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It was a warm Spring day. I was watching my 7 year old son and his friends play in our giant backyard. I was a single father at the time, and my son, Kevin, was quite adventurous. Sometimes more than I liked him to be. He never knew his mother – she left by the time he was 2 months old.

We lived in a small town. A quite a few people here are superstitious, thus there are many strange rumors floating around the town. An insanely popular one here is about the forest at the southern edge of the town. Whoever went into there, has never returned. It has escalated to the point where no one dares to go near the forest anymore, and it has been given the name “Forest of the Lost”. Unfortunately, our house is right next to this forest, thus we don’t get many visitors.

Due to my sons adventurous nature, and the fact that he is quite mature for his age, I do let him play outside while I’m not watching, albeit I normally I am.

However, one afternoon as I was preparing dinner, my son was outside in our backyard playing his friends. Or so I thought. At about 5:25, I heard an extremely loud scream coming from the forest. A child’s scream. I instantly stopped what I was doing and ran outside. I didn’t see anything. My first thought was “The forest”. I ran across our backyard and into the Forest of the Lost. I spent about 5 or 10 minutes running around in the forest, searching for any sign of my son or his friends. Eventually I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw something move in the corner of my eye. It looked like a small foot. A child’s foot. I ran in the direction I saw the foot. I saw drag marks of what looked like 2 legs. I followed the marks and was lead to a small clearing. There was a large boulder in the middle of the clearing, surrounded by smaller ones in a circle. All of them were flipped onto a smooth side. I saw my son and his friends sitting on their bottoms, leaning against the middle boulder. They appear to be unconscious. I went to grab them, when something stopped me. A voice from behind me.

“Now, now, it’s not nice to take other peoples things”

I quickly spun around to see what appeared to be a man in jeans, running shoes, and a dark grey hoodie, with the hood pulled over his face.

“Who are you? Why did you take my son? What is this place?” I shouted at him. This is when I realized it wasn’t a him.

It slowly pulled the hood off, revealing a dark purple face, pure black, empty eyes, no nose, and an unnatural grin. It’s rigid, sharp teeth showing. I only had a moment to absorb its disturbing features, before the boulders surrounding my son and his friends erupted into flames, blinding me for just a second.

When I could see again, the creature had changed. It was no longer wearing anything. Its facial features stayed the same. With its clothing gone, I could witness this terrifying being in its new form. It was covered in dark, purple, scaly skin. What appeared to be a tail dropped down from his back, and two large wings slowly unfolded themselves. I have now felt the true meaning of terror.

“W-what are you?” I stammered.

“I am he who roams these forests. I save those who have lost their way” It replied.

At that point, I was filled with utter fear. But I was not about to leave my son to this creature.

“These children belong to me, now.” With that, the flames exploded, creating an ever brighter light than previously. When the light was gone, the fire was put out, and my son and the creature were gone.

I ran out of the forest as fast as I could, stumbling over a few things as I was still somewhat blinded from the light. By the time I got back inside it was 6.

Someone saw me go into the woods and come back out, and this town being as small as it is, word spread fast. People asked me what I saw. They continually pestered me with questions, until I finally gave in and told them what had happened. Only 3 people ever noticed my son was missing.

From that day on, I became known as “The Man who survived the Lost”.