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The Shadow of the Forest

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The shadow is a strange, black creature. It has no true form, aside from a shapeless blob. It takes on the form of what scares the encounterer the most. It is mostly neutral towards humans, unless angered. It can be fairly friendly when it needs to be, particularly to small, lost children, leading them, out of the northwest Missouri woods. But when angered, it can be…brutal.

The only time it ever killed people was in the early 1900’s. Workers were destroying the forests in which it dwelled, angering the beast. The first few workers reported seeing a feral creature, crawling through the early morning mist. The rest simply shrugged it of as a coyote, or some sort of stray dog.

This only angered the creature further. One worker walked off to the woods to get more supplies. A scream followed soon after. The body was covered in scratches, only on his throat and wrists. It was done quickly, but as a warning to the workers. A warning they did not heed.

The next worker died a few weeks after the first attack. He was found with large chunks torn out of his sides and throat. The forensic scientists said the bites were significantly bearlike, probably one of the wild bear species that lived around there. The workers, once again shrugged it off. Only the Shadow knew what happened.

No one else died for a few months, but the more superstitious workers were more cautious, a few even quit. The skeptical that remained passed the deaths as coincidences. Not much was seen of the beast by the workers, but the local few Indians that live there see the shadow. The manager decides to ask around. He found a translator and began questioning.

They responded saying it was a spirit that guards the forest, but the manager says it’s a load of bullshit. He continues the job. He later went missing. He was never found.

After the disappearance, the living workers fled, never to speak of the incident. Never mess with the Shadow if you can help it, treasure the forest and it’s resources, do not abuse them. The Shadow can find you, whether you want it to or not.

Believe it or not, I actually have my own side of the story. I'm John, and I met this creature for the first time when I was about seven. I wasn't quite the adventurous type at the time, often not willing to try new things. One summer evening, my friends decided to play hide-and-seek in the woods. It was a nice evening, not too hot or too cool. Everyone chose clever hiding spots. My other friend, Chris, was the one trying to find us. It took Chris nearly an hour to find one person in the group! It turned out I had picked the best hiding spot, because Chris never found me.

It was getting cold and dark, so I decided to give up our little game and go find the others. I searched for what felt like 12 hours, and I found no one.

It was as soon as I began to get scared and cry that I saw a mist was starting to roll in, getting thicker and thicker. This frightened me even more. I continued walking, trying not to lose sight of the path. But at the very edge of my field of vision, I saw a figure. It was sort of dog-like, and thinking it was a wild coyote, I ran off the path to get away from it. A foolish idea in hindsight, but everywhere I turned, I saw it, slowly heading toward me. Eventually I gave up. I let it come towards me. As it got closer, I realized it wasn't a coyote, it was a big, black dog, with gleaming red eyes. It nuzzled me lovingly, which I would consider odd now that I'm older, but I was seven, and didn't know better. I followed it all the way back to the trail, and it led me out of the forest.

I would be grateful to it to this day, if it wasn't for what happened later.

About eleven years passed, and in the summer before my first year of community college, I was hanging out at a campsite with some friends. We all had at least one drink, but I was mostly sober. My friends Jessica, Mike, and Bill were all wasted, however. Jessica suggested we burn some molotov cocktails. I knew this was a bad idea, but I was outnumbered, and I had no time to get to the car and drive away. As soon as Bill lit the first bottle, and eerie fog began to roll in. "Hey, what the fuck is that?" Jessica called out. We all turned, and I was struck with memories of being lost in the forest.

Only this time it wasn't a dog, it was a large silhouette of some kind of deformed man. It began to limp towards us. We could only watch in horror as it stepped into the light of the smoldering fire.

Its face was covered in wart-like lumps. Its back was hunched, but it was a completely black figure, but not the furry black of the dog, but it was black as though every single inch of its flesh was dead, but its eyes were the same bright, burning red. We all tried to run, but the creature somehow elongated its arm and pierced knife-sharp fingers through Jessica's chest, and it only watched as Jessica's lungs began to fill up with blood. But it abandoned her, and the rest of us all ran onto different trails in a fork in the path. I heard Bill scream, but I kept on relentlessly running.

I was too focused on getting back to the car to hear Mike's blood-curdling howl of agony. Eventually, the creature ran up to me. But it paused in front of me. This time, it just gave me a sad look, as though to say, "Why?" I inched closer, but the creature ran away. Eventually I found the car, and am still haunted to this day by that thing.

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