We were all playing in our fort by the creek. A tall thin boy with dark eyes and long hair appeared silently from the woods. He came out every day for two weeks but never said a word.
Until one day, when a strong gust of wind blew in, he looked directly at me and shouted "Leaf da-four!" and crept back into the woods.
"Wait, what?!" I jumped out the creek water and ran to him, trying to catch up. Yet, when I came to a clearing in the woods, he was gone. Confused, I walked back to the creek with dirty feet and dried leaves.
"What a weirdo." my friend Jeremy said as he rolled his eyes. The others, Sam, Lindsey, and Mikey just shrugged and continued to wade in the creek while Jeremy stayed in the fort.
"Yeah…weird of all the things to say, why would he say that?" I shook my head and dipped my feet in the creek to enjoy the summer afternoon.
Since that day, neither of us had seen the strange boy. I asked my parents about him at dinner once, but they only looked at each other and said, "Never heard of him."
Hmm, that was suspicious.
The autumn season blew in as quickly as summer ended. One night, I had a terrible night horror. I was staring at myself in a mirror, and I saw the boy looking back at me, and he would continue to say, "Leaf da-four! Leaf da-four!"
"What do you mean? Wait!" I called out to him, running but never being able to catch up. There was a thunderstorm, the creek had flooded and the boy only ran further and further away from me.
My eyes flashed open and I sat up covered in sweat. Looking around the darkness of my bedroom, I sighed and tried to fall back to sleep. Lightning flashed and I saw the boy standing at the foot of my bed. He looked so sad.
"WHOA!" I gasped. Lightning flashed again; he was gone.
The next few nights were like this, and I started to lose weight from all the stress. "You don't look so good son, maybe you should stay inside today instead of playing with your friends."
"And I'll give you a good haircut since you'll be inside all day." My mother looked at me, eyeing my mangled hair.
I blew a strand away from my eyes, "I'm ok mum, dad…I think I'll go out to the fort today."
I zipped up my parka, slipped on my wool socks, called up the gang and agreed to go to the fort again today.
Well, almost agreed.
"Uh sorry, it's kind of cold today. 'Sides, Sam and Mikey were thinking of playing with Lindsey's new dog. You wanna do that instead?"
I sighed, "Nah, it's ok Jeremy, I'll be at the fort today. I have to repair it since the roof was falling apart the other day."
"Alright, see ya later. We'll try coming over today unless it rains again."
"Ok." I hung up the phone and walked out the door.
The cold crisp air blew into my face as I walked in the woods alone. I couldn't help but feel I was being watched the whole time. A shiver went down my spine and I started to run.
I wasn't sure but I heard the crunching of leaves behind me, and I ran faster.
It began to drizzle and I ran harder, my long hair whipping behind me. I slipped on mud, hurrying to get up. Lightning flashed and it began to pour.
"I gotta get to the fort. I gotta get to the fort."
Still running, I jumped over a log. The thunder roared, and more lightning cracked. A great big pine tree fell somewhere in the forest; my eyes growing wide with fear.
Finally, the fort was in view. It stood there quietly and alone by the creek, which was slowly rising with all the rain.
I waded in the water, but the current was too strong. Grabbing some branches, lightning flashed and there before me was the boy. "GET OUT OF HERE!" He roared.
I screamed, and jumped out the water in the shelter of the rickety fort, some planks of wood banging on the side of the walls.
A loud groan, was heard, the earth began to shake, and the sound of a thousand sticks splintering into the cold air boomed in my ears. Something had fallen on top of me and the fort, suffocating me. I couldn't breathe, my ribs started to hurt.
"Please be over, please be over!" I cried, holding myself in the corner of the fort, and as soon as I said it, all was quiet.
I woke up to the sound of birds chirping in a clearing of the woods. It was all a horrible dream; I had fallen asleep in the middle of the forest.
I heard familiar laughter by a creek and saw a small wooden structure placed on the side of it. Five kids were playing, and one boy turned to look at me.
A strong gust of summer wind blew.
I took in a deep breath and yelled, "LEAVE THE FORT!"
I hope he heard me.