Purgatory Forest

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Purgatory Forest is a short story I am currently working on. Here is chapter one involving Colin who understands he has murdered someone close to him and is currently in search of the body. Little
does he know things are about to get very complicated, very quickly.

Is there a supernatural force at play? Has Colin lost all sense of himself and his own mind? Does the forest have some sort of power of its own?

I hope you enjoy!

Submitted: August 31, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 31, 2018



Purgatory Forest


Chapter 1.



The scene was incredibly picturesque. The trees were vast and abundant. The chirping birds were almost deafening as they danced from branch to branch, enjoying the light Summer rainfall. Colin could see the sun setting amidst the top of the canyon. He knew however he did not have time to take in the sights.

"I must keep moving,” he thought. His mind however was heavily clouded by new thoughts flying in and out, just as quickly as the birds flying above him. What if he had been followed? What if the police were there, simply waiting to arrest him? Was he stupid to be revisiting a place of such a sinister act?

Colin trudged on, pushing branches aside as he made his way through the dense forest. He was a long way off the man-made track now. Despite Colin growing up in the area, he was well aware that just about anyone could get lost there, a fact that made him use this particular forest in the first place to carry out such a heinous crime.

Colin’s thoughts wandered. He wondered how he became caught up in such a dire circumstance in the first place.

"You deserve the electric chair,” he thought. Forever a self-loather was Colin but this was far worse. He would never even hurt a fly, at least not on purpose and certainly not prior to such a treacherous night. Now, however, Colin had murdered one of his own in cold-blood. And now here he was, attempting to cover up his tracks. Or so he tried to convince himself. Colin tried desperately to shut out any subconscious perversions regarding the matter. There was no way he had found some sort of sick enjoyment out of ending another man’s life was there?

"Crunch,” was the sound of leaves. Colin froze. He could feel a presence close behind him. He spun around quickly as his heart rate soared. Breathing heavily he took a defensive stance, ready to take on whoever was there. Just as he took a step forward towards the direction of the sound, a squirrel darted across his path, leaving scattered leaves in it’s wake before finding salvation up one of the tallest trees. Colin sighed. If he wasn’t so troubled by recent proceedings, he would have found humour in the situation.

Colin took off his backpack and reached for his water bottle. He shook it lightly, realising it was virtually empty. He held the stainless steel bottle underneath a leaf, somewhat mesmerised as he watched the precious rainwater trickle in. The forest smelled as fresh as ever yet everything somehow seemed darker. It was not as if there had been a shortage of rain either and there was less green to be seen. Everything just looked different. Everything in Colin’s life had changed and now even his physical surroundings had somewhat altered in a way he could not quite put his finger on.

Colin took another deep breath as he surveyed the area. Despite the self-doubt creeping in he was certain he knew where he was. There wasn’t far to go. Soon he would find himself in a clearing that would lead to a rocky ridge. A few hundred metres east of a small cave-like crevasse beside a large pine tree was where he would find the buried body.

Colin looked back towards his bottle as he could feel it filling up, only to jump backwards, startled by what he saw. A thick, red, viscous liquid was flowing from the leaf. At first it trickled, blending into the crystal clear water, then all of a sudden it started gushing towards him. Shocked, he turned around to run but tripped as he grabbed his backpack. The backpack strap was caught beneath the root of a tree which was firmly buried deep within the rich, dense soil.

"What the hell?". Colin attempted to slow down his breath as he realised he was nearly hyperventilating. He proceeded to carefully unbuckle the strap so as to release his backpack from this mysterious tree root, which had seemingly grown over the strap in the time he was filling his bottle. As Colin stood up he turned back towards the leaf, bracing himself for the impact of the wave of blood-like fluid. Nothing. Colin realised he was squinting and slowly opened his bloodshot, weary eyes. A few seconds later there was still no red liquid, not even a drop of water. Bewildered, he grabbed the leaf. It was completely dry.

Colin looked towards the sky, only to be met by a clear, moonlit early evening. There was no sign of rain amidst his nearby surroundings yet his clothes were still drenched. Colin shook his head in disbelief and wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him. After all he had barely slept recently and his mind had not been stable at the best of times. Curiously, he poured a few drops from his bottle into his hand. The water was pure and clear, no red in sight. Colin hastily splashed his face and virtually inhaled a few generous gulps. The icy-cold, fresh water felt heavenly as it hit the back of Colin’s dry, dehydrated throat.

Colin took another few deep breaths, this time closing his eyes and inhaling through his nose and out his mouth. A cool breeze took hold of the nearby trees, causing leaves to swirl and eventually settle. Colin sighed, but just as he thought everything was back to normal, he noticed his bottle was smeared with fresh blood. It was real blood this time. Colin inspected his arms and saw he had cut his wrist, figuring it must have happened when he fell. The cut was merely a shallow flesh wound but the last thing he wanted was to leave his DNA evidence nearby the buried body.

"Damn it!” Colin huffed out loud. He reached into his backpack and grabbed a roll of bandage and quickly wrapped it around the wound, securing it with the last piece of his heavy-duty strapping tape. He wiped his bottle with an old brown, withered towel he had packed and zipped up the rest of his belongings. He grabbed a few handfuls of leaves where he thought some of his blood might have spilled and stuffed them into the front pocket of his backpack. He looked around, briefly checking every angle before recommencing his journey.








© Copyright 2018 A. R. Carlton. All rights reserved.

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