This is part 1 of a series I’m currently working on. Admittedly, I have no real idea of when it’ll be done, so we’ll have to see where this all goes. With that said, prease enjoy.
Sprinting with all the desperate speed he could muster, Whitner fled through the opaque depths of the autumnal night, half-mad with fear. All around him, vague silhouettes of broad tree-trunks, frigid shrubs, lurching branches, and other various instances of nebulous vegetation all steadily waned from visibility as he inexorably plunged himself ever deeper into the forest’s rapidly thickening depths, desperately seeking escape from the ungodly nightmare pursuing him.
Though he’d feverishly attempted to eschew it from thought, the nocuous impression of what all he had seen in the cabin remained steadfast and scorching within Whitner’s mind, its indelible horror burning his psyche like a lingering acid as he blindly pushed, snapped, and struggled his way through the woodland’s increasingly crowding, deglutitory greenery – losing speed all the while he did so.
Eventually finding himself slowed to a laborious crawl by the forbidding density of the surrounding foliage, Whitner nevertheless clawed his way forward, feebly attempting to make whatever progress he could – until there came a sudden, sonorous crash.
Sounding greatly akin to the snapping of a branch of considerable thickness, the tumultuous thrust of noise swiftly reverberated through the woodland’s benighted recesses, readily standing apart from the faint rustlings of brush and cracking of twigs that had hitherto formed the auditory backdrop of Whitner’s aimless, fearful movements. Despite however innocuous such a sound might well have been within the confines of a forest, Whitner still rapidly found himself possessed with a desire to be away from the sound and all its sinister potentiality.
Subsequently pushing himself in a direction diametrically opposite to the commotion, Whitner had scarcely only begun to progress forward before there then came another, similar sound shortly ahead of him. Halting fleetly at the clamor, he quickly twisted himself in yet another direction and immediately rushed forward, running headlong into an assault of branches.
Wincing as both his skin and clothing were torn into by the rough touch of the forest, Whitner grit his teeth and continually plunged forward until, after a time, there came an abrupt, almost unnatural, drop in the vegetation’s density.
Though he quickly surmised there to be space enough for him to run once more,
Whitner found himself pinned by hesitation as an inexplicable feeling of dread began to settle through him: something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t quite manage to recognize what, until something cold and metallic suddenly gave way beneath his foot.
One millisecond of subsequent incomprehension promptly gave way to an abject horror as the realization of his error struck Whitner only shortly before the mechanical jaws of the spring-trap lunged up from concealment, bit deeply into the flesh of his leg, and immediately sent him collapsing to the ground in a screaming heap.
As he writhed on the striking cold of the ground, repeatedly emptying his lungs in howls of stupefying pain, Whitner struggled to fully comprehend how it was that he’d somehow possessed stupidity enough to have run into one of his own traps.
Unfortunately, no matter how sincerely he tried for it, the answer eluded him.
Hissing, whimpering, and quivering in excruciation as he reached for his caught leg, Whitner weakly attempted to pry apart the jaws of the monstrous contraption only shortly before a distant rustling of leaves caused him to pause. Reflexively scanning through the dark in a vain and panicked search to find the source of the sound, he anxiously listened for any successive issuances of it as a quiet shudder ran up the length of his spine.
Then, he smelled it. . .that smooth and sweetly stagnated scent, like a petrichorous lavender. It was the smell of terror, of death, of the monstrosity haunting him. . .and it was slowly growing stronger.
Though he knew not from which direction the scent came, an utter panic shot through Whitner all the same as he then hurriedly trailed the trap’s chain to its base and frantically began to dig away the frozen soil surrounding it, trying to get at the buried stake.
Clawing and scooping away handfuls after handfuls of cold dirt, Whitner felt the already considerable urgency raging within him subsequently grow to unrivaled heights as the sound of leaves shifting and rustling came once more, albeit now from considerably closer.
Throwing the entirety of his body into his desperate work, Whitner struggled to resist the urge to seize hold of the trap’s chain and attempt to drag the contraption up from the ground in its entirety: such a method would never work. . .he’d staked it too well.
Cursing and sweating as he speedily swept more heaps of dirt away, a nervous shout slipped from Whitner as the once distant rustle of leaves first became a slithering, then a horrid squelching as his nightmarish pursuer seemed to nearly be on top of him.
Shrieking in depthless horror, Whitner succumbed to his brutish impulsion and frantically tore at the trap’s chain just before the ensuing surge of fresh, livid agony caused him to scream and immediately fall away from the action. Subsequently leaping back to his previous strategy, Whitner quickly began to dig at the ground with a renewed desperation – only to then slowly shudder to a halt.
Through eyes stretched wide with panic, Whitner timorously observed as the darkness engulfing him began to populate with strange, gently swaying points of pale xanthous light. At first unsure of their basis within reality, Whitner repeatedly blinked his eyes in an attempt to dispel the apparitions from sight, thinking them merely to be illusions. Yet, in spite of his efforts, they remained, glowing eerily. . . almost watchfully.
Subsequently looking behind, to the sides of, and even above himself, Whitner felt a creeping disquiet settle into his gut at the sight of more of the pendulous, blinking anomalies. There were now far more many of them, and although he’d quietly attempted to abstain from entertaining such deleterious impressions, Whitner found himself rapidly beginning to feel like a wounded animal being slowly encircled by unseen predators.
Swallowing dryly as the world around him slowly began to spin, Whitner shakily moved a hand down to his wounded extremity and found the material of his pant-leg to be completely soaked through with blood.
Momentarily confused by the morbid observation, Whitner wiped a cold pool of sweat from his forehead; it was becoming difficult to think.
Disregarding the frightful pace at which his strength and acuity were sapping away from him, Whitner stubbornly attempted to heave himself up from the ground. Keeping his injured leg outstretched, he cautiously worked the other in sluggish conjunction with a push from his arms to slowly yet steadily lift himself up.
Tottering briefly as he placed all his weight on a single leg, Whitner struggled to ignore the world’s noxious spinning as he heaved in a deep breath of its air, straightened himself out, wobblingly made to take a step – and immediately collapsed down onto his back.
Unable to understand why it was that he again found himself on the ground, Whitner struggled to form some comprehension of it, but quickly gave up.
His consciousness was beginning to slip. Feeling as it first began to leave him in a trickle, Whitner instinctually endeavored to halt its escape, but ultimately did so to no avail. Sensation subsequently came and went as Whitner slowly alternated between the black, dreamless rest of oblivion and the cold, dull agony of wakefulness – swinging between the two states like a mortal pendulum.
Countless cycles later, just as his eyes had again become unbearably heavy, Whitner felt something change.
Jolting to resistance against the momentum of his current pass-through, Whitner quickly polled his senses: the cold of the ground was gone from his back, the brush of cool air was gently passing over his skin, and the whole of his aching body registered an extraneous touch tenderly supporting its weight, almost cradling him.
Simultaneously confounded and intrigued by the foreign contact that was about him, Whitner studied its yielding warmth and. . .viscosity?
Instantaneously, a cry of alarm screamed throughout Whitner’s mind as the dire portent of such fluidity was recalled and recognized: it was the beast.
With a gasp of incendiary horror, Whitner flung open his eyes and promptly wished that he hadn’t. Though a great majority of the creature’s face couldn’t readily be descried from the shroud of night surrounding it, its two horrifically incandescent eyes cut through the dark with nearly all the incisive brilliance of a lighthouse’s beam. . .and they both were staring squarely at him.
Peering, petrified, into the gleaming golden discs of the creature’s eyes, Whitner felt his jaw fall open to produce a scream of utter horror – yet, strangely, nothing but strangled silence emerged.
Before even the concept of making another attempt could be formulated, Whitner felt something seize hold of his psyche and immediately begin to drag it back down, back into the oblivion of unconsciousness.
Struggling with all his strength to remain, yet powerless to resist his lapsing from cognizance, Whitner could only watch on in horror as the haunting brilliance of the creature’s gaze steadily dimmed and ultimately disappeared from his vision – then all was gone.