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Screaming Into the Darkness of Her Despair


Jenny Camacho stood for a few moments, watching the forest in silence. Finally, turning quickly she headed for the clearing next to a rapid stream. That stream was almost surrounded on all sides by lush green ivy and towering trees. Birds and wildlife danced between the branches and the buzzing sounds of insects blended with the soft sigh of a breeze that wrestled with the foliage above her head. The air near the river seemed different. It was filled with the perfume of exotic flowers and the fresh smell of river water. Jenny stopped and looked at the beauty for the first time since she escaped her captor. She stood still, taking it all in and savoring what Mother Nature had to offer. Breathing deeply, and for the first time she thought of the only word that came to her mind, breathtaking. Through the breaks in the trees the sun nearly blinded Jenny as she forced herself to turn away.

Despite the fact that she was being chased, she couldn’t help but to consider the forest as a garden rather than an untamed jungle. It was filled with beauty and wonders she would probably never experience again.

There were dried branches being broken by heavy footfalls. Jenny didn’t know whether to run and hide or call out for help. Fear got the best of her and it was as if fear just gathered there and concentrated itself in that one area.

There was no time to enjoy the beauty of such a remarkable spot. Truth be told there would never have been a time in her life that she would have to explore the scenery of this clearing had she not been captured by a raving socio-path.

She felt as if she was one of the only two people in the world left, the other being her captor. She decided to run away from the footfalls and into the thick brush. Each movement she made was like dropping bread crumbs down to the ground so the socio-path could follow. She turned back and she noticed several large birds were watching her expressionlessly. Her presence must have been an intrusion on them, but she had no choice. She feared for her life. The branches that she pulled to clear away kept snapping back and slapping her across the face. Even though it was very painful she knew that the branches were simply appropriate for this garden forest.

At times she had to stop purposefully to take the vines and thorns out of her hair. The scratches were not deep enough to draw blood, but they hurt just the same.

Jenny never discounted the fact that the over hung branches and dangling vines that touched the soil would have made one hell of a place for an ambush. Her captor could have been sitting in waiting. Even though she washed that thought out of her mind it still left an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.

The footfalls were no longer audible. Jenny wasn’t sure if the socio-path stopped to rest and take in the beauty, or he turned toward another direction. However, she didn’t want to take any chances so she continued onward. At times she oddly felt her mind slipping subconsciously between her concerns of being captured again and her enjoyment of her surroundings. She moved inward, following what appeared to be an overgrown trail leading toward an up hill climb. It had to be a sign that the trail must lead to something. She was exhausted and her heart continued slapping her chest. She thought about resting for a moment, but she couldn’t give into that notion. She knew that behind all this greenery, there was a madman waiting to make her victim number twelve.

While continuing her climb, she came across an abandoned ranger shack. The shack was neglected and overgrown with vines and small trees, but the foundation was still basically intact. She slowed and walked toward the crumbled door that was still held up by two of the three steel latches. She pushed the door in and it finally gave way to age.

The shack was quiet, almost too quiet. Placing her left hand on her chest she walked in. The quiet, which seemed so unnatural before made her feel squeamish, but she ignored it and continued her forward movement.

A wise person would withdraw. She kept repeating that phrase to herself over and over again. A wise person would withdraw.

What greeted her eyes was a slaughterhouse. Butchered wildlife covered in maggots were littered everywhere. Dead animals just choked the space between the walls and a back entrance. Some of the animals were wild dogs, gutted and the fur peeled back as if they were being skinned. Some of the smaller animals were picked to the bones by other wildlife. Her eyes were freeze framing every image until she realized there were no human remains. The sick son of a bitch that butchered these animals hasn’t graduated to humans yet.

Footfalls! She heard them again. They were louder than before which was a clear indication that he was closer. Crossing the dead animals, she tore open what was left of the back entrance and mustered her way out of that silent tomb. She made her way past several abandoned ranger vehicles and back into the waiting arms of the forest. When she turned to face the shack for the last time, she noticed a tall, lanky figure tossing the rotting animals out the back. Each making splashing sounds as if they were water balloons bursting on impact. Carefully putting one foot in front of the other she hurried up the hill and caught the trail again.

On the side of the trail there was a small black bear, sprawled in a pool of dried blood, with a kitchen knife stuck in its neck. The animal’s eyes were closed, and it looked as if it were only sleeping. However, Jenny knew that wasn’t the case. She started running again when she heard loud noises coming from the ranger shack.

She was getting very tired of running that she saw her own shadow pass her, staggering under her load of anguish.

Jenny Camacho felt the urge to just give up. End it all. Let the socio-path do whatever it is that he wants. She fell to her knees and for no apparent reason began to scream as loud as she could. The scream made the forest ring with her anger and her pain.

Why run, why run at all? Why live, why bother?

Jenny Camacho continued screaming into the darkness of her despair.

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© 2013 Frank Atanacio


Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on April 17, 2018:

thank you Kept Private

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 17, 2018:

Hello again! Great story, emotionally captivating and superb details. Awesome work.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on March 30, 2018:

thank you Robert..:)

Robert Sacchi on March 29, 2018:

I see. At any rate you did a great job with this challenge.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on March 29, 2018:

It was other hubbers who would suggest challenges.. This foot race against evil was my idea and there were so many great stories that came out of it...

Robert Sacchi on March 28, 2018:

Before I went to HubPages I posted articles to the now defunct Yahoo!Voices. Yahoo!Voices would sometimes solicit types of articles. Did HubPages do a similar thing years ago?

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on March 28, 2018:

actually this was a writing challenge that many here took advantage of and done wonderfully.. I think it was four years ago.. hey another oldie.. my friend

Robert Sacchi on March 27, 2018:

A trilling chase story. The scenes of beauty and horror had a poetry to them. Well done. Is this the end or is there another part of the story?

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on December 30, 2017:

funny ... because I had a spike in this old challenge... well not funny... good actually

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 30, 2017:

Hi Frank. I had several comments which I just read a few minutes ago on my hub (Nature's Womb) in response to your writing challenge. (I just wrote a comment in response on that hub.) I'm a little bewildered as to how a Google search led them to "Nature's Womb," which, in turn led them to this installment via a link to your writing challenge, which I included in my closing chapter.

Oh well, Happy New Year, my friend. My e-mail notifications still aren't working, so I have to log in and check, then look for new hubs written by hubbers I am following. (This is getting a little old, really fast, let me tell ya.) :-)

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on December 30, 2017:

I think this comment was meant for someone else, but nevertheless thanks for visiting my page...... :)

Vern66 on December 30, 2017:

Hey Paul, thanks for this link, hey I found a few more. but you are right this one I think is more explosive than the others I read. I'm passing this on too. Do you know this author? Genna East?

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on March 31, 2016:

Shyron, when I posted the challenge it was based off of this one, I guess people assumed Monsters was first... LOL thanks for reading and bless you :) Frank

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 31, 2016:

Frank, this one I should have read first, but I do read backwards a lot. I do like your descriptions of everything.

I can almost hear the water balloons.

Blessings my friend.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on June 17, 2015:

thank you uban :) for reading my screams :)

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on July 23, 2014:

A very touching, intriguing and sad story. I felt for Jenny. So, what happened after the screaming? I hope to know...

A great write, Frank.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on February 16, 2014:

thanks so much always :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 16, 2014:

I have been reading all the other writers who took up your challenge to continue your chilling story about Jenny Camacho. I've enjoyed them all. I like your descriptive writing. I felt Jenny's fear as she ran from the psychopath. Excellent writing...

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 30, 2014:

Valley good to see you my friend thank you for reading my screams

Valleypoet on January 30, 2014:

There is a great description of the beauty of the forest at the beginning of your story. However that is just to lull your reader into a false sense of security because suddenly the scene is a very different one as the forest becomes a very scary place. Finding the shack in the forest with the horrors inside adds an extra complexity to the pursuit of the serial killer. This was certainly no stroll in the woods!..great writing Frank:-))

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 23, 2014:

glad you joined annart :)

Ann Carr from SW England on January 22, 2014:

Of course you get a link; it's there now! Thanks for the challenge. Ann

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 21, 2014:

Pegcole thank you so much for visiting my pages..bless you...:)

you got it pochinuk

pochinuk on January 21, 2014:




Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 21, 2014:

P... this is the first of two sections the second being monsters.. LOL.. but I enjoy your comments.. Idont know you but I respect you immensely.. thank you for being a friend...:)

pochinuk on January 21, 2014:


Please keep in mind, I am an artist who has been neurotically in touch with "information books' (by choice); to learn skills, and teach them; so I am not one of those thick novel reading people (yet).


Amazing, how .you can assign writing to the necessary emotions of one in line with a personality disorder. I have spent considerable time with those with special needs; and your writing simulates how one has to really "be there."

I also spend time in the woods, (not running from a sociopath of course) but there is memory-work.

"...There were dried branches being broken by heavy footfalls…"

"...The footfalls were no longer audible…"

Then again "…Footfalls…"

I am finding your writings accurate, mind-drawing and all together helpful if one was ever to write chapters for their novels. I am now going to go back to the previous story to see what happened to Jenny before

"...she stood and watched the forest in silence…"

Thank you for fine excerpts like these.


Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 20, 2014:

Captivating reading here, Frank. I started off reading the chapter 3 written by Genna East and came by to read your chapter 2. Great imagery and scene setting. The story is building. I felt like I was running through the vines with her. Onward to chapter 1 now.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 15, 2014:

make sure I get a link annart... thank you for reading

Ann Carr from SW England on January 15, 2014:

Great writing! I've read your two parts of this story the wrong way round, as I found the challenge via another hubber; however, it doesn't matter, it's a great story. You impart the fear and the helplessness so well, as well as the imagery of the forest and its contents.

Ok, time to try my alternative ending now......!!!


Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 11, 2014:

thank you Kids..:)

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 11, 2014:

I couldn't resist paying you a visit and read that story.... because I started by reading 3 endings of your story with Faith, Jo and Jodah :-)

It's beautifuly written; I always admire people who can write so well :-)

Thank you for sharing this scary story!

Enjoy your weekend!

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 11, 2014:

I enjoy your comments Till.... :)

Mary Craig from New York on January 10, 2014:

"a raving socio-path." Who doesn't like reading about a raving socio-path in the morning? To quote Stephen King, "I was chilled and astonished".

I really love reading anything you write and this is no exception! Of course we're all wondering what happens...

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 09, 2014:

thanks so much Marcoujor Happy New Year to you and yours as well :)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 09, 2014:

Dear Frank,

What a propelling, compelling and spine - tingling piece of writing...

You do 'cliff hanger' style like a champ and I can now see the impetus for Faith's masterful conclusion.

I am heading to the next link that Faith shared...hoping 2014 is filled with many blessings and the best of health for you and yours.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 07, 2014:

thank you Gypsy Happy New Year

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 07, 2014:

Just like one of Hitchcock's suspense movies. Passing this on.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 06, 2014:

Anna Thank you for visiting Jenny's Darkness :)

Anna Haven from Scotland on January 06, 2014:

That was very suspenseful. I like how you contrasted the terror of the victims with the serenity of the forest, very clever.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 05, 2014:

thank you b malin again welcome back!!! and Happy new years to you and yours :)

b. Malin on January 05, 2014:

I"m back Frank to Hubbing once again...And back here I came to read and be fascinated by your Hubs... and this one certainly did not disappointed.

Happy, Healthy New Year to You and Yours Frank.

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 05, 2014:

you too Dark :)

Annie from NewYork on January 04, 2014:

Happy New Year Frank ...

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 04, 2014:

Happy New Year to you too Eiddwen and Btrbell :)

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on January 03, 2014:

Wow! That had a lot of impact! My heart's still pounding! Thank you! Happy New Year, Frank!

Eiddwen from Wales on January 03, 2014:

A great story Frank and here's my chance to wish you a Happy new Year ;here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.


Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 02, 2014:

thanks G.. :)

Ghaelach on January 02, 2014:

Morning Frank.


You've really got your readers on edge with this one, and then to just leave them hanging. Come on Frank there's got to be a follow on to this story.

LOL Ghaelach

Europe 09:25am

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on January 01, 2014:

@Faith.. WTF means wow the faith.. so glad you paid the visit Faith Bless you and happy new year

@ Flourish..telling Jenny to get up LOL yeah you would thanks for commenting and bless you too Happy new years :)

@ Jane thanks for visiting my Darkness

@Jodah thanks for popping by

@Genna East you seem to get my writing and for that I appreciate you Bless you :)

@Tobusiness.. always good to see you my friend .. bless you all and again all of you have a wonderful New Year!!!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on January 01, 2014:

Hey Frank, you've certainly mastered the art of tension and excitement. You always leave us wanting more.

Great write!! Happy New Year. :)

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 01, 2014:

Wow. “At times she oddly felt her mind slipping subconsciously between her concerns of being captured again and her enjoyment of her surroundings.” The juxtaposition of the beauty of nature and the uncompromising peril and terror of the hunted pounded through our senses with every step Jenny took. This is brilliant imagery, Frank. One of your best stories that kept us hanging on every word, while desperately hoping that Jenny is saved.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on December 31, 2013:

Another great suspense filled story Frank. No one does these quite like you. Had me hooked to the end....but then you left me to use my imagination to decide what may have happened to Jenny. Well done, voted up.

Jane Arden on December 31, 2013:

O my goodness. You are very good at scaring me Frank. Definitely voted up and awesome. Thank you for writing this.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 31, 2013:

Get UP Jenny and shut your freakin trap! Or start singing show tunes like you're the crazy one. Maybe she's just trying to lure him closer so she can fight back. That's what I would prefer to think. I hope she took the knife with her from the wacko-shack so she could give her attacker a surprise when he finds her. Oh, Jenny. Stop giving up. Great story, Frank!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 31, 2013:

Eeeks...what came to my mind when she entered the shack was, "I'd turn back if I were you!" Really great write once again dear Frank. It was as if you were describing the Garden of Eden, but with a sick twist. You left us hanging on this year's end, so maybe that means the New Year will begin with even more suspense! Up and more and sharing. Happy New Year, Faith Reaper

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on December 31, 2013:

thank you so much Jackie and MsDora for visiting my Darkness :) and happy New Year to you both :)

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 31, 2013:

Frank, I wish I could surprise Jenny that there were more than two people left in the world, and one came to her rescue. Now you're inviting our imagination. I like that.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 31, 2013:

Wow. A winner! So well done. It is even OK you leave us hanging and wondering. ^+

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