One Picture, One Story
That confidence, however, was short-lived as he felt his foot slip on the algae covered stone bringing him tumbling into the cold, slow-moving water. He flailed recklessly as he tried to right himself and climb out of the river, but seemed to only sink deeper and drift further from the shore. He fought to the surface to choke down any air he could, growing more and more exhausted with each second. He felt something grab him. He froze and floated to the surface and next to him was the Otter creature from before. Sam stared in disbelief as he felt his feet touch the river bed and realized he was only in about three feet of water. The creature assisted him as he fumbled to the shore only to disappear into the depth as if he had never been. Sam sat sheepishly on the stones, quite embarrassed by his lack of composure. He rested his head in his hands and sat motionless as the sun rose higher in the bright blue sky.
The silence was eerie and the air seemed to be filled with despair; as if it understood the terror that had begun. Feeling a chill, Sam resumed his slow, awkward journey, being a little more mindful of where his feet were stepping. The quiet was increasing his paranoia as he hiked along the banks and he found himself stopping and scanning the area more often and for longer intervals. He felt like a small squirrel collecting his winter stash of nuts. Sam smiled a little at the thought, but his mirth was short-lived as he immediately turned his thoughts to the squirrelly Sciurus and his hasty disappearance. He imagined so many horrible ways Sciurus met his fate and cringed at the graphic detail his mind showed him. He slipped a little on a rock, but this time kept his cool and barely missed a step.
There was an oppression to the afternoon air, causing him to labour for his breath as he moved. Sam stopped to catch his elusive breath and scanned the area. There was a stone stairway decending to the water from the banks above, so Sam slowly crawled up and stopped short of the top stair. He raised his head just high enough to see what lay before him, trying hard to keep quiet and draw as little attention as possible. There it was; the School. Sam relaxed and lowered himself down a stair or two and began to plan his next move. He was puzzled by the lack of fanfare he felt for having arrived at his destination and wondered if this whole journey was nothing more than an afternoon jaunt along the river. He sighed loudly as he tried to come up with a battle plan for his big entrance at the school. Sam really just wanted to shut his eyes and sleep in hopes of waking up in his warm bed in, his warm house and forget this whole, terrible nightmare. He pinched himself. Nothing. He pinched harder. “Shit!” Sam startled himself with his shout and quickly realized that he wasn’t waking up anywhere safe or comfortable. His heart sunk a little lower and his head slowly nodded as if to confirm the hopelessness of his circumstance. *SNAP* He looked up to see the devilish eyes of those despicable creatures, on with Sam’s blood still dried on his chin. His stomach dropped and his breath stopped, but he didn’t move. In the corner of his eye he saw the dark figure of the man from the cottage. He reached out his hand to help Sam to his feet; Sam took it and pulled himself to his feet and stood eye to eye with the man. Sam could feel the cold sweat of fear envelop him, but he stood there, still, calm, determined. The man placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder, “Well hello again, Sam. You are soaked, come inside and dry off.”
Sam turned and followed the man to the school-house.