I was walking home from school on an unusually dark afternoon when I felt a pair of eyes staring right at me. The foliage to my right shivered a little bit, and I turned with all haste. However, nothing gazed back at me. Grumbling, I continued on the winding road to my house, kicking up loose rocks and cursing the lack of sidewalk. Then I felt the eyes on the back of my neck once again, hair bristling. This time, I didn’t turn back, with the knowledge that it was just my overactive imagination messing with my head.
Then I heard footsteps. I whirled around and saw a flash as someone or something ran into the bushes. A stick cracked as whoever it was went into the woods. I cursed under my breath, shaking my head. What kind of guy does that? I continued on my way; however, at a faster pace, leaves cracking under my Chuck Taylors. The overcast sky parted, revealing the moon — a bright crescent shape wavering in the sky as gray clouds slowly drift past it.
A loud ululation — not the howl of any sort of wolf or dog, but something human, screaming, paralyzed with fear — sounded from the forested area the figure had darted into a few minutes prior. My eyes whirled, first to the woods, my instincts telling me to run away, but I couldn’t. The shriek pierced the air again, dripping with pain, and I steeled my nerves and then ran into the woods.
Overhanging branches from trees snapped across my cheeks as I barreled through the woods. I tripped and fell over a root, snapping against my ankles. I shouted in shock rather than pain, crashing to the dirt and soil of the forest floor. I came to my feet and heard the scream again — not far, and to my right. I ran there, stumbled over my feet, and careened into a clearing.
In the middle of the clearing was a person who looked vaguely familiar. Dark blonde hair was tucked behind his ears, and his back was to me. He rolled onto his back and looked up at me, revealing a gaping chest wound and desperate eyes. He muttered something, spitting out his own teeth and clawing at the ground. I approached, sickened, and then was shocked as I looked at his face.
The screaming man, the dying man, the wretched man, was me.