22 Dec Not All Monsters Live in the Woods – CreepyPasta
I awoke to the sounds of the birds chirping high above, and the soft creaking of fir boughs as the breeze rushed by. My eyes strained to open as the morning sunlight filtered in through the mesh of my tent. It had gotten far too cold last night to sleep without the rain fly on. The thin fabric offered little insulation, but any extra was welcome to help fight against the cloudless night sky. It was dawn on the third day of my six-day backpacking trip, and each night had gotten consecutively colder than the last. The previous night had reached below freezing, as a fine layer of glittering frost traced the outlines of the long shadows cast by the trees.
Remaining in the relative warmth of my sleeping bag for as long as possible, I donned all of my layered gear for the day’s hike. Warm, dry socks from my bag had become my best friends on this adventure, as they would inevitably save my feet from countless blisters during the fourteen mile stretch I needed to cover to keep on pace. It would be hard going through the dense forest and rocky outcroppings but would be manageable before sundown. As I stumbled out of my tent, I stretched all my muscles to chase away the last vestiges of sleep and remnants of fatigue from the previous days. Lighting the burner for my small portable stove, I began to break down camp while I waited for some water to boil. Neither would take long, but I felt oddly anxious to get on with the day. Once the tent and bedding were packed, and a meagre meal of reconstituted eggs with hash-browns was eaten, I began to set off towards the east like each morning before.
The day itself promised to be truly beautiful. As the sun came fully over the mountains ahead, the world erupted with the soft, warm light that so often accompanies spring mornings. Lazily floating dust and pollen suspended in the air allowed the golden-yellow rays to be caught as they filtered through the canopy. As the morning progressed, small purple and white wildflowers began to open up, dancing gracefully back and forth in the small gusts of wind that wound their way through the narrowing valley. All of this natural beauty surrounded me, and yet I still couldn’t shake that lingering sense of anxiety from breakfast.
I thought on it for a while as I trudged over gentle hills and across a shallow stream that was likely snow runoff from the mountains. While things such as my work, social life, or even relationships could produce anxiety in my normal life, once I had set out on this journey they had all fallen away. I felt beholden to no one and nothing, except myself. Was this feeling a simple regression of those everyday troubles? No, this was something deeper. Those problems were abstract and distant, this felt much more immediate. It was almost comparable to the feeling of being followed when traveling through the city at night. The eyes of some unseen predator tracking my every move, perfectly content to stay in the proverbial shadows and observe. Without conscious thought, my pace quickened. My eyes began to dart from tree to tree, and from rock to stump in an effort to catch some small flash of movement. This state of being completely on edge continued to escalate in minor increments until I was almost running through the woods. It seemed as if at any moment, my invisible pursuer would leap out and strike. I nearly let out a cry as a small brown squirrel, started by my crashing flee, ran across the path in front of me.
Coming to a stop, I took a moment to catch my breath and to tell myself that I was being ridiculous. The only animals out here that would actively hunt a human would be a cougar or a bear, and neither had been spotted in the area for years. As for another person, I hadn’t seen a single one since the check in at the ranger station during the first day of my trip. It was completely irrational to think that there was someone else who had randomly crossed my path, let alone that person be some deranged menace. While all of these placations I told myself sounded logical, a hint of that nagging dread remained in the back of my mind. It took me a long moment to decide whether or not to turn back, but eventually I fell victim to my original temptation to hike the valley and explore nature.
The rest of the afternoon proved to be rather uneventful. Other than the occasional bird song, or increasingly brisk breeze, there had been no disturbances to the peacefulness of the hike. Early evening was already beginning to take hold of the world, and while the sun had been shining for hours I could see heavy, black clouds creeping over the mountains. This gave me significant cause for concern as I hadn’t anticipated any storms this late in the season, and the ones in this area were well-known for their brutal conditions.
The sun had just started to sink behind the encroaching clouds and looming mountaintops when I first heard began to hear a noise. It was distant, and farther into the valley than I had gotten. It was so far off and faint that I had to pause for a moment to see whether or not it was real, or just another trick of my imagination. With my footsteps silenced there was no longer the crunching of leaves and underbrush, or the snapping of small twigs. Had I not been so engrossed in waiting to see if it came again, I might not have noticed the complete and utter silence that had fallen over the remaining wildlife. No birds chirped in the cool evening air, and no insects buzzed around my ears with their constant droning. The quiet unnerved me, as it seemed there was always a subtle background noise to nature. Trying to brush away the feeling, I waited for what felt like an eternity with my ears trained for the slightest indication of what now seemed like an imagined sound. Almost ready to continue on and find a good place to hunker down for the night, I snapped back to attention when a soft breeze carried the faintest hint of the sound again. The trees and wind did much to mask it, but it was there. Filtering through the branches and across the rugged landscape, came the distant echoes of a scream.
Abandoning the notion of setting up camp for the night, I began to run deeper into the woods. There had been such a dire sound of pain and terror in that voice, that it sent shivers down my spine. Charging through the branches, over rocks and logs, I began to shout as loudly as I could manage. “I hear you! I’m coming!” Whoever this person was, I knew in that moment that they desperately needed help, and I had to find them. I kept shouting as I plunged through the densely covered forest floor, and the screams kept coming. A million possible situations raced through my head as I went. Had another hiker gotten injured and stuck out here? Maybe someone had been climbing amongst the boulders littering the area, and had become trapped under one? While predatory animals hadn’t been spotted here, that didn’t mean they couldn’t be here. As the thought of an animal attack crossed my mind, I slowed for only a moment to draw out the large knife I kept strapped to my belt. If it really was a wild animal, I would have to be ready to fight back if there was any hope of saving this person’s life.
After what felt like an eternity, I burst into a large clearing. The trees had fallen away in a rough circle, leaving a patch of open ground a few hundred yards in diameter. Pausing for a moment, I realized that the screams sounded significantly closer now. It seemed almost as if the source of the agonized cries of horror should be within view on the other side of the clearing. I took off again and felt the soft brush of large snowflakes across my exposed face as I ran. When I had gotten only about fifty feet from the other side of the clearing, a small blonde woman exploded out from the tree-line, letting loose another screech. I stopped suddenly, and the woman was so intent on fleeing that she almost bowled me over despite being significantly small than me. Grabbing her by the shoulders to stop her, I was able to get my first good look at her.
In any normal situation, many would describe her as beautiful. Her large, strikingly blue eyes were framed by short blonde hair. Her milky white skin seemed the perfect addition to her pale features, until I noticed the dark crimson beads making tracks down her arm. I looked at her again, and saw that on one side the thick blonde hair was matted down with drying blood, and her icy blue eyes were struck wide with terror. Five deep gashes ran across her shoulder, appearing to be the source of the blood that now ran over my fingers as I gripped her arm. More slices marred the length of her thigh, though they did not appear to be as deep as the ones on her shoulder. Her clothes were filthy, caked in mud and blood, with more than one tear shredding the various fabrics.
Once I had gotten ahold of her, she began savagely beating at my arms and chest in an attempt to break free of my grip. She screamed again as I weathered the blows as best as I could, and I shouted to try and be heard over her. “Hey! Lady! What the hell is going on!?” As soon as the words left my mouth, the assault stopped, and her eyes met mine. “It’s coming…” She whispered, her voice quavering with fear. “What’s coming? What did this to you?” I asked, realizing that an animal capable of doing this would be no small threat to us both. I looked passed her into the woods where she had come running from but saw nothing amidst the steadily growing darkness and falling white flakes. The snow had started coming down heavier now, falling thick enough to obscure the other side of the clearing where I had entered. “It’s coming…” was all the woman could manage, repeating the phrase several times before falling silent again. “It’s alright,” I replied. “It won’t try anything while we’re together. Animals like to try and pick off loners, not fight against groups.” I told her, trying to sound confident. The faltering waver in my last few words betrayed the mounting concern I was starting to feel about the situation. “Come on, we need to find a place to take shelter for the night. The snow is starting to come down pretty hard, and it’s almost pitch black out here. Once we’re safe, I can take a look at your wounds.” I said, trying to project firmness through my voice.
Grabbing the flashlight from the side of my bag, I clicked it on, casting a harsh white beam of light at the ground. The woman didn’t respond, though she made no effort to resist as I took her hand and started leading her back towards the other side of the clearing. Night had fully fallen at this point, and the snow fell in a constant, silent barrage. With the poor visibility, and the woman’s injured leg, our attempt to follow the path of the mad dash I had made earlier was very slow going. What had taken me only a minute to do earlier in my adrenaline-fueled state, now took us almost thirty. The woman leaned heavily against me, and at some points I was concerned that I would have to abandon my pack and carry her. Small dots of crimson followed in our footprints, as blood continued to drip from the deep wounds on her shoulder onto the thin layer of pristine snow.
I stopped when we had finally made it about one-hundred feet into the trees on the side of the clearing that I had originally come from. I gave the light to the woman, who I placed on a log while I made camp. She sat motionless and unblinking, barely able to hold the flashlight in her shaking hands. My first order of business was to build a small fire. I was sure that with the torn clothes, and moderate loss of blood, the young woman was likely freezing. The exhibition of multiple signs of shock and hypothermia led me to try and engage her while I worked. “My name is Ted Warnock.” I said lightly, as I used my matches to ignite the few dry twigs I had found. “What’s yours?” I waited for a response while I blew on the glowing embers, causing them to burn brightly for a moment. Silence followed, and I blew again. A small flame danced up, and I spoke out again as I began piling more twigs on. “I’m glad I was able to find you out here. I haven’t seen anyone at all since I left. What were you doing out here?” The light from the growing fire illuminated the face of the woman. Her wide eyes stared at the flames, and despite the chattering of her teeth, she made not a sound. I moved to crouch in front of her and placed a hand lightly on her uninjured leg. “Miss? Can you hear me?” I asked in a quiet voice, trying to get her attention.
After a moment with no response, her eyes flicked away from the fire and met mine. A small nod of her head showed me that she wasn’t completely catatonic. I smiled and nodded as well. “Good! I have to keep working to get camp set up before this snow gets any worse, but in the mean time I want you to sit here by the fire and warm up a bit, alright? As soon as I’m done, we’ll take a look at those wounds.” Another barely perceptible nod let me know she understood, and her eyes darted back to the fire. I paused for a moment, staring at her with concern before getting up again and resuming my tasks.
I added more wood to the fire, hoping that the light would keep whatever the hell had attacked her at bay. Setting up the tent was something I had grown accustomed to doing by myself, and within minutes I had it up. I unrolled my sleeping bag, and placed my bag in the corner before rummaging through it to pull out the decently well-stocked medical kit I had brought on the trip. While I hadn’t planned on any situations quite as dire as this, I knew that cleaning and bandaging the gouges now would be the only way the woman would be able to walk out of here on the multi-day journey back. Frowning, I thought about how it had taken me a full three days to get this deep into the valley. The added difficulty of helping the wounded woman would make the journey back much longer. The only comfort was that if it took us longer, the rangers would come searching for me along the same path I had told them I’d be taking when I first checked in. In the morning, I’d just have to figure out how far I’d deviated from that path in my sprint to find her.
Setting the medical kit beside the sleeping bag, I headed back out of the tent and over towards the bloodied woman. “Miss, why don’t we head into the tent to do this? It’ll help keep you warm and dry in there.” I said, trying to put a half smile on my face. Her eyes darted up to me and a flicker of uncertainty flashed across them, as if she was worried this was some cruel trick. I held out my hand, and after a moment or two of hesitation, she timidly took it and followed me to the tent. I pondered why she now seemed a bit paranoid, as we ducked under the flap and she stiffly lowered herself onto the sleeping bag. It must just be part of the shock, I thought. She’s clearly rattled by whatever happened out there.
The large tears in the fabric of her clothing made it possible to fully access her wounds without the need to remove any articles. I prepped some alcohol swabs, and began to wipe slowly and carefully at the deep gashes running across her shoulder. She winced away in pain, but once I had cleaned the area I could see that at least it wasn’t still bleeding. I sat for a moment, transfixed as I stared at what were the largest and most odd claw marks I had ever seen. “Did a cougar do this to you?” I asked, breaking my eyes away to look over at her face in anticipation of a response. She said nothing, and seemed to not even notice that I had spoken. Her gaze was fixed on a point straight out of the tent and into the dark forest beyond. The flames of the fire were reflected bright orange in her wide eyes, and a single tear fell down her cheek. A long vibrant red trail marked its passage across her still face. Realizing her trauma and head wound may be worse than I originally feared, I set back to work cleaning the wounds and applying bandages.
I broke the silence again sometime later, as I stood up in the tent. “I’m going to go feed the fire and keep watch. I’ll be back in a little bit to check on you, but if you need anything just call. I’ll be right outside.” The girl had drawn her knees to her chest and sat in the fetal position. Her wide-eyed stare hadn’t changed since she first sat down, aside from the occasional slow blink that would let slip another tear. I had told her she could sleep in my sleeping bag, and had retrieved the mylar emergency blanket from my pack to take with me outside. Giving her one last look, I stepped back outside and zipped up the tent. The poor girl had obviously been through a traumatic experience, and as much as I didn’t want to leave her alone, I needed some time to process the day’s events myself. There were so many thoughts racing through my head about the logistical problems facing us, the possible outcomes, and the dangers we now faced.
Turning around, I saw that the snow had slowed its fall from when we first arrived. At least that’s a good sign, I thought. Already an inch had accumulated in places, though the trees offered decent enough cover. I sunk heavily to the ground as I reached for more sticks to add to the small, but warm fire. Wrapping the thin blanket around myself, I finally allowed the gravity of the situation to hit me in full. Leaning back against a log, I began to try to formulate a plan for the next day. It wouldn’t be easy, but we would survive this as long as I could keep a level head and make smart, well thought out decisions. One of those decisions was to shove the thought that whatever had done this to her was still out there out of my mind for the time being. After that one, I threw a couple more sticks onto the fire and watched as the flames took hold and grew brighter.
Harsh white light flooded through my eyes as I squinted them open. The first thing I noticed was the deep, bone-chilling cold that had consumed my body. Black chunks of charcoal sat cold and lifeless, surrounded by a thin layer of new snow that covered everything. I sat up stiffly, feeling every joint in my body ache. Realization struck me as I tried to recall my last memories – I had fallen asleep outside by the fire. The combination of the blanket and the extra wood I had added to the fire made being out the night before bearable. My spot by the fire had been warm, the day had been long, and the adrenaline had finally worn off. I must have drifted to sleep without even knowing how tired my body and mind truly were. I turned my head to look over to tent, ready to call out to the woman and apologize for not checking in, when the icy chill crept from my bones to every fiber of my soul.
The tent was gone. It hadn’t been more than five feet to my left the night before, and now in its place say an empty patch of ground, devoid of even the snow that covered me. I stared, mouth agape, and a new wave of mounting concern began to rise as I noticed the line of bare ground extending into the woods away from where we had set camp. Stiff joints popped and groaned as I forced myself to my feet, my awakening brain struggling to comprehend the information my eyes provided. While I traced the line back into the trees over and over again, it finally hit me. These were drag marks. The tent had been pulled away from camp in the middle of the night, and I had somehow slept right through it. Sheer panic filled my mind, and I willed my frozen muscles to start a stumbling run along the path.
As if almost on cue, I heard the all too familiar scream in the distance. My heart was permeated with dread as I moved as fast as I could, following the drag marks towards the anguished cries. “I’m coming!” I shouted back, hoping to God that I’d be fast enough. The large knife from my belt found its way into my numb hands, and I pushed myself harder, ready to fight the animal that was surely near. The cries kept coming, sounding louder and more urgent with each moment. The screams came from behind a large rock the path bent around, and I sprinted as fast as my tired body could manage. As soon as I rounded the corner, all sounds stopped. The sight that awaited me brought me to an abrupt halt, and I struggled to take it all in.
The tent lay collapsed flat on the ground, its fabric shredded, and poles splintered. A figure lay near it, unmoving and partially covered in a thin blanket of snow. Something was different though. The snow near the figure wasn’t the pristine white sheet that had so covered me back at the campsite. It was a dark, crimson robe that radiated out in all directions. It stained the snow a heavy red, with long splashes leading away from the body, and tiny splatters dotting the surroundings.
I rushed towards the body of the woman, unsure if I would be too late to save her. In the final few steps, I slipped on a patch of ice and fell to the ground hard. Instinctively looking back, a realization hit me like a freight train. It wasn’t just ice that I had slipped on. It was blood. The snow near the body was heavily laden with it, but instead of being the soft mush of wet snow, it was frozen solid and slick. I looked back to the woman laying on the ground next to me, and felt bile rise in my throat. Staring back at me was a single pale, lifeless eye, as the rest of her face was covered by a snowy shroud. She had been dead for a long time now, and I had been following her impossible screams all the way from camp. Even as I lay unblinking on the cold ground, trying to comprehend what was happening, that same piercing, agonized cry came again. Her frozen, blue lips hadn’t moved a bit, and yet I still heard it. The sound startled me, but just led to further confusion when I realized that it had not come from the dead woman, but up above.
Looking up into the trees, my mouth dropped open in absolute horror. A pale figure crouched on a branch in the tree directly above me. It was completely hairless, with dull grey skin that looked ancient and worn. Its limbs were disproportionately long, and looked as though they hid the wiry strength of a life-long predator. Each ended in a set of five long and slender claws, knife-like and stained the brownish-red of dried blood. A humanoid face looked down, with a squat, flat nose and eyes that were soulless black pits. When my own eyes locked with them, it was obvious that it knew I had finally seen it. A wide slash of a mouth split its face, resembling a grin. Countless needled teeth were exposed, and after a long moment, they parted to emit a sound that was jarring to my already fragile sanity. Instead of some low growl, or monstrous snarl, it emitted a perfectly identical scream to that of the now dead woman beside me.
It was in that moment that it dawned on me that I had been lured here not by the woman I had saved, but by this terrifying thing. Snapping out of my trance, I lifted myself to my feet and ran as fast as my legs would carry me. A heavy thump sounded behind me, followed by another sickeningly exact scream. I didn’t turn to look, knowing that the creature had dropped from its perch and was likely giving chase. If I turned, I would surely fall, and that meant it would catch me and tear me to pieces like it did to the woman who’s voice it now used to taunt me. I kept running, not slowing for even a moment or caring in which direction I went. All that mattered in that moment was getting the fuck away from that thing. As I tried to clear a log in front of me, my foot slipped back and bent painfully to the side. I fell hard to the ground, scrambling to get back to my feet again as the adrenaline pushed me through the sharp, stabbing pain I felt with every step.
It grew from a minor inconvenience, to a severe detriment as I pushed myself to keep going. I had at least sprained my ankle, and it was direly hampering my ability to flee. It felt as though I had been running for hours, when in reality it had likely been much shorter. When it felt as though another step would cause my ankle to give out, I collapsed to the ground, and leaned back against a tree. The screams had kept coming while I fled, but were now much more distant. Feeling safe enough to give myself a brief respite, I scanned the surrounding area looking for any familiar landmarks with which I could orient myself. All I saw were the tall fir trees in every direction, and I knew that I was absolutely lost. My head fell back against the trees and I looked up at the canopy, feeling defeated. As the boughs shifted in the wind, I could make out a rough approximation of the sun’s location in the sky. It was still early morning, and I knew that this was the start I needed. My mad dash away from the horrid creature had been headed to the South, and all I had to do was change my direction to head West back towards the ranger station. Pushing aside the feelings of despair and defeat, I pulled myself back to my feet, and set off again.
It was slow going, but I had to keep moving. The screams still sounded fairly distant, but in my current state I knew it would be gaining ground on me if it followed my change of course. They sounded sporadically throughout the day, always seeming to be coming from a different location. It was still moving, and it still hunted me. As darkness fell over the world once again with the coming of night, I knew that I couldn’t keep going. If I turned on a light, it would be easy to find me. If I didn’t have a light, there was every likelihood that I would hurt myself more than I currently was. I spotted a small burrow between the roots of a huge tree, and reasoned that this would be as good of a hiding place as any. Squeezing myself down as far as I could, I sat listening to the night. Despite the fact that I felt absolutely exhausted, sleep never came. Every so often another shrill scream would split the still night air, snapping me back to attention. Each sounded closer than the last, moving back and forth through the trees. The nature of its slow pace felt almost taunting, as if it already knew where I was, and could come get me at its leisure. I felt toyed with, like a crippled bird being batted at by a lazy cat before its inevitable demise. As soon as light broke over the mountaintops to the east, I forced my weary body up and forwards.
It continued on like that for four more days. Each morning I would plod along towards the West as fast as I could manage, and each night I would hide and listen to the piercing cries of that malevolent thing. They slowly drew nearer and nearer as each night I was forced to stop, and I knew that there wouldn’t be much longer before it finally overtook me. That realization came as I hunkered down behind another tree amongst a patch of tall ferns. I began to cry then, as the futility of everything I had done in the last several days came crashing down in a drowning wave. Tears silently fell from my cheeks as the screams sounded again, letting me know my demise crept ever closer. I closed my eyes for just a moment, and the cumulative physical, emotional, and mental strain immediately overcame my drained existence. Who knows, maybe it’ll kill me in my sleep and this nightmare can finally be over, I mused as my consciousness faded away.
I jolted awake, feeling a hot breath wash across my face. My eyes shot open, and the horrifying maw of the creature sat mere inches away from me. Its needle teeth spread wide as it opened its mouth in a disgusting mockery of a grin, and the fetid stench of decay and rotting meat filled my nostrils. It clacked its mouth open and shut a few times before letting loose the haunting scream of the woman it killed. This time, I screamed back. All the pent-up fear, stress, and anger I had felt as this hideous thing pursued me was released in one defiant outburst of my own. Rage, and a need to fight back filled every fiber of my being. In a quick and fluid motion, I pulled my knife from my belt and sank it in the creature’s chest. I was rewarded with a shrill cry of pain and surprise from the wounded thing, as well as a spray of thick black blood when I removed the blade. My arm fell again, and again, perforating the pale grey leather of the thing’s chest. I pushed it back off of me, and stood as I watched it shriek and thrash amongst the underbrush. I smiled a wide grin as the ground became saturated with its blood, and it finally grew still. There was a moment of silence in the world before another voice came from ahead of me. My head snapped up to look at its source.
“Holy shit…You killed him!” came an anguished cry from a tall man wearing a ranger’s uniform. “Drop the knife and get on the fucking ground! Right now!” I stared, dumbfounded at the man as he pointed a pistol at me. Where had he come from? Why was he screaming at me? I looked down towards the eviscerated creature laying in the ferns, but it was gone. In its place lay a young man wearing a once brown ranger uniform, now stained a deep crimson. My head spun, and my vision began to grow narrow. The screaming of the ranger became muted, and distant. I felt the heavy impact of a bullet slam into my chest, and suddenly I was on the ground looking up at the sky. A heavy cloud moved over the sun, and my world went black.
A soft and constant beeping was the first thing I became aware of. Slowly more sounds faded in, and I was aware of the low buzz of idle chatter and people working. My heavy eyelids cracked open and I saw that I was laying in a small bed, with a simple white blanket covering my legs. My whole body hurt, and as I tried to sit up a lance of pain shot through my right side. Looking down, I saw a large square bandage covering my shoulder and memories came flooding back to me. Trying again to push myself up, there was a jangle of metal and my arm stopped suddenly. A sturdy set of handcuffs connected my wrist to the rail of the bed. The noise caught the attention of a small woman wearing scrubs, and she hurried off as soon as she saw that I was awake. Within minutes, a doctor came in and began to look me over. He started asking me questions, but I couldn’t focus my vision and quickly fell back into the darkness.
A rough voice brought me back to the waking world once again. The doctor that had been there only a moment before, was replaced by a pair of uniformed officers. The one closest to me snapped his fingers a few times, and everything started to come back into focus. When I could clearly see their faces, and hear the words they were saying, I asked them a simple question. “What happened?” The two exchanged a glance, before one of them came to stand by the side of the bed and pulled up a chair. “We were hoping that you’d tell us” He said, sitting down and pulling out a notepad. So began the first of many long hours of questioning. They had asked me to tell my story, and so I gave it to them. Every excruciating detail was run through, time and time again. They wrote things down, asked me to repeat parts, and analyzed every word. As the morning light began to steal in through the windows of the small hospital ward, they finally left.
The medication that the doctors put me on made the world feel fuzzy, and time became immaterial. It passed by in a blurry haze, and I couldn’t keep track of it. Many others followed the original officers, asking the same questions and getting the same answers. Some time later, a man in a black suit came with more officers, and I was finally released from that place. I was brought to a courthouse, where I stood trial for the murders of Stephanie Briggs, the young woman, and Freddy Ulwick, the ranger. The jury wasted no time in returning a verdict of guilty on all charges, and I was given two consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.
Being placed in a federal penitentiary seemed like it would be the end of the whole ordeal, but I was so very wrong. Last night as I lay in my cot staring at the ceiling above me, I caught the faintest flicker of movement in the darkest corner of my cell. My eyes strained to pierce the inky black, but as a cloud in the night sky drifted away from the moon, a thin beam of moonlight shone through my window to the outside world. It illuminated a set of needle-like teeth protruding from a mouth bent into that sickening rendition of a grin. Long, sharp claws reached along the floor, tapping on the concrete before sinking back into the darkness and fading from view.
When I was a child, the stories my parents told me always involved some monster that lived out in the woods and preyed upon those who were careless in their adventures in nature. Back then I believed that if you were careful, and able to make it out of the woods, that you would be safe from the monsters that roamed within. As with many childhood beliefs, that has since changed. I can now say with absolute certainty that not all monsters live in the woods.