Something was in the woods but what it was no one knew.
I grew up in a small town in Northern Texas called Gainesville. it wasn't different from any other small Texas town except...it was surrounded by mountain and thick dark woods on three sides. Also, the way in was the only way out of town.
We grew up with our parents telling us to be good or the monsters in the woods would get us. We heard all the stories about those who went in the woods never coming out again. We were all told how our town founders had taken the land from the Indians. The old classic story, the Indians had it and the white man wanted it. Those that weren't killed ran into the woods and were never seen again. However, the last to enter the woods was an old Indian Medicine Manwho cursed the woods, the mountains and the land on which the town was built. Any of the men who stole the land, their families and animals were cursed. Any members of these families who entered the woods would die there and never be found. That was 150 years ago and the stories get worse from generation to generation.
But like all kids, the more you tell us we can't the more we have to prove we can. Someone was always daring members of the Richland, Martin, Stanley and Bruce families. My name is William Bruce.
Once our high school football hero, Bobby Richland, was dared to go in. Since he was the team quarterback and their leader they felt he should go in the woods. They made a big deal out of it until one night he finally went in. One dark and rainy night the whole team followed him down Martin Road to the woods. The rain was relentless that night and icy cold. Around midnight he went in.
They say his screams and cries for help made their blood run cold. Of course no one dared go into the woods to help, they just ran. They informed the locate police department who immediately did a search. After they had walked 25 yards into the woods they found his letter jacket, lots of blood but no Bobby, and no tracks of any kind.
Since that time the curse has come to mean anyone who is related to the four family members who lead the attack on the Indians. Bobby's Great, Great Grandfather was the leader of the whole attack. He was a mean old man until the day he died. He made sure that his family got the most and the best of everything around.
Most of us leave town as soon as the chance presents itself and never return. So then why am I here in this damn cold rain staring at a little wooden cross. The cross is old and beginning to lean to one side but it's still standing after all these years. I guess no one is brave enough to come out here anymore There are two faded names written on it, Sarah and Ben.
Ben, Sarah and I were all 12 then. Tomorrow I will turn 45 and they, as always, will still be 12. There are two graves in the town cemetery but they are empty, they aren't there because they were never found.
Sarah was my sister, my twin sister. I can still see her long blonde hair up in the ponytail she loved to wear. Her bright blue eyes and her big smile said she was always happy. Even though we didn't look alike, her hair was blonde mine is brown, her eyes blue mine are green. Still she was my closest friend and a big tom boy. She could hit further and throw harder than any boy on our baseball team or in this hick town.
Ben was our best friend and a little sweet on Sarah, although he never said so. We all met the first day of first grade and never seemed to be separated for long after that. He was stocky built for a 12 year old, his ashy blonde hair always seemed to fall in waves across his forehead. He looked more like Sarah's brother than I did.
The night we rode our bikes out here was Sarah's idea. She called us chicken and sissy boys to get us to come. So now tomorrow will be 33 years since we stood here on this very spot staring at the woods. We had all slipped quietly out of our houses and met at the town square. We were here by 11 o'clock that night. It was foggy, cold and very dark that night. I still remember the chill that ran up my spine.
We spent a half hour or so discussing the what was the better part of valor. However, as always, Sarah won out. Ben always seemed to cave in first and then they both got on to me. We were only going into the woods a short distance then run out. Then we would forever be the kids that went in and came out. Then on Monday at school we would be telling everyone how brave we had been.
Sarah and Ben lead the way. Just before they went into the trees I saw Sarah take Ben's hand. Me I brought up the rear. Once inside the trees things were completely silence. Not a sound, no frogs croaking, no chirping crickets, not even the foot of our own foot falls. Still we kept going deeper into the woods.
I don't remember how far we had gone before things turned strange. The dark shadows around us seemed to be moving. Sarah said it was just in our mines playing tricks on us. That was our second mistake. The first was ever coming into the woods in the first place. It felt as if a thousand eyes were watching our every move.
Then Sarah said it felt like someone was touching her, Ben said the same thing. Suddenly a large shadow with yellow appeared out of no where. It had a hold of Sarah's arms pulling them back. I heard her bones breaking and her screams of pain. Another yellow eyed shadow had Ben's head in its hands. I heard his neck snap as it twisted his head around backwards. It was the sound of Sarah's voice yelling at me that brought me back to reality.
"Run Willy run!" she shouted. Then there were more screams as I turned around and ran.
I never ran faster or harder, I ran all the way home. I told my parents what I'd seen and heard. They called the police and everyone else they could and they all rushed back to the woods. They searched all night but found nothing but our bikes, and lots of blood in the woods. As in all the other cases they never found any bodies, they were just gone.
A week later I returned to this spot. I had made this cross and written their names on it. I brought here then hammered it in as deep as I could. Then I promised that I would return to this spot when it was my time. Three months after we lost Sarah and Ben we moved to Pennsylvania.
A lot of thinks have happened in my life since I left. The latest was two weeks ago when my doctor looked me straight in the eyes and said I'm dying of cancer. So as promised I'm here.
"Well Sarah, Ben I'm here. Sorry for the long wait."
As I started towards the woods I could see Sarah and Ben waving for me to come. They were still young, still 12 and both smiling. As I stepped into the trees they took my hand. I looked down at their young hands and saw that mine were young now, too. I was my 12 year old self again and arm and arm we walked deeper into the woods. Never again to be seen or heard from again.