By Josh Makinson
“Guys… We really shouldn’t be doing this.”
A sheepish looking young boy used his hands to move his lengthy, brown hair out of his eyes as he spoke up. He looked ahead to the people he was traveling with, an older boy with black hair, and two girls both with long blonde hair. The three turned around to look at him, the one boy groaning and falling back to stand next to the complaining kid as the girls waited impatiently.
“Listen, moron. Tonight might be the only chance I get to score with these twins. If you ruin that for me, I’ll tell Mom that you caused me trouble, and she’ll ground you. Got it?” the older teen threatened his younger brother, aggressively gripping the boy’s shoulder.
“Ouch, Phil! I get it! But Mom said-”
“‘But Mom specifically said not to leave the house tonight,’ I know, I know! When you get older, Jimmy, you get to make some of your own decisions. I’m your older brother, and I decided that tonight we were going out into the woods to have some fun.” Phil pushed Jimmy away, Jimmy stumbling as he tried not to fall over from the sudden, abrupt force.
“Stop it! This isn’t even fun!” Jimmy said in a loud voice. The two girls, named Lora and Abigail, overheard and giggled as they watched the two brothers from a distance. Phil gritted his teeth together in embarrassment as he turned back to his brother.
“You’re lucky I even decided to let you come with us. Mom would kill me if she knew I left you at home alone. You’re still in seventh grade; you’re practically a baby. And since I’m four years older than you, you have to do what I say when I say it. And no more complaining, or I tell mom that you disobeyed me. Capiche?” Phil’s dark blue eyes stared daggers into Jimmy’s worried face.
“Fine, whatever…” Jimmy gave up with a sigh, looking down at his feet and sliding his hands into his pockets.
Phil straightened his leather jacket with a smirk, turning around and walking back to the girls. He went between them and put an arm around both of them, walking deeper into the forest as the girls giggled at his cheesy one-liners.
Jimmy reluctantly followed behind. He kept looking at his feet, kicking a rock along as he followed his brother. He was surprised when they came upon a small, rotting shack in a clearing dimly lit by the moonlight.
“Good, we’re here.” Phil smiled as he walked up to the shack, sitting down on an overturned log next to the door. The girls sat down next to him, and then Abigail nudged him with her elbow.
“Well, Phil? Did you bring it?” Abigail asked with a casual smile.
“Of course I did. I always have some on me,” Phil bragged as he slipped a small box out of his pocket.
Jimmy was busy examining the shack out of curiosity when he heard a metallic sound. He turned around to see his brother holding a cigarette in his mouth, holding a lighter up to the end as he flicked the flame on. Phil inhaled the smoke, letting it out with a satisfied exhale. Both girls smiled as they reached their hands out. He pulled out two more cigarettes from the box, offering one to each of the girls. They hurriedly took one, and let Phil bring the lighter to their faces to ignite the small tubes.
“Phil! You can’t-”
Phil turned around quickly and aggressively as his female companions began to smoke as well.
“If you say a word of this to Mom, you’re dead.” He faced forward again as Abigail and Lora laughed at the younger brother, continuing to enjoy themselves and their smokes.
Jimmy nervously ruffled his own hair. Not only were they too young to smoke, he was sure that Phil had stolen that box of cigarettes from their mother’s secret stash that she kept under her bed. No matter what Phil said, they would both be getting a harsh punishment if their mom noticed. He slowly leaned himself against the old, mossy wall of the cabin, dropping himself to the ground and placing his head between his knees in defeat.
As the smell of tobacco grew stronger, and his brother started talking about a time he supposedly beat up a senior, Jimmy heard a rustling from beside him. He slowly looked up and froze in terror as something emerged from behind the trees. Out of the foliage came a man wearing a ragged coat. The stranger’s hair was brown and covered in dirt as he stumbled into the clearing. The three teens on the log noticed him, and Phil stood up, looking in the intruder’s direction.
“Who are you?” Phil asked in a mean manner. The man groaned in response, drawing closer.
“I said, who ARE you?” He pushed the man forward and onto his back, the girls gasping as the weird person fell without any resistance.
Jimmy’s face turned pale. The man got back up, but supported himself on all fours. He crab-walked slowly toward his attacker, his head dangling downward between his shoulders.
“W-what? Stay away!” Phil yelled as he threw his cigarette at the man. The stranger screeched, lunging into him and digging his nails into Phil’s throat. Jimmy choked on his own breath, standing up as he helplessly watched the man bend down and bite into his brother’s throat with a meaty crunch.
The blonde girls screamed in terror, dropping their lit smokes as the man turned his attention to them. Both of them began to shout even louder, holding onto each other for dear life. The bloody crawler jumped forward onto the log, pinning both girls down with his hands. He pushed hard as his hands completely fell into their stomachs, ceasing their ear-piercing screams of horror.
Jimmy felt his pants become warm and wet as he saw the man pull handfuls of slippery entrails out from the bodies of the Lora and Abigail, shoveling them into his mouth like a starving lion. Jimmy began to step backward when he tripped over a branch, causing him to fall onto his back with an exclamation of pain. The murderous creature turned around to the source of the sound, making Jimmy’s face turn completely white with fear.
The being slowly crawled toward Jimmy, and he just sat there, eyes wide and filled with tears. He clasped his hands over his mouth as the creature drew closer. It stood over him, jaw drooling with blood. It seeped onto Jimmy’s face, dripping rapidly from his forehead to the edge of his hands that he kept suctioned to his mouth, crying intensely as he tried to prevent himself from screaming.
The man’s head was turned oddly. He had dark red slits where his eyes should have been, and his skin was grey and leathery. His hair looked like scorched seaweed covered in mud. Jimmy noticed no nose or nostrils on the face, and only affixed his gaze on the bloody teeth in the hungry creature’s mouth. It brought its face close to his, and Jimmy squeezed his eyes shut in preparation for his final breath. He waited in fear as the creature breathed heavily into his face, the smell of flesh and guts heavy on its tongue. To his surprise, the creature backed up after another minute, slowly returning to the body of Phil, reaching its crimson-stained hands back into the hole torn into the older brother’s neck.
Jimmy’s stomach rose and fell with intensity as he threw up in his mouth. Not risking letting it out and making more noise, he clenched his eyes shut once more and swallowed the rank brew with tears of agony. He slowly stood up again, the sound of his feet being masked by the gluttonous slurps of the monster standing over his brother’s corpse. Slowly, Jimmy backed away from the scene, turning around and sprinting as fast as he could once the shack became hidden behind the dark trees.
He knew they shouldn’t have gone out there.