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The Search for a Myth
Hello, my name is James. I'm not sure how to tell this story, but it goes something like this. There was a short kid in my school named Jacob, who loved to spread rumors of supernatural things. No one really cared, because who's going to believe things like a werewolf who steals lunch money? Recently, there had been a big fire in the forest, and Jacob said that it was probably caused by a crashed alien spaceship. Some other students said that they saw a strange green man in the forest Friday night at 8:00. After that, a lot of people believed Jacob, and now everyone at school as talking about aliens. People like me thought it was complete nonsense, but my friends Albert, Stacy and I were curious about what everyone actually saw, if anything, so we decided to go and check it out.
Anyway, after school on Friday, we went to the forest to see if the supposed alien showed up. Albert was a bit annoyed to be spending his Friday night out in the woods, but it wasn't like any of us weren't missing out on something. Though I bet Stacy wanted to be here, seeing how she likes science fiction. I would have preferred to binge watch Netflix, but I would have kept thinking about this topic if I had. At the sight of the forest fire, there was no alien spaceship, and certainly no crater. Strike one, a giant object from space falling to Earth would probably leave a big crater, or at least some debris, unless the government had cleaned it up super-quickly and then filled up the hole. Then I realized that I could have just checked the news to see if aliens had made headlines and that our entire adventure could have been avoided if I had just watched channel 4, but I didn't want to tell Albert and Stacy that.
Albert had a huge bag with him. "What do you have there?" I asked.
"All of this" answered Albert, and he emptied out a bunch of fake organs and lots of costumes. He could not be serious. Since you probably don't know, Albert is a huge prankster. At first, he just did unconvincing acts in which he would drop fake organs out of his shirt and no one would be fazed, but then Jacob began to spread his rumors, and Albert embraced them. Remember the lunch money-stealing werewolf story I mentioned? Albert asked his dad, who makes great costumes for a living, to make him a convincing werewolf costume with a zipper handle the size of a phone on its back so that he could jump out at other students to scare them, and then show them the zipper so that everyone could have a laugh. However, Albert apparently didn't think that people would get used to "boy in costume scaring people before showing them a zipper", because no one was surprised anymore, and the only reason I didn't assume that the alien in the woods was him was because he stopped this prank a while ago. Now Albert focuses on pretending to be dumb to get on everyone's nerves, which I know is an act because he only started it after he stopped wearing the costumes and he still gets high test scores. Why exactly he brought the fake organs and the costumes for an alien hunt was a mystery, unless this was part of his "dumb boy" act.
It wasn't until the sun started to set that Albert and I realized how bad we are at planning ahead. Even if I know that Stacy doesn't actively try to surpass me, since I asked her about it before, she's still really good at it, because she had brought food, camping supplies and even her phone so that she could have something to do. Neither of us brought anything except the clothes on our backs and Albert's stupid prank stuff. I don't know about Albert, but I didn't think we would stay in the woods for very long, so I didn't bring anything. While I appreciate the food and the phone's camera could come in handy if we saw anything, I feel like bringing a sleeping bag and a tent was a bit excessive. I looked at all of the supplies and said "Why do we need all of this?"
Stacy shrugged. "I just like to be prepared."
"Yea, but I think you prepared more for a regular camping trip than a search in the woods where we have to be awake all night. What do we do with the extra stuff?"
"We use it as a landmark!" said Albert, "I don't want to carry my bag around, so we use them so it is easier for me to find later!" So we set up the tent and Albert put his bag next to it. I hoped we wouldn't be able to find that stupid bag again.
It was around 8:54 and we were wandering around the site of the fire to look for the alien. Stacy once again thought ahead, and had flashlights. I was not the most enthusiastic about this search anymore. I wasn't scared, I was just really bored. I think Stacy could tell, so she made a suggestion: "Anyone want to play a game? I like I Spy!"
"Oh great" I said sarcastically, "playing a game about seeing things while in a dark forest is a great idea!" I probably hurt her feelings and should have apologized, but Albert quickly made her forget to be sad because he started to play.
Albert looked around for a couple seconds and then said "I spy with my eye, something that is brown. You guess first James!"
I sighed. "It's a tree!"
"Great job!" cheered Albert, "Stacy, it's your turn!" Huh, I would expect that the winner would get to go next, but maybe Albert wanted revenge for my sarcastic comment from before. He doesn't like people who hurt girls' feelings.
Stacy looked around. "Ok, I spy with my eye, something that is..." she paused for a bit "...green." Before I could say it was a bush or another tree, I saw that she was looking at something else. There was a glowing green object. Wait no, it wasn't an object. So it must be some kind of glowing plant. Wait no, it wasn't some plant. It was moving like a person. Wait no, it was the alien! It was real! It had no face, just a big eye, and it looked at us.
We all had the perfectly normal reaction of screaming and running like our lives depended on it. Stacy tried to take a picture of the alien with her phone, but she dropped it in the scramble. Unlike the costumes, I hoped we could find that so her parents wouldn't get angry. We ran through the forest with the alien close behind. The alien wasn't very big, but if it was chasing us, it probably didn't have very good intentions. Wait, where was Albert? He wasn't there! Did he ditch us? My mind told me "punch Albert in the face for leaving you later, run from the scary green man now", so I kept running. I think Stacy had probably sworn off science fiction, and I wish I could have had something to swear off so I would have more interesting thoughts right now. I don't think Stacy or I had any plan, because we just kept running without even thinking to try and leave the forest. Eventually, we got tired and tried to hide and hope the alien wouldn't find us while we caught our breath. Bad idea. The alien ran towards us.
Suddenly, a wolf jumped out from the bushes and landed between us and the alien. The wolf was standing on its hind legs and had a huge upper body. A werewolf? Oh great, even more trouble! No wait, it's turning towards the alien, so maybe it's going to help us! No wait, it had a zipper on its back, so it's just Albert in a costume. Well, that meant two bad things. It meant that Albert had found his stupid bag of costumes, and that the alien would just kill him too. I was about to ask Albert what exactly he was doing, but then Stacy shushed me.
Stacy whispered into my ear "Listen, we may know that it's just Albert in a costume, but the alien probably doesn't. Act scared so the alien knows to be afraid of him!" Sure, it's worth a try. I began to pretend to be frightened, and then I was reminded of what set my acting apart from Albert's. My fake screams of terror sounded really bored and indifferent rather than scared. If you used my "scared" reaction in a horror movie, people would probably think it was a parody instead. Stacy wasn't too much better. Instead of screaming, she decided to talk about how dangerous the "werewolf" was, but she didn't sound very scared. "Oh no, that thing is dangerous" she said in a not-so-scared tone of voice, "we should probably run because it like to eat things." Well that's one category she's not very good at being better at me in. Even if the alien could understand English, I'm sure it would probably use these lines for a parody too. It wasn't really reacting much though. True, it had stopped chasing us, but its eye didn't emote or even blink. If I had to guess, it was staring contemplating what the heck was going on.
Albert opened up the zipper on the back of the costume, which had the fake organs inside. He took out some of the fake organs and threw them at the alien. I understood Albert's plan now. A creature with minimal knowledge of Earth would probably be freaked out by a big scary monster throwing its organs at them. I pictured the alien screaming and running away as fake organs bounced off of it and giggled. However, I should have guessed that something that had to make a sound when it hits the ground would have to be rather heavy, as the fake organs didn't bounce off and instead knocked the alien over. It let out a rather wimpy high-pitched scream as it fell over. It now seemed more like Albert's plan was to beat the alien to death, as he started to throw more fake organs. I kinda wanted to feel sorry for it as it helplessly curled up into a ball about to get hit, but then one of the fake organs hit part of its head and some of its skin seemed to peel off. Well, that's gross. No wait, there's something underneath that's not disgusting. It kinda looks like a person's ear. Now when I think about it, the alien's screaming kinda sound a lot like-
"Jacob?" asked Stacy. The "alien" pulled off its mask and revealed itself to be Jacob in a costume. He held his arms in front of him to block more of the fake organs.
"Albert, stop with the organs!" shouted Jacob. "Yes, I can see why you are upset, but it's considered rude to weaponize organs!"
Albert didn't feel the need to remove his werewolf mask, and just spoke through the costume. As the costume was made by Albert's dad, the werewolf's mouth moved along with Albert's, and it's honestly really creepy. "Self-defense is considered acceptable where I'm from."
"What are you doing dressing up as an alien in the woods?" asked Stacy.
Albert was about to speak, but in the interest of not seeing that freaky mouth move again, I spoke for him and said "You've been trying to make people believe your stupid rumor!"
Jacob stood up. "It is not stupid!" he shouted at me. "What's wrong with trying to put some excitement into people's lives?"
"What do you mean?" asked Stacy.
Jacob took a deep breath. "Well, everyone at school seems so bored, so I wanted to give people something interesting to talk about. My previous topics didn't seem to stick, so I had to create some evidence to get people to want to discuss this one."
"You burned down the forest?" said Albert and I was unnerved a bit by the costume's mouth movement. I didn't know if he was being serious or just pretending to be an idiot again.
"What? No, of course not!" said Jacob. "Well, maybe somebody else did, but it just happened and then I got some inspiration. Do you really think that I came up with stuff like the wind-generating coat hanger just by staring at a wall?"
"Oh, thank goodness!" said Albert with the costume's freakish mouth that gave me a whole new reason to hate it. "I'm still mad at you for scaring everyone though."
"Alright Jacob" said Stacy, "it's good that you want to make everyone feel better, but making up scary stories and trying to make them seem real is not the way to do it. All that you accomplish is encouraging the use of weird costumes and causing nightmares."
Well since Stacy took the most interesting thing to say, I got the much less interesting "Um... yeah what she said. If you stop doing this, we won't tell anyone about your little dress-up."
Jacob nodded, "Sounds fair. Maybe I should just buy a joke book or something else to keep people from getting bored."
Stacy seemed to like the idea. "Sounds good! But first, could you maybe help me find my phone? I dropped it when we started running."
So, we all searched for Stacy's phone. I don't really have much else to tell aside from that our search was successful and that Albert unfortunately found the rest of his costumes. I just hope that I don't hear about green men in the woods or see any of the freakish costumes Albert's dad makes anytime soon, which kind of stinks for me because my friends love that kind of stuff. Eh, what can a guy like me do?