Truth be known, I was glad to get out of there. I’m not easily unsettled, but the stories about a werewolf, which local residents claimed to have seen out on the moors, began to get to me. And the reports of visitors to this remote village, who had failed to make it back home, especially affected me since I was now one of those visitors.
I tried to shake off these stories–told with the usual sidelong glances and trembling pauses used by every good story teller–but when a soft-spoken man who had stood quietly at the edge of the room until then, approached me and said, “In case you’re interested, there’s a train returning to London at 5:45 this evening,” I knew immediately that I intended to be on it.
Accordingly, around 4:00 pm, I headed off on the two-mile walk with my duffle bag slung over my shoulder and reached the train station a little before 5:00. Being 45 minutes early, I had no trouble finding a seat on a bench at the edge of the tracks.
After sitting for a while and not seeing another soul, it occurred to me that the soft-spoken man may have been mistaken about the time, and I decided to inquire. When I discovered that the waiting room entrance was locked, I looked around with new concern. It was almost 5:30 and the sun was by now so low in the west that every blade of grass cast a shadow as tall as a stalking animal. I immediately returned to the bench, picked up my duffle bag, and had started to head back to the village when I saw a man approaching across the fields.
It was only when I recognized that it was the soft-spoken gentleman whom I had met at the house I was visiting that I realized how nervous I had been. As he stepped onto the platform, I restrained myself from running up and embracing him, and just extended my hand. He walked right past me and did not pause until he reached the bench where I had been sitting, pushed my duffle bag aside, and sat down.
With a feeling of profound relief, I followed and sat next to him on the bench where he was staring across the moors with such a fixed gaze that I became concerned that something terrible had happened to him. Unable to remain comfortable in his silence, I started talking non-stop about my life in London. When he continued to show no indication that he was aware of my presence, I turned toward him and exclaimed in the most heartfelt way how relieved I was that he was there.
He continued to look out over the moors, as if he was waiting for something to appear there. But surely, we were both just waiting for the train to arrive.
Then–exactly where he had been staring—I saw the bright rim of a full moon rising above the desolate moors. Glancing at him, it seemed as if his profile was altering before my eyes. My voice sounded shrill in my own ears as I blurted out, “I think our train is running late.”
Finally, he turned to face me and, in a voice that was now not in the least soft-spoken, said, “I may have neglected to tell you. The train doesn’t come through here on Saturday nights.”