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Red Sky Dawn

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The flock, a term alien to those who do not weekly go to the Barker King Mountain Trails and hike, is a common word used against these hikers among their "kind", a special kind of people who were-no, ARE, true mountain men and women. It's a group mentality against their kind where every hiker in the group must contribute to the group, and in return, the rest of the flock will keep you safe and secure. As a group, they established rules that everybody must and WILL follow. One of them is to "never stray too far from the flock". This was taught upon the younger ones of the group, and if they did not obey the all important rule, the Barker Beast would get them.

The Barker Beast is described as a large winged creature with a beak as vicious as saw-blades, claws as sharp as a sword, and a body as hard as a giant redwood. It had two beautifully murderous eyes colored black as sackcloth, with irises as red as blood. The story circulated in the early 1920's, when Randall and Helen Clive took their 6 year old son, Peter, out for a little walk through the trails. Helen told the boy "I'd suggest you stay close to us, 'less the Beast gets ya." Peter asked his mother, "What's the Beast?" and his mother responded with a short, sweet, and simple response: "Your doom." Peter didn't stray even a centimeter from his two loving and caring parents, who they were going to protect from the Beast. 

No such Beast was ever reported from any of the local Rangers, but rumor has it that there are indeed reports of the Beast being sighted in the Trails, but the Rangers are too afraid to send out a notice of it. No murders have been reported in the Trails, yet people end up going missing at least so much as three, maybe four times in two weeks. The story has been passed down from generation to generation, and each time, it keeps the little ones in line, single file lines. Even most young and old adults fear the Barker Beast, having terrified them while they were still young. However, in one camping trip reported in the 90's, one teenager didn't believe so.

The young adult was named Dawn Binder, a 17 year old girl belonging to the middle class Binder family, consisting of her, her mother Virginia, her father Simon, and her younger brother Joey. When she was a little one in the single file lines of her family's flock, she believed deeply in the story of the Barker Beast. So much so, it traumatized her, to the point where she became the youngest child to be institutionalized at their local mental facility. She'd been recently released, and she had indeed changed. Gone was Virginia and Simon Binder's beautiful young daughter who asked them to protect her from the big bad Beast. In her place, a punk type and rebellious little bitch of a daughter whom they somewhat loathed. 

What happened in the facility to her has not been revealed to the public at this moment in time, though it's suspected that her brain had been "fast-forwarded", a term used rarely by those who help speed up a young child's personality to that of a 15 year old. This has been denied on numerous occasions in interviews and responses to statements from the Binder family and more. Dawn hesitantly went along with her parents on this trip, attempting to try and get along with them after eight years in the loony bin. As they arrived, only Dawn noticed the sky began to slowly turn to a light red salmon color.

"Why's the sky a bit fishy?" she asked. "Sky? Fishy? Dawn, you must be seeing things that aren't there, darling," her mother responded in that usual sensual voice she always had on, no matter who it was. "I think she means the sky is a different color, dear. Everyone sees the sky differently." Simon responded to the air-headed Virginia. "I think she's crazy!" Joey exclaimed, wanting to put his less than 2 cents in. "I'll knock you crazy." Dawn responded, with a hint of seriousness. "That's enough, you two. Now, let's get moving. We're paying good money for this." Virginia broke the two up with her attracting voice, and they walked, single file line as usual per flock rules. All except for Dawn.

About two hours into the trip, Joey strayed from the flock. Simon gathered him back and Virginia told him the tale of the Barker Beast. "It's complete bullshit, Joe. The old man and woman are just telling you that to scare you so you won't get kidnapped." The eldest sibling told the immature youngest out of earshot to the "old man and woman". Joey, being the immature youngest child, tattled on her to the parents. 

This is where an all too familiar scenario broke out among the parents and Dawn: girl does something to get angry and does something to worry them, parents start criticizing her, girl argues with them, parents argue with her, and they all calm down. The end, right? Not this time, the end was only a beginning. 

Instead of them all calming down, Virginia, she'd had enough with her daughter's (no she didn't deserve that word that filthy little girl) behavior, so she pulled her wrist back, and gave her a backhand across the face. Simon sided with his daughter on this, Virginia having gone a bit too far. Dawn instead ran off, deep and deeper into the woods with each adrenaline-fueled heartbeat. The darkness seemed to come quicker, and Dawn sought refuge in a cave near the cliffs, where the beautiful ocean was illuminated by the dark silver moon. Sleep also came faster than expected, and she fell asleep in the cave near the cliffs.

When Dawn came to, she noticed it was quite dark inside the cave, it being day. She noticed an eerie color near the opening: sackcloth. She was not a religious person per-say, but sackcloth color was a preferred color of her choice. She slowly moved towards it, and it started glowing a new shade, no, a new color entirely: blood red. She shivered, and walked outside. The first thing she noticed was the sky.

The sky had turned from the once beautiful and bright blue sky had instead been replaced with a dark and macabre blood red. It was as if the sky had been stabbed (by the hand of God) and the blood had stained and spread, tainting the brilliant colors of the sky with its liquid red color. There wasn't a sun in the sky, and this struck Dawn as odd, since the sun was always bright enough to see in the blue sky, except this was not her sky. This was something else entirely, she thought. She left the cave, and looked over the cliffs. What really scared her was none of these, except what she saw over the cliffs. Down on the ocean blue ground, there was nothing. Nothing but an empty void of blackness. Once, there was many a sight to see from the cliffs: birds flying overhead, the occasional ship passing by, and the beautiful ocean. Gone, all gone. Swallowed up by this void. 

Her instinct kicked in quickly, and she thought she had gone a bit cuckoo. She quickly raced back to where her flock's car was parked, and yet...there was nothing. There was no parking lot, just the woods. There was not a single living being she could find or see. There weren't any birds chirping, no sound at all. Not even wind blowing. The void had cut her off from the rest of the world, if this even was still her world at all. Wherever Dawn was, she was definitely not back on Earth. And yet despite this feeling of the ultimate isolation, she felt that she was being watched. She stared into the void for the longest time, thinking about going through it to look for her flock, yet she thinks there's something in it, watching her. This thought was quickly dismissed as fear, and then considers being swallowed by the void. With nothing else to do, she headed back for the cliffs, and arrived quickly, staring at the ocean void.

There then came a loud and haunting screech from the void, and one thing came to Dawn's mind: the Barker Beast. There was a sudden burst of wind from the void, as something rose up. A giant nearly 10 story beast rose from the void, and stared at Dawn with its (bleeding oh lord its bleeding) eyes. She let out a whimper, trying to remain still as was the course for a bear attack. But this was no bear, this was the Beast. The Barker Beast had just risen from beyond the infinite void. And it had risen for her.

It let out that screech, and flew towards her. She finally screamed, and dashed into the caves, the entrance way being too small for the Beast to enter. It had gotten a deep wound on her back, and she laid in the cave on her stomach, crying and realizing her childhood trauma was all but too real. Hours, maybe even a day or two passed, and she had become woozy and tired from the wound. Her condition worsened quickly, due to the lack of sleep because of her adrenaline, and her wandering mind not focusing, going places it hadn't gone since her eight years away. Occasionally, the Beast would let out the screech again, and only then wind would appear. This continued for the longest time, Dawn didn't know how much, but she wanted it to just end. 

Despite all of this, she couldn't and didn't care. She was tired, injured, going a bit delirious, and near death. She wanted it to all stop, and the only way that could happen was with the Beast. During her time in the cave, a thought reappeared constantly. She had thought about it long and hard, and she came to a conclusion fueled by her damaged mental state: there was no escape, simple as that. She lay there almost endlessly, and she was no further than going back to her world than she was at the beginning. She had given up and quit, there was no escaping this hell, and she could always continue to lay there, had it not been for her life-threatening injuries, but for how long would she have lasted without them? Three weeks without food, a whole week without water or hydration. All she'd be doing is torturing herself with her pointless attempt to stay in the cave and sit it out.

She should've let the Beast kill her, and death was her only escape now. With that solved, Dawn limped out of the cave, and stood over the cliffs, looking down. She closed her eyes, and heard the beast, felt the wind brushing against her face and clothed body. She thought her childhood happy thoughts. Playing with her parents, having fun, spending time with the ones she loved. A small smile appeared on her face, and she cried. The Barker Beast then flew towards her, and she leaned, falling towards the void. The beast then pierced her small body with its claws, and the impact was sudden and quick, she had died instantly. With the prey it so desperately required caught, it returned to its place inside the infinite void to enjoy feeding off of Dawn's emotions and feelings. Awaiting its next prey. The flocks that come through always have a size-able meal to enjoy, and who knows, it could be you next. Remember this rule: Stay with the flock ('less the Beast gets ya).

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