Watch in the Night

Last week, Tim volunteered to keep guard in the church one night, and try to ward off the buggane…

In another month, the third roof was on, and Tim was shut into the church at dusk by a crowd of sombre townsfolk. Their funereal faces watched him disappear into the great black cavern of a doorway and vanish from sight.

Tim turned round to look at the church, the walls lit up dimly with flickering lamps. He wasn’t sure if he believed in bugganes or not, but he was going to make these breeches or die trying!

But before he began sewing he had to complete the tasks the bishop had set. With a long taper he lit candles all around the building, and set incense sticks on the altar. Then he threaded his needle and sat down to work, muttering all the prayers and scripture he could drag up from his carefree brain.

Tim sat on the altar steps, sewing with all his might, as the light dimmed in the high, arched windows, then shut off altogether. Now all he could see was the church, stretching out before him down the shadowed aisle to the door. The sweet smell of incense wafted to his nose every now and then, and he gave a comforting sniff.

He looked at his watch. Time was creeping onward, ever so slowly. Now it was nearly midnight, and one leg was already complete.

Stitch, stitch. In, out. Tim concentrated on the needle as the minutes drifted by. The breeches gradually took shape in his hands. Both legs were done, and now he must finish the waistline.

A rumbling sounded in the crypt below him. Tim’s hands went cold as he froze, then hurriedly started stitching again. He must finish these breeches!

The needle went twice as fast now, as the rumbling grew louder and louder. Tim’s prayers grew louder and louder too, until he was nearly shouting them to the four corners of the church.

The cold stone under his feet began to vibrate and shudder. Just one more short hem to go!

The paving in the aisle tilted and moved.

A black, gnarled mess of hair appeared, and after that came a face. Long tusks protruded from either side of a dripping red mouth, and yellow eyes glittered in the candlelight, glaring right at Tim.