Chapter 1: Her Beast
"I know he’s always he, watching me, waiting for me. But why?"
Everyone in the town of Aria knew about the Beast in the woods. The stories started about six years ago when Glenda began to tell everyone about the shadow she had seen on the town’s borders.
No one believed her, as Glenda thought she was a witch. Until Olivia Thomas, a mother of three swore she had seen the shadow, which we now call the Beast, in her backyard where her teenage daughter had been out with her friends. Since then, many stories have been told about this shadow, which only shows up during the full moon. These stories brought tourists to the little town every full moon in hopes of seeing the Beast. Which people rarely do. As the Beast only appears to a few.
Is this shadow a figure of imagination, or is there something more to this mysterious Beast?
Zoey pulled her phone off the charger, turning it on. The glowing blue light burned into her eyes, causing them to squint until they adjusted. She let out a whimpering sound as another alert of the full moon showed up on her phone screen. She couldn’t believe it was time for another one. However, this coming full moon was unique as the town of Aria held a festival every Harvest moon.
Zoey’s heart began thumping uncontrollably, and she squeezed her eyes shut. She repeated the mantra as the moon became full, but it would seem with recent events, she repeated it more.
I’m okay. It isn’t real. It’s okay...
Once she felt relaxed, She pulled myself up from the bed and headed into the bathroom for her daily routine. When Zoey was finished, she pulled het hair back and headed downstairs. She called out for her mom, but there was no response as usual.
She thought about how even though her parents were retired, they should come home at least once in a while to check in her. She had brought this up to them before but they only responded with, “You’re nineteen. You should be moved out by now, so you can take care of yourself.”
Zoey did just that. She cooked, bought groceries, cleaned and took care of their home with little to no money from her parents.
Zoey’s parents didn’t like how she decided to stay home for this year instead of go to college. She kept having to reassure them that it was only one year and she would be gone before they knew it.
She shook my head to erase my thoughts and quickly grabbed some toast as she noticed the time. Zoey worked in a small café smack dab in the middle of the town. It was super old and still looked like it had walked straight out of the 80s. She and her friends were regularly there getting a milkshake or some pancakes. It’s why she wanted to work there, well also the fact that it was one of the only places where she could work.
Zoey pulled into the cafe’s parking lot, parking in front of the large sign that read Cupid’s café. She rolled her eyes, looking at the cheesy name, but a small smile came to her lips. She jumped out of the old beat-up car, which had been through three of her siblings, and was hers now.
She walked into the entrance, and a wave of coffee and pastries hit her nose. She used to love the smell growing up, but now it just almost made her sick to her stomach from the number of times she had smelled it.
She waved and said hello to Sam and Joe as they worked away cooking and baking. She grabbed her apron, hung up on a hook, and put it on. Zoey placed her keys in her locker, washed her hands, and went out into the front, groaning at the massive line.
“Zoey! Can you start taking orders?” Her boss Gracie shouted as she swiftly made a cup of coffee. “Yes!” She called back, looking upon Gracie’s stressed state. Gracie was honestly too old to be this stressed out. Zoey wasn’t sure how old she was, but the gray hair and wrinkled skin told her she wasn’t young. But that could have been caused by the bitterness that women held inside her.
Zoey turned around to the first customer and instantly recognized him. “Hey, Dave! What can I get for you?” She beamed. Dave was one Zoey’s family’s close friends, and regularly had dinner with Dave’s family. He was her dad’s best friend in high school, and they stayed close all these years.
“Can I get two of the cafe’s famous blueberry muffins? I’ve been craving them all week!” They both chuckled, and Zoey shouted the order to Gracie while taking his payment.
She handed Dave the muffins, and he went to sit down at one of the many empty tables the café had since many people just came to get coffee and then left for work.
Zoey finished taking the orders and let out a breath as the morning rush started to slow down. She grabbed a towel to clean off the tables when she noticed Dave was still there. His shoulders were slumped, and he took off his red cap, which he’s had since his college days, placing it on the table while he rubbed the side of his face.
“Dave? Is everything alright?” She asked while placing her hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah, Nancy and I got in a little argument, so I’m just giving her some space.” His wife, Nancy, was definitely something. She was strong-willed and never went down without a fight which was a good thing until you were one who had an argument with her.
“Oh, do you want to talk about it?” She asked while pretending to wipe down a table near him to avoid getting in trouble.
“That’s alright, it was a unnecessary argument, but you know Nancy. If she thinks she is right, you are automatically wrong.” Zoey nodded and started to head back to the kitchen but his low voice caught my attention.
“Zoey, are you going to look for the Beast this coming moon?” Her heart began thumping again, and she placed a hand over it so she could calm down. She shook my head, not trusting my voice.
“Okay, well, if you do, make sure you are careful. There’s believed to be more sightings, and I’m not sure what this means.”
The Beast was once seen only after the full moon had risen. Lately, there have been up to three sightings in the past month. Zoey wasn’t sure if the sightings were true or if it’s townsfolk trying to start some drama.
“With what happened to you last year. I just want you to be careful.” Dave placed his hand over Zoey’s, giving it a slight squeeze.
Dave started standing up, collecting his belongings. He mumbled about getting back to Nancy before she threw a fit.
“Goodbye, Zoey!” He yelled while heading out the door after leaving a tip.
Zoey continued cleaning but kept her mind on the Beast. She remembered sitting in her childhood best friend’s basement in a circle with other kids from school. Her friend was trying to retell a story her brother had told her. Zoey now know the story was made up but it was the first story she heard about the Beast.
The story told of the Beast being a ghost from the late 1800s who died on a full moon. He was wandering in the woods and had come back to take revenge on the townspeople... Maybe? She couldn’t exactly remember since it had been so long. She thought there was a part where he was in love with the mayor’s daughter, which is why the shadow is spotted mainly by women.
She heard so many stories about it she couldn’t even think for herself what it might be. It’s been a ghost, vampire, werewolf, fairy, etc. The stories go on and on. You can’t go to Aria without hearing the famous stories of the Full Moon Beast.
The Beast had terrified Zoey growing up as it did most kids. It kept the cautious kids at home, where the more adventurous ones would be out trying to find it. She was one of those who stayed home. They didn’t know what it wanted, and she wasn’t about to find out. Well, until the day she tried to be adventurous.
After the day of work came to an end, Zoey was finally able to go home. She had covered for my coworker Bret, meaning she had to work an extra couple of hours, so she was dead tired. Zoey hung up her apron and told everyone goodbye. She grabbed her keys and headed out to her car. It was completely dark outside, with a little bit of light coming over from the cafe’s front.
She tightly grabbed her keys in her hand, as well as the pepper spray she had attached to it.
Zoey felt the familiar feeling of eyes on her as she stepped into the open. Dread twisted in her gut as the dark night engulfed her. In the middle of November last year, she first started getting the feeling someone was watching her, but she was pretty sure she was just paranoid.
Zoey did take precautions in case she had a stalker or something. She quickly dashed to her car, turned on her flashlight, and checked her backseat for anyone. She jumped in and immediately locked the door, started the car, and pulled out of the parking lot when it was clear.
The feeling was constant all the way home, which made her believe she imagined it since there was no one near her and no cars had followed her. Zoey parked her car on the side of the road as her parent’s cars were in the driveway. She let out a sigh of relief.
She promptly ran to the front door, feeling a chill run down her back when the Beast suddenly drifted into her mind. She silently cursed at herself. Why did I think of that?! She fumbled with her keys and finally got the door to open. Zoey rushed in and shut and locked the door behind her. She leaned her head against the door to take her breath and slow her hammering heart. She looked around for her parents but the time caught her eye. They must be asleep.
Zoey stumbled over to the kitchen as a wave of tiredness hit her. She got herself a snack then went upstairs to get ready for bed. She brushed her teeth then changed, putting on an oversized t-shirt. She pulled the hair tie out of her hair and laid down in her bed.
Zoey tried to fall asleep, but she couldn’t shake the eerie feeling she had. Could the Beast be the one watching me?
Thanks for reading!! I really appreciate it, and I hope you like it! Let me know if you have any theories on the Beast or any stories! I might even include the stories in the book:)