Shade in the Shadows
Walking back to my campsite at dusk, I heard a noise behind me. It didn’t sound like a growl from an animal, but rather a hiss from a snake. I choose to ignore it and continued onward.
The noise grew louder. Afraid to look back I dropped my things and decided to run. As I bolted down the path I trip over a root and fell to the ground. Ahead of me through the trees I could see my dad and little brother singing a song around the campfire.
I looked back over my shoulder and nothing was behind me, just my things scattered across the trail. What was this, my paranoia kicking in or what, I thought?
I stood up, dusting the dirt from my knees when I noticed a shooting pain spread through my ankle. I must have twisted it when I fell.
Dad yells, waving his arms. “Sweetie are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just tripped,” I shouted back.
“I’m okay. I got it. I’ll be right there.”
“Perfect… a hole in my jeans, that’s just lovely,” I said under my breath, as I walk back to pick up my things. A breeze kicked up and I smelled the salty air from the ocean. Leaves whispered among the brush, while I heard an owl hoot in the tree tops.
I picked up my possessions and murmured out loud, “probably an animal.” Then before I had time to react, something grabbed me from behind. I tried to scream but It was no use. Whatever it was, covered my mouth. I couldn’t see my kidnapper’s face with the minimal light from the sunset. The shaded trees made the woods darker than normal. Its fingers were unusual gray, and my captor wore a cloak. It ran fast and didn’t stumble or fall as it flowed through the forest with ease. I tried to wriggle my way free, but its grip was too strong.
After a few minutes we came to an entrance of a dark cave, near the rocks along the shore. My feet touched the pebble floor as it set me down. Then it hissed, “don’t try to run, I’ll catch you. Then I might change my mind and eat you, rather than keep you.”
Not able to see a face, I tried to bite its hand, but couldn’t open my mouth. Still in a headlock, it freed my waist, stuffed my mouth with a kerchief, and bound my hands. Then turned me around to face it.
It seemed human enough, but then it emerged from the shadows. I saw red eyes pierce through his hood along with a thin nose and cheeks. A faint scar on the side of his face was visible in the dimness of his garment. He grabbed my arm and pulled me to the nearby cave. It was pitch black, and I couldn’t see an inch from my nose.
What was he going to do with me, I thought? As a last-ditch effort before we got too deep within the cavern, I tried to escape. Instead, I tripped and hit my head on a rock, falling to the ground. Stunned, my head throbbed in pain and I felt liquid ooze from my left ear. I assumed it was blood, as the wetness seeps around my cheek.
“I warned you lassie. Bah, humans never listen.”
My vision became blurry and out of focus. I didn’t have the strength to move. I saw the light at the mouth of the cave, as ocean waves crashed against the shore.
“Either I eat you or keep you,” he hissed again, before I drifted to blackness.
That was the day my life as a human was gone.
©2018 E. R. Bennett/ Shade in the Shadows