Prologue

A young man stepped out into a street bustling with people from a bookstore about to be closed. Across the bookstore was a huge forest park that contained many mysteries deep in the trees. Nobody knew what could possibly go on in those trees. Anything could remain a mystery under the concealment of the trees. You could see couples go into the deep forest...and never come back. The park itself had lamp posts scattered around winding paved paths in the forest. Some accounts for people that were missing were simply due to the fact that they were lost in the forest. Nobody knew if one starved to death or was kidnapped. For sure however, the person was expected to be gone forever. Their cell phones would be left out on the ground, along with occasionally empty wallets and clothes. It was taboo for the town inhabitants to venture into the forest without at least a group of three, and the park was too densely covered for it to be watched over by law enforcement. As a white wisp was exhaled through the young man's mouth, he looked at the park with a knowing gaze. Every time the young man would come out of the bookstore, he would see the park, and he would remember words that he always remembered ever since he was a young child.

There were a few cars going at a slow pace in the white street; the drivers themselves were making sure that they wouldn't accidentally run over someone. Despite the pedestrians staying on the sidewalk, the drivers still kept watch everywhere around their cars. It was a frosty sunset that bathed the town in an orange light; signifying that the day was soon to be over.

As the buildings' shadows grew over the snowy sidewalk, a chilling wind came by and pierced the man's attire with a strike of winter. Wearing jeans, a black fleece jacket with a green shirt underneath, a red woolen scarf with tattered ends, and tennis shoes; the man only seemed ready for a brief period of winter. He crossed his arms; leaving his bare hands out in the unforgiving wind. At least he had no need for a cap, for his black hair was thick and messy enough to protect his head from the cold. Yet, he still looked on towards the park.

The young man started to walk to the left of the bookstore. Family stores and one supermarket on the very right of the bookstore were the basis of the town. With the night coming, almost all of the stores would close down. However, with a few nightclubs and 24/7 convenience stores littered throughout the town, the town wouldn't go completely dead as soon as night came. The man uncrossed his arms and put his cold, sensitive hands into his warm fleece jacket side pockets.

I have enough. With an assuring confidence from touching the familiar paper material of money, he walked towards a convenience store in a very objective manner. During his walk, he had planned out what he was going to buy from the moment he touched his money.

By the time he got to the store, all of the sunlight was gone, and the sidewalks were almost devoid of people. Safety was highly stressed in this particular town; one wouldn't want to be caught and dragged into the forest park. The man narrowed his eyes at the contrast of light the store provided against the darkness of the town and briefly looked away in pain. His vision strayed towards the foot of the door, which had two constant tracks in the snow with repetitive footprints on one side of the tracks.

What is this? The man curiously dragged his eyes along the tracks as it went across the street to a dark side alley beside a tall and white apartment complex across the store. The young man wondered what this meant, but it was definite to him that something suspicious was going on. His curiosity compelled him to follow the tracks and find out, but the young man felt reluctant to go into an alleyway, alone.

I'm not going to go in there. But I really want to find out what's going on. I also don't want to die trying to be a hero. Who would I be even trying to save? Maybe it's just a dolly. Yeah...if those were tire tracks. The man struggled to make a decision whether he should follow the tracks or not. He imagined a knife stabbing into his stomach; and next a bullet through his head if he stepped into the end of the alleyway. I could just go home. It's safe in there. Yeah, I won't have anything to do with this.

Forgetting his previous duty, the man hesitantly walked towards the apartment complex, which happens to be his home. He kept his eye on the alleyway as he walked towards the doors to the haven that would keep him safe. The young man wanted to be ready for any surprises that could pop out of the alleyway. Despite being alone, the young man could handle himself in a fight. That is, if the man knew he was going to be in a fight. Each step the young man took towards his home only made him more nervous. He had a yearning to find the source of these mysterious tracks, yet his sense of safety held him back. He knew full well that it could be something that he would regret; but at least it preserved his life in the best way possible. Just go to sleep when you get to your apartment. You will be fine. The young man tried to deceive himself even though he would be up all night in his bed, trying to think about what happened to the person in the alleyway. The true cause would be forever unknown to him, and it could torment him for a while. It may turn him insane and his attention would be directed away from more important matters in his life. I just can't...

The young man stood still, facing the safe haven he labeled himself. With each moment, the man grew more restless and afraid. Someone could be watching me reading those tracks and might slit me in my throat tonight! Or I might get dragged to the same alley way! Or I could be dragged into the forest! I could get...

The convenience door opened with the sound of a chiming bell. This made the young man gasp and quickly twirl around. SHIT! His vision became all a blur as it soon faced the sky. He felt a sudden chill to his entire back as he lied on the snow. He drew in short breathes while he quickly sat up, supporting himself with his hands. His heart pounded as his vision came back to normal. The young man, all of a sudden, saw someone rushing towards him. Who are you?

In a loud yet breathless voice, he made his thought clear as he panted. His eyes widened before he was able to examine the figure that came up to his feet. Wait, it's not killing me. Or she isn't. Who is she?

The young woman brought out her hand to the young man, motioning for him to get up. The young woman wore a white dress coat with a band around her left sleeve. She donned a black hat and had a brown book by her side. The young man reluctantly brought out his hand and clasped the hand held towards him. As she pulled him up, she immediately asked in an urgent manner,

"Help me!"