Status: Complete - February 22, 2018

Haunting Grey


The woods are dim with twilight, but we're still running through the trees. I skid to a halt to catch my breath, and Natalie smiles.

"I knew I was too fast for you," she tells me, laughing. Then she takes off again, but not before shouting, "Catch me if you can."

I follow the sound of her voice.

I always follow her.

Once the darkness settles in around us, I don't hear her anymore. No breathing, no accidental brush against a group of leaves with her foot.

There is absolute silence.

I shiver and whisper, "Natalie, where are you? Come on, this isn't funny. It's dark, and we need to get back before my father sends the town after us."

I expect to hear her chuckle, but instead the only thing that greets me is the soft hooting from an owl.

"Damnit," I snap. "You better not have left me here alone, like last time. That was terrifying."

My heart pounds in my chest, and I whirl around, hoping she's behind me, playing a trick. My hands reach for her, but come up empty.

It's autumn, so the air has gradually become colder, but I don't feel it. My skin is soaked with sweat, my hands clammy.

Dizziness overcomes me, and I sink to my knees in the brush.

My voice is weak as I whisper into the still night, "Olly olly oxen free."