The woman and man struggled. She was surprisingly fit. Finally, it looked as if she was outclassed. She scooped up the girl and ran. The axe man followed soon after.
I opened my eyes. The scents were fresher, so I quickened my pace. I ran deeper and deeper into the woods; trying to avoid roots, branches, and anything else that might slow me down. The little girl’s scent got stronger with each passing step. I was getting closer.
I then slowed. The girl was here. As was the axe murderer. I scanned the area looking for any kind of clue. All I could see were trees and darkness. I then heard a scrapping noise: metal being dragged across a dirt ground. The sound began to circle me. I could smell sweat and the fear fo the girl and babysitter. I then could hear a heartbeat. I ducked and rolled just as the axe flew by and hit a tree.
“Get off my land!” a voice said. It sounded suspiciously like Old Man Williams though that might have just been my imagination. “Every year you punks tramp through my home! No more!” The axe hit another tree as I dove clear. He raised his axe once more. “Is it that hard to throw things in a trash can!”
He swung, but this time I caught the axe’s handle. We struggled over it. I finally managed to head butt him. He stumbled back. I blew a blast of nasty dog breath his way. He coughed and choked.
“Run!” I said to the babysitter and girl.
The babysitter grabbed the girl by the hand and ran with her. I followed. We weren’t far before I heard the yell of the axe murderer followed by him slashing at everything in his path.
He was getting closer.
“Go!” I summoned in another Frizz disc for them to follow. “I’ll hold him off!”
The two vanished into the woods. I stood with my back to the attacker. He slowed when he saw me standing there. Not yet, I thought. I could feel him sneaking up on me. I thought back to those times with Old Man Williams, and that last night.
He was coming up behind me. I knew the rumors. They said he chopped up kids and fed them to his beast hound. They said he dabbled in the Dark Arts. They said he killed his wife and children.
Not yet, I would think. Danny remembers it as a fun and harmless prank, but what it was…was a challenge. The bullies just wanted yet another thing to tease me about. They knew they could out last pathetic Joe Rover. I had to show them I was the Alpha.
Every year, even though I won, I chickened out and was mocked for it. Not this year.
The man with the axe crept closer and closer just as Old Man Williams did. Each footfall as loud as a jet engine. My heart pounding because I feared I’d be the hound’s next meal or victim to whatever terror Old Man Williams could cook up.
I felt the shift in the air as he raised his axe. Not yet.
Old Man Williams was right on top of me. I could feel his rotting breath on my neck. I’d be a goner if I didn’t move, but I had to prove myself to the bullies…and to myself.
I then smelled something coming from Old Man Williams I didn’t expect. Not anger or evil…but sadness and loneliness…and a hint of pumpkin cookies. I slowly turned to face him.
“You aren’t running?” he asked.
“Everyone runs.” He looked down at the ground. “I know the stories kids tell. But I’m not some vampire.”
“I know,” I said.
The axe man breathed heavily as he prepared to swing. I let out a breath. It was now or never. In one quick move, I turned and slashed the axe with my claws. The blade fell harmlessly to the ground. The man was in shock for a moment.
“Let’s go,” I said holding out my hand. Like with Old Man Williams, my fear had conjured the rotting smell, but I finally understood. He had the same smell of sadness and loneliness Williams had.
“I just wanted kids to stop messing up my home,” he said.
It wasn’t long and the police had the babysitter and the axe man in custody. The parents of the 8-year-old as well as the parents of the lost teenager arrived and embraced their respective children.
I gave Sally a quick wave as she and her cameraman sat up to report the story.
“Now what are you going to do?” Brain asked.
“I think I’ll visit an old friend and have some pumpkin cookies.”