by: DC James / Kura Okamiko []

Reese ran through the forest, heading for home as fast as he could. His feet flew over the
damp earth, bare branches grabbing at his body. He didn't dare look back. He couldn't
afford to.

It had been foolish to search for his dog this late at night, to head into the woods. His
sister, his dear little sister.

He couldn't go back for her, she was dead. It was quick, she never knew what hit her.
Kneeling beside the mauled and mutilated body of their deceased German Sheppard,
weeping into her hands. He never saw it peering at them, starving and furious at the

Reese gave a harsh cry as he tripped, falling among the scattered foliage. His head found
a jagged rock, it ripping a gash on his forehead. He ignored the pain, scrambling up to
continue his escape. The blood from the wound dripped into his brown eyes, temporarily
blinding him as to where he was heading.

He wiped at the blood impatiently, heart skipping beats as he heard the thing coming
closer. He sprinted West, the village was in that direction. He'd be safe. Reese cried out
in shock and horror as something grabbed his arm, sinking sharp claws into his limb.

Reese cursed and struggled, beating his free fist into the thing that held him. Coarse fur
met his hand, skinning it as it connected. The thing opened its mouth, revealing the
sharp teeth within. Lack of options had Reese resorting to biting the restraining hand as
hard as he could until the grip was loose enough to free himself.

The creature roared in pain, tossing the boy down the steep hill in aggrivation. Reese
attempted to curl in a ball as he tumbled down, but his body refused to obey. Sharp rocks
and thick saplings met him as he rolled until he landed against an old oak tree. He
screamed as he felt his arm break on impact.

Reese's labored breathing was all that followed the outcry. He swallowed, which was a
difficult task for his battered and sore throat, and grabbed for an uprooted piece of the
tree, attempting to stand. An unbearable pain shot up his leg, causing him to hit the
ground and send another jolt of pain to wrack his body.

He rolled on his back, taking deep breaths as every nerve in his body throbbed. He noted
there were stars that night, accompanied by the waning moon. Elizabeth loved counting

The thought of his dead sister tore a sob from his throat, tears sliding down from his eyes.
The creature had ripped her head off, it seemed so unreal at the time, her decapitated,
lifeless body making a sickening thud against the ground. The stench of blood floating
through the air, assaulting his senses.

He would be with her soon, with his condition he could do nothing but await his death.
He closed his eyes, regrets flooding into his mind. He never should have allowed her to
come, even if he didn't believe the folklore. The demon of the forest. He should have
believed, he should have just stayed home-

All thoughts flooded from his mind as he heard footsteps and a low rumbling growl.
Panic coursed through his mind as he struggled to look at the thing. Finally, it hovered
over him, garnet red eyes watching him with pure rage. The stench of his breath made
Reese want to wretch, the smell of rotting flesh and blood. The creature curled back its
lips, body tensing to finish off its prey.

Only shredded and bloody clothing would be found by the villagers the next day. No
bodies or other traces, but the missing children would be added to the tale, just as the
dozen before them.

The End