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  • Writer's pictureScott Bryant

A Growl in the Woods

A Growl in the Woods by Scott Bryant
Background photo by cottonbro studio via

Brie and Kayla had been hiking for hours and finally stumbled upon a secluded area in the woods. The sun was setting, and they needed to set up camp. "Wow, look at this place," Brie said, scanning the area. "It's perfect. We're going to have a great night out here." Before Brie and Kayla was a picture postcard-perfect setting of tall trees, a crystal blue lake, and undisturbed nature as far as the naked eye could see.

Kayla and Brie have been friends since high school, where they bonded over their shared love for adventure and the outdoors. After college, they both landed jobs in the same city and continued to make time for hiking trips and other outdoor activities. Then, one day, while scrolling through Instagram, Kayla came across a post about a secluded hiking trail in a nearby forest. She immediately showed it to Brie, and they both knew they had to go. So, the following weekend, they packed up their gear and set out on what they thought would be a fun, relaxing weekend of hiking and camping.

"Yes, because who doesn't plan their life adventures from Instagram?" Kayla said as if talking to an invisible narrator. "Not me! And who are you talking to right now? Forget it. Kayla, I love you like a sister, but this talking to yourself lately is weirding me out." Brie retorted. "My bad, Brie. I always talk to myself when unsure about something," Kayla said. "Well, no matter, let's set up our camp," said Brie. Little did they know, their adventure would turn into a terrifying yet surprisingly hilarious fight for survival.

As Kayla and Brie set up camp, they couldn't help but marvel at the picturesque scene before them. "This is like something out of a travel brochure," Brie said, snapping a photo. "I can practically hear nature calling us." "More like the mosquitoes calling us," Kayla said, swatting at a bug. "I didn't sign up for this camping trip to be eaten alive." "Relax, Kayla," Brie said, "It's all part of the experience. Just think of it as a natural exfoliation." Kayla scrunched up her face. "I don't think my skin needs that kind of exfoliation. I would have opted for a spa trip if I wanted exfoliation." As they settled around the fire, Kayla couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. "I swear, if Bigfoot comes out of those woods, I'm out of here," she joked. "Don't worry," Brie said, "I'll protect you with my trusty marshmallow stick." "Unless Bigfoot breaks your marshmallow stick, we're in trouble."

As the night wore on, Kayla and Brie sat around the fire, roasting marshmallows and chatting about their lives. But the uneasy feeling lingered in the air. Kayla poked at the fire with a stick, trying to get it to burn brighter. "I bet if we had some ghost stories, this fire would be blazing," she grins. Brie shook her head. "No way. I don't want to scare myself even more than I already am." "Oh, come on, Brie. It'll be fun," Kayla insisted. "Okay, fine. I have one," Brie relented. "Once, there was a girl who went camping in the woods. She was alone and kept hearing strange noises outside her tent. But she tried to convince herself that it was just her imagination." "That's not a ghost story. That's just our reality right now," Kayla joked.

Suddenly, they both heard a twig snap in the woods, and the humor vanished from their faces. They both turned to look toward the sound, but they saw nothing. "Okay, I'm officially scared now," Kayla whispered. Brie looked at Kayla as if she was communicating, "Really, Kayla." "What was that?" said Kayla. "That was a twig. So what? Twigs probably snap on their own all the time," said Brie. "I don't know what twigs you've heard, but that sounded like an angry snap. Speaking of Snaps, did you see Tina's string of angry snaps on Snapchat last night? Talk about a train to Chaosville." Kayla said as she pulled out her phone. "No, Kayla, and I don't want to know."

Suddenly, they heard a rustling in the woods. Kayla's heart raced as she looked around nervously. "Brie? Did you hear that?" she whispered. Brie looked around, trying to see through the darkness. "Yeah, but I don't see anything," she said. But the rustling continued, growing louder and closer. Kayla's mind raced as she tried to figure out what it could be. Was it an animal, a person, or something else entirely? "Hey!! Whoever you are, get lost! It's not nice to sneak up on a women's campsites like this! We were here first!" Kayla yelled. "Way to go, Kayla. You really showed that monster. Shall we tell the monster's mother while we're at it?" Brie replied with sarcasm. "Hey, you never know. For all we know, it could be some drunk weirdo."

As they listened intently, the rustling turned into a low growl. It was a sound that chilled them to the bone. The growl was deep and guttural, like something out of a nightmare. It was a sound that seemed to come from the depths of the forest, a warning from some primal force that they were not welcome here. "Oh, hell no. We need to get out of here," Kayla said, her voice shaking. "No! Whoever or whatever that is, they need to leave. We were here first." said Brie. But then the growling turned into a menacing howl. It was a sound that came from every direction at once. "I'm out!" Kayla shouted as she started to run. "I'm with you, Kayla." said Brie as she started to bolt too. As they raced through the woods, the howling grew louder and more intense. It was as if the forest itself was alive and hunting them down.

Finally, they burst into the clearing and back to the parking lot. But even as they jumped inside and slammed the doors shut, they could still hear the howling in the distance. It was a sound they'd never forget. "What the hell was that?!?!" Kayla said with a tremble. "I don't have the slightest idea, but that was scary as hell," said Brie. "Who walks around a forest like that and scares women like that?!" said Kayla. "Whatever that thing was, it's probably torn up our campsite by now. Let's just make the best of the moment and drive to a gas station and find a hotel for the night and then figure out what to do." Brie suggested.

As they drove, Kayla suddenly spoke up with a nervous laugh. "Well, that's one way to spice up our camping trip, huh?" "Yeah, I was hoping for a nice, leisurely hike and overnight camping, not a race for our lives," Brie replied. "Next time we plan an adventure, let's stick to a museum or something," Kayla joked. "Or maybe we can stay home and binge-watch Netflix," Brie chuckled. "But hey, at least we can cross 'surviving a monster attack' off our bucket list, right?" Brie shook her head, still smiling. "You are something else, Kayla."

Finally, they reached a gas station and pulled in to fill up. Kayla sighed in relief as Brie turned off the car engine. "Finally, some civilization," Kayla said, looking around at the brightly lit gas station. "I could use a hot shower and a warm bed now." Brie nodded in agreement. "And maybe a strong drink." Kayla grinned. "Let's get this gas and find a hotel. We can't let whatever was out there ruin our weekend getaway." Brie laughed. "As if anything could ruin our weekend more than that some asshole howling beast."

Brie and Kayla had finished packing their car and were ready to hit the road when they heard a sound that sent chills down their spines. It was the same menacing growl they had encountered in the woods. "No way. That thing can't be following us," Brie exclaimed. Kayla's face turned pale as she noticed a pair of glowing eyes staring at them from the forest's edge. They both stood frozen, unsure of what to do next. They knew they had to get out of there, but the fear was paralyzing. As the glowing eyes approached them, Brie and Kayla sprang into action, running towards the car. They jumped in and locked the doors just as the growling grew louder and more ferocious. Peering out the windows, they saw a shadowy figure emerging from the woods. They didn't stick around to see what it was, as Brie hit the gas pedal and peeled out of the gas station, leaving the growling beast behind. "We're not going to let some creepy monster ruin our trip," Brie declared, but Kayla couldn't shake the feeling that they weren't out of the woods yet.

Brie and Kayla's nerves were still on edge, their eyes darting around nervously as they drove in silence for what felt like hours. They both knew that they needed to put some distance between themselves and the growling creature they had encountered. "That was too close," Brie finally said, breaking the silence. Kayla nodded in agreement. "I don't think I can handle any more scares like that," she added. Finally, they came across a motel called The Peaceful Slumber and decided to stop for the night. The manager, a friendly woman named Barb, checked them in and gave them the keys to their room. As soon as they were in their room, Brie and Kayla collapsed on the beds, their hearts still racing from the events of the night before. They knew they needed to get some sleep, but the memories of the growling creature still haunted them.

Brie and Kayla were seething with anger in their hotel room. "Can you believe that stupid beast ruined our camping trip?" Brie fumed. Kayla clenched her fists, "I'm so angry right now. We were just trying to enjoy some time in nature, and that thing had to come and ruin everything." "I know, right? Who does that?" Brie added. "I'm not letting it get away with this," Kayla said with determination. "We need to find a way to take it down." Brie nodded, "Agreed. It's not getting away with terrorizing us like this." They spent the rest of the night planning their revenge, fueled by their anger and determination to make the beast pay for what it had done. "Well, we better get some sleep and sleep off our anger," Brie remarked. "I agree," said Kayla.

And just when they thought they could finally get some rest, a growl pierced the silence, sending shivers down Brie and Kayla's spines. "Seriously?! Can't this thing leave us alone?!" Brie exclaimed, frustration evident in her voice. Kayla nodded in agreement, "I'm so done with this beast ruining our peace." Suddenly, the door burst open with a loud crash, revealing the menacing beast standing before them, its eyes filled with an insatiable hunger. Brie and Kayla's anger boiled over. Adrenaline pumping, they leaped out of bed, searching for a weapon.

"Grab the lamp!" Brie shouted, snatching it up and taking a battle stance. Kayla looked around frantically, then grabbed a nearby pillow, wielding it like a shield. "Come on, you big hairy asshole!" she shouted, trying to sound brave. The beast snarled and lunged, its sharp teeth bared. Brie swung the lamp with all her might, striking the beast on the nose. "Take that!" she yelled. Kayla joined in, hitting the beast with the pillow. The beast stumbled, then fell to the ground with a thud. The two friends looked at each other triumphantly, breathing hard. "Ha, we showed that beast who's boss!" Kayla exclaimed. Brie grinned, "Yeah, and if it comes back, we'll be ready for it."

The beast snarled and lunged at Kayla and Brie once more, but the two friends were ready this time. But before it could make another move, the motel manager burst into the room, wielding a broom as a weapon. "What is going on in here? I leave for two seconds, and all hell breaks loose in my hotel!" she exclaimed. "What does it look like to you?!" Kayla shouted, still holding the pillow in her hand. The motel manager raised an eyebrow, looked over, and jumped, "Holy mother of Sunday! That's uglier than a pug in a rug! Stand back, ladies!" "We can handle this, Barb," Brie said confidently as the motel manager burst into the room. "Don't be silly, girls. You're not equipped for this. Let me show you how it's done!" Barb exclaimed, picking up a nearby vase and holding it like a club. Barb accidentally knocked over a lamp with her makeshift weapon. Brie and Kayla rolled their eyes but couldn't help but laugh at Barb's clumsiness. With a final swing, Barb hit the beast square in the nose, causing it to stumble backward and retreat out of the hotel room. "That's right, get out of my motel! That'll teach you not to mess with Barb!" she exclaimed triumphantly, posing like a superhero. Brie and Kayla couldn't help but cheer, grateful for Barb's unexpected help. "Thanks, Barb," Kayla said, still chuckling. "Don't mention it, girls. Just doing my job," Barb replied, still holding the vase like a weapon.

"Well I know one thing, Kayla. We need to go back to the campsite, get our stuff, and end this beast's reign of harassment," Brie said. "You're right. Thank you, Barb! Sorry about the mess!" Kayla said, apologizing. "Be safe, and good luck, ladies!" Barb, the hotel manager, said.

As Kayla and Brie returned to the campsite, they walked silently; each lost in their thoughts. Kayla couldn't shake off the feeling of being watched, but Brie was determined to end this once and for all. Then, suddenly, they heard a rustling in the bushes. Kayla's heart rate shot up as she looked around, trying to find the noise source. Brie, however, was ready for action. "Okay, listen up, monster!" Brie shouted, her voice echoing through the forest. "We're going to take back what's ours, and you can't stop us!" Kayla looked at Brie with a mix of admiration and concern. "Are you sure that's a good idea?" Kayla asked. Brie shrugged. "We can't let it intimidate us. Besides, it's not like we have anything to lose now." As they approached the campsite, they saw that their belongings were still there, but everything was scattered around as if someone had ransacked the area.

As Kayla and Brie prepared to confront the beast one last time, they realized they had no weapons. So they searched their backpacks, hoping to find something they could use to defend themselves. Finally, Kayla pulls out a water bottle and brandishes it like a weapon. "Okay, I'm going to distract it with this, and then you can hit it with your... your... um, what do you have?" Brie sheepishly pulls out a bag of trail mix. "I don't know; maybe I can throw this at it?" Kayla rolls her eyes. "Great, we're going to defeat a monster with a water bottle and a bag of trail mix. This is going to be epic."

As they approached the area where their belongings were scattered, Kayla and Brie saw movement from the corner of their eyes. They both froze their makeshift weapons at the ready. Suddenly, the beast burst out of the bushes, growling and snarling. Kayla threw the water bottle at the beast, but it bounced off harmlessly. Brie threw the bag of trail mix, but it missed the mark and hit a nearby tree instead. The beast charged at them, and the girls dodged out of the way just in time. "Okay, this isn't working," Kayla said, looking around frantically for anything else they could use. Suddenly, she saw a fallen tree branch nearby. She picked it up and brandished it like a club. "This is more like it!" Brie, meanwhile, had found a rock and was holding it tightly in her hand. "Let's do this!" she shouted, running at the beast with all her might. Kayla swung the tree branch, but the beast was too fast and dodged out of the way. Brie threw the rock, but it missed the mark again. The beast charged at them again, and this time, Kayla was ready. She swung the branch with all her might, hitting the beast square in the face.

The beast let out a yelp and stumbled backward. Brie picked up the rock again and threw it at the beast's head, hitting it squarely. The beast fell to the ground, dazed and confused. Brie and Kayla cautiously approached the beast. But as they got closer, they realized it was no longer moving. They had done it! They had defeated the beast that had been terrorizing them for days. "We did it!" Brie exclaimed, jumping up and down with excitement. Kayla smiled and hugged her. "We sure did! And with a water bottle, a bag of trail mix, a tree branch, and a rock, no less." They spent the rest of the day packing up their belongings. As they drove away from the campsite, they couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. They had faced their fears and came out victorious. And they knew that they would never forget the adventure they had just had together. "Next time time, Brie, let's just Netflix and chill at home," said Kayla. "An excellent idea, Kayla," Brie said in agreement.

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