The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Things Found in the Woods
by Suzanne Madron
She had come to the woods to find herself, and now she was lost.
As she wandered over the faint outlines of what must have been a road, the asphalt now crumbled and overgrown with vegetation, she breathed in the crisp air. Above her, birds sang while around her the deer crunched their way through the underbrush. The dappled sunlight played over the path and she continued onward.
She guessed hours must have passed since she had started her hike. The morning light had shifted to afternoon and the shadows were beginning to lengthen, yet she wasn’t feeling tired at all. She felt like she could go for miles, in fact.
As the sun sank lower on the horizon and she had yet to rediscover a trail marker or a sign of exiting the woods, however, she knew she would need to find a place to shelter for the night. The air that had been warm in the day was shifting to the chill bite of night and swirls of fog drifted across her path. The day sounds were gone now, traded for something more ominous keeping pace with her. She tried not to run but fear was closing in around her with every wood knock and loosened stones on a hillside.
In the gloom ahead, she made out an odd shape in the mist and she rushed over to it. Her heart leapt as she pulled the door handle of the abandoned car and it opened with a shrieking of hinges. The interior was dark and smelled of mold and something else. A crash in the woods and the thundering of footsteps crunching over dead leaves left her no time to reflect and she jumped into the car, pulling the door closed behind her.
After what felt like hours, she decided she must have fallen asleep, as the next moment she was blinking at the glare of the morning sun through the filthy windshield. She stretched and looked around the interior of the car.
A pile of clothes on the seat beside her looked suspiciously similar to the clothes she currently wore. She moved them and felt something hard move within the rotted fabric. The scent that had been faint the night before grew stronger and she recognized it at last as the scent of old rotted meat. What she had thought to be a wig matching her hair she suddenly realized with horror was not a wig, and it was still attached to a head.
She fell out of the car, screaming. She had come to the woods to find herself, and she had never left.
Fiction © Copyright Suzanne Madron
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Suzanne Madron:
The house across the street seems to go on the market every few months, but this time nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way to find out is to attend the house warming party.
A tense and wonderfully written story.
Such clever writing – that opening line is pricless.