Stick Indians drawing by Mackenzie Taylor
Looking towards the woods, one could feast their eyes on the varying flora and fauna, enlightened by the lowering sun. At first glance, it’s a place of peace and tranquility, an escape from the city. It’s an escape direly needed for my book. As I grow older, I can’t understand why I wanted to leave this haven. I’m just glad grandpa hasn’t moved on from here as I had once. The great storyteller he was, grandpa would tell my brother and I all sorts of ghost stories upon nightfall. In fact he is who inspired me to pursue writing. I’m hoping with a change in scenery, and my grandpa, I can finish my book.
Upon driving into the sleepy town, fond nostalgia warms me. I can see a map of the whole town my brother and I had once loitered. As my eyes wander, my phone pings, stealing my attention. It’s grandpa, it reads “I’m quickly off to the grocery store before it closes, the front door should be unlocked.” The corner of my eye something approaches, and looking up I slam on the breaks. Quil flies off the passenger seat onto the floor. Jesus I almost ran someone over. The person flips me off and continues walking, well I guess they’re ok.
“Hey Quil! Are you ok buddy?”
Quil struggles his way back up the seat, after being abruptly woken up. Quil is my beautiful, brown and white, Bordie Collie with a dash of Australian Shepherd. He’s been in the family ever since we were little. For a while he was living with my brother, but he’s struggling for a bit and asked if I could drop him off at our grandpa’s place. Just till he gets back on his feet.
Arriving at the house, it really hasn’t changed much aside from the few little things. Stepping out of the car I let Quil out. He just runs off, probably excited to finally be outside. I can’t wait to just relax. And the door is locked. Why tell me the door is unlocked, and then proceed to lock the door. I guess I’ll just wait for him to come back, or maybe go for a walk. My brother and I had built a makeshift treehouse somewhere in the back, I wonder if it’s still there.
“Quil! Come over here!”
Where could he have run off to? Maybe I’ll grab his leash from the car just in case. Looking at the passenger seat, it’s covered in hair. That luscious fur comes with a price. That’ll be fun to clean up later. As I get out and close the car door he startles me.
“Oh, you’re right here! Where did you go buddy? Wanna go for a walk?”
He immediately starts getting all jumpy. A walk into the woods it is.
Making our way down the path, the forest is filled with all sorts of noises. I think I can hear a bunch of chickadees, and possibly a stream in the distance. I better keep Quil away from there. Being back in Forks, I already feel calmer. The bustling city is full of busy people, but here, everything is simply peaceful. I hope our treehouse isn’t too far out, the sun could set anytime. I don’t want to be out here in the pitch black. Anyway, I was right about this being the perfect place to work on my book. I start chuckling to myself thinking about the times my brother and I would pretend to be vampires, we probably just seemed very emo. Like most, we were absolutely obsessed with Twilight, especially since we lived in the town that it took place in. And when I say we were obsessed, I mean, obsessed. We had everything from their jewelry set, to owning all the books, including The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, heck I even name our dog after one of the Sams pack members. So when I brainstormed ideas for my new book, I thought “ Hey, why not a book about vampires?” and since I was recently laid off, I realized this was the perfect time to go back to my roots. Back to Forks.
After walking a while, I think I must have gone the wrong direction, and it’s starting to get dark out. I should really start to make my way back, as I don’t want to be out in the woods at night. I wouldn’t want to be mauled by a cougar or something. Before I got the chance to turn around, I noticed the forest has become a lot quieter and Quil doesn’t seem to be in sight. Maybe I should have put him on his leash.
“Hey Quil! Where are you? Come back here!” Nothing, just me alone in ever darkening woods.
I call out for him again, but like last time, nothing. Wait! I think I can hear him up ahead, maybe he’s stuck or hurt?! I don’t know but I’m not leaving here without him, even if it is getting dark.
I can hear his barking in the distance, how did he get so far ahead of me without me noticing? I swear he was right in front of me the whole time. As I get closer to the barking, I feel something is wrong. I stop and whistle to get his attention. If something had happened to him, no, I won’t think like that. I just have to find him before it gets too dark.
The sun has gone faster than Quil, and the forest is now covered with a fog of darkness. I’ll have to use my phone’s flashlight, if I’m going to go any further. Which as much as I would like to turn around and head back home, I can’t. But my feet won't seem to move forward either, so now I am standing, alone, in the dark. As I contemplate whether or not I should listen to my gut, I hear a yelp in the distance. That must have been Quil! I sprint towards the noise, when I suddenly trip over a root and the tendons in my ankle give out. I yell internally in pain as I feel my ankle rip. Now limping in the woods at night. I wouldn’t like my chances if I were in a horror movie. I feel like I’d definitely be the Last Girl.
The forest remains eerily silent, and I can’t hear Quil anymore. I think I might just have to rest here for a bit, and try to get a hold of grandpa. He should have noticed I’m not home by now. Seeing as I didn’t leave a note for him before coming to the woods, he must be really worried. I need to let him know that I am hurt and Quil is missing. As I begin texting, my thumbs begin to ache from the cold night air. And it seems my luck is running low, because with the perks of living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, there’s also not many cell towers around. It looks like I won't be able to message for help. Suddenly something is breathing shallowly on my neck behind me. Slowly looking back... it’s Quil!
“Hey, boy! Where did you run off too? Momma was really worried about you, you shouldn’t have run off like that! You really scared me!” He’s just staring at me, he doesn’t look hurt but he seems to be acting odd. I can’t put my finger on it.
“Come here Quil, it’s okay. You’re safe,” but he doesn’t move.
Well if you won’t come here, I guess I’ll go to you. I begrudgingly inch my way towards him, limping with every step. He’s not moving at all, he’s just staring into my eyes. What’s wrong, maybe he actually is hurt. That would make two of us.
“Hey, buddy, it's okay.” I try stepping closer, and I reach my hand out, but just as I near him, he runs off. “QUIL?! Where are you going?!” I try running after him but even with the adrenaline it's hard with my ankle. Suddenly he stops and just stares at me.
“Quil?” I ask between breaths.
As soon as his name escapes my mouth he jumps into a small hole, on the side of a hill covered in bushes. It looks like a fox den or something. It is too small for me to follow him, not like I’d want to anyways, but I try calling him again. And once again I’m left sitting in silence. I shine my light into the hole, and I think I see his brown and white fur. I try calling him out again, but silence. I guess if I want my dog out of that hole I’m going to have to drag him out. The thought of doing this makes my skin crawl but it seems like the only way… I take out his leash from my pocket, and place it in my left hand, and push my right into the hole.
The hole feels moist, and is overgrown with vegetation. All I feel is wet dirt until finally, I touch his soft fur. Moving my hand, it feels endless, I need to find his neck. Abruptly the hair moving between my fingers becomes greasy and grimy. Upon feeling a matted section of his body he shifts and something forcefully grabs my wrist. I stop mid breath and listen. The same shallow breathing from before. This is not Quil.
Dropping the leash I use my other hand to push against the hill, and I try to pry my hand free from it’s grasp. But no matter my struggle, my wrist remains in place within the moist fox hole. Suddenly my pain is diverted from my ankle to under my shoulder where something is digging its teeth into my arm. I yell out in torment as the creature rips a chunk of my bicep off. It begins wrestling my arm further in and I attempt to continue pulling back. The bones in my wrist crack as its nails pierce my skin. It lunges back at my arm closing its jaw with such ferocity it feels as if it's gnawing on my arm bone. I try to pull back once again and my shoulder pops and my arm stretches. Suddenly I fall back.
With a heavy head, I manage to look up. Looking back are dozens of red eyes perched on the hilltop. I somehow get up and start running. The creatures screech behind me. My face is freezing and my hair feels soaked. I can no longer control my breathing, I try to breath faster but each is shallower than the last. I close my eyes and it feels like my body is flying in spacelessness.
It only took a couple days for anyone to find May’s body. Our grandfather had enlisted the help of the whole town to find her, but it was I who noticed something by the bridge. Climbing down by the river I found her, my sister. Everyone assumes she was attacked by a wild animal and had fallen down a hill and was carried by a stream towards the river. After I called for help, I noticed a dog running towards me. Quil! He jumps up and tries licking me. I look in the distance he came, and apart from the river and Quill, I hear a faint whistling. It abruptly stops and the woods spring to life.