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It is dark in the forest. I see things that are not there. My mind tells me things that my eyes say otherwise.
It’s eerie in here. The forest seems to be holding its breath. There’s no sounds emitting but my ears are rushing like a river torrent.
I have just snuck away from my childhood of abuse. I have snuck away from a man that is supposed to be my father, a father who killed his own wife in a fit of rage. He locked her away from me in the ground forever.
My name is Jeff Wilson. I’m sixteen and have lived in the middle of this giant forest my whole life. I have never seen anyone besides my mother and so-called father. My red hair stands out in contrast to the forest all around me from the pale light of the moon. It already has leaves tangled in the curls. After I wait ten minutes in the bushes from my daring escape, I start to jog towards the river. I have a burlap sack filled with food and one picture of my mother Melaine, slung over my broad shoulders.
I know the way to the river well but beyond that I don’t have a clue what exists there. I’ve never had any reason to go past it and did not look for punishments by being late back to the cabin. The one thing I can thank Will, my abusive father, for is that he has made me strong.
When I get to the river I search for a way to cross. I see a pair of piercing yellow eye slits watching my every move from the opposite side. I stare back with my green eyes and decide not to cross. I’ll just follow the river north.
After a long time walking I find a good place to rest. It is a little cove in the trees and rocks. It’s dry and offers some shelter for me. The cool summer night air is starting to heat up and I’ll have to start moving again soon.
My feet protesting, I get back up and get on my way after a cold breakfast. I know Will must know by now that I have gone. He will be searching by the dirt path with the only truck. I didn’t dare take the path for him to follow my footprints easier. I don’t know how to drive so I didn’t take the truck either. I won’t have much of a lead on Will anymore so I start jogging.
I come to a cliff soon and search for a way to navigate down it. I spot a small ledge of stones that look like rough steps and start to head down. I hear a truck in the distance getting closer with each step I take. The roar of the truck stops not that far behind me and I hear a rifle being cocked.
Fear shoots through me and I sprint into the trees. I lose all sense of direction as I madly run from Will. My thoughts are pure terror as I break into a clearing, scaring a herd of deer. They scatter and I’m right behind them as a loud bang goes off and a deer utters a death cry as it falls beside me without a head. The bullet just missed me.
I race away in the other direction, trying to force my long legs to take longer strides. My breath is starting to become ragged and I know I can’t keep this up for much longer. As I’m thinking this there’s an explosion of tree shards in my face. I double my efforts and burst into a wide open field with semi tall grass. I have nowhere to go and my legs are screaming at me. I can’t hide in the grass since it would flatten down and show my position right away.
Will walks calmly into the field and reloads a single .223 bullet into his rifle. He’s saying something but I don’t care. All that’s going through my mind is that this is the end.
Will raises his rifle and I close my eyes already anticipating the shot and the bullet piercing my heart. I hear a shot go off and feel a sting. I wait for something to be different but nothing is. I open my eyes, and my ears are ringing but I’m alive. There’s no pain or holes in me. I look at Will and see him lying dead on the ground with a cruel smile on his face.
Behind me someone says “You okay there sonny?”
I turn around and see a hunter with a rifle and scope. His gun is still smoking. I smile and say, “Yeah, I’m fine.”