I promise you a happy ending.

It started out innocent enough, a trio of fourth-grade boys playing "I Dare You". The dares, like they always do, began with little things. For example, chugging a water bottle. It easily progressed to physical tests, such as run to that mailbox and back, or climb that tree. There were also those nasty little boy dares, the majority eating the bugs and the like. The boy's names were Jacob, Adam, and Derrick. Let me tell you a bit about them before we progress with the story.

Jacob Hill was the only child of his family, one of the richest in the state. His parents were always too busy for him, and were almost never home. He used to have a golden retriever, Willy. The previous year, however, Willy got very sick and had to be put down. Jacob had to do the job himself.

Adam Juarez rarely saw his parents, too. He was born in the U.S., but his parents were Mexican immigrants and they as a family often faced racial discrimination. He was also poor, his father worked two jobs and his mother managed to get some extra money here and there, odd jobs she said. In truth, she was a prostitute, and Adam knew, but his father never found out. His father was a problem, too. Back in Mexico, he was involved with the drug cartels. On top of that, the only times he saw his father, the man was either drunk or asleep. Like Jacob, he never really knew his parents.

Derrick Green was an odd one. At times he was Einstein, and at others he was downright stupid. He was adopted and was often bullied for having gay parents. One of his fathers was jailed for DUI and possession of methamphetamines. His other father was a severe alcoholic, and physically and sexually abusive. Derrick lived by the woods, and he was a quiet boy, so nobody knew about the abuse. As a side note, the father he lived with was quite a slender man, if I do say so myself. These boys all had it hard, but their hardships helped them become the best of friends. Now, let's return to the story.

Although Derrick lived by the woods, he was absolutely terrified of them, as were the other boys. Finally, Jacob made the boldest of dares, he dared Derrick to go into the forest for ten minutes. Hesitantly, he did so.

Patches of light shone through the interlocked web of branches and leaves formed by the trees but for the most part, it was dark and moist. Derrick encountered many types of fungi and plants, and was jumpy at everything, from the sounds of his own footsteps to small squirrels. After what he thought was ten minutes, he started to return. It only took half a minute for him to realize he was lost. Being the quiet boy he was, his shouting voice would be a talking voice for most of us. His legs now tired, he sat down and rested. He was quickly off to sleep.

It had now been at least twenty-five minutes and Derrick still hadn't returned. The forest scared the wits out of Adam and Jacob, but they decided one of them would have to go after him. They settled on rock, paper, scissors, best two out of three. Jacob lost, and had to go alone.

Jacob hadn't ever been as near the woods as Derrick had, making it much more frightening for him. He hollered Derrick's name again and again, but it was of no use. You see, Derrick was a heavy sleeper. You could blow a train's whistle in his ear and he wouldn't so much as move. He wandered through the forest, climbing over fallen trees and trudging through muddy ground. It was exhausting.

It had been two hours since Jacob had gone to look for Derrick. Adam was bored and scared for his friends. After a brief moment of consideration, he went against his better judgement and entered the forest to go look for his friends. He searched around for maybe twenty minutes and couldn't find either of them.

Derrick woke to the feeling of liquid on his hand. As he opened his eyes, he noticed it had gotten darker. Not considerably so, but it was noticeable. He looked down and saw... wait for it... water. A few drops, it was starting to sprinkle. Derrick dried his hand on his hoodie and stood up. He dusted the soil off of the backside of his pants and looked up, immediately making eye contact with a wolf. Wolf is the simplest term I can use to describe this creature. It was a very big wolf, not just to him but in general. Big enough to swallow that boy whole easily, to give you an idea.

Jacob had come to a small clearing and was about ready to give up. He looked around, and to his surprise, he saw an arm. The body it belonged to was hidden from view by a tree, but the gray hoodie looked like Derrick's. Jacob jogged over there to greet him. Derrick was standing up against the tree, paralyzed by fear. Jacob looked at him perplexed, trying to figure out what was wrong. He followed Derrick's line of sight and saw the wolf, he froze, then turned and bolted in the opposite direction. It didn't follow, it continued watching Derrick. Jacob ran through the forest, ducking under branches and maneuvering around other obstacles. It had been exactly 17 seconds of sprinting when a second wolf jumped from underneath some large bushes and broke Jacob's back. Only a quiet squeak came from the boy as he fell to the ground and died. The wolf took a hold of Jacob's body with its teeth and dragged it back under the bushes.

I'm sorry to say Adam's search so far hadn't been particularly interesting. He kept believing he heard noises, and noises he did hear, but they were nothing out of the ordinary. He did, for a moment, get caught in a bramble but was soon out.

Derrick wasn't sure how long he had been standing against the tree, but it felt like forever. He knew something was going to happen soon, and he was right. Earlier, his leg had brushed up against some poison ivy. The plant's chemicals on his leg was starting to take effect. First came that feeling, and he was tempted to scratch it, but remained still. Then followed that burning sensation. Derrick was being tormented by how extremely uncomfortable it was, and was struggling to keep from scratching. Finally came the scorching, unbearable pain in that spot on his leg. He felt as though he was about to scream, and to make matters worse, the wolf's eyes were staring with such an intensity that his legs were starting to weaken. He finally gave in and reached down, and scratched the hell out of his leg. Sweet relief was soon met by the inside of the wolf. Derrick had looked up and had no time to react as the wolf's mouth closed around him and bit him in two, his pelvic bone crackling under the tremendous pressure of the wolf's jaws.

Adam stumbled upon the clearing Jacob had found earlier, only to find a shocking image: Derrick's body being devoured by the massive wolf. He backed away slowly, and started to run the other way like Jacob had. He skidded to a halt at the sight of the other wolf, its face dripping with the crimson blood of his friend. Adam ran in another direction, and was followed by one wolf at first. Then two, then three, and then a fourth. He was sprinting for his life, doing whatever he could to stop, or at least slow the wolves' pursuit. The ground started to get a little higher as he progressed through the forest and he looked back to see how far ahead he was. Not the smartest move. He tripped on a large root and fell down the steep side of the hill, his body bruising as he tumbled down. He finally came to a stop, out of breath and in pain, his heart pounding like a drum in his chest.

So there he was, lying on the ground and staring at the underside of the forest's canopy. He looked up and around and noticed the wolves surrounding him. They were closing in and he had absolutely nowhere to go. Nonetheless, he tried to get up, but was immediately forced back down by the paws of one of the wolves. The force wasn't great enough to break anything, but he was winded again. All the wolves rushed in to tear at his body. His arm was torn from the socket of his left shoulder, the blood spilling out as he screamed at the top of his lungs. He screamed for mercy, but there was none. His legs were gone in one bite. The immense pain surged through his body as the wolves ate him alive. His right leg was taken in another bite, along with a sizable portion of his hip bone.

Until he finally died, his little boy shrieks pierced through the forest. I do recall, my friends, promising you a happy ending. I assure you, it was a happy ending. For the wolves.

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