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The Warden

by Sam Hazelwood about a year ago in Short Story
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The forest holds many secrets. Beware of the bear

Dear Reader,

I have gone off to the woods in order to protect you and others from what I may soon become. I am a normal man. At least I was or still am at this stage of writing this letter. But for how long I don’t know. I work for Edward Jones as a financial advisor. I come home and sleep and rinse and repeat. But strange things have been happening lately. My thoughts and mind are wandering to things and dreams that feel not my own. I have been having visions of places, people and things long forgotten. Of time that has past and things not yet realized. But worst of all are the cravings. The desires that flood my core.

They are becoming more intense and surreal. So much do that it’s hard to tell reality from my dreams. Lately, I have been consumed by the need to eat. A craving not so uncommon for someone who works as late as I do but it’s the what I crave that disturbs me. Raw venison. And not the butchers cut but the animal itself. Fur on and intestines fresh. I am consumed by the desire to hunt it down. To catch and consumed it in the same way as an apex predictor would.

But that’s not the weirdest part. My dreams. They have been intensifying. It used to be the odd dream about myself in another’s body. Just walking and talking languages I have never spoken or going to places I’ve never traveled. But now I am having dreams. Dreams about walking the woods. But not as a man. As a beast wild and untamable. So powerful and terrible to behold that even cougars turn tail and run. And when I wake there are scratch marks upon my chest. Or rather claw marks.

On top of this I have found massive paw prints outside my home. Three times the size of a size 11 mens shoe with the unmistakable shape of a bear. I am afraid that these dreams are no longer that. Dreams. And I have found tuffs of grey fur along side the bear tracks which fade as they lead up to my house.

If you are still reading this please run away from here. I do not know when this affliction will become permanent but I sense it is only a matter of time before it does. It should be known that in my dreams I wander the woods nearby.

The dream always starts the same. I am laying in bed thrashing. Fighting for control of my mind and body. Inevitably unable to beat the primal onslaught as my mind slips into an ursine state. Yes that’s it! It’s clear to me now!

I morph into a great silver bear. Fur so thick not even a sword could not penetrate. Yet warm and cool at the same time. A vest of impenetrability.

After the transformation is complete I always find my self on the floor. Claws the length of a man’s forearm. I stumble out the sliding glass door into the night air. But that’s always when I hear it. The long yelp of another creature followed by the knock of wood on wood. Almost like someone throwing a stone at the hull of a tree trunk. This only sets me into a rage. I am no longer in control in the sense a man or women has control of feelings or emotions. Hell bent on finding and destroying the being I bound over stream, through glade and under growth of forest.

Like clockwork I become hungry. My animalistic senses take hold. My sense of smell and hearing heightened I rear up on my hind legs to sniff the air. I can still taste it. The cracking of bone. Mmmmm! Ah that doe never stood a chance. Then again most in the forest don’t.

The next thing I remember is returning back to my hunt and before long I hear it. The creature making the noise. And it’s close. A twig snaps and that’s when I see it. A man 8ft covered in hair. Twin yellowish orange eyes and a fierceness to its face. Teeth bared it roars at me. Like that would of scared me off. The being then leaps at me with its hands clawing at my sides but unable to cut through. I lashed out striking its face. Deep gashes scored its face as it wailied in pain. But I took no notice. Clawing in a frenzied daze. I didn’t take notice that the beast could no longer be heard when I finally stopped. It’s dead mutilated corpse laying on the ground in a ragged state. But that’s all I can recall. The headaches started after that and it all becomes a blur from there. Flashes of trees and brush zipping by. The sight of my cabin then I wake up in bed. Bedsheets soaked in sweat and what appears to be blood. Then my dream or nightmare ends and everything fades to black…

This can’t be a coincidence. I am pleading with you. Leave this place now or I fear you will meet the same fate..I can’t…..stay away!! Leav_____

Short Story

About the author

Sam Hazelwood

Avid traveler. Father. Weekend hiker. I enjoy almost every sport but football is #1. My other passion is to write historical fiction. So be on the lookout for my book. Thanks for reading!

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