Fantasticoe Fall 2004

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The Other Side

Erica Nuss

      I gathered up everything I knew I'd need and stuffed it all in my backpack. I was sick of my mom's crap, and I finally came to the conclusion that I didn't have to put up with it anymore! She always tells me what to do or how to do it. It's just not fair.

      My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten so I was used to the idea by now. I, unlike my sister, always wanted to live with my dad. Somehow I got stuck with mom. Lucky me. The good part about living with her is the house. Our house is huge and the yard is amazing! The backyard consists of hundreds and hundreds of trees. It's beautiful, especially in the winter. It's practically like our own personal forest. There are paths throughout the acres of trees that are worth walking along any time of the year.

      The negative that comes with the house? It's not really my moms. It's her new husband's home. He's a jerk. I hate him. I met him exactly two years ago, and I haven't liked him since. He definitely puts on a good show when my mom's around. Of course she thinks he's an angel, but he's NOT.

      "Jane and I could travel so much more if it weren't for you little brats!" he'd always yell at me. As if I didn't already know that. It's not my fault I'm living here with them. That wasn't my choice at all!

      I just turned eleven about a month ago. That's when I started planning my escape. I just couldn't live with all the drama anymore. It would be so easy if I could drive already! Since I can't, I had my escape planned pretty well. At least I thought so. I slammed the back door shut so the wind wouldn't fling it open later. I took off at a dead sprint, because I knew when mom heard the door slam she'd go check things out. I didn't want to talk to her. I mean explaining to my mother that I was running away would kind of defeat the purpose of well, running away.

      After a good ten minutes of running I slowed down. I didn't hear anything behind me so I was pretty sure mom had gone back to bed. I was only a little ways into the forest now. It takes a good hour and a half to make it through to the other side. I'm not exactly sure what's on the other side though. It's just our neighbors' house I think, but I never had the curiosity in me to go and find out. My plan, however, was to find the other side of this massive group of trees and use the neighbor's phone. I figured I could call my dad. He'd come pick me up. I assumed this would be the best route to take. I knew if I took the main road into town people would recognize me and call my mom.

      So I started on my endless journey to the other side. It didn't seem like such a big deal when I was planning my trip, but now that I was started I realized it was a little scary out here. It was almost midnight so of course it was pitch black outside. I hadn't exactly considered that part of my journey when I mapped it out. I'm not really scared of the dark, but it's definitely not my idea of fun.

      I was a little worn out from running so I found a big tree and plopped myself down against the trunk. I spotted the moon through the branches of the trees and sighed. It was so relaxing out here. I must have fallen asleep shortly after that because the next thing I knew I was being woken up by an odd sound. It was still really dark out so I assumed I had only slept a few hours at the most. I looked around a little bit but then realized I couldn't see anything. I started to dig around in my bag for the flashlight. After looking for a couple minutes I realized I had left it sitting on my bed at home. That'll do me a lot of good!

      The sound started getting louder, but I still couldn't figure out what in the world it was. It was almost like a scratching noise but at the same time it was sort of shrieking. I sat dead still trying to listen to see where it was. It wasn't getting closer . If it was, it wasn't moving very fast. I ignored the noise for the time being and stood up to stretch. I scooped up my bag and stepped forward, my foot landing in a puddle of sticky liquid. I wasn't really sure what it was. Just the feel of it underneath my shoe almost made me lose my dinner of steak and mashed potatoes. Let's just say I'm pretty sure it wasn't a puddle of water.

      I wiped my shoe off on a pile of leaves nearby, but when I went to walk away something grabbed my foot. I yelled some profanities and started running. I didn't even really know which way I was running at this point, and I didn't really care. I heard noises behind me coming faster and louder. I wasn't a track star, and I couldn't run any faster! I turned around and saw a bright light. Emerging from the light was a man. Not just any ordinary man though. He had long, nasty hair that went down to his shoulder blades and his teeth were rotting out of his mouth. He started laughing at me. It was an evil laugh, but I didn't have the guts to ask him what was so funny.

      I turned to run from him again when I was suddenly in a trance watching what was going on in front of me. The guy started spinning in circles faster and faster. A gust of wind flew by us and leaves blew everywhere. His skin started peeling off and his hair was sucked up by the wind. Even after trying I couldn't pull my eyes away from the scene. His face and body suddenly turned a bumpy, ugly green color. His voice grew gurgly and deep, and he screeched a nasty sound out of his throat.

      "What the hell are you?" I screamed.

      His eyes turned a bright yellow and grew wider. The sound emerged from his throat again, but I couldn't make anything of it. I turned and ran again, mainly because I didn't know what else I could do. I heard him chasing after me. The trees started thinning out so I knew I was getting closer to getting out of this hell hole. My house suddenly popped into sight a good fifty feet in front of me. The porch light was on so I knew either Mom or my evil step dad was up. Relief and disappointed swept over me. I didn't want to be back here. At the same time, I knew this was my only safety net from this creature chasing after me. Snapping back to reality I started screaming at the top of my lungs.

      "Honey what is going on?" my mom shouted from the porch.

      I flew past her screaming for her to shut the door. "It's coming, Mom! Lock the door, it's coming!"

      I ran through the kitchen, past the living room, and turned the corner to go up the stairs. My sneakers made a screeching noise as I was brought to an abrupt halt. I had ran smack into my step dad. Great. He's not exactly the person I wanted to see right now.

      "Don't worry Debbie! He's just whining because he's a wimp. There's nothing out there," he slurred. I could tell he was drunk just by the way he was talking. That's when he's at his worst.

      I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see it tear apart the front door. He almost looked confused. Then he spotted me. His glowing eyes looked right at me as he started towards me.

      "Don't believe me then!" I screamed at my step dad. If he wanted to stand there and get killed then more power to him! Personally, I wouldn't miss him much. I only made it to the top of the stairs before I heard the awful cry of help. It was coming from my step dad. I turned around slowly, afraid of what I was going to see. I watched the creature devour the last of him. He swallowed with a huge gulp and nasty grin spread across his face. He was satisfied, at least for the evening. My mom was huddled up in the corner staring in utter terror.

      I ran down the stairs and put my arms around her. "It's okay, Mom!" I cried. I was so scared that I didn't know what to say to her. I didn't know how to comfort her. Suddenly a familiar bright light caught my eye. It was the same light I saw in the forest when the creature appeared. I glanced up just as the spinning had stopped. The nasty man stood there again with his unwashed, stringy hair. He looked right at me and smiled. "I have a surprise for you, dear," he gurgled.

      I raised my eyebrows then rolled my eyes. "Not much will surprise me now," I muttered under my breath. I guess I spoke too soon. I watched as the spinning started again. I expected the skin to go flying and his skin to turn the ugly green color. Instead his dirty clothes lay in a pile on the floor, and I stared at the shoes on his feet. They were pink. They were small. I slowly led my gaze upwards and saw the bottom of a cute pink dress. I didn't even want to know what was coming next. I took a deep breath and looked up at his face. There stood my sister with her little pigtails and bright blue eyes.

      "I kept telling you we'd get him back, big brother," she smiled, and then I fainted.