Chapter 4

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“Wake up, oh god please wake up….!”

The words seemed to be coming from the end of a long tunnel while Jason fought to regain consciousness. As he began to open his eyes a hand slapped Jason across the face and he felt himself being shaken. Slowly he forced open his eyes, his head was a throbbing ball of pain where he had hit the rock and his right eyelid was partially stuck closed with dried blood. His clothes were soaked through and he was shivering uncontrollably. Like him Sarah was also covered with mud, her blonde hair hung limp around her face in thick dark clumps, but when Jason was finally able to focus on her the look of relief he saw on her face made her the most beautiful person he had ever seen. Before he could ask what happened she grabbed him with both arms and hugged him so fiercely that his head smacked into her shoulder making his gashed forehead flare up in another bust of pain. He didn’t care.

“Oh thank god,” she whispered, “thank you, thank you, thank you…”

She held him tighter and started crying, her whole body shaking with every sob. Jason let her hold him a few moments before gently pulling her arms off and sitting up. His muscles were stiff and his back was killing him, every movement required more effort than he would have liked, but at least he was alive. Still crying Sarah threw her head into his shoulder and hugged him again. He held her like that for a few minutes, letting her get it all out before pushing her away once more and gently picking her chin up with his hand, forcing her to look him in the eyes.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

She looked at him and nodded; her breathing finally starting to slow down. When Jason saw Sarah shivering as badly as he was he looked up at the sky, it would start to get dark soon and Jason knew the temperature would drop with the sun. If they didn’t get off the mountain and back to the car before then things would get very bad for them.

“Yea I’m alright, I think I sprained my ankle when we fell but that’s all.” she said, “I was afraid you weren’t going to wake up, you hit your head pretty bad.”   

“What happened to the dogs?” he asked, “I thought they were going to rip us to pieces.”

“They weren’t dogs; they were wolves, big ones too. I’ve never heard of them in NH, and I’ve certainly never heard of them acting that way. Jason, they weren’t normal.”

“I could have guessed that,” Jason said with a groan, “what happened after I got knocked out? What made them leave?”

She stared at the ground and just shook her head. Her shivering was getting worse and her teeth were starting to chatter. Jason knew they really needed to get moving but he had to know what happened.

“Sarah, what happened when I passed out?”

“I don’t really know,” she said, “I remember I was afraid that you were going to get your face chewed off, then you passed out and it just, well, it ignored you and came to me. It’s like they weren’t trying to hurt either of us, they just walked up to me and, and…”

She broke off and started crying again. But now the sky was starting to turn from dark blue to orange and red and Jason could feel the air getting colder; even in the spring New England could be bitter cold at night and dangerous. He stood up slowly. His head was still throbbing badly but he knew the pain of that wasn’t nearly as dangerous as hypothermia. He helped pull Sarah to her feet gently, trying to help her keep weight off her hurt ankle. She leaned against him with her ankle off the ground and together they started making their way down the trail. It was going to be slow going but at least they weren’t that far from the road. They made their way carefully down the path, after a short distance Sarah’s breathing had slowed down and her crying had stopped.

“…not normal…” she whispered.

“What did you say honey?” he asked, looking down at her as she tried not to step down on her hurt ankle.

“They weren’t normal; they shouldn’t have acted like that, they’re animals.”

He looked down at her with a sideways glance and caught her eye. Sarah looked up at him and stopped moving, turning his shoulders so they were facing each other. Jason could feel her fingers digging into his shoulders; she had a look on her face like she had just realized something important but wasn’t sure if anyone would believe her or even cared.

“What do you mean just animals? What did they do?”

“When you passed out and they came to me, they didn’t try to attack me or bite me or anything. Jason, one of them pulled the camera out of my hand. They took my camera and ran away with it."   

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