The Great Outdoors

June 5, 2012
Matt crept behind Rachel, getting closer and closer, careful not to make a sound. He could smell her perfume and see the curls in her long brown hair. He admired how beautiful she was sitting by the fire, the light illuminating her face. He had to be extremely careful not to make a sound because the wind didn’t even dare blow tonight. He was just behind her now; he lunged at her, grabbing her shoulder.
Rachel let out a short scream, and jumped up. “Damn it! Matt, you scared me!” Rachel yelled.
“Awww, come on, babe. It’s ok. I was just kidding.” Matt said apologetically, wrapping his arms around her.
Rachel pushed him away “No! Don’t even start; this was your idea in the first place I didn’t even want to come out here! I hate camping and you choose to come to these woods, of all places.”
“Come on, you’re not talking about the stupid legend are you? That’s not true. Come on babe, stop. This is going to be a great weekend.” He grabbed her hand. “Just you, me, and the great outdoors. What more could we want?”
Looking at him with longing, she whispered, “Well, I guess I….” A loud crack, that came from somewhere in the surrounding darkness, cut Rachel off. “W-what was that?” she asked looking straight at Matt.

Matt let go of her hands, “Matt this isn’t funny!” Rachel Yelled. Matt, ignoring her, continued to walk up to the edge of the woods looking into the trees. “There is nothing there” he turned to look at Rachel. All he saw was the other side of the clearing.
He swept the clearing with his eyes; there was a rustling behind the tent, then a violent high pitched scream. Matt backed away from the clearing into the woods. Stumbling backwards as the fire cast a shadow on a giant animal ripping the tent to shreds. With much strength he pulled his eyes away and ran. Matt picked up speed in the middle of a stride a shadow descended from the thistle like braches. It grabbed his neck and twisted; with a defined crunch it broke his neck. He only had time to let out a stunted scream, but only the forest heard.
*******

“Dude this is going to be awesome!” Kirby yelled out the window of the old Astro van.
Laughing, Jake, Maggie, and Joy shouted in approval. This was bound to be the best trip that I will ever take in my life, Jake thought, Friends, no parents, and the great outdoors. What could be better? The group pulled up to the entrance of the Shady Oak campgrounds, the trees were untamed, they reached out over the boundaries of the grounds, like they were trying to get away.

The group parked the car, and went into the park’s office to get some supplies. Joy and Maggie ran to the bathroom, well Jake and Kirby got the necessary items.
“So you kids going out to the woods?” Jake looked around for the source of the raspy voice. It was a funny looking man sitting behind the counter. Kirby placed a jug of water and a few boxes of granola bars on the counter. The man looked up his eyes were dark and crooked. He rang up the items and stuck his boney hand out, for payment. “You kids really going out there? Aren’t you worried?”
Jake looked confused, and Kirby chuckled, “What do we have to be worried about.”
“You don’t know?” The man asked shocked.

“What are you talking about?” Jake asked sarcastically. Kirby grinned in approval at Jakes snarky comment. Jake felt good knowing that Kirby approved of his behavior; Kirby was after all the coolest guy Jake knew.

“Why the legend!” The man replied franticly.
“What legend?” Jake asked with a smile, as the girls came laughing out of the restroom.
“There was an old Irish man, Scotty O’Dell, who came to these very woods to make a life for him and his new bride. He moved into the middle of these very woods, cut down the trees to make a clearing and he built his own cabin right there in the middle of it. His bride was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen; her golden hair and her face of porcelain skin, she had a smile that would bring even the strongest of men to their knees. He would do anything for her. She watched him build their house and make their life together. She only had two requests for him; first she wanted a large fire place, for she so loved the fire. Second she wanted the basement to be her place, one that he would not enter under any circumstances. This was such a little request for his beloved, he agreed in a heartbeat.”
“He loved her so much, so on days when she would disappear for hours he would just ignore it. One day she came back and he saw her holding a little girl’s doll, when he asked about it she said, “Don’t you worry dear”. He smiled and continued to do his chores. Many times this would happen, over the course of two years. O’Dell ignored it until one day she came home and he noticed that her appearance had changed. Where once she was golden and fair she was now gloomy and dark. Her golden hair had turned a gray straw like color. He asked her what had happened; she looked at him and just stared. “Don’t you love me?” She would ask.
“Of course I do” he would say. Then they would continue their daily routine. One day, however, he was sitting by the fire. The door squealed to announce her entrance. He began to ask her how she was feeling when she came up behind him and dug her claws into his chest. As he screamed in agony she threw him into the fire pit. She laughed, flaying him alive. She pealed the crispy strips off his limbs and inserted them into her mouth.” The group looked at him with amazement. “They say she is still out there waiting, and taking people who come into her woods back to that same old cabin; so she can eat their flesh.”

The girls looked at each other, Kirby and Jake smiled at each other. “ok thanks, man. We will keep an eye out for this….”
“She’s a black annis, boy, beautiful creature by day and by night she transforms into a monster. Hunts in the trees and lures kids into the woods…”
“Ok,” Kirby cut him off. “Thanks for the insight, we will keep that in mind.”
The group rushed outside grabbed their gear, and headed into the woods. The sun started to fall and the trees cast a shadow on the group as they finished setting up their campsite. Kirby was telling his famous ghost stories as the girls listened and Jake added sound effects and sarcastic commentary. The group joked until the darkness over took the forest. Maggie got up to go to the bathroom.
“Alright, I’ m going to bed,” Kirby announced. “We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
“Ok, mom,” Joy said, giggling.
Kirby smiled at her, “you know that mother knows best.” She giggled and he gave her a kiss.
Jake got up and looked around into the darkness; he couldn’t see anything that was out of the firelight. All he could smell was the burning embers and the crackle filled his ears. What a great night, fun friends and the outdoors. His thoughts were interrupted by a sound like a chorus of people screaming in horrific pain. One high pitched yell rose above the chorus. Joy and Kirby stopped and looked out into the woods. Jake scanned the clearing with his eyes, “where is Maggie?”
Kirby still holding on to Joy looked at Jake and then to Joy, Joy answered for him. “I don’t know, she went to the bathroom, but that was like ten minutes ago.” She pushed Kirby away as the scream started up again now the source was running, fast, straight towards their camp sight. Kirby, Joy and Jake backed up to the other side of the clearing cautious not to get too close to the daunting woods. Kirby turned to run holding Joy’s hand as a dark hair woman burst in to the clearing.
“He-help me, p-please,” she stuttered. Her face was as pale as the moon, stiff and scared.
“It’s ok,” Joy spoke soothingly, letting go of Kirby’s hand and moving closer to the girl. “What’s wrong how can we help?”
The girl huffing and puffing looked at Joy, “my- my friend have you seen her? I went to get fire wood and came back and she was…” the woman trailed off lost in thought and out of breath.
“Wait a second!” Jake spoke softly but sternly looking disapprovingly at the woman, “have you seen our friend? She went to the bathroom and never came back.” The woman looked offended now, but still stiff as a board, opened her mouth to speak just as a loud screech cut across the clearing. It came from behind them, Jake whirled around. “Kirby! Kirby, man this is n-not funny, w-where are you?”
“Kirby! Oh my god!” Joy yelled as she looked in to the trees and saw Kirby’s limp body dangling from the branches, blood dripping from a gash in his head. “Kirby wake up!” The screech grew louder. Twigs snapped in the trees above them the woman broke into a run straight into the darkness. Jake took off after her wanting to get as far away from whatever was out there as he could realizing that Joy was not following he turned around and yelled, “Come on! We’ve got to get out of here!”
“Wait, no I think I can grab him, he’s still breathing!” she started climbing the tree as a large blue hand reached out of the tree, and jammed its long jagged claws into Joy’s shoulder. Blood spurted out as the bone plunged out of Joys shoulder. Jake ran into the darkness, fumbling over sticks and stumps. He felt as if his feet weren’t even touching the ground.
Jake ran straight into the back of the woman, who had stopped dead in her tracks. She fell forward on to the ground. Jake saw what made her stop it was a mangled body hanging from the tree in front of them. “Kate…” she sobbed “Kate, Oh my God Oh my God! They are all dead, they are all dead.” She yelled through the stream of tears running down her face. Jake just stared at her, stunned all of his friend where gone and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. She looked at Jake. “Aren’t you going to do something? Help me, help yourself? Anything? ” The woman yelled at him.
Jake hadn’t noticed but the woman’s ankle was bleeding pretty badly, he couldn’t see much but he knew she couldn’t walk on it. “I-I don’t know. I’m not usually...”
She cut him off, “yah and I’m not usually stuck on the ground crying my eyes out because my best friend has been mangled and hung out to dry right in front of me,” she was getting louder now her tears subsiding and turning to rage. “Look, just help me up.” Jake nodded, she was right, he didn’t know what to do the one person he considered a brother was dead. He didn’t like having so much pressure on him. Jake looked around for something to stop the bleeding, he ended up just ripping off the bottom half of his shirt and wrapping her ankle up. “What’s your name anyway?” he asked feeling odd helping a complete stranger.
“Annie”
“Hello Annie, I’m Jake. Do you have your cell phone so we can call for help? I would use mine but I left it in the tent back at the site.”
“No I left mine in my tent too.”
“Dam it.” Jake mumbled. “We need to find a shelter or something.” He felt very assertive. She nodded in agreement. He stood up and picked her up in his arms. Don’t drop her, don’t drop her. He told himself.
They walked had been walking around for what seemed like hours to Jake. He had set Annie down and she hobbled along next to him, until they finally stumbled upon a large log cabin. He picked Annie up and carried her into the cabin. The door creaked as they entered the cabin.
The creature looked up to the floor boards above it. The sound of the door interrupted her dinner. Blood dripped from her teeth, the cooked skin slid down her throat. She took the man’s skull and cracked it on the ground. Blood flowed out; a pool of the dark red liquid surrounded the creatures feet. She crept to the door, leaving her dinner draining on the ground behind her.
Jake set Annie down on a chair that was pushed to the side of the worn out room. Jake looked around the room he stopped to admire the fireplace. “We need a game plan” he said trying to resist the urge to vomit. “Do you know anything about what is happening? All I know is that this is the place that the park ranger told me and my friends about when we got here. He said this thing flays people alive.” Annie looked petrified and tired. She mumbled “Yah that crazy man told me and Kate the same thing. Turns out he wasn’t so crazy after all….” She trailed off. “He also told us that her only weakness was being stabbed through the heart.” Jake looked around the room for something, a few picture frames, some old books, a few loose rotting boards, nothing of much help. He saw it next to the fireplace. A fire poker, perfect, he thought. He walked over to Annie and handed it to her. “Ok so you get her good when she comes around I’m…”
“What!” she spoke outraged. “I can barely move and you want me to kill this thing?”
“Well I just, I don’t think I can.”
“You don’t think you can? You helped me out of the woods, past this monster, carried me to this cabin and now you can’t?” she handed him the fire poker, reluctantly he grabbed it.
“But I just don’t….” he was cut off by this blue shape bursting through the floor.
“Oh my God!” Annie yelled fainting.
The creature had sharp fangs dripping with blood. Her face looked swollen, one eye was shut completely, the other was large and pushing out of her head. Her iron claws gleamed in the moonlight. She stumbled closer and closer to them. The moonlight hit her face and Jake saw something.
“Maggie?” Once Jake uttered her name the creature unhinged its jaw and let loose a slow, ear-bleeding cackle. “All this time, you were just acting as if you were our friend?” Jake froze; he could hear his hart throbbing in his chest. He thought about how he had gotten to this point. Maggie had suggested this site, this campground, she was the one that was gone when everyone else was taken. Maggie crept closer, and closer, Jake could make out every detail now.

She had hair dripping off her scalp; her one eye was a deep dark red. Her arms were muscular, big enough to crush his skull by clapping. Her lack of lips allowed her jagged fangs to hang out of her mouth. He could smell the burnt flesh on her breath, and hear her cackling filling his head.
Maggie bent her powerful legs and lunged at him. Jake stuck the poker out just as her iron claws pierced his skin. There was a moment of excruciating pain as the claws dug around under his skin. He pushed the poker in farther. The claws went limp. Jake felt a warm thick liquid run down his arm. Maggie’s head wilted. Jake got up and flipped her over. He stuck the poker in as far has he could; pinning her to the ground.
*****
“Ok miss; we have just a few more questions.” Sirens and lights filled the woods now, officers taking body after body out of the cabin. Annie sat on a gurney with her ankle wrapped up.
“I-I don’t know…” She said teary eyed.
Jake cut him off noticing the bodies they were pulling from the woods. One by one parts of all his friends. “Officer did you find a one eyed blue woman?” The officer looked at Jake, and waved the paramedic over.
“Look son, this has been rough on you, but you need to pull yourself together. All we found in that old cabin were the people you described as you’re friends, a lot of blood and a basement full of human skin.” Jake’s jaw dropped he looked at the man to see if he was joking. “What can you tell us about that son?” The paramedic approached Jake and started to take his pulse. Jakes head was reeling, Annie was crying now. Jake pushed the paramedic off him.
“What do you mean? You didn’t find a hideous blue woman pined to the floor?” The officer was shaking his head in amazement at this comment. “It had razor sharp claws, one eye, and it had a fire poker straight through it’s…” the officer smiled and shook his head, Jake stopped midsentence.
The officer looked at Jake with forced concern. “What are you talking about?”
Jake stunned looked over at Annie, she began to sob. He looked up into the tree line above him trying to hold back the tears. Jake saw a flash of blue and deep claw marks on the tree branch above them.
Looking at Jake, then to Annie the officer glared at them “What the hell are you talking about son?”





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