He didn't remember how he got there. He didn't remember getting into his car and driving up the old country road in the middle of the night. And yet, he must have because there was his car, parked behind him but in an odd position. It seemed that his car had slid on the slippery road and was now perpendicular to the lanes. His headlights, high beams on, were shining right into the woods.
Tyler stood, barefoot, in a drift of snow almost knee high. He wore nothing but a pair of gray sweatpants and a tee shirt but the cold couldn't shake him. The wind struggled, trying its best for a shiver or a wince at its arctic touch, but Tyler was unresponsive. Indeed, it seemed as though he was unaware of the temperature.
His mind was racing. He knew, although he didn't know how he knew, that he should go into the woods. All he had to do was walk in a straight line and he would find . . . what? He didn't really know what was waiting for him in there and maybe that's what was holding him back. It was turmoil in his mind, a barbarous battle between instinct telling him to go into the woods and reason telling him to go home. Ordinarily, reason would have won in a heartbeat, especially now that he was actually standing in the cold and snow, but his instinct was strong and fought with the aggression of a desperate man.
He took one step and then another into the snow bank. Nimbly, Tyler leapt over the pit by the side of the road and continued into the forest. The trees were not dense and there was no underbrush to impede him. He walked without looking back for what seemed like forever. The light from his car's headlights had faded and he was left to the blissful blackness of the night. He was conscious, by now, of the fact that his hands and feet and face were completely numb and the rest of his body wasn't far behind. He didn't care. Once instinct had won the fight it was determined to follow through on whatever plan it had.
Just then, a vicious growl cut the silence of the woods like a knife and Tyler knew he wasn't alone anymore. Panic exploded in his chest as another, deeper growl sounded on his other side. He realized immediately how foolish it had been to come into the woods in the first place. Howls erupted all around him, a hunting cry of no less than four animals. He was surrounded but instinct told him to run. A second set of howls cut off quickly as something huge and heavy hit him in the back.