“Hide and Seek” by Chloe Ballew

I stood on the edge, tremors racking my body. My best friend bet me he could beat me in a game of hide and seek and I had foolishly agreed. We stood together on the barrier of the midnight forest as the clock counted us down.

            3… 2… 1…

            We were off! Through the woods we went with only the stars to guide us on our midnight hunt. I ran at first, slowing my pace when there was a possibility of finding someone. Needing to be able to hear even the quietest of whisperers and faintests of whimpers,  I kept light on my feet only moving when necessary.

            Suddenly, a faint rustle came from the bushes to my right, the moonlight shone upon the greenery while my presence remained unannounced. Very quietly I crept through the brush trying to keep an upper hand. When I peeked over the bush a girl in her early twenties was laying, eyes closed in the mossy rocks. She was mumbling softly to herself.

 Using my trusted pocket knife she was taken care of swiftly, blood staining my mask in the process. I kept her once sliver necklace to signify my first find of the night.

            Through the forest my journey continued. By the end I had a silver necklace retrieved from my first mark, a pocket watch taken off an elderly man who was hiding near the creek, a small boot lifted from a young boy found up an oak tree, a crimson stained hair tie stolen from a ginger woman nestled under the roots of towering oak, and a rusty pocket knife pulled from the pockets of a man who attempted to fight back.

            After the hour had run down I headed to our hidden rondevu spot near the creek and he had beat me there. Walking up to him I realized he was lost gazing into the dancing flames.

            “What do you have,” he asked, not averting his gaze from the blazing fire.

            “I got five of them, what about you,” I responded, holding up my dripping loot.

            He turned around to face me with tears threatening to escape his deep blue eyes. In his hands he held two golden necklaces, a baby blue scarf, and a dirty doll, all of them as ruined as my finds.

            “You lost,” I whispered to myself before pushing him into the fire he had been so fascinated with only moments before. As I stood watching the flames engulf him I found myself unencumbered. I had one and he had lost.

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Chloe Ballew is an emerging author in the horror and thriller genres. She hopes to someday have her own anthology of short stories. When she isn’t writing she spends her time playing music, reading, and painting.