Black Moon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

The karabiners hanging off your backpack don't make you an adventurer, nor does your bite match your bark, only when the moon shines bright, and your vision becomes dark will you understand what it means to be a worthy outdoorsman.


On the slow, descending curve of winter’s tail I decided to venture to an elusive and highly regarded trail amongst the outdoorsmen and hiking folk of the locale. February of 1954 was bone chilling cold, wet and sloppy, so cold as to where my breath was laid out in front of me. During its yearly deep slumber, the landscape surrounding the Appalachian mountains was a lavender dipped icicle. An arctic forest reveling in green and white splendor. It was lush and green in those few short months of summer and spring, its colors robust and broad in the autumn, even the thick fur coat of snow it wore in winter had its beauty, despite its unforgiving nature at times. 

I was, and still consider myself to this day, of the rare breed of having both the creative and mathematical brain. Both a blessing and a curse, I would find myself often fulfilling my creative desires while also asking why and questioning my beliefs, analyzing it all, undermining the creative process. As a writer, it was my occupation however to be creative, to extract pieces of information and display thoughts and feelings in the creative disposition. Beginning in investigative Journalism, I found my true passion lies within myself to write tales of narratives and melodramatic experiences of yore. That being said, I was still obligated to support myself writing columns and researching with the local newspaper. An occupation I found mostly a dull, aching chore that resembled mostly a slow suicide stretched over eight hours daily. It was a necessity until my narratives had earned me enough coin to move away from the desolate media peddlers. The logic of the right side of my brain was constantly at battle with the left. Each doing their part in the utmost to ensure I had heard all sides of the coin as it fell; top, bottom and every little edge. Feeling slightly more disillusioned that year than the previous, I wanted to grant myself a gift of doing something spontaneous and enjoyable. My mental health had the same spiking ups and downs of an ekg machine. But this matter should in no way effect other portions of my life, nor the events in the world around me. It still is something new that they tell me is happening. A chemical in the brain not functioning properly, but properly enough to not have any detrimental effects on my physical health. 

I had hiked and explored the wilderness many times before, so this time I sought to explore a path that may lead to more exciting visuals and perhaps serve as inspiration for a path to other paths so to speak. The dullness of industrial business was setting in, and I imagined a brisk walk among nature was needed to clear the incessant monatinty of bureaucracy from my brain.

Being an avid hiker, or so I fancied myself to be, I intended to find a new path to walk on, an elusive place that was often spoken about in the area that became so much a household name, insinuating a miracle took place when someone found something missing. It was a long cooked strand of angel hair. A walkabout that was said to be as difficult and exciting to find as it was to conquer. Equipped with hidden alcoves, tall lush green trees, the birds singing loudly like uninhibited shower singers, caves and cliffs that would frame the sky just so as to make glorious shadowy shapes cast upon the natural stone walls of the tree lined ravines, crystal clear waterfalls smacking and slapping the rocks they resided against, and rumor even had it that large crescent shaped rocks made up a picture esque entry way to the largest waterfall of the trail. This last fact to which I had not made my scepticism quiet about. It was just the challenge I wanted however, I packed all my best gadgets and widgets, my old pocket knife with perhaps the dullest blade on the east coast, a flashlight that has seen better days, one food ration souvenir from the war that had most definitely not seen one good day in its life, an extra pair of wool socks, and a few other bits and pieces and I was ready to be on my way. 

My mind was in constant battle with scepticism and the preoccupation that this world existed just as many others in a vast and ever changing universe, permeated with supernatural and strange cosmic occurrences the human brain could not begin to comprehend. The only problem was, I couldn’t find this bewildering trail. Its whereabouts were often disputed, somewhere between this latitude and that longitude and only vague estimations as to how to find it. It was said that the entryway was inexplicably obvious as it was a stone staircase of approximately thirty one steps. A detail I found puzzling based on the ambiguity of the trail itself, it’s location a mystery, however the steps was making 

Several monikers were given to my elusive walking path I was so hellbent on locating, the most common of which was Black Moon Trail. I wondered only a little why it had been given this title, it hadn’t been important after focusing so much on finding the tree lined path I sought after. It was to be another hiking trail to warm the blood on a cold winter's day, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I slept late that day, I was always a good sleeper. This fact may have been important in keeping some warmth on my neck should I have wanted more of the winter sun. However, at the commencement of my trek, as late as it may have been, it was still mid morning and the sky shone bright through the clouds at its discretion. My boots trudged through the small amount of  snow that had been left from months of cyclical falling and melting of precipitation. After a somewhat long and grueling search for this; the entrance of the Black Moon, I began to lose faith in the tale that so wrongfully caught my attention. It was at this point in the short winter day that would place the sun behind the mountains. It seemed as though it set twice as fast as it rose and once set, the darkness of the winter’s night covered the land in a pitch black blanket. 

I felt very little worry in regards to the fact of potentially not locating what I was seeking as I was confident I could make it back out of the dense forest before the land was completely dark. The immersive and mild soul search I sought out to experience was growing much longer than I care to admit. Minutes passed, and then hour after hour; it was obvious I was lost but should I have been asked at the time; I would have regarded those words as blasphemy. I was stubborn and hellbent to find something in those woods that day, it became clear my search started to become the desire to have bragging rights over others that it was true, I did indeed find and hike the elusive Black Moon trail. But alas the day turned to night, the air became a mist of frost so I tacked my sails hard making a one hundred and eighty degree turn as I felt my trek could be easily reversed. The gradation was now sloped slightly downhill, speeding my gait more considerably than anticipated. This wasn’t what I had experienced before, the slope seemed far more gradual. Each tree and sparse piece of plant life looked more wicked than the last. Twisted, crooked black things consisted of sharp edged lumber peering down on me with judgemental hollow burled eyes. With an increasing heart rate, a fear of the dark and the unknown began to arise. The sun fleeing behind the cold, black silhouettes of the mountains had begun to shake me more than it normally would, there was a dread in the air, an ominous brooding zeitgeist that screamed to me to get out of this forsaken land. I first thought it when I stepped into the tree arched gateway of the forest but dismissed it as the anxiety of trying something new. Being a veteran hypochondriac and over-analyzer, a psycho-somatic theory buzzed throughout my skull nonstop almost as fast as my feet hurried down the quickly darkening hills. “It is only man's fear of the unknown that keeps him from knowing the truth, breaking out of your comfort zone is the only way to move forward.”  I uttered to myself, mantras that I would normally so righteously preach to my peers. 

After some time of this descent, I realized that it was far too long and far too steep for this to have been my ingress into the trail.  I tried to slow down but felt the compelling sensation of speed, my feet would not stop moving. It was as if the ground had turned into a rocky, dark green pit; funneling me down into a destination. My feet were losing traction and my downhill sprint became a downhill fall. My limbs flailed trying to find some sort of solid piece of ground to touch. My world was being turned upside down quite literally.  Quickly; I lurched and grabbed onto a nearby branch, I grabbed it with my right hand and swung around to its thick and hard trunk. It knocked the wind out of me briefly, but still I grasped onto it for dear life, leaves and twigs bouncing off me while my legs still struggled to find earth under them. The wind howled and wailed loudly against my ears paired with the sound of branches breaking and being thrown against other trees. I clutched onto the trunk like a buoy in the raging sea. My eyes closed to avoid any debris, my grip tightening on my savior, I could now feel my feet truly losing the ground. I had never felt this sensation and I hope to God I shant feel it again, weightlessness and my body propelled sideways, disoriented completely I only held tighter and experienced the emotion of terror, wondering if this would be my final downfall.

 I shut my eyes tighter and hoped perhaps I would wake up from this nightmare. The sound of the wind died down, the branches ceased to break, ceased to fly through the air, and now the only sound I could hear was the blood pumping loudly through my heart, I was alive. My eyes peeled open, the surroundings were similar but at the same time irregular. Like looking into two mirrors that had been placed against one another at forty five degree angles. The black and green colorway was still in existence but was duller now, with added small flashes of lights from the corners of my eyes. It may have been compressing blood vessels after my experience, however I reneged this idea when I noticed small flashes of greenish blue lights coming from the roots and bases of scattered trees, making me both question my own sanity and if I could coherently make any definitive decisions anyway after being beaten by about the head by nature. Sparkles of turquoise and all the colors between it and teal flashed and fluttered amongst the pitch black landscape, lighting it up so much that from the ground it started to even resemble daylight for brief moments. Teetering on the edge of fervent belief and scepticism, I do admit I had always been a believer of the normal and both paranormal however, I never thought I would experience something quite so impressive as bioluminescent foliage.

I walked slowly and carefully, constantly analyzing my surroundings, wondering if epilepsy could make itself present after a dormant period of thirty or more years. Perhaps this is the most my brain has been stimulated my entire life. Making light of my situation was not helpful however I could not help myself, in my solitude which I wholeheartedly always sought after and enjoyed, humour even if it was directed at oneself was keeping me a little bit more sane. I continued to walk slowly and carefully, until my peripheral vision became blinded by an even brighter light nearby. My heart was just a few beats away from creating a hole my chest cavity, but I couldn't turn back; I had to move closer to see what sort of monstrosity was beholden.

A deep clearing made itself evident, where I saw it; a group of hooded beings, each with glowing green and blue accents shining from the crevices of their shrouded robes. Colors not dissimilar to those of those bright shining blue and green lights. Each standing uniformly in concentric circles, at equidistant lengths apart from one another, they were of varying size but for the most part were tall and lean, if their robes were removed perhaps they’d appear as skeletons, or creatures with skin fraughtfully strewn over their bones. At that point I did not intend to find out.  They gathered around a singular tree, extruding from a man-made stone pathway. Its trunk was enormous and appeared an ancient dweller of this forsaken forest. It’s roots partially sticking out from the ground, swaddling, squeezing and even enveloping many of the field stones that were laid around the old giant, emitting the same teal flashes I had been catching glimpses of for so long. Its limbs twisted and curled around one another like an old witch's hand wrapped around her stirring spoon crafting some sort of evil concoction. My presence was known to the primordial tree, the cloaked beings gathered around it were still unaware of my uninvited attendance to their meeting, however something deep in my bones could feel this primeval and twisted willow could not only perceive me but feel the inherent fear that I had within my heart. Each man, woman or however they sought to identify, made a drone that started out at an almost silent volume. The decibel grew louder so gradually it could have driven me completely insane right then and there, as if a rain dance ceremony’s venue was my inner ear canal, beating harder and faster and louder until I couldn’t take it anymore. I covered my ears harder and harder, my hands could only grasp my head so tightly. At the moment from whence the unbearable sound transformed into anguish, I almost let out a scream but just then reprieve, their droning had ceased. Perhaps the ancient forest felt my pain and could take pity on my pathetic soul.

I attempted to make myself scarce, becoming closer to the tree I made my hiding place, realizing it was unlikely any hiding spot may help conceal me. But I could not keep my curiosity at bay, I needed to see what they were doing, “this fantastic series of events is literary gold” I thought to myself. I needed more, I had to see what they looked like, I needed to really hear what they were saying. It was a losing battle against a feverish dream sequence- no,  a nightmare. My head became a loose watermelon stuck upon a spear, teetering and tilted, my eyelids were shutters blowing in the wind, I squinted and peeked at the beings, my eyes strained, I could not make out a single feature on a face, only darkness. Every few seconds there were flashes of light that illuminated and transformed the black robes into crashes of greenish, glowing iridescent waves . A low chanting of an indiscriminate language crawled into my ears, sounds of another world, making their way from deep within the throat, inspired by something I did not want to hear more from. 

As my heart sank, my legs became noodles, my head soured further into the clouds, and my hands two cotton balls. I lost my grip on the tree that I grasped onto so tightly and my footing began to slip. That was it, those few tragic moments of tiny rocks and twigs tumbling beneath my feet, rolling down towards the chasm that beckoned me. It was as if it all happened so slowly, yet in a microsecond before I could even make a move to run; some of the rocks stopping and being made yield thanks to trees and bigger rocks in their path, but alas the unfortunate matter made their way to these most unholy creatures. Their chanting ceased, it echoed for a minute, the reverb making its way down my spine and creating goosebumps to this very day as I recall the sudden silence of the hooded aggregation before me. Each of them, as if instructed like a puppet on strings, looked precisely in my direction, my anxiety was now overruled by adrenaline and I moved my feet as fast as possible to gain traction on the sloped terrain I was so desperately finding myself a part of. Now the only noise echoing loudly through the chamber was caused by my seemingly stationary acceleration. My feet were my own once more, and while I scrambled to evacuate in any direction away from those horrid looking people that cast their hoods at me, I could hear an unearthly growl, the sound of 50 sheets of loose fabric flailing in the wind, and all at once moving in unison. I would be remiss if I did not admit that there were parts of me that wished I would have watched the way they moved. I imagined it looked like gliding obsidian robes, hovering over the landscape, black squids darting at their prey. 

 I could hardly see as my hands blocked my face while sprinting through these wretched woods, branches smacking me and snapping against my body, I finally felt as though I made some headway, dashing and stumbling up the uneven terrain madly through the trees. My surroundings were black, even if I put my hands down the visibility would be the same; only darkness occasionally interrupted by flashing green and teal lights. The earth was new to me, its texture unknown and constantly changing beneath my feet. At that moment all I wished for was some cracks of light breaking through the distorted trees making up my current reality. As I ran the hollow groaning grew closer, I couldn’t bear to look but I knew that one of the unnatural beings was closing in on me. My mind was going almost as fast as my feet, the sound of the twigs and sticks snapping began to sound more like the unearthing of a skeletal creature after his slumber, his movements breaking the frozen joints. After what felt like ages of running, my eyes became accustomed to blindly running through the black woods, the whispers of bright lights peeking out and flashing my peripheral vision had ceased; and the midnight vision I had in front of me became grey, and slowly turned to a slightly less light absorbed black. At last! It was the night sky, making itself apparent even if it were only a glimpse. My exuberance was short lived, as if out of nowhere I felt a hard, twisted grip on my leg. Face first, I kissed the muddy forest floor. I looked down and saw nothing on my foot.

I rose up,wiping the cold mud pie from my eyes and mouth, hurrying up to regain the speed I had and make up the time I had lost. Only now he’d finally caught up with me, grabbing my backpack,I was halted by a sudden jerk and fell flat backwards, all bases covered in the mud department. I rolled over and saw what appeared to be a small but thick blade coming at me. It looked ancient and rusted, adorned with some sort of strange symbols and writing scrawled upon it from tip to tip. He shouted and uttered some sort of bizarre language as we struggled, making sounds from deep within. I moved as quickly as possible and when it landed in the mud I kicked him and folded myself over, only to be pulled down again. Wispy, frail hands grasped each limb, hands made from fractured bark branches, completely indiscernible between what was the diabolical creature's hand or the wretched evil trees that also had an agenda against me. 

 His strength was surprising given the skeletal frame that was presumably wrapped under the cloak. We tussled and grappled one another, with all my power and might I threw several swings and was sure I could make contact, but this mysterious man was ghastly as he appeared. I was sure I could get him, but his presence must have been beyond the scope of normalcy as well. Missing him several times, it was time I made my retreat, although other plans were made for me, I was knocked over once more. He lashed at me and attacked with the weapon, landing blows on my arms and body as I covered my face, my only saving grace were the thick layers of clothing I had adorned to prepare myself for the white, arctic jungle I found myself in. Even as I lay there, death hastily whispering its cold breath on my neck, I could not see my attacker’s face, shrouded in thick darkness, he appeared to be made from the dark ether completely. 

At last he had his grip on my clavicle, my hands both pushing him away on each of his own, the ancient blade he wielded came closer ever so slowly, I could feel an icy drip of sweat sliding down my forehead, I became blind to what it was, the tip of the blade became an object so focused on that it almost lost all value, only that it was centimeters away from my very eyes and I had to do everything possible to push it away. My skin was being punctured, I was sure that soon I’d be a human skewer as the blade penetrated and scraped my skin; I let out a scream so ghastly it echoed through the forest, only to be heard bythe trees. His blade carving against my temple, drawing nearer to my eye, blood pouring down my cheek into my mouth as I tried to turn away to distance myself from the horrifying ritual that was assuredly being prepared for me. I could not let it end this way, it was my choice, and I made the decision to continue living. As I felt the blade sliding down the side of my face, I knew it was my last chance; so I suddenly slid my face toward the blade, cutting down my head but making all force suddenly direct downward with all his might. It plunged down the side of my head and deep into the ground, my opportunity was created. As his knife was stuck, I rolled over and hurled blows at him, throwing my back pack towards the unholy creature's head, feeling it make contact at last. My pack was ripped open earlier, its contents now spewing on the forest floor. As it swung around, my instruments and devices sprinkling the earth and then turning to darkness against the abysmal ground, I grabbed my flashlight, engaged the on switch and after its refusal to shine giving it a few smacks it flashed brightly in the ghouls face as he struggled to pull the evidently important ceremonial blade from the earth. I finally saw what I had been desperately trying to catch a glimpse of this entire battle. The hideousness of this face I had the displeasure to see is indescribable but I will do my damndest to give an account. Wretched and rotten, twisted and bleak, it was the face of pale death, what skin was left strewn over the bones; like green peeling bark from a dying birch tree. Eyes empty and grey, the iris, pupil and cornea all glazed into each other like melted wax from an old candle. As I shined my flashlight against this anguished face, the light had quite obviously been a deterrent as he screamed in pain when being lit up. The creature with one last thrust, yanked his blade from the ground and scurried away back into the deep, black forest he came from. I spat the blood from my mouth, and galloped towards the light that promised me an exit, every few seconds turning around with my flashlight spewing light in all directions in an effort to create a barrier of light around me. As my legs cramped and became sore, I sprinted towards the ingress of these dreaded woods. Finally the light grew larger, like a candle showing me the way to safety. My ankles and my arms were constantly being grabbed and scratched by jagged branches and twigs. The horrid protrusions gradually lessened as tge light at the edge of the trees grew larger and I ran closer toward it. My sides were cramping, each gallop felt like a deeper stitch in my stomach but I couldn’t stop. My clothes were wet with mud and dirt, my jacket completely ripped to shreds, my head was soaking wet; half of it with sweat and the other with my blood. A roaring wave of relief crashed over me as I leaped through a gaggle of trees. 

Finally the blood rushing through my veins began to hush itself, their deafening throbbing slowly became quiet, the air wisped over my face, the dripping red mask I adorned completely still and frozen. I stood in a small clearing, one not dissimilar to where I had first noticed the peculiarity of my journey. Several hours must have passed during my descent, the moon lit up the area slightly, to me it may as well have been a spotlight compared to the obsidian blackness of my previous locale. At last I could breath, at last I felt some reprieve. But I could not slow down, I continued my trek back to the car lot, I felt fear deep within still, dehydrated and teetering the line of absolute exhaustion; all I could do was continue. The final shower of comfort came when I was inside my car, a large exhaled breath filling the cabin in front of me while frantically turning on the ignition and driving as fast as I possibly could away from the dreaded forest. 

Upon my return it took some time to share my trepidations of this terrible trek, for apprehension of the ridicule I may face. Of course with my history of journalism experience and writing; my account was taken as a work of fiction for the sole purpose of personal gain, this was obviously not the case as I always abhorred tabloid journalism. Hypothermia and the mental disorientation that so often comes paired with it, is what they chalk my experience up to. Exposure. A word I tire of hearing and the utterances of it make my blood pressure rise. Although when sharing my weird tale should it be in the comfort of my home, where I have spent most of my time for the past year, or if visit friends at the pub, if the scar down the side of face, near my eye and all the way down the side of head where I have an absence of hair isn’t enough, I will additionally exhibit my tattered and damaged woolen clothing. Presenting that not only was I plenty warm, or I was at least plenty warm when I set out, but I was also plenty attacked. 

The look on their face, despite what “natural” phenomena may be pinned onto my account, always displays a look of unadulterated terror. To this day, even as I sit here and feverishly write my experience, I constantly look over my shoulder and fear the imminent day is soon arriving where I will be summoned to finish the ritual I so narrowly escaped from with nothing but a und my eye and down my head, scar running down my face and head, and a mind clouded with constant restlessness. 

Sharing my tale hasn’t been a completely terrible situation however. It’s proven some worth to particular literary circles and allowed some monetary compensation be collected. The fact that I have been compensated for the retelling of the story on various mediums has given way to people assuming it must have be a fabrication solely told for the sole sake of financial gain. What should my checkered past of mental health have to do with the fact I was attacked? It happened and as far as that is concerned is as real as the chair beneath your hind quarters right now. 

With the extraneous fear I had after the incident I did not want to leave my home for some time. A boy brought me groceries   Friends and family would bring supplies if I needed them and company when it was convenient. It’s time I have moved past the terrible occurrence and continue writing and investigating as I have previously done. I even have the urge sometimes in the back of my mind to gather companions, arm ourselves with both the knowledge of my experience and with protection and on the anniversary of that fateful evening; travel once again to Black Moon trail. 

I told myself never shall I return to the otherworldly green sarcophagus of horror. But recently in the dead of the night, I feel a cavernous  urge deep within me to venture back into the dark woods and find my way to the Black Moon trail once more. My slumber like clockwork is interrupted with this desire, their chants and incantations ringing in my ears in the midst of the night. To find it and discover what they are planning, who they obey and for what reason.The knowledge will always plague my mind that these devious, wicked creatures are still out there somewhere; chanting, scheming and praying to their vile ruler. It plagues my mind that I must go back. 


Submitted: October 03, 2022

© Copyright 2023 Kevin Yozviak. All rights reserved.

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