The dirt path that winds down the valley outside his cabin would make him question the need to go to school. In fact; going into town seemed pointless. It was good exercise, and it was a beautiful view, but there was simply nothing to be accomplished with going to school. Still, his father made him carry out the deed, along with many other chores, such as prepping the wood and lamp oil, melting the ink, and tending to the garden. His father lived old fashioned, and the son preferred it that way.
On the dirt path, there were possibly unknown dangers on the walk to school, wild life, pedophiles, muggers, and murders. But he carried no weapons or defense while his father hunted farther up in the mountains. It never really had worried him, but he always had an escape route on any part of the trail, and he always had his eye out.
But even with all his knowledge and planning, nothing could have prepared him for what was out there, what he saw, what happened.
It all started several months ago, when he was walking home, and on this particular day he felt suspicious. So he stayed sharp. While he was walking, he saw, things. They were mostly hidden by the trees, but he could make out that they were humanoid. They were twisted into wrong shapes and angles. They were white, but they looked stained with grey ash. As he walked passed, they would seemingly watch him, but they didn’t have any eyes. When far enough ahead, they would soon follow.
He got home safely, but his anxiety was intense, and he felt light-headed. When he looked out the window, he caught a glimpse of them fading back into the foliage. His dad would refuse to believe him, despite his worry over the… monsters. He didn’t like the word, but somehow, it was appropriate here. As the days went by, he stopped going outside, he didn’t tend to the herbs and potatoes. He only left the cabin to go to and from school.
He got better looks at them, as they followed his routine. They were tall, and twisted, as though their skin didn’t fit right. One was crossing the street in front of him, a little ways up the path; they have really small, feet with claws. They had hands that were different every time he saw them. Sometimes, infant hands, spikes, long and thin hands, bloody.
He stopped sleeping at night. He ate less, he was getting skinny and sick, and his eyes grew lifeless and haunted. He was losing his perception of reality. He was not scared, angry or sad. He was not feeling. He had long forgotten who he used to be, he is now just an empty skin sack that walks and hardly talks. He felt he was being watched at all times. That is, until yesterday.
He was tripping uphill on his path home, stopping frequently to throw up, he never did, he just had the feeling he had to. When he heard the dirt compress about twenty paces behind him. Just for the fun of it, he shuffled his feet and turned around.
There was a man with a scraggly beard; he had dirty clothes and glasses. His hands were shaky and holding a long knife, licking it slowly with his cancer ridden tongue. The boy instantly came back. He looked around for one of his old paths he had scoped out, he was too surprised to make a run for it. The stranger grew closer and spoke in a monetary raspy voice.
“Don’t scream. Don’t you dare. Take off your pack.” He pointed with the knife to the boys’ feet. The child started to cry and dropped his back pack in the mud. The stranger kicked it off into the bushes. He took the moment to rub his crotch.
“You won’t need that where you are going.” He started to reach for the boy.
Suddenly, there was a thunder like a battle horn as dirty things came out of the woods, and the man was swooped up in their hands that had changed into mouths, full of teeth. The strangers’ screams were drowned out into ripping and tearing as four of the things ripped him into chunks, and ate him through their hands. When they had finished, they then stood erect, and helped the child off the ground, and dressed him with infant hands. One retrieved his pack from the bushes. They dispersed back into the day, leaving nothing behind but his knife, not even blood was there, his clothes were clean and so was his bag. He heard the battle horn again. And more screaming being drowned in the distance.
That day he realized that the things that have been stalking him, were not monsters. That day they protected him from a real monster. Real monsters are plain, and will not hide, they will not stop. They are scary. He didn’t know what to call them. Every hero had a name.
Something inside him told him they were called The Hallows.