When my best friend Catherine passed away, I fell into the cold grasp of depression. We had been together since 3rd grade, and it was like we were sisters. Even though I was a sophomore in high school, I acted like a child, bawling and crying for hours on end. My parents did their best to cheer me up. They suggested a therapist but I declined, saying I was fine and just going through a hard time. My cat comforted me somewhat, but I was still sad. At school I felt alone even though I was with my other friends, Audrey, Sarah, Rebecca, and Amanda. I wasn't facing bullies or any hardships at school, but everyone went "soft" on me, knowing I was taking Catherine's death very hard.

 What flabbergasted me the most, however, was her sudden death. As I recall, I was walking home from school one day in the middle of April, and when I came home my mom was on the phone, eyes wide, her voice shaking slightly. I just assumed she was talking with her good friend Rose from their college days, but when my mom hung up she told me Catherine was dead. 

 At first I didn't believe it. It was so sudden. My mom said that Catherine was found with deep gashes in her torso and a broken leg. She had been halfway through her walk home when she was killed. Police couldn't find any evidence of a killer; the town I live in is very uptight on securty. There hadn't been a murder, kidnapping, or robbery in the past 20 years. The town was big and was near the capitol of the state I live in, and usually the police departments in both towns met up. However, all the police found were large footprints, too big for a human. They marked it off as a bear that had killed Catherine.

 I didn't believe it.

 My depression worsened; I couldn't take Catherine off of my mind no matter what. It got so bad that I began to think about cutting or starving myself. One night, in June, a week after school let out for the year, I saw Catherine in a dream.

 I was standing in a beautiful meadow. It was nice and warm, and clouds dotted the skies. The meadow stretched on for as far as I could see. The grass was nice and cool beneath my bare feet, and I could faintly smell the flowers. That's when I saw Catherine.

 Her milky brown hair flowed like it was in the water and her brown eyes shone. Her skin looked rather pale, like it was now the shade of ivory. odd, since Catherine's skin was a little bit tan. She wore a light pink t-shirt with some tears in it and a pair of jeans. She had no shoes, yet I couldn't tell if she was touching the ground or floating.

 "Alice," Catherine said to me, "I do not want to see you suffering."

 I almost cried. Her voice was so smooth and silky, and just seeing her right in front of me... I nearly fainted.

 "Alice!" Catherine said a bit sharply. "Alice, please do not harm yourself. I understand you are sad about my death. It has been nearly two months since I died. You must move on." She stepped a little bit closer to me.

 "I'm sorry," I said, but it came out in a whisper. "I'm taking it very hard...I miss you." Catherine smiled softly.

 "I understand. But honestly, you cannot hold onto the past forever. I am at peace. Even though you don't see me, I am with you. I visit my parents often and my friends. You most of all, though," Catherine said. "Please, Alice, move on. I want you to be happy. I can see your future, and it's a very happy and succesful one. That is, if you just let go. Move on, please." It was as if she was begging. I thought for a minute.

 "I suppose you're right," I said, sighing. "I'm sorry. I'll never forget you, though." I smiled. Catherine nodded in approval. I looked at her clothes, though. That's when it hit me; those were the clothes she died in. Her wounds were gone, but the clothes were still torn and raggedy.

 "What killed you?" I couldn't help but ask. "was it a bear?"

 Suddenly Catherine's gaze became serious, and she was on the edge of a frown. "Alice," Catherine said. "are you sure you want to see?" I nodded, fear and curiosity stirring inside me. Catherine took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. She whispered something inaudible, and suddenly I was standing in a forest. It was a little cold, and it was the middle of the night. I could see perfectly fine, though.

 "This...this is the forest near your house! The forest you were found dead by!" I exclaimed, looking around. "the monster lives here?"

 Catherine nodded, but didn't say anything. I paused and gulped. Why wasn't she talking?

 "Catherine?" I said softly. "what's wrong?"

 Catherine stood there, frozen. 

 "Catherine?!" I said, worried. Catherine closed her eyes and mouthes the words, "I'm sorry, Alice. I will always be wtih you."

 And then she disappeared.

 Fear struck me. "Catherine?" I called. "where are you?"

 I suddenly felt hot breath on my neck. I slowly turned around and nearly fainted. Behind me was a creature on two legs. It was about as tall as a grizzley bear standing up. It had black fur and piercing red eyes. It had incredibly long claws and a large bushy tail. It loomed over me, breathing heavily. 

 I screamed. The creature smiled, revealing pointy sharp teeth. I ran as fast as I could, but the creature was fast behind me. Suddenly the world spinned and I realized I tripped. I felt pricks in the back of my neck growing sharper and sharper. I opened my mouth in an earpiercing scream...

 I flung open my eyes and sat upright in my bed. I was panting heavily and the back of my neck was sore. I looked around and reassured myself it was a nightmare and it was fake. After calming down, I looked at my clock. It was 6:14 AM, and I sighed. I was too spooked to sleep, so I got up and stretched. My long brown hair was in a mess, so I sturng it back in a messy ponytail. I wore fuzzy gray pants and a rose pink t-shirt, which were ruffled. I stepped into the hallway, and heard the faint snoring of my parents from down the hallway. I crept downstairs and into the kitchen.

 After putting a scoop of food in my cat's food bowl, I made a cup of coffee. I was still shaking slightly; the dream was so realistic, and the pain felt so real.

 I sighed softly and walked to the window and opened the blinds slightly. The window overlooked the backyard, a small clearing with the woods bordering it. I was about to take a seat on the couch when something caught my eye. Peering through the curtains again I saw something that almost made me drop my coffee cup and shriek.

 In the woods, I saw two piercing red eyes staring at me.