Deep In The Woods

Submitted into Contest #37 in response to: Write a story that takes place in the woods.... view prompt

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Mystery

For many years since my adolescence, night after night I’ve ventured deep into the woods , stumbling my way through the dark. Despite walking through so constantly, I’ve found it remarkably uncanny how this same wood could be transfigured each time Ive wandered through it. Each night the woods has presented itself anew, and the deeper in I've ventured, the more peculiar I've found it to be. While on some nights the sky is pitch black, other nights the moon is in full view shinning down amidst the resounding sounds of howling wolves and rustling leaves.  There are some nights where not a single creature stirs, yet other nights, usually during the summer months, when the sun refuses to set and the robins sing late into the evening.  There was one night, late into the fall, I wandered down a pathway, further than I had ever cared to go before. Despite my fingers being chilled to the bone, and my ears and other extremities being well past the point of losing feeling, I continued walking. Those nightly walks had always been therapeutic for me. As I'd walk, while my stomach digested food from supper, my mind digested all the day’s work; my heart, it’s grievances.  On this night, it seemed I had bit off more than I could chew. When usually, I felt calm enough to return home, this time around, my mind was still whirling with anxiety. 


I had been so engrossed with my commiserating, I almost strolled right on past the thicket which served as the very gates to hell on earth. I was struck with a strange inkling towards a barely perceptible sensation which made me stop for a moment, before I witnessed the horrific scene. Suddenly a chill rushed along my spine, but it was not from the cold. I had walked in much colder weather, and had seen much colder nights in that woods. It was a chill of terror.


What first struck me was the faint chorus of some Gregorian chanting. At first it was simply a murmur, so quiet I had thought it to be completely a product from my own imagination.  But the chanting tongues continued and grew even more ecstatic, while at the same time I detected a light flickering behind the bush where the sound emanated from.  As I peeled the branches away to get a clear view, a smell infiltrated my nostrils. It was the smell of barbecue. When I could finally see the clearing from which all these strange things were coming from, my mind rejected the sights my eyes took in. A herd of massive worms stood before me, towering like giants.  I could then tell, the chants were coming from them.  The flickering bonfire showed their dark pinkish exterior, covered in a gel- like, liquid sheen.  The slimy creatures wriggled around the bonfire as though they were in some hypnotic trance. Their mouths were gaping circular holes with dagger like teeth all along the circumference. Globs of fluid flung out from their mouths during their droning chants. They had beady eyes devoid of any semblance of animate life. As they wiggled around in unison to the monotonous, rhythmic chanting, the flames casted wicked, enormous shadows against the surrounding trees.  Beneath the bellowing drone of the worm chants I could also hear the groaning sounds of some kind of animals. I saw some worms standing beside a herd of beasts, all wrapped in chains, pegged into the earth. Looking closer, I realized these beasts to be flesh and blood humans.  


“Sacrifice!”

“Sacrifice!”

The worms repeated. 


The humans had been leashed down to the ground with chains, taken as prisoners. Their faces had all contorted into horrified grimaces.   By the fire was a massive bubbling cauldron. Since the worms didn’t have their own hands, they ordered the humans to bring the next human sacrifice forward into the bubbling hot cauldron. The prisoners didn’t dare to disobey. The humans screamed as their skin bubbled and melted inside the boiling water.


“Dissect the dissector!” 

There was a wide tree stump  where the worms would have their prisoners laid down and chained. While they were still alive and breathing, the worms performed live vivisections on them, making careful Incisions with their razor teeth. After inspecting their insides they would perform experiments by removing certain parts, namely their spinal cords. 

“Invertebrate the vertebrae!” 

They soon realized how to paralyze the human's spines while still keeping them alive. Afterwards, the slaves would be reduced to slithering around on the ground while the worms taunted them mercilessly “Spine-less!” “Spine-less!” “Invertebrate!” "Invertebrate!"


Other humans, mostly the females, were reserved to special torture. 


“Disembowel!” 

 "Disembowel!"

“Disembody! Disembowel!”

They would chant as one worm would crawl inside the woman as she she screamed to no end. Slowly the worms ate away at her insides, letting her innards spill as they feasted away at her from the inside out. I watched as one particularly beautiful woman howled at the top of her lungs. The cries were lost amidst the rustling wind through the trees. I was the only other person within miles and I found myself paralyzed on the spot, watching as they slowly devoured her. All the while the other worms danced and wriggled along. One worm, who. I soon realized must have been the king, probably because he was more massive than all the other worms, came to the shrieking victim and gobbled up her head in one swift bite. The other worms roared with applause and the king went back to his makeshift throne made from tree branches, and laid down while two female servants fed him soup from the cauldron.


Some victims they flayed, some they simply maimed and allowed to live rejoicing while their victims suffered their abominable conditions, watching them slither without their legs, or spines, or arms.  All leftover parts were thrown into the cauldron  for the worms to continue their feast until the morning, when they would crawl back underground, occasionally popping back up above to snatch an unsuspecting passerby, a person who ventured just a little too deep in the woods. 


Finally , able to peel my eyes away, from the spectacle, I turned around slowly to continue my way home. Behind me I was met with two staring, soulless, beady black eyes. 

April 18, 2020 01:02

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