The next day of school went quickly for Rex, and every second that passed brought a fresh wave of anticipation and, occasionally, fear. At lunch, he and Pebbles swapped their clothes for some old jeans and dirty jackets, just in case they did encounter problems and their school uniforms were ruined. He walked with Pebbles down to the meeting point, her fierce glare never leaving Rex’s worried face. Finally, when Ben and a group of about twenty people came into view, Pebbles broke the awkward silence.
“I’ve known you for the duration of my life. You are brave, smart and easily likeable. You never run away from adventure and you would stare death in the face. But this is something you can’t do”.
“Why not?” Rex queried.
“Not just because of the beast, but because this Moor is so wide you could easily get lost and there might be sinkholes and stuff like that up there” Pebbles explained darkly. Rex chose to ignore Pebbles when she was in such a pessimistic mood.
When Rex came face to face with the large group of youths, he instantly recognised some of them. Ben was there, as was another of his friends, Joe, who wore a look of sadness upon his face. Most of his gang was there, with
the exception of Abbie, the cheery blonde from year seven, who wasn’t really an outdoors person. Some older kids were also there, but they seemed to look bored, as if they were only here because there was something in it for them. They would be disappointed to find there wasn’t. Ben pushed his way out from the middle of the group, a wad of paper in his hand and a pencil tucked behind his ear.
“You better not fail, Dingo” Ben said, sounding more like a boss than a friend “Because there have been a lot of bets against you, I was the only one who voted for you, apart from Joe”.
Joe glanced at Rex for a second, and then dropped his gaze to the floor, trying to blend in with the crowd.
Joe was the quiet one of the school. He never drew attention to himself in any way and would have no friends if it hadn’t been for Rex taking him into his group. Joe agreed with everything anyone said, so he didn’t cause arguments, and was always doing what Rex said. Joe was almost like Rex’s assistant. He looked quite similar as well, with the same sort of hair, only brown and never usually spiked, and quite a handsome face.
“Lets do this, my camera’s battery won’t last forever” Rex hissed with confidence. Looking back at Pebbles, to make sure she would follow, Rex sprinted up to the fence and vaulted over it, landing professionally on the other side, within the Moor.
“Crazy idiot” Pebbles mumbled to herself, and then fluidly followed Rex’s move. The cheers behind her reminded her
that every one of the kids that had turned up today were childish. They were only here to see Rex take the leap into the Lion’s den, or the monster’s den, in this case. In ways they were like the ancient Romans, watching with delight as slaves and warriors were mauled to death by lions, or were forced to fight to the death against one another.
The Moor stretched out before them, only a bundle of spindly trees here and there to decorate the desolate land. In the distance, about a mile away, Pebbles could see a huge clump of trees, and guessed it was a forest.
“We’ll go there first” Rex said, motioning to the trees Pebbles had spied. With the continuous cheering of the youths behind her, a strange beast hiding within the Moors somewhere in front of her, and Rex next to her, Pebbles wasn’t quite sure whether she had been brave or foolish to come here. If anything, she felt protective of Rex.
Rex, on the other hand, felt protective of Pebbles. As he strode on, he glanced back at Pebbles every couple of minutes, making sure she was still there and that no mystery monster had taken here.
“You really don’t think you’re gonna find this beast, do you?” Pebbles questioned, doubt spreading across her face like a shadow.
“I’ll try my best” Rex muttered, shrugging his shoulders. Rex trod carefully, cautious not to trap his legs in any hidden rabbit holes. Each step seemed to take longer and longer, his body moving in slow motion, and his feet feeling heavy as if they were encased in concrete.
“Nervous?” Pebbles sneered. Rex shook his head quickly, and carried on, hurrying his pace.
“When this thing appears, I need you to stay quiet, so I can get a good shot” Rex said, pointing to the camera strapped to his belt. Pebbles rolled her eyes with doubt as Rex walked on, scanning the vast landscape.
“How long are you gonna look for this thing anyway?”Pebbles queried, growing bored.
“As long as it takes” Rex replied.
Trekking across the Moor seemed hopeless, and Rex knew he would never be able to spot the beast from the ground. If they ever did find it, it would be the one to find them first.
“We should climb a tree, get high up to spot it easier” Rex suggested. About half a mile away stood a solitary clump of bedraggled and leafless trees. Although they would offer no protection from the elements or any hiding place, it was high enough to observe most of the area around them.
When they reached the tree, however, it seemed climbing it would be an almost impossibility. The branches were so thin and rotten it looked as if not even a small, light bird would able to balance.
Nonetheless, Rex jumped up to the branch that hovered over him and wrapped his legs around the trunk. Sliding his way up the trunk, Rex made it stealthily onto the branch he was holding onto. Pebbles was about to repeat the display when her foot became snagged on something rooted into the ground.
She pulled away in disgust to see a thin white twig poking out of the soft dirt. Bending down to inspect it, Pebbles
discovered it was not a white twig, stripped of its bark, as she had first thought.
“Rex.....there’s something down here” Pebbles stuttered, not quite able to believe her find.
“What is it?” Rex called from up in the tree. He had managed to climb another couple of metres without falling.
“I think it’s a bone” Pebbles gaped “part of a Skeleton”. Swinging downwards as fast as he could, Rex joined Pebbles and inspected the bone. Sure enough, it was a human finger. Rex grabbed a sturdy stick and started digging, creating a hole big enough to remove the bone from. Unfortunately, it was attached to a hand.
“Bloody hell” Rex said, shovelling more dirt out of the hole.
After five minutes of digging, he uncovered what appeared to be a complete human skeleton.
“Oh my God!” Pebbles gasped.
“I think....maybe.... the beast did this” Rex stammered, his shaking lips barely able to form a sentence.
“No, he could have been walking and he could have been sucked up by those dangerous bogs around here” Pebbles said, searching for any excuse to dismiss the beast.
“If this is a bog, how come we haven’t sunk?”
Rex ran a finger over the bare skull of the Skeleton. He almost jumped in shock when he found large hole in the side of the head.
“He’s been bitten. There is a huge tooth mark in the skull. Pierced the bone” Rex explained.
Pebbles held a hand to her mouth, to prevent vomiting.
“Who is it?” she asked, gagging.
“Don’t know, what if it’s Fynn?” Rex said. Pebbles stared at him in silence, studying his pained expression.
“Fynn, a priest at the Catholic church. He came here to do a charity walk or something” Rex said.
“We need to report this” Pebbles decided and stated heading back.
“Are you crazy? It’s getting dark, it’s starting to get foggy, this beast will be in its prime. We need to stay here, get the picture, then go and make sure Fynn is still alive”
Pebbles looked outrage as she stared at Rex, mouth wide open, edging slowly away from the body.
“What is your obsession with the stupid picture!?” she shouted.
“We can’t go now, its too dark” Rex said, as fog began curling around him, concealing the body at his feet “get up the tree”
Obediently Pebbles did as she was asked, copying Rex’s earlier manoeuvre and positioning herself atop the branch. Rex came up more urgently, as if he was afraid the beast would snatch his legs. Shaking and breathing hard from the experience, Rex and Pebbles climbed higher, until they reached the treetop, the branches swaying precariously. The Moor in front of them was certainly darker, foggier,and scarier than before. Night had come quickly.
Sitting in the tree, too scared to move a muscle, Rex peered out across the Moor. In the distance, he saw a jet
black figure move swiftly across the field. A gasp caught in his throat. It was blacker than black and its deformed body move quickly. Its shoulder was humped and its body visibly torn and ripped in many places. Even at the moderate distance between Rex and the monster, Rex could see that it had been in a fight.
At once, it stopped and sniffed the air, and Rex glimpsed evil, glowing eyes. What he saw before him looked like one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles he had seen in all of the movies.
The evil eyes were looking straight at him. Rex could see that its paws, big horrid paws, were armoured with twisted, thick claws. Its pelt looked hairless, but tufts of hair sprang from its lower jaw and Rex could see it was caked in blood from a recent kill. To Rex, the monster gave off the appearance it was wearing a hood over most of is face, with the red eyes peering out.
“Pebbles” he whispered, never taking his eyes from that of the beast. The monster bared its ugly, uneven teeth at them.
Pebbles spun her head around and saw the creature.
“Oh my God” she whispered, ever so quietly. Baring its teeth even more, the beast lowered its gaze and pelted across the Moor, straight towards them.
“Get down” Rex urged “NOW!”
Pebbles leapt from one rotten branch to another, hurriedly making her way down. Although she did as Rex asked, she still questioned his decision.
“That thing can get us now” she uttered, as Rex landed
beside her. Leaping over the body, Rex raced off, taking
Pebbles’ hand and pulling her on. He had no idea where he was going and as he ran blindly on though the trees, thorns whipped at his face and roots tired to trip him over. He ran on, ignoring the trees desperately trying to stop him, wondering how big the patch of trees they had hidden in was. When they reached open countryside, they whipped round, searching for the beast. It had gone, but the night was too dark to dismiss it immediately.
With laboured breaths, the pair threw uneasy glances into the bushes they had left behind.
“How far away was it?” Pebbles wheezed.
“Not far, and it was fast”
Rex could hear something in the distance. It sounded like heavy panting, the sound Captain made when they were playing, and his face was against Rex’s ears. The bushes fluttered, and then stayed still.
“Rex, it’s gone” Pebbles assured herself. But when the growling began, she couldn’t dismiss it.
The growling started behind them, then to the side, then the front. They could hear its deliberate footfalls, and both of them knew what it was doing. That was what was the scariest; the beast knew where they were and they knew where the beast was. It was toying with them.
All at once it burst from the bushes, a mutated giant dog, and leapt towards them. Its muzzle was open and many sharp, yellowed teeth lined its jaw. Its eyes now looked so evil close up; Rex would believe he was staring into the pits of hell. The beast was horrendous, its shoulders were more
hunched and ripped than Rex first thought and most of its body was covered in short, black fur, almost too short to be seen. Talons sprang from its huge paws and its twisted ears were turned to them.
Rex and Pebbles started backing off. In what seemed to be one fluid movement, Rex and Pebbles toppled over, falling backwards, and the beast jumped towards them.
Rex kicked Pebbles hard, moving her out of the way of the beast. With a loud thump the monster landed next to Rex’s fallen form and he felt a sharp and agonizing pain in his right shoulder. He felt bone crunch and already blood was seeping into his face. The pain was horrible, like his arm was burning intolderably. When he looked up, to try to free himself, his entire vision was taken up by those hideous eyes.
Screaming in pain, Rex flung his leg upwards and he felt it collide with the creatures hindquarters. The beast released its grip, ripping its fangs from Rex’s shoulder. The pain it left behind was unbearable. His arm felt as if it had been ripped of and still he could feel those dagger-like teeth in his shoulder. But the beast had leapt upon Pebbles, and was sinking its teeth into her exposed stomach, dragging its head down her body.
Yelping loudly, Pebbles went limp suddenly and Rex managed only to yell curses at the monster. It turned its ugly head on him and, before he could think, the monster’s teeth had once again pieced bone. The beast had his leg in its mouth. The monster released its grip when a voice, louder than any he had ever heard, echoed through the
Moor. The voice was filled with pain and anger, and
seemed to come from nowhere.
“LEAVE THEM!!!!” it yelled. Before he blacked out, Rex saw the beast stumble back into the woods, disappearing from view.
Not far away from the attack scene, a man was crouched over a desk, clutching his head in pain. He could hear the voices of two dying children, screaming as they were attacked. He knew they were going to die, like so many others had. Died at the monster’s mercy.
Why me? The man thought to himself. It had been some months now since he had first heard someone screaming, a monster growling. The next day a body would usually turn up, mauled by some animal.
As the screams of the children grew quiet, the man was sure they were dead. He felt helpless. He did not know where any of the attacks happened, so he could not help.
People are suffering and I can’t do anything.
A horrid anger welled up inside him, and he yelled at the top of his voice, digging his fingers into his skull.
“LEAVE THEM!!!!” the young man yelled, and he heard the beasts snorts die away.
When Rex became conscious again, the night was still dark and foggy. His body convulsed in pain and, when he sat up, he remembered the attack and the damage it had done. There was a huge hole in his shoulder, nearly all the way through his arm, and a strangled cry of pain escaped his bloodied lips.
The same had happened to his leg and then, he remembered Pebbles.
Her stomach was torn open, and he could see her guts glistening in the moonlight. Turning around, he threw up the entire contents of his stomach.
Then, when he turned around again, he saw a blue form
lift from Pebbles’ body. The form was like smoke and it
danced skywards. Rex knew Pebbles had died right there in front of him, and he suddenly felt scared, more scared than when he was attacked. Pebbles, the energetic lively Pebbles was laying on the grass, dead and still. Never before had he seen her like this, not even when she was sleeping.
As if working on some instinct he never knew he had, Rex leant forward and grabbed the blue smoke and was surprised to find it was stuck in his grip. He was mesmerized by its beauty, as he had been when he had first met Pebbles. It wriggled in his palm, but before it could escape and Pebbles’ soul disappear forever, he lowered the soul gently back into Pebbles’ dead body, pushing it into her open stomach.
To his utter amazement, the tear in her stomach started healing, her shattered organs fixing themselves and the skin growing back. He saw her chest rise and fall. Relief washed over him like a giant wave.
His body convulsed again, and he could no longer breathe.
He raked at his chest, trying to draw air into his lungs, but
he could not. His heart had stopped beating and he could not make out any objects before him. It was his turn to die.
A blue form, similar to the one he had returned to Pebbles’ dead body, streamed from his chest, and flew upwards. Rex reached out a bloodied hand and swiped the form
roughly from the sky. Still unable to breathe, Rex slammed
the blue soul back into chest. He felt his injured shoulder
and leg begin to twist, the bones knitting themselves
together to heal the cracks. In no time both his arm and his
leg had both healed, and no trace was left of the attack, save the blood on Rex’s face. He was alive.
Rex had just brought himself and pebbles back from the dead.