Robert couldn’t sleep. Beside him, Tony snored like a warthog trying to start a motorboat. Robert pulled his sleeping bag up over his chin, eyes wide in the darkness. Outside the tent, something rustled. Robert held his breath. What was it? A plastic bag scurrying in the wind? A badger snuffling for worms? Or a psychopathic killer whose shoes didn’t fit?
Robert gasped. It was a killer, had to be! The campsite was spotless, there was no litter at all. And there were probably no badgers for miles – they’d all been culled, hadn’t they? So, it could only be a psycho on the prowl. It stood to reason.
Holding his breath was proving impossible. Robert was certain he could be heard right across the field at the toilet block. Tony had insisted they pitch the tent in the farthest corner so that ‘we won’t be troubled by drunks stumbling back and forth all night’. Cheers for that, Tone. Now Robert’s bladder was brimming and he would have to unzip, crawl out, slip his boots on and traipse across to the breezeblock hovel. Putting my life at risk. Bound to get caught by the killer as soon as I open the flaps. And I’ll piss myself into the bargain. I’ll be found with my head off and my pants full of piss. How mortifying!
Or perhaps he’ll catch me while I’m standing at the bucket that passes for a urinal. Attack me from behind like they do in the films. And then I’ll spray everywhere, blood from one end, piss from the other. Robert was amused by the thought. But there was nothing else for it: when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
Gingerly, Robert unzipped the bag. He tipped his boots upside down and shook them. In case of spiders or scorpions or whatever else might be lurking inside. He slipped them on, not bothering to lace them up, unzipped the flaps and crawled out. He stood but remained hunched in order to present a smaller target and protect his vulnerable areas. He hurried toward the sodium glow of the solitary light outside the toilet block, bootlaces swishing around his ankles.
Come on, come on, come on… With every step away from the tent, attack seemed more likely. Robert whimpered with terror. And then the rough walls of the block were in front of him, solid and real, and rasping beneath his fingertips. Robert breathed out.
Bladder empty, his return to the tent was more confident, as though a corresponding weight had been lifted from his mind. He walked tall, striding across the grass, past the tents of others, shadowy forms of all shapes and sizes. It was quiet. Too quiet? Robert’s imagination set to work again. They could all be dead! Lying on their inflatable mattresses with their throats cut. The killer could be working his way across the site and our tent is the last in line!
Robert froze. To run toward or away from the tent that contained his best friend?
A man was looming over the tent, standing straight, a silhouette, silver-edged in the moonlight. Blood dripped darkly from the blade of his axe.
“Oh, you’re back are you?” the man grinned, eyes and teeth glinting.
“T-Tony?” Robert backed away.
“I thought you’d never go for a piss,” Tony approached, both hands on the axe handle. “Here’s the plan. I’m going to make it look like you did this, you went on a spree, killed all these people, and then I got you in self-defence.” He shrugged. “Sorry, mate, but it’s how I get away with it.”
Robert fled. His bootlaces lashed out like snakes, coiling around his ankles and tripping him up. He rolled onto his back as Tony raised the bloodied axe over his head, and the last thing Robert felt was the warm sensation of his underwear filling with piss as his bladder miraculously found one last load to let go.