By Frampton Jones
Most years we lose someone to the trees. Or to what lurks among the trees. Most of us do not venture further than the edges of the woods and rightly so – the heart of this island is a heart of wooded darkness and those who go seldom return.
Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi was, depending on who you ask, either a remarkable pioneer or a total idiot. The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society described her as ‘a tireless seeker of truth, an absolute stalwart whose work has greatly enhanced our understanding of the woods.’ Having survived for nine years as a member of that notorious society, Lizz-Ayn bucked the trend for rapid demise in the name of science. Ignorance may not be bliss, but knowledge so often proves fatal.
For the past three years, Lizz-Ayn had been studying evidence for strange, humanoid life forms living in our woods. She made many forays into the trees, coming back with stories that were troubling, entertaining, wonderful or terrible, depending on who you ask about it. On her last foray, two gentlemen of the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society accompanied her – Jethro Necropolis and Newtonian Jones (previously Godfearing Jones). Only Newtonian survived.
Newtonian Jones told me, “We were attacked. Jethro Necropolis tried to defend us with a new weapon he’d been developing, which blew up and killed him outright. Lizz-Ayn was saved from the blast by a massive, hairy creature that swung in and carried her off. I expect by now it will have eaten her.” He could not absolutely confirm her death, but it seems a fair inference as it took Newtonian a week to make it back to the town and there has been no sign of her in that time.
The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society calculates that a person who goes missing for a day has a fifty percent chance of reappearing. For every day that passes, the odds of survival radically diminish, and after seven days, there is a one in six hundred chance of not being dead. This is the second time Newtonian has managed those one in six hundred odds, and it will be Lizz-Ayn’s third time beating the probabilities if she does return.