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Chapter 6

I giggled as I watched Mason playing hopscotch in front of me. He jumped on one foot, then two, repeating the motion.

          “See! I told you I could do it!” he said.

          I stood up from my spot in the soft grass and walked towards the back of his form as he jumped. I scooped my arms under his and lifted him high, spinning him around in the clearing.

          “Put me down! I don’t like being man-handled. I’m not a boy, I’m a man!”

          I set him down and he turned to look at me, laughing. Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound and I jumped high in the air. Mason turned to me with his mouth agape and eyes wide. It came from the forest…

          “What was that?” he whispered to me.

          I shook my head, “I’m not sure…”

          “Well then, let’s check it out!” he said, excited.

          I frowned, shaking my head.

          “I don’t know… is it safe?”

          “It’s probably fine!”

Even though I am fifteen and he’s only about ten, I grabbed his hand and we hurried into the forest. We walked around for a while, looking for anything suspicious. Suddenly, in front of us was the tree, it had just fallen, causing a loud crash. It was the tree that had fallen that one stormy night, the one I hid in when I had played hide-and-go-seek with my father. I turned towards Mason in relief, but was suddenly distracted by a new realization. The night sky had turned cloudy and suddenly lightning struck. Rain started to pour down hard.

          “Avery, I’m scared,” Mason whispered to me, grabbing my hand.

          “It’s okay. Don’t worry. We can go home now.”

          But when we turned to leave we were stopped. There was a crowd of The Dead around us now. Their eyes were black and they were bloody and beaten. One was missing an eye, one was missing an arm, and one was missing a hand. They were all dirty looking, they’re hair was messy and they’re clothes were mud-caked.

          “Avery!” Mason shouted in terror.

          “Climb up the tree, Mason!” I said, gripping his hand.

          I helped him get on the trunk and he walked across it carefully. I followed behind him. One of The Dead grabbed my leg with his prying hand. I kicked my foot back, hitting him in the face, causing him to tip over. I made it to the top of the tree along with Mason.

          “What do we do?” Mason asked me as we looked below us.

          The Dead were reaching for us and two smart ones were already managing to climb up.

          I turned around and suddenly I saw my mother and father sitting next to me too. They’re legs were slung over the branch they were balancing on and they were staring below themselves quietly.

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