Night had already fallen when I first stepped out on to the moors but I was prepared. The idea that the Tree Walker might be lurking in the darkness didn’t really occur to me; I was assuming, for some reason, that the myths held true, that this was the seat of the power of man and that he could not tread there.
I was alone then and as I tripped lightly along the boardwalk that stood in that place, a safe passage for casual hikers, I felt a growing sense of anticipation. Something was going to happen. Something big.
It only took me a couple of hours to traverse the whole length of the boardwalk and I could see that walking the white planks wasn’t going to get me anywhere, so I jumped off them, landed on the soft, marshy ground beneath and set off towards the treeline.
The night was alive with the calls of animals and the illusion that this was man’s domain began to fade a bit, but I pressed on. Whether I was a native or an intruder, I had a job to do and I wasn’t going to back down before I’d even properly started it.
As I approached the treeline, I had the sense to take out the handgun that I brought with me from the villa in Naples. A mist was rolling in from a distant somewhere and my heart was beginning to stir. As I passed through the first line of trees, I held my torch high and entered the dark.