"No fucking way." He whispered, to no one in particular.

I turned my head to where Darry's outstretched hand and finger were pointed. My eyes were already adjusted to the dark, but I still didn't see anything.

"It was just there, I swear."

On the other side of Darry, Luke spoke up in a hushed tone, "Yea, okay. Whatever you say. It was probably just another tree branch…like the eighteen other things you've pointed out tonight."

"It was only thirteen."


"Shut up, both of you. We're here so we might as well not blow our chances," I said.

In the dark I could barely make out Darry making the motion of zipping his lips shut. I couldn't see what Luke was doing, but guess it probably involved some use of the middle finger to me.

We sat in silence for another fifteen minutes. Above us, the moon broke through the clouds at odd intervals, casting shadows on everything. The old cedar and oak and pine trees towered over us, creating even more darkness. A star would twinkle every so often, but they didn't help us see anything any better.

The three of us were seated against a fallen oak tree; the trunk wedged between two large rocks and hollowed out from years of creatures and whatever else hollows out trees. We camouflaged our legs by throwing dead leaves over them. All three of us wore matching army issue camouflage jackets. Darry held his gun at the ready, while Luke and I both chose to keep ours at our sides.

Behind us a bird warbled. The leaves made a sound as Darry twitched in his spot. Boy, was he tense. The bird continued to sing its sad, low song. Every once and a while a breeze would kick up, stirring the leaves on the ground and those in the trees. As suddenly as it had started, the bird's song stopped.

"That was a little weird, how it just stopped so suddenly, don't you think?" Darry whispered. I nodded my head in agreement, not caring if he saw me. It seemed he didn't.

"Don't you think it was weird?"

"Yes, not shuttup Darry, don't make me sorry I came here with you," I whispered back.

"This was a waste of a fucking night, thanks, ass wipe," Luke added.


I hushed them both with a wave of my hand. In front of us, some twigs snapped. I squinted as I leaned forward, trying to find where the noise was coming from. Darry had heard it too; he had his gun up and was aiming in the general direction of the sound. Luke had picked up his gun too. I followed suit, still trying to pinpoint the sound.

The wind, which had been blowing slightly on and off the entire time we had been there, suddenly died. The silence grew oppressive. Another set of snapped twigs broke the silence, the snapping sound ringing out throughout the forest. Darry swept his gun back and forth in front of him. I could hear his breathing get faster. I would've comforted him with a pat on the shoulder but he might've shot me by accident.

The silence returned. I held my breath, waiting. Slowly I moved my head back and forth trying to see any moving shadows in the darkness beyond us.

The shot shattered the silence. Next to me, Darry had fired off a round into the darkness.

"What the fuck? Now if there really is anything out there it knows we're fucking here. Good one, dumb ass." Luke whispered angrily.

"I…I saw something."

Without turning my head towards Darry I asked, "What'd you see?"

"A big shadow. It was mo—"

In front of us, closer than the snapping twigs, something snarled. The voice of whatever was out there was deep and gravelly, sounding like a mix between a wolf and a bear, but a lot angrier. Leaves rustled and more twigs snapped. The snarl repeated and this time it reverberated through my body, causing me to shiver. My heart began to beat faster. Next to me Darry stood up, once again pointing his gun into the darkness ahead of us. I heard Luke stand up so I did too.

Suddenly I saw it. There in the trees was a large shadow. If I had seen it at any other time, I would've guessed it a large boulder. This boulder, however, was moving. It moved back and forth slightly as it moved forward, crashing through low hanging branches now faster then before. Darry let loose another three rounds at the shadowed beast but it kept coming.

"Darry, don't shoot. Run!" I said as I turned and hopped over the trunk. The lack of moonlight made it impossible to see where I was going. I heard more crashing and snapping sounds behind me.

I had been running for only about five minutes when I heard something behind me. Darry screamed. I stopped and turned.

"Darry? Darry?" I shouted, hoping for a response.

"Kenny, where are you, man?" Luke shouted back.

"Luke! Keep talking."

"I'm over here, I don't know where Darry is, we got separated. I'm by a big cedar tree, I guess that really doesn't help you though." He laughed nervously. "I know its cedar because it smells like the deck my parents have back at their house."

Ahead of me I could hear Luke talked, so I picked up my pace.

"Luke, Luke," I said.

"I don't know where Darry is, man. We gotta get out of here."

To our right, the branch snapping continued.

"Shit…" Luke said as he turned to run. He didn't see the branch there and ran into it, collapsing to the ground in a heap.

I bent down on my knees near his head. I shook his shoulder lightly.

"Luke, c'mon bu—"

I looked up. In front of me was Satan himself. The beast's eyes were the first thing I noticed, bright red like hot coals. It was standing on its back two legs, hunched over and panting hard. Its body was covered in black fur.

I gripped the hunting rifle in my hand as it took a step forward. Turning it toward Luke, I felt my throat tightening. I had to. I couldn't let him wake up to this. I closed my eyes to hold back the warm tears I could feel building up. Moving the gun slowly as the beast watched me, I placed the muzzle of the rifle against Luke's head and pulled the trigger. The blast pushed the bullet clear through his head. Blood splattered on the rifle.

The beast took another step closer. It was only a few paces away. I closed my eyes again as a tear streaked down my cheek. Picking up the gun I held it under my chin. My hands were shaking and I could hear the beast's heavy breathing right near me. Suddenly, I felt a sharp set of claws grip my head. I pulled the trigger. Everything went black.