Eventually I asked Hamish what he was going to do next to which he replied ‘Go for a nice long stroll by the looks of it!’.
‘But if this tunnel is endless, then how are we ever going to reach the end’ I asked.
‘Remember that the Stone that wears a Hat told me that we must follow the tunnel until we can stand on the moon and then the shadow man will show us the way. So I guess we must continue on and all will be revealed. Although it’s going to be a long walk if this goes all the way to the moon!. And anyway, remember, there is no way back now, so we have no choice, we must go on.’
‘What that noise!?’ asked Niki.
Out of the side of my eye I caught Hamish shaking his head at me while saying ‘I can’t hear any noise, can you hear anything Scott?’.... I answered no, but I could indeed hear distant slithering hissing noises coming from further down the tunnel, however I didn't want to alarm Niki.
‘Surely you can hear that noise, it’s like a slithering hissing noise’ Niki repeated, ‘I can’t hear anything darling, you know that my hearing isn’t as good as it used to be!’ and Hamish piped in by telling us he also had a problem with his hearing, what with all that fur and all.. ‘Are you sure you heard something?’ he asked Niki.
‘Definitely, there is something down that tunnel, and I don’t like the sound of it.’
Hamish stepped forward and said, ‘Ok, you two stay well back and I’ll take point and see what I can see. I think this calls for a variation of the grasshopper technique! I was taught this in my training, where I would jump between patches of bracken on the hills of the glen to conceal my presence.’ Hamish started to move off down the tunnel then started making little jumps between patches of sand. ‘What’s he doing?’ asked Niki. I explained that he was being very very clever, ‘Look he’s almost the same colour as those patches of sand he’s jumping onto, he’s using it as camouflage, and jumping between them so that he can’t be seen so easily.’
But it didn’t work for long and we watched in horror as a long sneaky slithering snakey snake lashed out and grabbed Hamish in his jaws and instantly wrapped itself in a ball around him. We thought this was the end of Hamish but then we saw the ball of snake and fur begin to pulse up and down, lifting higher and higher, then the ball began to spin and as it did the snake began to unwind, and we realised Hamish was using his fabulous highland fling again.... this time to literally fling the snake off him. As Hamish spun up to top fling speed the snake completely unfurled, and was flung hard against the tunnel wall, were it hit with a great hissing thump before falling to the ground motionless.
‘Ha ha’ shouted Hamish, ‘they can’t penetrate my highland fur..’ and he turned and shouted down the tunnel ‘Anyone else for a dance?’
And so we followed and Hamish danced, with each dance leaving another slithering sneaky snakey snake motionless in his tracks.
We continued on, travelling deeper and deeper into the tunnel. Finally there were no more snakes and Hamish asked what time it was. I looked at my watch... ‘1230 hours, why?’
‘We need to be quick, time is running out, remember that we must be in position when the sun reaches it’s zenith.’
So we began to run, and we ran and ran and ran until we were all puffed out and couldn’t run anymore and then ahead we saw a pool of light, and beyond the pool of light we saw another junction with numerous paths leading off. ‘Which way now?’ I asked, Hamish shrugged saying he didn’t know, that he’d hoped the shadow man would be around to show us the way.’
Then Niki squealed and started jumping up and down, saying ‘I know, I know.... I know how to summon the shadow man....’
Hamish and the Shadow Man
‘I know how to summon the shadow man, Hamish... you need to stand on the moon... then the shadow man will appear!’ squealed Niki.
‘There’s a slight technical hitch with that plan though.... in case you hadn’t noticed I’ve just come back from the moon and we’re many metres underground on this here planet Earth..... so it’s not going to happen again in time for midday!’
‘No, you don’t understand... look!.... the pool of light, what does it look like.....it’s the moon that was foretold..... you need to stand in the pool of light and the shadow man will appear.’
‘What if it’s a trap and something horrible happens when I stand in the light...?’
‘Like what?’ we asked.....’I don’t know, like something really horrible, like a zillion bats suddenly appearing out of the dark and grab me and fly away with me, never to be seen again! I don’t like bats!’
Well then, we shall carry on without you, after all, there is no going back you said’
‘Good point, ok, here goes.’ Hamish walked into the pool of light and stopped. We all held our breath for a moment but nothing happened. Hamish turned to look at us... ‘Good idea Niki, but....’ and then a shard of light struck the wall behind him and began to spread across the wall, like a door opening, and then the shadow man appeared.’ Niki and I must have looked awestruck and we stood there speechless, as Hamish asked ‘What’s wrong, why are you looking like that?’...’He’s behind you!’ Niki whispered with a degree of terror in her voice. ‘Ha, ha, very funny, good try but not falling for it... you’re just trying to get me back for my Star Chamber prank.’ Niki replied ‘No, really, he’s behind you!’
Hamish looked at me and could see the look of fear on my face and realised Niki wasn’t joking and his hair gradually stood on end. Hamish turned slowly and gulped as he looked upon the shadow man, and as he did so, the shadow man raised his arm and pointed towards one of the junction exits, and then as soon as he had appeared he disappeared!