A Chapter by Louis McKraker

It was only Polly. She had been tracking closely and quietly behind me in the night.

“Why are you so jumpy?” she asked. “If you’re that scared, we should just go back home.”

“I’m not scared,” I assured her, my heart still racing. “I just wasn’t expecting anyone to be following me. I thought you had chickened out altogether. And what is that noise?”

“It happened when I was riding home from your house,” she answered, looking down at her bike. “I wrecked going around a sharp corner and damaged the chain guard on my bike. It scratches against the chain now.”

The shock I had when the disfigured shadow of Polly walking her bike along the sidewalk in the dark was wearing off now.

“I thought about it all evening,” she went on. “Leaving you to go on your own, that is. But something told me if you were going to be so stupid, I should go along�"just in case. Even if Squire and Marcus are brave enough to go to the Forbidden Playground with you, they’re not responsible enough to look after you.”

Now I was only thinking about how badly she just insulted me�"not to mention Squire and Marcus.

“You don’t have to be such a snob,” I returned.

Polly didn’t respond. She only mounted her bike and headed down the sidewalk.

Without saying anything else, I got on my bike and rode off, as well.

We were off into the night together�"peddling our way across town.

We arrived at the park just before twelve o'clock.

The grounds were dark except for the street lights around the parking lot and the full moon in the sky above. We rode to the wooden bridge that separated the two lakes, where we could see anyone coming into the park, but couldn’t be seen so well ourselves.

There was only silence between us. Then, Polly spoke suddenly in the darkness. “I really can’t believe you volunteered me for this, Cameron. You know how frightened I used to be of the woods there.”

“All of us were frightened of it at one point,” I said. “And I honestly do think we all should grow up past that.”

“I honestly can’t believe I'm doing this,” she responded.

“Besides,” I continued, “it serves you right for inviting that home school kid to my birthday party without asking first.”

“You’re wanting to get even with me�"over that?” she questioned. “That’s really immature of you, Cameron.”

“Maybe,” I sneered. “He’s really weird, though. And I don’t like him. I don’t think any of us do.”

“Well, I do,” she returned angrily. “If I had any sense at all, I’d leave you here alone�"in the dark. This isn’t how I planned to spend the last week of summer vacation.”

“Nick’s probably all talk anyway,” I said, trying to change the subject. “He’s probably at home right now, asleep with his little blanket or something like that.”

“You are such a child,” Polly returned, crossing her arms angrily.

Even in the pale moonlight, I could see that Polly’s face was reddening with anger. I couldn’t recall her being that upset with me�"or any of us�"since the night I led the others in scaring the pants off of her at a Halloween carnival two years ago.

She isn’t one for frightening scenarios. I never understood it then. I guess I understand it a lot more�"now that we have all been in the immediate presence of a terrifying monster.

She started to say something else, but she stopped when she saw something far behind me.

“What is it?” I asked.

When I turned to look myself, I saw faint light just beyond the wood line. The same wood line we would cross into to reach the playground.

I dropped the kickstand on my bike, and Polly did the same.

As I walked toward the wood line, Polly followed behind me, discouraging me.

“Cameron�"No!” she whispered.

“I want to know what’s there, making that light,” I whispered back.

We were less than ten feet from the tree line when the lights died. They disappeared in sequence, and I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Where do you think they went?” Polly asked.

I couldn’t say.

Then, we heard the sound of footsteps on leaves, somewhere in the woods.

The footsteps crunched over dead leaves. From the sound of it, whatever made the noise was coming out of the woods.

I stood, frozen with fear.

My pulse raced, and Polly panicked.

“Let’s go,” she urged.

There was the sounds of leaves crunching under footfalls was closer to the wood line now.

Now we could see three silhouettes in the woods.

The creatures that were casting those three shadows were large; we could both tell that. Large, and hulking, the way they moved.

We turned and ran.

We were running scared, but we turned to look behind us, just as three monstrous creatures came out of the wood line, becoming visible in the pale moonlight.

“Faster!” Polly screamed.

And we ran faster. It is likely we ran faster that night than we ever have in our lives.

My mind, which was already panicking, felt for a moment that one of the creatures was so close we could feel its breath on our necks.

It was not that close, though.

I forced myself to look back one more time, and I saw the creatures were at least thirty feet behind us. But they were running after us now.

And, with that, I screamed for Polly to run even faster.

She sped up yet again.

We were nearing the bridge between the two lakes, where we parked our bikes. My mind somehow ran faster than my body ever could.

Polly reached her bike first. She slammed her kickstand back and mounted quickly.

Then I reached mine and did the same.

She and I were about to launch into a sprint, when the creatures began to laugh insidiously.

My heart pounded so fast it felt like it might explode in my chest at any second.

I looked back at the monsters, and one of them began to claw at the back of its head.

A second later, I saw something else.

Something else entirely…

© 2020 Louis McKraker

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Added on June 21, 2020
Last Updated on June 21, 2020


Louis McKraker
Louis McKraker


My name is Louis McKraker. I was born in Central Alabama and began writing at age nine. I don't have much to say about myself, except I'm a Piscean. I prefer poetry over prose. I love storytelling... more..

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker