Discover more from story whale bedtime stories
Part 11: The Beast of the Forest
Finally, the Beast is found... And chaos follows...
Jimmy, Leo, and the bandits have finally found the Beast… The action is kicking off!
Here is a link to the previous part in The Beast of the Forest:
And here is a link to Part One where it all started:
Feel free to subscribe to Story Whale to never miss a new bedtime story!
You can also send Story Whale to a friend with the share button below!
Jimmy, Leo, and the five bandits each stood perfectly still on the rocky shore of the creek. The two young lizard-like creatures in the water upstream were perfectly still too.
All eyes were on the shadowy figure lurking just inside the forest. It was like the lizards in the water but far, far bigger — the size of three men.
It was up on its two back legs, scratching at a tree, sharpening its claws. Jimmy felt his skin and blood go hot with fear.
The creature then dropped back down onto all fours. It was still only a shadow in the distance. Some light slipped through the layers of forest and caught the bright and colourful glint of the Beast’s scales.
It then turned its head towards the two younglings in the water. They were completely still — just like Jimmy, Leo, and the bandits.
The Beast let out a deep, guttural hiss. The two young lizards scampered a few steps back, as if blown back by the air coming from the Beast’s mouth. Neither of them hissed back. They just silently looked at the Beast, terrified.
The Beast then turned its long body and moved casually off into the forest.
A moment passed and then one of the young lizards in the creek splashed some water at the other. Jimmy understood the teasing exchange perfectly. “You looked so scared!”
With that jibe, the tension disappeared. Everyone on the shore let out a shared exhalation of relief.
The young lizards were playing again. Everyone’s hearts began to settle.
The leader of the bandits, Arthur, slowly raised his arms above his head to get everyone’s attention on the shore. His movements were careful, as if the Beast might still hear the pivot of his elbow joint. Having gotten everyone’s focus on the shore, he put his index finger to his lips for silence. He then waved for everyone to sneak off the shore and go back into the forest.
As the bandits began to get moving, Jimmy remained still. He didn't move a muscle. Instead, he looked to Leo.
Leo was still looking around the creek and the area, weighing up options. He was checking on the lizards in the water and the distance to the trees. Eventually, he turned to Jimmy and gave a solemn nod. Only then did Jimmy start to tip-toe towards the forest.
Jimmy had been right by the water when the figures in the creek were first spotted. He now had to carefully manoeuvre from rock to rock. The rocks by the creek were slicked with water and moss and he had to feel them out with his tip-toes one at a time to make sure they were sturdy.
It felt like chaos could erupt at any moment. With just one wrong step, the creatures in the water could discover him. It reminded Jimmy of a game he played in the town square with friends. It was called "What's the time, Mr Wolf?". One kid would stand at one side of the town square with their eyes closed and their back turned and they would be Mr Wolf. The rest of the kids would stand all the way on the other side of the town square. The game was simple. To win you had to make it across the town square and tap Mr Wolf on the shoulder. The twist: if Mr Wolf saw you, you lost.
The approaching players would call out "What's the time, Mr Wolf?" and then the wolf would call back an hour of the day. That time of day would then be the number of steps the players could take. But as the players took their steps, Mr Wolf was free to open their eyes and turn around at any moment. If the Wolf saw you move, that was game over for you.
The difference between the game in the town square and the situation by the creek was clear. Danger. Actual, real danger. Except Jimmy was too focused to be scared. His face was stern as he took each testing step. Leo hadn't moved at all. He stood still on the shore, watching Jimmy, waiting for him.
Jimmy was getting closer. He was almost past the slippery rocks.
At that moment there was the sudden clatter of clashing stone. It wasn't Jimmy that had made the noise. It was one of the bandits -- one of the twins. The bandit was just a little bit up ahead on the shore, almost at the edge of the forest. He had slipped on some of the rocks and now was posed awkwardly, half-fallen, and trying desperately to stay still and silent with one hand on the ground helping to balance him.
Everyone stopped exactly where they were, just as if Mr Wolf had finally turned around and opened their eyes.
Except Jimmy, Leo, and the bandits weren't the only ones who had stopped what they were doing...
The young lizards in the water had stopped too.
They were standing completely still on their hind legs in the creek with the water coming up to their chests. Both of them stared at the humans on the shore.
Everyone -- human or otherwise -- was petrified.
Then, once again, the tension buckled. The twin who had slipped lost the last bit of balance he had left and fell to the ground. In that instant, his twin brother bolted immediately to his side and helped to pull him to his feet.
There was no more trying to be quiet -- no more tip-toeing. The twins sprinted for the forest. It took a second for the other bandits to catch on, but then they started for the forest too.
Jimmy looked back at the lizards in the creek and they each suddenly ducked underwater and disappeared.
He watched the water, wondering where they had gone, expecting them to pop back up at any second. He then saw two rapid shadows darting downstream towards him.
A hand landed on Jimmy's shoulder and turned him away from the creek.
It was Leo and he was shouting in Jimmy's face, "We need to go!"
Leo took Jimmy by the arm and yanked him along as he ran across the shore towards the forest. He was pulling Jimmy along like an infant dragging along a toy. Jimmy barely took a single clean step.
Behind them, the two young lizards launched out of the water and onto the shore.
In this game of "What's the time, Mr Wolf?", it was clear that the wolf no longer cared what the time was. There would be no more counting. The wolf's eyes were open, and they were going to stay open.
Here is a link to the next part in The Beast of the Forest:
Thank you so much for reading!
Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss Part 12!
Have a wonderful day!