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Halloween Writting Contest Entry

The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer's fourth annual Halloween Writing Contest.

"Terror at Tecum Creek Ridge" by Rick Maloy

"We have to leave... now!" Trevor Cavender didn't mean to be so stern with his younger brother, but it was getting dark and they had a two-mile hike ahead of them. Walking into town for trick-or-treating had seemed exciting to the ten-year old, but now he had second thoughts. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was watching him and his brother, Sean.

"Aw, Trevor, don't be a big baby," moaned Sean. "We haven't even been to the Halloween party."

"You know the plan. Walk to town, do trick-or-treating, then get back home by eight thirty. We'll barely make it in time." Trevor scanned the neighborhood as the nagging feeling returned. He couldn't understand why he felt uneasy; he'd walked the Tecum Creek Ridge Road plenty of times before. Aside from the stray dog or skunk, there was little to be wary of. Sean pretended to slice his brother in half with his light saber, and then grudgingly headed home.

"Light your glowstick before it gets any darker, I don't want to lose you in some ditch," said Trevor. Their mother was raising the boys alone and had given them the glowsticks as extra protection.

"I was saving mine for our cookout this weekend."

"If mom doesn't see you carrying that glowstick, there won't be any cookout." As he watched his brother activate the bright orange rod, frantic barks and whines erupted from the surrounding homes. The hairs on the back of his neck rose in response to the sudden din and even Sean seemed unnerved by the animal's unusual actions.

"Old man Reevers says there's rabies up on the ridge. Maybe those dogs got rabies and are going crazy."

"The only thing crazy is old man Reevers," said Trevor in the calmest voice he could muster. Something had set those dogs off and he doubted it was them. He pulled a small flashlight from the waistband of his Spiderman costume, flicked it on, and nudged his brother to quicken his pace.

The barking subsided and Trevor let out a sigh. He let the beam stray along the woods leading towards the top of the ridge. He noticed they were almost halfway up the ridge road when his spine turned to ice. The beam from the flashlight flickered as Trevor's hand trembled. Sean nearly walked into his brother before realizing Trevor was standing stone still. He followed the flickering beam and gasped at the sight. Two burning red eyes stared back at them from the dark. As they watched in shock and terror, the two red orbs turned away, disappearing into the woods. The sound of branches snapping and heavy brush being disturbed made Sean drop his sack of treats and throw both arms around his brother.

"You OK?" asked Trevor, who finally realized what his brother was doing. He'd seen many different animals illuminated by headlights before, but this was the first time he'd felt such a presence of hatred and anger. The height of the eyes from the ground led him to believe it must be a large animal, perhaps even a bear.

"Let's go back to town, T...Trevor," Sean's voice quivered and broke on the t's.

"We can't. If it sees us headed back for town it'll rush in and stop us." Old Man Reevers had mentioned more than rabies, and Trevor remembered the stories about Reevers hunting bears in his youth.

"What'll we do then, start running?"

"No, that's the worst. We'll never make it home from here, too much open ground. We'll have to try for Mamma Bear."

"The caves, why not Poppa Bear, it's bigger."

"Mamma Bear is deeper and a bear might not be able to follow us.

An unnatural silence draped the countryside as the boys scrambled towards the top of the ridge. Once there, they headed towards the caves. Trevor's heart was a trip-hammer. His breathing was hard and a painful stitch stabbed at his side.

He fearfully switched on the light to locate the caves. It was the worst mistake he could have made, short of breaking into a panicked run.

Whatever they'd seen alongside the woods had indeed been tracking them, and the instant Trevor flicked on the light; it let out a horrid, ear-shattering howl that sent both boys ducking for cover. It lasted for several long seconds then trailed into silence. New sounds of something crashing through heavy brush accompanied by heavy thudding footsteps pushed the boys up the rocky hillside. Trevor silently recited a prayer that they be spared.

"I see Baby Bear!" shouted Sean. He scrambled over the rocky terrain and disappeared into the tiny cave.

"No, Sean! It's too small! We have to find Mamma Bear!" He could hear Sean's frightened whimpers coming from the cave, but he didn't have time to coax him out. The thudding footsteps were almost upon him and he raced for the next cave. In his frightened state, he covered the thirty feet to Mamma Bear in a few seconds. Glancing back towards the first cave, he could dimly see an immense, looming form.

Sean's whimpers turned to wails of terror as the figure moved closer. Something bright orange flew from the mouth of the cave and the figure lunged upon it. The crackling sound of plastic being chewed turned Trevor's stomach. The glowstick's orange liquid revealed a horrid sight. It illuminated the animal's mouth exposing two rows of monstrous teeth. The glowjuice dribbled down the animal's jaws and onto its massive chest. The beast swiped at it, smearing it across its body.

"That's no bear," thought Trevor, his mind reeling. "It's a Sasquach!" The creature jerked its head and glared at Trevor. The ground ripped and heaved beneath its massive feet as it bolted after him.

Trevor stood terror stricken, his feet like lead.

"Run, Trevor!"

The frantic words came from inside the tiny cave and jolted Trevor into action. He darted into Mamma Bear scant seconds ahead of the frenzied beast. He desperately tossed his glow stick, but the Sasquach ignored it and followed him inside.

The cave was pitch black, but Trevor was familiar with Mamma Bear. It was a deep cave, which grew lower and narrower. He silently prayed that he could reach the back before the beast reached him. The sound of heavy breathing echoed throughout the cave, and the rancid stench like Limburger on a hot muffler was unbearable. Trevor took his facemask and tried to block the foul odor of the creature to no avail. Time and again, Trevor heard the creature collide with low hanging rocks and each time its anger escalated, ending with a menacing growl. Trevor inched his way deeper into the back of the cave. He closed his eyes and awaited his fate.

The creature's heavy breathing was everywhere. Opening one eye, Trevor saw the glowstick stains as the Sasquach approached. It was having difficulty due to the narrowing walls, but it could still use its arms. Trevor flattened himself against the wall in hopes of eluding its probing hands.

The sounds of fur rubbing against stone caught Trevor's attention. He clamped his mouth shut, but his pounding heart and ragged breathing were uncontrollable. As Trevor stood motionless, something hard with sharp nails raked across his stomach. A dull burning began where the skin had been scraped away.

The cave abruptly lit up as thick, fur-covered fingers flipped on the flashlight. The Sasquach must have gotten Trevor's light when it scratched him. The beam shown directly into the beast's face, revealing wild, red-rimmed eyes, matted fur and a ring of foamy saliva around its mouth. Trevor suddenly realized why the normally elusive beast was acting with such rage. Rabies. Old Man Reevers was right.

The light was quickly tossed aside, and the Sasquach began pounding and clawing at the rock and stone, its diseased mind driving its aberrant behavior. Trevor's body shook at the vibrations from the pounding. Rocks and dirt began falling from the ceiling of the cave. The Sasquach never slowed and kept pounding.

Trevor's left leg slipped backwards as the wall of rock began to give away. With the creature's fingers mere inches from his waist, Trevor shoved against the back of the cave and stumbled as a ragged opening appeared. He spun around and began squeezing himself through the hole when a huge fist grasped his right ankle. Knowing he'd never escape, Trevor screamed in panic. The pain increased as the creature pulled him back. Then the fingers relaxed. Trevor jerked free and scrambled through the opening. Anguished moans and grunts followed him. Trevor suspected what was happening and peered inside. In the flashlight beam, Trevor watched as the rabies took its final assault on the creature, causing convulsions so powerful that rocks were being flung about. A painful silence marked the tortured beast's end.

Trevor limped over the rocky ridge and found Sean.

"You can come out now, it's all over," said Trevor weakly. "It's dead."

Sean's head cautiously emerged. "How... do you know... it's dead?" asked Sean between bouts of sobbing.

"Cause we're still alive." As he carried Sean home, Trevor thought about rabies and the burning scratches on his stomach.