Forest Frightful (Part 1)

It was a forest where the trees were bare no matter the season.
Summer, winter, fall – there was always an unclothed and bony brown tangle that arched out above and, in many places, would nearly blot out the sun. That’s not to say that the trees were dead, though, as they would invariably reveal a light green flesh if scraped with knife or nail. And the region was warm, a humid area that persisted even through the colder seasons, striking many that passed into it with illness at the sudden change.

Nevertheless, the trees never put forth any noticeable foliage.
As if to emphasize the oddity of it all, there was a very clear border where normal-leafed trees grew. There was grass below the naked trees, but even this was of a fainter green than its healthier-looking counterparts. A bird flying overhead could look for miles and miles and see no signs of habitation.
Something flying higher than a bird would see that the region was an irregular shape, a dollop of brownish paint in the middle of otherwise healthy green land, broken partially by a line of red-grey mountains.

When the occasional traveler comes across this strange region of false autumn, they invariably pause for a moment at the threshold before either plunging on ahead as if they could speed through the entirety of it or, if they have heard the tales of this particular neck of the woods, retreat several paces from the interstice between life and seeming death, taking the long way around rather than intruding on the silent and interminably long stretch of wilderness.

And then there was Eugene. Go on →


Sukanwi (Part 3)

Ten rotations later they reach the opposite shore, the banks of which are a gentle slope rising up from thick mud to thick green weeds, bugs buzzing over both. Birch trees rise up a just six feet away, their straight trunks rising to branches that arch over Meda and Masou’s heads. Heavy bags are under their eyes, and they crawl out of the canoe onto the shore and then roll over on their backs on the grass.

“I feel sick.” Meda swallows and closes her eyes.

“I’m just glad nothing happened the second night. I feel as though I’ve been rowing for a week.” He groans and puts his right arm over his eyes. Meda sits up and brings her legs up to her chest, hands sinking into the thick grass on either side of her.

“What do we do now?”
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Sukanwi (Part 2)

Masou dashes through the rain and, after almost falling twice, slows down. He reaches the path that leads to the stream and in minutes has reached it. Kimi’s parents kneel in front of a grey mass on the grass. Masou stops, closes his eyes in a grimace, and steps forward. Kimi’s parents do not acknowledge his presence.

“No.” The denial is choked out as he sees the soaked clothes and mottled skin of Kimi’s body. Her hair lies around her in strings, eyes white and glossed over, and her skin tone is a pale, almost blueish hue. Where it is exposed, the skin is wrinkled and translucent, and torn at places. Masou’s shoulders shake as his eyes move from one place to the next, and then they stop as he looks at her fingers. The nails have fallen off and the joints that connect them to her palms look as though they have either rotted or been eaten away, the smooth, bright white bone exposed to the air. He can see rainwater sliding down the bones and in between the spaces. Masou spins around and places his arms against a tree, hanging his head, his breath coming out in quick gasps.
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Sukanwi (Part 1)

A young man and woman walk at a brisk pace through a sunlit forest. The light filters through the leaves and passes over them as they move side by side. They are both young, and the man has shoulder length black hair, strands sticking out here and there. She is a half an inch shorter than his five feet eight inches, and her hair is in similar condition. It branches out in almost lightning-bolt shapes and curling up into sharp points at the bottom. Her face is similarly pointed with almond shaped green eyes and light pink lips. His jaw line is less defined and more angular, with prominent cheekbones and heavy brows. Neither looks as though they’ve washed in a few days, though her hair is a bit less greasy. Their tan leather clothes, a shirt and trousers for him and a long dress with a fringed bottom for her, are dirt-stained and stiff. They are holding hands but they are not smiling. He keeps an eye out to his left, and she looks ahead. He squeezes her hand after looking behind them and her lips open a fraction, and she looks to the right.

“Meda, you really need to be more alert. They’re still following us thanks to your games.” She lowers her face.

“It’s fun to pretend to have medicine, even though I don’t.”

“I just hope they’re more forgiving of your parents than they are of you.” Meda looks down again, frowning. He looks at her and puts his arm around her shoulder, drawing her closer to him. “I’m sure they’ll be fine, they didn’t even know about it until it happened.” She keeps walking as he pauses and then follows her.

Go on →