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The Wood Watcher

I am the Night.

The night air was brisk; it was at the end of November. The stars were bright, meaning the sky was clear, and that meant cold. After a long night of family togetherness, she decided to take a night walk. Her mother had hosted a late Thanksgiving, and the house was overcrowded and noisy.

She pulled her coat tighter against her, shielding her from the wind. Her mother lived out in the country, there were woods all along her house. She could hear the distant laughter from her Uncle inside, who came all the way from Montana to be here. Some football game was on, and her brothers had made wages.

The woman smiled to herself; her brothers were idiots when it came to football.

"Rose!" someone called.

Rose turned her head toward the noise. It was her younger brother, Elijah, his brown curly hair a mess.

"Yes?" she answered.

"Ain't you going to come back inside? It's cold."

Rose thought about it, but she liked being outside at night, where it was quiet.

"No, I'm fine. I won't be out here for too much longer." She told him.

He gave her a nod, and headed back into the house where it was warm. Rose decided to walk some, to keep warm. Winter is going to suck, she thought to herself. She normally lived in North Carolina, but had come down to Tennessee for Thanksgiving.

There was a noise. Twigs cracking in the nearby woods. Rose stopped. It was nearly ten PM when she had walked out to the backyard.

"Hello?" she called. She wasn't too worried, all kind of nighttime animals were awake, and the woods always played its song at night; she remembered the tune from when she was a little girl–long before moving to another state. Another sound. But it was not twigs cracking this time. It was heavier.

Rose's heart sped up a bit. That was a lot heavier than the sound before; it sounded like footfalls. Like boots. And a lot of leaves being trampled on.

"Hello?" she called out again. She was stock still, though. She froze, curious and terrified at the same time. No one answered. Slowly, she started walking backward.

Maybe it's just a hunter, she thought. Rose let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. Her breath steamed her face, and she had begun to turn away from the woods to head back inside. She was halfway to the door when she heard it. The sound, ominous.

The woman turned her head around slowly to see the face of that guttural voice. And she wished she hadn't. Yellowish-gray eyes pierced through her. She tried to scream, but her voice had disappeared from her; she tried to move, but her legs were paralyzed from fear. Its skin was a grotesque green, with a bloated black face.

The monster looked like something out of a swamp. Clothes were soiled, and it had mangy hair. It spoke, then.

"Your name is Rose?" it asked, with a scratchy voice.

Rose nodded, shivering now. "What are you?" she blurted.

Rose looked at him, studying. There was no way this thing was ever a person. Its hands were birdlike, bare feet like crocodile claws. But it could speak. How?

The monster edged slowly toward her. Menacing. The thing had smiled, its teeth yellow and brown. Sharp. Rose could feel a panic attack coming on, as she stood frozen.

She noticed it walked in a reptilian way; very eerie. She tried to scream once more, but her mouth was dry.

"I am of the Night," it began. "I am the night."

Rose finally found some movement in her paralyzed legs, she edged slowly backward. She's never been this scared before in her life.

"I am the watcher of the woods. I am the watcher of the water." It explained.

The monster had began to reach out, scaly hands toward Rose's fearful pale face. She almost fell backward, stumbling to the door. The door was ever so close now. But she couldn't hear her family inside now, and she noticed some of the lights in the house were dimmed. The monster grabbed her ankle, and began pulling her. She dug her fingernails into the ground, and began to pull her legs away.

He was so strong. Rose yelped, trying to scream. She licked her lips to wet her mouth, so it wasn't so dry, and tried for another. A sound came out between her lips, but it was hoarse. She tried pulling her legs away again, but it gripped tighter.

Her nails had began to bleed as they had broke off from trying to escape.

The thing had dragged her almost across the yard now, and she was feeling helpless. They were almost in the woods. She managed another sound, yet no one came.

"No one is coming for you," it taunted her. "Everyone knows of the Wood Watcher in this town."

The woman cursed under her breath, still trying to get loose. She had forgotten about the old myth. She started to jerk one of the legs to kick him, to no avail. The Wood Watcher was at least seven feet tall, and built of muscle. Rose started to cry.

"Help!" she croaked, still struggling.

But she was already in the woods, and she had started conjuring up a plan to escape. The thing finally stopped walking, they had reached the water bank.

"Time to swim." It rejoiced. The monster was very pleased with itself, in its own sick way.

Rose panicked. She hated the water. She didn't know how to swim.

"My brothers will kill and gut you for this." She spat.

Its grip on her was still tight, she could barely move. So, she cried and prayed and hoped the plan she had would work. They dove into the water, the Wood Watcher dragged her to the very bottom as it swam. Rose screamed, all the river water going into her lungs. Fighting every second.

She got one hand loose and tugged. The water was her enemy, and friend. After struggling for what seemed like a century, she was finally free from the Watcher's grip. Rose hurriedly swam upwards, the depth of the water was about ten feet. To someone who can't swim, that's deep.

Rose almost made it to the water's surface, panicking the whole way up. Then suddenly, fast as lightning, the Wood Watcher snatched her, and took her to the depths of its home.

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