The work in progress for my first OC creepypasta The wind whistles through the bare trees, sweeping up the leaves and letting them drop again. My thin shirt, though long-sleeved, is no match against the chilly bite of the open air. I look around, to no avail. My hiking group is long gone. I am all alone, deep in the Canadian wilderness.

Usually, this wouldn't bother me. I've survived on my own before. This time, however, is different. As I was packing up this morning, ready to move with the group, the locals were gossiping among themselves about the coming moon. The blood moon, they called it. Apparently, it was connected to an ancient legend about a man-eating wolf and the being who hunted it. I didn't believe them; since when was there anything paranormal about the world? If it couldn't be explained by science, it was obviously hyperbole. Right?

I continue along the lonely forest path, searching for any sign that my group had passed through here. Not even the slightest indication is found. I sigh and keep going, hoping to find a spot to sleep before the sun sets. Several hours pass before I break through to a dusty road. It continues on for what seems to be forever in one direction, but connects to a small cottage in the other direction.

My heart leaps at the sight. A building means there's people, or at the very least, a shelter to wait out the night before continuing my trek. I walk up the road to the cottage, which seems to get more and more run down as I draw close to it. Ivy creeps over the crumbling stone like maggots through a corpse. I gag. That was the last image on earth that I needed in my head right now.

I try the door; it creaks open, the lock little more than rust. Despite the locks dismal condition, the inside of the cottage is well worn. Ashes from a recent fire smolder in the fireplace, the coals beneath them alive and well. The owner of this place likely just stepped o--

A cold hand on my back stops my train of thought dead and I turn around, my heart pounding hard in my chest. A willow of a woman stands unnervingly close to me. Her dark hair falls like thick moss over her tiny arms, and beneath them, a pair of toffee-colored eyes rakes over my body, searching for something.

"Who are you?" she asks, drawing her hand back into her shawl. She brushes past me and places some tinder on the ashes, rousing the coals back into a roaring fire. I watch her do this, debating on how to answer her question. The fire revived, she turns to look at me, patiently waiting for an answer.

"I'm a bit lost," I start, shifting from foot to foot. "I was with a group, at first, but --"

"-- you were left behind." She completes my sentence for me, shaking her head. The woman looks up and gives me a wry smile. "I'm not surprised. The blood moon's on the rise. Anyone who doesn't want to die leaves a tithe for the Beast and the Hunter. Guess that's you."

I must look more confused than I realize, since she gestures for me to sit and begins to speak.