Written By Cara Linder
Far out in the country, there was a small town nestled between dense, sprawling forests. The town was known for its tranquility, and the residents felt safe enough to leave their doors unlocked at night and allow their children to play outside until dark. At night when they looked up the sky was covered in stars. But beneath the peaceful exterior of the town lurked a dark and malevolent force, unbeknownst to the townfolk, waiting to claim its next unsuspecting victim.
One summer evening, two middle-school friends, Tim and Cassy, decided to take their bikes out for a ride.
“I bet you can’t keep up!”
“Hey you’re the one who can’t keep up!”
They raced down the street past each other, faster, and faster. Tim was just about to pass the street light when he looked at the trees, spotting something move in the woods. Suddenly he lost control of his bike and was flung over the handlebars.
Cassy hopped off her bike, and rushed to his aid.
“Are you okay?”
Time groaned and rolled over.
“I think my arm’s broke.”
They got up to walk Tim home, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had seen something lurking in the words, but he shrugged it off as just his imagination.
Yet, in the distance a shadow moved through the trees.
Tim went to the doctor and discovered that his arm was broken and received a cast for his arm. All the other kids signed it the next day and he felt a sense of relief that his injury wasn’t more severe. But that relief was short-lived, as the shadow in the woods continued to haunt his thoughts.
Tim was riding his skateboard when Cassy walked up to him.
“How’s your arm?” Tim smiled at her. “Great, everyone signed it!”
Cassy, eager to get back to their normal routine, suggested they go on an adventure.
“Since you’re doing so good, do you wanna go to the creek in the woods?”
Tim’s smile quickly faded. “I don’t know Cassy. I thought I saw something in there that night and it just doesn’t…” “Aw c’mon Timothy, don’t be a wuss.”
Tim crunched up his face. Despite his apprehension, Tim reluctantly agreed.
They made their way down the path toward the creek. It was about 100 feet away from the start of the path. As they reached the creek, they jumped over rocks looking for frogs. Tim was careful with his cast, but he wasn’t letting it stop him from having some fun. Shadows started to creep through the trees. Tim looked up at the sky, he realized the sun was about to set and an eerie feeling overcame him.
The shadows seemed to grow longer and more menacing, but Tim tried to push his fears aside and enjoy the moment with his friend. As the sun began to set, Tim grew increasingly nervous and insisted they head home.
“Hey Cassy, I think we should go home now.”
Cassy, ignoring him, jumped onto another rock. “What! But we’re having so much fun!” “It’s getting dark. I want to go home.”
She finally turned to him.
“Don’t be such a baby. We’ve been out later than this before.” Tim looked around nervously. He was still scared, but everything seemed normal.
“I’m going home now. You can come if you want.” Tim, without hesitation started back up the trail. Cassy, frustrated with his sudden change in behavior, huffed but reluctantly followed anyway. As they reached the edge of the woods, she thought she saw something moving in the shadows. She brushed it off as her imagination and they made their way back to Tim’s house.
With her hands in her pockets, Cassy pouted, “So what do you want to do now?” Tim sighed. “I don’t know. I kinda just want to go home.”
“We could look at the stars! I can show you where the North Star is.” Tim looked up at her. “Really?” Cassy smiled. “Yeah, sure! Look up there.”
She pointed at the sky. “You see the Big Dipper? Above it is the little dipper, and that’s it right there!” Tim looked up with wide eyes. “Wow. That’s so cool.”
They spent a little more time looking at the sky until they had to go home. Cassy waved at Tim. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He waved back.
“See ya.” Tim didn’t realize how dark the street was until he was alone. Fear started to creep up his spine. Then he noticed the street light had gone out. He looked around, but it was too dark to see anything. Tim looked up at the stars. They made him feel a little better, but all he wanted was to be home.
He heard a sound come from the woods, and immediately broke into a sprint. He ran towards his house. It was right there at the end of the street. He’d be home in no time. Just a little father.
Tim’s front door opened. His mother poked her head out.
“Tim? Tim where are you honey?”
He was usually home by now. She walked out onto the street, and looked around. There was no sign of him, or anyone for that matter. She went back inside to call Cassy’s mother.
“Hello, Margaret? Is Tim over there? No? He hasn’t come home yet, and I’m getting worried. Okay, thank you.”
The next day there were police cars outside of their house. Cassy’s mother told her Tim never came home last night.
“What? But I just saw him.” “I know sweetheart. They’re going to look for him. Be careful, and if you see anything let us know.”
She couldn’t believe it. How could he be gone?
The police searched the woods, but there was no sign of him. The town was in shock, and the residents began to lock their doors, and a curfew implemented; they were afraid of what may be lurking in the woods.
That night Cassy was looking out her window. She started thinking about Tim when she saw The North Star.
“Why does it look brighter tonight?” She turned her gaze to the woods. Cassy couldn’t shake the feeling that she had saw something.
“What was that? She looked closer, but nothing was out of place. Cassy started feeling guilty for not listening to Tim’s fears. She knew deep down that the darkness in the woods had claimed another victim, and she vowing to herself to never enter the woods again.
In the morning, she went outside to play with the other kids. They wanted to go in the woods, but Cassy wasn’t so sure.
“Guys I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Josh dribbled his basketball. “We could always shoot some hoops.” Rosy rolled her eyes.
“That’s all you ever want to do. I want to go to the woods. Gabe will you please back me up.”
“The woods do sound fun guys.” Cassy was nervous, but she decided to go along with it. It was better than being alone.
They played hide-and-seek. Luckily they stayed pretty close the street, Cassy thought. “Come out come out wherever you are!”
Rosy looked behind trees and bushes, but still couldn’t find anyone. She called out.
“Okay guys I give up!” They still didn’t come out. “Guys? Hey, come on. I said I give up!”
Rosy had gone farther into the woods than she thought. That was when it started to get dark. Rosy realized the shadows of the trees were stretching across the ground. She was getting nervous which made her lose her sense of direction. She spun in circles looking for her way back.
“Guys! Where are you!”
It seemed to get dark much faster than a usual day. Rosy finally found a boulder that looked familiar, and she made her way back. She kept looking around which made her more nervous as time went by. It felt like someone was watching her. She turned around, and saw a man duck behind a tree. That was when she started running.
“Rosy! Where are you!”
It had taken Rosy longer than usual to find them. They came out after a while, and she was nowhere to be found. They looked everywhere, but they still couldn’t find any sign of her. The sun was getting low so they decided to go back to they street. Maybe she was there.
Gabe called for her.
“Rosy! Where are you! Guys I’m really worried about her.”
Josh looked up at the sky. “Guys the sun’s going down soon. We can’t look for her forever.”
They were about to give up, and tell Rosy’s parents they couldn’t find her when she ran out of the trees.
“Guys! Where were you!” “Rosy! We looked everywhere for you!”
She was breathing heavy from running. “There’s someone in the woods! We should get out of here.”
They all ran to Rosy’s porch. Gabe hugged her, and asked if she was OK.
“No! I just got chased through the woods by something!” Cassy grabbed her arm. “Rosy. Listen to me. What happened? What did you see?” Rosy took a heavy breath before telling them everything. They all agreed to stay out of the woods, and close to their homes. Later, Rosy was laying in her bed. She heard a scratching sound at her window, when she peered outside, she saw the silhouette of the shadowy figure she had seen in her nightmares. She screamed and ran to her parents’ room, but they found nothing outside.
They just locked her window, tucked her in and placed a blanket over her head. Rosy began to have nightmares, in which she saw a dark, shadowy figure stalking her through the woods. The figure had no face, but she could feel its malevolent gaze upon her. The nightmare became more terrifying, and she couldn’t shake the horror. Once she was in this deep sleep, the lock turned, and her window opened.
The next morning the other kids saw more police cars, but this time outside Rosy’s house. They all gathered outside staring. Josh looked at the other two.
“What do you guys think happened?” Cassy looked around. “That thing from last night must have gotten her.”
Gabe kicked a bottle that was laying on the ground. “What are we going to do? We’re not even safe in our own houses!” All three of them decided to go to Josh and Gabe’s house. “Since we have bunk beds we can watch out for each other, but what about you Cassy?”
She looked at them and shook her head. “I don’t know. We should have a sleep over so we can stick together.” Cassy ran home to asked her parents about the sleepover, but they said no. She called the boys to tell them she wasn’t allowed to leave the house anymore. They said their parents told them the same thing; with everything going on all the parents wanted to keep their kids home and safe.
That night the boys were playing video games when Josh saw something. “Hey, what’s that?” They looked up at the sky. “Man that star is really bright. I don’t remember it ever looking like that.”
Something moved in the corner of Gabe’s eye as they were staring out their window. “Josh. I saw something.” “What? What did you see?” “Oh my God! It’s Rosy! We gotta go get her!” Josh tried to grab him, but he was too fast. He ran outside, and made a beeline for the trees.
“Gabe!” Josh didn’t know what to do. He stood in the doorway for a second before running after his brother. “Rosy! Rosy where are you!” She was ahead of him running between the trees. She led him deeper into the woods. He lost track of her, and when he slowed down he realized he was lost.
Gabe had never been this far out before. He called for Rosy again, and then he called for Josh. There was no answer. He tried to find his way home using the light from the stars, but nothing looked familiar. It was so dark. He chose a direction, and started walking. Josh had been running through the forest too.
He barely kept up with Gabe, and it wasn’t long before he lost track of him. Josh heard his name being called, so he ran towards it. He got closer to the sound when it suddenly stopped. “Gabe! This isn’t funny! Come back!” He walked around looking for any sign of him. Josh heard a twig snap behind him. He whipped around to see a shadow in the trees. He moved closer to the it when it stepped out in front of him.
As the days passed, in addition to the twins disappearance, more and more strange occurrences began to happen in the town. People reported seeing shadowy figures lurking in the woods, and strange noises were heard at night. The residents were on edge, and many feared for their safety. While Cassy had a feeling that she was being watched, some evil presence and a shadowy figure following her wherever she went. She knew that she had to do something to stop it before she was its next victim.
Cassy’s parents told her she wasn’t allowed to leave the house, mainly because no one knew what was going on, terrified Cassy even more. Why was everyone disappearing? She needed answers. There was one thought that sent a chill down her spine. She was next. She didn’t know what to do.
The only thing she could think of was to grab a kitchen knife to hide under her pillow. She locked her windows, and tried to tie a rope around them for extra security. Cassy decided she was going to stay up all night. She sat on her bed holding the knife as the sun set.
The moon was high in the sky as a light came through her window. Something drew her over. She looked up, and she saw The North Star again. It was so much brighter now. Her jaw dropped. She had never seen it look like that before. Cassy’s eyes went wide. The knife clattered to the floor. She lost control of herself, and opened her door. She stepped into her backyard. A giant shadow stood in front of the tree line. Cassy walked out into the starlight. Her trance led her over to it. It extended its long dark fingers towards her, and she took its hand. It pulled her into the forest.
Soon after the star grew just a little brighter.