Story By: Alexis Geisinger
Sehun crunched his way through the autumn leaves, avoiding fallen branches as he walked further into the dense woods. “Anyone?” He called shakily. “Jongin? Luhan? Guys, this isn’t funny!”
No one answered. Heck, he didn’t even hear anyone laughing in the distance. Sehun shivered and pulled his red cloak tighter around him and he clutched the basket he was carrying. He cursed his friend Lay in his friend for forcing him into a Red Riding Hood costume. What did Lay think he was? A crossdresser? As if.
“I’m so stupid,” Sehun muttered to himself, slumping against a tree. It was obvious he had been ditched (again), and on Halloween night too! He pulled out his trusty flip phone and opened it. Sehun sighed in defeat. No service bars, and no GPS to get him anywhere close to home.
Sehun peeked up at the sky. Late evening light filtered through the trees from ahead of him. “That’s west, I think,” he pondered out loud, “and we parked in the north lot, so… This way!”
He got up and turned left, hoping his internal compass would help him out for once. Sehun had no sense of direction whatsoever.
The woods around him started to darken. Sehun looked around in fear. He didn’t really believe much in ghosts or spirits, but he was a firm believer of serial killers. This was the perfect setting and time of day for them to come out and stalk him.
Sehun didn’t enjoy feeling like a wounded deer.
A twig broke under him and he jumped. He laughed at himself after realising that he was starting to scare himself. “It’s okay, I’m alright… Just have to get out of here before sundown.”
He glanced around himself again and frowned. Dusk was setting in heavily, and the bare trees were growing darker. Light fog from the nearby lake was rolling in already, painting the background of the forest a smoky gray. It was unsettling, to say the least. He didn’t even hear any squirrels or birds that earlier had managed to keep him company.
“I’m in so much trouble,” Sehun muttered. He continued on his path and came upon a creek that was barely more than a trickle. He easily hopped over and walked until he couldn’t hear the running water. Sehun really regretted even coming in the first place. He could be bundled up in his cozy dorm bed watching movies with Lay, but instead he might have to sleep under a tree.
He stopped in mid-step and wavered. Should he stop walking and turn the other direction? But what if he was almost to the parking lot? Sehun didn’t think they had walked this far in the first place, but maybe he didn’t notice because he was with other people.
With a shake of the head, Sehun continued on his way. Just a little further, and then he’d turn back.
That was a huge mistake.
The trees were thicker here, with bigger branches and more than enough roots sticking out of the ground. Sehun was once again reminded of “serial killer season,” and he shivered. He put his hand on the tree in front of him to rest and keep his balance.
Suddenly, he heard a rustling in the bushes to his left. Sehun froze and turned slowly, only to exhale softly when a rabbit scurried out from the brush, running past him so fast it was almost a blur.
His easiness only lasted for a moment, because he then heard a growl of a higher volume. Involuntarily Sehun remembered the stories that Lay had told him. They were about a creature that lived in the woods, and thought of them as his home. It was supposedly a hellhound, with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth and eyes the color of blood. It’s paws could take of a human head with one swing and when it was all done with someone, it left the body in the parking lot for other people to discover.
Of course, no one had ever seen an actual occurrence of this happening.
The growl became a snarl and Sehun dug for his phone before finding it and flipping it open. He was soon reminded that he had no service here, and the light lit up the area like a supernova. Sehun just killed himself.
He didn’t even have time to scream as a massive shadow threw itself at him. Sehun couldn’t even run. He just stared as the creature skidded to a stop right in front of him.
Now, to Sehun’s frantic eyes, the beast looked to be the size of an elephant. It’s red eyes glared at him and it’s teeth gleamed white in the light.
“N-nice dog,” Sehun stammered, creeping backwards. “N-n-n-nice doggy…. I-I’m just gonna go, kay…?” He tried to turn and run but before he could even make it, his foot caught on a tree root and he went tumbling. Sehun couldn’t comprehend anything. Just that he was in a lot of pain and he could barely move his left leg. “Crap… crap, crap, crap!”
“Hey, are you alright?”
“No! Go away! Don’t eat me!” Sehun cried, turning around on his stomach and trying to stand. A strong hand pushed him back down. “No!”
“Calm down! I’m not going to- er… well, the wolf isn’t going to eat you.”
“Huh?” Sehun questioned, turning his head. There was a man standing there, where the wolf use to be. In the weird light of his phone, Sehun could see his face clearly. Bleached blond hair, tan skin, and a kittenish mouth that showed sharp canines when the young man smirked. His eyes were those of a cats, and the pools of blood red were set in a hard, indifferent look. He had a tattoo below his left eye that looked like a teardrop. His clothes were very modern looking. A standard black leather jacket, light blue jeans, and black combat boots. His wrists and fingers were adorned in light jewelry.
“The wolf won’t eat you,” the man said, holding a hand out to Sehun. “You okay?”
Sehun stared at him and the man raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“Y-You’re the-the werewolf…”
The other blinked in shock before smiling and rubbing the back of his neck. “Uh… yeah…”
Sehun blinked at him before smiling widely. He didn’t think the other would actually admit it. “Wow! Seriously?”
“Uh, yes? Why are you so happy? I scared you, after all!” The wolf looked so uncomfortable.
Sehun still had a smile on his face. “It-It’s just so cool! I’m standing in front of an actual werewolf and he doesn’t want to kill me!”
The other boy’s eyebrow twitched. “You know, I never meant to come after you in the first place. I meant to scare you away, not make you break a leg.”
“It’s alright,” Sehun waved a hand at him. He tried to stand up, only to fall back onto the ground. “Ow… I-I think I sprained my ankle.”
“After taking a fall like that, it’s no surprise,” the other boy said. He seemed to hesitate before leaning over Sehun. “Put your arms around my neck.”
Sehun looked at him weirdly. “Why?”
The boy huffed. “Do you wanna get out of here or not? Just put your arms around my neck!”
“Jeez, no need to be so rude,” Sehun mumbled, putting his arms around the stranger’s neck. He yelped a bit when the taller boy lifted him up no problem and started walking.
“Umm… the north side parking lot.”
That earned him a look. “What? You’re all the way on the south side.”
“I’m bad with directions, okay?” Sehun grumbled.
“I can see that,” the other said, chuckling when Sehun hit his arm.
Sehun huffed and settled back down, gazing at the trees as they passed by smoothly. He glanced back up at the stranger’s face. “So… I’m Sehun. I’m a college student at Seoul University in the dance department.”
“Hm,” the stranger said.
Not much else was exchanged. Sehun didn’t want to annoy the nice man that was currently helping him get back home. However, his curiosity won over. “What’s your name?”
The man peered at him for a moment before looking straight ahead at the path again. “Huang Zitao, at your service.”
Sehun nodded. “I like that name. Hey, am I bothering you? I like to talk.”
Tao smiled a little. “No, you’re not bothering me.”
He didn’t elaborate, so Sehun took it at face value. He chattered away as Tao continued walking him to the parking lot. Zitao didn’t say a lot, but nodded and gave noises that showed he was listening to what Sehun had to say.
They soon reached the lot, and Sehun breathed a sigh of relief. “My car is the gray Buick - over there!” Well, it was the only one in the lot period. “Thank you for going through the trouble to bring me here.”
Tao shrugged. “Well, it was kind of my fault anyways. It was the least I could do.” He toted Sehun over to the car and opened the door for the boy before dropping him in. “You gonna be okay?”
Sehun nodded. “Yeah. After all, it was my left leg that got injured. I’ll be fine. And thank you!”
“You’re welcome,” Tao nodded. A look passed over his face. It looked close to regret, but was gone the next second and Tao turned to walk away.
“Uh, Tao! Wait!”
Tao turned back to look at Sehun, who was smiling at him. He walked over to the injured boy, only to have a cellphone shoved into his hands. “What…?”
“I don’t have many friends,” Sehun explained. “Maybe we could hang out sometime. You have a phone, right?”
Tao nodded. “I have a phone.”
“Well, then put your number in. I’ll call you sometime!”
Zitao grinned and opened Sehun’s contact list. He quickly saved his home number and passed the phone back. “I don’t have any friends either, so don’t forget to call.”
“That’s not true. You have one friend now,” Sehun laughed. “And I won’t!”
Zitao chuckled along with him before he shook his head and turned away. “I need to get home, Sehun. I’m sure that someone is worried about you.”
Sehun hummed for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, Lay must be worried sick,” he murmured to himself. He turned back to face the fading figure of Tao. “I’ll call tomorrow, Tao - so be home!” he yelled. He grinned when a hand waved at him in response.
Having a werewolf as a friend… this would be interesting.