Here ya go. A flash fiction piece based on prompts from Regan Leigh’s blog. Feel free to let me know what you think…
I used to stay away from the woods.
Silly, I know. But for a guy who grew up watching every slasher movie ever made – where all the best slashes happen after some helpless, clueless, shoeless girl wanders out of the cabin/house/tent and into the dark and menacing woods nearby wearing nothing but a nightgown and a look of horror – ‘the woods’ hold a special place of loathing in my heart. If I must venture forth into the wooded unknown, I’m smart about it – daytime, cell phone, well-hydrated, never too far from the tree line. Bowie knife. As a general rule, however, the woods and I don’t get along.
Then there was Katelyn. The new girl on campus, she moved into the dorms just after fall semester started. Every guy in Adams Hall wanted a piece of that action, but she was untouchable. Chicks that hot didn’t mix fluids with the peon first years in Adams. So naturally, when she spoke to me, I assumed she was talking to someone else. She had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. When I looked up I saw this goddess. She bobbed her head as she spoke, and her hair swished across her face. One time she had to pull a few strands from between her lips. Her glossy, plump, juicy – oh and then she laughed and touched my arm and whoa. It was like a mini dose of the electric chair. That perked me right up. She was asking me if I could give her a tour of the campus grounds, show her where the different halls were, the party houses, that sort of thing. I couldn’t form words but I could move, so I nodded yes. And then the giggle and the touch and a kiss on my cheek and she was gone. Thank God I remembered the time: 7:30pm. Tonight. Adams’ front steps.
After my last class I headed to my room and spent the rest of the afternoon bustin’ out what homework I could. It was 6:57pm when I looked at the clock. Just enough time to get my triple-S on – shit, shower and shave – and head out to the front of the building.
The sun was setting, so as she sauntered over to my perch on the steps she was bathed in this pinky gold haze. Her brown hair floated between her shoulders in loose curls and her eyes sparkled like the shimmer in her lip gloss. She was wearing a long, white dress that ruffled with the breeze and some sort of sweater thing over her shoulders. Before I could say a word, she glided up the steps, reached down and wound her arm around mine and we were walking.
Everything was hazy and surreal. Her words drifted through my head like a dream, and it was like she was leading me around campus, not the way other way around. But it was comfortable and nice and I went with it. When we finally decided we’d seen it all we headed back to Adams. But then Katelyn made a turn toward the back of the dorm. That’s when I started to get a grip on my senses again.
She was walking us straight toward the woods.
“Not really much to see back here, Katelyn.” My voice sounded strange.
“Just looking for a little privacy ‘s all.” Katelyn’s voice sounded different, too.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide my growing fear, but I didn’t care. The tree line was really close now. “There’s all the privacy you want back in my room, my roommate’s outtie for the weekend.”
“Nope. The woods are perfect. Come on, you’ll love it.” There was a grating edge to her voice and she tightened her grip on my arm as she sped me through the first few feet of the woods.
“No thanks, girl. Think I’ll just head back in.” I tried to slow my pace but she held on tighter and her head swiveled back to glare at me. “What the – ” Her shoulders were still facing forward as she continued to speed through the trees. My heart flipped and twisted in my chest as Katelyn’s swivel head turned back around and the last of the campus lights faded into the night.
There wasn’t the slightest hint of a wind, but I could hear the trees start to rustle. It sounded like they were rustling to each other. To the left. Over to the right. Left. Then right. In front of me, Katelyn’s head jerked right and left as the trees rustled back and forth, like watching a ping-pong game, and she sped faster through the trees. I don’t know how she wasn’t running into them in the dark like that. It was almost like they cleared the way for her.
Then she stopped.
The rustling stopped.
And we were standing in a clearing surrounded by trees.
Katelyn let go of me and stepped away and I tried to run, but something wound itself around my feet and I fell to my knees. I reached down, felt a jagged vine there and gave it a tug. With that tug, Katelyn came barreling into me feet first, screeching, the vine an extension of one of her legs. An instant later she shot straight up and let out a howl like a creaking tree. She looked down at me and thick, woody vines shot out of her mouth and through my body, pinning me to the ground there. The pain was hot, searing and everywhere. My scream only lasted a few seconds before roots grew down my throat and burst through the back of my neck. The last thing I felt was my body stretching, like something pulling me in a dozen different directions.
“Look at this, students. We’ve got two trees who’ve grown together. Notice how the trunks twist around one another. One tree was probably stronger than the other. Now look over here…”
I hate the woods.