She was coming. Dark thunderclouds hid the sun as he crouched lower behind the bushes. He knew she wouldn’t see or hear him. Wind whistled through tall pine trees covering any sounds he might have made. He waited as she neared. She was almost there. He held his breath, getting ready.
Her scream split the air like a knife when his hand shot out and grabbed her ankle. She fell back on her rear, scrambling backwards frantically trying to escape.
His hysterical laughter turned his sister’s fear to instant rage. “You should have seen your face!” the boy gasped between peels of laughter. Andy was a ten-year-old pain in his sister’s butt.
“You are dead!” Kelly growled, pushing her long auburn hair out of her eyes. She was two years older than Andy, but only a few inches taller. Hazel eyes shot promises of pain into laughing brown ones. Kelly jumped at Andy. He zigged the other way. She stayed after him, determined to do him bodily harm. Andy’s laughter slowed
him down. He made an exaggerated look of fright and screamed, pretending to be her. His Yankee’s baseball cap sat crooked on his head, a small leafy branch from some bush stuck in his shaggy, dark brown hair.
Kelly giggled and then burst into laughter. She jumped on top of him, tackling him to the ground. “Can you be any more of a nerd?” she asked.
They both heard it. A shrill, high pitched scream filled the air. The echo making it impossible to figure out which direction it had come from. Birds, leaving the safety of the huge pines, flew in every direction as if escaping the danger that was on its way. Slowly, they got to their feet. “What was that?” Andy whispered.
Kelly shook her head saying nothing, goose bumps covering her body, “Let’s get back to camp,” she said. They ran, constantly looking over their shoulders. The further they ran the thicker the forest became, closing in on them. “I think we’re going the wrong way. I don’t recognize anything around here!” Kelly whispered to her brother in a panic.
“We passed that big dead stump,” he replied, unconcerned, pointing down the road. “That scream was not human. You know what I think it was?” Andy’s eyes glittered with excitement.
“No,” Kelly responded, a warning dripped from her words, “and I don’t want to know either! Let’s go!” She grabbed her brother’s arm, pulling him in the direction of the dead tree. He tried to pull out of her grasp, but her death grip wouldn’t be broken. “I’m sure it’s this way,” Kelly said, dragging him behind her.
They walked what seemed like miles. Clouds were getting darker and the wind
was picking up. Trees were all they could see no matter which direction they looked. The sky bubbled with black, angry clouds. Thunder cracked, making them jump. “We’re lost,” Kelly cried, eyes tearing up.
“Don’t cry, Kelly. We’ll find the campsite.” Andy said, nervously. “It’s probably right over that…” He stopped talking and looked around sniffing the air. “Man oh man, something stinks! Can you smell that?” Andy asked. Kelly nodded, wrinkling her nose.
They came to a small clearing. The smell was over powering. Kelly covered her mouth with her hand at the sight. The ground was littered with bones and half eaten carcasses with skin still attached.
“What’s that up there?” Andy asked, pointing to a high branch in the tree. They went closer to get a better look. Both kids took a step backward. Flies covered a small animal of some sort had been thrown up there, blood still dripping from where it had been ripped in half.
“Oh,” Kelly whimpered, running out of the trees. “I’m going to be sick! What would have done that?” Kelly looked around, eyes full of fear. “We are lost! It’s almost dark and there is some….something out there! Mom! Dad!” Kelly was screaming now.
“Kelly,” Andy yelled into her face, “look over there. There’s a house or something!”
Kelly saw what her brother was pointing and took off running, with Andy close behind. It wasn’t a house at all, but an old, rickety shack. The wood was bug eaten, with big gaps in the wood, allowing them to peek inside. The front door was held on by a single hinge and rotten shutters were the only thing that kept animals from climbing in the windows.
Lightening slashed through the sky and a loud clap of thunder boomed overhead. Both Andy and Kelly jumped and ran to push their way through the front door. Once inside, they propped the door closed, hoping the single hinge and an old metal chair would hold the door closed against the wind.
The floor of the shack was made of cement. A huge crack snaked from one end of the room to the other, allowing weeds to pop up. The floor was covered in dirt and dead pine needles. Two cabinets were on one of the walls, one hanging at a crooked angle, held by a single nail. The doors were so warped they wouldn’t shut. Beneath the cabinets was a small table with a single drawer. The only other furniture was a table that leaned against another wall because one of the legs was missing and the metal chair they had used to keep the front door shut. In another corner was what looked to be the remains of a mattress. Most of the material was in shreds and the stuffing was all but gone.
“Probably mice,” Andy said, nodding toward the mattress.
“Perfect,” Kelly said. “We are guests of Mickey’s Mice Motel.”
Andy rummaged through the drawer. “Look!” he called. “Here are some old candles and matches. It’s going to be dark soon, ya know.”
“Thanks for that news alert, Dude,” she responded sarcastically.
“Just saying. Now we won’t have to sit in the dark.” He turned to open the door of the crooked cupboard on the wall. It was stuck and when he pulled it, the whole thing came crashing to the floor. A yelp came from Kelly, jumping back.
Smiling broadly, Andy held up two dust covered cans and an old rusty can opener. “Peaches!”
The sun would be down soon and the shack was getting dark. Kelly hurried to light all the candles, which didn’t put out much light. The storm was getting louder. They could feel the wind blowing through some of the boards of the old shack. Thunder cracked and then rain pounded the roof, leaking in the corner by the mattress. “It’s raining,” Andy announced.
“Of course it’s raining,” Kelly said. “It always storms before the murders begin.”
Laughing Andy gave his sister a can of peaches. Using their fingers they ate in silence. “I’ll bet mom and dad are freaking out,” Kelly said.
“Yea, but they’ll be so glad to see us tomorrow; they will forget to be mad!” Andy said.
“Yea, right,” Kelly responded dryly.
They finished their dinner and threw the cans in the corner. “I think that scream was a Sasquatch,” Andy burst out.
“Sasquatch, you know, Big Foot. I read where they have been seen in the Pacific Northwest. They are like half human and half hairy monster type things.
“Andy, be quiet! I mean it! I don’t need to hear this now.” Kelly yelled, her voice trembling.
They were sitting against the wall when a flash of lightening lit up the shack. Kelly screamed and pointed toward the back wall. “There was something outside. I saw it.”
“What was it?” Andy gasped. He tried to get up but she held him tight.
“I don’t know. It looked, it looked……huge. I swear there was something there.” Kelly whispered, shivering.
At that moment the front door burst open sending the metal chair flying across the floor. A light blinded both kids. “Kelly! Andy!” It was Mom.
“Mom! Dad!” The two kids were across the room and in their parents’ arms. Both were talking at once. Kelly was blaming Andy and Andy was telling them about the Sasquatch.
That caught dad’s attention, “The what?”
He told his parents about the scream, the dead thing up in the tree, and what Kelly thought she had seen just before they came in.
“It was probably some owl’s dinner and he put it there for safe keeping,” Dad said.
“No way, Dad,” Andy argued. “It was gross, like something had ripped it in two and what about all the bones that were left there. It was like the Sasquatch’s personal dining area. And then there was that really horrible scream we heard?”
“That’s enough Andy. You’re scaring Kelly, plus I’m not too crazy about this whole conversation, either!” his mother said.
Andy’s dad agreed. “Look, it’s raining pretty hard outside. Why don’t we sleep here tonight and get an early start tomorrow.” Everybody agreed with that idea. With mom and dad close by, Andy and Kelly curled up against them and went right to sleep.
The next morning the whole family woke up to the sun shining through the gaps.
The sky was blue and there was a light breeze.
Right outside the door, Kelly and Andy stopped and stared at the muddy ground. There were tracks. Foot long tracks with claws that dug deep into the mud. They started under one of the windows and trailed into the forest.
All four of them were out of breath by the time they reached the campground. The tent was down and the truck was loaded within the hour.
“Do you think they were Sasquatch tracks?” Andy asked as the truck’s engine gunned to life.
“No!” Mom, Dad, and Kelly replied, overly loud.
“Me, too,” Andy said, looking at the forest as they drove out of the campground.
* * * *
Hello everybody! I hope you enjoyed my short story. I have written eight other stories for the “tween” age group.
Hike up Devil’s Mountain (eBook, print, and audio)
The Wickware Sagas which include five stories of twenty-first century kids doing a little time travel to meet historical legends and heroes….Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, Ride of a Lifetime, Flash to the Past, Bumped Back in Time, and Riches to Rags. (All five of these stories are in eBook form and there is a printed version of all five stories under The Wickware Sagas.
Float Down the Canal.
You can check them all out on my website, my blog, or my Amazon page!
I also have a few stories out for the older “young at heart” folks!