"Are you sure this is the right way?"
"Dude, for the last time... yes!"
Eleven year old Tommy Green and thirteen year old Geoffrey Allen were walking through the woods behind the neighborhood park. Tommy stayed close behind Geoffrey as they walked deeper into the woods.
"Can I have some breathing space?"
Tommy kept reaching for Geoffrey's arm.
"What was that?"
The boys stop and look around. There is nothing, but the sound of birds chirping and crickets. Geoffrey shakes his head and starts again.
"If you wanna go home then go! If not then come on before it gets too dark to see!"
Geoffrey shouts to Tommy as he hurries ahead.
"Wait up Geff!"
As the sun sets, Geoffrey leans down to take off the hunting bag and digs out two flashlights. He hands one to Tommy and turns on the other before continuing on. The boys head down a steep hill into a clearing, ducking under the old, flimsy caution tape wrapped around the trees. In front of them was a wide lake. The water sits clear and still. Geoffrey looks at his reflection in the bank. Tommy staggers back taking a deep breath. The air is warm.
"Geff... we should go home. You know our moms are gonna be mad we're out so late and..." A breeze kicks up and blows Geoffrey's short black hair in his eyes.
"Like I said" he turns around to Tommy "If you're too much of a baby then go back by yourself. I'm doing this." Geoffrey adjusts the backpack and heads for the old dock. Tommy follows close looking back at the woods. The dock squeaks with every step. Geoffrey pulls Tommy over a hole in the dock.
The boys approach a small row boat built for two at the end of the dock. The rope holding it down was old and worn. Geoffrey jumps in the boat first. It rocks hard as Geoffrey gains his balance, then unties the rope.
"What are you waiting for?"
Tommy slowly steps in and sits down immediately. Geoffrey grabs the two paddles in the boat and hands one to Tommy. Taking a deep breath, Geoffrey shines his light in Tommy's face. Tommy shields his eyes.
"Here we go. Time to make history Tommy."
As the boys take off Tommy looks back at the woods one last time. A little girl in a long dark purple dress stands atop the hill, hugging a stuffed bear with its head barely hanging on by a thread. The bear was full of holes. One of its eyes, replaced by a button. The little girl's face is pale and covered in blood. She walks into the woods and vanishes.
"I swear Tommy! I don't wanna hear it."
Behind him, just on the water's edge was a small cabin. There were no lights. The windows were boarded and broken. The walls were sprayed with strange symbols. Two talismans hung on the porch in front of the door. The woods continued on behind the cabin. As the boys approached the bank a fog starts to roll in.
"Geff, I don't wanna do this. I wanna go home!"
"To late chicken... we're here." Geoffrey stood in amazement at the cabin.
"Grab the bag while I pull in the boat."
Tommy grabs his flashlight and shines it everywhere as he reaches for the bag. Geoffrey jumps out and pulls the boat ashore by the rope.
“GEOFFREY!” Geoffrey jumps at the high pitched scream. He spins around to Tommy sprinting towards him. Tommy face smacks Geoffrey’s chin as they fall together.
“Get off!” Geoffrey pushes Tommy over and sits up. “what is wrong with you!”
“She was there! She was standing right there!” Geoffrey followed the shaking finger out toward the water. A human shadow figure fades into the fog. Geoffrey squints as he slowly rises, trying to find the source of Tommy's fear.
“I don't see anything. You're just bei-” Geoffrey looks back at Tommy, trembling against a tree and hyperventilating. Geoffrey kneels before him and takes hold of his arms. “Tom. Tommy you gotta calm down buddy! It was nothing! There's nothing there.” Geoffrey motions a hand towards the fog. He and Tommy look into the nothingness.
“I saw-I saw…” Tommy shakes his head in disbelief.
“You thought you saw something. You didn't. It's okay, dude.” Geoffrey stands up and reaches for Tommy.
“I saw her! It was her!” Tommy stands with the help of Geoffrey's pale hand.
“Come on, let's just get this over with okay?” Geoffrey tries pulling Tommy towards the cabin.
“No! I ca-can’t. Please, Geff can we go home.” Tommy jerks Geoffrey towards the boat. His eyes rain down on his face. “I don't wanna see it. I don't want to see her! Please!”
“Okay, okay, okay. Okay. I get. I understand now. ” Geoffrey pulls Tommy close and wraps his arms around him. Patting Tommy’s head, Geoffrey’s blue eyes turn into a pitch black pit. His words turn almost into deep growling in Tommy's ears. “I thought you were my friend Tommy.”
Tommy's eyes widen over Geoffrey's shoulder. His grip on Geoffrey's sweater tightens. Tommy reluctantly turns his gaze on Geoffrey.
“Why don't you want to be my friend?” Geoffrey turns his empty stare on Tommy. A trail of blood runs from his eyes onto his blue sweater. Tommy pulls away. A perfect pool of blood covered the stomach area of Geoffrey's shirt. Tommy's jacket reflected the stain. Breathless, Tommy was frozen.