The Family

Contributor: C.J. Johnson

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He left his damp, small home and stood blinking in the morning sunlight. The forest was quiet and still , its calmness disturbed only by the chorus of birds and insects. It was so peaceful, yet dread and fear stirred within him at the journey he and his family had to take today.

He raised his big arms overhead and stretched, growling as his stiff limbs burned painfully, the consequences of sleeping in cramped quarters. He tried to ignore his fear and enjoy the morning when his children suddenly came bursting out of their home, their loud chatter instantly shattering the peace and quiet. The boy was cringing and protecting his face as the girl held her fist up, her expression thunderous. He turned his back on them and mapped out the safest route for he and his family to take in his mind.

It really didn't matter what route they took, either way, it was incredibly dangerous.

A sudden thud and startled cry rang out from behind and he turned slowly, his temper rising. He found the girl sprawled on her back, her arms splayed as she scowled at her brother. The boy looked surprised, as was he. Smaller than his sister, it was always she that pushed him around. As pleased as he was to see the boy sticking up for himself, he did not need their nonsense - not today. He grunted a warning to them and both children immediately startled at his tone.


The children faced him, their heads bowed, arms behind their back. He immediately felt guilty; it was not their fault that he felt physically sick with worry. He rubbed both of their heads affectionately and each child nuzzled into him. He picked each up in one arm and swung them around, their squeals of delight echoing round the forest. This is where he was happiest, right here with his family, away from trouble and bother. No fear accompanied them on a regular basis, no danger to hide from, no worries.

But today, today was not one of those peaceful days.

The children's mother came out of their home and joined them, the fear evident on her face that she didn't even try to mask. He rubbed her face in reassurance, but she refused to look at him, looking at the children with horror in her eyes. She was picturing awful things happening to them, and he would have given anything at that moment to erase the dark thoughts from her mind.

But he couldn't, for the same dark thoughts tormented his mind also.

The children's mother carried the sack in which they would bring their food back in, as much as they could carry so that this journey would not have to be repeated for some time. The family took off as one, the children excited and happy at first, pleased to be out of familiar surroundings. They soon grew quiet and fearful however as the family ventured further into unknown territory.

Many miles they walked, each alert for any signs of danger. As they neared the place where they gathered their food, a noise reached his ears. He knew the animals of the forest, knew the individual noises they made - this noise, he had never heard before. More sounds reached the terror-stricken family.

Whatever animal it was, there was more than one of it.

He followed the sound quietly, his curiosity aroused in spite of his fear. A large opening of flat land lay just ahead, and he slowly parted the bushes to see through.

He immediately wished he had not.

Terror and disbelief gripped him as he stared at the large group of animals. He had heard stories of one being seen, but never a whole group like this. He had never seen one before, but his father had. The strange being that walked upright through the woods. The being that resembled he and his family, but yet was completely different and alien. He observed the hair on the creature's bodies as they walked around, making unusual sounds and gestures as they communicated with each other. Something brushed his leg and he looked down. The girl clung to him tenaciously, her eyes looking up at him full of fear and awe.

He had to get his family away.

He took one last look at the strange creatures, their hair fascinating him. It was so sparse, only really confined to their heads. The texture and colour of the hair on their bodies baffled him. It differed greatly to any animal hair that he had ever seen.

Backing away slowly, the family turned and walked back the way they came, leaving Bigfoot- prints in the sticky mud behind them.

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My name is C.J. Johnson and I'm 30 years old. My first horror novel entitled Female of the Species will be released shortly in digital format and I'm currently writing my second novel, which is a thriller. I can be 'Liked' on Facebook for anyone interested in my work.
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