QuickFiction – The Forest (Second Draft)

June 9, 2011

Well, I’ve given today’s story, “The Forest”, a quick dust and have gotten it down from 684 to 480 words. You might like to compare both copies and see what changes I’ve made. Or you can just read the 2nd draft because it’s shorter and better!

Any comments or advice on how to increase the tension/emotion/fear would be appreciated!

The Forest

He pulled his arm up to cover his eyes from blistering flashing lights. He was on the ground and felt around to find what felt like dirt and leaves. Half blind he stood, turned his back to the lights and shuffled away from them.

“Where the hell is this place?” He questioned and took a long breath, his head pounding.

The lights illuminated the scene in short bursts and he only saw trees. Nearby there was a large oak and he found shelter behind it. Still, his eyes were finding it hard to adjust. Just beyond the light’s range there was a flash of shadow. Another dashed by. He couldn’t tell what they were, but he didn’t want to find out.

“Maybe,” he thought, “if I get behind the light I’ll be able to see better.” Keeping alert he shuffled backwards towards the light. “Shit,” he thought, “what has happened?”

Trying to navigate his way backwards, scan the flashing darkness, and remember anything made his brain sear. He realised that he must be injured. Only one memory came back. He had been driving his pick-up through the forest.

“Lights must be from the truck,” he thought and just then a shadow, tall and lean as a whip, melded in and out of the night not twenty feet away.

“What the fuck,” he said under his breath and nearly tripped as his effort to get back to his pick-up became more desperate. His own twisted shadow now flickered 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!”

For a moment the lights held, revealing his own long silhouette. Beside his own emerged another, leaner, but just as tall. The lights flashed again and the other shadow was gone. He tripped backwards but luckily caught himself. He realised it was the hood of his truck. Without taking his eyes from the woods he shimmied to the driver’s side and slid in, locking both doors.

He didn’t know why his lights were flashing, but everything looked intact. He found the keys in the ignition and turned them violently. 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.

“Come on, come on, come on,” he said as every attempt to fire the engine shrank smaller and smaller. The shadows were close. He turned his head frantically, but could see only fleeting dark forms. With one last effort he turned the key and screamed, “Come on!” But this time the engine only clicked. The lights fell dead and the night turned thick as black paint.

He listened. The only sounds were his haltering breath and the slow scratching of leaves outside the car.



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