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The Last of the Neanderthals


The sky was bruised purple and funeral-grey, back-lit by
the last dying embers of the decaying sun. It weighed
heavily on the winter wood below, suffocating the last
stubborn pockets of light wherever it found them, pouring
cold shadow into the leafless void.
All was silent at first, but then tyres crunched down
noisily on narrow tarmac. Two intrusive beams of light
were doused suddenly; twin metal doors slammed in rapid
succession; a pair of shadowy figures penetrated the
watching wood.
A man made his way through the trees, a camera in one
hand, a hesitant woman towed along in the other.
“It’s dark,” she said.
“That’s what happens at night,” he told her, and led her
further into the shadows, keen to start their game.
She swore as something unseen raked her bare leg, but he
pulled her ever onwards, forging a path through the
creeping undergrowth.
“It’s really dark,” she elaborated. “You should’ve
brought a torch or something. Can’t we just do it in the
car?”
“I wanna take photos first.”
“You’re not gonna see anything. The sun’ll set in a few
minutes. It’s blacker than a witch’s minge out here, and
twice as bloody creepy.”
“That’s what the flash is for.”
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