Cullen ran through the redwood forest, grabbing frantically at his chest. His breath came in shallow bursts of pain, while his feet sank in the soft loam with every step. He couldnŐt shake the feeling of the vines creeping over his skin, spreading and slithering like sadistic snakes. He grappled with the invis- ible vines around his throat, choking him.
The moon shone brightly through the thick foliage overhead, casting eerie shadows below. If Cullen hadnŐt known these woods so well, he surely would have tripped; but even in his frenzied state, he leapt over fallen trees and massive jutting roots with cervine grace.
He cleared the edge of the forest, still clawing at his neck, leaving behind a crisscross of long red welts. Now in full view, the moon hung big and round, its shadows much harsher with- out the distortion of the trees. This certainly was a Halloween night he would never forget. The freshly-mowed lawn cushioned his steps. As he cut across it approaching his house, his breath slowed and he felt calmer. Almost home. Almost safe.
Cullen stepped into his darkened room and slid into bed with a sigh of relief.
Suddenly, he had no idea how he got there.