“Oh no,” you shake your head; your breathing hastens. Suddenly, the figure emerges from behind a tree. Tears well up in your eyes and you begin shaking. The two men, as wasted as they are, still somehow seem to register that the man behind them is trouble.
One of them attempts to lash out at the featureless figure. As expected, the black tentacles sprout from his back, wrapping around his victim’s body.
‘Don’t watch,’ the voices hiss.
You can’t avert your eyes from the spectacle before you. You shake your head, tears streaming down your face. Immobilized by fear, you just barely mutter the word “no”. Then, you hear the slow, disturbing, torturous popping of a spine being torn in half. You vomit in your mouth.
Finished with the first, the creature—there is no way that it can be called “human” after that—turns towards you and the other man. A single thought enters your mind: “Run. Just run and get as far away from the thing as you can. I know that boy won’t be able to get away, but if I run, I might.” You focus your mind before you commit the unthinkable.
Suddenly, you push the boy in between you and the killer, darting away. You had left your decoy behind to fend for himself against the nightmare. Your feet pound the ground as you run. You choke down tears, knowing that you had basically just killed the boy yourself. Not even thirty seconds pass before you hear the scream.
You run faster; you cannot let your horrible deed be in vain. You are going to survive. The static begins to fade, but you are not going to slow down. Your adrenalin pushes you faster and faster. That is when you notice a light up ahead—streetlights.
Tears of relief replace the fear driven ones from before. You run to your door and pound on it; no longer caring about waking your parents. However, the door opens on the first hit. You do not question how it unlocked. You rush through the door. You instantly turn around and lock it before proceeding. You run up to your room and slam the door shut behind you. With all of your weight resting against the door, you slide down to the floor. The adrenalin begins to wear off, and the pain from overworking your body settles into your bones.
You glance up at the mirror on the other side of your room, and you are shocked by what you see. The reflection it displays clearly reflects your current mental state. You are pale; paler than you ever thought could be possible. Your face is stained with tears. Your clothes are ripped in multiple places. Your hair is a mess as well; filled with tree bark and traces of pine needles. Seeing your body in such a state scares you—actually, it terrifies you.
The fear in your eyes erases all doubts you had had before—you saw the thing that had been haunting you ever since you’d returned home. He is real. You watched him kill a person, and you presented him with another victim.
“Oh God, I killed a person.” You place your head in your knees and tremble, sobbing for what felt like hours.
Once you finally contain yourself, you decide that it would be a good idea to clean yourself up; at the very least, you could wash the tears off of your face. You went to the bathroom and start to undress. You reach for your pocket.
“Shit,” you curse, wiping you hands over you face as you realize what is missing. “Did I drop my phone in the forest? Great.” You let out a sigh, and then continue with your shower.
The shower is just what you need. The water feels amazing on your aching muscles. The soothing patter of water against you skin helps clear your head of some of the events from earlier. You spend over an hour in the shower; just enjoying it while it lasts.
When you emerge, you are overcome by drowsiness. You stagger back to your room and crawl into your bed. You pull the blanket over your head and drift off to sleep.
That night, surprisingly, you don’t have the nightmare. You just sleep soundly all night long, and it feels fantastic. You sleep until about two in the afternoon, when you are awoken by the sound of your phone ringing.
“Hello?” you ask sheepishly.
“Oh my God! Thank God you’re okay!” (your best friend) exclaims. She is crying, but she sounds relieved. “I just saw on the news that two of the guys that were at party were killed last night. Someone said she saw them following you home, so I was worried that the police just hadn’t found your body yet.”
“I'm fine, I promise.” You pause for a moment. “Should I tell her about what happened? No, I need to tell her in person.”
“Promise me that next time you won’t go home by yourself, okay?” She is sobbing again.
“I promise,” you reassuringly reply. You then realize something—a very important detail that you had overlooked before. You lost your phone last night. It fell out of your pocket somewhere in the Evergreen forest. How were you talking on it right now? And that was not the only odd detail. You also had not discovered who had unlocked the front door for you last night when you arrived home. Fear pulses through your veins as an idea penetrates your mind.
You glance over at your bedside table where your phone had been sitting moments before. There is a note in its place. Written on it are the words: “I told you not to watch.” Your stomach sinks.
“Yeah, that’s fine. I just needed to make sure you were okay. I’ll talk to you later,” she said, sounding much calmer than she had at the beginning of the call.
“Yeah, talk to you later,” you echo.