GONE MISSING

It was a bright, sunny day, but you would have never guessed it underneath the thick canopy of tree branches. Bekka perched with her back against a large tree trunk. She preferred the intense shade the limbs and leaves provided. It felt more like home than the harsh sunlight. 

    Moving quietly, she stood from her seat. After a quick stretch, Bekka started down an overgrown path, twigs and old leaves crunching under the rubber soles of her boots. 

    Most people didn’t venture into this part of the woods anymore. Rumors had gone around about bears terrorizing the area after several hikers had gone missing a few months ago. All their bones had been found picked completely clean of their flesh. Their packs laid around them or even still attached to some of their backs. Investigators assumed it was all the wild life living in the thick forrest. 

    Regardless, it didn’t hinder Bekka. She had practically grown up in these trees. Not once had she eve seen signs of a bear or any other large creature. She had no explanation for what happened to those people, but that wouldn’t keep her out of her favorite place. The woods had always been a sanctuary to her -- a place that never failed to make her feel better even when she was at her lowest point. No, nothing would keep her away. 

    As she continued down the trail, she closed her eyes, taking in the peaceful sounds around her. Nature had a way of making her problems melt away. Trusting her senses, she continued down walking with her eyes closed. 

    Bekka felt a shiver go up her spine. Something was off. She opened her eyes, bringing her feet to a halt. Straining her ears, she listened for the normal sounds of the forrest. It was quiet -- unnaturally quiet. The hair on her arms began to rise. Unease filled her stomach. Her eyes darted around the dark trees, looking for whatever was out of place. 

    She could smell it before it came into view. The intense scent of rotting flesh. It was enough to make her sick. The dark hood moved into her line of sight. A growl echoed around her as she locked eyes with the creature. She couldn’t see any of its features, but she could feel its icy stare down to her soul. 

    Frozen in her spot, she trembled. This is what had attacked those other people. She’d been so lucky not to encounter it sooner. She spent everyday in these woods. How could she be so stupid? 

    The creature swooped in on her in the blink of an eye. She didn’t have time to scream as the fear engulfed her. 

    They found her months later. Her bones were completely picked clean. Investigators were stumped. There had to be some predator in the woods that they didn’t know about -- something undiscovered. Something sinister.