“If you go into the woods today,” said Mrs. Everett. “You’re in for a big surprise.”
She sipped her tea and peered out at us from over the rim of her cup.
Putting the cup down, she asked, “Do you know what creepy surprises await you in the dark of the woods?”
A Tales from the Woods Story:
Mrs. Everett tried to persuade them not to go, but they did not heed her warnings. Now she waits, watching the woods from inside her home, hoping the children come back out, knowing her husband never did.
Early the next morning, before the sun was even up, Caley awoke to the sound of crying. She sat up and turned on her flashlight. Shining it at the others who were still sleeping, she realized the crying was coming from outside. She quietly got up, unzipped the tent’s opening, and slipped outside, careful not to wake her friends.
The air was cooler outside the tent. Rubbing her arms with her hands, she shined the flashlight around. Caley saw the backside of a boy walking away, going deeper into the woods. Caley could swear that the boy was wearing her brothers jeans and sweatshirt. The ones he’d been wearing when he was last seen. She started to follow him, calling out his name, but could not find where the boy had disappeared to. Caley thought she was lost, and felt scared.
Caley was just beginning to panic when she heard Kenny calling her name. “I’m here,” she answered loudly. “I can’t find my way back.”
“I’ll keep calling to you. Follow my voice.”
Following his voice, Caley had the eerie feeling of being watched. She couldn’t see or hear anyone, though. “I’m coming,” she called when he asked if she could hear him. It only took her a couple of minutes to find the camp area again. He held onto her tightly after they’d settled down in the tent again.
“Why did you leave the camp without me?” he asked. “We all agreed to use the buddy system when we had to go.”
“It wasn’t that,” she replied. “I woke to the sound of crying and, when I went out to investigate, I thought I saw Billy walking away from me. I was trying to follow him.”
He sighed, saying “We’ll search for him when it is lighter out.” She didn’t think he believed she had seen Billy, though. Caley went back to sleep in Kenny’s arms.
After breakfast, they packed up camp and set off. “Which way did the boy go?” asked Kenny.
“North,” she answered. “I want to go that way. Even if I’m wrong and it wasn’t Billy, there is still a young boy out here somewhere.”
Jack turned to her. “Are you sure you saw a boy?”
“Jack!” Wendy whispered harshly. How dare he insinuate that Caley had been seeing things that weren’t there.
“Well, what if she didn’t see what she thought she saw? We could be headed into danger.”
“I’m sure of what I saw. The boy was wearing the same clothes Billy was wearing the day he disappeared. You don’t have to come with me, if you don’t want to, but I’m searching for that boy.”