The Demon in the Woods (Arianna Gray Book 1)

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Chapter 2

It was a chilly morning and there were not many people outside. Ari pulled the hood over her face and kept walking. Her plan was to catch the earliest available flight to another city far away from here. She didn’t decide where she was going to, preferably it is a big city which makes it easier to blend in. She had saved some money from her job, so money was not a problem for a few days.

There was a small park on her way and if she took the north exit she could directly enter the main street. Catching a cab to the airport would be easier from there. As she was walking through the park Ari couldn’t help but feel anxious and on high alert for any signs of the monsters. Even though she kept her eyes down, her ears were fully focused to catch any unusual sounds. It was because of this that she heard a cry from far away. She looked up to see a group of kids a feet away from her. Three of the kids were tall, bulky, looking like a typical bully and they were surrounding a kid. This kid was short and skinny compared to them and he clearly lacked the ability to fight back.

The boy in the middle stepped closer to the kid and said something to him. Ari was still far away so she couldn’t hear. Feeling worried for the small kid, she was about to shout at them when suddenly the boy on the right shoved the kid down. He kicked him once and the three ran away laughing. Ari hurried over to kid just as he sat up. “Ouch”, he winced in pain clutching his stomach.

The poor kid was trembling. “Can you stand up? I’ll help you, come on” Ari put her arm around his shoulder and supported his weight as he stood up on shaky legs. There was a bench nearby. Ari walked him to the bench and made him sit down. “Thank you”, the boy said in a small voice and looked down. He had scrapped his knees and they were bleeding. “I have some band-aids with me”. She opened her back pack and took out some band aids from the first aid kit she always carried around in case of an emergency. Especially as it was not possible to know when the monsters would appear and she had a few bad experiences with them in the past.

She tore off the sticker and plastered his cuts. She looked up, the poor kid had stopped shaking and didn’t look like he was going to cry any minute. “Thank you, really.” he said and stood up. “I’ll be late for school; I must go”. he turned around and walked away from her. Ari sighed, the kid reminded of her when she was his age. She was timid and easy to be bullied. But she learned to hide her weaknesses and defend herself after all the years of being hunted.

Ari felt a shift in the air around her which made her snap back from her thoughts. All her senses were on high alert. Something was coming, something very bad and dangerous. She felt a presence at a distance behind her. Ari couldn’t look behind her because she knows that if she did, she would be paralyzed with fear and unable to move. Thankfully, no one was around her except the boy. One thing was apparent, she had to act fast or be killed by the monster behind her.

There were two paths in front of her, one continued straight and it was the way the kid had gone, the other branched off to the left. Her choice was pretty clear. Ari took off running down the left path. She had to make sure that the monster stayed away from the boy, at all costs.

Ari kept on running, but something felt wrong. She couldn’t feel the monster pursuing her. She looked back and saw it. The monster was huge, at least 7 feet tall, and it had blood red eyes. Basically, it looked like it could crush rocks with it’s bare hands. Two short horns protruded from its forehead. The first word that came to her mind when she saw it was, demon.

Why was it hesitating? Ari thought as the demon stood still. It suddenly started running down the straight path. The blood drained from Ari’s face, she had forgotten that monsters could sense the trace. She had been around the kid recently and the band aid on his knee was hers. She left her trace on him. The demon must be one of the monsters which hunt by following a trace. Ari started running to the demon. I must keep it from reaching the boy, whatever it takes.

The demon was still a little distance away from the boy when Ari shouted at the top of her voice, “Hey kid, run!” Probably not the best thing to do as the kid looked back in confusion and froze upon seeing the monster.

In case humans witness an unnatural phenomenon, some form of magic adapts what humans will see to something they can understand and comprehend. For example, instead of the monster they would see a delinquent or a thug. Whatever the kid saw made him freeze on the spot. His eyes glazed over, almost as if he was in some sort of a trance.

The demon was only a few steps away and all its attention was focused solely on the kid. How do I distract it? There was nothing she could use. She saw a trashcan nearby. Ari picked up the lid and shouted “Hey you big fat ugly monster” and threw the lid at it. It hit the back of the demon’s head with a loud thud. It did nothing, the demon didn’t even notice. A few more steps and the demon could grab the kid.

It felt like the time slowed down and Ari could see everything in slow motion. The demon lifted its right foot slowly, a rain drop fell on her forehead and the sound of the lid hitting the ground was amplified, it rung in her ears. All the years of her running and hiding from monsters flashed before her eyes. Constantly on the run, she didn’t know if she would see the sun the next day.

She could put up with the monsters trying to kill her, but seeing the demon go after a harmless child broke something inside her. She couldn’t hold in her anger and frustration anymore. Anger towards the monsters for trying to kill her even though she didn’t do anything and frustrated that she didn’t know how to fight back. All the emotions she kept bottled up over the years burst forth and exploded.

Everything around her went white and she could hear a scream. Perhaps it was her own voice. It felt like all the emotions were sucked out of her and she was left empty, now she couldn’t feel anything. Suddenly, it all disappeared and she was surrounded by darkness, both outside and inside.

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