Thursday, November 22, 2012

The House in the Forest by Matt Thomas

Stood in the middle of a forest, the rain trickling down my face and back, my soaking T-shirt stuck to my shivering skin, the frosty bite of the wind nipping at my flesh. I think of what the weather was like only a few moments ago, bright, sunny and warm. I look down at my soggy shorts, knowing that I should have known that the nice English weather would not hold up for longer than a couple of hours. All I could hear around me was the trickle of rain splashing off leaves and shrubs before merging with the growing puddles of mud below my feet. The mud started to coat my shoes as I try and find my way out of this forest.

As I’m walking round trying to figure which way I entered this forest, the clouds and rain distorting my vision. I’m sure that I’m going round in circles, but there is no way of telling as all the trees and paths look the same and the muddy puddles make the paths all merge into one. My darkening wet hair slipped onto my forehead forcing more water to trickle down my face and blur my vision more. I sweep the hair out of my eyes, yet it still slips back in the way, hindering me in my travels.

I carry on walking, hoping I would find my way back out of here, or at least bump into somebody else. I remember before the rain walking past a few hikers, carrying their large sacks and huge smiles, I wondered if they would brace this rough English downpour still with the same smile.

The twigs and loose roots on the floor keep attacking my feet, threating to trip me up and making me stumble through the trees. Each time I stumble I close my eyes and pray that I don’t fall face first into the mud, but always manage to gain my balance. A few times I have to grab hold of a tree, the wet bark against my skin feeling rough and cold.

Once again I stumble on a loose root and fly thought the trees. I manage to gain my balance by grabbing hold of a thin wispy tree, look down at my feet I should watch where I’m going I think, then look up and notice I had reached an opening between then trees and a muddy path, the water trickling down the hill, almost forming the beginnings of a river.

I look up the path and notice an old, small, stone building with a spire, it looked abandoned. Shelter I thought and ran towards the building. As I got closer I noticed dark ivy swarming the building and infecting the cracks, trying to strangle and destroy this stone wonder. It was also climbing through the gaps in the roof where the pressure of earlier storms had force parts to concave and collapse.

I entered through the archway where the door once hung, the remains of the wood rotting into the ground below. Dust and cobwebs covered the air and caught in my face tangling me in silky strings; I shook them off and wiped my hands on my clothes, God how I hate spider webs I thought, being more carful of where I walked.

I could hear the pounding of the rain falling overhead, it trickled through the cracks and gaps in the ceiling splashing on the leaves the wind had discarded here. I stayed away from any of the open holes, not wanted to get wetter than I already was, which at this stage was probably impossible. I tore my soaked T-shirt away from my sodden, cold skin but it just settle and reconnected with it, as if they were one. I gave up and blew my hair out of my face.

Suddenly I heard a creaking from the floor above, I looked at the hanging level, half the floor had collapsed, the structure old and rotting. I saw one of the old wooden doors squeak open and saw an old woman totter out peering down the huge gap in the floor.

‘Who is it?’ she peered through her squinting wrinkled eyes ‘is that you Mary?’ She ran her bony crinkled fingers through her grey tangled hair and squinted harder. ‘Name yourself boy!’

‘I’m Dan,’ I looked up, feeling nervous and guilt for walking in here uninvited. ‘I’m sorry for disturbing you. See it’s raining outside and I thought this house was abandoned so wanted to take shelter.’

She looked at me for a while, as if she was sizing me up, judging whether what I said was true or not. Then she slowly tottered down a set of stoned spiraling stairs just to the right of where she was stood. She staggered towards me.

‘I’m sorry’ she spoke in a high pitch voice ‘I didn’t quite hear your name.’ She said lifting her ear more towards my mouth.

‘I’m Dan’ I said slightly louder, but not loud enough so it seemed like I was shouting and being rude. She smiled at me the chuckled slightly.

‘You must be hungry Dan.’ She slowly stumbled off to the other end of the `room, working her way around the rotting obstacles.

‘I’m ok thank you. I will just go now.’ I say loudly, hoping it would travel well enough.

‘Don’t be silly,’ she shoed my comments off ‘You can’t go out in this.’ She pointed to one of the larger holes in the ceiling where the most of the water was pouring inwards. ‘I’ll cook you something up,’ She paused for a second ‘it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a visitor.’ She sighed.

I felt slightly sorry for her, she seemed like a lovely, kind women and the rain outside seemed to be getting worse. I decided to stay for a while until the rain settled a little. Maybe she will know the way out I thought to myself.

The elderly woman opened a few draws and cupboards, pulling out half rusted knives and pans, which clanged together and echoed round the room. She then looked over at me and smiled, tottering her way through the rubble. She came up close.

‘What was your name again?’ She asked kindly, I could tell that her memory was not as good as it used to be.

‘It’s Dan.’ I said kindly, she then smiled. I looked behind her for a second at where she had she come from, and noticed that she had not got out any ingredients to cook with. I looked down at her petite fragile frame and kindly asked. ‘What will you be cooking?’

She smiled at me, almost chuckling, I wondered what about. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my stomach, at first I fought it was nausea. Wondering if maybe I had stayed out in the rain too long and caught some sort of cold that was already turning its ugly head.

Then I noticed the pain was cold and metallic. I looked down at the rusted small knife stuck in just below my stomach, the darkness of my blood seeping through my t-shirt and running down my body. At the end of the knife was the old woman’s bony fingers.

‘Why you are!’ She cackled as she pulled the knife out and slid it back in. I fell to my knees and she bit at my neck, ripping away a chunk of flesh. ‘Bon appetite’ She smiled with blood and flesh hanging from her teeth.

The pain became too much for me and blackness surround.

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