A lone runner crosses the moors of Fagne de Malchamps at the dead of a winter’s night. His heart beats to the rhythm of his feet on the wooden platforms. His breath forms small clouds in the beam of his head torch. He enjoys these nights alone in nature. They revive his soul and clear his mind. But not this night. He is not quite at ease. He is thinking about the name of these moors: mal champs or evil fields. He can image why it’s called that way. The place is desolate and he just can’t help but think about the ghosts or demons that might inhabit this place at night. Of the tortured souls of people that might have died in these swamps. He thinks about The hound of the Baskervilles and of the dead marshes from The Lord of the Rings. But those are just stories right? Then he hears the sound for the first time. It’s like the muffled sound of footsteps, plock, plock, plock, in the same rhythm as his own footsteps. What is that behind him? He doesn’t dare to look. The hairs at the back of his neck are standing up straight. The monotonous cadence of his footfall falters. A quick glimpse over his shoulder. Nothing! The sound is gone. But his mind is troubled now. He looks across the moors to his left. Are those eyes reflecting the light from his head torch? Or is it just some distant lights? And why is he trembling? It’s not that cold. His pace quickens. His eyes fixed to the wooden platform right in front of him. He dares not look up in fear of what he might see. There’s that sound again, plock, plock, plock. His heart starts beating faster. Was that a face looking up from the water? Did he just hear a scream coming from over the moors? Or is it just his imagination? He quickens his pace even more. So does whatever is behind him, plock, plock, plock. He quickly looks over his left shoulder. The next moment he’s lying on his back in the bogs. What just happened?! But before he can think something is grasping him from behind. He opens his mouth to scream, but no sound escapes from his lips. He struggles violently to break free. Something is grabbing him by the throat now. He can’t breathe. He claws with his hands at his throat, but it is no use. The grip doesn’t slacken. He’s waving his arms around, striking, but his hands hit nothing but empty air. His resistance weakens as life slowly withdraws from his body, until he finally stops moving. The beam of his head torch shines straight into the dark night.

The next day some hikers find the body of a runner alongside the wooden platforms on the Fagne de Malchamps. His eyes, devoid of life, staring from his tortured face into the distance. The coroner can’t determine any cause of death. His throat is scratched open. His hands are frozen stiff like claws with his own skin under his nails. But this is not what killed him. It seems like his heart just gave up, stopped beating. Is it fear that’s killed him? What demons can this man possibly have been possessed by? When they pick him up to carry him to the nearby ambulance, nobody notices the red light that is dangling from the back of his pack: plock, plock, plock.

A week later a lone runner is crossing the Fagnes de Malchamps. He has heard the story about the runner that has died there a week earlier. He chuckles at the thought of it. What a silly story! How can anyone die out of fear! He listens to the monotonous sound of his footfall. Then he hears the sound for the first time: plock, plock, plock…