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The cold December air burned at my lungs with every breath I received as we ran through the dense forest. I was bewildered with my surroundings. We should have listened to our father’s words, and not have entered these woods. The sound of branches and twigs snapped around us. They echoed through the trees making it uncertain which direction it came from. I watched my older brother spin in circles, attempting to guard our every angle. He became unsteady from spinning and ended up stumbling over a fallen branch. I watched him crawl through the frigid snow towards a nearby tree. I knew she could see us…watching us like prey. The abundance of fallen snow covered her like camouflage, making it unknown where she may appear. The stories from town of the Elk Woman were true. The children spread the story like a plague; a tall naked woman, pale and bony with skin permanently stained by dead leaves and dirt. She would wander through the forest, stalking whoever entered her woodland. When she caught them, she would tear them open and devour them alive. Some of the hunters would tell tales that they would mistake her for an elk during hunting season, because of her immense set of antlers that swelled from her skull. The silent, still forest filled with a scream. The scream sounded as if an elk was cackling. My heart raced and my body froze. The fear escalated through my body as the scream began to approach louder and louder. I looked down at my brother who sat aside of me. He shook vastly. I could see the fear shoot into his eyes as the branches before us began to shake. I started to tremble as I saw antlers brush through the snowy leaves. Her thin arms reached out as claw like fingers pushed branches aside. Her long bony legs stepped out, moving around irregularly. Her long dark hair swayed side to side as she walked revealing the word “Pythonissam” carved deep into her torso. Having to learn Latin in school I knew what it said; “Witch.” I wanted to grab my brother and run the hell out of there, but I was paralyzed in fear. Her head tilted up enough to parade her face. Her face was sunken in, with dingy eyes. Her skin was tight and as white as the snow around us. Her bone structure could be seen through her fragile looking skin. She ambled toward us, her head jerked up to face my brother. Her mouth gaped into a wide smile, bearing rows of jagged decaying teeth. She let out another scream. I watched my brother shake and clutch the snow beneath him in dread . I placed my hands over my eyes and fearfully whimpered, “This isn't real. This isn't real. This isn't real.” All at once the screams stopped, and the forest fell silent as it did before this nightmare started….I gradually moved my hands away from my eyes and slowly turned my head to face my brother. There she was besieged over him. Her face leaned into his, with bleak eyes observing the fear running through his face. He let out a blood curdling scream. She reclined her head back to mock him with a deafening screech. Within a quick motion of a heart beat her claws began to burrow into his abdomen, stripping away clothing and flesh. His blood colored the snow like a canvas. His hand reached towards me as he gasped for life. I watched in horror as my brother slowly began to succumb from blood loss. I built up all my bravery I had left in me and started to move. My feet tore through the snow as I ran away sobbing. The last thing I saw was my brother’s body being devoured by this animal as she smiled, tearing and gnawing at his organs.