Deep in the Woods
By: April Sheng
“COME BACK!” Shouted Conner as his dog (once again) ran away from him. What is wrong with that thing? He thought to himself as he raced along the forest path.
“COCO!” He hollered, “Where are you?!” Only a few seconds after the words flew out of his mouth, Conner ran headlong into a tree. One of the low hanging branches had whacked him in the eye. He fell over and let out a scream of fury. This has got to be the worst day of his life. Earlier this morning, he had been yelled at to take Coco outside; for no reason.
“Hello,” The voice snapped Conner from his thoughts, and he turned to the man who had spoken.
“That’s a nasty cut you’ve got there” the man said. This wouldn’t have shocked Conner so much if the very tall person in front of him wasn’t wearing a dark hooded cloak, a mask covering his whole face, and five wooden fingers on his right hand.
“Um… h-hi,” stuttered Conner, completely forgetting that he still had a lost dog to retrieve and a cut eye which was swelling rapidly.
“How old are you?” asked the man.
“13” answered Conner stupidly. Dang it. Why did I tell this guy? I’m such an idiot.
“I see,” said the man slowly, “So you must be in 8th grade then?”
“Yes,” replied Conner. This was a lie. He was not in 8th grade; he was in 7th. He had gotten held back a year due to the school board’s decision. The whole school knew about it, and it was all anyone could talk about. Still, it’s always better than what this girl named Carter did last year. It was so bad that she had to be transferred from Longfellow Middle School to Cooper Middle School.
“So,” said the man, bringing Connor back to reality for the second time, “Would you like to take a walk with me?”
“No thanks.” said Connor
“No?” asked the man, “Are you sure?”
“Yes” said Connor forcefully, “I better go now, my mom is waiting for me.” The man suddenly fastened his clammy hand around Cooper’s wrist.
“Hey!” Connor yelled, “Let go, LET GO YOU CREEP!” He was flailing his limbs around with all his might, fear swelling up inside him. But the man wouldn’t budge. He grabbed Cooper’s hair with his other hand and forced him to face forward.
“Walk.” The man commanded. Slowly and steadily, Cooper began to tread along the dirt path. He didn’t know how long it took, but eventually he heard a distant bark that made his stomach squirm with excitement. No way. Is that Coco?!
“Stay here.” Said the man, he took out a thick rope and tied his hands up. Then proceeded to tie his ankle to a thick, ugly tree. The man slowly walked towards the side of the woods, where Coco’s barks had been coming from. The glimmer of hope that had been ignited in Cooper had been extinguished. There was no chance he would be saved now.
A tiny scraping sound caught Connor’s attention, he turned around and saw a hand behind the tree he was tied up against cutting up the rope with a pocketknife. He let out an audible gasp.
“Shut up,” hissed the voice behind the tree, “I’m cutting you free.” Eventually, the last strands of the rope had been cut and Cooper was face to face with his rescuer. It took him a while to recognize her, but once he did, it drove everything else clean out of his mind. This cannot be possible. It just can’t. The odds of it are too slim. Could she be…
“Carter?” Conner asked. She nodded.