The flickering flames were mesmerising and the wood cracked as it burned. Scotty handed Steve a straight stick and opened his gas mask bag. He smiled and unwrapped half a dozen sausages. It was time for a midnight feast. They skewered the sausages and placed them over the fire. Turning them regularly, the sausages soon turned a golden brown.
“That was a close shave last week wasn’t it?” Scotty whispered.
“Yeah, I thought he had us there.”
“We can outrun the gamekeeper easy, and he knows it. But his dogs are quick.”
Steve laughed. “I’m not gonna lie, I nearly shat myself when he set the dogs on us.”
Scotty smiled and the boys tucked into their meal. Eating the sausages from the skewers, the friends talked and laughed. Life was good. Eventually, they got up and stamped the fire out. On their hands and knees, they poured water on the embers and brushed soil over the burned branches. Lichen and other sticks were used to conceal any sign of the fire. Keeping their torches on, they walked down the incline to the barbed wire fence. There the boys switched the torches off and waited for their eyes to adjust to the darkness. Sitting for ten minutes, they watched the cows in the field beyond and looked around for any movement, in case the gamekeeper was out that night. There was nothing. The wind rasped their ears.
The boys walked back the way they had come. The farmhouse had no lights on anymore so they made good speed, ran up the hill and over the broken fence. Across the fields beyond, they made it to the now deserted road. On the embankment, the boys lay on their stomachs and looked in both directions. No cars, so they darted over and ran down the lane. They made it to Scotty’s driveway and back to the tent. Zipping themselves inside, they changed and packed their gear away. Steve checked his watch one last time. It was 4:11 a.m. Closing his eyes, sleep came within minutes.
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