A seemingly calm and foggy October morning, children gathered at the bus stop releasing miserable groans of boredom. Passing by the ominous and gloomy path into the woods which reside beside the town's old church, the kids cracked inappropriate jokes consisting of murders that could likely take place in the depths of the trees. A rusty gate located at the entrance of the woods swung back and forth with the wind slightly squeaking as the colorful fall leaves would float by.
October 5th marked Ian Winchell's 10th birthday. Ian energetically flew out of his bed covers nearly tripping on the trading cards scattered precariously across his bedroom floor. Mrs.Winchell awaited her song with open arms and a good morning kiss along with a bagged lunch for school.
"Where has my baby boy gone?" Mrs.Winchell pestered jokingly.
"I'll be here for a while, Mommy!" giggled Ian." He kissed his mother on the cheek, grabbing the lunch and impatiently running down the road with the hopes of seeing his 3rd grade crush Noel Stevens. Ian approached the group of children waiting at the waiting at the bus stop.
His face full of joy and excitement upon seeing Noel swaying her arms back and forth while waiting for the bus to arrive. He attempted to approach her and make small talk but came up short when it came to trying to anxiously produce words out of the stuttering contraption called his mouth. The bus had come to a stop and as the children took their seats an older boy, Ben Coleman had stolen the open space in Noel's seat away from Ian. Ian's spirit had grown dim as he dragged himself to the back of the bus and moped in his seat. Upon arrival at the school Ian stood up to see Noel give Ben a peck on the lips and exit her seat with a spring in her step. Ian was torn.
Recess came around and as Ian sat in the grass angrily ripping out the grass and attempting to hide the tears streaming down his face he was greeted by his classmate Penelope Reese. The black haired, freckled girl was roughly half a year younger than Ian and had bashfully admired him for quite some time. "Why so blue, Mr. attitude?" Penelope playfully interrogated Ian.
"Just go away..." Ian moaned.
Worried, Penelope replied, "Oh...well hey if you ever need to talk to a friend im just a few desks away!"
Ian, slightly encouraged by the kind attempt of Penelope, conjured up the energy to go break off a stick from a branch that had hung from a tree among the lining of the woods. From the fog filled depths of the trees came a muffled and deep sounding "Baaa" followed by a gun shot! Alarmed, Ian carelessly wandered into the woods. Penelope saw Ian and decided to follow him in hopes that the time alone could give her the courage and the chance to confess her feelings to him.
After 10 minutes of walking in the direction of the sound, Ian came across two young voices. Noel and Ben had ceased their kissing behind a dead oak tree and were debating the origin of the noise. "I'm scared, Ben! Let's go back!" Noel cried.
Ben tried to ease Noel's nerves "It's nothin' babe. Me n' my Pa' come out here huntin' all da time and we ain't never seen nothin' outta da norm back here."
"Probably just some wrinkly ass farmer puttin' down one of his ol' goats" Ben added.
Penelope crept up behind Ian startling him! "Well aren't you the little rebel sneaking away from school." Penelope joked. Ian remained unresponsive as he listened in on Noel and Ben's conversation.
Noel and Ben wandered towards the noise as Ian and Penelope followed them stealthily. Noel's mind began playing tricks on her as the sun was setting and the tree's branches squeaked and scraped each other in the wind. Leaves crunched under their feet and with every glance of Noel's eyes she was convinced she had seen something move... She could not have been more right... Ben had become irritated with how paranoid Noel was being and shook her violently to try talking sense into her.
"Stop! Get off!" Noel shrieked full of fear.
Ben raised his hand to strike Noel only to be tackled to the ground by Ian! Ian pinned Ben's body to the ground with his knees on Ben's shoulders. Fists flying at Ben's face in a bloody frenzy, Penelope and Noel could only beg him to stop as they could see something had clearly snapped inside of Ian.
Ben managed to hurl Ian off of him. Ben struggled to his feet. Dazed and in a rage he staggered towards Ian when he was stopped by an unfathomably excruciating pain in his left leg! Ben had seemingly stepped into a bear trap. He unleashed an unearthly scream in pain. He fell and sobbed and begged for the others to help.
"Ian, whatever I did I'm sorry just help me!"
He pleaded and turned to Noel, "Babe, I promise I'll never treat you like that again just please go for help!"
Noel threw up at the site of Ben's blood covered leg. Ian stood there, his face not sparing an ounce of emotion toward the situation.
He walked toward Ben to examine the situation more carefully. This was no bear trap. This was far too complex. The razor teeth of the clamps had been laced with a mysterious substance. Ben had blacked out and Noel rushed over to Ian, scared out of her mind for Ben's safety. Her foot collided with a long object hidden in the leaves. giving off a loud "clang." In the leaves lay a desert eagle pistol. Why on earth would a gun like this be in these woods? Ian picked up the gun only to see a few pieces of medium length thin black hair which gave off a pungent odor. The odor grew stronger along with the fog which grew thicker as the sun set. Whatever left these hairs was close by. What was it?
Ian and Noel had started heading back to the school for help when they realized they had no idea where they were. Ian noticed Penelope was nowhere to be found. He grew cautious. Penelope usually was draped all over him... So where was she now? while calling out her name something interrupted he and Noel. The sound of footsteps came from where Ben was lying unconscious followed by a sound as if something was being dragged through the leaves. Ian and Noel rushed back to check on Ben only to find the severed half of Ben's leg still stuck in the trap... What the hell was happening?
First a missing girl and now a legless Ben was nowhere to be found. The odor of whatever left the hairs was everywhere at the site of the trap. Noel could no longer speak... She began to hyperventilate and fall to her knees. Ian didn't need another casualty! He tried to calm Noel when from behind a tree line came a deep and strong huffing sound accompanied by snorting.
The atmosphere had become still as if everything had ceased to exist around Ian and Noel except for whatever was making this noise. Ian sprang up in fear and began to panic. He picked up the incapacitated Noel and began to use all of his energy to make his way back to the school. After a good 5 minutes of running he could no longer fight what he was already aware of... He was being hunted.
He couldn't run anymore. he began panting and eventually fell. Noel's body slumped beside him in the leaves. As Ian began to black out the last he heard was the huffing and footsteps growing louder.
Ian woke to a familiar room. That awful odor from earlier was the only thing he was able to recognize in the darkness. Ian listened to a frenzy of sounds of chomping, snorting, tearing, and screaming!
"WHAT'S GOING ON?!" Ian screamed in terror.
Sweat rolling down his face, he began to squirm. He was being restrained by what he could only make out to be ropes.
He tried to calm down. It seemed impossible to manage while listening to the screaming. Once Ben had managed to adjust his eyes to the darkness he could make out where he was. It was his old Sunday school room before his church had shut down. Why here? What was going on? He could make out a symbol in the middle of the floor. Some sort of star and a circle. He had seen this in some of the scary movies he had watched before. Ian then came to the realization of what was happening. The screaming was Ben. Just as Ian screamed, "BEN!" the noises had come to a quick stop.
Ben could see two figures moving in the darkness. one came closer to him. It was Penelope! She untied him and he fell off of the wall only to have his fall broken by a hollowed rotting corpse. Ian and Penelope rushed to the door as they heard the screams of a suddenly woken Noel. Small illuminated eyes were making their way toward Noel's screaming.
"WHO ARE YOU?!" Ian demanded in fear!
The eyes were now set on Ian. They crept closer as Ian was frozen in fear he could finally see the creature. A tall boney goat like monstrosity that made every fiber of his being sick. The creatures eyes locked in a gaze with Ian's... They were still.
The creature broken the stare and stepped aside for Ian. Ian walked toward Noel.
"IAN GET ME DOWN HURRY!!! PLEASE!" Noel begged.
"Did you love him?" Ian asked in a monotone voice.
"Who Ben?! Ian this isn't the time just get me down hurry!!!"
Ian whispered into Noel's ear, "I saw you two in the woods..." Both grew quiet.
"Ian please jus-" She was interrupted by a sharp pain in her throat.
Ian started to slowly saw through her neck with a broken piece of a stained glass window... Noel tried to scream... blood poured down her handing body like a strong flowing river. Remorseless. Ian dropped the piece of blood stained glass and walked slowly to the door which led upstairs. The creature permitted his departure.
"It's letting us go?" Penelope whispered in momentary relief.
Ian ignored her and shut the door behind him. Ian ascended the stairs as the sounds of Penelope's screams of Ian's help were drowned out by the creatures unearthly sounds. Ian had reached the doors of the church and there was silence.