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London fell to the ground with a soft thud as leaves cushioned her fall. Sighing, she picked herself back up as the sound of other footsteps faded around her. Of course, she was the one who had to get firewood, as the others were occupied with setting up the tent. It only took her a few minutes to gather enough branches to start a small fire. The only problem now is getting back without tripping and falling on her face.

“Hey, London!” she looked up at the sound of her name. Her eyes fell on a shorter girl with short black hair and dazzling amber eyes that stood out against her dark skin. London smiled at her.

“Hey, Amy. Are the boys done with the tent?” she asked. Amy Ross is her full name, and she is one of London's closest friends. They had gone camping with three of their other friends, all of them being boys. Amy nodded.

“Need any help?” she asked softly. London nodded gratefully. When she tried to hand Amy a few branches, she accidentally dropped all of them. London cursed under her breath as Amy giggled and helped her pick them up.

“Many thanks,” London smiled. Amy nodded as they walked back to the campsite. They had set up in a small clearing where the trees were less dense, and it was hard to find considering that they are in a heavily wooded area. When London caught sight of the boys, she couldn't help but laugh. Nathan had somehow gotten completely drenched with water and was chasing Seth in an attempt to get him wet as well.

“Oh, you got the firewood.” Matthew grinned when he saw the two girls. London grinned at him.

“Yeah! Where do you want us to put it?” she asked. Matthew pointed to a small circle of stones set up as a makeshift fire pit. London nodded and Amy followed her over there.

“Hey, London, Amy!” Nathan yelled at them. He stood with his arms open as if asking for a hug. Amy scrunched up her nose and London laughed.

“No way! I don't wanna get wet!” she giggled. Nathan grinned devilishly and began to run towards London. She shrieked with laughter and dropped the wood as she ran away. London already knew he was faster, so it was no surprise when his cold arms wrapped around her torso. He rested his head on her shoulder.

“Gotcha!” he shouted. London sighed in defeat.

“Yep. You got me,” she hummed. London saw Matthew watching them and smiling. “Help me!” she yelled in a joking way. Matthew threw his hands up.

“You're on your own.” he laughed. London pouted until she saw Seth sneaking up on them. He jumped on Nathan’s back, making all of them fall over. Matthew shook his head in mock disappointment. “Stop goofing off. It’s about to get dark so we need to get the fire going.” he sighed. London struggled to stand up. It was hard considering she had two boys clinging to her. London eventually shook them off and walked over to Amy, she had already put the sticks and branches in a neat pile. She handed London her lighter, and after stuffing a pile of leaves under the sticks she set it aflame.

After they had the fire going and their food cooked, they told stories. Most of them were made-up tales of ghosts and lost campers, but London had a different one, one that was true.

“It happened a few years ago when my older brother was still alive.” she began her story, using a deep, spooky voice. “I used to always write in my journal, and I had filled my old one up. So Paris and I went to get a new one,” she took a deep breath. It was still hard for her to talk about her brother. “I found one I liked so we bought it. A few days after I was writing in it, I found odd words imprinted on the back,” Seth figured this was the perfect time to interrupt her.

“So you forgot to check the book for writing, that’s not scary at all.” he scoffed. Nathan poked his back.

“Let her finish,” he whispered. London rolled her eyes and continued.

“I took the book to Paris and he said it was old computer code. He told me that he would decode it in a week or so. But the next day the code was gone.” she finished, and even she could see they were bored.

“Well, that sounded like you were scared,” Amy said, in an attempt to make her friend feel better. They went to bed not long after.

London woke up with a start the next morning. It took her a minute to remember that they were in the woods. She sat up with a sigh and looked over to see Amy still asleep. She took a moment to look around, seeing if anyone else was awake. For a moment she thought that she was the only one awake until she saw that Matthew was gone. A sudden shiver ran down her spine. London scratched her neck and got up, going to look for him. She lifted the tent flap and went outside.

Thwack. Thwack. CRUNCH.

London's head whipped around, trying to locate the noise. She ran in the direction she thought it was, and found a small, wood cabin. Was that always there? The noises got louder as she got closer. She had to stand on her toes to look through the window. Her hand flew to her mouth so she wouldn’t make noise. The first thing she saw was a familiar head of red hair. It was of course Matthew, but he was holding an ax and slamming it down into a young woman. It was so hard not to scream, or react at all. London was frozen in place, not daring to move when the sounds of the ax stopped.

“You… You weren't supposed to be here!” Matthew's voice rang in the dead silent woods. London was silently hoping he was talking about someone else and hadn't seen her yet, but that hope was crushed when the ax swung down right next to her head. Pain shot through the left side of her face, where the ax cut into her ear.

“Matt... what happened to you?” London choked out, tears welling up in her eyes and clouding her vision. Matthew slowly walked in front of her, his breathing rough and uneven. London had to blink a few times before she could get a proper view of his face. His usually straight and brushed red hair was tangled with nearly dry blood clinging onto the ends of it, while blood was splattered on his face, the dark crimson contrasting with his pale skin. The most noticeable change was his eyes, the normally bright, emerald green orbs were dark and glazed over. He reached out a pale hand and cupped her cheek. Only now did she realize how much she was shaking.

“London… Dear, sweet London… You weren't supposed to be here. This is all a misunderstanding…” Matthew began to ramble, which was very unlike him. Before now, Matthew would always prefer to keep quiet unless he could speak confidently. London's teeth were chattering, his hand was so cold, so very cold…

“Matthew,” she mumbled, unable to keep her voice from shaking, “are you going to kill me..?” as soon as those words left her lips his hand shook as he chuckled darkly. His eyes were cold and his presence became even more threatening.

“Kill you London? Is that what you want? Do you want me to drive my ax into your head like I did Linda?” Insane laughter bubbled up from his throat. He took his hand away from her face and ran it through his hair. She tried to back up as far as she could, getting as far away from the redheaded lunatic in front of her as physically possible. At least now she knew that poor woman's name. But then he continued. “Oh no... I would never kill you, London… I don't think I can…” he began to murmur frantically, turning away from London. Taking this small chance to get away, she started to crawl behind him. Unfortunately for her, there were a lot of small sticks littering the ground. He whipped around, his now piercing, cold eyes glaring at London.

“Why are you like this? This isn't you!” she yelled, desperately hoping that someone would hear her. Matthew bent down and caressed her face again, making her shudder violently. His eyes widened a bit and his face softened slightly. Even his eyes warmed up a little. He got on his knees and cupped London's face with both of his hands.

“London… My sweet, naïve London… Isn't it obvious?” he pressed his forehead against hers for a moment, the smell of dried blood making her want to gag. “Na, you weren't supposed to be here.. You were never supposed to have seen me like this… But I don't think I can live now that you have..” her eyes widened as he stood up and grabbed the ax. In one swift motion, he yanked it out of the wooden wall. A sad smile spread across his face as he brought the ax above his head. It only took a moment for her to scream.

London woke up with a start the next morning. It took her a minute to remember that they were in the woods. She sat up with a sigh and looked over to see Amy still asleep. She looked around, seeing if anyone else was awake. She didn't see anyone up or missing, so she went to grab her journal and an old pen that still used ink. After writing about the previous day's events, she started to read what she had already written. The first few entries were of her writing about Pairs disappearing, but they got weirder after that.

“I don't remember this… And who the heck is Linda?” London's mutterings ended up waking Seth. He sleepily sat up and crawled towards her. “Oh, I'm sorry if I woke you..” she whispered.

“It's fine. Whatcha lookin' at anyways?” Seth inquired. London moved the book so he could see, and pointed to the passage she had been reading. He squinted his brown eyes as he read. “We've been friends forever, but I don't remember this... And the wording makes it sound like it's about to happen…” he muttered.

“Exactly what I was thinking..” she says, confused. She flipped a few more pages and furrowed her eyebrows. Beside her, Seth's eyes widened as well.

“I didn't know you could write in ‘enchantment table’..” he laughed nervously. She gently punched his shoulder and shook her head. He got the message and frowned.

“Another thing, who the hell is ‘Matthew’?” London puzzled. Seth nudged her shoulder to get her attention before handing her a pill bottle and a water bottle.

“Take your pills real quick, so you don’t forget later,” he said, unusually calm for the present situation. London nodded and shook two red pills from the bottle, drinking them down with the water.

Written by: L. A. Martin