by 80sarcades

Welcome! The tale you are about to read may be for Halloween (I'm just a bit late for it) but it is actually set during the warm summer months.

Due to real life/personal issues I haven't been on ff dot net for some months. However, I haven't given up on writing...not by a long shot! It may take a while but I will eventually get back to reviewing the wonderful HH stories out there:-) In the meantime, enjoy!

It was a dark and stormy night...

Peter Newkirk grinned as he walked out of the Hofbräu and into the clear moonlit night. Glad it's not really one of those nights, he wryly thought. And the rest of that bloody book was awful, too.

At least the plans are on their way to England. With a bit of luck, they should be there in a week. He frowned wistfully as memories of home swam unbidden in his mind's eye. Too bad I can't go with them.

With effort, the Prisoner-of-War shook the homesick feelings away. Well, enough of that, he decided firmly. Back to camp we go.

With a nod, he flicked his spent cigarette onto the pavement before he made his way to the town limits. He walked casually, almost unhurriedly; to anyone watching he was just another worker heading home after a long day. It was only when he reached the treeline that he began to relax; within twenty minutes he would be home.

Home, he snorted in disgust. Never thought I'd ever call that place home. I used to be embarrassed about living in me mum's house, with it being run down and all. That all changed when I came here. Compared to Stalag 13, her house is the Savoy itself. At that moment, he flashed a grin into the darkness. There's always the silver lining, though, he thought cheekily. I can't complain about the birds, and they have nice legs, too-

Newkirk whirled around as a light feminine giggle suddenly drifted out of the darkness. Except for the trees, he was quite alone; a fresh wind rustled the branches of the tall sentinels around him.

Maybe I'm just hearing things, he decided. Or someone's walking on the road nearby and I heard them. For a moment, he listened carefully but heard nothing.

Another breeze stirred the leaves above his head; he let out a slow breath of relief. That's probably what it is, he rationalized. Just the wind. He shrugged, then started on his way back to camp. As he did so, he glanced at the darkened woods; for some odd reason he had the feeling of being watched.

It's just your imagination, he told himself. If the Krauts were around, they would have picked me up before I entered the woods. You're worried about LeBeau, and you haven't been getting any sleep. Mind will play tricks on a man.

Even so, he was still on his guard.

It wasn't long before he reached the first indication that he was on the right track. Another short path, worn by countless generations of feet, suddenly branched off to his right. At the end lay the town cemetery.

The RAF corporal was about to take his usual route back to Stalag 13 when the sharp noise of a branch breaking echoed through the surrounding forest. Newkirk crouched down and hurriedly studied the woods behind him. As before, he saw nothing.

Probably an animal. I hope, he added.

He was about to rejoin his path when something else caught his eye. A faint flicker of blue pulsed, disappeared, then flared back again.

What is that?

Frowning, he stepped off the main pathway and walked towards the oddity. As he did so, the light became slightly more distinct in form; he now saw that it outlined the path in a hazy, almost subtle blue glow that ran up to the cemetery itself. Instead of being fearful, he stared at the display in wonder.

How is it doing that? he thought, enthralled by the sight. An answer then came to him:

I remember now! his relieved mind recalled. The Guv'nor told us something about Saint Elmo's fire. It burns blue just like this, I think. I wonder why just the path and not anything else? He shook his head, then turned away.

I'd better be getting on back to camp.

With that, he walked back to his original path and started onward. A few minutes later he could see a dim light ahead of him; he sighed in relief.

Finally! he breathed as he drew closer. As soon as I tell the Colonel what happened I'm off to bed. I've had enough surprises...

The Englishman blinked in disbelief, then again. Instead of Stalag 13, the outline of a worn trail greeted his tired eyes. He stared at the blue-lit path, stunned.

That's the way to the cemetery, he realized with a start. I've gone full circle! But how?

Absently, he noted that the St. Elmo's Fire - or whatever it was - now covered at least half the path beneath it. The luminous glow seemed to be even stronger than before.

Or is it just my imagination?

He angrily turned away once more and started back down the main trail. This time, he kept a sharp eye out for the usual telltale landmarks. To his growing dismay none of them crossed his searching eyes. The RAF Corporal knew he was on the right path; he just had to be.

That notion was swiftly dissuaded when he spotted a subtle blue light peeking through the trees. His annoyed eyes glowered in frustration when he saw the now-familiar outlines of the cemetery path.

That's bloody impossible! he raged. We've been through these woods more times than I can count! Until now there's never been a problem! He glared meanincingly at the softly lit pathway before he made a quick decision.

Fine! his irritated thoughts blurted. I don't know what's going on. On the other hand, the cemetery isn't far from the camp; at least I won't get lost going through there! He glanced at the fence that lay at the end of the path.

Look on the bright side, Peter, a cheerful part of his mind reassured him. At least the graveyard isn't that big! If it were possible, Newkirk would have narrowed his eyes at his own misguided brain.

You just had to say the word 'graveyard,' didn't you? he groused, then sighed in resignation. Well, it's not the first time we've gone through there. And it'd be quicker than going through the woods. He glanced up at the full moon, then nodded. Might as well be quick about it.

With the decision made, he slowly walked down the lit path towards the waiting cemetery.


A/N: Next - Chapter 2: The Graveyard

I'm not sure how long it takes to walk from Stalag 13 to Hammelburg and vice versa, so I guesstimated about 15-20 minutes or so. Enough to be within easy walking distance.

St. Elmo's fire is a real phenomenon; given the right conditions it can appear on the ground. Of course, Newkirk doesn't realize that it usually takes storm conditions (or something close to it) to produce the effect. Given that it's a clear moonlit night...(cue eerie music)

As always, thanks for reading!