As we sat around the fire, wild dogs howled in the distance.
“Don’t worry Tracey, they don’t like fire,” Lachy said, looking to the sky. “Hopefully it doesn’t rain tonight. I should get more firewood.”
My insides squirmed. “No, stay here.”
“Do you want the fire to go out?”
“No, but — ”
“No buts. I’ll be back.” He grabbed a torch from his bag and set off into the dark woods.
In the distance, thunder rumbled. He’ll be back soon, I assured myself as I stared into the fire, comforted by its light. However, it was short-lived when I heard something over by the car.
Dread overwhelmed me at the thought.
“Tracey,” I heard Lachy call from the darkness. “Come here.”
“You scared me!” I shouted, relieved it was only him. “Where’s your torch? I can’t see you properly.” I grabbed for Lachy’s bag that was sitting by the tent and rummaged through, searching for another torch.
“Tracey, come here,” he said again, sounding strange.
I stopped and looked up. “Are you okay?”
Lightning lit up the sky and I saw it standing by the car. A deformed creature stood on its hind legs, beckoning me over.
Fear grasped me and I froze, unable to move.
“Tracey,” it gargled, sounding less human. “Come here.”
In the corner of my eye, I saw that Lachy was on his way back. The creature's silhouette backed away into the darkness.
I stood frozen until Lachy came back. I began to cry the moment I saw him. He dropped the firewood he was carrying and hugged me tightly.
I pointed to the car. “Something’s over there, I thought it was you but then I saw it and — ” I couldn’t stop sobbing. My whole body trembled. “Let’s leave,” I cried.
Lachy let go and started placing wood onto the fire. “Shh, we can’t,” Lachy said, “it’s most likely waiting for us over there.”
“What was it?” I whispered.
He became still. “I think it was a skinwalker,” he said quietly. “They try coaxing you into darkness. I didn’t think they were around these parts… As long as there’s a fire we’re safe.”
Thunder clapped loudly and rain pelted down. I watched hopelessly as the flames died out.