A drafted story about a man who's missing in a forest, the narrator goes looking for him.
Frankly, forests always frightened me, as a child. The falling leaves that whispered like footsteps on the floor would serve only to unnerve and fill my soul with foreboding.
Travelling there at night - no light - I once found myself, and though I could not tell you just what I thought I was doing there, I can tell you that it wasn't the lack of sight that gave me such fright....
...but the constant sensation that something just wasn't quite right.
Shadows of trees flicker and flit across the path the moon had lit so graciously, just for me. Who else would be so foolish as to be here in the dark?
Something just fluttered.
A bird, perhaps? No. Too low, too loud to be feathers. It sounded more like breathing.
Father forewarned me of the monsters that stalk these trees. I foolishly called him fickle and told him to find someone more susceptible to these flights of fancy. Now, if I die, it shall be my own fault.
Feverish panic grips me and I cuff my face to remind myself that I came to this forest of my own volition.
Why? What did I hope to find, out in this miserable fortress of green canopies and festering darkness that forces me to see shapes moving around between the branches? Something familiar? Someone?
It's been years! Do you want to disappear like he did? A fun night out with friends, drinking beer but it turned into an evening of fear when someone - No, something – found the five of them.
Four escaped the forest, at the expense of the fifth's life.
The survivors came, frenzied and frantic, dashing down into town with fables of monsters sporting frightful black eyes, fingers like butcher's knives and that it had taken 'one of their guys!'
'A feral bear?' the shopkeep proffered. No one bothered to offer any further guess. It was only when the final rays of moonlight faded did the authorities find enough reason to warrant a sweep of the trees. People flocked from far and wide to find the missing boy. They ferreted through the forest from dawn until dusk, then came home, empty handed.
“We'll find him tomorrow, it's too dark to see,” someone fretted.
That was their first foul-up. Nobody thought to look after dark. After the world was frozen in it's blissful little slumber.
I, however, was more a fool. I wish now I'd fallen asleep with the rest of the sheep.
Instead I wandered like a feeble lamb, fixated on finding the lost one who'd been taken by God only knows what.
Fatal fate? Cruel forces working against humanity? Are we really so self-centred as to believe we're that fundamental to the universe's function?