by FrankenDuf 👻
Screams Entry, open prompt, word count: 1071
|As I turned onto my side, the sound of the leaves beneath my body brought me out of the fog of my slumber. Leaves? Squinting at the moonlight that peaked through the thick canopy of trees, it started to come back to me.
We'd driven for several hours and on the way had a terrible row. Once we arrived at the cabin, my impetuous self stormed off for a walk in the woods to cool down. But there was plenty daylight when I left.
I sat up and gingerly touched the goose egg on the back of my head. Ah yes, another piece of the puzzle. I slid on some leaves trying to cross the little stream and fell.
I guessed I'd been walking for half an hour before I knocked myself unconscious. I dug in my pocket to check the time on my phone. A definite head slap moment, if I didn't already have a headache. It was in the car charging. There was probably no signal out here anyway. Rebecca must be worried.
As I got to my feet, it was as though someone turned off the lights. A thick cloud blotted out what moonlight could filter through the trees. The darkness felt cold and heavy on my body. It was time to get back to the cabin, but I could not see a foot in front of me in this unfamiliar place.
Each time the moon would illuminate my path, I'd rush along as fast and far as I could go before Mother Nature turned the lights back off. I came to a fork in the path that I didn't recall seeing on the way out. Had I missed other junctions along my hurried way back?
What surely must have been more than an hour had past and there were no lights or sounds other than the invisible ones of the night. The further I walked the less I was sure I was going the correct direction. Did I get turned around when I fell? Should I go back? I was unsure of what to do.
While I stood still waiting for moonlight to reappear, an owl's loud hoot brought an equally loud yelp from me. My nerves were strung quite tight due to the darkness coupled with those scurrying sounds of god only knows what. I hated standing in one place as I kept expecting something to jump out of the woods and tear me to shreds.
Finally, I could see a rooftop ahead of me. I hurried along to the cabin as I was thirsty, tired and my head was still pounding. But my efforts were for not.
The building was very old and collapsed on one side. I sat down on the slanted front stairs and put my aching head in my hands. Was I in such a snit when I stormed off, that I overlooked this sad, quiet building? Or was I going the wrong direction?
The clouds had broken a bit and I worried about the moon dipping behind the trees. I had to decide my next move more carefully than I had my previous ones or I might be sleeping in the woods till morning.
I got up and crept into the doorway of the building. Something ran across my foot, sending me into a stomping, stumbling dance of sorts, down the rickety stairs.
After I regained my footing, I turned and came face to face with a huge wolf. It stood frozen ten feet away. It sniffed the air, growled its displeasure with my scent, apparently, and kept eye contact. It bared its teeth a bit and I looked away.
A loud crack from above made me duck and throw my hands up to protect my head. A horrible crashing through the trees ended with a terrific thud. I turned to see a massive tree limb, its rotting innards spilled and brilliant under the moonlight.
I turned back to the wolf and it was gone. I had no idea which direction it departed.
Well, that added a new wrinkle to my predicament. Of course, I knew there were wild animals out here, but facing off with them and seeing bared teeth was the stuff of nightmares.
Would I happen upon that fierce creature again or should I stay where I was, so it knows where I am? A tear spilled down my cheek and I roughly brushed it away.
I walked five feet down the path, turned around and returned to further contemplate. Finally determined, I set off down the path continuing in the direction I had come with the fading light.
I could hear something behind me. Or was I imagining it now that I had actually seen it? A mournful howl sounded as though it was ahead of me and stopped me in my tracks. Whatever it was behind me was still approaching. Maybe it was the rest of the pack coming for a meal.
As the howling continued, I closed my eyes and listened to the sad but terrifying song. Would it be the last music I would hear?
"Kim, you are a hard woman to find," said a man coming up from behind me.
My hands immediately went to my face and I started to cry. I was so relieved that this man found me.
"Thank you," I stammered through my tears.
"Let's get you some water and a snack," he said. He knelt beside me, dug through his backpack and handed me a precious bottle of water. I took the bottle from the young man, greedily drank it and before I could get a word out, the wolf lunged at him.
Afraid for my own life and unsure I could help him, I bolted down the path.
"Don't leave," yelled the man. "Kim!"
I stopped at hearing his plea. Horrified to turn around. Armed with only a mostly empty water bottle, what could I do?
I turned to see the wolf on top of the man, both of them still and looking directly at me. What an odd sight.
"Kim, don't leave. It's okay. Ross, get off of me," he said as he pushed the huge wolf to his side and quickly got to his feet. "He found you and likes to wrestle as a reward. Sorry, that was my bad for not introducing you sooner."
I sank to my knees. I had no words.