“Tonight I’m going to tell you the story about Jack. Jack was a young man, a man living here in this village. Jack walked the streets late at night, strode when everyone else had gone to bed.
Jack was the night guard, the man who lit the street lamps at night. The watchman, the man who kept us all safe.”
All the children listened carefully around the flickering fireplace. Old Davick took a deep breath, and went on with his story.
“One night Jack saw something on top of the tall mountain peak behind the village. You know the old legends say it’s holy, but there are even older legends saying it is cursed.
He saw something move up there, something big, rounding the top before it disappeared.
Jack went to speak to the village counsel the next day. They laughed.
Jack, oh Jack. The old tales are just tales, they said. They are just stories told to frighten the children. There is no curse, and definitely no monster. Is the job getting to hard for you? It can be hard to stay up so late at night, when everybody else have gone to bed.
No, Jack answered. The job is fine.
He liked his job. He liked being the watchman. He liked walking the streets at night. But he was worried, worried about what he had seen.
The next day nothing happened. Nor the following one. Then, on the third night, he heard a scream.
The children jumped back by the old man’s scream. The room had gotten darker, and Davick threw another log in the fire. He kept speaking, lowering his voice.
“A scream that went through marrow and bones, a scream that froze his blood to ice. It came from far up on the peak, behind it, the parts he could not see. He shivered, and walked home as fast as he could. Some lamps remained unlit that night.
He asked around. No one had heard the scream. No one had heard anything strange at all. Jack started wondering if the elders at the counsel had been right., that the job was getting too hard for him.
He still went out the next night as usual.
It was a dark night, even darker than normal at this time of year. He could still see light in some of the windows, but most people had already gone to bed.
He looked up towards the mountain top. He saw something, something moving in the darkness behind it. A hand grabbed the top. Dark eyes stared down at him.
It was huge, a reptile like body, a terrifying fanged mouth. It stretched its long neck towards him. Jack froze. He stood there, unable to run, unable to hide.
The monster screamed a scream in silence, a scream only Jack could hear. A scream so horrible the darkness got darker, the cold colder. Jack fell back, landed on the ground.
A clawed hand came down towards him. He lifted his hands as to defend himself, but in vain. The monster grabbed him, lifted him up. Carried him away to some place dark and horrible, a place of which we should not speak.”
The children sat staring with eyes wide open at the old man. The old man said nothing more. He stood up, walked over to the window. Gazed up towards the mountain top behind town.
The sky was dark, darker than usual on this time of year, but far up on the top he could see something move. He heard a scream. A scream only he could hear.