First place, Ages 9-13
One cool night in October, Bobby, who had just left a friend's birthday party, decided to take a walk with some other friends through the woods. He did this instead of getting a ride home with his neighbor. The friends have walked through the woods often because it is a shortcut between their neighborhood and the town. There is a clear path that winds through with a couple of other paths that lead off of the main trail. The boys aren't sure where the other paths lead because they have never taken them.
Bobby's friend, Matt, loves to scare people. He decided that he would break away from them and sneak ahead to scare them. Matt took the very next path that they came to. Jay noticed that Matt had snuck off and told Bobby. They decided that they were going to try to scare Matt before he could scare them. The two of them try to think of the perfect trick.
Matt was making his way around the main trail and started to get somewhat freaked out. The wind started to howl and the trees looked as though they were dancing. He started thinking that he might have made a bad choice in leaving the others. Even though he was nervous, he had to continue on to get back to the main trail. Just as he thought he should be close to the trail, he realized that he was lost.
Bobby and Jay heard a rustling in the bushes behind them. They slowly turned around because they thought that it was Matt. They then rushed the bush before Matt could jump out. However, they didn't find Matt. Instead they found a hungry dog. Jay had taken a cupcake from the party and he gave it to the dog. He wolfed it down in two bites and then ran off. A few minutes later they noticed that it is a full moon out and then they hear the long howls coming from the woods.
Meanwhile, Matt also hears those long howls and decides that he should hurry up and find the trail. He starts running because he is scared. He doesn't pay attention, trips over a log, and falls down. He hurt his leg a little but he gets up determined to find the trail. The wind continues to howl and the trees continue to dance which only adds to his fear. Matt then thinks that he hears someone talking and yells out, "Hello?" only to hear that long howl behind him.
Matt starts running again without looking back to see what was howling because he is really scared. He is getting upset because he has not found the trail yet and begins to panic. He can't think straight and is only focused on the noises around him. All of a sudden, Matt went flying onto the trail knocking Bobby and Jay down. It took Matt a minute to realize what just happened. When he did Bobby and Jay were laughing because Matt was white as a ghost.
Once Matt got over his shock, the boys started walking toward their neighborhood again. Bobby and Jay were teasing Matt because he scared himself instead of scaring them. They also thought that it was funny that he is convinced that there was something after him. They hear that long howl again and Matt thinks that is proof that something is after him. They were almost home and were trying to tell him that it is just the hungry dog that they fed .... or is it?