“Pass me a beer, would ya?”
Hank complied and tossed Greg a can before settling back in his chair. The woods were lovely this time of year, perfect for Hank and Greg’s yearly camping trip, and Hank stirred up the fire as he opened another beer himself.
“Man, the stars are bright tonight!” Greg stated as he leaned back in his camping chair. Hank agreed.
“You never see the stars in New York. Too many buildings. That’s why I like getting away from it all, you know?”
“Yeah, I get it. Sometimes, a man needs a break.”
Hank and Greg toasted that sentiment before falling silent and listening to the sounds of nature, but everything was quiet.
“Huh,” Greg mused, “That’s odd.”
“Do you hear anything?”
Hank listened for a moment before shaking his head. “Nope. Not a sound.”
“Exactly. It’s too early for this kind of silence.”
Hank glanced at his watch and confirmed that it was barely past ten.
“You’re right. That is odd.”
Both men examined the woods around them as they listened for any sounds of life, but nothing stirred. Even the trees stopped whispering, and Hank could feel the air grow heavy. He stood up.
“Do you feel that?”
Greg came to stand by Hank, hand on his hunting knife.
“Yeah. I don’t like this at all. We’re not alone.”
As he said those words, they heard the snapping of twigs to their right. Hank shone his light on that area just in time to see a grey figure bolt out of sight between the trees.
“What the fuck was that?” Greg whispered as Hank tried to find it again with the light.
“I don’t know, but maybe it’s just passing through?”
They waited in silence as the still, heavy air closed in around them. A rustling caught their attention, and Hank swung the light to their left, spotting a pair of glowing eyes in the tree branches.
“Greg.” He whispered as he kept the creature in his sights.
“Yeah,” Greg replied as they both stared at the creature, unblinking, for as long as they could stand. But the strain was too much, and they finally blinked. As soon as their eyes closed, the creature was gone.
“Where’d it go?”
“I don’t know! I can’t see it anymore.”
It didn’t take long for the creature to make a move, and it rattled Greg’s tent as it ran past.
“Shit! That was close. What is this thing?”
“I don’t know! I can’t get a good look at it.”
Hank swung the light around the perimeter, stopping when he noticed the dying fire.
“Greg! Don’t let the fire die!”
Hank couldn’t explain why the fire was important, only that they needed it to survive. Greg didn’t ask questions as he added more logs and stoked it up to a roaring blaze. As the firelight illuminated the space, Greg looked up and saw the creature staring at him from just outside the lighted area.
It crouched low to the ground, it’s thin arms and legs covered in grey/silver skin, and its eyes glowed with an unearthly green sheen. Its teeth were jagged and pointed, and Greg could swear that it was grinning at him from the shadows.
Hank turned and saw the creature as it sped off into the night, moving faster than anything he’d seen before. They could feel the air shifting as it left, and the first signs of life were beginning to stir as the birds timidly chirped from their nests.
Greg’s face was white as he looked at Hank.
Without another word, the two men grabbed their backpacks and left their tents and equipment behind as they hiked down to the bottom of the mountain. Once they were inside Greg’s pickup, they locked the doors and left the woods for good.
This story was inspired by all the cryptid sightings throughout the USA. Your Writing Prompt is to Take or invent a creature and imagine a human’s first encounter with it.
This is my interpretation. What’s yours?