A crow's call echoed through the dark trees, sending a shiver down Henry's spine. He glanced around anxiously, twitching at every sound he heard across the unforgiving darkness. Henry was swallowed by a carpet of black, only lead by the faint light of the full moon. He saw a flash of gray out of the corner of his eye as he sat cautiously on a log. He watched beetles and strange insects skitter furiously on multiple paired legs through holes eaten by termites. He hit the log to scare away the critters, and sent part of the wood caving in. Something exited the end of the log. Realizing he trashed the thing's home, and that it must be angry, Henry whipped his head around to face the slithering creature. It looked like a deformed vine with coarse skin like a thin bodied toad. The dull green creature slithered through the leaves right at Henry! There was a blood curling scream, and Henry shut his eyes madly. He realized then, he had not been the one screaming. Henry jolted, a wave of fear rushing through his veins like a lightning bolt. He hopped off the log and ran into the trees, hacking at the vines like a maniac. Glancing back, he saw the long beast accelerating towards him. He kept running, with little notice to what lay ahead. The muscles in his legs screamed in pain, like a million needles prickling his insides. He saw he was losing the beast. Then, Henry toppled head over heels onto the soil. He heard the sound of ripping flesh and let out a howl. His ankle throbbed in agony, and Henry glanced down with effort. His ankle was torn apart, thorns sinking into his flesh. Blood seeped out of the wound, forming a puddle on a cradle of dirty leaves. Struggling to get free, he took out a small pocket knife from his pouch and slit the barbed vine in half. Henry tried to stand, wincing as he pulled himself up. As he raised himself from the damp ground, Henry could see a large wooden frame beyond the trees. Realizing it was a small cabin intertwined with branches he weakly approached it. Without a thought, Henry stepped inside and slammed the door behind him. He did not look around. Instead, panting, he closed his eyes and sat like a ragged lump on the floor. His body was aching and he was overcome by a feeling of deep lassitude. Fluttering his eyelids with great effort, he peered at his surroundings. What he saw made him scream at the top of his lungs. On the floor lay a sharp dagger in a puddle of thick red liquid. Sniffing the air, Henry breathed in the atrocious stench of fresh blood. He shifted his view to the far off wall, wishing to see no more; but in that corner of the room stood a slouching figure wrapped in a blanket of shadows. He jolted upright in fear and hastily got to his tired feet. Henry observed the figure cautiously. 'Oh, it's you Victor!' exclaimed Henry with a sigh of relief and a surge of happiness. He had recognized the outline of his courageous friend who had accompanied him to this inhospitable forest. He stuffed a hand into his small pouch and yanked out his flashlight. Henry failed to notice something moving around the edges of the wall as he turned the light on. Victor was there alright. The flashlight only illuminated part of his friend's face, and seeing the eyes closed, Henry could tell something was incredibly wrong. Shifting the flashlight down, he screamed once more at the gory scene before him. The cadaver of his companion lay pinned to the wall by the shoulder. The only thing keeping him hanging was a long and sharp blade pierced through his body. Without warning, someone strode out from the shadowed corner. A tall, menacing man crossed his arms at his chest and grumbled, 'So, I have another playmate. Stop coming here, I've got enough of you annoying people.' Henry couldn't see his face clearly, for it was partly obscured by a hood. 'Please' leave me alone!' Henry shouted anxiously. 'I've got nothing you want!' The man frowned stubbornly and added 'I was named Natas for a reason.' He yanked a small blade form his belt, and lunged at Henry. 'Ahhhhhhhhhhhh'!' Everything became utter darkness.
'Ahhh!' Henry exclaimed, waking up in an unfamiliar bed, his mind spinning in confusion. He was drenched in sweat. 'You are up! It has been three days already'' exclaimed a woman hovering over him with concern. Henry tried to speak. It was not possible, there seemed to be a lump in his throat. He was sore all over. 'One of the villagers found you wounded a few miles from here, right at the edge of the forbidden forest. Do you remember what happened to you and who you are?' the woman asked curiously. Henry tried to reply. Nothing. He shook his head and tried to stand. The kind woman offered him a pair of crutches with a look of sympathy. He took them with much effort, and proceeded with difficulty across the room and out the door. Henry found himself in another small room full of people talking. Suddenly, everybody felt silent. The deep stillness was broken by an old man who got up from a rickety wooden chair to greet him. 'Thank God you are finally awake!' he said happily, and added 'Let me introduce you to your savoir.' The old man stepped aside and pointed to a man slouching lazily on a couch. The man looked intently into Henry's eyes and smiled. Then, he laughed and said, 'Hello. My name is Natas. I thought I'd retrieve my little playmate for another go.' Henry stiffened. He grunted and squealed, trying to warn the others, but nothing worked. They did not seem to know the true nature of this beastly man. Henry felt the room spin and was driven to unconsciousness by his desperation and exhaustion. When Henry woke up at sunrise, he found himself in the same unfamiliar room, but this time he was utterly alone. He wished he had had a nightmare, and was overcome by the desire to be back home with his loving family. He noticed the house was eerily silent. Too still to be comforting. Henry got up and cautiously looked around. He knew what to do; he had to escape from this place. Henry opened the door and frantically looked for an exit. He slowly crept unnoticed through a dimly lit hallway and was starting to calm down when he heard an approaching sound. Henry tentatively turned around and surprisingly words left his lips. 'Is anyone there?' he asked barely whispering. A teasing voice shouted back at him from behind 'Is anyone there? That is a strange choice of last words, don't you agree?' Henry tried to run, but it was too late. Blood spurted everywhere. He faced death.