Chapter 22 – Becoming Invisible
Even in his distress, confusion and fear Keith could appreciate the skill of these people. Their clothes appeared drab and unsophisticated, and the simple leather boots they wore certainly were. But the clever part was that when one of them moved into the trees they became almost invisible. Even though he knew where they were, he lost sight of both Eustace and the King as they moved amongst the trees.
Keith noticed that they appeared to carry very few possessions, yet everything that they did carry had its purpose. Nothing was wasted, nothing seemed superfluous. They could make a smokeless fire, find shelter, food and water, and keep themselves warm, all with a few items they carried on their horses. He had seen Henry use a flint stone to light the fire, with dry glass and wood he scavenged. The horse blankets and saddles doubled as bedding.
Keith shivered. Although he had on a warm shirt, his cricket pullover and his thick corduroy trousers, he had left his coat behind. The fire had been extinguished. He could do with his trusty Barbour now in the early morning chill. So far, he had rarely felt the cold, and he knew the high adrenalin in his blood stream was causing his heart to beat a little faster, keeping him warmer.
They seated Keith on a horse, but with his hands re-tied. The King and Eustace were riding the two new horses they had captured from the two murdered horsewomen. Henry rode his own horse, Greta was mounted on the King’s cousins’ horse and Keith was seated on Eustace’s tall mount. Once they were all mounted, the embers of the fire had been hidden and all obvious traces of the camp erased, the King said, ’now Witch, get this rogue to lead us to breakfast.’
Keith had not ridden since he was a child, but at walking pace it was relatively easy to stay on. He gripped the front of the saddle with his tied hands pushing his fingers under the saddle. The horse’s warm body warmed his hands. The saddle appeared to be made of very crude leather and he wondered if it would support his weight. Henry led Keith’s horse by tying a rope to his own mount. Keith thought that the King and Eustace looked very strange on the captured horses with their modern saddlery against their strange clothes. It was then that the penny dropped. He almost said out loud, ’could these people be from a different time?’
Keith put the thought aside. He was tasked with finding them some food. If he didn’t he would probably get another kick in the ribs or worse. He didn’t want to head towards a store or a restaurant; it would be hopeless with these people on horseback. Then in the distance he heard the faint sounds of a light aircraft taking off. Of course, Blackbushe Airfield, the Sunday morning Market. Keith remembered that every Sunday there was a large open air market at the nearby local airport that was located on the edge of the Common. ‘This way’, he said gesturing enthusiastically with his head and tied hands. He pointed in the direction of the aircraft, and Eustace led the horses in that direction.