The Forest Waits for Us
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.
I've been to this place before, Timothy muttered to himself. He had mud in his teeth. His clothes were soaked from the dew of the cool summer night grass. Branches had cut open his face, and a salty taste lay in his mouth.
Sweating and panicking, breathing erratically, he lifted himself off the ground but hesitated to run forward. He can't move, as if the ground itself were holding him back. Looking up at the window where the candle burned dimly, the light wasn't there anymore.
He thought to himself, If something moves across that window…wait, what is that? I'm losing my mind.
Realizing he wasn't far from the cabin, Timothy crept towards the front door, in hopes to find something to hide behind, for a moment at least. He needed enough time to get out of this mess of a manhunt.
He tried hard to cough quietly. Blood seeped down to hands, he muttered, These guys have to give up by now. Are they seriously going to kill me? I don't even know them.
– Cough! Cough!
What he heard next came like a piercing stab, sending a quiver to his chest, his ribs felt like they were broken. Loud voices echoed in and out of the moonlit forest; he watched, and through the trees flashes of white t-shirts bounced back and forth in the moonlight. From there he could hear the boys screaming his name in defiant animus anger. It wasn't comforting, yet all too familiar beit all too threatening. He's spent his entire life being bullied by those that were supposed to protect him let alone some cheap toughie.
A voice yells out, Hey Tim! Tim! Where are you Tim you little freak? Come on out. We really need to talk buddy.
Another boy could be heard in high pitched squeal, Hey man you can't keep this up. We know who you are Tim. You did this. You did this to us. Get out here! Now!
I don't know who you are! Leave me alone! Timothy yells aimlessly towards the woods, hoping they wouldn't see where he was.
Catching his breath Timothy runs through the cabin door to hide, to escape this chase. As the boys kept screaming obscenities they caught a quick glimpse of the door swing shut.
Oh yeah, just try and hide, one boy said to the others while they all laughed.
Inside Timothy quickly wanes to his elbows and crawls away from the doorway. He sits himself against a wall underneath a window sill, holding his knees to his chest. He's breathing heavily and convincing himself, I'll be fine. They didn't see me. They won't come in here.
In an effort to slow his panting down to hear what was waiting for him outside, he covered his mouth with his muddy hand. Everything was still, lull, almost muted. So quiet he could grip the wrinkle of a thin high pitch ring in his ear. Like a grenade went off and everything was all of a sudden silent. No sound at all. Not a cricket nor a creak in the wood floor beneath him. Instead of relief, Timothy only felt more frightened by the silence.
His skin was tight and cracking with the mud drying between his fingers. He could smell himself, stinking from moss and swamp water he had to run through in order to get to this dreadful place.
He lifted his shaky hand slowly up towards the window sill, bracing himself against the rotted wood floor with the other. He pulled himself to peer out of the dirty glass. The moon shone brighter now it seemed. The trees lit up with a grayish white light as if a spotlight switched on just momentarily.
Timothy's eyes gazed wide looking through the thick glass of the old cabin window pane. He smashed his face flat against its cracked features. He looked left, then right, and up and down. He couldn't find the boys. He looked hard to the side of the cabin walls, but no one was there.
Elaborate fearful thoughts bounced back and forth in his mind and decided it was time to take a look around. The cabin was pitch black, only small slivers of light from a full moon shone in lines across the walls; revealing details of a decayed, abandoned vacancy inside the old cabin. He reached out with both arms to feel in front of him, knowing that if anything at all would've startled him at this point, he would curl up in a ball on the floor. Nervously looking through drawers in what he assumed was a kitchen countertop, he felt a cold roughly textured object.
Gah! He gasped. What is this? He pulled it toward him, something familiar, an arduous task being that he is so exhausted from his attackers pursuit. It's heavy and barely fits in the drawer.
The flashlight loomed back and forth in between dark corners of the room, erratically. He slowly walked in small, short steps to keep from making too much sound. The light was shaking and unstable, gleaming off the broken windows to the floor in the hallway. He aims it in front of him and walks towards a closed door. A red light can be seen glowing from the cracked opening underneath the doorway.
The door slowly opened; a whirring sound can be heard as the red light begins to flash.
Tim grabbed his bag and threw it across his bedroom. He snatched his shoes out of his closet and put them on quickly. His shoe laces were poorly tied and while rushing to get downstairs, tripped in the hallway outside of his room. He stood to his feet and kept on to his journey through his house. Hell on earth it felt to him. Years longing to get out of here, and away from this abusive circus he called life.
Downstairs he peaked around every corner with caution. He didn't know where or when he would be attacked; pausing at times staring at closed doors down long hallways. Where is he? Where is he? Timothy raced in his mind to find the courage to just leave already. The front door creaked as he slowly opened it and sweat beaded down his cheek.
Well where do you think you're going? His father's deep raspy voice rang through the living room, and he lunged to grab on to Timothy's shirt. His father fell down flat on his face, still holding a beer in his hand.
Timothy skipped down the small flight of stairs into his yard and climbed over a chain linked fence guarding the sidewalk in front of him. He looked behind practically running backwards and yelled, I can't take it dad! You can't keep this up old man, I'm out of here!
The house faded away as Timothy ran, leaving behind him a trail of sweat and tears smacking the road's pavement below. Not a single person stood outside their homes. The town seemed dead and it wasn't waking up again any time soon. Though Timothy wore a watch that was now broken from his fall earlier, he didn't need the time to know it was nearly dusk.
He walked for miles it seemed and at the edge of town there lay the tree line that marked the beginning of the western woods. He kept to its edge, waiting for nothing, as nothing mattered anymore, while his thoughts struggled to find happiness. He looked up for the first time in an hour, there they were. A group of boys stood out by a car parked cockeyed on the side of the gravel road he wandered onto. Holding beer bottles and smoking cigarettes casually awaiting anything to cross their path.
Timothy frickin Bradshaw, what a surprise. The tallest boy in the gang seemed like a stone cold, cat killing masochist. He grabbed Timothy's shirt and pulled him to the ground. Immediately put a lit cigarette to his eye, just staring at him. The boy stood back up slowly, took a long draw of smoke and smiled.
The rest of the boys laugh and they start kicking Timothy on the ground. Kick after kick the boys in their white t-shirts laugh as Timothy squeals in agony. He puts his hands out and grabs a boy's pant leg, thrashing him around as he holds on tightly.
Just then it all stops. Timothy let's go, laying there crying, waiting to open his eyes for fear it would all start again. He couldn't see much anyway, his eyes felt like sandpaper lathered in blood, so he just laid there intently. He listens very carefully now and wondering why it's so quiet he peeks out of one eye. His vision blurred and images skewed; he notices they're not there anymore.
He snaps to attention and sits up quickly. The boys were nowhere to be found. Just an old rusty car sitting cockeyed on the side of the gravel road; a trail of dust sifting in the air around him. He grabs at his broken side and violently coughs up blood. He's shaking with fury and pain. This though, he was used to.
Timothy decides to scurry off onto a trail leading through the trees. It was a footpath trampled down to bare dirt from years of trespassing hikers. It's the only way he felt that he could escape everyone and get away from this life.
The cabin has a tight fit in its hallways, not much room to spread your arms wide and even less room to move. He felt the hair on the back of his neck raise as he walked closer to the door. His curiosity got the better of him and decided to peek inside.
The door rattled louder and louder, nearly breaking off its hinges. Indistinct screams of children can be heard echoing throughout the cabin. Timothy closes the door quickly, struggling to hold it shut. The handle started steaming and became red hot, burning his hands. He jumped back and screamed, Aaah! I'm so tired of today!
The broken pictures of black and white photographs of distorted figures that hung on the walls began melting. At the end of the hallway a fireplace exploded a great amount of flames that boiled the mantle above. The screams of desperate children grew louder and more clear, as if they were right in front of him.
TIMOTHY! COME HERE!
Timothy stumbled backwards and smacked his head on the wall, knocking himself unconscious. Lying in front of the red light doorway as it creaked open, he is dragged inside, and the door slams shut. Pitch black and silent, with a faint smell of wood burning were the last things he remembers before waking up.
All he could see was bright red. His eyes tried adjusting to the light and fear overwhelmed him. His head began to throb and his hands shook nervously. Timothy noticed he was sitting in an old metal chair, the ricketing legs rattled with his tussling around, trying to stand up. It had become clearer now that he had woken up in the red room.
Looking from where he stood, lamps with their incandescent red bulbs could be seen hanging above countertops on either side; flickering over tubs of a watery solution. The room wasn't much bigger than a broom closet. With caution, Timothy gathered his strength and stumbled towards the light, looking down into a small bath. There was a picture lying inside the still water.
Nothing on this one, he mumbled under his tired breath.
A clothesline with pictures hanging, strung across the room; distorted images of the woods that blurred visions of the same cabin that he was standing in. Another line had blank photos hanging on clips. He grabs one and throws it into the water, waiting for some stranger thing to emerge in its ink.
His mind left his body, fear shrouded his entire reality it seemed. Was it possible that he was dreaming or was this some sick demonic joke this poltergeist played on the living? It didn't take but a few minutes for the photo to develop. Staring at the water as his eyes drooped closed from exhaustion. The picture he saw was indeed strange, haunting. It's me… what the… he said to himself. It was a moment captured in the forest of himself, kneeling in the grass outside the cabin. He could see white t-shirts in the background. The very moment that the strange boys hunting him call out his name. He couldn't believe what was happening. This was a nightmare.
Timothy dropped the photo and ran out through the doorway. The cabin shook violently, the floorboards rippled and thrashed; their nails shot across the air. Underneath the floor, a haunting effulgence of red light lit up every which way he ran, casting striped lines of blood spatter on the walls.
Running up a nearby staircase was his first instinct. He knew he made a mistake and regrettably looked to turn around but the stairs weren't there anymore. He smashed his face into a solid wall. He could still hear the cabin quaking behind it. He could still hear the tearing in the floor, the ripping of the walls. The screams came next. He had no choice but to go up.
A small wooden door stood in his way. He fiddled the lock and it opened just a smidgen. Something must be blocking it from the other side. He rammed his shoulder hard, splitting the wood around the lock. He kept pushing and pushing until the small door gave way. Finally it slid slowly open but only with all his strength, squeezing himself through on his knees. He couldn't imagine what was on the other side.
Goosebumps ran up his arms and chills down his spine. The body of the boy lay on the floor, limp and still. The same boy that threatened him earlier. His eyes sunken in and his skin toned a bluish grey. The other boys had been pinned to the slanted walls, held up by chains and nails. Their white shirts were stained with rust colored blood, heir faces wore an expression of a traumatized terror.
Timothy screamed, No! No! What is wrong with this place? I can't take this anymore! Get me out of this hell!
Still on his knees he crawled away from the dead boy's body as fast as he could. Searching the room with a petrified gaze, his face feeling cold and pale, he wants to throw up.
Nothing was in this room aside from a window with a small candle lit on its ledge. He walked over and looked outside down to the ground. He saw a boy kneeling in the grass, looking up at him. He ducked down quickly, put his back to the wall. Timothy thought, this was all too familiar.
Reaching up, he quickly grabs the candle, throwing to the floor. The candle rolled slowly towards the dead boy's foot, flickering, the flame burn out. Everything goes pitch black. He could hear the wrinkle of a thin high pitched ringing.
The voice of a young boy whispers, Timothy, you did this. You killed us. It's your turn this time.
Timothy screams, Aaaaaaaahhhhh!