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Within The Forest

Short story By: Michael68

My latest nightmare that I had dreamed about.

Submitted:Jun 3, 2008    Reads: 181    Comments: 4    Likes: 3   

Her legs wobbled and shook as she bolted, ran, ragged breath struggling to escape her tired lungs. The stars, like diamonds, hung low in the black-velvet sky, the moon a lustrous pearl. Branches reached out to her, grabbing her legs, scratching sensitive skin. Tears flew out from her eyes, a cold wind crashed onto her face. She could feel the strength in her legs weakening, her body wanting to collapse from the exhaustion, yet she pushed herself forward. Not wanting to stop, for she thought that he would still be following her. That Tom would be racing after her, trying to make her do what he wanted from her. Even though she had said no, he forced her to. The taste of him still lingered in her mouth, which brought her to the point where she thought she was going to be ill. Even though she couldn't hear him behind her, she wasn't going to take any chances. She knew that he was crazy, especially when he got mad. And she knew better than to stick around to see what he was going to do to her. Right when she started to run away she could have sworn she heard something else besides his ranting of her rejecting him. Something that was faint within the shadows of the woods, so faint that you wouldn't even think that it was there. But Claudia knew that there was something there. Something that was coming to them, that was the other reason she was starting to regret letting him convince her into coming here. But now it was too late for her to even think about that.When she had gotten a good distance away from him that was when she heard him screaming. But it wasn't in rage at her leaving him there, no, this was screams of sheer terror. Something that she had heard come from her lips too many times in the past with him. Even though she wanted to stop and turn around and yell out …Finally you are getting what you deserve, you bastard, but she didn't. For maybe whatever it was that was attacking him, didn't know about her. Didn't sense her presence in the air yet, which would give her enough time to get away from there. Far away.
Her legs were starting to become weak, almost numb, as if they were going to collapse, making her fall forward to the ground, from exhaustion. Claudia stopped and then leaned up against a nearby tree trying to get support to her body, so she wouldn't fall. The hot summer air around her seemed to weigh her down as she tried to catch her breath. She wanted to figure out what it was that she had heard before, but the fear made it difficult for her to do that. The only thing that she could concentrate on was getting out of these woods. Yet, she knew that would be something harder than she first expected. Mainly because she had not paid any attention to the path that they had taken coming in here. And when she raced off in terror, it was obvious that there was no path that she had taken.
"Great Claudia, not paying attention…. like usual…looks like you got yourself into another mess that I'm going to have to get you out of." a man's voice said.
She knew the voice right away, it was Kurt, her boyfriend, or at least used to be his boyfriend. She looked around her but didn't see anything but the tall towering tress and the dark shadows they had created. In a way, she was sure it was him. He probably was playing a joke on her, trying to make her believe that there was something out in the woods that killed him. But….there was something out there…..something that was breathing low and heavy…….and was snarling and growling. She knew this because she heard it, just like she could still hear the wind blowing through the tops of the trees, and now the sound of Kurt's voice around her. She was so sure that he was somewhere close to her,that she walked around the large tree that she had been leaning on, looking around for him. Claudia wanted to yell out his name, for she knew that he would answer and come running to her. Probably to smack her around , what he would call teaching her a lesson, for leaving him. But she knew that there was something out there and if she were to yell, she would definitely get its attention. Whatever that thing was. When she made her way completely around the tree, she leaned her back against it again, as a worried expression appeared on her face.
"Now, what the hell am I going to do?" she said in a winded voice.
"You better not stay too long little Claudia. That thing is still out there and it's probably still hungry my dear." Kurt's voice said. "And you would taste really good to that thing. I know you would."
"Shut up. You're dead, how in the world can you be talking to me if your are dead." she said in a terrified tone as a slight Southern accent came out.
The same Southern accent that she had tried for three years to get rid of so that no one would ask her what part of the South she came from. Yet, she didn't even notice it now, for she had more important things to worry about. She could feel her chest suddenly tighten as her hands covered it and it started to become difficult for her to breath. Her head pounded with such excruciating pain that she thought that it was going to explode. Claudia wasn't sure what was happening to her, even though she had seen a doctor that had told her she had an anxiety attack once and this would not be the only time. As morbid as it sounded, she was able to believe it. That was what was happening to her right now, and she had left her medication back in his car. Whichever directionthe car could be in now. The only thing that she could do was to try and get herself to relax. Her breath became deep and slow, as she concentrated on relaxing her body. She wanted to close her eyes to make it easier to do that, but was afraid that if she did, whatever it was that was out there would be standing in front of her, when she opened her eyes. Even though she didn't close her eyes, she felt herself slowly starting to relax. But not enough for the pain to stop, at least not yet anyway. It was then that she heard the sound of a song that was playing in her head, one that she hadn't heard in so long, that she had already had forgotten it, almost totally. The melody was so soft in her mind that seemed to make her want to smile right at that moment, Smile for no reason, except to do it. Even though she could not remember the name of the song, that didn't seem to matter, for she found herself relaxed again. At least enough for her to think about what she was going to do next.
It was then that she could smell the scent of something burning not to far away. The only thing that she could think about was that it was the campfire of someone that was camping out here. Even though she never really went to strangers for help, she knew that she had to make an exception in this case. She looked around and tried to figure out what direction it was coming from. When she did, Claudia started to go in the direction that it was coming from. The scent started to grow stronger with every step that she took, as she started to wonder what it could be that she was getting into. But no matter what, she knew that she had a better chance at wherever the campsite was, then walking aimlessly around the dark forest. She continued till she reached a mountain path. In her mind she couldn't remember seeing any mountains around when they had drove here, but with everything that had been going on she wasn't sure of anything anymore. Slowly she made her way up it, knowing that the burning odor was coming from there. Half way up, she started to hear the sound of a man's voice saying something in a language that she had never heard before. In a way Claudia wanted to just turn around and get away from whatever it was that was going on up ahead. But her curiosity made her keep going, she had to know what was happening.
"Go back you stupid. You have no idea what is going on up there. You really are an airhead." Kurt's voice echoed in her head.
"It's probably nothing at all. If I go back, that thing that killed you will find me." she thought and then whispered under her breath. "And that is exactly what you want to happen. You want that thing to kill me."
She reached a cliff where a large boulder stood and then knelt down beside it, trying to get the courage to look over the cliff. Claudia could hear the sound of the man's voice, this time much louder now, speaking in the same strange language. Along with that was the sound of a group of people chanting something in the same language.
"Come on Claudia, you didn't come up all this way just to stop now because you are afraid. It's probably nothing at all." she whispered to herself.
She peered over the edge of it seeing a group of priests that were dressed in jet-black robes, their hoods covering their head, hiding their faces, standing within a large circle. She couldn't see what was in the middle of it, because the bodies of the priests was too large to see through. In a way Claudia figured that was something, which was a good thing. For just seeing this brought about a sense of fear running through her veins. She could hear the one priest continuing to say something in the same bizarre language, as they rest of them chanted. Then they all screamed a word, which was unclear to her, but she would remember the way that they yelled, all of them raising their arms up to the sky, each one hand some sort of dagger gripped in their hands.
It was then she noticed that the ground suddenly became wet with some sort of substance that was downhill from what she was seeing. It touched her hands and knees, warm and thick, as she found herself not really wanting to see what it was. But there was no way that she could ignore it, she had to know. Slowly she raised her hand to her face, seeing that it was painted red with blood. In terror she screamed, giving away her presence to the priests. They turned around to her, looking at her with a loathing on their faces. The part of their faces that she could see, as they cut their chests, their blood flowing to the ground. She could tell that their screams had created chaos and disorder with whatever it was theywere doing. She ran down the slope, her heart pounding wildly, and head throbbing in agony. She could hear the sound of the priests starting to close in on her, knowing that there was no way that she could get away from her attackers. It was then that there was a loud crash of thunder than came behind her, which shook the ground, knocking her to the ground. She lay there for a moment as silence once again filled the air, along with a strange rank odor. Claudia got to her feet and turned around to face her attackers, ready for them to take her life. For there was no way that she could out run them, so what was the use in her trying. To her surprise, she didn't see the priests behind her, only the black robes fallen onto the grass and weeds, with no presence of life or even bodies beneath them.
She carefully walked toward them and then picked up the first one with a twig, lifting the robe up. All that remained of the priest was a pool of slime, like green ooze, and the smell of a body that had been rotting in the sun. The odor overpowered her, making her want to be ill, yet she fought it off. All around her were more of the black cloaks of the priests, with the puddles of the same bizarre green ooze soaking in them. Claudia turned around and started to run down the slope again, fearful of whatever had done this to them, was still around and would come after her. Her eyes, now wide and full of fear, stayed focused in front of her, not wanting to look back.
"I told you not to go up there. I told you to turn around and get away. But now, you wouldn't listen to me." Kurt's voice said taunting her.
She wanted to reply, but found herself unable to even think about what it could be that she could answer with. Her mind kept trying to make her believe that what she had seen had not happened. That it was nothing more than a figment of her imagination. But she knew to well that is was much more than that. So much more.She tried to run as fast as she could, no matter how much her body would hurt, she was determined not to stop, no matter what. Behind her she could hear the sound of something coming after her. Its footsteps growing closer and closer. Still, she didn't look back, as the tears flew from her eyes and her bottom lips trembled.Her foot caught onto something that made her fall forward, hitting her head on the ground. The pain from it surged through her while she rolled onto her back. Looking up, the shadows of the forest closed in on her and the only thing that she could see was the same two glowing blood red eyes staring down at her. The sound of the beast snarling at her as its breath had the scent of death on it. An ancient death that no one had ever smelled before. The eyes moved in on her, as she tried to scream, yet found herself unable to. Finally with all the strength that she could find she screamed out in terror.
Her body jerked wildly as her eyes glanced around the darkness, unable to move her arms or legs, as she continued to scream with all her might. It was then that a light emerged and she found herself laying in a hospital bed, her arms and legs restrained to the sides of the bed, as her head thrashed back and forth, not knowing where it could be she was. It was then she heard the sound of a woman's voice, so calm and soothing, speaking to her.
"Claudia, it's alright. You are safe. You have to calm down. Please calm down." the woman's voice said as a hand gently bushed the hair from her face.
Standing over her was a young woman with short blond hair, wearing a nurse's uniform. She was smiling at her with such compassion. For a moment Claudia didn't know it this was a dream or not. She wanted to ask the nurse so many questions, yet she was breathing to heavy to do so. The only thing that she could say was a few words over and over again.Forest…priests dead….boyfriend dead….glowing red eyes…
"Yes, yes I know." the nurse said as a man with dark brown hair came up behind her.
"How is she today?" he asked.
"Pretty much the same doctor. She doesn't say anything but that all the time." the nurse said as she turned to him.
"Poor woman. This is the fourth case we have had that was exactly like this. And each one was found within those woods."
"You mean Hell's Hollow?" the nurse asked, then hesitated for a moment. "Isn't that suppose to be haunted?"
"An old legend, nothing more than that. But I guess we will never know what it was that scared this woman into the chronic mental condition that she is in." he replied as they walked out of the room.
Claudia's eyes looked lifelessly up at the pail white seeing, her face frozen with terror. Yet her eyes seemed to say something that they ignored. As if they were trying to say, I know what is in those woods. I know of the evil in there. Just ask me and I will tell you. But of course, no one ever did. Leaving her within her own silent living nightmare.
The End!


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