A Fright

in the Woods

Written and Illustrated by

Mrs. Tatara

     It all began on a bright sunny day at my Grandma Ruthie's house in Michigan.  My cousins from Arizona were in town for their yearly visit and I couldn't wait to get out to the woods to play with them.  It was something I looked forward to every year around this time.  This was mostly because all of my other cousins were much older than me and didn't have time for playing.

     Not Seth though.  Seth was my favortie cousin.  He was the closest one to my age and always had time to play, when we were in the same state, that is. 

     From the time we both arrived at Grandma's, Seth and I did everything together.  We played from the time we got up until we were forced to come in and scrape the dirt from our bodies so we were clean enough to go climb into bed.  We played baseball, caught frogs in the creek, and sometimes we'd just lie on our backs staring up at the clouds. 

Our very favorite place of all though, was the woods.

     The woods behind Grandma's house became our very own Terebithia each summer, as we forged new paths and built new fortresses.  We were in our own world.  Time didn't exist, a fact which often caused our mothers to be angry.  This usually happened around the time that the rest of the family was gathered around the dinner table, but two chairs were still empty.  We could not be blamed, however, because there was no dinner bell in our hideaway. 

     The woods was a special place for Seth and I.  I wish that I could say that all of the memories I made there were happy ones, but this is not the case.  The day it happened started out like any other adventure-in-the-woods day.  Seth and I trecked out to one of our favorite spots back in the brush.  We started working on a fort that we had begun earlier that week, but realized we needed more branches to complete it.  Seth volunteered to go get some  and left me to keep working alone.  That's when I heard it.

     It was a noise that didn't fit with the birds and other common sounds of the woods and it was getting louder.  At first I wasn't too worried.  After all, I had played in these woods so often I practically thought of the trees around me as family.  Then I realized that whatever the noise was, it was moving and it was coming closer.  As the intense, mechanical noise grew to the point of overwhelming my ears a voice in my head screamed, "RUN!"  And that's exaclty what I did.  I paid no attention to the direction my feet took me, only to how fast they could take me away from the noise. 

     I ducked under tree branches.  I jumped over fallen logs.  I zigged around holes in the ground and zagged around old stumps.  I had never run so fast in my whole life and I don' think I have since.  Then I saw something that made me come to a stop.  I came face to face with the source of the terrifying noise and when I looked up I was positive I was staring into the brain-washing eyes of an alien!

     For a moment, I was frozen where I stood.  It was as if the alien somehow held me to that spot after nearly running me over with his transportation machine.  Then my body somehow started working again and I found myself running once again.  Suddenly, the creek was in sight.  I dashed across the bridge and poured on an extra bit of speed as I raced up the hill to the safety Grandma's house. 

     That's where Seth found me nearly an hour later, sipping hot chocolate and stil trembling a bit from my close encounter.  He started to laugh at me, especially when he realized what my alien really was, but looked at my face and thought twice.  After all, that summer I probably still could've taken him!

The next day is was sunny. I went back to playing with Seth, just like every other day that summer. You see, the king and queen of Terebithia would never have let themselves be defeated and I could do no less than rise to the same standard myself.