"Everyone on the coach, hurry up!" the Scout Leader said to the assembled group of Boy Scouts. Robin Anderson, a young boy aged fifteen with mousy-brown hair and deep green eyes put his backpack into the cargo hold and climbed into the coach with his two friends, James Hill and Matthew Mason. It was the beginning of the summer holidays and Robin was embarking on a long weekend Scout camp in Snowdonia National Park, a bleak, grassy mountainous area of Wales in the United Kingdom. For three whole days, they would be camping on hillsides miles away from civilisation, although they would have telephonic communication in case of emergency.
Robin took his seat on the coach as it began its seven-hour trip into the middle of nowhere. Of the three friends, Matthew was the only one who had never been on a Scout camp before, though Robin and James tried their best to reassure him.
"It'll be fun!" Robin exclaimed. "We stay up all night singing by the campfire and playing games in the woods. I've been to this particular camp before and the forest close to the campsite is fantastic!"
"Yeah!" James agreed. "Absolutely hilarious. Last time, Robin found himself tied to a tree and was there until morning!"
"No thanks to you!" Robin jeered, punching James on the arm.
"That hurt!" James said, rubbing his arm.
"No more than you deserve!" Robin bit back.
"Guys!" Matthew cut in but Robin and James just laughed.
"All in jest!" Robin said. "But trust me, it'll be great!"
As the journey wore on, Robin sat back in his seat and looked out of the window. It was nearly dark already and rain was hitting against the glass, slightly obscuring his vision. He could make out the streetlights of the last town disappearing into the distance as the coach entered the desolate lands of the Welsh countryside. He laid his head against the seat, closed his eyes and smiled to himself. It felt so good to be finally getting some time away from home life and his over-protective parents and he was really looking forward to what he perceived as a few days of freedom.
When the coach finally reached its destination, it was already dark. The Scouts shuffled out of the coach, picked up their backpacks and joined in a group around the Scout Leader. They then started the twenty minute cross-country walk to the campsite. The rain continued its relentless attack as they walked and when they finally got to the campsite, the Scouts immediately put the tents up and huddled inside them, shivering and drenched to the skin.
"Hopefully it won't be like this tomorrow," James said. "Otherwise we won't be doing anything other than sitting in here."
"Oh we will," Robin answered. "They'll make us do stuff anyway even if it is pissing it down like this!"
But it wasn't raining the following day. On the contrary, the sun shone bright in the sky although the temperature did not get any warmer. Robin, James and Matthew spent the day joining in the activities with all the other Scouts – orienteering in the morning, team games in the afternoon and campfire songs in the evening. After the songs were done, it was time for more games in the nearby wood. Hide-and-seek was chosen and, since it was Matthew's first camp, he was chosen to be the seeker.
As soon Matthew had begun to count, Robin ran into the darkness of the trees, searching for somewhere to hide. He huddled down in a small thicket of leaves and waited, listening to the quiet sounds of the forest. All of a sudden, he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. A shadow had darted through the trees making hardly any sound. Robin immediately held his breath, wondering whether it had just been his imagination. Then he saw it.
A humanoid figure emerged from the trees. In the darkness, Robin could make out that it was a woman who was wearing nothing more than a rag and that her hair was messy and unkempt. He could not see her face although he could tell that she was observing him. Robin reached for his torch, stood up, and shone it on her in an attempt to get a better look. He was surprised to see that the woman was very young and could be no older than twenty. Her skin was deathly pale and she was so thin, her skeleton was clearly visible beneath her flesh. In addition, her filthy nails must have been nearly an inch long each. The strangest things about her though were her eyes. They were a curious almond-shape and Robin could make out no pupil or iris of any kind. Instead, her eyes were just pits of blackness.
Not taking her eyes off him, the girl titled her head to the side like a dog and sniffed twice. Although she looked to be at death's door, she didn't seem to be in any discomfort. Robin took a few cautious steps toward her. He had been taught first aid and if she needed help, it would be his duty both as a Scout and as a human being to help her. A feeling of uneasiness spread through his body as he approached the girl.
"Are you lost?" he asked quietly but the girl made no answer. "I want to help you," Robin said but again the girl remained silent. He lifted his hand and touched her arm. It was cold, deathly cold.
At the moment he made contact with her, the girl's demeanour changed completely. She opened her mouth revealing rows of inhuman, jagged, blood-stained teeth and screeched at him, making a noise that no human being could possibly make. Robin screamed, turned and fled. He glimpsed the girl, or whatever sort of creature she was, pursuing him and realised to his horror that she was far faster. Suddenly, the creature leapt up to him and knocked him heavily to the floor. Robin flailed about, screaming and kicking, and landed a punch on the creature's cheek, sending her rolling off him.
Using the brief moment that he had got himself, he quickly pulled himself to his feet, spat out the mud and leaves in his mouth and continued to run. To his relief, he heard the shouting of his fellow Scouts and saw the torchlights ahead.
"Found you!" Matthew yelled in delight, but stopped when he saw Robin's expression.
"What happened to you?" James asked.
"Run!" Robin breathed. "Just run! It's after me!" James shone his torch into the darkness behind Robin.
"Calm down," he said. "There's nothing there. You need some rest. Let's get back to the camp."