Contest Entry (The Chainsaws Maiden) 1465 words.
|He loved the feeling of power when the chainsaw kicked in. The vibrations after he released the pull cord, the growl of the motor and the smell of burning petrol gave him a sense of pride in himself. Made him feel worthy of the work he was doing on the tree plantation.
The pull of the chain gave him a sense of control, as he slammed it into the trunk of the small fir tree. He was deciding how big the base of the tree would be for a family next Christmas. He was going to have a massive impact on their festivities. For a whole month, his work would be in the homes of people all over the local area. His work. His trees.
Himself and his saw were inseparable during working hours. They even sat together during lunch. He spent more time with it than the others spent with their wives.
During the lunch breaks, he would listen to the others talking about their home lives. They never seemed happy. They complained nonstop about having families and spouses. Even the youngest were unhappy about having girlfriends, whether they lived with them or not.
It seemed the macho thing to do, complain and be unhappy about having everything you go to work for.
Jimmy was happy though. He lived alone and in the morning he met up with the chainsaw he loved so much.
That was until the complaints started coming in.
Too many bits sticking out so it couldn't be placed in the tree stand.
At first they warned him. He wasn't going to change how he worked though. He'd been chopping trees for years. For firewood, for a small paper factory and now for Christmas. The fir trees were by far the smallest and he believed he had more experience than any of the others working on the plantation. He'd worked with big trees, unlike this lot.
He more or less told them this. They didn't like it, so, he was being finished at the end of the month and he was to leave the tools behind. This included his chainsaw.
The end of the month came and went. So did Jimmy's job and so did his chainsaw.
Unployment didn't suit Jimmy. He didn't like the time at home on his own and the money… what money? There was barely enough to pay his rent on his small one bedroom flat, never mind heat it and feed himself.
He missed the feeling of the saw in his hands. It's what he did, cut trees. It was like the vibrations of his life were missing. It was what he loved and it was all he loved.
He decided he would do it on his own and sell his own trees. How he would finance this was beyond him at the moment, but he didn't believe he had a choice. So this was what he would do.
Kelly-Anne Johnson was the daughter of Thomas Johnson, co founder of Johnson and McCarthy Supplies. She was now the owner of the entire business and she didn't want to see it disappear. Her dad and his friend had worked hard to reach a point where they could be the employers of 32 members of staff.
Although struggling, due to imports, they still employed 22 people, all from the local community. It was 23 until last week, when she had been responsible for laying off Jimmy Nicholson.
He wanted to do things his way and almost totally disregarded the specifications set for the trees to go to the market. Now here she was, talking to him on the phone. He was asking for his saw.
His tools were company property. She couldn t afford to give things away and she told him as much before hanging up the phone. The handset immediately rang again, a local supermarket placing an order to be delivered in November that year. Business was going to survive another year at least.
It was four in the morning. The loggers didn't clock on until eight thirty so Jimmy was going to take this opportunity to go and get his beloved chainsaw. Once he had it, he would keep it safe and not let anybody close to it. It would be everything he had to get himself back to work. He'd let it share his bed if he had to. Treat it like his bride.
He got dressed and drove through the darkness to the plantation. The road was blocked by a gate, but you could walk up the loggers path. The huts weren't too far away, maybe a twenty minute walk. Armed with a crowbar and a torch, he left his car and walked into the woods, the torch lighting the way.
The sounds of creatures hidden in the trees was unusual for him. It was usually dawn when he was amongst the trees and most animals were asleep. Sometimes he disturbed a fox or a deer, but these creatures were different. The night creatures.
The air smelled different too. Damper, cooler. It was like a different piece of forest. Jimmy knew the path, though, and he followed it towards the forestry huts.
There was a loud crunching sound behind him and he jumped, startled, swinging the torch to break the darkness. Nothing.
Even though he had only seen the darkness and the shadows of trees, he felt a little spooked. He turned to carry on to the huts. Almost as soon as he did, he heard the crack behind him again. He spun again, swinging the light.
The beam of the torch lit something. Legs. Running into the woods.
Another noise, behind him in the other direction. He jumped around, hoping to get a good look at what was there this time. Again, he seen a form run into the trees.
From the shadows next to him, he heard laughter. It sounded like children playing, but he knew, there were no children playing in the woods in this darkness.
He began to jog towards the huts. The laughter in the trees and behind him got louder, as though there were more children playing and giggling, following him. It was coming from all directions.
His jog sped to a run.
The noise was building, a crowd of them behind him.
He was panicking, but the familiar clearing with the huts was only yards in front of him. His began to run faster, his lack of breathe not slowing him now.
He tripped on a raised tree root on the path and sprawled forward. His chin smacked the ground making his mouth slam shut. He was sure he'd lost a tooth.
As he began to scramble back to his feet, terror not allowing him to stop and feel sorry for himself, something pushed him back down.
He tried to get up again. This time, he wasnt just pushed back down, something slammed him on the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.
He spun so he was looking up.
He was surrounded by what looked like a crowd of children. They were all wearing masks. Giggling expressionlessly.
He felt around behind him on the ground. His fingers slid through fallen leaves and things on the ground until he he felt his fingers touch the torch.
He shined it into the face of his nearest attacker.
It wasn't a mask.
There was no expression on that face. Just two glassy eyes and a slit for a mouth. The head or mouth didn't move as it let out a child's laughter.
He waved the torch around. There were hundreds of them. All exactly the same. Emotionless heads on top of children's bodies.
The thing closest to him was holding something. Pulling at something.
Jimmy knew that noise. It was even more clear to him when he heard the motor begin to growl and smelled the burning fuel.
As the thing closest to him slowly lowered the chainsaw towards him, Jimmy thought to himself how his ex colleagues were never happy with their wives and families at home.
No his one and only true love was buzzing its way towards his stomach.
Kelly-Anne Johnson arrived earlier than the rest of her employees, as usual.
She would've driven up the logging path, but a vehicle was blocking the way.
She cursed, got out of her car and began to walk along the semi light path. One of the workers must've got in early and couldn't drive up to the site.
Something ran off into the trees ahead of her and she heard a sound, like a laugh come from its direction.
Looking back at the path, she began to walk towards the site and the object that lay on the path.