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Quick Fiction – The Forest (First Draft)

June 9, 2011

A piece of quick fiction I wrote today. At the moment it is 684 words long, so I need to cut it back to the 500 word limit, but this is only the first draft and trimming should be easy.

I am going for tension and fear with this little horror piece. I am not that practised at producing these in writing, but I am going to try to incorporate more of them into my prose and poetry. Here ya go!

 

The Forest

 

Even with his eyes closed the barraging light stunned him. He pulled his arm up to cover his eyes. It stung and throbbed deeply just above the elbow. He didn’t know why that was or why he was on the ground. The white lights still flashed at blistering intervals and seemed to penetrate his brain and confuse his thoughts.

On the floor around him he felt random debris. Long jagged pieces of wood and, perhaps, leaves and bark. A touch on a sharp piece of steel stopped his hand searching. With his left arm and a strained effort he pushed himself to his knees and then his feet.

Turning his back to the source of the light he shuffled his feet through the rubbish on the dirty ground and made his way away. Arms spread out he walked mummy like, pushing through vines and hanging tendrils, he found a tree and sanctuary behind it.

“Where the hell is this place?” He questioned taking a long breath.

Cupping his hands over his eyes he opened them slowly. The lights illuminated the scene in short bursts but he could not see far enough to determine whether he was in a backyard, park, or even forest.

His eyes were finding it hard to adjust. Just beyond the light’s range there was a flash of shadow. He peered as another one skit by and he couldn’t tell what they were or where they were coming from. All he knew is that he didn’t want to go over there and find out. Maybe, he thought, if he got behind the light he would be able to see better.

Keeping his back to the light he shuffled backwards, feeling his way across the ground with his heels. Shit, he thought, what has happened? Trying to navigate his way to the light, scan the shadows flashing on and off, and remember anything made his head blister. But a memories did come back. He was driving his pick up truck. That was right. That’s what the lights must be he thought. His focus snapped as a tall lean shadow like a bent whip dashed from nowhere and seemed to meld straight into a dark tree not 20 feet away.

“What the fuck.” He said under his breath and nearly tripped as his effort to get back to his pick up got more desperate. His own shadow now flicked off and on half as tall as the trees. Why the hell are the lights flashing? He thought.

“For God’s sake just stay on!” He said louder and for a moment they did revealing his own long shadow and beside it another, just as tall. He tripped backwards and caught himself on the hood of his truck. The lights continued flashing and the other shadow was gone.

Without taking his eyes from the woods in front of him he shimmied to the driver’s side of the car and jumped inside locking both doors. Besides the headlights and spotlights strange flashing everything looked intact. There was nothing out the rear window but darkness and the shadows out front seemed still.

Checking his pockets for his keys he found them in the ignition. He turned them violently, trying to start the car. The engine half started, calling into the night like an injured animal, and then stalled. Around him the shadows reacted like predators, circling the car, coming closer with every flash of the lights.

“Come on, come on, come on.” He said over and over as each attempt to fire the engine shrank smaller and smaller. The shadows things loomed now, almost over the car, but never right in front of him, always at the edge of his eyes, so his head turned left and right frantically. With one last effort he turned the key and screamed, “Come on!” But this time the engine only clicked and the lights fell instantly dead.

Around him the night was thick like paint, and the only sounds were his haltering breath, and the crunch of leaves on the forest floor outside his car.

 

AJG

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