• Leaves fell silently to the ground as I walked the lonely path home. There was no moon, no stars, and the sun had long since left the sky. With no source of light to be seen, the forest looks different, eerie even.
    I turned around quickly, but all I could see down the long and lonely road was blackness.
    I could have sworn I heard someone call my name, I thought to myself. Oh well, probably just my imagination. And I walked on without another thought.
    The trees grew thicker up ahead and I began to wonder if I had taken the right turn back at the fork in the road. I decided I must have, but I simply couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness that had settled on my heart. Then, something caught hold of me.
    I looked down to find that the thing that had grabbed me was simply a branch. "Keira, you're losing it," I muttered as I started again.
    Seconds faded to minutes, and the minutes finally passed to hours. Where was I? Suddenly, out of the darkness, a man emerged. He was tall, wearing all black and his face obscured by his hat.
    "Who are you?" He asked without looking up.
    My heart started racing even faster than before. "K-Keira" I stammered.
    He seemed to be studying me as he said nothing for a few moments.
    "You are lost." He said simply. "This place is dangerous, you must leave."Then, without another word, he diappeared back into the trees.
    Naturally, I didn't believe him. I walked through this way when I was younger and nothing bad had ever happened. So on I went.
    After another thirty minutes I came to the place where two roads met.
    "I've been here already."
    Trees loomed ominously over the path to the left. The right path, was darker than anything I thought possible. It was as if it was painted by the gods of Hell, and they sat there, just waiting for their next victime. Slowly, I stepped to the left and began walking again.
    I hadn't gone far when a bloodcurdling scream rang out through the night. Terrified, I ran farther down the path. Maybe he was right, maybe this place is dangerous. The scream grew louder as I ran, louder and louder until I thought my ears would bleed. Then, as quickly as it had come, it stopped. I stopped too, too scared to even think.
    There it was again; someone was calling for me.
    I didn't wait around to figure out who - or what - it was. I ran, faster than I ever had in my life.
    Five minutes later, my lungs were screaming at me to stop. I was not a runner, and I had exhausted myself.
    Another shriek pierced the night like a knife. And only after a moment of sheer agony did I realize that it was coming from... me. The world around me was spinning violently, threatening to knock me off my feet. I prayed to God in heaven that it would stop, but it didn't. But, in all the madness, I was able to find a person dressed in black crouched behind some bushes. The only reason I saw him was because his white mask seemed to glow in the night. I stopped screaming and all at once the world came to a stand-still.
    The man stood up and approached me slowly. The moon had finally risen into the sky and with its light, I saw a lump in the pocket of the man's jacket.
    "I told you this place was dangerous." He told me ominously. "Now, for not heeding my warning, you shall never leave."
    I was gripped by fear, unable, I thought, to move. That is, before he withdrew his blade.
    His eyes glowed with excitement behind the red circles on his mask. As he lunged forward, I started to run. I screamed as I ran; my black hair hanging in fromt of my face made it almost impossible to see where I was going. Tree roots stuck out on the path, and I tripped over one and it sent me flying. Face first, I landed in a puddle.
    "Stop running Keira, it's useless."
    I pulled myself to my feet and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. The man was nowhere to be seen.
    "Who are you?!" I screamed.
    When no one answered, I scanned the area frantically, for any sign of life.
    "Who I am is none of your concern."
    I whipped around only to see nothing.
    Then, there he was. Looming over me like a demon from Hell.
    "What do you want from me?" I asked through my tears.
    A sudden howl rang through the night. It sounded as inhuman as this man looked. It seemed to scare him because he disappeared.
    I jumped to my feet and ran down the path. And after a half hour, I found home. Quickly, I ran to the door and locked it behind me. Then, I locked all the windows, and double checked the doors.
    It was almost midnight before I found myself in bed. My soft, warm bed. That was all I remembered before I drifted off into a deep, dreamless sleep.
    My eyes flew open. What was that?
    What could it be?
    I got out of bed and walked down the hall to the kitchen. Rubbing the sleep out if my eyes, I opened the door. No one. I gave a great yawn. Stupid practical jokers I thought to myself. Then I turned and headed back down the hall.
    I should really take that Halloween decoration down.
    My heart stopped. It was July, I'd taken all the Halloween stuff down months ago; and to top it off, I didn't have a statue of a man in black.
    Unwillingly, I turned around. He stood there, silent, unmoving. Then, in one swift movement, he had his arm around my neck.
    "LET ME GO!" I was frantic. I kicked, and slapped, thrashed, and clawed but it was all in vain. He was simply too strong for me.
    "Keira, stop struggling." He whispered to me gently. "You're hurting my feelings."
    I risked a look at his face, it was still covered by the mask, and his eyes glowed with pervers pleasure.
    His grip around my neck tightened, I didn't know how much longer I could hold off. I threw my arm up and, in one swift movement, pulled off his mask. Instantly, he let go, screaming curses at me.
    Tears ran down my face. My father, my own father no, it couldn't be. He'd never do something like this... NEVER!
    Confusin grabbing hold of me, I walked over to him. "Dad?" I asked him carefully. "Is that you?"
    He looked me right in the eye and smiled.
    In that instant I found myself on the floor, in a pool of blood.
    He just laughed hystarically. My side throbbed. Slowly, he bent down and pulled his knife out of my ribs, then he took my hand.
    "I love you." He told me as he stabbed the top of my arm with the blade. Then - slowly - he drug the knife down the length of my arm. I screamed and cried as the pain grew steadily. "I love you." The next thing I knew, he had his arm held high over his head.
    Then he brought it down.