He woke up with a start, James did. He had always had bad dreams, ever since he was a little boy. Some had stayed with him all his twenty-one years and he tried to treat them as a friend, one he did not particularly like but merely endured. The dream that woke him on this night was not a new one, it was one he had ventured through many times. He smiled as he wiped the sweat from his brow and wriggled a little uncomfortably in his now sweat ridden sheets. “You might want to try harder next time,” he said lightly under his breath whilst staring up at the wooden beams of his small house.
“I don’t think I need to,” said the man sitting on the window sill.
James’s heart nearly burst through his chest with fear. This man was the ugliest, smelliest and shortest man he had ever seen. He had begrudgingly grown to know the man well. His name was Sly and sly he was. He had been visiting him in his nightmares since he was a boy, now here he was sitting on his window sill.
James bunched up his blanket around him pulling himself away into the corner of his bed.
“That was an adventure wasn’t it old pal,” Said the ugly man
“You could say that,” James said sharply
“Now, now, don’t be like that. I know you are scared, but I am merely here to take you on our last trip together”
James’s brow furrowed at that, he had been on countless cat and mouse chases with Sly and he knew he was in for some form of terror if he went with him, yet he felt as if he could not say no. He got up out of his small bed and placed a blue cotton long-sleeved shirt over his broad shoulders. Then placed his thickest jacket on, whilst not taking his eyes off Sly. Sly was smiling through this whole experience. He enjoyed James’s discomfort and giggled to himself gleefully every few seconds. James thought he could physically see Sly getting uglier by the second. Snot dribbled down Sly’s face as he stood up off the window sill and turned towards the forest adjacent to James’s house.
“Follow me if you’re fast enough and strong enough young buck.”
Young buck was the name Sly had always called James as James was super quick, very strong and over a foot taller than him. James was just finished lacing up his pants with its long hunting knife strapped to the hip as Sly started running. Okay, here we go. James thought to himself as he bounded through the open window after the disgusting man.
Off the two of them went, sprinting through the forest that James usually caught game and fresh elk from. James was laughing as he ran, much to his surprise and he knew he was much faster than Sly, yet he could not gain any ground on him. Up a rock face they went, down a steep hill, they ran over small brush and all the while dodging tree branches and felled logs.
Suddenly Sly turned as he ran and smirked a black-toothed smile, he jotted to the right and then dove off a cliff into what James knew to be a freshwater river. James, who was perhaps one hundred metres behind, caught up to the cliff’s edge panting hard and sweating bullets. As he peered down into the usually pristine water, he noticed it was brown and green as if it was filled with waste. Yuck, where are you, you foul man.
Then he saw her. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of her profile, she was perhaps in her early twenties, with perfect porcelain skin and long brown flowing hair down her back. She was facing away from him walking out of the river which was now back to its usually perfectly clear pristine condition. As she walked slowly out of the water, he felt embarrassed to be marvelling at her beauty. She was naked. He felt as if he needed to know her and bound down the quickest descent, he knew of to get to her. By this point, she was seated on a boulder waiting for him. She had piercing light green eyes and was the most alluring woman he had ever seen. She smirked at him as he approached, his chest puffed out.
“Hello, my name is James. How do you do?”
“I am well, thank you for asking. I knew you were coming today.” She said with an almost scary smile.
This caught James off guard. How did she know he was coming?
“I hope you are not lost.. My house is not far from here if you perhaps need to replenish your strength with some food and I can offer you assistance where ever you need to go?” James asked suggestively.
“Now what a fantastic idea James! You are too kind.”
She stood up and he noticed her still wet figure through her white fitted top.
“Shall we make our way than kind sir?” She said smirking at him with her eyes
“Sure, follow me!” James said not believing his luck.
The two of them wandered back through the forest, James helping her as he felt she needed, more than once having his hand linger on hers a little more than was necessary. They chatted briefly as they walked about the weather and where she was from. She gave him a short answer of “oh not far, you will know where I am from” and they kept walking. Finally, they arrived back at James’s house, his fire was just about out. He replenished the firewood to make the house cozy again.
As he turned around the girl from the forest had dropped her clothes. James was instantly shocked by her beauty and how much he wanted her. He made his way towards her and felt a spark of fear hit his heart out of nowhere. A question floated into his brain.
“Wait, what is your name? I always knew I would find someone like you” James said with a goofy smile as he grabbed her hands and pulled her closer to him.
She stood back and laughed the most hideous feral laugh James had ever heard. His skin pricked up at this.
Then she stepped forward and passionately kissed him before whispering in his ear.
“Now, now young buck, you know my name I have always been in your life. You just needed to change your heart and the way you see the world”.
– M L Wood