It was a crisp, sunny morning on the cusp between Summer and Autumn, and the view that met Alan and Steph as they turned round the edge of the pathway was not what they were expecting at all.
“Woah!” gasped Alan, looking at the vast expanse of rolling hills that stretched out before them.
“Where’s the obelisk?” asked Steph, squinting at the countryside before them in amazement. About a mile ahead was a large expanse of woodland on the side of a hill, and a well-worn grass track that snaked its way from the trees back to where they were standing.
“Over there I guess”, shrugged Alan as he quickly adjusted the straps on his backpack.
“That’s a lot further than the map showed” exclaimed Steph, as she pulled out an old, crinkled map from her back pocket. Quickly unfolding it in the light breeze, Steph looked at the hand-drawn map, then glanced over the top to compare it with the view ahead.
The map showed a few small trees but what was now in front of them was a much longer hike on a terrain that looked almost flat on the map, but undulated dramatically in reality. Oh, and the actual trees were huge and much more dense too.
Alan and Steph began the walk with some trepidation. This wasn’t the first surprise they had come across that day, and it probably wasn’t going to be the last.
With calves aching and a great deal of breathlessness, they finally reached the woodland entrance as the midday sun hung directly above them in the almost cloudless blue sky.
However, it only took a few steps into the wood for everything to change and take on a more ominous tone. All of a sudden it was much cooler, darker and eerily quiet. The path they had followed was now merging with a dry, mulchy trough that was flanked with a steep bank on the left that dropped sharply into brambles and thick forest branches. On the right, there was a very steep climb up into yet more woodland that quickly deteriorated into a brown haze…
Another 15 minute writing exercise, based on any subject. As we had been on a walk into Tring Forest just a few days before, this seemed like a good starting point. I always find forests evoke great atmosphere for a story! Just a few small tweaks to this piece, otherwise it has been transcribed exactly as it was written.