Lucy stirred, shooting upright to the drum of her own heart beating; on the peal of thunder. She sat wide awake, recovering from what could only have been, a terrifying dream.
But Lucy wasn’t afraid of thunder, in fact she enjoyed watching the flash of lightning, feeling the rumble up to her chest. And Lucy didn’t wake easily, and scarcely had dreams. She wondered what had truly drew her from slumber so early. She looked at her watch ticking away. Ten past two.
Relaxed, Lucy listened for a sound, one that wasn’t related to a storm. The clap, the pelting, were both normal in such circumstances. Minutes passed, without another distinct sound.
Nestling back inside her sleeping bag, letting her eyes fall heavy, she suddenly heard a great thud. She thought it could be nothing else but a felled tree. Yet she would’ve heard a creaking or snapping sound, and a rustle as its blow was softened by branches of leaves. And it wasn’t windy enough. No, she decided, this was no tree, the thud was heavy, slamming deep into the earth, and had dropped vertically into the mud. Lucy was a little worried.
Her ears were pricked now, ready to hear that slam again. When the next sound came however, it was no impact, it was a steady dragging sound perhaps of a tarp. But what could be dragging it away, she wondered, more curious now than afraid. Then she decided it had to be a bear. A bear stealing the tarp where she had laid out everyone’s supplies that were safe to get wet. It was all safely locked or tied up, so she was impressed that the bear was so persistent, and strong or smart enough to tow it all away.
Lucy found comfort in it being a bear, but the more she thought about it, the more she worried about her fellow campers’ safety. She wondered if Will, Judy, Paula, and Eric were still fast asleep. Paula was an especially light sleeper, and a scaredy cat. Lucy thought she must be scared to death if she were awake. The dragging had ceased long ago, so the bear had taken the tarp far off, or gave up. Of this she could be sure, for the storm passed, and the rain was barely a fine drizzle.
Slowly, Lucy rose from her sleeping bag, and very quietly, unzipped the door enough to see outside; to be sure the other campers were safe. Although it was dark, her eyes had more than adjusted to the minimal light. When she looked out there, a dense fog had accumulated from the lake. As dense as it was, she felt the tents had been pitched close enough together to see.
There was no sign of a bear near her tent, so the fog would prove useful as cover, as long as she didn’t make much noise. Lucy put on her boots, grabbed her bear spray, and stepped outside, wandering blindly through the mist, where she was certain she’d come upon tents.
More time passed, and in a grid, she searched the entire clearing around her tent. But only hers was there. So one of two things happened during the night, and neither one was a friendly thought. As a prank, the campers took apart their tents, and quickly moved elsewhere, perhaps providing the sounds which woke her. Or, she thought, her mind going into more sinister territory, a bear did come into the camp, but took more than food and supplies. Now, she was scared.
She gripped the bear spray tight, and pointed her flashlight beyond the campsite. Yet the light was of little use. She was about to wander away from the site, when she suddenly realised what a mistake that would be. As distressing as being alone in the woods was, being alone, and then lost in the woods during the night would be far worse.
Lucy went back to her tent, although she would not sleep for the duration of the night. She was about to climb back in, when she heard something that made her jump out of her skin. A shout of fear and pain. A scream so horrifying, it made Lucy’s blood curdle. Paula’s scream. And suddenly it stopped. What was most frightening was that it was so near. If she turned around, she wagered Paula was less than twenty yards away.
Trembling, Lucy revolved, but saw nothing. Only fog. However, something replaced Paula’s scream with cracking, and crunching. Lucy was too scared to think about what it was.
Then Lucy heard heavy footsteps, coming dangerously close, but it was still too foggy to see. Hastily, she clambered in the tent, and zipped it closed, cinched the sleeping bag around her, and closed her eyes as tight as she could. Then the stomping ended, just outside the door.
With deliberate sluggishness it opened the tent, and stooped to fit inside. Lucy cried in fear, but she had to know what it looked like; what enveloped her in dread. She poked her head out and opened her eyes.
She beheld a massive beast with matted fur, holding a severed leg in its claw. Its fangs were dripping with blood, and it growled as it looked at her, hunched over a foot away. She knew it wouldn’t help, but Lucy screamed anyway as the creature lifted her out of the bag easily, and ripped Lucy’s arms out of their sockets.