kids wander into the Maine woods and come face-to-face with a monster.
In The Woods
by : Robert Rumery
It was just another warm, summer day in the state of Maine. The birds were chirping and white, fluffy clouds floated across a light, blue sky.
A small town in Maine wasn't always the most fun place to be, even for a 12-year-old boy. There wasn't much to do for Adam Jacobson while he visited his grandparents, which his mother thought would be a good idea. He had light brown hair and dark blue eyes. He was wearing a pair of light denim overalls as well as a light blue shirt. Sitting on a sewer grate, he looked down at the stream that was coming out of the grate. He picked up a flat rock and skipped it across the small stream.
He didn't really want to be here. He would rather be in his room playing video games but of course they had to bring him all the way out to the country. He was here with his two older sisters who were teenagers and were only interested in boys. He didn’t know which was worse: being stuck in the country or being around his boy-obsessed sisters. He swore he was the only sane one in this family.
He heard a rustling in the woods to which the entrance was just a few feet away from him. He turned his head slightly towards the sound. It was probably just some kind of animal, there was no need to worry. He then pushed himself up off of the sewer grate and slipped his feet into a pair of red sandals. He took his iPod out of his pocket, pushed the white ear-buds into his ears and started listening to his music as he headed back towards his grandmother's house.
There had been stories about monsters in these woods. Probably just stories made up to scare kids. He didn't believe in stuff like that. A few cars zoomed by him but he didn't hear them because he was stuck in his own little world. Listening to his music, he continued to walk down the road with his hands into the pockets of his overalls.
Maybe there would be something exciting happening today; however, he doubted it and he sighed softly. Adam walked up to the driveway of his grandmother’s house and saw his mother's sedan still parked in the driveway. He wondered if there were any other kids out here his age, but there probably weren’t. This wasn't the city, this was the country. If there were other kids out here, they would probably not want to do the same kinds of things he wanted to do. City kids and country kids were different; they were both kids, but they liked doing different things. His stomach growled loudly and he remembered that he had not eaten anything all morning. That meant that he would have to eat in a little while. To him, the only good thing about coming out to the country was his grandmother's amazing cooking. He loved it. It always made his stomach happy. A brief smile lit up his face as he walked down the short driveway that led to his grandmother's house. It was a small house with a red brick chimney. He watched the grey smoke roll out of the chimney into the sky. If he remembered correctly, his grandmother burned wood for both heating the house and to cook with. His grandmother had a wood stove; he thought that was what they were called. He walked up the steps that led to the front door, pushed the screen door open and walked into the house. Once inside, he could smell freshly baked cookies.
“Oh, coming to Grandma’s is so awesome,” he thought.
He loved the smell of freshly baked cookies and they smelled like they were chocolate chip cookies as well. He looked around for a minute or two. The house was silent. Where was everyone? Heshrugged and walked from the living room into the kitchen towards the refrigerator.
He walked over to the refrigerator, opened it up and looked inside. There was not much food inside. Well, food that he liked anyway. He spotted a loaf of white bread, a package of lunch meat and a few pieces of cheese. That's it! He'd make a sandwich, he decided. He could do that. He took the loaf of bread and the lunch meat as well as two pieces of cheese and he laid them out on the counter in front of him. He then made himself a sandwich and, when he was done, he cleaned up after himself. He took the sandwich in both hands and started to munch on it happily. “Weird that no one is here,” Adam said to himself. He shrugged and walked out into the living room and sat down on the brown couch. He continued to chew his sandwich. There was a television here but it didn't have cable and the reception was very shitty where they were. He would have to go find something to do.
Maybe he could find some kids to play with. He'd have to venture away from the house for a bit to do that. He thought he had seen a few trails out where he had explored before; maybe he could walk them. They couldn't lead to any place dangerous, this was the country after all, and there were no dangerous places out in the country.
He thought that would be a rather good idea and smiled as he finished his sandwich. He pushed himself up off the couch and walked back towards the front door. He pulled the screen door open and walked back outside. His mountain bike had to be around somewhere. When he had gone inside, he had not noticed that one of the cars was missing. Maybe his mother and grandmother had left while he was in the house. Weird, he thought. He figured he might have heard them leave but it didn't matter. He has been in his own world since he arrived here.
He walked out to the backyard where there was a small, brown shed. He walked over to the shed, opened it up and took out his brown, black and silver mountain bike. Taking the bike by its handle bars, he walked the bike out to the driveway. The wind howled softly as it rushed around and past him – it was strange, he thought, and he got a chill down his back while the wind blew. He hopped up on his bike and started to pedal. He rode his bike about a mile down the road until he came to what looked like a torn up, old train track bed. He looked down at the ground and saw fresh tire marks. They looked like they could be from a mountain bike just like his.
“Hey!” A voice called from behind him.
“Huh?” Adam asked as he turned his head to look behind him. He saw two kids heading towards him. They looked about his age; one was a girl with sandy brown hair and light blue eyes. She was dressed in a pair of jeans, flip flops and a black and purple camouflage shirt. The other was a boy with dark hair, green camouflage pants, a black tank-top and a pair of black and silver sneakers.
“I’m Grace,” the girl said, pointing to herself with her thumb and smiling.
“His name is Jacob,” Grace said as she pointed at the other boy. Adam noticed that there were two bikes ditched in the bushes.
“Come on, what's your name?” Grace asked impatiently.
“Adam,” Adam responded quickly as his eyes locked on the girl, a small smile forming on his face.
“Okay, Adam, ditch your bike in the bushes or the older kids will steal it!” Grace said, smiling at Adam sweetly.
Adam nodded and did what he was told. He got off his bike, walked it over, and hid it within the bushes. It couldn’t be seen from the road and probably wouldn’t be seen by anyone walking the train tracks either. After Adam stashed the bike, he walked over to where Grace and Jacob were. The three of them meeting like this was weird, like they were supposed to meet this way. Adam wondered what were they going to do. He looked at Grace and then looked away after a moment.
“So, what are we doing?” Jacob asked.
“My dear, Jacob,” Grace said, she looped her arm around Jacob's shoulder and smiled softly.
“You see that, Jake?” Grace asked, pointing directly in front of them. There was what looked like a narrow, spooky trail leading into the woods. It looked dark and like some place they shouldn't really venture. Did Grace care? Oh, hell, no, she loved adventure; she liked to be scared and since her and Jacob’s grandparents or parents were nowhere to be found today, that meant she could feed her need for adventure and thrills.
“Yeah,” Jacob acknowledged and nodded.
“We are gonna go in there!” Grace said in an enthusiastic voice.
“I heard that trail is haunted,” Jacob replied in a worried tone.
“Silly Jake,” Grace said, smacking Jacob’s cheek softly.
“Exactly why I wanna go!” Grace smiled.
A haunted trail? That might be kind of fun and exciting, Adam thought to himself. He was so in. He noticed that Grace was the leader of sorts and Jacob wasn't really sure of what was happening, just following. A slight smirk came over Adam's face as he pushed his hands into the pockets of his overalls and looked at both Grace and Jacob. He shrugged and continued to study them. They seemed fairly alright for country folk. So they were going to go see if this trail was haunted or not. If his grandmother or mother were around, they would probably try and stop him, but they didn't know how to have fun anyways. “So I take it you’re the leader, huh?” Adam asked as he looked at Grace.
“Leader, no, just someone who gets me into trouble,” Jacob said, chuckling softly.
“Jakey, it’s not ‘Trouble’, I get you into ‘Adventure’!” Grace said, then she turned to look at Adam.
“You in?” Grace asked Adam.
“Yeah, sure,” Adam replied, shrugging his shoulders.
“Alright!” Grace said enthusiastically.
“I'm going to regret this,” Jacob said and shook his head.
There was no going back now, especially with how Grace was. Jacob and Grace lived down the road from each other and had been friends since preschool. Now they were almost teenagers. He hoped they stayed like this when they were teenagers and later in life as grown-ups.
Jacob heard a noise coming from the woods. It sounded like a dog howling or something along those lines. It was normal for this part of Maine; it was nothing but country land out here. Probably just someone’s stupid mutt who got stuck in a bear trap or something; it couldn’t be anything other than that.
“Alright, let's go!” Grace said enthusiastically. She bent over and grabbed three big sticks, tossing the two boys a stick each. They needed a way to defend themselves if they ran into anything. They were in the Maine woods after all; they could run into anything, like coyotes, wolves, a monster, a crazy old guy by the name of Stephen who writes books about strange creatures that live in The Maine Woods.
She grinned and looked over at the newcomer. She had never seen him around here so he must be new. She thought that Adam looked like a city boy. She’d been to the city before and she didn't really like it. It was far too noisy for her.
Grace then walked in front of the two boys and they followed close behind. Jacob was walking next to Adam. Jacob wondered where the new kid was from, not that it really mattered. Another kid around these parts was just another kid. It was another person to pal around with and possibly play video games with. Jacob wondered if this kid liked to play video games. He knew that Grace liked to and she always beat him. Jacob chuckled; Grace was such a brat. Now it was time to turn to much more serious stuff – like how they were going to do this. They talked for a few minutes. How should they approach this? With caution, of course, since none of them wanted to die. They just wanted to go on a grand adventure. What puzzled them more is where all their parents had gone. Adults don't just get up and vanish, do they?
The good thing about that day was the weather. It was a perfect day for a hike. All of them wanted to do this and that meant they had to get moving.
The first one to get moving was Grace, the self-appointed leader of the bunch. Many people thought she was crazy and maybe she was. She just liked the adventure and the thrills she got from it. No one would ever let her do anything like this. If she didn't do it now, what kind of stories would she have to share with people when she was old and gray?
Truth be told, she had heard about the legend of this trail and that’s what made her interested in doing this. She started to walk up the long, beaten path. Tree branches were pushed to the side and twigs were snapped. It looked like something big had been through there. Probably just a bear though, right? It couldn't have been the monster people talked about.
If this monster did exist, it probably wouldn't come out this far. Would it? Grace shook her head as she thought to herself. She looked behind her to see the two boys were following close behind her. They were a few feet away and it looked like they were talking to each other. That was good, they were getting along. At first she didn't think that Adam and Jacob would get along. That was crazy, huh? It didn't matter right now though because the sound of a twig snapping made her jump slightly. She looked down and saw that she was the one who had stepped on a twig, and she chuckled to herself softly. Why was she so jumpy? The sounds of birds chirping filled the area as she continued to hike the path. There wasn't much out of the ordinary; for the most part, it seemed like a normal hiking trail. She could hear the faint sounds of cars driving nearby. The road was just a few minutes from the path. She continued to walk and every few minutes she would swipe her stick at a buzzing fly or bee. It wasn't smart to piss off a bee. They could mess you up pretty bad and she knew it. She'd been stung a few times and it wasn’t fun, especially since she was slightly allergic to the bee’s venom and would swell up just like a balloon. She couldn’t get stung. There wasn’t a hospital for about 45 minutes from where they were, so it would be bad if any of them got injured.
“Is she always like this?” Adam asked Jacob.
“Yeah,” Jacob said, nodding his head.
“That's great,” Adam said, rolling his eyes.
Adam and Jacob seemed to get along for the most part. As far as Adam could tell, there was nothing that would make them dislike each other. They walked behind Grace and every so often either of them would look up and glance at her back-side.
They were crazy for following Grace into this. It was exciting and something neither of them would do normally. Adam guessed they needed someone like Grace to make them do crazy and stupid shit, and this was really stupid. Really, really stupid. You had to live and learn, right? Adam thought to himself. If this didn't happen none of them would have a great story to tell in the future. The air smelled rather sweet in the country and it smelled exceptionally sweet today. The sound of birds chirping and flies and bees buzzing filled the area. It was a normal summer day. The sun had moved from behind a bunch of white clouds. It started beating down on the boys and most likely, it was beating down on Grace. It was okay for boys to sweat a lot, but it wasn't okay for girls. Girls didn't like to smell rank. Boys liked smelling rank, it was like a badge of honor for them.
Adam began to wonder what he was doing here. Why he was here. Did he really want to do this? It seemed like he was having second thoughts. To be honest, he wondered if he even had first thoughts. He chuckled quietly to himself until he heard a rustling in the bushes they were walking by. His eyes scanned the area for a moment and a slight smile came to his face. It wasn’t much, just two deer munching on some leaves and berries.
He wouldn’t have seen anything like that in the city. It was almost peaceful and serene here in thewoods. It was something that he would have never gotten in the city. He had other thoughts racing through his head as well. He wondered why Jacob followed Grace so closely. It really didn't matter to him and he continued to walk along the path. He wondered if the tales that he had heard in the town were really true. They were probably just stories to scare kids.
Jacob was probably thinking the very same thing Adam was. Were the stories that were spread around the town really true? If so, what would this monster really be like? Jacob looked down and nearly tripped over a sharp pointy rock sticking out of the ground. He swore that he had seen that rock before. Oh, yeah, this wasn't their first trip up here. He and Grace had been up here before to go swimming. There should be a lake of some kind coming up pretty soon, he thought to himself, but they still had to walk a little ways before they would find that lake. That was their swimming hole; they would escape to it every so often, mostly when they were in trouble and wanted to get away from their parents.
Jacob began to think that they spent more time up in these woods than before. It seemed like their parents had been coming down hard on them lately and he didn't know why. Did they just want to bring them down? Probably, he thought. He didn't like all the rules at his house, that’s why he escaped every moment he could. He didn't like being at his house. Truth be told, Grace didn’t like being at her house either.
That is why he and Grace always hung out; he could always make her laugh and she always brought him out on some grand adventure. Adventure or some kind of stupid idea that she had that would always get him in trouble. It did not matter to him. He was with her and most times that made him really happy. He had no idea why it made him happy.
He lifted his head as he had heard something in the distance. It almost sounded like a growl or a howl. A wolf, a coyote? Nah, that couldn't be it. It was still light out and those animals all came out at night. He gulped softly. Maybe it was one of those monsters that he had heard about. He shook his head slightly. No, that was insane! There was no such thing as monsters! He wasn't a little kid anymore, he didn't believe in monsters, spirits or ghosts anymore. He was a man and he had to act like one. He swiped his stick at a fly that had buzzed by him. He missed, of course. Oh well, there was always another fly to smash with his mighty stick. He laughed to himself. He really was a doofus sometimes.
Suddenly he started to smell water. They had to be close to the swimming hole. They had been walking for about 45 minutes. It usually took that long to walk to the swimming hole. If he remembered correctly, there was a small dock at the lake that was built by somebody so long ago that it was rotting away and very dangerous to walk on. It made all sorts of creaking noises when walked upon. Grace almost fell through it one summer when they were younger. The stupid, dangerous things they did when they were young.
Now that he thought about it, if there was a dock at the watering hole, how did it get there? Did someone live out in the woods? There is a lot of vegetation out here and tons of furry animals. Someone could live here very easily. They would just have to be a hunter and know how to live off the land. Maybe there were some old Indians that lived back here. That would be cool, Jacob thought. If there was an Indian back here, it would probably either try to kill them or befriend them. He really hoped it would befriend them. His thoughts were going at a hundred miles a minute.
They had been walking for a long time, but were they anywhere near their destination? No, they had a long way to go still. They were getting a little tired. Adam suggested they stop and rest for a few minutes. But no, Grace didn’t want that and said they wouldn’t rest until they reached where they were going.
There were a lot of sounds in the woods, like the sounds of croaking frogs and birds tweeting in the trees. The sounds of ravens and crows came from the sky. They were circling something; maybe something was dead nearby, most likely a dead moose or deer. It was Maine after all. There were a lot of deer and moose in Maine. It was probably some hunter’s or poacher’s kill. The animal didn't matter; the ravens and crows were going to have a feast on some flesh. Grace looked up towards the sky and saw the ravens and crows circling. She knew that meant something was dead and she hoped that she didn't cross whatever it was. She really hated the way rotting flesh smelled, especially flesh that had been lying around for a while. The birds probably had already pecked at some of the flesh and maggots were probably crawling all over it. Yuck, she shivered. She hated the way they looked, all over the carcass, wriggling all over it and eating it. They had to eat, right? But it was so disgusting to her. She shivered again. She couldn't think about that.
The monster, that’s what she wanted to think about. What did it look like? Was it really a monster? She had so many things to think about while she walked. She kicked a few pebbles and they danced across the dirt, bouncing off a large rock and disappearing into the grass. What was this thing going to look like? It probably was going to look pretty hideous and horrendous. She couldn't wait! She wondered how the boys were doing. She looked back to look at both of them. They weren't talking anymore, they were just walking. That was okay. This was fun, but getting a little boring for her taste. She wiped the sweat off her brow. It was also getting hot out. They were almost where they had to be. There were a bunch of hills in front of them that they would have to climb over to get to the watering hole where Grace and Jacob have been before. This would be the first time Adam had been there. They were all looking pretty weak and they were probably all tired from walking so much. They stopped at a small clearing in the woods. There were a few stumps where trees had once stood. They could rest there for a moment, Grace decided.
Grace, Jacob, and Adam walked over to a stump, plopped their tired bodies down, and all sighed with great relief. Their feet had started to hurt and that wasn't any good. Sore feet would make walking the rest of the trail rather difficult. There was a shift in the air, a feeling, something abnormal. It wasn't a feeling any of them had ever felt before. It was a strange sensation. Each of them felt a wave of sadness and despair come over them. What was with this place? Neither Grace nor Jacob had ever felt a feeling like this when in this area in the past; this was the first time either of them felt anything like this sensation before.
Maybe some outward force was causing this feeling in all of them. It was an odd feeling and was making them feel a little uncomfortable. It felt like a spirit or something was trying to tell them something from beyond, maybe even warn them. Maybe somebody or something had died nearby and its wandering spirit was trying to talk through people that were alive. Occurrences like that could happen out here in the middle of the woods. That is, of course, if you believed such things like that. Grace wanted to strip off her shirt but she couldn't because she was around the boys. She rolled the sleeves on her shirt as up as far as she could onto her shoulders. She might have been wearing a short-sleeved shirt but she was sweltering. She wiped her brow with the back of her hand and looked over towards Jacob, who was sitting close to her. Grace smiled at Jacob. He was so sweet, she thought. He always did stuff that she liked to do. It was so cute. She did put him into danger a lot although she knew he secretly liked it.
“How's everyone holding up?” Grace asked as she looked at Jacob and Adam.
“Fine.” The boys had answered in unison.
“Place is weird though,” Adam said, recalling the feeling that had come over all of them before.
“I don't like the way it feels,” Adam added as he looked over at the two of them.
“I agree,” Jacob said.
“No turning back now, though,” Grace said.
“I know,” Adam said.
“I know,” Jacob also replied.
There was a great sense of adventure about this whole scene, Adam thought. This was something normal people would not do. Normal people would not be there sitting on a stump discussing odd feelings and circumstances like this. Clouds began to roll in over above them, grey clouds that began to get darker as they blanketed the sky.
What was going to happen, Adam wondered. Was it going to simply rain or was this the beginning of something worse? There wasn't always an explanation for things that happened. The sound of woodland creatures was still prominent as the winds began to change. Adam wondered about the dark feeling that they had felt moments before. Could it just be their minds or could it be something sinister? They rested for about a half hour and then they were on their feet again. Sticks in hand, they advanced over many hills until they finally reached the swimming hole. It was at a clearing that had not seen much action lately and was overgrown with razor grass. Any person who was wearing shorts was probably going to get their legs cut up from the long, solid, razor-edged stems of the grass.
They pushed through the razor grass and approached the lake. There was a bridge on the left side of the lake and to the right there was an old, rotted-out dock. It was in worse condition than it had been the last time Grace and Jacob were here. They ran down a hillside towards the shoreline of the lake. They were happy for a moment; they had finally made it. They talked about what was on the other side of the lake. Grace and Jacob had never gone to that side of the lake before; they had just come to this area to play on the shoreline. It was a fun, beautiful area to play in. Adam and Jacob stood near Grace, all with their feet just out of reach of the soft waves of the lake. “So we are here, huh?” Adam asked.
“Yeah,” Grace said, nodding her head softly.
“Now what?” Jacob asked her.
“I don't know,” Grace replied, shrugging her shoulders.
“We could explore more, I guess,” she added, a sly smirk coming over her face.
“Always could go exploring,” Jacob said, rolling his eyes as he pushed his hands his pockets. Grace knelt down with her knees digging into the sand, and turned to look up at Jacob, willing him to sit down next to her. He moved to sit next to her and a smile crept over her face as he descended. For some reason, she was happy with him. It was a foreign feeling for her. She settled back in the sand, stretching her legs out and using her hands to prop herself up as she looked up toward the darkening sky. There wasn't anything they couldn't do.
She really did wonder what was beyond those hills, beyond this side of the lake. Her curiosity was going to bother her until they explored those mysterious hills. There couldn't be much over in that area, probably just another section of the woods, filled with trees and not much else.
Jacob knew what Grace was thinking; she wanted to go on another grand adventure. Weren’t they here to find out if there was some monster in these woods? That is why they came out into thewoods, not just to see the lake. Maybe Grace had totally forgotten about the monster. It didn’t matter; they were here together and after a few minutes of watching the waves crash on the shoreline, Jacob got up and helped Grace up as well. They could be out as long as they wanted, so they started walking back the way they came. They had no adults to bring them down or tell them they were doing something stupid. This was going to be a day to remember; a grand day of adventures.
They walked back up the hill and over to the bridge that led to the other side of the lake. The bridge was made of old, weathered rope and moldy, wooden planks. It had to be man-made. As they walked slowly across the decrepit bridge, it would sway from side to side as the wind blew. It was scary. There was a seven-foot drop if any of them fell off and they knew that would be a very painful fall. After a few minutes of walking they finally crossed the bridge.
This side of the woods seemed darker, a lot darker. Maybe there were more trees, which contributed more shade or maybe it was that the sky was getting darker due to the rolling clouds; either way, it was darker and it sent a small chill down each of their spines. They had to press on either way. They got a dark feeling coming from this side of the woods, like there was something beyond these trees that should never be seen. It didn't matter, they had to keep going. Grace led them on. No matter how bad this felt to her, it was definitely worth it. Grace walked on the path in front of them. There were spots of red on the ground. What could that be, she wondered. It had to be just something that spilled on the ground. She shrugged her shoulders and continued to walk on the trail. Of course, the boys followed close behind her. She knew that neither of them was going to let her out of their sights. It was kind of sweet when she thought about it.
As she pushed some branches out of her face, they snapped back and almost hit her in the face. The boys pushed their way through the branches as well. It was dark and they could barely see anything in front of them. The sun wasn't out and it was really shaded by the multitude of trees. A few critters had made some noises and all of them jumped slightly. There were rumors about a hunting camp being up this way; maybe that is where they were headed.
A few minutes later they found a clearing with a little bit of light shining down on them. Was the sun out again? Maybe they would have a little light to show them where they were going.
The path then shifted into three different paths; one right, one left and one going straight. Maybe they should split up. No, that would be rather stupid. That is how people died; they decided they would all stay together.
They ventured deeper into the woods and that is when they came to what looked like the hunting camp. There had been tents set up everywhere and there were weapons on the ground. Rifles, assorted fire arms and ammunition. It was strange and they knew it. That dark feeling had returned and all three of them knew they were in for something, something that they didn't want to be near. But this is what they ventured in here for, a story they could tell people -- if they got out of here alive.
They looked ahead and Adam wondered what they would find if they ventured deeper. They would probably come face-to-face with a monster, but that’s what they were looking for, right?
All three kids looked somewhat scared and in disbelief that they had come this far in their travels. They had to press on. Coming this far and turning back wasn’t an option, especially for a person like Grace. The boys knew if they turned back now, they wouldn't hear the end of it from Grace. “Got a bad feelin’, Gracie,” Jacob said.
“Me too,” Adam agreed.
“Can’t turn back now, boys!” replied Grace.
They continued to walk through the hunting camp. There were puddles of red liquid on the ground and it was staining the dirt. The ground was a mix of brown dirt and brown burnt grass. It looked like something had happened here very recently.
What could the puddles of red liquid be? Blood? Adam and Jacob passed a few of the puddles of liquid and looked down at them. They both stuck their fingers into the puddles of the liquid. They sniffed it. Yup, it was blood and it was fresh. Could it be a puddle of deer blood or a bear's blood? If so, they had nothing to worry about, right?
The dark feeling followed them. There was something sinister in the woods and they knew it. A huge roar stopped them in their tracks and brought their attention to the tree tops ahead. There was something about forty feet tall was in the distance, something evil. This had to be the creature they had been searching for all this time. From a distance it looked like a giant bear, with razor sharp claws like a badger. With its dark red eyes blazing and razor-sharp teeth gnashing, it rampaged towards them, snarling. It did not like to be bothered and it had been bothered by its worst enemy, human kind.
They couldn't really make it out that clearly but it it was obvious that it was coming after them. It lumbered forward, swinging its arms madly and knocking down the trees that stood in its way. They looked at the Monster that was rampaging through the woods. It was making its way towards them. They didn't want to die so they started to run back the way they had come. They wanted to see the monster but they did not want to get eaten or slain by the monster.
They ran through the hunting camp and back through the woods. What kind of an adventure was this for them? They were determined not to die. They knew the monster was on their heels. They could feel it breathing down their necks. Jacob looked back to see the monster running after them. This wasn't such a good idea. How could Grace have talked them into such a thing? Maybe one of them should have grabbed a gun or something when they had been running through the camp. They couldn't simply run back to the camp to grab a gun or some kind of weapon. They were running for their lives.
This was going to be a great story to tell, Grace though, even as she ran. They would tell it to the people back in the small town. Derby, Maine actually had truth to its legend. Who knew? Now they just needed to get back to the town to tell everyone. They pushed their way through tree branches and spiny bushes; they could hear the rumbling of cars out on the road. They had to be near a road, but not close enough for their sake.
The boys wished they hadn't listened to Gracie about going into The Woods. No use in thinking about that now; they needed to focus on getting to safety from the horrid creature chasing them. The monster flailed his arm in a slashing movement and a big burst of wind picked up, knocking a tree over with a large crash. It landed almost directly behind the three kids, making a small shock-wave in the ground, and they all started to run faster. They had to get out of this forest. They came to the bridge that they had to cross to get back near the road. They all ran across it as fast as they could with the monster right behind them. As they all got across the rickety bridge safely, the monster swiped with its paw, cutting the bridge, which fell down into the creek below. They all stopped for a breath and watched it fall, hoping the water would separate the monster from them.
They ran down the trail that they knew would bring them back to the main road. They ran until they couldn't run anymore. They found a secluded spot and started to rest. Was this a smart move? Not really. The monster could still be running after them but none of them could run anymore and they needed to catch their breaths. They knew if the monster caught up with them, they would need to start to run again. What a hellish day for them.
They pushed on again; they needed to get out of the woods before the monster could meet up with them again. They ran down the trail that had brought them to the bridge and after about a half hour of running, they made it to the clearing at the mouth of the forest. They grabbed their bikes from the bushes, got on them, and rode them down the road about a mile to Adam’s grandmother's house. Adam's grandmother and mother still weren't home and Adam wondered where they were.
“We can rest in there,” Adam said, pointing at the house as he ditched the bike in the grass on the side of the driveway.
“Okay,” Jacob responded as he also threw his bike to the ground.
“I'm hungry,” Grace said as her stomach growled loudly.
All three of them walked over to the house and up the steps. Adam was the first one in and he held open the door for the others. Jacob and Grace went into the living room and sat down on the sofa as Adam went into the kitchen and made them all some Ramen Noodles. It wasn't too hard, it was the microwaveable kind. After a few minutes, the food was done and he walked into the living room, handing Jacob and Grace their soup. He sat down and they all looked at each other.
“Let's never talk about this again,” Adam said quickly.
“Agreed,” Jacob said.
“Yeah, but I don't think that thing is gone,” Grace stated, looking from one to the other.
“But tomorrow we will all just return to our normal lives like this never happened,” Grace added.
“Yup. I'm going back to Bangor tomorrow anyways,” Adam added.
With that, they ate their Ramen Noodles in silence. The day after all this happened they would return to their normal lives but they would never forget what they had seen, Adam thought. What if this thing was still alive? They knew it was, they could feel it. They didn’t know why it had stopped chasing them -- it could have easily caught them.
They never wanted to revisit it, he thought. Something like that just doesn't die. It would haunt them for the rest of their lives, but they all bonded during this experience, and that was a bond that would last forever.