Comment on this
by william brownson
made the most horrible screeching wail, the sound of a
lost soul, or a creature of the dark regions looking for
prey. Echoes of this fearsome cry reverberated and seemed
to grow in intensity. Billy sat on a rock and cried not
knowing that he had heard a wild turkey. He was going to
die because he had not minded his daddy and had gone into
the woods alone. He was too tired to run anymore. After
he found out that he was lost he had run a lot, finding
himself in darker and more evil looking places. So now he
had to rest a while.
What was really bothering Billy was that it was getting
dark? When it got dark, it got cold and sometimes the
wind blew and it rained. He knew that Daddy was looking
for him by now. If only he could remember which way he
had came from. Trees were tall and Billy could not see
very far. Walking in a straight line when you had to keep
going around trees, rocks, stumps and even whole trees
that were rotting on the ground was difficult. As if to
confirm his suspicions a breeze stirred the brush. He
felt a drop rain hit his face. It was a cold spot in a
face full of warm tears. He knew that he had to do the
right thing or he was going to have to be out with the
monsters of the night.
Hiding is necessary to avoid monsters. Billy had to find
a hidey-hole a place to keep warm and safe. He remembered
the old tree that he had passed a while back. A huge and
partly hollow stump covered with moss and brush. Playing
in it would have been fun if he were not so afraid. Billy
started back the way he had come to find the stump. Billy
had no way of knowing that if he had forged ahead a few
hundred yards, he would hit the logging road. The same
road dad had driven the car on to get to the camping
spot. He turned and went back in the woods. If he had
just waited in about ten minutes, he would have heard
daddy driving his car down the road screaming his name.
He backed-tracked toward the tree, first downhill and
then up the rise on the other side. Going deeper into the
forest with each step, Billy never found his hidey-hole.
He did find a good spot under a tree that uprooted its
gigantic stump when it fell. It was grown over with thick
brush and had a dry spot underneath a small boy could
crawl in. The monsters would not see him in there.
The exhausted boy fell asleep as soon as he was
comfortable. Falling into a deep slumber, he did not hear
the searchers that passed within a couple hundred yards
of his hidey-hole. They shouted his name. The exhausted
sleeping boy did not hear their shouts.
Hank, the ranger who was organizing the search had laid
out the search plan on a map. He had estimated that a
small boy like Billy might go a half-mile in an hour.
Hank adjusted his compass to three miles using the key of
his map and drawing the circle. He then divided it up
into grids before dispatching his searchers. Too bad they
did not have the dogs. It would not be until afternoon
the next day that the searchers would have hounds. The
hounds would find the hidey-hole. Billy would be much
deeper into the forest by then.
Ted, Billy's dad, was frantic. He had spent the night
driving up and down logging roads in his 4X4 Ford Bronco
stopping every few hundred yards to get out and shout.
Now his voice was raspy and ineffective. As day was
breaking, he went to the rangers station to ask
about the search. Hank, the ranger, was busy working with
his map and speaking to the new group of volunteer
searchers. Ted heard him say into his cell phone,
"Drive up FS121 five miles to these co-ordinates
(baffling string of numbers), head on a bearing of 44
degrees to . . . another string of numbers. Do a ninety
to the west and go two hundred yards and backtrack on the
same bearing. Call in when you complete the sweep. Keep
Hank didn't want to say watch for bear with Ted standing
there looking so distraught. Not wanting to interrupt the
search, Billy's dad waited patiently until he was done
talking before speaking. "They haven't found him
have they?" The ranger lowered his head and shook it
from side to side. He told Ted, "Hang in there buddy
we'll get him. Dogs will be here in a few of hours."
Hank poured a cup of hot coffee and gave it to Ted
saying, "Drink some of this you'll feel
better." When he offered Ted a doughnut he refused
saying, "I'm not hungry, damn! I have to do
something. Do you have any suggestions?"
The ranger told him, "Go up to the place you were
camping and think like your boy. You know him better than
anyone. Track him by instinct." He pushed a bag with
a couple of doughnuts into Ted's pocket and said.
"You'll need these later. Just remember if you get
lost yourself, head downhill. You'll eventually hit a
logging road. We can spot you on the road using aircraft
during daylight. I hope the little guy finds a
As he walked back to camp Ted could not repress the
fleeting hope that Billy would be there when he got back.
However, the tent stood empty, bringing tears to Ted's
eyes. He thought, "I've got to get a grip on myself
and think. Think like Billy." Standing in the middle
of the camp and looking at the surrounding forest road
and stream. Remembering what had happened, when he
discovered that Billy wasn't there. He had checked the
stream thoroughly. Wading all the way to the beaver dam
shouting his name. One thing to be grateful for was that
he hadn't found him floating in the water.
Across the creek, at the shallow part, there was a steep
cliff. Billy couldn't have climbed that. Thick blackberry
vines would have made going that way too difficult for a
Billy had gone into the national forest into a pristine
wilderness that covered thirty square miles. Looking over
the forest on the other side of the road, he saw it. It
was a tiny game trail leading into the woods through a
thicket of brush. Billy would have liked that. Ted ran to
it now, he had to stoop to clear the brush. The boy could
have walked in standing up. A tiny little trail just his
size. Ted was sure of it; he had gone down this path.
Billy woke to total darkness and was too afraid to cry.
It was cold and his back was sore where the stick had
been poking him No matter how he tried to turn it still
hurt. Crying would not help because Mommy wasn't here to
hear it. It was cold though the days were still hot. He
had awakened during the night, shivering and frightened.
The monster was trying to find him, She knew he was
Whimpering under his breath, like a terrified puppy,
Billy crawled toward the opening and the first light of
morning. The rain had stopped but water dripped
everywhere. Leaving his hidey-hole would mean getting wet
but he had to do something. Billy was careful not to make
any noise, the monsters could still be awake, and it was
still real early. He knew that monsters slept in the
daytime but wasn't sure just when they went to sleep.
Not having anything to eat for almost twelve hours had
made him so hungry. He was thinking about his daddy and
the bacon he had made for breakfast over the campfire.
Daddy cooked the bacon in a long-handled skillet with
some potato and eggs. The memory made his stomach growl.
Eagerly, he pulled a chunk of bubble gum from his pocket,
tore off the wrappings and threw them on the ground. The
gum was wonderful, sweet and satisfying, too bad he had
only one stick. Dad had stuffed it in his pocket after
breakfast telling him that if he chewed it a long time he
could blow big bubbles. He said, "You'll need this
Trying to figure out which way to go was hard for Billy.
He didn't want to back into the dark forest, he was sure
monsters lived in there. From where he was he could see
high ground that didn't have many trees. Climbing up
there he might be able to see something or someone a
road, house or anything. However, this was a bad decision
that would take him deeper into the undeveloped remote
wilderness. He was walking out of the search area faster
than Hank had thought he would. Picking a visible
destination and heading for it, stopped the walking in
Since waking this morning, Billy had traveled Hanks
three-mile guess plus a mile or so in circles. The actual
distance he had covered was only a mile and a quarter.
Today Billy would do six miles before nightfall, which
would put him seven and a half miles away. This was a
mile and half outside the search area.
The collective consciousness of thousands of semi
telepathic entities bombarded her mind with imagery, she
found some worthy minds but most were full of
self-serving greed. Focusing on the strongest and nearest
she sensed fear in a young human. Yes she knew what they
called themselves, people, humans, black, white and many
similar and names. Thoughts of malice attached to these
memories made her uneasy.
This was not the same civilization that had killed her
mate so many years ago. Her precious trusting Tazariot
killed by the inhabitants of this land so long ago. In
many ways these new peoples were much worse. They killed
each other and the ecosystem too. Hate, malice and above
all self-serving greed made her so very sad. The old
native people had needs too but they were simpler and
more primitive. Most of them succumbed to the diseases,
smallpox, diphtheria and influenza for which they had no
immunities. She had grieved for them in their misery.
Learning to avoid humans was a survival tactic. It was an
easy thing to do considering the way they broadcast their
primitive consciousness into the universal matrix.
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