Adam recently had to do a writing assignment for school.
And he let me read the story, and I liked it. It's supposed to be a short story and he said he gave it a final ending, but I think maybe it could be expanded on if he wanted.
I told him that I liked it so much that I wanted to post it on the blog - and he let me.
Please comment or email me with feedback for him, especially if you like it. It's like, 'yeah yeah mom likes it, she has to cause she's mom'. So if it came from someone else it might be more internalized.
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John sat up in bed, startled by the sudden howl-like sound that pierced the pounding of the rain. After a few seconds, the sound stopped and faded into the rhythmic patter of the rain. He lay back down, hoping that he would be able to get a few more hours of sleep tonight. It felt as though he was asleep for only few seconds when the sound came back, but closer.
“What is making that noise?” he said, getting out of bed. “Whatever it is, it has kept me from sleeping for weeks.” He got up and grabbed a flashlight on his way downstairs. He went for the phone in the living room. He picked it up and dialed the animal control number. He stood there, tapping his foot impatiently while waiting for somebody to pick up. He only got static.
“Storm must have knocked out the lines.” He checked his cell phone with the dim hope that he had at least one bar. “Blast, not even an emergency line,” he tossed his phone down to the table.
“Well, there’s nothing else to do but find what it is myself ," he said as he got dressed, grabbed a coat and a flashlight, and headed out the door. The night was dark without the moon overhead, and the rain was a constant companion as John walked around his house, shining the light under bushes and over hedges. He was behind his house when he heard it again, this time in a different direction than before. He followed the sound down the street until he came to the park, the swings drifting back and forth in the wind. The sound rang out again, clearer and closer, sounding more and more like the howl of a wolf.
John followed it to the edge of the playground part of the park, where the hiking trail began. He never went down them, not having time for it, but he knew that the paths were narrow and winding, and a person should be careful wandering them, especially at night. He shined his light down the nearest path, seeing nothing but tree trunks and rain. He jumped as an especially loud howl rang out, sounding as if it were calling out to others. He stood there, trying to decide if he should find out more about the sound, or if he should go back to the warm, dry bed that was calling him. In the end, he decided to go down the path for a little bit. “It’s not like the paths split or are overgrown or anything,” he said, trying to reason with himself.
He walked for a while, glad for the cover the trees provided from the cold wind and rain. The light went back and forth along the path, finding the fallen leaves and broken branches and chasing the shadows away, only for them to dart back when it moved on. He followed the path for five minutes, then ten, then fifteen, with the only change being less rain falling through the canopy above and new trees to make shadows to scare him. He kept seeing shadows, that seemed to be following him, taunting him by just being beyond sight, but when he shone his light towards them, they always darted away, seeming to laugh at his attempts to see them. After a while, he forgot them as he continued further into the depths of the forest.
Minutes later, he came to a crossroads between two paths. As he stood there, trying to decide whether or not he should go back or keep going forward, the sound came out of the shadows of one of the paths, loud enough to be feet away. John nearly dropped the light with fright as he turned and ran down the other path, deeper into the forest. He ran and ran; hoping whatever made the noise wasn't behind him. He kept thinking that he could feel the hot breath of some monster breathing down his neck or at his heels, and the claws or fangs were but inches from his throat. Fear fueled by his imagination propelled him to the fastest he has probably ever run. He ran with the branches whipping out of the darkness, roots reaching up to trip him. He stumbled into a clearing, falling face first into the tall grass. He quickly turned on his back and threw his hands up to stop the thing from getting directly to his throat or face. The only sound in the clearing was the wind moving grass and leaves, and the harsh sound of his breathing. He sat up, putting his arms down, and looked around the clearing. There were several paths going into and out of the clearing, and there was trash around as well, probably the remains of high school parties. He stood up, and looked for his flashlight. He found it with the light flickering, the battery almost dead from the nights' adventures. He grabbed and tapped it against his hand to try to get it to stop flickering. It did, but only for a bit.
He walked over to the other side of the clearing, putting as much distance as possible between him and whatever made that noise. At the far end, he found a few more paths, with one set a little further back than the others, almost hidden by the bushes that ringed the clearing. The entrance was marked by an arch, weather beaten, covered in ivy and nearly broken. He moved closer, inspecting the arch, and was surprised to find that there was letters carved into it, faded by time, much of it incomprehensible, but enough was there to be read. His sputtering light focused on the only part that could still be seen, and as he pulled away ivy, he saw the words “…mors expectet omnibus vobis …” John didn't know what language it was in, but he figured it wasn't a “hello, how are you?” sort of message. A threat from a many year old piece of rock was preferable to whatever was back there, so he continued, passing through the arch and continuing on his escape from the thing. He didn't run, all that would accomplish would be him on his face again, but he didn't walk either. He wanted to get as much distance as possible from that thing. As he moved down the path, the flashlight flickered more and more and got dimmer and dimmer. He was worried that he might be left alone in the dark with whatever there was on the path.
The path was much more twisting and narrower than the other one, as if it was forgotten. The branches of trees and bushes kept leaning out of the shadows to hit him in the face. He kept moving, fear overriding his exhaustion, forcing him to keep going and get as much distance as he could from the thing. The flickering shadows thrown in front of him by his dying flashlight made him jump, looking like a hand, or claw, was reaching out to trip him.
After an hour of jumping at shadows and looking over his shoulder, John reached an end to the path. It was another clearing; it was near the oldest part of the forest, the trees much taller and much thicker than the others. The clearing was similar to the one before, but much smaller. The storm, getting stronger, whipped the tall grass and tree branches back and forth, and was tossing rain nearly horizontal through the air, blurring the trees and leaves. On the far side of the clearing, there was an outcrop of stone, as tall as some of the nearby trees.
He moved towards the center, trying to see if it was possible to climb the stone to get a view of the area. Hopefully, he would be close enough to the edge of the forest to find a way out. But as he reached the center, he heard a growling noise behind him. Not even turning to see what it was, he bolted for the rock, hoping that whatever the thing was, it couldn't climb. But as he reached up for a handhold, there was more growling, this time, to his left and right. The thought that there was more sent a burst of adrenaline through his system, and he climbed like an experienced mountaineer. He stopped on a ledge about twenty feet up. He sat down, trying to catch his breath, and with the last of the flashlights feeble rays, he saw what was chasing him all through the night.
They were wolves, but not the normal kind. These things were easily twice the size of a normal wolf. If he were to stand next to one, its shoulder would probably come up to his elbow. Their fur was a dark grey, almost black. Even as high up as he was, he could see the fangs, each longer than his finger, each eager to rip into his flesh. They were crowding at the bottom of the rock, staring straight at him, growling and baring their fangs. Then one howled. It was the same sound he had been hearing for the past few weeks. The howl was loud enough to be heard easily over the sound of the rising storm. The other two joined in, creating a sound that would be beautiful if it wasn't coming from beasts that are trying to eat him. Then, in the distance, there was an answering call. It didn't sound like the others did, they sounded sad and lonely. This one sounded excited, like it knew there was fresh meat nearby.
Then the wolves below him started to jump, each leaping ten feet into the air. They started hopping up ledges, getting closer and closer. John immediately turned and continued his climb up the rock, going higher and higher to escape the wolves below, getting closer and closer. Nearly half way up, he came to another ledge; this one was much larger and seemed to go all the way around the rock. He thought he saw a cave in the side of a steep part of the outcrop, but the wind and rained blurred everything until he could only see what was in front of him. He continued up, going and going until he could go no further. There was only a little bit left above him, not even climbable.
John then turned, hoping that the wolves couldn't climb this high. There were more wolves on the second ledge, many more than there were at the bottom, and he could see more coming. They leapt and leapt, but they could not get a grip on the rain slicked rock and there was no ledges close enough. So they just gathered and gathered, until there was probably thirty of them, waiting, jumping, howling. The flashlight then died, and left him in the dark, with nothing but the wind, rain, and the sound of a pack of blood-thirsty wolves below him.
He sat there for hours, terrified that one wolf would have found a way up and would be sneaking out of the darkness, about to leap at him and throw him into the pack below. The storm continued to rage on, sending more wind and rain. At what must have been the hour just before dawn, he heard a voice right beside him.
“What are you doing here?” it came out through the sound of the wind. “Why are you here?”
“I d-don’t know”
“Do you realize what you have done?” it hissed out, sounding annoyed, but not scared.
“How d-did you g-get up here without those things knowing about it?”
John started to back away, “W-what do you mean ‘They know’?” He realized that as soon as the voice started to speak, the wolves didn't howl, growl or bark. They stopped jumping, and seemed to be just sitting there, watching, and waiting. Even the wind seemed to get quieter. “Who are you?”
A grin seemed to loom out of the darkness, bringing with it a man. He was tall and skinny, with hair that grew past his shoulders, but no beard. He wore rags; all in black, making it seem as if his head was floating in the darkness. The smile had no warmth to it, it was the smile a hunter would give to prey it had spent a while hunting. It was the smile of a wolf.
The man came towards John, picking him up as if he weighed nothing. “My name is Lupus, and my children are hungry,” and he threw John off the ledge and towards the base of the rock. The pack gathered there, some leaping up to get the first bite. As he landed, the pack descended.
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