Phantom of The Woods

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

Looking at the world through the eyes of a serial killer, who has a very different use for the Aokigahara forest in Japan.

Phantom of the Woods

I bring the van to a stop at the rim of the trees. I observe my surroundings. There are no cars here tonight, other than the usual three. But from the rust infesting them, I can tell their owners will never return. My hand slowly drifts to the key, and I kill the ignition. The silence engulfs me. I embrace it, and take the moment to gaze upon the looming trees ahead of me, like a tidal wave of shadows frozen in time. I haven’t visited the forest for a whole month now, but my urges cannot be buried within me any longer. In my cold and empty world, this forest is the only one who understands me.

 I push open the door and step out into the moonlight. I was hoping that the sky would be clear tonight, but in the distance I see the thick masses of darkness rolling in over the snowy peak of Mt Fuji. My eyes settle onto a cracked brown sign nailed onto a tree at the side of the carpark. It reads “Aokigahara”; but you may know it as The Sea of Trees, or Suicide Forest. Each year, they find up to 100 bodies in the Aokigahara. The majority choose the method of hanging, but in recent years it has become more popular to have an overdose of sleeping pills.

However, my reasons for coming here are not to end my life, not tonight at least. No, my reasons for entering the Aokigahara Forest are very different. I am simply here to feed the very hungry monster hidden within myself, my little dark passenger.

The gravel crunches and growls beneath my heavy boots as I stroll towards the back of the van. I drum my fingers on the cold metal chassis, like a clock ticking, counting down. I reach the back, and my pale hand pauses an inch over the handle. I don’t know if you would call it a real emotion, but I always feel this cold, deathly shiver of excitement up my spine when I am about to open the van doors. I grip the handle, and pull. The van doors glide open without a sound, spreading like a moths wings. The interior of the van is shrouded in darkness.  I slip a torch out of my pocket, and click it on. A dazzling beam of white light erupts from my hand and tears through the darkness, shattering it, unveiling its secrets. “Hello.” I mutter, with an empty grin. In the corner lies a body bag containing a young woman. If there were a God, I would have believed our encounter was a miracle.

 

 It was last night, when I was up late at my butchers shop in Minamitsuru. I was staring as the carcass of a pig, strung upside down on a hook, with its soft, tender flesh exposed. My fingers drummed irritably on the table. Hiding, for a whole month, I thought to myself. A friend had come to visit for three weeks, as part of my cover for passing of a ‘sentient being’ to the rest of the population. But I was a fool to think I could still make my little ‘trips’ to the Aokigahara with him around, and now I am paying the price for my ignorance. A whole month.

The humming and clicking of the fluorescent lights was almost hypnotising, and it seemed to grow louder, more intense. I closed my eyes and tried to shut out the whispering in my brain. It was the demon inside of me. It wanted to be fed. I needed some air, so I hurriedly crashed myself through the back door, out onto the alley. The alley was narrow, and the only source of light was a feeble flickering bulb above my head. There was a pleasant, cool breeze sweeping though, which cleared my mind.

And then she appeared. A young woman came walking towards me through the alley, and it might have been my imagination, but I swear her body was glowing, lighting up the darkness of the alley around her. This was an opportunity I could not ignore. Something deep in my mind switched on, and I felt a strong wave of alertness ripple through my body. I backed through the door, into the shop, and ran towards my tall metal cupboard. I unlocked it with the key resting in the lock and grabbed a black leather bag on the top shelf. My fingers worked like lightning as I shuffled through the contents of the back, until I pulled out a small syringe, filled with an emerald green liquid. I held it up to the light and grinned. I then rushed to the back door, and gently pushed it open, while concealing the syringe behind my back. The woman had already passed the door, and had her back to me. I couldn’t risk her getting away; I had to act now, so without a pause I sneaked up towards her through the darkness, moving with the breeze.

The world around me seemed to dim and slow, until all that was left was the woman’s neck, and the syringe. My left hand shot out like a viper, and my long, slender finders encased the woman’s lips within a tomb of silent screaming. The needle head slowly sunk into her neck as if it were made from butter. She struggled, like they all do, but as the liquid emerald was pushed into her body, she calmed. Her body went limp. I picked her up over my shoulder and carried her inside.

I gently laid out her body onto the butcher table, and then ran to every window and door in the shop, locking them and closing the blinds. I got myself three rolls of cling film from the metal cupboard. Time to get to work, I thought to myself with a grin.

 

I step into the van, and peel back the zip on the body bag, as if opening a cocoon. The woman screams through the gag and tries to struggle, but she is wrapped tightly in cling film around her body like a mummy. Her frightened eyes are wide like a rabbit’s despite the bright torch, and they dart around the van. I reach for the black rucksack in the other corner of the van, and open it up. My hands tighten on a handle, and I pull out one of my favourite butcher cleavers. The woman’s muffles screams become louder as I shine the torch on the cleaver. “Don’t worry. This one is not for you.” I drone in my monotonous voice. I cut a line through the cling film from her neck to her toes. She tries to struggle again, but her hands and feet are tied together with duct tape.

I place the cleaver back into the rucksack, and pick the woman up over my shoulder. She was light, and I could feel her body shaking in fear. I shut the doors, and lock the van. I look over to the trees, which now look darker than ever. A slight wind was picking up making the shadows beneath the trees dance. I walk over to the very edge of the forest. “Are we ready to go?” I try to say enthusiastically. The woman replies with another scream. “All righty then!” I say and step into the shadows.

The forest floor snaps and cracks under my boots like old, dry bones. I walk at a brisk pace as I am eager to get to the woman’s final destination. A crow seems to be following me over my head, dipping and diving through the tree branches like an arrow of darkness. Its cries are intense, and they echo through my brain. It sounds as if it is laughing, but not in a mocking way. It is encouraging me, driving me forwards, deeper into the woods.

I reach a strip of red ribbon tied around a tree. Many of the people who enter this forest are unsure on whether they want to end their lives or not, so they leave a trail of ribbon behind them to help them find their way back. This ribbon though, was placed by me on one of my first little ‘adventures’ into the woods. The ribbon trails of further into the woods, like a floating stream of blood.

Blood. The only reason I have for waking up in the mornings. I love how it looks. I love how it feels. I love how it tastes. There is something truly unique and satisfying about running the crimson sticky liquid through my hands. But on my lonely nights at the butchers, this can only keep my dark passenger entertained for so long.

 

An hour has passed by walking through the Aokigahara. The woman has stopped her complaining. She could have grown tired of crying, or she could have just passed out. Either way it doesn’t matter and neither do I care. We are here.

The tree looks like nothing special, no real difference from the others in the area. All that catches my attention is the branch.  It protrudes horizontally from the tree about as thick as my arm, but still strong enough to support a body. I lower the woman’s body carefully to the ground. I cannot risk any bruising on her body before, as when they find her they will notice signs of struggle, which may lead them to thinking she came here unwillingly. I cannot risk people knowing there is someone like me wandering in the woods. The stop must have woken her up, bringing the life back into her body, not that she needed it for much longer anyway. I place down my rucksack by the base of the tree and shine my torch inside. The items lit up inside are the cleaver, a pair of latex gloves, a pen knife and a roll of rope.

I remove the gloves and snap them on. Safety first of course. I then grab the roll of rope and unwind it, before throwing the end into the air. It flies up towards the sky and over the branch. Looking up towards the sky, I feel a cool droplet of water splash directly between my eyes. It is followed by another, and another, until the heavens burst open with a roar of thunderous rage.

I take the other end of the rope, and tie it around the woman’s neck in a noose. Someday in the future, the body searchers will come this way, and would think of this as nothing but another suicide. The perfect cover for people like me. My hands shake from the anticipation as I tighten the knot. I cannot tell if the liquid pouring down her face is rain or tears. Most likely a mixture of the two. I put the torch in my mouth and take a firm hold of the other end of the rope. This is it. The moment I have been dreaming of for the past month. All I feel is the rain on my face, and the pounding of my empty heart. The shadows gather around me. I lean back, and pull.

The instant the woman’s feet lift from the ground I hear a shout from behind. I turn my head, and the torch illuminates a man, shining his own torch back at me. Dazzled from his torch, I lose my grip on the rope and the woman drops to the floor. “W-what are you doing?” shouted the man’s quivering voice in Japanese. Still partly dazzled from the light I clumsily fall at my rucksack. My hand darts in and I whip out the cleaver. I can’t risk this man getting away. It will ruin everything.

I charge into the man with all my strength, sending him flying to the floor. If it’s the one thing I have learnt in life, it’s to not act hastily. But right now, all I feel is rage. I walk up the man who tries to crawl away from me. He reaches out for a tree trunk, trying to pull himself up. Red mist fills my vision, and I surrender control to the monster within. With one powerful violent slash, the cleaver passes cleanly through his arm at the elbow. Blood erupts from the stub like a pulsing volcano, and a look of pure horror spreads across his face as he stares at his arm lying in front of him with wide eyes. Before I give him a chance to scream, I bring down the cleaver into the back of his head. It sticks into it with a wet smacking sound, and the man’s body instantly drops motionlessly to the floor.

I stand there for a few seconds as the rain washes away the rage from my mind, and I gain control of myself again. I messed up. This is why I should never let emotions take over my actions. I try to remove the cleaver from the back of the man’s skull, but it is firmly wedged in. I place my foot at the back of his skull and pull again. Thankfully, it comes free. I run over to the torch he dropped but the bulb keeps on flickering, damaged from when he dropped it. I aim it where the woman’s body should be lying, but see nothing. I walk over to the noose. The rope is cut, and lying to the side of it are the cut strips of duct tape I tied the woman with. I search the bag, and curse when I find the pen knife missing. Next time I’ll overdose them on painkillers before I hang them. But there may not be a next time if I don’t catch this woman. Far in the distance I see a flicker of white light ahead through the trees. Could be the woman with my torch. With a flickering torch in one hand and a cleaver in the other, I run through the woods hunting down my prey.


Submitted: October 03, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Roadkill. All rights reserved.

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hellomzainab

the expression is really nice but could have been a little shorter....otherwise it was good.
Do read and share a comment on my story too...it is cold blood

Sat, October 3rd, 2015 1:51pm

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