The thought of being eaten alive didn’t set in for a minute or two. How in the hell did anyone think this was right? One teenager might go overlooked, but four? Never. Three of the four came from good homes. The only one that would be an asset to society would be the loss of Seth. Brody knew it was wrong to think that way, but goddammit, he wasn’t ready to die. Plus, he had already saved Seth once. This time he was on his own. The only person that Brady was helping was himself, and even the two girls would need to find a way to stay alive tonight.
“Fucking go,” Sarah screamed. Wasting no time, the four ran, but instead of the logical thoughts of safety in numbers, they all broke into different directions. Each one of the teens praying that this was only a dream. A nightmare that they would wake up from and laugh about later. That wouldn’t be the case, and sometimes, urban legends aren’t legends at all.
Full speed across the well-manicured lawn, Olivia didn’t stop until she reached the edge of the water, standing frozen to the bank. She could swim, but the rushing water below was as dark as night, and the force of the current was something she would never survive. Plus, tree branches and cottonmouth snakes were a fear as well as drowning. The Caney river, or that thing? She would need to choose what she feared more than the other.
Growls and heavy footsteps only feet away, Olivia did the unthinkable. When the creature was finally in view, the teary-eyed teenage girl jumped into the rushing water, praying that she would make it out alive. The recent storms and the level of the water would make her survival close to zero. If she were going to make it, God would need to be on her side. If she ever thought in the past how she would die, drowning was not on the list. The last thing she would remember is her parents’ faces as notified of her body found. Was this suicide, or was this self-preservation? The only one who could answer that would be God himself.
On the other side of the park, sitting twenty-feet in a tree, Sarah watched and waited. The palms of her hand covered in cuts and abrasions, the teen girl hugged the branched and held on for dear life. She had no idea about her best friend, but she regretted not having her there with her right now. Two is always better than one.
“Olivia, please, oh, please be okay. If I don’t make it, tell my mother I love her,” she whispered into the wind. As silent as a mouse, she clung to the massive pine tree branches, shaking the moment she heard the creature below. The crunching of leaves, and that smell, that horrible smell that proceeded him curled her stomach. It was the scent of rotting flesh that perfumed the air wherever he went. Tears were staining her cheeks. She laid her head on the branch, holding her breath. She could wait him out until morning unless he found her before dawn. She was sure once the sun came up, she would wake up in her bed, and the only thing she would smell would be pancakes.
In the distance, the whistle from the train rang out, the sounds of a summer ending, the last years of youth dying, and last calls for the snack bar heard. What she would give to be ten again and beg her parents to let her wait around from the final train ride. Usually, they carried her out kicking and screaming, but tonight, she would have gone willing to spend another night with the family she swore she didn’t need anymore. You never realize these things until it’s too late to make the changes.
Pounding on the base of the tree, Wendigo was becoming frustrated with his hunger. Not seeing the girl twenty-feet above him, the creature dropped his shoulders, walking off into the fog that was collecting around the park’s base. It looked like a scary movie waiting for the unknown to reach up and pull you down into the mist. Sarah would wait it out, stay where she was. If she made it out of the park alive tonight, she would never leave her parent’s side again.
9:45 pm, the park would close down in fifteen minutes, and by the time all the workers left, it would be time to allow the massacre to begin. Jimmy hated death at his age, but he knew he either fed the creature or fed on him. God help him; he would allow the slaughter of four young teens to save his own life. The elders might not judge him, but Jimmy knew he was taking the elevator down when he hit those pearly gates.