Forest Encounter

November 26, 2008
His family and friends never believed the story, which he often told, about his walk home that day.
Patrick usually walked through a heavily wooded forest, which was located in between the school and his house. He enjoyed the way the cool forest air felt on his face and how the forest atmosphere took away his stress. After school he would walk the same dirt path for a couple of miles until he reached the end of the forest and walked to his house.
The forest was heavily shaded, except for a few patches of sunlight that would creep through the large canopy. Even during the winter, when all the leaves have fallen, the thick branches still block out the light.
Patrick had never been afraid of the forest, even though it was so gloomy and dark. He knew that if danger ever approached he could run away from it.

School had been just like any other day. Patrick would drag himself to every class and daydream until it was finally time to move to the next one. During Math and Science, the teachers gave out textbooks needed for homework that night. There were also many binders Patrick needed to bring home for studying. When school ended Patrick wanted to quickly get home so he could complete his homework and begin studying for a large upcoming test. He said goodbye to his friends and started to walk home.
When walking passed an old tree he thought he saw unusual markings on it. He glanced at the tree again but this time nothing was there. Patrick considered that he was just tired from school, and that he was imagining things. He walked for a few more minutes and then saw plants that had been trampled down. It almost seemed as if something had pushed them out of the way. Patrick had not seen many animals in the forest and he didn’t assume there were any large enough to clear their own path.
He continued to walk but now started to look for anything unusual more intently. Suddenly he heard a low rumbling sound coming from behind him. He swiftly turned back but didn’t see anything. Soon after the same sound seemed to come from above, but there was no sign of an animal. Patrick told himself that he was not in any danger and it was probably just made by the trees swaying back and forth.
Patrick started to get hungry and remembered a snack he had brought. After finally taking it out of his bag he glanced around and noticed that he was somewhere else. He was still in the forest, but there was not sign of the trail in any direction.
Now Patrick was starting to become nervous and he knew there wasn’t an explanation for what was happening. He walked in the same direction he had been going, unsure if it was right. He heard more growling noises, now coming from all directions. The noises startled him and filled him with fear. He began running even faster and tried to ditch his bag, but he just couldn’t force his body to let it go.
Suddenly he was tackled to the ground, and it felt as if he had been gashed by claws. He tried to stand, but even more pain rushed through his body as he was knocked back down. Patrick’s heavy backpack made it even harder to crawl away from whatever was attacking him.
Patrick knew it was impossible for this to be an illusion because of how painful it was. He tried to roll over to get the creature off his back but it was too strong. Patrick decided he needed to fight back or he would be ripped to shreds. He reached for a nearby stick and hit the creature several times. Even though he was extremely fatigued, Patrick managed to knock the thing off his back long enough for him to stand. He dropped his bag and ran as fast as he could.
Patrick felt several painful wounds on his back. He heard more growling behind him but because of the dark it was impossible to see anything. A few feet ahead Patrick believed he saw the end of the forest. He looked back one more time and saw glowing eyes staring fiercely at him.
Patrick leapt out of the forest and landed on the field in front of the forest. The sun was shining brightly and there wasn’t a creature hurdling towards him. There was only the entrance to the forest. His heavy bag was still on his back and there was no longer any pain. Patrick was still very afraid, so he hurried home.
No one at home or at school ever believed him when he told them. No matter how many times he told the story they would always believe he was making it up. He had nothing to prove it so he didn’t blame them. Patrick never walked in those woods alone, ever again, and for the rest of his life he wondered what had really happened that day.

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