“Good Morning, sweetheart,” Dan said, moving aside a few strands of hair and kissing her on the forehead. “It’s time to rise and shine.”
I can’t believe I’m actually waking up at five o’clock in the morning to go camping. Especially since I’m not even a fan of roughing it in the wilderness, Becky said to herself, as she rolled onto her back and looked up at Dan. At least the fresh air will be nice for my morning runs.
Becky sat up on her elbows and pushed herself into a sitting position, threw her legs off the bed and stood up. She gave a half-hearted smile at Dan as he made his way from the bed to the dresser to finish packing his things.
She lifted her arms over her head, arched her back and attempted to work out the knots in her back that had formed overnight. The cool breeze coming from the open window fluttered the curtains and made gooseflesh rise on her bare arms and legs. She made her way into the adjoining bathroom and shut the door. She urinated, brushed her teeth, then removed the flimsy bra and panties that she had worn last night to tease Dan. She got the shower hot and stepped inside. The hot spray burned her skin at first, but then felt wonderful. She stood under the spray a long time, washing away the apprehension of going camping, while easing the knots in her back.
Finished with the shower, she did her hair and makeup. Even though she was going to be ‘roughing it’ as Dan had put it, she still wanted to look good doing it. She then walked out of the steam-filled bathroom over to the dresser to choose the outfit for the day – a yellow chamois shirt, khaki short-shorts with a brown belt and trail-shoes. She didn’t bother putting on socks; she wanted her feet to stay cool on the long ride to the campsite.
By the time they were both finished in the bathroom and packed it was a little after six o’clock. As they pulled out of the driveway, Becky could tell that Dan was already pissed about getting on the road so late. She loved the big lug but he could be such a baby when it came to not getting on the road on time. She already knew what his response was going to be, but still asked if something was wrong. He replied with a grumble and a roll of his eyes. Becky figured it wasn’t the best time to strike up a conversation, so she turned her head and stared out the passenger window. She figured once they were on the road for awhile, and Dan had had a few cups of coffee from the thermos he had brought along, it would be okay to speak with him. Until that point, she would just enjoy the scenery of the passing cars, the billboards, the four-lane highway turning into a two-lane, then a one-lane and finally the tall billboards giving way to ancient oak and elm trees. They were leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city to stay in the woods – where they planned to spend a weekend camping, fishing, hiking and sightseeing.
Maybe this won’t be such a bad trip after all. I work hard during the week and deserve a vacation just as much as anyone else. Yeah, I am looking forward to this. It’ll be nice being alone in the woods with Dan, just the two of us, enjoying each other’s company, no one around to hear us…
* * *
Becky screamed, as the thing reached out and took a swipe at her back with its long claws. The thing’s long, dirty nails came within an inch or two of Becky’s delicate flesh. She jumped over a fallen log and started to climb up the other side of the gully. Even though the beast was obviously quick for its size over flat land, it had trouble jumping over the log, caught its foot and went down head first, falling onto the leaf- and twig-covered ground.
Becky twisted her head, figuring the thing would be right behind her, ready to take another swipe, but instead saw that it had tripped over the log she had just hurdled over and was just now pushing itself off the ground, beginning to give chase, again. She thought she heard the thing hissing at her, but didn’t understand how she could hear such a thing with the distance between them.
She turned her head back around and continued to chug up the hill. Her feet felt like they were on fire, her lungs burned, willing her to stop and take a few deep breaths. But, she knew there was no way she could stop now. She was almost safe.
Though she was a good fifty or so feet ahead of the beast, she picked up her speed even more, pushing the pain in her feet and lungs aside as she continued to the top of the hill.
In an all out sprint or at least as fast as she could go without her shoes, Becky heard the hissing sound, again. She whipped her head around and saw the beast was still a distance behind her and still didn’t understand where the strange noise was coming from.
Though, she found out a moment later; she came to the top of the hill, a cliff, which had a waterfall coming out the side of its face. Then she saw the churning whirlpool some two-hundred feet below.
She put on the brakes and came to a stop.
Right when she thought she had her balance and was safe from falling over the side of the cliff, her arms began to pinwheel and she was falling.
Down, down to the dark water below.
As she fell, she saw the beast up above her, looking down, almost smiling.
A moment later the thing turned away and she lost sight of it.
Only for a second.
Then it leapt over the side of the cliff, giving chase once again.
She opened her mouth to scream but that’s when her back hit the water and the air burst out of her lungs.
As she sank to the bottom, she could see a black shape coming closer to the water’s surface.
A moment before blacking out, something grabbed her ankle and started pulling her back to the surface of the swirling water.
CLICK HERE PURCHASE A COPY OF THE TRADE PAPERBACK OR KINDLE EDITION.