The woods were bright that day, cheery and full of life.  The two walked through the woods as if they owned it, an almost manly swagger.  It was right for Sean and not Liz, but they both adopted it.
 "You do know where you're going?" she asked, her face in a soft yet challenging smile.
 "Of course," he replied, machoism filling his voice.  "I know these woods like the back of my hand."  He held up the slightly tanned back of his hand to show her, finger tracing along it for a second as if to illustrate his knowledge.
 "Uh-huh.  Then, shall we go there?" she asked.
 "Of course," he replied again, yawning slightly, and she restrained the urge to punch him.  Still, it was good to be here with him, to be his close friend again instead of someone he often held at a distance.  Her eyes glanced over his thin face for a second, and she caught herself with an odd thought about him, which
she surpressed quickly. Her mind was too romantic for her own good.
 She had to keep herself from noticing the soft, slight glances he gave her.
 They walked on for a little bit more, and then Sean suddenly darted up a side trail, a mischevious grin lighting his face and stretching to his beautiful mist blue eyes.  She smiled back, for it'd been so long since they'd been able to be this way with each other, playful and fun.
 "This way, my lady," he teased.
 "I'm coming, I'm coming," she teased back, stepping up the trail past him.
 "I lead," he reminded her, stepping in front.  She mock curtesyed to him and bowed her head, saying, "I meant no disrespect."
 "Of course not," he said, then turned and resumed walking up the trail.
 They walked on for about two minutes when he darted down another trail which led to a clearing.  He watched her carefully, and got the reaction he wanted.
 "Oh!" she cried.  The clearing was a perfect circle, lined on all side by blooming plants.  It seemed so unnatural, with the perfection of the shape and the way the colors of the flowers flowed into each other.  However, she dismissed it quickly and walked over to touch a plant.
 "Foxglove," she whispered softly.
 Suddenly, Sean straightened with a jerk, and she looked over to him.  He shook his head at her, and seemed ready to say something, but then stopped.  She shrugged mentally and knelt down to examine the plant further. Her hand slipped between the leaves and to the stem, then behind it.
 That was when something nipped her.
 "Ouch!" she said, pulling back.  Two fingers on her hand were pierced, and blood welled from the wounds when she touched them.  A strange feeling ran down her spine, and she shivered.
 "What?" Sean asked, coming over to her now.  She pointed to her finger and explained, and his eyes turned cold for a second.  Then, he parted the plant a little, to see if anything was back there.  Liz stepped away to wipe off the blood from her finger on the grass; she had just finished when he yelped "Ouch!" and stumbled back.
 "Oh!" she said again, and this time it was directed by the way his hand looked.  It seemed as if someone had clawed him, and blood welled up from the welts in thick droplets.
 "Shall we leave?" she asked then, and he nodded.  They both took to the trail at a run, and it seemed to her as if someone was following. In fact, she could hear three pairs of footsteps now...three pairs...and she ran faster and faster until it seemed as if her heart would burst.
 And then, Sean was gone, and as she turned, a dark force came upon her, and she screamed....