A beat-up white SUV rockets down State Highway 17 east towards Burkittsville, a wide-eyed man at the wheel. Tweek has been driving nonstop for the last 18 hours buzzed on coffee and stale donuts. His family sleeps soundly in the back, unaware of the dangerous speeds and reckless driving of the man up front.
He reaches for the half-empty Starbucks cup in the console cup holder, taking his bloodshot eyes off the road for a long second. He snaps his attention back to the road and sees a car coming the opposite way.
Hours have passed. The mid-day sun bears down on the wrecked SUV planted in the ditch next to the highway. Tweek struggles to open his eyes, then quickly shuts them as the light sends a bolt of pain through his head. He is sitting in the vehicle, arms draped over the bent steering wheel. All the doors are open. There is no sign of the passengers except Marco, who is unconcious across the back seat. The driver wills his eyes into focus again. The other car isn't here, the one he swerved to avoid. No debris on the road from an accident. Where is his family? Maybe they went to get help. They should have stayed here. It could be miles to the next house or farm.
Tweek struggles to his feet, walks a few yards away from the wrecked SUV, and sits down on a large rock at the edge of the highway. It's hot as Hades out there today, and beads of sweat keep stinging his eyes as they roll down his face.
"Good plan. We walk for 90 minutes, then meet back here whether we find anything or not. If you pass a house with a phone, call for help. I'll do the same..."
Tweek slides back the side door of the vehicle and rummages through a black bag on the seat. He removes a handful of clothes and replaces them with several bottles of water from a styrofoam cooler. He hands three of them to Marco. He takes three for himself.
"Let's get walking. There's daylight wasting. Good luck finding them."
Tweek doesn't make it a good 50 yards before the pain in his right leg forces him to stop. Must have injured it in the crash. He didn't feel any pain earlier, but now it is excruciating. That and the blazing sun overhead bring a quick end to his walking.
He stops at the end of an overgrown driveway. The grass is knee high on the property, and the lot looks abandoned. There is a broken bit of wood sticking from the ground near the road, probably an old mailbox post. There is no house here, just a bare concrete slab where one once stood.
Tweek sits at the end of the drive and twists open one of the water bottles. He is just about to take a drink when he smells it.
Something heavy and foul. The stench of death. Very stong and very sickening.
There it is, on top of the grass at Tweek's feet. As if it was placed there just now, right before he looked down at it. A cloth bag. Tied with a bit of frayed twine. A bag with a dark wet stain on the bottom side.
The awful smell is coming from the bag. There's something dead in there.
"Ugh! What is THIS? Smells like week-old road kill! Peeeee-ewwww!"
The stinky bag motivates Tweek to keep walking. He continues along the road until he loses sight of the van. Not one car has passed. The woods off to his left are deep and thick. The sunlight doesn't seem to penetrate the trees at all. He wonders aloud what kind of trees they are. They seem ancient. Probably hundreds of years old, some of them.
There is an object in the grass beside the road. Tweek picks it up and examines it closely. It is a cheap plastic ring, a toy ring like a child would wear. The sort his daughter likes to wear and show off as if they were real.
He searches the ground ahead and spies a second one. Farther from the pavement. Closer to the treeline. He marches off towards the trees to get it. As he stretches out his hand, another hand reaches from the weeds and grabs his wrist. A slender hand, female, but supernaturally strong. In a split second he is dragged forward and out of sight behind the trees.
Unconcious for an unknown amount of time, Tweek wakes up.
The sun is low in the west. Light peeks through the trees weakly, as the last moments of daylight fade. Tweek cannot move. His back is against a tree and his arms are pulled back behind him. Whatever is holding him is super strong and unyielding. On the ground in front of him is a wide circle of bare earth, perhaps ten feet wide. The dirt was disturnbed very recently, the smell of fresh damp earth still hangs in the air.
Atop this cleared area are four piles of stones. Large rocks arranged in neat little piles. He stares at them for a long moment, his brain trying to find meaning or purpose to all this. Who attacked him? Where is his family? How long have I been here? What happened to Marco?
His mind is in a fog of confusion. He sits there staring dumbly at the piles of rocks.
The sun sets and darkness envelops the forest. The great trees block out every bit of light; nothing is visible except blackness. Tweek strains his eyes to make out the rock piles. Nope. Even those have faded from view. He struggles weakly against his bonds, then gives up. Again.
Footsteps. In the leaves. Behind the tree. Behind him. And with them comes coldness. It should not be this cold this time of year. At the edges of his peripheral vision he sees steam from an exhaled breath. Very near him.
"Hey you! Get me loose from here! Before whoever did this comes back!"
It's dark and cold and the air is begining to feel as grant breaths in. He had just been driving when his car broke and he had to walk down the road for help he knew nothing of the area or the myth. He started feeling nausious and pulled out his rolling paper and pot , he rolled himself a joint and toked on it for a little while then began walking again. He reached into his backpack feeling extremely light he grabbed his ciggarettes and his candy bar. He ate the andy bar and looked around as mist was beginning to form around him, he started feling very very tire but he lit up a ciggarrette and kept on walking when he say a person run into the dark set of trees he was somewhat surprised but not freightened he called the person but they kept on running so he followed them into the woods which were kind of inviting with an eerie feeling to them he slowly reached for his flash light and turnmed it on but it only flickered then went out so he kept walking. He got a wierd smell of death in his nostrils as they widened to examine the smell the person was across what seemed to be a river with water which seemed to be staying still the figure was a black shadow which appeared the have a manly physique he looked closer and the person ran again "dammit i think i smoked too much pot im seein things." he walked on and slowly examined the woodsy area in the darkness of night. He came to a flat rock which was fairly large and sat down on it reaching into his backpack looking for his map when a rock hit him in the head knocking him out stone cold he saw the man before he blacked out standing there breathing heavily looking angry as if he was about to kill somone...
Tweek untangled the bits of vine from his wrists and scrambled to his feet. His eyes take in the surroundings. Trees... and leaves... and mist... and intense cold. No sign of the person that freed him. Or the one that captured him.
A smell floats to him on the wind. He recognizes it at once. Cannabis. Somebody's burning wacky weed out here. Heck of a place to get high, he thinks. Following his nose, Tweek half-runs deeper into the woods in search of the source.