From the Night Watch:
The Noise in the Woods
by Francisco (Frank Baby)
(A prequel to Tales from the Night Watch)
After a very eventful Pipe & Pint, the few valiant members of the night watch left standing, went about doing their last patrol. The good sir, Heathcliff, lead two of his new recruits, Francisco and Orin Hawke, through the perimeter of Revelwood.
“Can I put all this beer down now?” whined Francisco.
“Have you gone daft? The Vicars brew, like the fine citizens of Revelwood, must always be defended! If you are concerned with the weight, drink another one. Less for you to carry.” responded Heathcliff.
“How come Hawke gets to carry the Oatmeal cookies?” Francisco carried on.
“Because.” said Hawke.
“What do you mean because? Gimme that!” said Francisco as he snatched the bag of oatmeal cookies from Hawke’s hands. The quick movement caused him to lose his grip on the case of beer.
“ You fool!” screamed Heathcliff, as he made a dive for the case of brew, catching it mere inches from the ground. “Have you ANY idea what would have happened, had this beer hit the ground?!”.
Francisco, at a loss for words, reached into the bag and popped a cookie in his mouth. “We can’t drink from a case of shaken beer! Hawke, help me up.” finished Heathcliff.
“ I’m sorry. It’s just that, these cookies go so damn well with this brew;” apologized Francisco.
“Yeah, and you almost made it so we had nothing to wash down these cookies with. I Think I should carry the beer from now on.” commented Hawke as he helped Heathcliff up from the ground.
Many beers and a bag of oatmeal cookies later, our intrepid watchmen stumbled through the woods unto the main road leading out of Revelwood. “Well, the citizens of Revelwood are sleeping soundly and safely. The woods seem to be clear of beasts or any other type of dangerous creatures. I think it is time for us to retire. Congratulation on a job well done.” declared Heathcliff.
“OoOoO” whispered Francisco.
“OoO what?” asked Hawke.
“What do you mean what?”
“ You went OoOoO.”
“No I didn’t”
“ I heard you! You went OoOoOoOoO!.”
“ I don’t know what you mean. Hey, did you guys hear that?”
“Don’t change the subject!”
“Children, children, calm down.” interjected Heathcliff.
“You guys didn’t hear that noise?”
“Yes! I heard you go OoOoOoO!”
“No not that! I mean that noise in the woods.” declared Francisco.
“Well, all I hear is the sound of you two bickering. I’ve never heard a dumber argument in my life. I’m going to get some sleep.” Said Heathcliff as he turned to walk away.
“I’m going to go check it out.” said Francisco as he dashed into the woods.
Heathcliff and Hawke waited by the side of the road for Francisco to return with his report. A few minutes passed and the woods seemed eerily quiet. Suddenly, the two waiting men began to hear something. Some kind of low guttural sound. Looking at each other, the two men pulled their swords out of their scabbards, and faced the woods. Hawke bumped into Heathcliff when the sound of rustling leaves was heard from the direction Francisco had entered the woods. A minute later the two saw a man sized shape come towards them in the darkness.
“Who goes there!” boomed Heathcliff. “It’s me.” Came the sound of Francisco’s voice as he emerged from the woods. His face was beaded with sweat, and had a sickly pale hue to it, as if he had been scared half to death. Panting, Francisco took a minute to catch his breath.
“Report!” ordered Heathcliff.
“ I didn’t find anything.” Francisco panted.
“What do you mean you didn’t find anything? We heard that noise in the woods.”
“Oh, you guys heard that?”
“Of course we did. It was horrible! And you found nothing?”
“Not a thing.” Francisco stated as he gathered himself and wiped the sweat of his face.
Heathcliff turned to Hawke and pointed to the woods in the direction the noise had come from. “Me? Why do I have to go? I don’t wanna go in there. There’s scary noises in there!” reacted Hawke.
“Go check it out, maybe you’ll have better luck finding whatever that noise was.” ordered Heathcliff.
“Alright, alright, I’ll go, but if something eats me, I’m gonna be really mad,” was all Hawke could say as he stepped into the woods with shaking knees.
Heathcliff and Francisco waited quietly. A few minutes passed, and a low sound could be heard, slowly raising in intensity. Almost a low wailing. The torturous noise, ended a few minutes later, and again the sound of rustling leaves could be heard. “What horrendous beast haunts these woods?” whispered Heathcliff. Francisco just stood there, looking down at the ground.
Hawke emerged from the brush a minute later, and stopped in front of the two, looking remarkably similar to how Francisco looked when he returned. Breathing hard, he reported. “There’s nothing out there.”
“What do you mean there’s nothing out there?” said a now infuriated Heathcliff. “ I heard that noise! Are you two blind? I’ll go find it myself”, and dashed into the woods, sword in hand.
Heathcliff paced quietly and alertly through the silent woods, keeping an ear open for any possible sound. A few minutes passed and all was quiet. He was about to turn around and go back to the road when suddenly he found himself saying “OoOoOoO”. It wasn’t until he felt the cramps deep down in his bowels and found himself having to hike up his kilt, making similar noises to those he had heard before, that he realized what the horrible thing that haunted the woods was. It seems that although delicious in their own right, the Vicars brew and the oatmeal cookies made a lethal combination.
A few minutes later, after grasping for some leaves, a sweat covered, pale Heathcliff, exited the woods to find a pair of shameful men staring down at the ground. Feeling somewhat better, and wiping the sweat off his brow, Heathcliff stood imposingly in front of the two men. “I hereby officially declare, that tonight, there was NO noise in the woods. Nothing! Is that clear?” he stated.
“Yes sir.” responded the two in unison, and headed off to their tents.