The House in the Clearing

            Taylor awoke to the sound of lightning. The opening flaps of his tent were flying in the wind, and rain pushed against the canvas. He ripped out of the sleeping bag he bought and turned on the electric lantern his mom had packed. Taylor closed the zippers on the flaps, and then turned back to his sleeping bag. Sitting behind the bag was a familiar man. In the tent with Taylor was Jack.

            “Hey there sport! Whatcha been up to lately? You’ve been trying to hide from me haven’t you? Well, I don’t see how long it’s going to take you to realize that you can’t hide from me. Anywhere you go, I go too! Just accept your fate Taylor!”

            Jack reached into the oh-so-familiar jacket pocked and brought out the oh-so-familiar handgun. Taylor sat perfectly still, overcome with terror.

            “Now then kiddo, where should I shoot?” jack pointed the gun at Taylor’s head, “Your brain?” He pointed it through Taylor’s lips, “Your mouth?” Finally he aimed it at Taylor’s chest, “Your heart?”

            At the last two words Taylor shook.

            “I think that’s just the right spot, isn’t it Taylor? Don’t worry; it won’t hurt…not too much at least.”

            Once again Jack cocked the gun. He pulled the trigger and the bullet came rushing toward Taylor’s chest. Jack’s laughter filled the tent, and tears ran down the cheeks of the boy.

            Unable to fall asleep Taylor stayed up, waiting for the storm to pass. The heavy rain became a drizzle, and, as the sun rose, stopped. For breakfast he ate one of the granola bars he packed, and then took down his tent.

            He walked for about three hours before he saw it. A huge clearing spanned out in front of him, and, in the center of it, stood a large house. It was as if somebody had taken a model home and put it in the middle of a forest.

            Taylor reached into his hoodie pocket and pulled out the photograph his mom had given him. The hose in the picture looked exactly like the house in the clearing. He had found it.

            Taylor sped to the door, and knocked on it three times before ringing the doorbell. If he had remembered correctly that was the signal he was supposed to give. On the inside Taylor heard footsteps coming down a flight of stairs. The door’s handle turned and the wooden door opened.

            “Taylor? It’s been a while since I’ve seen you! You probably don’t even remember me. Don’t feel bad though, I wouldn’t expect you to, after all the last time I saw you, you were still a baby. Come in! You can get cleaned up, and then I’ll give you a more formal introduction.” The man behind the door said.

            He was right; Taylor didn’t have the faintest idea who the man was. Still though, he allowed the man to lead him through the house to a bathroom.

            “Wait here,” he told Taylor, and ventured up the stairs. The man came back a minute later with clothes. “Here we go! Your mom mailed these to me when you first left. Now go ahead and clean up, I’ll be in the kitchen when you’re done.”

            The door clicked closed behind the man and Taylor locked it. When he took off his dirt covered, ripped shirt, he was surprised at what he saw. Ribs protruded from his chest, and there was almost nothing where his stomach should have been. The dark hair on his head was long and matted with dirt, his fingernails long, and covered with mud. Taylor’s smile was the pale yellow of an old piece of paper. He looked truly savage.

The End

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