General Fiction posted May 11, 2022

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Something strange is happening in the woods

In The Trees Pt.3

by BlueTiger

"Hey, guys? Did you guys see that?"

Kurt looked up at the sound of his friend's voice, saw Russell leaning the full weight of his body over the edge of the tree stand, as though he were about to fling himself into the forest.

Kurt rubbed his eyes, already pretty foggy and numb from the beer.

"What?" Jeff asked from across the way, where he was leaning against an old maple, "What is it?"

Russell continued to stare into the woods, and it seemed as though all of the color had drained from his face. Kurt saw his body sway, and for one terrible moment thought he might plummet to the ground.

"It's...I...I don't know what it was," Russell stammered, "it was like...some kind of light in the trees."

"What kind of light?" Kurt asked as he stood  - somewhat shakily - and tried to follow his friend's gaze.

Russell leaned back, sagging against the trunk of the tree.

"It's gone," he said, "I swear, it was right over there. It was the weirdest damn thing."

"You ok, buddy?" Todd asked. From where he stood, Russell looked more out of it than Kurt.

"I'm fine," Russell said, "it was just weird, that's all."


It was more than just weird.

Russ couldn't even describe it. He had seen it moving in between the gaps of the trees, some kind of shifting blueish glowing thing. It had floated in the trees, and seemed to climb, like some ethereal creature, up into the branches. And it had glowed with a luminescence that at once seemed soft yet hurt his eyes to look at.

As he leaned back against the tree trunk, he felt as though all of the strength had left his body. He remembered some old story about vampires turning into mists, and what he felt now was sure like being sucked dry by some monster.

And then the panic set in.

It had been so long since he had felt this way, that at first he didn't recognize the feeling. It was an old ghost, dredged up from the graves of dizzying childhood terrors, which now strangled him.

He leaned heavier against the tree, sinking down on his butt as he felt his knees buckle beneath him.

A dozen memories flashed across his mind in rapid succession. He was suddenly, vividly, back in his childhood room, as his father's fists pummeled him against the wall. He almost threw his arms up over his face, an instinct as ingrained in his body as breathing, before he remembered where he was.

The trees. He took a deep breath, forcing air into his lungs. He focused on the way the rough bark felt, pressing against the back of his shirt. He gripped his rifle, the smoothness of the barrel comforting in his sweaty palms.

"You sure you're ok?"

Todd's voice again, floating up towards him from some other world down below.

"I'm good, man," he called back down, "I'm good."

He most certainly was not good.


Todd hadn't seen anything, but he sure as hell had felt it.

Nothing major - nothing that he would have even noticed, if it hadn't been for Russ acting strange and calling out about that light. But he surely had felt something, like the electrical charge that filled the air right before a lightning storm, when the black thunderheads were building into impossible pressures high in the sky.

But this wasn't the time of year for that. There were no lightning storms on the radar this week, if anything they might get some wet snow. But that charge in the air, it had been there. Like the ground had become a giant shag carpet.

He wondered briefly about the strangeness of the event, and the way Russ had looked like he had seen a ghost. Wondered, but didn't quite care. It was hard to really care about anything these days.

He stood, suddenly antsy. Called out to the guys that he had to go take a leak, but that wasn't it. He just had to get up, walk off this feeling.

But as he wandered into the trees, he couldn't shake the sense that he was being followed.

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