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I am the only one who knows about this. For the sake of everyone's safety, I have changed the names. So call me Billy. It's not my name, but like I said I am changing things up so me and my friend can live in peace. I live on a small island that no one's ever heard of. Or, well, I used to at least. I left right after the accident, because unlike all those horror movie characters, I value my life. Well, I made this to get the word out, so no point in stalling. Here we go.

I was 15 at the time, and looking back I wonder how I lived with such stupidity. As mentioned before, I lived on a small island near Portugal. About a two hour boat ride and there it was. Kracker Island—named after John Kracker, the man who found it—was an unknown island. Only the people who lived there knew it existed. We chose to keep it that way. Something about our ancestors wanting peace and blah blah. Yeah, come to think of it I never did pay attention in history class. My friend, who we'll call Max, was just a year under me and boy could he talk. I was more of a quiet type, only talking when I needed to. Max on the other hand, holy cow he just wouldn't shut up! Every day with some weird questions like "If nothing is faster than light, how did darkness get there first?". I didn't mind, because his questions were occasionally interesting enough. Enough to the point where we would stay up all night doing research on things like "How do snakes move without legs?". Fun times, honestly. If only we could go on one last adventure together...

We loved to sneak out at night and go on "quests" out in the massive forest behind Max's house. Whether it was finding a bone in the ground or playing hide and seek, we would stay overnight sometimes, with tents and bootleg s'mores. We were poor, and the only mercado on the island didn't sell brand stuff. So we made our s'mores out of corn chips, chocolate syrup, and gummy bears. The only thing we loved to do more than adventuring into the forest maze was video games. We loved them so much, we would delete our data and restart when we beat it. One day I was walking to Max's house when I heard something fall, followed by a long and dramatic "Ow!". With a sigh, I looked to my left, where my six-year-old brother lay on the floor, ketchup on his knee.

"What do you want, little faker?" I said through clenched teeth. He did this every day, mostly because he couldn't stand being alone. I sat down and ruffled his curly brown hair, smiling slightly.

"Momma said to play outside, not on the game. Then she left." He said, still feigning pain.

"Oh, really? Okay, then. Did she make it to work?" I said. He nodded his little head. You see, my mom and dad both worked at the mercado, which is how we could always make s'mores without worrying about money. So yes, we were spoiled. We got things for free. Well, technically we got everything free, but you know what I mean. I looked at the ketchup art on his knee, and put some on his hair.

"Hey! You got ketchup on my hair!" He said, immediately regretting it.

"Ketchup, huh? Cool. Anyways, I'm going and before you ask, you can't come." I muttered, shaking him off my leg and jogging down to Max's house. It was a beautiful day, like always. Sun shining, weather warm, the air sweet and clear. The only weird thing about everyday's weather was two things. One; the weather was the same. Everyday, the sun shined until night, and the air was crisp and sweet, smelling like honey and lavender. Two; the fog. Even though it never rained, a almost clear fog hung around each morning, getting thicker at night. I'm not sure how we always had enough water, because it only rained 4 times since 1452, when John Kracker found the island. Me, Max, and a couple of other people lived at the top of the island, where it slanted downward into the middle section. Because of how Max’s house was positioned with mine, the jogs were easy: downhill, about a minute on bike, 3 on foot. People on the island didn’t have cars, so we all used these cheap wooden bikes that broke in a month.

I forgot to bring my bike, so I ended up walking to Max’s house. The forest was so massive I could see it before I could see his house. Oh great, I thought. I need to pee. I turned right, into the forest so I could make a little "drop off". Standing in front of a tree wasn't the best source of privacy, but it got the job done.

Crack.

Startled, I looked around. In the area I was in, any noise coming from the right could be heard in front, behind, and to your left. Someone or something must have stepped on a twig, I thought. I felt breath on my neck, and I swiftly grabbed a stick, turned around, and yelled "Back off!"

Oh. It was nothing, though I wasn't sure how I felt breathing. I spun around to come face to face with a...web. It was red, for some reason. And the center had a shape like a heart. Not those weird ones, but like how a heart actually looks.

"Some spiders have weird taste in web design." I said out loud. Never did I question why the heart was red, like it was filled in with color. Never did I question the breathing. Never did I think twice about the branch. Until later that horrible, horrible day.

Me and Max had just finished a video game, not listening to our moms, when it happened. Since our parents worked at the mercado, they were gone almost all day. So, naturally, we did whatever we wanted. We heard something fall from the roof. Whatever or whoever fell was big, because it sounded like cannon fire. We immediately ran outside, and saw nothing but little dots of red leading into the forest.

"Wow. Feel bad for them. They must have broken something on the way down." Max said, like it was as normal as a fly. I looked at him for a while, wondering what he meant.

"Um, has this happened before?" I asked, trying to hide the concern in my voice. He nodded.

"Almost everyday. Same time, around 10:00. From my ceiling window to this area, then into the forest." Only when he said that did I notice that the red dots were actually clusters of them. It looked like whoever fell used the same path into the forest, bleeding due to the fall. We both knew what we would do.

"Adventure time. Get your gear!" We said at the same time. We ran back into his house to get ready. He was the dramatic one, putting black lines under his eyes and wearing a headband. I just kept it simple and stayed in my jacket and jeans. Last summer, we made these epic staff-like weapons, carved from wood. We painted them back, then sharpened it into a makeshift spear. Good lord, how did our parents even allow this? We strapped the sticks on our backs, grabbed camping stuff, and went out into the forest.

Over the years, I developed a lot of detective skills because of some of the things we would find. This proved to be helpful during that night, but not enough to save him...

"The blood is dry and brown. From its look, this happened about twelve minutes ago. The person is close, so we need to catch up." I said to Max, who was now holding his stick, the point in front of him. I did the same, wondering if Link from the games ever used a spear. Maybe in a game we didn't have? As we picked up speed, the creature must have slowed down, because the blood went from dry and brown to wet and crimson.

"We're getting closer. Come on." I said. No response. I looked to my left and saw nothing. I stopped and looked around, hoping to see Max. Still, the only things I saw were trees. Hold on, I thought. Trees. Nothing but trees. I was lost, and Max was nowhere to be seen. I sat down and hugged my knees, a knot building in my throat. I felt hopeless. So hopeless. Suddenly my sadness turned into anger. I grabbed my spear and yelled.

"Come on! Show yourself!" I roared, waiting for a response. I heard no words, but what I saw will haunt me for the rest of my life. Max came out, floating. No, it was like he was being grabbed. He couldn't see because he had no eyes to speak of. He waved around, trying to fight something, but he hit a tree instead.

"Max?! What happened?" I managed to get out. It was like he was being grabbed, but I saw nothing.

"H-Help! Itsgrabbingme!" He said, panicking. Then I saw it. It had to be human, no other creature has that anatomy. Still, why did it look like that? It was tall, at least 9 feet. All I could see were veins, its nervous system, eyes, teeth, a tongue, and all the other organs. Everything else was invisible. Bones, skin, flesh, hair, all non-existent. Even though it had no skin, there was a physical force around it. I could see hand marks on Max's hair, almost like the hand was there but not visible. It had no eyelids, so the eyes were always scared looking and wide, like a cartoon character with big round eyes. I felt hungry, and I realized that I subconsciously vomited all over the ground. From the way it held Max, it seemed to be saying is this what you want? Come and get him. With blinding rage, I lunged forward and stabbed the creature's heart. I thought I won, but then I cleared my eyes of tears and realized with massive horror that it failed. The spear bounced off with a sound like a trampoline underwater. The invisible skin seemed to behave like jelly, if it were impossible to cut. It looked at the spot where I stabbed it, and felt around it with its free hand. I fell to the ground, sobbing. It didn't work. It was all for nothing. My desperate last attempt at saving my friend failed. It put Max down, who was now unconscious from the pain, and gently wiped a tear from my face. I looked up at it, and stopped. It seemed to...feel bad for me.

"What do you want?! Leave me alone!" I cried, hitting its head with rocks and twigs. It just stood there, bent down to my level. To this day, I don't know how, but it spoke. Its voice sounded like a smoker's, if the lungs were filled with water.

"Watch. Listen." It said. Its mouth didn't move, but I could hear the words clearly. It stared at me with deep, pained eyes and suddenly, the back of my head started to feel weird. Like static. My eyes no longer saw the creature and the forest, but something else. A room. No, a lab. I saw an old man in a white lab coat standing next to a boy my age, but incredibly tall. He was strapped down onto a bed, trying to break free. His mouth was stuffed with a cloth but I could make out some words. No...Not ready...wrong one...not fair. What did he mean?

"It will hurt, but you will get used to it. Quiet down, now." The old man said. Now the boy struggled harder. The old man brought down a needle to the boy's forehead, then slowly injected a purple liquid into his head. Maybe because I was seeing his memories, but it all made sense. The boy wasn't ready. He didn't understand that he was different. That he was stronger than everyone else. But he didn't think it was fair to be brutally strapped down and experimented on. The memory moved to a different one. I saw this one from his view. The only reason I could see my/his hands was because they were covered in blood. He was in a room, his parents' room. Again, I think I knew that because this was his memory. The bodies of his parents lay on their bed, not moving and covered in blood. He killed them. The experiment toyed with his brain. The scientist was trying to use him as a weapon, but it failed and the boy killed him. The experiment caused him to kill his family, and it sent him on a path he would never come back from. My vision returned to normal, and everyone was gone. The creature, and Max.

One painful month later, police found the body. I had told them everything that day in the forest, running back without my spear or camping stuff. My parents had already come home, so I ran into my house, crying. In an old building, they found Max. He was in the same room that I saw in the vision. The lab was much darker, caused by a soaking of blood. Everything was brown, and tables were flipped over. When I say body, I don't actually mean it. The only thing that was found was skin. I didn't say anything, but I knew exactly why: The creature wanted to fit in. After years of hiding in the forest, It wanted skin. It wanted to be normal, human. From the way the skin was ripped, I could tell he didn't need it, it didn't fit. So if you ever take a walk in the forest, be safe. And if you ever see a red, floating heart, run. Don't look back. Don't stop. Run until you are with others. Because there is no way to kill him. So at least if he gets you, you can feel safe in those last moments, looking at everyone else. Now I need to go. I am now 26 and I lost all hope. I give up. If you need me, I'll be taking a walk in the forest. Goodbye.

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