Here's my entry for Kaitlyn Sanchez's and Lydia Lukidis's 2020 Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy:
LOST IN THE WOODS
Twigs snap under my feet. I’ve been running for so long.
I’m surrounded by trees, wrapped in mist. Will I ever see the sunlight again?
My heart races, and I stop, hands laced behind my head, opening my lungs to let air in.
I stand in a clearing. The view is the same from every angle: forest. The trees are dark, skeletal. I am one of them.
Leaves rustle off to my right, and I’m running again. I think I can smell him. My heart pounds.
My parents gave me a whistle when I was little and told me to blow it if I ever found myself lost in the woods. It’s still on a chain around my neck, tucked under my shirt and warmed by my skin. My feet hit the ground: thud, thud. I’m getting tired. I don’t know how much more I can run. I pull on the chain, free the whistle from under my shirt, put it to my lips, and blow.
The sound is thin and high, like a distant scream. The forest shifts.
Others surround me. Together, we sniff, catching the scent of fear on the wind. Together, we run, a pack hunting prey.
Image 6 by Jakub Kriz, courtesy of Unsplash
Here's my entry for Kaitlyn Sanchez's 2019 Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy:
The cold numbed Jeremiah’s fingers. Agitated, he fumbled with the rope.
Darkness was coming.
He had to hurry, or he’d be in danger. Once the last sliver of sunlight slipped behind the hills, the fresh earth in the cemetery surrounding him would shift and shiver, awakening.
The dead that Jeremiah’s community had recently buried would claw their way out of the shallow graves. They’d be looking for food, looking for an offering.
His breath came in heavy gasps. Muffled cries for help were blocked by a dirty rag.
‘Why are there so many knots in this rope?’ he wondered, frantic. His fingers were cut and bleeding.
At last, done! And not a moment too soon--he could hear moaning and scratching behind him. Jeremiah didn’t look back as he ran on shaking legs to his village.
At the barricade, Jeremiah’s mother waited with a mug of cocoa.
“You’re safe,” she told him, pushing the thick wooden door shut.
Jeremiah nodded, shivering. He took a sip of the sweet, rich drink.
“And your father?” she asked.
Jeremiah drank again, catching a softened marshmallow in his mouth and biting it before answering, “I tied him to the offering posts like you said.”
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