It wasn’t common knowledge that there was a monster in the forest. My friends and I knew nothing about it before last night. The town knew nothing about it ever. If they did, everyone would either be panicking or marching with pitchforks and torches to deal with the creature in case it turns out to be a threat later.
No, that wasn’t going to happen. It was up to the four of us.
Pin for Later!
“What’s the plan here?” Ryan asked. “I like to plan things before we do them.”
“Even if we are just going into the forest to beat it with baseball bats?” Katie sniffed as if the thought disgusted her as much as our intent to be rid of the monster.
“I hope we have a better plan than that,” Ryan muttered.
“What do you think, Bob?” I asked our rotund friend who slurped his milkshake while we spoke. “Are you a fan of the bat idea, or do you have something else in mind?”
“Well, maybe we find out more about the monster before we do anything,” Bob suggested. “It might be big and scary, but I think Katie is right. If it harmed people, we would know about it.”
Katie smiled and looked at us with a superior look on her face.
“That’s two against two,” she said. “It seems leaving the creature is better than upsetting it, who would have thought?”
As much as I would have liked to argue with her, leaving the creature alone was always an option in my mind. However, it nibbled at me, tried to shake me up and used fear to agree with it. I could only decide it was cowardice and any suggestion against killing the monster was a form of cowardice.
However, if I was outvoted, I didn’t mind. If there was anyone's judgement I trusted, it was these three that I sat with.
“Well, Ryan, what do you think?” I asked.
He adjusted his glasses after finishing his chocolate milkshake.
“I think an opportunity to study it is better than dying to it,” Ryan murmured. He noticed my disappointment. “My instinct is to label it as a threat, looking at that creature it’s hard not to. Big red eyes, terrible chittering and enough legs to give us nightmares.”
“Embarrassing nightmares,” Bob muttered under his breath.
“Yet, getting a second look at the creature might help us better understand if it is really a threat or a biological marvel,” Ryan continued. “If it is harmless, we could make a lot of money with scientific institutes by being the ones who discovered it and started research before anyone else.”
Ryan’s smile was filled with his intellectual self-importance and his eyes saw a Nobel prize when he considered the possible rewards. Katie was hoping for a more heartfelt speech, but it would do for her.
“Well, what do you say, Camryn?” Katie asked.
“It’s three against three,” I replied. “I say we get our ‘study’ kit and backpacks and cycle down there tonight.”
We were all in agreement, but I could see in all their eyes the same fear I had behind mine. We could only hope it wouldn’t be our last field trip.
Around ten o’clock at night, when most teenagers were in bed because their parents told them to, we were already climbing out our respective windows. Out of all of us, I think I had the most difficult time leaving because of our family pet, Charlie. Charlie was a young, excitable retriever with keen hearing.
He slept outside my bedroom door, tripping me every morning. He also proved to be an effective alarm for when I was opening the window and climbing out. The solution was slipping a small dog treat or two underneath the door. While he chewed on that, I flew out the window before he could realise I was gone.
Once on my bicycle, I was in for another relaxing cycle into the night. That night was much more enjoyable as the moon was out, painting the town and the surrounding countryside in a comforting shade of blue. If only it could be so light out every night.
Katie and Bob were waiting for me outside the forest, Ryan joined us later. He lived further away from the forest edge than all of us, but he also had an awesome downhill that gave him a serious boost to reach the forest in good time.
“Everyone ready?” Katie asked as we stashed our bikes amongst some bushes.
“As we'll ever be,” I said looking at the bulky backpack Ryan had brought. I don’t know how many of his homemade gizmos and notebooks he brought, but it was enough for him to lean forward all the time so he didn’t fall backwards.
“Do you remember where to go?” Bob asked me as we weaved through the trees. Surprisingly, the spaces between trees grew larger the further we went. It made the hike much easier.
“Shouldn’t be too far, we didn’t exactly walk to the next state,” I grunted, stepping over a large root. “I just wonder if we will find it there. It could have easily crawled, or flown, somewhere else in the time-”
“Shush,” Katie said suddenly. “Listen, there.”
Among the creaking trees, it was hard to pinpoint what she was hearing. However, repetition made it stand out. It was a beating sound, the beating of something soft and large. It could have been anything to people who weren’t listening for it, but we were. It was the beating of its wings.
“Let’s go,” I whispered.
The forest was much darker than out on the roads, but we didn't use our torches. After all, a giant moth is the last thing we wanted to attract to us like we did the last time. We were quite happy to stalk it quietly until it settled down for us to get a good look at it.
As it turned out, settling down was far from what it would do.
The rapid beating of its wings told us that it was heading our way and fast. We slowed to a stop and lowered ourselves to the ground. In the dark, it looked like a shapeless blur as it flew overhead and deeper into the forest.
It was terrifying to be so close to it again, but just as quickly it left.
“What now?” I whispered.
Katie stood up and fixed her backpack.
“We follow it.”