Finally got around to updating chapter 2, so enjoy, as always! Remember to review and tell me what you thought about it ^^


Chapter 2

Our footsteps crunched on the ground as we continued walking, the snapping of small twigs and leaves filling the dull silence. It seemed as if we had managed to lose that...whatever it was. Cry seemed to be doing okay now—at least, on the outside he seemed so; I, however, was still very unsettled by the whole thing.

That monster…it wasn't human. I didn't know what it was, but it definitely wasn't human. When I saw it for the first time, I was so afraid that I could only stare back in my petrified state. It was as if my mind was being bent to its will when that blank face leaned closer and closer. Had I just been so overwhelmed that I couldn't move until Cry stepped in? Or was it something else? Had it been controlling me?

I really had no idea. I was just glad we had a flashlight right now.

"Turn it off. You're wasting the batteries."

I'll admit I slightly jumped at the sound of Cry's voice. For the past half hour or so after we'd gotten lost, neither of us had spoken a word, each recovering from the encounter whilst dwelling in his own thoughts.

I hesitated but obeyed anyways. "I'm sorry, I just feel a lot better when I can see everything." With the click of a button the light in front of us disappeared.

"It's okay. I just want to be able to use the flashlight when we really need it," Cry explained.

"Even so…" I started, "I feel like that thing's gonna pop out of the trees, or something." I anxiously switched the black device back and forth between my hands. "I don't trust this damn silence. It's creeping me out."

The other chuckled at that, although I did notice the slight waver in his voice. The unnerving silence took over once again as we made our way forward.

There was something that I was really itching to say, but I feared doing so would just make everything seem more real…and then I couldn't pretend this was all some kind of terrible nightmare anymore. God, I hoped it was a nightmare. A really, really bad nightmare, like the kind that when you wake up, you're sweating profusely and crying into your pillow; the kind where you're so shaken that you want to go running over to your parents' bed and cuddle with them in the warm, safe blankets. It was the kind that never truly left your memory, and twenty years later you could still remember it like it happened yesterday.

I had to say it. The feeling this was invoking wouldn't go away by itself.

I tugged on his sweatshirt sleeve, and we both stopped simultaneously. "Cry—"

"Pewds—"

We both let out a quiet laugh—of course we had to speak at the exact same time after such a long silence. "You first," he said, turning to fully face me.

"'Kay." I took a deep breath as my friend intently watched me behind his poker face mask. "I just….ugh. I don't really wanna say this, but if-if we've been walking the right way, shouldn't we have found the road by now? I mean…it's—um—it's been a while, right? Since we started walking?"

I tried to will away the growing knot in my stomach. Even though the majority of his face was hidden, I could tell that my question had affected the gamer from his tone. "…Maybe."

That could mean a lot of things. The thought sunk in for a moment before I spoke again. "Okay, now you go."

With a barely audible sigh the American directed my attention to the ground, where a certain spot was drenched dark red, staining the grass and fallen sticks. A few inches away lay a small, slightly crinkled piece of paper. The top left corner was spattered with drops of what we both knew—even though we wouldn't dare say it out loud—was blood.

"…The hell?" I muttered, crouching down and picking it up.

"Exactly what I thought," Cry commented as he leaned closer to examine the item. As he did this, I opened it up and smoothed it out. It was standard notebook paper, the kind with the blue lines of ink running horizontally across. "Hmm. It looks like some kind of note, or letter, maybe."

We scanned our eyes across the paper. It read:

~xXx~

Dear Mom,

It pains me to write this, because I know I will never see you again.

I love you so much, and I truly hope that I was the daughter you always wanted. I know I fought with you a lot, and I always acted like the most ungrateful brat in the universe, but I want you to know that I didn't mean a word of it…When Dad left I was so confused and hurt—and I'm sure you were too—so I just closed up and ignored you. I tried to blame you for all of it, even though I knew that was just stupid… When you introduced me to Bryce for the first time, I didn't even give him a chance. I know I should have, 'cause Bryce is a really cool guy. I'm sure he would have been an awesome stepfather….Can you tell him that I wish the very best for you both?

But yeah. I just…I'm sorry. For all that I did. I'm sorry for all those times I called you terrible names without a second thought. I'm sorry for never saying "thank you" when you did all those mountains of my dirty laundry when I was too lazy to do it myself. I'm sorry for drowning you out with my headphones when you asked me how my day at school was. I'm sorry for not eating anything you made for dinner. Heck, I'm even sorry for leaving the toilet seat up, because I know you find it annoying! I never appreciated all you did for me, Mom. You are honestly the best mother anyone could have asked for, and I just wish I had taken the time to see that.

But now it's too late, and that's why I'm writing this letter. It's kind of stupid, really, 'cause I know you're never going to read it anyways. And you deserve much more of an apology than this stupid thing. I know deep down in my gut that I will never get out of here…and so I have to say goodbye, even if it has to be in this way.

I really wish you were here with me. I'm scared, Mom. I'm lost, and all alone. It's dark here. I never thought I was afraid of the dark until now. And I think I'm going crazy… This thing, I don't even know if it's real or

~xXx~

Cry and I both looked at each other as we read that last sentence. I bit my lip. "She didn't even have time to finish before…before…" I brought my gaze down to the crimson puddle, my body subconsciously shuddering at the thought.

What did it do to her? I suddenly wondered, And where did it take her? What does it even want?

"It". I didn't even know what to call "It". "It" was something neither Cry nor I understood. "It" was trying to kill us…or worse.

I glanced at the trees around me nervously. …Is it still following us?

"Pewds… relax. You're shaking." Cry's warm hands rested themselves on top of my shoulders. I realized what he was doing and shook him off, muttering an "I'm fine". I had played enough horror games and witnessed enough jumpscares to give a cow a heart attack; by now, I should've been able to control my fear! I didn't need Cry's help…

A disturbing thought: What would have happened if I had let it touch me?

Would I already have been dead? Bleeding to death? Limbless? Locked in some dark, moldy basement with the mangled corpses of countless others before me?

Even knowing that I wasn't alone—that I had my very best friend here with me—still wasn't comforting enough to quell the uneasy shivers coursing throughout me. For all I knew, I had been seconds away from death… I had a very bad feeling that me and Cry were in danger. Mortal danger.

And it was all my fault. Me and my stupid fucking idiocy had gotten us into this mess. If only I had been more careful, if only I had not turned on that damn camera, if only I hadn't looked up at that time to see that thing standing there, daring me to watch, we wouldn't be lost out here in the middle of nowhere, with no car, no reception, and being stalked by a dangerous psychopathic person or thing or whatever the hell it was!

This is not happening. This is not happening. This is still a nightmare, dammit! Despite my efforts, the tremors worsened as these thoughts raced through my head, mocking me with their sheer cruelty. I was so lost in my head that I didn't notice Cry come closer until he gently pulled me into a hug. I squeezed my eyes shut, a part of me hoping that when I opened them back up, I would be back in the passenger seat of the car as we drove along, laughing and joking around without a care in the world.

"I-I'm scared, Cry…" I barely whispered. My knees weakened, and I felt myself collapsing against him. I didn't even care how much of a baby I was being right now; I just needed to know that he was here with me. That I wasn't going insane. That I wasn't facing this alone.

"…I am too, friend, I am too."

We stayed in that position for a few minutes while I recollected myself. The dull, steady beat of the other gamer's heart was soothing, and it lulled me back into my previous state of composure. It was okay. We were going to get out of this, alive. As long as we kept cool and didn't make stupid mistakes, everything would eventually come together. And when that happened, I could see Marzia again.

"You're such a great friend, Cry," I smiled weakly.

Once the other gamer was sure that I wasn't going to have a seizure, he loosened his grip and we somewhat awkwardly pulled apart. I stared at him, unsure what to say or do next. And as I stared, I couldn't help but realize something:

My god, that was so…gay. So fucking…gay. HAH!

I suddenly snickered at the thought, all remaining bad feelings flying out the window. What just happened could have been a scene taken straight out of a cheesy, cliché PewdieCry fanfiction! Me and Cry always had some fun reading those (although it did get a bit awkward when we came across those R-rated ones). Those fangirls were insane…

But in all honesty, I was actually a bit shocked about Cry's reaction to this. I mean, just think about it: How many friends did I have who would do something like that without cringing or making fun of me? Most of them would outright refuse!

Seriously, even Marzia would probably laugh at me. It would be just a little teasing for acting like such a little girl, but still. I hated it how society had created this image of how a guy was supposed to be—namely, a tall, strong male who was brave, adventurous, athletic, and who never ever cried. I mean, I hadn't actually been crying, but you get my point. Even my girlfriend who I loved dearly didn't fully understand that.

But Cry did, and for that I was grateful.

Apparently the brunette had, too, realized the super gayness of the situation, and he laughed along with me. "No problemo! I don't want to see that B-A-eautiful face of yours all scrunched up in a frown. Besides, it's gonna give you wrinkles early. You don't wanna look like an old man, do you?"

I jabbed him in the elbow. "HAH! Are you kidding me? This face is too damn sexy for that. You can't even handle it, bro!" I struck an idiotic pose and batted my eyelashes. He let out a few boisterous laughs at this, and I quickly chimed in. These eventually turned into loud, rhythmic snorts that made my belly ache and had me sounding like a retarded pig.

I was still trying to contain myself as the American suddenly became unnaturally still, any chuckles immediately dying down into silence…And then he was just staring, staring blankly with that white mask. He opened his mouth to say something, but he inhaled sharply and shut it again so that his lips were pressed tightly together in a line.

"What's wr…" I started, but cut myself off when I realized what it was.

It was back. That unbearable, ear-shattering noise. It became louder, occasionally breaking into what sounded like points of static on a defective TV. A feeling of dread wormed its way into my stomach once more as my shoulders tensed up. Is it here? Cry and I both covered our ears, trying to block out the ringing as we cautiously looked around in the darkness.

Then without warning the noise suddenly stopped, leaving behind nothing but a pounding headache and heart. I looked over to Cry, trying to confirm that the terrible sound had indeed disappeared; he nodded slowly as if in a dream. But like before, I didn't trust the overwhelming silence. I swiftly clicked on the flashlight, preparing for the worst.

There were trees, nothing but trees, bushes, and the occasional patch of grass. Somewhere to the right, an owl softly hooted as we peered through the darkness.

"…Pewds?"

"Hmm?" I shakily flicked off the light. Maybe it's gone now…

"D'ya think maybe it's go—"

More static. It kept fading in and out at random intervals. Again I held my head in my hands, attempting to block out the noise. I tried to pinpoint the source, but it was no good—it seemed to come from every which direction. The world started to spin again. Was this all in my head?

"What the hell is going on…?" I didn't know about Cry, but I did not want to stand around and wait to be attacked! I staggered over and grabbed the other's wrist. He nearly lost balance as I led the way, stumbling through the trees as quickly and as quietly as possible.

"Come on!" I whispered desperately. He caught on and followed suit, moving in a way that was like a cross between tip-toeing and powerwalking. The two of us slipped through the trees and prayed that itcouldn't hear the crunching of our footsteps.

Luckily, the sound seemed to completely fade away as we broke into a small clearing. We relaxed once the tense atmosphere settled a bit and took the time to absorb the new surroundings.

Here you could actually see the night sky; the moon shone down and offset long shadows across the ground in an eerie way. In the center of the grove there was a small depression in the dirt. As we caught our breath, Cry and I treaded carefully as we approached the scene, searching for any signs of life.

Once we had ensured the place was secure (at least, for now), the two of us crouched down to investigate. It was a firepit, covered in ashes and blackened sticks and leaves. A few feet away lay the collapsed remains of what appeared to be a camping tent.

Cry reached down and used his forefinger to scoop up some of the debris in the pit. "It's…warm," he commented, wiping it on the grass, "It's possible someone was here not too long ago."

I nodded slowly. They must have been out camping when that thing found them… Could this mean there's another person alive out here? Are they going through what we are? Or were they taken the second it found them? I headed over to the tent and circled around it, searching for anything that could be of use. It didn't take long for me to notice the ruined sleeping bag, pillow, and shattered pieces of unidentifiable equipment. I rummaged through them but quickly determined that everything here was far beyond repair.

Just as I was about to return to Cry and the firepit, something interesting caught the corner of my eye; resting against a tree at the other end of the clearing lay another white sheet of paper. It looked similar to the one we found earlier—the same size and horizontal lines. Perhaps the girl had written more than one letter?

I walked over, knelt down, and retrieved the paper. Taking up the entire page were the words:

HElP mE

It was written in blood. The letters were disorganized and looked like they had been written in haste, resulting in sloppy handwriting that was barely legible. Confused, I flipped the sheet over to see if there was more on the back. It was completely blank.

"Hey, Cry, come look at this," I called.

In a few moments I felt Cry's presence behind me, his hot breath gently tickling the back of my neck. "What's that?"

"Look," I handed him the sheet, "It's the same paper as the one with the letter." I let him look it over before continuing, "That doesn't make sense, though. Why would she…"

Why would this girl spend a bunch of time writing a formal letter to her mom in pen, but then turn around and write this in sloppy blood? Furthermore, it had been made pretty clear to us that she was already…well, dead.

Dead. She's dead. It sounded so final, so cruel. Each time the word passed through my thoughts, it felt like a hard slap to the cheek on a sub-zero day, in which the bitter weather made the burning pain last for several minutes.

As if he read my thoughts, Cry said, "Well, we don't actually know if this was made by her or not—"

"But what are the chances—"

He hushed me before continuing. "Yeah, but we don't know squat. For all we know, this thing could've stranded fifty other people out here… So this could really have been anyone. And looking at this paper, I don't see a resemblance to the letter. I mean, look, this person used their own frickin' blood to write this! Who does that?!" He stared at it in bewilderment.

I tore my eyes away from the disturbing note. "I…I don't know. Let's just go, Cry. I can't stand looking at this anymore…" My lip slightly quivered as I turned away and started walking back to the firepit. The less I thought about it, the easier it would be to handle.

However, the brunette clamped a hand on my shoulder and stopped me mid-step. "Wait."

I turned back around and slightly frowned at him. "…What?"

"I just realized something," the older male gently pulled me closer to the edge of the clearing, "If we stand out in the open, it'll be easier for that thing to find us." His grip tightened on my shoulder as he said this.

I shrugged him off, but not before allowing his words to sink in. "You're probably right," I admitted.

Cry sighed, beckoning me back into the trees. "C'mon, friend, we need to get moving again. I don't like the idea of staying in one place too long. We'd be sitting ducks."

"…Um, yeah."

"Sitting ducks?" What's that supposed to mean? My brow furrowed at the thought before I decided to disregard it. Some of these American phrases were so weird! How could anyone expect me, a Swede, to know what that means? When I thought of sitting ducks, I thought of two rubber duckies in rocking chairs, smoking pipes and talking about the "Jolly good weather we're having". And I knewthat wasn't at all what Cry meant.

Regardless of my confusion, I still agreed and followed Cry back into the darkness. We were best friends, and I trusted that he knew what was best—or at least, better than what I could come up with.

As long as we didn't run into that monster again, I couldn't care less what we did.