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    It was the 16th of December, 2013 and the chill of a cold winter’s night was blowing through the broken window of a fourteen year old boy’s shed of a home. As he laid there on the floor, he thought about how his father had gone so fast. He felt that he didn’t have enough time with his father. The boy was very sad about this and then he started thinking about what would have happened if he hadn’t run away from home. He wasn’t in the mood for feeling bad for himself so he got up to start looking for dry twigs to make a fire so he wouldn’t freeze to death. The boy started talking to himself so he wouldn’t feel alone in the cold, bitter, midnight of the woods.

    As he began gathering twigs he heard a noise behind him. To him it sounded like a stick cracking beneath someone’s, or something’s, foot. But there was way too much snow to hear that. Then he turned around slowly and heard the snapping of a huge branch falling from a tree. The boy watched a dead tree limb fall right on top of his shed, completely crushing it. He watched in silence. When it was over, he noticed a figure standing behind the shed. It was a tall, thick figure not moving an inch.

    The boy could barely make out the being due to the darkness of the woods. He could only wonder who, or what was standing in front of his face as it disappeared at the blink of an eye. He began again, scrummaging through the snow searching for more twigs that have not been soaked by the snow. Once he gathered enough of them, he cleared area to start the fire the he had planned on making earlier. While he was doing this, the boy kept watch with his peripheral vision to spot the figure again.

    Later that morning, the boy had a small fire going with a dead rabbit cooking over the fire pit. As he waited for his breakfast, he kept seeing what he thought was the figure but was only branches hanging from trees in the distance. Once the boy ate, he set out to find another abandoned shack somewhere in the woods. He had nothing but a coat, a thin pair of snow pants, and a pair of snow boots that hurt his feet.

    Every time the boy would come close to a town, or a house in the woods, or any kind of civilization he would go a different way as quickly as he could until it was out of sight. He was very cautious about were he and if there was any people around. Unfortunately he never found another shack to live in. The boy did find a barn to live in but he was discovered by the farmer that owned it while he was taking a nap. He barely escaped the police that were called by the farmer to come and get him. His parents called the police and called a missing child report a day after boy ran away.

    One chilly afternoon the boy walking through the woods and he heard another noise, it was just like the noise he heard when he saw the mysterious figure a few days ago. He stopped moving and began looking around quickly, skimming the area for any movement. He noticed what looked like a small tree, but really turned out to be the figure. He stared at the being and waited for it to do something, hoping that it wouldn’t disappear like in their last encounter.

    As they both stood there staring at each other, the boy decided to make a move. He started to walk closer to the being. At first he took one step, then three, and then five. It seemed like the figure wasn’t getting any closer. To the boy, it looked like it was two-hundred, maybe two-hundred and fifty feet. But every step was like he was staying in the same spot. No matter how close he thought he was, the figure didn’t get any closer.

    As the boy tried to get closer to the figure, he had no idea that there was a black bear sneaking up behind him. The figure moved it’s arm and pointed towards the boy. The boy stopped and squinted his eyes trying to see what the being was doing. When he saw that it was pointed at him, at least that’s what the boy thought, he stopped moving. All of the sudden, he heard the snarl of the bear that was creeping up behind him. He slowly turned around and then fell on his rear in fright. The bear stood up on its hind legs and growled at the boy, with drool dripping out of its mouth.

    The boy sat there waiting for the bear to maul him to death, but the bear was frightened by something. As he watched the animal run away, he turned around knowing that there would be something obviously scarier than the bear. But it was not what he was expecting. It was the figure. The boy quickly stood up in front of the being. The figure stood there with no expression on it’s pale face that was barely visible due to a hood that was covering its head. The boy looked up and down at the figure, inspecting it. He noticed that it didn’t have any legs, it hovered above the earth.

    As they stood there looking at each other, the boy attempted to speak to the being. He asked if it had a name. The figure stared at the boy without reply. The boy asked again wondering if the being could hear him. Then the boy asked if it could hear him. The figure still didn’t answer. As the boy was standing there he could hear a people off in the distance. He immediately began looking around for the hunters. They were now close enough for the boy to hear what they were saying.

    He laid down in the snow hoping that his light gray colored coat would keep him out of sight. As this was happening, the boy didn’t notice that the figure had mysteriously vanished again. He was filled with disappointment when the figure had disappeared before he could ask it more questions. A few days later the boy found another abandoned cabin and assumed no one would come to explore, or reestablish the cabin. He stayed there for a few weeks and eventually began fixing up the house. He was able to get running water and a fireplace for heating when it gets really cold.

    It was almost spring when the boy turned 15. He now had more encounters than he could count with the figure. He also named it ‘Shadow’. Every now and then he would go out in the woods and look for firewood and see Shadow watching over him. The boy never knew what the shadow was there for except to protect him. That is the only thing the boy could imagine Shadow was there for. He always showed up when danger was around. The still mysterious figure, now known as Shadow, protected the boy until he grew up and lived on by himself.

    The End

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