Lost in Terror: A Short Story Response to a Creative Writing Challenge Issued by Frank Atanacio on HubPages
Frank Atanacio's Hubs
- Screaming into the Darkness of her Despair
There were dried branches being broken by heavy footfalls. Jenny didn’t know whether to run and hide or call out for help. Fear got the best of her and it was as if fear just gathered there and concentrated itself in that one area.
- Monsters in the Trees
The forest gave the maniac his much needed coverage. He could kill her once and take a day doing it before anyone would know. That’s when she realized that the beauty and greenery surrounding her had begun to take on a more ominous nature. The tall t
Let the Challenge Begin
A challenge was issued by fellow hubber, Frank Atanacio, to his readers to write an alternate ending to his continued terrifying saga of Jenny Camacho in his recently published hubs, which are linked here to the right. I am always up for a good challenge.
Frank issued this challenge after receiving many emails from his readers requesting that he not leave his readers hanging as to Jenny’s demise or her being saved.
For the most part, I am a non-fiction writer, and Frank is a great writer of creative short story thrillers and suspense. I am up for the challenge and have previously entered a creative fiction short story contest here on HubPages and really enjoyed participating in it. I know I will enjoy this genre, even if it is not an area in which I have ever considered writing, although I do love reading thrillers.
Be sure to check out all of the great alternate endings linked on Frank's hub, "Monsters in the Trees." You may also go to his fan page and vote for your favorite alternate ending.
Requirements of the Challenge Per Frank:
The only requirements of this challenge are as follows:
"1) min. 300 words
2) more description and less dialogue
3) dark and dreary
4) creative/The title must come from a line in the story.
5) an ending to end all endings"
My title, “Lost in Terror,” comes from the first sentence of the fourth paragraph after Frank’s story actually begins in “Monsters in the Trees.” Does Jenny meet her demise or is she saved? Find out by reading this alternate ending and see if beauty can truly be permanently imprisoned as the killer desires!
Suspense Music - Listen While You Read!
Lost in Terror
A terrified Jenny continued to run down the ever-darkening, narrow path which just had to lead to somewhere safe! Her fear fueled adrenaline throughout her bruised and aching body. Each pounding step she ran grew faster and faster but brought a sharp sting to each muscle she used. The path grew dim all around her, and as she peered through the shadows of the tree limbs, she saw the sun setting low. The shadows seemed to leap at her and attempt to grab her as she flinched in horror, stepping back and to the side each time.
Jenny strained to listen for that eerie whistling she heard so close before that made her get running again, but it was difficult to hear for the pounding of her heart beating so hard in her chest filled her ears as she ran. She began to feel lightheaded and a bit dizzy, but she persevered as she knew she could not stop even for one second. If she did, that twisted fiend would be on her and she would no doubt perish at the hands of such a demented one. That thought alone made her suddenly spew vomit from the pit of her stomach through the damp air, which came back on her fast, slapping her own face. The putrid smell of her own vomit now on her face made her gag once again, with her stomach heaving although nothing left inside. This distracted her momentarily and she did not notice the fallen dead branches in the path. She came down hard, knocking the wind out of her. She felt a terrible sting in her left ankle. Jenny laid there in silence trying to gather her bearings.
She listened intently, hearing her own breathing, hard and fast, and then the sounds of the creatures of the night began to surround her, closed in on her. She saw her own breath escaping her mouth. Her mind flashed back to that gruesome scene back at the Ranger shack from where she had just come. Those images never left her mind. Jenny did not understand how just one man was capable of such heinous acts. As the sun continued to set, out of nowhere came maniacal laughter, the merciless laughter of a coldblooded killer. The madman was near!
Jenny grappled on the ground and attempted to get her footing, but then a sharp sting went up the side of her leg from her sprained left ankle. She pushed herself up from a dead log and soon she felt her hand covered with termites. Quickly, she beat her hand against her hip. She grabbed for a hanging branch to balance herself and then reached for a broken one in the path to use as some sort of a crutch. The madman’s laughter encroached upon her while she slowly inched her way through the dim pathway.
Ahead, the fog rose low and ghostly from the ground. Jenny thought she might be able to find a hiding place in it. Despite the intense pain in her ankle, she forced herself to speed up, all the while attempting to block out the sounds of the strange creatures of the forest and that chilling laughter at her back. As she neared the ever-thickening fog around her, one of her bare feet stepped on slimy, black, cold mud and began to slowly slip downward into a black hole of murky water. Jenny dropped the branch she used as a crutch and desperately grabbed for anything she could while slipping even further down into the dark pit. Both feet now frantically trying to get firmly planted somewhere, but there was nothing but slime that eased its way between her toes. Finally, she grabbed hold of something. It was some type of bamboo of sorts, but it snapped and Jenny now held a piece of it in her hand.
She realized that it was futile to try to walk back up the slimy pit. She knew then she was in a bog. She relaxed her legs and started to doggy paddle, still holding on to the bamboo reed in one hand. Something slithered between her legs and Jenny could not help but to let out a yelp thinking of the Water Moccasins that loved to breed in this type of water. As soon as she let out her yelp, that bone-chilling laughter echoed through the forest. Jenny knew he knew just how close he was to her by now. She floated on her back to the far side of the bog.
He arrived! Jenny knew this for the snorting, spitting and mumbling going on just a couple of yards in front of her. All she knew to do was to hold her breath and go under water, but how long could she hold her breath? She realized she still had the reed in her hand and so she placed it in her mouth and held her nose. Yes, she could breathe out of it! The sounds of the night and the madman soon became muffled under the water. She began to pray asking the Lord God for His protection over her, for she knew He would never leave her nor forsake her. She claimed His promise. Jenny never wanted to remain in darkness ever again. She knew He was the light and oh how she wanted to be in the light! Then a peace fell down upon her, a peace like she had never known before.
Suddenly, Jenny heard a muffled scream and the water in the bog began to move as if someone was violently thrashing about in it! She heard repeated muffled screams, but she dare not move. Then all was silent and all was still. Through the murky water, she could see the moon peering between the trees.
Hours seemed to pass and then a brilliant light shone down upon her. It was day and she was still alive! Should she dare have a peek above the water? Jenny's head rose slowly out of the slimy water and she peered out over the bog. All was clear. There was no sign of the madman.
Jenny saw some boulders at the other end of the bog that she could climb on to get out of the slimy water. She started back stroking towards that side of the bog and felt one of her legs get entangled in tall grass under the water. She pulled and pulled, only to make the grass tighter around her leg. She knew she had to go under the murky water to pull her leg free from the entanglement. She took a deep breath and went under the water. She could feel the grass wrapped around one of her ankles; thankfully the one that was not sprained. However, there was something else in the water right next to her, something big. It bumped into her, and she pushed it away. She did not know what it was, maybe a dead log or something? Finally, she freed her ankle and at the same time she popped herself back up to get some air, so did the bloated and Water Moccasin-bitten body of the madman!
Jenny let out a blood curdling scream that happened to be heard by a Forest Ranger who was in the forest checking out complaints about fires being set in the forest. The Ranger found Jenny and helped her out of the bog. Once in the Ranger’s strong arms, Jenny passed out from exhaustion. The Ranger called an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital. Jenny spent a couple of days in the hospital, with visits each day from the Ranger.
© Copyright, Faith Reaper, January 8, 2014