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The Lighthouse News

The Lighthouse News


Sky Hayward

The sun is setting across the horizon of the trees as I continue to trek forward. The heavy brush of the woods whistle as the wind blows through the leaves. I am alone. I have been separated from my friends. It was supposed to be a simple hike, but they thought it would be fun to go exploring off the path. They had been walking too fast, zipping between the trees. I quickly lost sight of them.


For the last hour, I simply walked in a straight line following the setting sun west. I had to come to the end of the woods eventually, right? The slight decline of the ground makes my feet stumble with my quick pace. I am terrified and cold. The darker the sky turns the more the temperature drops. Every noise I hear makes my heart jump and my hands tremble.


I dig through my backpack trying to find a flashlight. Although my phone has no service, I do not want to waste my battery. The further into the woods I go, the thicker the leaves and bushes become. I can feel branches stabbing at my legs and arms. They brush roughly against my cheeks leaving behind small scrapes and bruises.


The woods have been eerily quiet, besides for the rustling of the leaves in the wind and the crunching beneath my feet. But then I hear it. It was a sound similar to that of a howl mixed with a cry. It is deep and loud, leaving a ringing sound in my ears. There are not any animals in these woods that would make a sound like that. Panic rushes through me. What kind of animal is out here with me? Am I in danger?


I stand still for several moments trying to locate the sound. It echoes through the woods, seemingly coming from all directions. As if to taunt me, the animal let out several more calls,

sending chills through my body. The panic is becoming stronger. Should I continue straight as I have been? Or should I run in another direction?


I power forward. My steps are slow and calculated, trying to keep my steps from attracting attention. I am trying to keep my breathing light. Any sound I make could alert the animal of my presence. I am still unsure of what the animal is and if they are dangerous, but anything that can make a sound like that certainly can’t be friendly.


My ears perk up at what sounds like heavy footsteps and branches snapping. By now I am surrounded by darkness as the sun has fully set, taking away my only sense of direction. As I spin in circles to find the sources of the noise I realize I do not remember the direction I was first facing. I really do not want to turn on my flashlight in fear of alerting the animal of where I am, but the longer I sit in one place the louder the steps become.


I try to gather my nerves as I feel around the flashlight for the on button. I press the button, but the flashlight does not turn on. My breath catches in my throat as I repeatedly hit the flashlight. Finally it flickers on, lighting up the surrounding trees, bringing to life the once pitch black area in front of me. I take a deep breath, getting ready to start running in hopes of getting out of these woods as quickly as possible when I see it.


The creature is standing almost as tall as the trees. Its body blocks the path I planned on taking, and it’s towering over my body. The animal? Creature? The thing in front of me, whatever it is, is imposing to stare at. Covered head to toe in a dark reddish colored fur. My feet have finally started to move, my body and mind working together to get me away from this creature. My

mind is spinning, and my feet quickly hit against the ground. My lungs contract as air struggles to make its way into my body. I keep running, and running, and running until finally after what feels like hours my feet hit against pavement.


I don’t want to stop running, fearing the creature may have followed me. I just keep running until the only sound I can hear is my own breathing. I keep running until I can see lights from the town. I keep running, passing the cars, passing the building, passing the few stragglers who are still on the streets this late at night. I don’t stop running until my house comes into view.



I struggle to find my keys. I bang on the front door hoping my father will hear and open up. My lungs burn and my head continues to spin. My knees are giving out and my sight is darkening as I see my dad open the door, a look of panic crossing his face as he takes in my crumpling form. The last thought crossing my mind before darkness engulfs me is “What the hell did I just see in the woods?”

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