there was another flash from the valley, it hit the side of
the hill about fifteen yards in front of us, we were showered with flying rocks and by
the shudder from the blast it must have taken half the hill side away.
I joined the doctor who was again in conference with his colleges.
“Anything wrong?” I asked.
“Not really, but to get further range we have got to put more power into it.”
“What’s the problem then, you have another generator here.”
“It’s not as easy as that, overload the circuits and you will blow us all out of
existence.” Interrupted the doctor’s right hand man. “That is what we have been
discussing, we think with some modifications we can over come this but we need
time.”
I let the doctor and his team get on with their work because it was completely beyond
Peter and myself. We heard the humming noise coming from the valley again it was
stronger than it had been before but whatever they were doing they were still having
trouble with it because it kept dying out again.
It was dark now and the doctor and his team had to work under arc lamps it seemed to
be taking the doctor and his team a lot longer than they thought. The major had held
up his diversion party because he didn’t want them at the other side of the valley too
long without any protection or cover, as it was nothing was happening so the doctor
and his team were getting the time they needed but at the moment we were in the
hands of the doctor and his team.
The humming from the valley had been going on and off for quite a while now, it
must have been about eleven thirty when there was a different tone about the noise
but this time it wasn’t coming directly from the opposite side of the valley but more
from the far end of the valley, it was one of the sentry’s that spotted it first;
“Look, look.” He shouted pointing down the valley.
I could see it myself now coming down the valley just above the mist it was another
one of those space craft that the doctor had seen in the valley, it suddenly dived into
                                           35


the mist and descended into the valley, we now know why the aliens had been
levelling the ground in the valley, we listened until the drone of its motor died out.
The major stormed forward, he was furious. “Why the hell didn’t we get any warning
of that thing coming, what the hell are the air force doing they should have been able
to stop that thing from getting anywhere near here, if one wasn’t enough we’ve got
two to cope with now.”
The major sent word down to Glenstart to ask the air force for an explanation.
The major now sent the patrol out to the other side of the valley seeing that the second
craft had arrived; time would now be essential to the doctor and his team. The patrol
had only been gone about fifteen minutes when there was a flash from the middle of
the valley; they were firing at the patrol.
“Lets hope they get through.” I said turning to Peter.
They fired again and this time they must have hit the patrol from the screams we
heard.
The doctor came over. We’re almost finished now we only needed to couple up the
other generator.”
It was shortly after I heard the doctor give the order to fire, this time the beam was
strong enough to follow its path down into the valley, the doctors aim must have only
been feet away from the alien craft at the other side of the valley, both alien crafts
retaliated immediately, the fire from the centre of the valley was way over our heads
but from the other craft they had a direct hit on an empty truck behind us, it just
totally destroyed the truck beyond recognition.
The doctor reset his aim and fired, it must have been a direct hit on the alien craft, it
was difficult to see through the mist but there was a cascade of sparks we could only
hope that it had done some major damage but it was obvious that the beam still wasn’t
strong enough to do total damage and destroy the craft, the doctor said that everything
was at its limit, everything was red hot after that last shot.
We must have done some damage to the alien craft for the rest of the night everything
was quiet which was just as well for it gave us time to let the equipment cool down
and it gave the doctor and his team to get some well deserved rest, they had worked
none stop for almost twenty four hours.
About five o’clock in the morning there was an almighty explosion from the far side
of the valley from the glare we could see that it was the alien craft, whatever had
happened it was a blessing for us, we now only had to concentrate on the craft at the
centre of the valley.
The doctor and his team turned the beam to point down into the centre of the valley
we heard the motor of the remaining alien craft starting up, the sound got louder as it
came to full power, the doctor fired twice in quick succession, they must have been a
hit even though it was impossible to see that far into the valley but we heard the motor
die out, the doctor came over to where we were standing.
“Well lets hope those last couple of shots were on target because they have burnt out a
couple of circuits and it’ll take a good while to repair them.
The doctor and his team had been hard at it all morning but they took time off to have
a lunch because there hadn’t been a sound all this time from the valley. Peter and I
wanted to go down into the valley to see if there was anything we could do to throw
some light on the situation but the major would not have anything to do with it he said
he couldn’t afford to lose any more men as there had been no news from the last
patrol he could only presume them dead.
The doctor and his team had just returned to their work when there was another
almighty explosion from the valley, it was the other alien space craft it had blown up
                                          36


like the first one, but for what reason we didn’t know although it was probably hit by
the laser gun I don’t think it was still strong enough to cause total damage.
We just stood and watched as smoke bellowed out of the heavy mist that engulfed the
valley. Everyone had been without proper sleep for along time, after the sentry’s had
been relieved we all returned to Glenstart for a well-earned rest.
It was four o’clock in the morning when I was woke up, the doctor and Peter were
busy dressing I dressed and joined them in what was now the canteen for a quick
breakfast, Dr. Curtis was in a hurry to get back up to the valley, it was just getting
light as we pulled up at the barrier. The grey deadly mist still hung over the valley so
nothing had changed during the night, the sentry also reported that nothing had
happened during the night, just then the major pulled up at the barrier after a quick
discussion he agreed with us that a party should go down into the valley to
investigate.
We checked our gear and made our way down the road this time we had no trouble at
all with our communications and as we got near the bottom of the hill I halted the
party.
“Listen what can you hear.”
We all stood listening, Peter shook his head and was just about to speak when the
doctor said. “Water I can hear water.”
“That’s what I thought it was I said but you can’t usually hear the stream from here”
We continued down to the bottom of the hill when suddenly we were splashing about
ankle deep in water.
“Water, God the valley is flooding.” I said.
We sent two of the soldiers that had come with us back up to the barrier to get the
dingy that was still in the back of the Land Rover.
They had been gone only a short while when we heard the sound of a lorry coming
down the road, it was the two soldiers
“How the hell did you get that thing down here.” The doctor said.
“We just drove it down sir.” One of them replied. “Why what’s wrong?”
“Nothing its all right, things are beginning to look a little better already.”
They had brought an extra dingy with them so this time we decided to keep together
because we didn’t want anything happening like the last time we brought a party into
the valley, we kept near to the edge of the water just in case we needed to get away
fast.
We went down the valley towards the market garden, we soon found the reason for
the valley flooding, the shots from the alien crafts had blasted away the hillside and
had avalanched into the gully, the footbridge was no longer over the gully it had been
blasted away with the hill and huge boulders were obstructing the flow of water. We
scouted around and found no signs of any alien craft they had completely vanished
from sight even most of what had been the village was beginning to disappear only
the top stories of the shops and hotel were visible from what we could see through the
mist.
We reported our findings back to the major, I wanted to know what he was going to
do about the valley before it became flooded altogether, he said he would have to
have the whole place surveyed first before he could make any assessment but at the
moment do anything at all.
Later that afternoon in Glenstart the major called for us he was holding a meeting in
the council chambers, he told us that he had a report from a diving team, the two alien
craft had for some reason blown themselves up, the diving team were still bringing up
pieces of wreckage so until it is examined I can’t tell you anything more on that, he
                                           37


turned to face me, as far as the valley itself gentlemen I’m afraid we have no option
but to erect a proper dam as soon as possible to try and undo the rock slide that the
alien craft caused would cause flooding in this village and some of the rocks are not
safe at the moment and I have already given instructions for the work to go ahead, just
then a M.P. entered the room and addressed the major.
“Excuse me sir but Dr. Curtis is wanted on the phone urgently.”
The doctor left the room and was away for about fifteen minutes, when he came back
the major was just closing the meeting so the doctor intervened before everyone left.
Dr. Curtis then told us that it was from his laboratory in London they had been trying
to get in touch with him for days but with all the calls in and out of the village being
stopped this was the first time they had been able to get through, apparently the object
Peter had found in the lake which had been left in a bath of water to stop it from
working, after further tests they had found that water had a corrosive effect on it and
the outer case had become badly damaged.
The doctor went on to make things clear that it wasn’t the laser gun that had inflicted
major damage although it had some effect on the out come on the alien crafts it was
the valley itself that had its revenge on the unwelcome visitors, the valley had become
flooded with water from the surrounding hills and had caused some kind of short and
overloaded everything until they blew up and as the water has a corrosive effect on
their type of metal it is slowly breaking it up and through time nothing at all will be
left to show that they were ever here at all.
As we left the town hall it was starting to rain.
“What do we do now?” Peter asked.
“I must get back to London.” the doctor replied. “They have everything packed away
from the top of the valley and they should have it back to where it came from by
now.”
Just then the major pulled up in his car. “Can I give anyone a lift into Glasgow.”
The doctor accepted, we shook hands and said our goodbyes and watched as they
disappeared out of sight into the darkness of the night.
There were still signs that the army was still about but most had gone apart from those
left on sentry duty and now those who were starting to build the dam. We made our
way around the valley and up towards the house, it was raining harder than ever as we
reached the house, I stood in the doorway of the house looking up at the sky.
“What’s wrong?” Peter asked.
“Nothing.” I replied. “I was just thinking if only it had rained a couple of weeks ago
all of this might never have happened.”
I tried the lights in the house but none of them worked we had to revert back to the
lamps to see our way around that night.
Next morning Peter packed all his gear up he said that it would be better if he returned
to London as well so I drove him to the airport, that morning after he boarded the
plane and it had flown out of sight for the first time in my life I felt lonely and alone.
There was no longer any point in staying at the house, I moved all my personal effects
down to Glenstart and locked the house up.
I moved in with the lady that had put us up for the night the first time I arrived in
Glenstart, the next couple of days the village was invaded again but this time with all
types of mechanical diggers and concrete mixers, it must have been one of the
quickest dams ever built.
At the end of the week Dr. Curtis and Peter came back up to Glenstart, they didn’t
have any problems finding where I was stopping at; We went to the valley to see how
things were going on with the dam, they were almost finished, it wasn’t very wide it
                                            38


had been erected at the at the neck of the gorge, from the top of the hill it looked like
a cork being put in a bottle.
The mist still hung over the valley I asked Dr. Curtis if he had discovered anything
about it, he said that it was early days he was still examining wreckage of the space
crafts seeing that they were made of the same material as the object that was first
found in the lake so it would only be a matter of time before they corroded with the
rain and the rising water of the lake.
That evening the doctor got a phone call from London, it concerned all of us we were
to have a meeting with the Prime minister. The next day we all travelled to London, I
still couldn’t believe everything that had happened in the past couple of weeks, I
asked the doctor if it’s water that got rid of these things how was it possible for life to
exist without water; Probably the same way that those things could exist without air,
in our world it’s impossible to live without either of them but the world that they
came from is possibly something that we will never understand.
After our meeting with the Prime minister I stayed in London for a couple of days but
I was restless and wanted to be back amongst the hills again.
I arrived back in Glenstart to find it as it had always been as though nothing had
happened, that evening just as the sun was setting I walked up to the valley that had
once been my home, the mist had cleared from the valley now and all that was to be
seen of the valley was the water lapping at the sides of the hills not even the church
steeple showed now.
Before I left London Peter told me that any time I wanted I could live in London with
him and he could always find me a job with his firm, as I turned to leave the sounds of
a lone piper drifted from the far side of the valley, I could hear it all the way back to
Glenstart as I walked with tears in my eyes.
I was still undecided whether to except Peter’s invitation or not because there was
nothing left for me here, nothing remained to show what had once been a thriving
happy valley, nothing at all except for the old barn.



                                       THE END

				
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