Beyond The Woods 8

Lucy’s cabin was shuddering from the overwhelming waters that flowed beneath her. Her cabin was cracking and creaking from the weight as the rain began to seep in. Her trapped door had swung open and there staring at her was Muja. A frightened Lucy turn to run when, Muja, lunged towards her breaking the floor boards apart. Lucy struggled to hang on to the boards as they were lifted up in the air by the weight of the alligator. Lucy cried for help, but no one could hear her muffled cries through the storm. Muja crept slowly towards her as she clung to the boards. She tried to crawl up higher, slowly slipping into the jaws of Muja.

Mr. Darwin had reached her cabin and heard Lucy screaming the cries of a dead man. We weren’t far behind him when we heard her too. A shiver went down my spine when I saw her cabin being overtaken by the river. I could see Mr. Darwin in front of us and without further hesitation we all ran to Lucy’s aid. To my horror, we saw her being swallowed by Muja. Mr. Darwin pointed his musket towards the creature as I and Ranger Wilson rushed to pull her away. Mr. Darwin shot his musket as many times as he could until Muja let Lucy free from his grasp, slithering back into the river.

Lucy had fainted into my arms as we hurried her to the hospital. I never thought she would make it, but she did. When I had heard she had awoken, she had become distraught. Though, she didn’t lose her life to Muja she did lose her right leg. Many times I wanted to see her, but Lucy wouldn’t let me.

A few months later when the rains had subsided for a brief moment, she was released from the hospital to a once more vacant spot on the river where her cabin stood. The river had washed it away again. One afternoon, I found her sitting in her wheel chair facing the empty spot. As I approached her she repudiated me.

“Go away,” she rebuffed me. “Go away.”

If it wasn’t for Mrs. Darwin, Lucy would have stayed out there, uncaring that the rains had returned. Mrs. Darwin had a cabin that once belonged to her late mother and let Lucy live there while winter grappled on. Lucy had to wait for spring before she could rebuild her cabin again. I was told she wasn’t herself lately and rarely spoke a word. Losing her leg must have broken her spirit.

Beyond The Woods 7

I heard from others that she rented a room in Willingby while her cabin was being rebuilt exactly the way it looked before in the old spot it stood. I didn’t see much of her during that time, but then again, neither did most residents from the town since she barely left her room. Maybe she feared Samuel who was unfettered, maybe she was heartbroken from losing all her possessions. I heard from Ranger Wilson that Mrs. Darwin, a woman that lived some distance from Lucy’s cabin visited her with food. She was the only person Lucy didn’t refuse to see

Six months later, Lucy’s cabin had been erected, and yet, we were no closer to finding Samuel. I had searched high and low as other Rangers had, but he was elusive. The only place we didn’t dare to enter was the wetlands. It was the home of Muja and we didn’t dare disturb his kingdom.

Though, the waters had recessed, it didn’t stop raining. The river overflowed and the currents were strong, making it hard to row through. I’d visit Lucy whenever I could or when the waters permitted it, and, even then the weather was getting harsher. Eventually, I and the other Rangers became busy on preparing for the next floods. Searching for Samuel would have to wait. We were completely preoccupied with our time that we didn’t notice that a stranger was coming and going beyond the woods. He had arrived the day the storms started.

The rains persisted, causing the clouds to be grey, turning the day into a dark gloom. Thunder rumbled the earth while lightning struck without anticipation. There seemed no end to the unfavorable weather. For days, I wasn’t able to visit Lucy. Sometimes I couldn’t help, but, worry about her, and when I didn’t think about her my thoughts were engrossed on other matters at hand. Lately, residents of Willingby were being threatened by Muja’s presence.

Muja has never been that close to the town before, and it only meant that the wetlands had flooded, forcing Muja out of her home. Ranger Wilson had gotten a call from Mr. Darwin. He had seen the alligator roaming close to his barn for days, terrifying his goats. Then one morning he heard the dreaded sound of wood being thrashed about. Mr. Darwin looked outside the window to see Muja inside his barn, slaughtering his goats. Ranger Wilson told him to wait inside until we reached his home. Mr. Darwin must have been irate to see his goats killed, because when we reached his home Mrs. Darwin informed us that he had taken his musket and followed Muja back to the river. We decided to go after Mr. Darwin as Muja was no match for him.