A short story by Colin Devonshire
“Guys, something is not right,” Mac said. He was hopping from leg to leg, scratching his hair.
“What is up with you?” Drew asked.
“I don’t feel right. It’s as if someone is poking my brain. There is something I should know, but don’t. I know that sounds crazy.”
“What’s the matter? We are tucked away, hidden behind the fifth green. Our parents believe we are camping, which we are. They don’t know we will have guests. What they don’t know and all that stuff. Everything is fine. Especially if the girls turn up,” Drew said, smirking a dirty grin.
“I’m not worried about our parents, and I’m confident the girls will make it. It’s not that. Something feels wrong.”
The boys finished setting up their tent. They had timed their visit to perfection. Both boys worked as part-time caddies. They knew no golfers could play hole five at this time and get back in the clubhouse before dark. They could never finish their nine, let alone all eighteen holes, before it was pitch black. So, the first golfers to tee off would be at seven the next morning and therefore would not get to their green until around eight. Giving them plenty of time to ‘enjoy’ themselves with the girls. Drew’s father was the head groundsman at the course. He started work at eight. The team of green-keepers took it in turns, to place the flags in their holes at first light. Hopefully, that sleepy man would not notice them.
Giggling could be heard coming up the pathway.
“It gets dark up here in the woods,” said Amanda, prodding her friend.
“Yeah, it is not even six,” said best friend Judy.
“Where are you boys?” called Amanda.
The boys nudged each other, trying not to allow their laughter to be heard. Snorting like piglets.
“Don’t tell me they pranked us?” said Judy. “Got us up here in the dark?”
“Nah, the way Drew grabbed me, he’ll be here.”
Laughter burst out from behind an aged oak tree.
“Yeah, we’re here,” the boys cackled.
“Come in ladies,” said Mac. He eased a gap in the branches. The girls ducked through.
“Wow, how romantic,” said Judy.
“Yeah, you have made a good job of our five-star accommodation for the night,” said Amanda. Drew led the girls into their tent. Mac stood by the flap.
“Come on then,” said Drew.
“Yeah, just a minute. I thought I heard something. Wait a sec, I’ll have a look,” said Mac.
“Hilarious, are you trying to scare us already? It’s only just dark,” said Amanda.
There was a rustling outside.
“Come on, a joke’s a joke,” called Drew.
Silence from inside and outside the canvas. Drew, and the girls studied each other’s faces. Drew started smirking. They all laughed.
“Where is he,” said Drew as he stood and went outside, closely followed by the girls, no longer laughing.
Ahead, next to the steep back of a green-side bunker stood their friend. Motionless, arms out wide, head looking up into the tree. Drew jogged up, shook him.
“Hey, what is it?”
The girls rushed forward.
“Be careful, don’t touch him,” said Judy. “My mum is a nurse, and she told me people sleepwalking should not be shocked awake.”
“What should we do?”
“I think we just leave him and wait.”
The friends looked at each other as Mac slowly lowered his arms.
“Are we moving the party outside?” he asked, looking around.
“What happened to you? It looked like you had seen a ghost or, you were sleepwalking in a kind of daydream?” asked Drew.
“Let’s go in.” Mac pushed his friends in.
“You will not believe this, but I saw a murder.”
“How do you mean saw? There was nothing to see.”
“Call it what you will, but I just witnessed a killing.”
“Yeah, haha, you are winding us up,” said Amanda.
“You say, you saw, how do you mean? There was nothing to see, and it is pitch black.”
“I saw it in my mind. Call it what you will, a premonition, a vision, I don’t know. But someone was killed.”
“Who?” They all wanted to know. “One of us?” Amanda asked.
“No, but I’d rather not say.”
“If you won’t tell us who, at least tell us what happened,” asked Drew.
Mac was silently weeping, his friends gawped at the stooped, bouncing shoulders of Mac, gently lifting and falling between sucked breaths.
“Cheer up Mac, it was just a daydream.”
“It was too real. And it happened there.” Mac pointed over his shoulder. “The edge of the fairway in front of the green, right next to that bunker.”
“What happened? Tell us.”
“Two men were arguing and pointing to the grass. One man was driving the tractor pulling the chain mower, he was waving and shouting above the engine noise.”
“The tractor driver ploughed over the other man, chopping him to bits. Your dad was the victim, Drew. I’m sorry.”
Fear gripped Drew. He pulled out his mobile. “Dad, dad, are you working tomorrow?” Panic quietened. “Oh, it’s your day off. No, no, nothing, just asking.”
Sighs of relief were whistled by the group.
“Dad is supposed to have a day off unless there is more trouble with the unsettled bloke.”
“Jesus, you had us all worried,” said Judy.
“Especially me, you idiot,” said Drew.
They all relaxed as the first cans of beer were shared. The torch was dimmed to a romantic glow. Crisp packets ripped open, roughly made sandwiches passed around. Ring pulls hissed and beers guzzled. First, nervous chatter echoed, the chit-chat became less self-conscious, becoming jocular, then blue humoured laughter flooded the tent, before long young bodies edged towards each other, fingers touch, hands held. The clinking of beers cans halted. Sleeping bags were zipped together, boy and girl cuddled in the warm, cosy bedding. Nervous, young fingers fiddled with unaccustomed underwear.
“Sorry, sorry, Judy I can’t concentrate. I keep seeing Drew’s dad being mowed down, over and over. I’m sorry, it’s in my mind, again and again.”
Mac gathered his things. Dressed in the dark, he started to carefully tread a path home.
“Wait for me, you can walk me home too,” said Judy, jogging and tripping behind him.
He kissed her long and deep on her mother’s doorstep, whispering his apologies again. She left him with a playful slap on his cheek.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”
He trudged home, not happy with his decision, but he knew it was the right thing. He crept up the stairs to his bed.
“Mac, Mac wake up.”
“What is it, mum?”
“Thank God, you’re home. What time did you get back from camping?”
“I don’t know, why?” asked Mac.
“There has been a terrible accident at the golf course.”
Mac pulled his duvet up and clenched it around his throat, clasping hard until his fingers turned white.
“You may know there is a dispute at the golf club. It has turned nasty. One green-keeper drove into your friend’s dad. The tractor careered over the edge of the bunker and crashed into a tent. Four people were rushed to hospital. Who the hell would pitch a tent there?”