Lurking Beasts: Part 1

8 Mei 2017 Pojok Cerita   |    Vania Cheryl Antono


"Can’t catch me, can’t catch me..!" The sweet lilting sound of a young girl was heard from inside the cottage.

"Lou!" Another voice was heard from inside, this one rather stern and slightly exasperated, "You have to stop running!"

A loud crashing sound sounded moments later.

There was a short silence afterwards.

"See, what did I tell you, Lou?" The stern voice chastised.

"You’re no fun, Alex." The young girl, whose name appears to be Lou, spoke up in a way that suggested that she was pouting.

A sound of light footsteps was then heard.

"What’s going on here?" This time, the voice was that of an older lady, one that seems to be worrying.

"Alex doesn’t want to play with me! She’s mean!" Lou exclaimed childishly, her voice noted with unhappiness.

"But Mum! Lou’s the one running around the house like some wild beast!" Alex soon was heard protesting, his voice tinged with frustration.

"Wild beast, you say?" The older lady, the Mother of Alex and Lou, questioned with a hint of anxiousness, "My dear boy, you don’t know what you’re talking about."

The Mother’s voice dropped an octave lower, "I will tell you a secret, my dears."

There was a sound of rushed movement towards the mother. Lou and Alex were listening closely to their Mother’s words.

"The forest around us-it’s filled with those wild beasts! All of them creatures of myths and legends! Be careful, I tell you. Don’t let them get you." Mother’s voice then got shriller and louder, "Don’t let them get you!"

She exploded into a series of wild coughs and the sound of chairs scraping meant that she had sat down on a chair nearby.

"Are you alright, Mum?" Alex asked tentatively.

"Fine, fine," The Mother replied dismissively.

There was silence.

"Catch me, Alex!" Lou’s voice was then heard again and the matter of wild beasts or Mother’s strange warning was forgotten...for now.

That night, just as Mother tucked a sleepy Lou into her bed, Alex spoke up quietly, "Mum, about the wild beasts..."

Mother was quick to be heard replying curtly, "Forget whatever I said, dear boy. I shouldn’t have said anything-"

"Did the wild beasts take Dad?" Alex queried in a rush. His boyish voice had gone deeper all of sudden.

There was a pause.

"Mum?" Alex’s concerned prompt could be discerned.

"Good night, Alex." Mother was caught muttering rather brusquely, voice terse.

The door closed none too gently.

Lou appeared to be unbothered from her deep slumber, but that night, Alex drifted in and out of a restless sleep, unconsciously mumbling to himself, "The wild beasts took Dad...the forest is a dangerous place...must stay away from it...but must look for Dad...need to protect Mum and Lou...can’t die..."

The next day, Alex seemed to remain wary of the forest. Whenever he was out to chop wood, his eyes never once strayed away from the forest nearby, alert for any signs on the beasts.

During supper with Mum and Lou, he could be seen to continue staring at the forest through the kitchen window, gazing at the shadows, wondering if wild beasts were hiding there.

This continued on for several months before Alex appeared to slowly relax, finally realizing that the idea of wild beasts roaming in the forest was just ridiculous...or at least, far-fetched. Mum was probably only trying to scare Lou and Alex.

"There are no wild beasts...there are no wild beasts..." Alex was heard mumbling to himself inside the house before he let the matter rest permanently, his mother’s warning finally forgotten.

"Can’t catch me...can’t catch me!" Lou’s voice was yet again childishly teasing her brother, Alex.

"Lou..!" Alex’s annoyed voice yet again cut through the air.

"Let’s play! I’m bored! Play with me, Alex!" Lou demanded.

Alex was silent for a moment, as if contemplating on what to do, "Alright..."

"Yes!" Lou exclaimed cheerfully, before instructing bossily, "Alex, close your eyes, count to three and chase me!"

Alex sighed before muttering a quick agreement.

"One..."

Lou sneaked away from the living room that they were in.

"Two..."

Lou slowly inched closer to the doorway.

"Three!"

Alex swiveled around only to see Lou yank the door open and run out as fast as she could.

Alex’s eyes could be seen widening as he realized what was going on,
"Lou-"

But Alex could already see from the open doorway that Lou had already entered the forest.

Alex, reminded of the wild beasts, stopped momentarily from chasing after Lou. Seconds later, he continued to run after Lou, after recalling his promise to keep Lou safe.

Besides, wild beasts didn’t exist...

Alex entered into the shadows of the forest with that last thought.

He wasn’t so sure whether he believed it or not.

The forest was an entirely different world altogether.

Shades of green covering every inch of

(Penulis saat ini sekolah di SIS Kebun Jeruk)