ByJeff Keith, writer at
Jeff Keith

Chapter One

13 year old Jimmy Evans had never been so scared in his entire life. He wondered why he’d left the school dance and had wandered off into the swamps for anyway.

It was growing dark. The temperature was dropping quickly and worst of all he was confused. He had completely lost his bearings and couldn’t find his way back to the school campus.

He was beginning to perspire and his heart beat increased. Stopping a moment to listen, he strained his ears and eyes, looking and listening for anything, something, to show him the way out of the mushy swamp and back to the school.

Then he heard something... only it wasn’t music from the school… it was a low deep growl. He swallowed hard and listened, hoping that he had only imagined it. Hearing the low throaty growl again, only closer, he knew he hadn’t.

Pressing his back and hands against a slimy moss covered cypress tree, cool slime oozed under his fingernails and the blond hair on the back of his head stuck to the mossy tree.

He needed to pee badly. Dull white eerie fog, slowly rising from the ground, a foot deep, creeps, crawls and slithers along like a living creature, pouring over the ground and foliage, turning it ghostly invisible.

The air smelled of lush green vegetation and rich moist earth, if Jimmy hadn’t been so scared, he would have enjoyed the natural organic fragrance. The pungent but nice smell of the interiors of Indian caves and cliff dwellings had always smelled pleasant to him.

Jimmy could only imagine what the creature could be. Out here in the Louisiana swamps it could be a number of wild animals. Except….it didn’t sound like any wild animal he had ever heard before!

The creature paused to sniff the air and immediately picked up the scent of the young boy. It breathed in long and deep, savoring the taste of the boy’s fear and relished it like a morsel of a favorite delicacy.

The emanation from the fear was irresistible and it's mouth began drooling. Plumes of white-gray vapor rose upward in tiny clouds from Jimmy’s breath and disappeared, he began shaking uncontrollably.

Even though the temperature was numbing cold, his black “Korn” concert shirt was soaked with sweat and clinging to his thin frame. A small fragile brittle twig crunched nearby and Jimmy stopped his rapid breathing and held his breath.

On the other side of the tree the creature prepared its attack and shot around the tree in an instant. Jimmy screamed when he saw the hideous face and the mouthful of long sharp pointy teeth.

The creature was unlike anything he’d ever seen on any sci-fi movie, or X files television show or anything he’d ever imagined.

The monsters face was only inches from Jimmy’s, its hot rancid breath blasted Jimmy’s blond hair back from his face and forehead. More of his hair became stuck to the tree.

The smell of it’s putrid breath almost made him puke. The monster drew back its grotesque maw and shot forward, slamming Jimmy hard on the face, tearing off half the flesh in a chunky bite.

There was a deep cavernous hole and a small yellowish splinter of bone sticking upright where his nose used to be and blood was already spraying out in a mist.

The creature lapped at the mist like a kitten trying to drink from a milk shower, making a loud wet slurping as the slick tongue darted in and out its mouth as it fed from the warm spray. Jimmy yelled, woke up and sat bolt upright in his bed.

His heart felt like it was about to hammer out of his chest and he really needed to pee. His night clothes and bed sheet were soaking wet with sweat. Rising from his bed, he took off his white undershirt, tossed in into the brown wicker clothes hamper next to his dresser and padded down the hall barefoot to his bathroom.

He entered the room, flicked on the light switch to dim, finally relieved himself and flushed the toilet. Not being able to stop thinking about the monster, he approached the sink and placed his hands on the creamy porcelain.

Turning on the cold water he bent over and filled both hands with the cool water and rubbed his face vigorously. After repeating the action several times he snatched a brown towel from the towel rack and dried his hands and face.

Gail, his mom, had done both his bathroom and bedroom in tan and brown. Decorating the house when they first moved to Riverport had been an easy task for Gail. When she had asked him what color he would like his rooms done in he had simply replied that tan or brown were more suited for a boy than girly colors like pastel pink or blue.

Granting his request for boy colors, she had painted the walls desert sand and trimmed both rooms in a dark brown, grinning almost the whole time about him not wanting girly colors. Funny, she thought. She didn’t stop there, in the bath room, there was a brown shower curtain, brown curtains over the frosted glass window, brown throw rugs on the floor.

One of rugs these were the ones that fitted the bottom of the toilet base. The toilet seat and lid also had brown soft furry material fitted over them.

On the wall opposite the tub was a tall brown wicker stand that held a neat stack of brown towels, some brown wash cloths, a bottle of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner, three unopened bars of heavily scented soap and two sticks of deodorant.

She had even stepped back a time or two, during the process and wondered if maybe she had over done the brown.

Upon returning to his bedroom, Jimmy still couldn’t shake the horrible nightmare and looked at the alarm clock on his dresser, the red digital letters read 2:00 am. Afraid to go back to sleep, only to be devoured by that thing, he needed something to do. A thump and a loud, long scratching next to his second story window caused him to jump to his feet and away from the window.

A few seconds later the scratching came again. This time he dared to move closer to the window and caught a glimpse of something moving by the window in the dim moonlight. His heart beat began speeding up again.

The curtains blew inward from a sudden gust of wind, followed by the thump and the scratching again. He was almost in another state of panic when he realized that the wind had picked up suddenly and a branch on the huge oak on the side lawn was scraping the side the house causing the eerie scratching sound. Just under his window, obviously in need of trimming. He made a mental note to himself to get the ladder from the shed and do that tomorrow.

Jimmy glanced at the clock again; it read 2:02 am. He had a feeling it was going to be long night.


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