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The Twenty-Five Percent: Rayanna

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Aliens, experiments, and scavenger hunts; or wild dogs, out-of-control militia leaders, and forced marriage. Which is real and which is the dream?

Scifi / Other
5.0 3 reviews
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The Creek

Everyone deals with darkness in a different way. Death, Danger, Despair, the 3 D's if you will. Some curl up into a ball and refuse to leave the comfort of their own little world. Some panic and end up meeting death. Others, come out fighting, refusing to give up, these are the trailblazers, the ones who make a difference in the world, in their world. This is my story.


My brother always tells me what I can and can't do, like I'm some sort of baby or something. The weather is a warm sixty degrees, unheard of at this time of year. I look down and see brown flowers growing in between last winter's dead leaves. Brown, the color that represents death. Everything is brown around here, the flowers, water, leaves, and grass. During the brief summer, the leaves and grass turn a beautiful shade of green before returning to their usual shade of brown. I can see pieces of green grass poking up through the dead fallen leaves. It's almost as if a child drew a picture with only a brown pigment, and later scribbled a few hints of green as an afterthought. Summer is finally here, my favorite time of the year.

I continue my journey, knowing that the path I take should lead me to the creek. As I walk, the leaves crunch beneath my feet. My mind wanders to other things, like the creek and everything I saw last time. There was movement beneath the water's surface, yesterday, at least I think there was. I don't know if it will reappear, but I would love to find out how it is. This time of year, the massive amounts of rain cause the creek to swell and overflow its banks. I'm hoping to see some sort of fish swimming around brought downstream from a winding river many miles away. Fish are a rare occurrence, so bringing one home would be amazing. Frogs hopping around would not disappoint me. Those things crack me up, the way they bounce on three legs. You would think they would be off balance and fall on their faces, but they never do. In fact, they can jump faster than I can move.

A faint rustle behind me pulls me from my daydreaming. Leaves crunch beneath something heavy, and I turn around to scan the nearby bushes. Nothing moves, not a single leaf. My ears strain to catch any sound, but whatever it was, seems to have moved on. Odd, but okay, whatever. I turn back around and continue my walk, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as footsteps crunch in the leaves again. I freeze, listening and looking around me, but once again, silence descends the moment I stop.

"Hello?" I call out. Maybe whoever is following will answer. I wait a moment but receive no answer. "Wolfe, is that you?" My brother seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to me. He doesn't think I'm safe when I'm alone. And today I am headed for the creek, one of the biggest danger zones, according to him. I know he is just trying to protect me, but he needs to lay off a bit; I'm almost an adult. "You need a hobby or woman, Wolfe. You following me like this, trying to scare me, is just immature." I don't hear or see anything. "Fine, do what you want. I'm leaving now. Bye." I roll my eyes and continue to walk. As soon as I do, I hear my faithful companion, the footsteps.

I stop again and listen; the strange footsteps stop too. I scan the bushes for the source of the noise but see nothing. There is a stick as wide as my forearm on the ground near me. I bend over, pick up the stick, and toss it into the bushes where I estimate the noise to be coming from. It's a blind toss, but maybe I can hit my brother and convince him to go back home. A large grey bird takes flight, squawking as it goes, and then silence. That seems to have solved the noise issue.

I turn back around and continue to walk towards the creek, listening as I go. The gigantic bird must have caused the noise because I no longer hear the heavy footsteps. I don't know how a bird would make that noise, but I guess I'm being paranoid. All of Wolfe's warnings about the dangers of the woods echo in my head. I push the thoughts out, and that's when I catch a whiff of something odd. It smells like death and decay, like meat left to rot in the sweltering summer sun for three weeks straight. I feel like I should know what that scent means. Rotting meat? No, that doesn't seem right. Human trash? No. Some sort of animal or human waste? No, that doesn't seem right either.

I hear a small splashing noise and shake the worry from my mind. Just call me Wolfe, because everything is going to freak me out today. I see the creek in front of me. Wait, did I just hear a splash? There has to be a frog or fish nearby. The lack of rain this year has caused the creek to shrink considerably. There is still a fair amount of water in it. I'd estimate it to be ankle high. The water is reddish brown and opaque. I walk the sides of the creek looking for any signs of frogs but finding none. Something catches my eyes in the middle of the creek. I attempt to get a good look at the water. It looks like a green plant is growing in the center of the bed. I take another step forward and I am rewarded with a wet shoe and foot.

"Aw, man!" I step back and shake my foot. Like that's going to help. I frown and groan at my stupid curiosity. But the sight of a green plant growing fills me with awe. This is the first one I have seen that wasn't brown. The first one that I've seen growing in the center of the creek, and I've been coming here for the past three years, since that night.

It was a perfectly normal night. Dinner, some conversation with Wolfe, shower, and then bed. When I went to sleep, I dreamed of my mother. I was very young when she was taken from me, and I hadn't thought about her in a few years. But that night, I dreamed we were laughing and playing out by the creek. When we went to leave, my mother was upset because she lost her pretty crystal necklace, the one my father gave her when they married. When I woke up, I remembered my father going into the dangerous woods, every day. He would always say he was looking for something, and I'm sure that something was my mother's missing necklace. My father died searching for that necklace, wild animals attacked him. And even though I know how stupid it is to be out here, alone, I go anyways. I'm determined to find that missing necklace, that piece of both my parents.

It's not a tree or grass, it looks like some kind of flower. A green flower! The thought seems to come out of nowhere and commands my full attention. I see movement in the water, near the green plant. A small fish breaks the surface of the water, does a backflip, and disappears back beneath the water.

That was the best thing I have ever seen. I hunt through the nearby tall grass until I am rewarded with my prize, one fat grasshopper. Once I pick it up, I examine it, it's longer than my finger and fat enough that I can't close my hand around it. Holding it by one wing, I toss it towards the center of the creek and wait. It flies a short distance before it plops down into the creek. The grasshopper glides across the surface of the water. It swims one way and then heads another way. I don't have long to wait before a fish breaks the surface of the water and swallows the cricket. I do this a few more times, and each time I am rewarded with a glimpse of iridescent scales, a fish. They must live here and aren't just passing through! If they were just passing through, they would be gone by now.

While I am watching the fish eat the tenth grasshopper, I remember what that smell was that I smelled earlier. Fear washes through my body like a ripple in a pond; starting at my chest and then quickly moving until its icy finger's envelope my entire body. It isn't animal or human waste; it isn't trash or rotting meat. I am such an idiot! I let myself get caught up in the sights and sounds of this place. Wolfe was right. I have no business being here, especially not alone. I could just kick myself for my stupid arrogance. I freeze, not even daring to breathe. That thing I smelled earlier is death on four legs, and I am the grasshopper about to be taken by surprise and eaten.

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Janis Hynes: Really good book!!!

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Megan: I have read all of your monster books and I just love how you have set this up. I can’t wait for next chapters and am so excited to see where the story goes, thank you so much for writing this series!

Zee: So after I read into the cold I couldn’t help it I just knew I had to read more from you … I was enamored by how good you write and I’m so happy I read this one also and I am still going to read more from you cus your books are too good 😊 🔥🔥🔥🔥….. I was hooked and I just wanted to know what next u...

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Liz : I like this story but I like of them. I wish you could do one of the boys as they return and get back to life with mom and Dom. Them falling in love with a special girl or guy. I think with the way you write it would be amazing.

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