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Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Prologue Part 3: Eyes in the Woods

“That’s not him, Captain,” Hadrian said slowly as he pointed up the drive of the parking lot,” Because Goggles is coming in that jeep. He just texted me, and besides you can see him in the driver’s seat.” Sure enough Bohdan could see Gregory Peters the swim team star pulling up in his rattling refurbished 1970s Jeep Wrangler.

“Then that’s got to be your dad Bernhard making sure no bears are trying to make a hibernation hole in the basement.” Charlie said though he was sounding less sure by the second as the lights started spazzing out. Not just in the basement, but also on the upper floors. Though the shadow stayed rooted to the most eastern facing window in the basement.

“My old man is about three miles north of here, I have him on his GPS tracker right here,” Johan held up his phone with an app showing the wilderness tracker that the Warden’s wore whenever trapping around in the woods.

“Then who is that?” Harald asked, transfixed by the surreal imagery, and the dance of contorting shadows around the country club given off by the made lights. Presently Gregory pulled up with a face that could curdle milk at the sight.

“You guys were supposed to wait for me. I bet Meathead over here couldn’t sit long enough to make this adventure without trespassing,” Goggles said while looking none too pleased at the light show. His nickname’s inspiration being shown off in the blinking lights with the tan lines clearly showing where the goggles had hidden the sun while he was swimming over the summer. A sign of dedication that also made the sandy haired youth look like a complete clown no matter how put together the rest of him was that given day.

“That’s not any of us,” Hadrian pointed out. Bohdan felt a chill go up his spine. Suddenly he became aware of the fact that the night around them had gone completely silent. Like the air itself sensed a predator that even the atmosphere feared. That was not a good sign.

Dad had brought up the change in temperature, and not ignoring his gut. Before Bohdan even knew what he was doing he was putting his phone away, and fingering his side arm he had concealed under his jacket. Charlie eyed him, and Bohdan could see him doing the same. Not that you could shoot a poltergeist, but just because you came somewhere ghost hunting didn’t mean there wasn’t a hobo sitting in a tree waiting to shank you to steal your twenty bucks for another dime of crack.

“Tell me one of you left one of your cars in a tree, and those are its taillights over there in the woods,” Bohdan’s head snapped around at Karl pointing off to the western tree line where to his surprise the mayor’s son saw a wild sight. There, maybe three hundred yards out were two massive red eyes shining out like a pair of glowing scarlet stars at least ten feet off the ground. Things just got more interesting.

“Gregory, we need to get indoors now. Break out the keys and lead the way. Bernhard and Charlie, let's take up the rear.” Bohdan said in a calm, almost bored voice even as he subtly herded the group of middle schoolers toward the only shelter in sight which was unfortunately the certainly haunted country club. 

They couldn’t all pile into Goggle’s jeep, and the rest of them had ridden dirtbikes to get here. If those eyes were what Bohdan was worried they were, they did not want to try to outrun it on dirtbikes. That was a very bad idea. So was running around at three in the morning in the woods.

That was obvious in retrospect, but they’d done plenty like this in the past. Bohdan’s father and his crew had done a stellar job making the surrounding woods and town safe. We're talking about leaving your keys in your car in town square kind of safe. You couldn’t help but get a little careless in that environment.

“Oh crap on a stick,” Hadrian said, and froze before Bohdan kicked him back into motion. As he did so he checked his shoulder, and felt his heart jump in his throat. Stepping out from the shadows and into the moonlight was a massive ten foot tall hairy monkey man thing that looked a heck of a lot like a cross between a retarded orangutan and a bodybuilder. No pop belly on this reddish fiend. The beast was all six pack muscle that would’ve made a n 80s action star jealous.

That’s what Bohdan was afraid of. Weird places attract even stranger, and often evil things. Boogers if Bohdan could use a local Scotch Irish hillbilly term. Sasquatch or Bigfoot to the less refined.

“Just keep walking to the door. Don’t stop, but don’t run,” Bohdan said in a controlled voice. His dad was going to kill him for taking such a stupid risk without telling anyone. This was how your face got on the side of a milk bottle, or in a Missing 411 book.

At first the gaggle of seven boys did what the mayor's son said with Johan walking between Charlie and Bohdan, all three of the boys fingering their guns. They were young to be conceal carrying, but their fathers had made sure they were proficient at shooting on a level that most thirty year old's would envy.

That, and even though it wouldn’t do much but tick the thing off at least they could tickle him a bit, and make the monster think twice even if the Booger was hungry. Bohdan had another secret weapon he tended to keep on him whenever he was going into the woods too. A little trick for things with keen sensitive eyes.

Suddenly, the lights shut off ahead of them with the resounding clap of breakers shattering. The sound and loss of light spooked, and almost broke the morale of their troop. Worse if one took the time to listen one could just hear the beating of apache war drums in the distance, but growing closer. All very bad signs as far as Bohdan was concerned.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Eyes in the Woods panel 4
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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