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Written on February 2, 2007, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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It was just getting dark as the two of them set off, in woolly hats, sweaters, kagoules and wellies, down to the end of the Vicarage garden. A long-deserted barn lay just over the ramshackle fence, somewhat neglected as a result of an ongoing dispute with the neighbouring smallholder, which border war the chaplain had traced back to the Reformation. This local skirmish flared up once more after the Great War of 1914-18, after which the large, imposing rural building had been left open to the elements for the best part of eighty years, and had thus fallen into ruin and collapsed, except at one end, where a huge oak was growing into and through the wall. The charming vista was completed by proximity to the river, which ran gurgling and looping past, overhung by willow, and full of trout. It was a favourite visual motif of artists, and bad renditions of it appeared on pottery in local gift shops.

Bathed in the light of the rising moon, it really was a breathtaking scene, observed Hector, as he traipsed along through the tall, damp grass, following behind the Professor, who was muttering to himself incomprehensibly. Hector ignored this verbiage, knowing it was just a result of the whirring of the immense cogs of the Professor’s spectacular mind, which was being stimulated by the proximity of his favourite animal – bats.

“Twucking bats,” he murmured, then stopped, and turned, fixing him with his one good eye. “Did you know that the bats of Twucking have their own collective noun?” he asked.

Hector remained silent, knowing the question was rhetorical.

Funch!” chimed the Professor. “The word is Funch.”

“Absolutely, Professor,” replied Hector,”Do you think we’ll see any?”

“Oh, most certainly,” said the Professor, turning back towards the barn. “Listen: can you not hear them?”

In the quiet of the dark winter evening, Hector strained to hear above the noise of water and his own breathing, crackling in man-made fibres; he could, actually, he realised – his ears picked up the faint, regular, high-pitched noise which could only be bats, and to his suprise he felt the neck hairs rise.

“A Funch of Twucking Bats. Has a damn good ring to it, don’t you think?” exclaimed the Professor, fingering the top of his walking cane, the light of the full moon playing across his soft, distracted expression.

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