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During a fresh night of summer, a young detective and his little brother camps in the middle of the deep forest, not knowing what hides in between the thick undergrowth. An alarming number of sightings are reported in the town; a mysterious creature rounds the place without leaving any kind of trace. Back in the decade of the 60s, five teenage girls disappear strangely, all of them with similitudes that indicates a serial killer presence. Many attempts to find the truth leads to nothing and without any suspect, their case remains closed until the early morning of July of 2022. After a confusing close encounter, detective’s brother disappears leaving him a temporary amnesia. Such thing, encourages him to look out for answers in events of the past.
It was the third week of the month of July when the Bolton brothers arrived in Glennallen to visit their grandfather’s home. Alaska seemed to be a little cold, different from Illinois weather. The great mountain was magnificent, it conveys the feeling of inferiority and it quickly caught the attention of the younger boy. He was unlike other kids, totally immersed in his thoughts most of the time. The “what if?” question was always in his mind and his eyes weren’t into people’s stares, he preferred to admire whatever thing less them.
Paxton was different, a little bit more bright. He lived for logical thinking, his brain worked in a mechanical way that made him lean towards criminology. The profession was chosen not only because of his brilliant brain but also because of the great man; Mr. Oren Bolton.
The legacy of this man was immense, everyone knew him for his role in the unsolved murder of Candance Markle, and all the scandals pushed by the media back in his early years as a detective. A recent graduate Bolton shared traits with the old man, but the reason for the visit was just the coexistence.
Camping was the main activity to do there, everything else seemed to be very boring. Harlan couldn’t fully understand the reason why his grandpa stayed there for so long, it wasn’t even his hometown and there weren’t many reasonable reasons to stay.
“For what are those boxes?” - asked the young boy, sitting on the rug in the middle of the room, looking out at the stack of boxes. Oren didn’t pay attention to his grandson and instead, decided to change the page of the old book. After a while of silence, he raised his hand slightly.
“Is non of your business”- replied, with a mannerism of disgust with his raised hand.
“Well at least let me go outside, I can’t keep here more time. I beg.” - protested in response, in a slightly demanding tone.
The old man saw him out of the corner of his eye and felt uncomfortable over his freckles and almost translucid skin.
“If you go, be sure of being totally covered, it's too cold now.” - Said, and then settled back in the armchair. The boy smiled and went for warm clothes just for sitting on the bench in front of the house. The forest in front of him seemed interesting but terrifying at the same time as if hiding something, close enough to give him chills down his spine.
One car behind the other passed by the road, cutting out the stare between Harlan and the “thing”, an imaginary “what if?” of him. His older brother decided to sit next to him, trying to understand his thoughts.
“So for what are we looking for?” - asked excitedly.
“Is nothing… I just feel amazed.” - replied Harlan, almost without moving.
“Hmm, well it was a good idea at the end then. Or would you have preferred another place?” - expressed Paxton.
The young boy took a deep breath and decided to look at his brother.
“No. But a place without the old Bolton would have been better.” - finished saying with a big smile. A small laugh came to Paxton while he hugged his brother, filled with joy for having him.
Their relationship was too close, they had each other for the tough times, and the nine years apart never stopped them from understanding. Brotherly love was honest, they were willing to die for each other.
With the wind of the morning, they opened their eyes for a new day. Someone was knocking sharply on the door, demanding attendance. Oren woke up quickly and just put on his robe. The sound of the voices of the conversation made Paxton wake up too and walk in between the room, trying to hear clearly without showing himself. The man at the door was Mr. Cole, with a concerned tone and almost psychotic behavior. Oren was trying to calm him down while writing on his notes as fast as he could.
“Is not even something logical, this kind of animal is doing something gross. Is not about my yaks, is about something more dangerous.” - he told to Oren.
Paxton heard and a feeling of danger came over him as if he were sensing something.
“What was that even?” - asked the oldest brother while they had breakfast. The old man ran his hand over his face to his chin and looked at him.
“Why do you both ask many questions?” - asked with a slight smile. Harlan looked at his brother, waiting for an excuse with a smile of confusion.
“I just want to know, maybe I can help you with something.” - replied the young man.
“Not yet, Paxton, this is something personal. Andrew is my friend for many years, I would like to take all this by myself.” - said Oren and then drank orange juice.
In the mud, were laying eleven yaks without a single drop of blood, all of them stiff, as if they had been decomposing for several days. There was no smell of rot, which was very unusual for such case. In other locations, were parts of yaks, something had mutilated them and thrown them into far areas. State troopers were working with Oren, trying to find the cause.
During the afternoon, the boys packed their things and began the journey to the depths of the forest where they planned to stay for at least five days. They didn't know what was going on, not even about the incident with the yaks. Oren couldn't get home in time to tell them and stop them, it was fate.
Harlan was admiring every detail while walking through the forest and over his head, the leaves moved with the subtle wind, giving him peace. Paxton was trying to lead the walk to the previously chosen place in a private camping area, worried about the safety of the adventure. The trees seemed a little bit too weak, but the foliage was thick enough to make the whole place look deeper. Summer seemed like a beautiful dream in closure to the night, like a distant memory that they would recall in their older days. The younger brother hummed his favorite song while touching the river water with his hands.
“So you think this a good place to stay yet?” - said Harlan, interrupting his own humming.
“Well, we have water and a solid place.” - replied his brother while looking out the map.
The two looked around for something else.
“Well, I guess we’ll stay here.”- finished saying Paxton with a smile.
They sat for a while by the river, enjoying the breeze that the small waterfall created on their faces. Deep breaths in the company of the sounds of the birds made the whole scene completely enriching. When the sun started to fall, Paxton pitched the tents and Harlan fetched wood for the campfire.
The night was fresh, a little bit cold for their usual weather but comfortable enough. By the campfire, they prepared dinner and ate under the stars hanging in the sky.
“I think we should have invited Oren. I feel bad now, living in that old house must be boring.” - expressed Harlan worried.
“He was busy Harlan, I don’t think he could have come…so much to do.” - replied the boy trying to dissolve the guilty feeling of his brother.
As the minutes passed, the youngest's green eyes began to close for sleep. He tried to keep the conversation by saying a lot of facts and stories that he learned in documentaries and books, there were many things to say, many topics to talk about and he ended up spreading nonsense combinations that came from his creative mind.
The two decided to enter into the tends to sleep. The sounds of the nearby nature relaxed their minds almost completely, they were enchanted by the song of the night, immersed in that wild world.
It was a little after midnight when Oren arrived, as soon he entered the house he started to look for the boys all over the place. He called their names and went to every single place on the town roads and couldn't find them, they never answered his calls and it was almost impossible to tell exactly where they were.
His face reflected anguish, it was like seeing that painting of Ivan the Terrible holding his dying son in his arms. He knew something was wrong and that he couldn't do much to save his grandchildren.
He found the trace to the origin of the beast, something he has seen before. Those boxes that Harlan pointed out had the key to knowing what happened to the yaks and to predicting almost without doubt, what would happen in the future.
He knew that “he” was near and that his grandson matched the characteristics. Immediately after unpacking a box, he called every campground existing to find out where they were. The clock hung on the wall was ticking, every second closer.
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