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Part 16: The Beast of the Forest
The Beast of the Forest continues...
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Now for today’s story…. The Beast of the Forest continues!
Here’s a link to the previous part:
And here’s a link to part one:
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Jimmy had never felt anything so soft in his life as the pillow beneath his head.
For the first time in days, he woke up and actually felt rested.
Lying in his bed, he took in the world one sound at a time… The chickens in the yard were quietly clucking among themselves. A singsong bird tweeted. Just outside his window was the sound of a horse and cart passing by.
He went to the window and looked out at the street. The horse and cart had passed by and was off down the street. The town was so quiet. Everything was so peaceful.
Jimmy left his room and walked down the short hallway to the living room.
He stood in the living room doorway for a moment and took it all in. His mum was rolling out dough on the table with a rolling pin while his dad sat by and whittled away at a small piece of wood with his knife. It was the exact same morning scene that he had witnessed almost every day of his life. For a moment it was as if the whole ordeal in the forest could have never happened.
When Jimmy’s dad finally spotted him, he stood up straight away and paced across the room at Jimmy and pulled him in for a gigantic bear hug.
“I’m so happy you’re ok,” said Jimmy’s dad, his voice muffled as he hugged his son.
To Jimmy it felt like the whole universe was hugging him.
“Soup’s ready,” said Jimmy’s mum as she was serving up a bowl.
Jimmy saw tears in his dad’s eyes. He’d never seen his dad cry before.
The pot of tomato soup was sat in a small nest of coals. The smell of it was a sudden reminder to Jimmy of just how desperately hungry he actually was.
He smiled at his dad and then ducked out his arms and rushed over to the pot of soup. His mum handed him a bowl and he went and sat down. He plunged his spoon into the soup and started feasting.
His mum walked over with a bowl of bread and Jimmy was reaching for it before it even hit the table.
As Jimmy was eating, there was a knock at the door. Jimmy didn’t even hear it — he was too busy scoffing down tomato soup. He was like a dog at dinner; nothing else in the world existed except for the food in front of him.
His dad went to answer the door. When he opened it he found a half-dozen kids looking up at him like pleading mice. Front and centre was Frank, the kid who Jimmy had initially had the big argument with about whether or not the Beast was real.
“We were wondering if Jimmy is free,” said Frank.
“He’s had a big few days,” said Jimmy’s dad. “Let me check with him first.”
Jimmy’s dad closed the door and walked back into the living room.
“Jimmy, a bunch of your friends are here to see you,” he said.
Jimmy was somehow already at the end of his bowl of soup, scratching at the bowl with his spoon for any last morsels.
“I can tell them to come back later if you like,” said Jimmy’s dad.
“It’s ok,” said Jimmy. “I’ll go see them.”
Jimmy put down his spoon and stood up.
“Thanks for the soup, mum,” he said.
“Don’t go out for too long,” she said. “I want us all to spend today together.”
Jimmy made his way to the front door and opened it. All of his friends from school were there and they all broke out cheering when they saw him. They were calling out at him and asking questions.
“Why don’t we talk somewhere else,” said Jimmy.
The pack of kids made their way down the road to the town square. They gathered together and sat down at the corner of the square, right where they had been when the talk of the Beast all began.
“Cal says you saw the Beast,” said Frank.
Jimmy looked around for a second and then he saw Cal, the kid who had found him on the road just outside of town.
“Yeah, I saw the Beast,” said Jimmy.
The whole group erupted in excitement. Some were gloating.
“I told you so!”
“I knew it!”
“You owe me a piece of silver!”
“I’m just glad you’re ok,” said Frank to Jimmy earnestly.
“What does the Beast look like?” asked one of the kids.
“Just like the stories say,” said Jimmy. “I’ve never been so terrified in my life.”
Jimmy’s sincere voice finally got everyone to settle down.
“There are bandits in the forest too,” said Jimmy. “They’re trying to catch one of the Beasts.”
“There’s more than one Beast?” asked Frank, gobsmacked.
“There’s at least three of them,” said Jimmy. “One adult and two kids.”
There was fearful chatter among the group.
“The bandits were holding me hostage,” said Jimmy. “They still have my friend, Leo.”
“Who’s Leo?” asked Frank.
“He lives in the forest and he saved my life,” said Jimmy.
“Where are they all now?” asked Frank.
“They’re near the mountains,” said Jimmy. “They’re building a trap.”
The bell rang for school. They were all going to be late. The kids started getting to their feet and leaving. Passing Jimmy, they gave him hugs and told him how glad they were that he was ok.
Everyone cleared off and only Jimmy, Frank, and Cal were left.
There was an unease on Jimmy’s face. He didn’t look like someone who had just made it home from an epic journey.
“What now?” asked Frank.
Jimmy knew exactly what had to happen now…
Here is a link to part 17:
Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the week!
New story on a certain lost pigeon in New York City next week!