Jen Ritchie, born Jennifer Courtney Allison Ritchie. Has always been a troublemaker, playfully dubbed “Double Trouble” when she and her twin sister, Jessica, won “volunteer of the year award” while they were still in high school. After graduating she went off to study Library Services before realizing her true passion, writing.
Currently, I am working on the following projects.
I am running, my bare feet pounding against the forest floor. Tree roots, and sharp rocks cut into my feet. I feel my blood oozing out till the bottom of my feet are completely red. The pain is relentless, even the adrenalin flooding through my system can’t push it away. It doesn’t matter though. I wasn’t about to stop, something's chasing me.
In the distance, not too far behind me I can hear twigs snapping. He’s… It’s catching up. I don’t know what it was all I know was it couldn’t possibly be human. Not with the way it moved, like streaming a movie on crap Internet. Jumping ahead and stopping then jumping again. Each jump followed by a sickening crack of bones snapping in or out of place, I couldn’t tell. It had long black talons instead of nails, they dragged on the ground as it moved making an eerie scraping sound. Its sharp eyes glowed blood red. It stood hunched over but still nearly 7 foot tall. Red drool dripped out of its mouth which I can only image was once blood. Even in the dark I can tell its skin is not a normal color, mostly a brilliant white, but some spots, where flesh hung off its body was a sickening grey. I only saw it for a single second before I ran but those features will forever be engraved into my memory.
I’m with Dad, he’s teaching how to skip rocks. He bends his wrist back till his arm and hand make a 90 degree angle.
“See this.” he says.
I nod. Then mimic him.
He smiles than brings his arm back. I do that too.
“Good. Now you want to throw your arm out.” He throws his arm in slow motion, so I can see exactly what he does. “Then at the last moment, you snap you wrist forward. That’s what makes the rock skip. The spin.” He turns his rock in hand.
“See?” He asks.
“Ready to try?”
I nod again, multiple times, to show my eagerness.
“Alright.” He comes up behind me, he crouches so he’s the same height as me, then he puts his hand over mine.
I giggle smiling, before I nod. He smiles back.
“Okay, draw back.” He brings my hand back with his, all the way back to a throw position.
“On 3. 1.. 2.. 3.” Our arms fly forward, at the last second we flick out and send the rock flying. The rock spins hits the water, then shoots back up. The only proof it touched were the tiny ripples running away from the impact. It hits again, and again. 4 times in total.
I smile and look back at my Dad. He’s huge, like a giant. 6 feet tall, he’s nearly twice my size. He has huge arms, one of them could easily be bigger than me. Tattoos cover his arms, they glow a faint red. When I bring it up to Mom she say’s I have a good imagination. Dad says she can’t see them because she doesn’t want to, and it’s best not to bring it up. So I don’t.
Starting above his right eyebrow all the way down to the left corner of his mouth is a nasty scar. The red almost as intense as the tattoos. He would be scary if it weren’t for his eyes. They’re turquoise like mine. They always have a gentle look, even when I do something bad.
I gasp as he picks me up. He holds me high so I meet his eyes.
“What’s in that little head of yours?” He asks, shaking me.
He raises his left eyebrow.
“Let’s skip the rock again.” I say.
“The same rock?”
“Okay, whatever you say boss.”
It’s getting dark. The sun’s almost down, this’ll be our last throw. He walks out into the lake. He ducks under the water, searching for the rock. I wait. 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi.
I start to feel nervous, “Dad!” I call.
6 Mississippi, 7 Mississippi, 8 Mississippi, 9 Mississippi.
“DAD!” I scream so loud my lungs hurt.
His head pops out of the water. I smile when I see him.
“Got it.” He calls.
He swims back to shore. He goes to his position behind me. He holds me tight, soaking my back. I look back and smile at him. He leans over and kisses my forehead, “Ready?” he asks.
I scream. Dad’s eyes widen, but he doesn’t know. A monster stands behind him. Its glowing red eyes peer at me over his shoulder. Dad starts to turn but before he does the monster bites his neck. Dad screams. I stare in horror. Dad elbows the monster in the stomach, it lets go, just for a moment, but that’s all he needs. He dashes forward and grabs me.
I blink. We’re in the woods right outside of the police station.
“Go get help.” Dad says, pushing me.
I shake my head.
“Now, Twyla.” I look up at him. His eyes are stern. He never looks like that. A twig snaps in the distance.
I turn towards the sound of cars and run.
I trip over a tree branch. No. I can’t catch myself I’m too slow. I can only watch as I fall to the ground. The impact sends vibrations though my body. I can feel it, it’s on me, its breath hot against my neck. It leans in pressing its face against my neck. It breaths in along my neck as if to capture my scent. A shiver runs down my spine. I’m going to die.
“Your nexxxt.” It whispers.