My feet were thudding heavily against the cold concrete as I ran away, not looking back to see how fast the creature was gaining on me. My heart was pounding but I knew that if I stopped running no one would ever hear from me again, so I ran. Anyways, as I’m sprinting down the abandoned sidewalk I came to the quick realization that my life was most definitely on the line. I took a sharp right bolting towards the woods that led to the back of my neighborhood. The woods were so close, that I could start to see the beat up trail that my friends and I used to have races on every day after school. I was sprinting off of the concrete sidewalk and into the tall grass that led into the woods when suddenly a thunderous growl that shook the rocky landscape below me boomed like thunder would during severe weather. It was approaching quickly. My calves were aching from the intensity of my sprint but I couldn’t let my untoned legs be the reason for my sudden demise.
Keep running, just keep running. All I could see was the outline of the never ending pines that were glaring down on me. I took off into the dense tree line and I took sharp right after sharp left to try and create more space between it and I. I kept repeating the same two words to myself. Keep running, just keep running, but it wasn’t working. I couldn’t keep running. It was continuously gaining on me, and my legs were slowing. I was too tired. I couldn’t keep running. This was it, I was going to die.
8 Hours Earlier
My head shot up at the sound of her shrill voice, “Harper,” Mrs. Lewis yelled, “this is important! Three people have disappeared and you’re busy daydreaming”. I looked to my left where Gabby Myers used to sit, her empty desk a reminder of her sudden disappearance. I looked back up at Mrs. Lewis and let out a sigh. “You know that if you’re not careful the same thing could happen to you,” Mrs. Lewis continued, “that is why the curfew is so important. You can not go out after dusk or else you’re on your own until the sun comes up” she said in a tone of voice I’ve never heard her use, fear. She was scared; for us and herself. The way she was speaking was if she was trying to explain to herself that this was real. Something was taking people who were out in the dark and no one knew what it was. Even the police were scared of it, they sent out a town wide message saying that if anyone is out after dusk and is calling out for help, no one should come to their rescue, it would be far too dangerous and it would not be worth losing another person.
All after school activities were cancelled due to the chance that the sun could start to set early and everything in Northport would close at two o’clock so that everyone would have time to get home in time for the sun to set. School carried on the same as it did earlier, teachers explaining to us that going outside in the dark could lead to catastrophic events. After every lecture I was growing more and more nervous about all of the disappearances. I had never been easily frightened by anything but this was an exception. There was solid evidence that someone or something was causing disappearances in Northport but I still was wanting to know what it was. The school day was ending quickly and everyone was getting nervous about leaving even though the sun was still shining brightly outside. The last bell was just beginning to ring when everyone in the school started grabbing their belongings and started running to their busses and cars as if their lives depended on it. I was taking my time knowing that getting out of the parking lot was going to be a disaster not knowing why everyone was so anxious to leave at only two o’clock in the afternoon. The sun wouldn’t start setting until five at the earliest so there was no need for rushing. I was starting towards the library that was in the opposite direction of the exit when Donna, my best friend, came running up to me frantically, “Harper! Why aren’t you leaving? We need to go,” she shouted at me like a mother would be doing to a young child who wasn’t behaving.
“I am going to the library for an hour, I don’t want to have to wait in traffic all the way home, I may as well kill some time and get some homework done” I told her as calmly as I could. I wasn’t going to wait for a response because I knew it would just be her telling me to go home so I started walking back towards the library. I pushed the two solid word doors open to the solid concrete room. I found a comfortable looking chair and started by putting in my earbuds and turning on my homework playlist. I was working really efficiently until I had a really bad feeling in my stomach. I had meant to set an alarm so that I could leave an hour after I had started my homework but I had forgotten. I quickly reached my phone and flipped it over so that the screen would turn on, six o’clock it read.
No. No, no, no it couldn’t be. I couldn’t have been doing homework for four hours! I jumped out of my seat and started sprinting towards the entrance of the library. I slammed the double doors open and ran towards a window, I was screwed. It was pitch black outside, there was no way that I was going to get home safely. I was walking towards the entrance of the school when I heard the sharpest scream that made me feel as if my ears were bleeding. It was getting closer so if I wanted to leave I was going to have to leave now.
I walked outside slowly to make sure that the coast was clear when I heard heavy footsteps stampeding towards me. It sounded as if a herd of elephants were racing in a thunderous group towards me. And this is where we last left off. With me sprinting for my life. I was too tired to keep running I needed a break but I knew that if I stopped, I would die. My legs started to slow and I was choking for air until I started thinking of my family, my friends my future and some of the adrenaline was kicking back in. Houses were coming into view and I could just start to see the lights from my backyard. I was almost there; I was almost home. I was so close to making it out alive so I began screaming for someone to let me in. I screamed at the top of my lugs, for my mom, for my sister, for anybody. I saw the outline of my sister appear from behind the curtain. Instant relief was flooding my senses when I saw her silhouette peek out from behind the closed door. My legs were burning but I just kept pushing harder, I had to make it out of this, I had to make it home. In the very moment that I felt relief, it all vanished into thin air. I was making eye contact with my sister when she closed the curtains and shut off the light so that I could no longer see her. Shrieking at the top of my lungs, I proceeded into the dark night towards my home but I knew it was all going to be over. I couldn’t make it out.