Yay, an update! Anyway, so begins the 2nd gen assault I have planned on the SHH fandom. MWAHAHAHA. Yeeeah, um, this wasn't the first story I wanted to upload since I thought my 2nd gen characters (the kiddies!) needed some intro before being thrown into mayhem, but this is the only thing I've completed in a while and I felt I owed a new story to jeanixxfor being so incredibly sweet and also writing an awesome Alex/Elle story. So this is dedicated to her and also to Stephen King who I had been reading when I wrote this (as I'm sure you can tell when you read it). Also, I've posted on my profile some info on the children if you wish to read. I don't think anyone should get confused though. Enjoy!!! :D

Grim

This story is true.

When it occurred, little Isaac was four, his elder sister was nine and the Shepherd family had been living in their house in Virginia for a year after Alex was transferred to an intelligence division of the Army in Washington, DC.

Alex and Rebecca had gone fishing for the day. For reasons unknown, Rebecca enjoyed sitting on the river with her father. Isaac would have gone, but he was much too little at the time.

Isaac Shepherd was at the stage of development when a child is exceptionally curious and asks many questions about things that are painfully obvious to an adult, however when they are asked to explain these obvious things, they find they cannot. Some things are very difficult to explain, especially to a child.

His mother, a worrisome woman anyway being married to a military officer and mother to a very adventurous and troublesome little girl, didn't mind his questions because she knew if she answered that there could be ghoulies or ghosties in the woods that little Isaac would not go looking for them…unlike his sister who relished the thought of being attacked by an otherworldly creature.

On this particular morning, Isaac was very restless as many four-year-olds can be. He wasn't content to watch morning cartoons or to watch Elle wash the breakfast dishes. He was bored with his books and the dog was asleep somewhere (but the dog was Rebecca's. Not that Isaac wasn't allowed to play with him, but it just didn't seem right. The little boy had much respect for his elder sister).

After Elle had watched him wander up and down the halls of the large house, she suggested they take a walk. It was about nine-thirty in the morning, the perfect time to take a walk as it wasn't too warm outside just yet.

Isaac didn't particularly like the woods that surrounded the Shepherds' countryside home. They scared him as did most things. The house sat on five acres of virgin land, probably the only land like it left in Alexandria. Most of what was actually on their property was fields and meadows, but part of a forest lay within their boundaries as well.

If you were to walk down the dirt path leading into these woods and follow that path as far as you could, you would come to a little pond perfect for swimming on hot days. It was this path that Elle and Isaac followed on their little morning walk.

Isaac skipped a few feet ahead of Elle, singing the song he had just learned in preschool. He was very proud of himself for remembering all the words. Elle watched him fondly as he began drawing shapes and squiggles in the dirt with a stray stick found on the side of the path.

If Isaac strayed too far ahead of his mother, he would pause and let her catch up. He never liked to be too far away from her, especially in the woods. He was a bit of skittish thing by nature.

After Elle had had about enough of hearing the same song over and over about the itsy bitsy spider, she took his little hand in hers and said, "Would you like me to teach you a song that my mother taught me when I was your age?"

"Yeah!" Isaac was at the age where the prospect of his own mother ever being his size was ludicrous, but interesting nonetheless. It was like the idea that the world was bigger than your own town—to a four-year-old anyway.

"My mother used to sing it to me when I got scared about something. It's a silly song, so it kept my mind off of whatever scared me."

"Is it sillier than 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider'?" Isaac asked.

"Much sillier," his mother replied, even though she doubted it. "It's by the band that sings Rebecca's lullabies."

"The one named after icky bugs?"

Elle laughed. "Yes, that one. I taught this song to Rebecca, too."

"I wanna hear it!"

Elle knelt down so she was almost face-to-face with her son. "Sing after me, okay?"

I'd like to be under the sea

In an octopus's garden, in the shade

He'd let us in, knows where we've been

In his octopus's garden, in the shade.

Isaac giggled after repeating the last line. "That is silly, Mommy."

She taught him the rest of the song and sang along with him as they neared the pond. It wasn't warm enough to swim, so they dipped their feet in the cool water. Isaac used his drawing stick to make ripples in the calm surface, delighting in the little waves.

After awhile, Elle pulled him up so they could head back. He was sad to leave, but the walk had helped to cure him of his restlessness.

As they strolled back down the path, Isaac informed Elle that "the octopus's garden" song was his new favorite song ever. Isaac was also in the stage where he dealt only in absolutes. It was either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. Never in between.

"Was that Rebecca's favoritetist song too when she was little?" Isaac asked.

"No…I think her favorite was 'Lucy in the Sky'."

"With diamonds!" Isaac finished happily.

Elle laughed. Isaac darted ahead singing, "Lucy in the sky with diiiiii-a-monds," over and over again. Elle smiled, strolling ahead, listening to the sweet, off-key sounds of Isaac's voice.

Then it stopped.

At first, Elle didn't think anything of it. He probably saw a toad or a butterfly or something of the sort and got distracted from his singing. But then she saw him running as fast as his little legs would carry him back around the bend in the path and behind Elle's legs where he cowered, staring fearfully at something just beyond their sight.

"Isaac…?" She was about to ask what had startled him so, but her question was soon answered as the hugest, blackest and scariest dog she had ever seen in her life appeared between the trees less than ten feet from where mother and son stood.

It was easily twice their family dog's size and when it bared its teeth, Elle could imagine they were sharp enough to tear through human flesh like paper.

She had never been so scared of anything in her life.

However, as a mother—especially as a mother to a small, easily frightened young boy—she had to stay strong. She stared the beast down in an attempt to make it shoo. I'm not something to mess with, she tried to convey with her glare. Go away and leave us be.

The beast wasn't biting.

It took a few steps forward--which were several feet as its stride was four times that of a normal dog. As it got closer, lightly sniffing the air as it do so, Elle could smell sulfur and ash on its fur. She could see flecks of ember on its coat that glowed red as it moved in the dim light coming from the trees.

It stopped six or seven feet away from them. Isaac whimpered but did not cry. He pressed his face against Elle's leg, his nails digging into her skin. The pain kept her head clear.

"Shoo!" she said. Then louder, "Shoo! Go on! Get!"

She kept staring at the beast, but she realized it wasn't looking at her. It was looking around her—if that was possible—and looking straight at Isaac.

Panic gripped her like a vise. "No," she whispered. The horror slowly crept into her voice the more she tried to keep it out. "You can't have him! You can't have him!"

The beast seemed to take it as an invitation.

It barely took a step forward before Elle turned, grabbed Isaac into her arms, and fled—quite literally—for their lives. She thought about taking the path back toward the pond but decided against it quickly since it was a dead end. Isaac couldn't swim and she wasn't a strong enough swimmer to get them both to whatever awaited on the other side of the pond.

She took a sharp right into the trees, muttering at Isaac to keep his head down as she ran.

Elle had been a very good runner in high school, winning several medals and honors on her high school's track team. However this was a number of years and two kids later. She wasn't the runner she used to be. But she was better than most moms her age.

The adrenaline from her terror was very helpful as well.

She knew she couldn't keep running forever. She paused for a moment, looking this way and that for a place to hide. In her heart, she didn't believe she could hide from that monster, but she had to try for Isaac's sake.

The small boy had begun to weep in her arms while she was running. He pressed his face against her collarbone, muffling his cries but it wasn't enough.

Elle suddenly wished more than anything for a sense of direction. She had no idea where in the woods they were or how long she had run. She needed to get Isaac home. She needed to get him somewhere safe.

She spied a rather large opening at the base of a huge oak just to the left. A rabbit hole, right? How ironic. She set Isaac down and led him to the rabbit hole, crawled inside and opened her arms for him to settle against her chest.

She rocked him gently, trying to silence his sobs. His little body shook from sheer panic and the force of his cries.

Suddenly, a twig snapped. Elle's eyes snapped open and she quickly covered Isaac's mouth with her hand. She made a very low, nearly inaudible, shush sound to him and pressed his face against her neck, rocking back and forth in an attempt to keep him calm.

From the opening, she could see four hairy black legs with specks of ember and she could smell the sulfur and burnt wood of the hellhound that pursued them. She could hear it sniffing the air, looking for them.

Elle pressed her lips to Isaac's ear and began to sing softly, so softly, to him.

I'd like my friends to come and see

An octopus's garden with me

I'd like to be under the sea

In an octopus's garden in the shade

Its legs turned towards their hiding place and for the first time in her life, Elle prayed to whatever god would listen to her to please protect her child. Please protect her baby.

We would dance and sing around

Because we know we can't be found

I'd like to be under the sea

In an octopus's garden in the shade

Just when she thought everything was over, the legs moved away and vanished. The smell dissipated. There was no trace of any hellhound anywhere.

They stayed huddled together in the cramped rabbit hole for several moments longer. Isaac fell asleep. Elle couldn't close her eyes. Every time she did, she saw it. It wouldn't go away in her mind.

Finally, she gently shook the boy awake and they crawled from their sanctuary. Hand-in-hand, they walked back the way they had come as quietly as possible. Nothing stopped them. There wasn't a sound in the woods. No birds. No animals. Nothing.

Elle could see the bright sunlight and the fringe of the forest up ahead. She picked up her pace, practically dragging Isaac with her. Even though the threat was gone, her panic stayed. She had to get out of that forest.

Up ahead, Rebecca stood at the edge of the forest, her hands on her hips. "Daddy's mad that you weren't home to cook his lunch," she teased as they broke through the trees. "Why didn't you guys use the path?"

Elle—never one to make others worry—laughed. "We got a little lost. Tell Daddy he can cook his own lunch. He isn't completely incompetent."

As if he could hear the conversation, Alex appeared, strolling down from the house. "Ouch, that hurts." He gave his wife and son an once-over and frowned. "What happened to you two?"

That was when Isaac lost it completely, wailing at the top of his lungs. Alex's frown deepened to an expression he usually got only when he was worried. He picked up Isaac and cradled him in his arms, trying to soothe him. He gave Elle a questioning look. Rebecca looked from Elle to Isaac in Alex's arms and looked quite concerned herself.

"He got scared because we were lost," Elle offered as an explanation. "He was deathly afraid we wouldn't got out before supper and you two would worry." She took the little boy from Alex and shushed him, calming him only as a mother can. She walked to the house, leaving Alex and Rebecca quite confused in her wake.

Later that night, after the children had been read to and put to bed, Alex pulled Elle to him on their bed and gave her a hard look. "What really happened?"

And she told him the complete and honest truth. She was scared he wouldn't believe her but it became obvious that he did.

When she finished, she finally looked at his face and she recognized the look that was there. "Alex…what are you thinking?" she asked.

He swallowed and pressed his lips together. "I'm thinking about taking my rifle out to those woods tomorrow and see if that thing wants to mess with my family again," he answered without faltering.

"Please don't," Elle pleaded. "You didn't see it, Alex. You didn't see it. It…it had to have been from the deepest pits of hell. Please just let it go. We're safe, now. That's all that matters."

"And if it comes back?" he shot back. "What then?"

Elle hadn't let herself think of that. She was afraid the panic would take hold of her again. "Please…."

He set his mouth in a thin line and Elle knew there was no arguing anymore. He couldn't be reasoned with. He was just too stubborn.

She cuddled up to him, holding on to him tightly as they fell asleep. She was deep in the gentle waves of sleep when she felt something tug on her nightgown. She started, rolled over and saw two big blue eyes staring at her.

"Mommy?"

Elle sat up. "Isaac? What is it, baby?"

He sniffled and rubbed his eyes. "Mommy…the monster…I'm scared!" He clamored up onto the bed and threw himself at his mother.

Elle panicked for a moment, thinking the beast was back, that it was in their house. But the stillness convinced her otherwise. Isaac had more than likely had a bad dream.

Alex rolled over sleepily and mumbled, "Wha's going on?"

"Nothing," Elle whispered, rubbing her husband's shoulder. "Just go back to sleep." She picked Isaac up and carried him back to his room.

The scared little boy clung to the straps of her nightgown as if he thought she would dump him on the bed and leave. Instead, she sat down with her back on his pillows (Isaac had moved into a big-boy bed a few weeks earlier and was still getting used to it), still holding her son tightly to her chest.

As she held him, she sang the song she had taught him softly to him. Elle didn't have a great voice for singing but she needed something—anything—to calm him down enough to sleep.

She rocked him gently as she sang.

We would shout and swim about

The coral that lies beneath the waves

Oh what joy for every girl and boy

Knowing they're happy and they're safe.

If only it was that simple.

I'd like to be under the sea

In an octopus's garden with you

In an octopus's garden with you

In an octopus's garden with you

And he slept.

True to his word, Alex took out his old hunting rifle and headed out into the woods, ignoring Rebecca's pleas to come with him.

He returned unsuccessful.

And they never saw the beast again.

They didn't need to.

It had done its job.

Oooh hoo, creepy. I always get such random ideas. Please review with faves plz! Any questions, etc, can also be directed to the review button :D Hope you enjoyed!!!