I’ve lived in this town my whole life; most of the time that’s fine by me. But in the late October air a painful lust used to pass over me. I would dream of places I’ve never been. I took this as a sign, and every year in the frigid air I sought adventure.

So it was with no second thoughts when one October morning I set out with a muzzle loader off into the Golden forest. The night before I couldn’t sleep as if there were a thousand lights in the dark. So when morning came I had hoped to hunt me a scared animal. I trotted through a wilderness that hadn’t seen people for nearly a century: the Golden Forest out by Port Ridge Road.

It’s funny to be in woods like those. Not knowing human kind; the forest grows strange and unwelcoming. The golden trees cast a thousand moving shadows, and nothing that walks or flies knows what to make of a two legged stranger.

That day I was greeted with silence among the endless wind-brushed foliage. The wind brought a cold air to my lungs, a calmness course through my veins, the meditative scent of adventure to my nostrils. I took the sky in. I took the life of the place in.

Silence.

When a forest is silent. A predator lurks.

I was not alone.

The sound came low, a faint rumbling from the darkest depths of hunger. I turned to it and faced a pair of pure indigo eyes. That’s right, clear as day they was indigo. Green as summer, the creature crouched low on six mossy limbs. Its teeth connected vertically as a left jaw met a right jaw- each tooth a knife from the depths of hell.

At some point, I don’t remember doing it, but I pulled out my rifle. I only had one shot. It’s not that I didn’t bring more rounds, but there was no way I could reload in time. Not at that distance. I took aim, and a massive earsplitting burst from the gun blew up a cloud of smoke and sulfur. I was lucky I had that chance. Then it was silent for a moment before a shadow came through the smoke with the roar of a gurgling lion.

I jammed the rifle in it’s vertical jaws. They clamped down hard and covered me in puss as I shoved the barrel deeper down it’s throat. How’s that taste? I screamed. The liquid reeked of piss. The weight of the monster toppled me back, but its limbs were focused on getting the rifle out. I used the muzzle-loader as leverage to pull myself out from under it. Then I pulled out my knife. I had no time. I had no other choice.

As the creature struggled with the rifle, which lodged into it almost all the way to the trigger, I slammed that knife as hard as I could into its back. Blue liquid spurted out of it and all over me. I don’t know what I hit, I don’t know if it survived. When I heard that creature scream it’s terrible fear, all I did was run.

I ran until my legs became spaghetti. And when I could still hear that awful scream, I didn’t stop. It took me two days to find home. I sloshed like an Octopus by the time I had made it, my throat was dry sand and my stomach burned with hunger.

Sometimes I can still hear those cries in my sleep. Thousands of them out there, waiting for me, waiting for us. Now that I’ve seen what’s out there, well, I say to myself I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and most of the time that’s damn fine by me. But you won’t find me out in the cold October air dreaming of places I’ve never been before. No you’ll find me right here, day in and day out, making sure ain’t nobody setting foot up in thems woods.

ABK

12018/6/2

 

 

 

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