Friday, October 14, 2011

The Woods

This story is a call to Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge to create a brand new monster. Monsters are my thing. They breed inside my head like a swirling mass of snake orgies. When one is written down, a new one is born. I see them in my dreams, I hear their bastard noises in my head as I write. 

So I couldn't pass this one up, right? 

I give you my little homage to the recent news of a possible ancient kraken. Those articles really seeded into my brain and I spun this tale on a whim. I hope you enjoy!


He could hear the raspy breathing.

David hunkered down in the dark woods, trying to stay quiet. His heart pounded hard in his chest and he was sure that would give him away.

He thought of his wife and children, how they were probably sleeping sound in their warm, familiar beds. For a moment, a streak of warmth spread through him, only to be replaced by an ice-cold dread that ran through his bones when he heard twigs break nearby.

He couldn’t stay here in the open, hiding feebly behind a tree.

Before he could talk himself out of it, he peeked around the side in the direction the noise had come from. It was so dark that most of the forms were nondescript shades of black in the night. The trees canopy blocked out almost the entire moon light, leaving him mostly blind.

Something moved in front of him and slightly to the right.

He took off in the opposite direction.

With his body tucked tight and low, he ran. His feet hit the ground, light and swift. He was amazed at how little noise he was making.

He took off in a sprint, running a zig zag pattern occasionally, other times straight shots in one direction, trying to lose it yet waiting for it to grab him from behind.

Glancing back over his shoulder, he wasn’t sure, but it looked like there might have been movement about 30 feet behind him. It wasn’t directly behind him; instead it was as if the thing was paralleling him, merely staying with his pace.
He knew he would have to stop soon. His breath felt like fire in his chest, each burst burning up his trachea, rushing out his open mouth. Sweat fell into his eyes, stinging, but he didn’t care. It had been many years since he had ran like this. Honestly he didn’t know how he was doing it now, other than the sheer, raw feeling of survival coupled with fear coursing through him.

Another glance, the same. Suddenly his leg met with a sharp object. He fell head over feet to the ground, rolling onto branches, twigs, and the mossy floor below. Pain shot through his left leg and he heard a sickening snap as the bone broke.

His sharp scream bit into the night.

When he came to a stop, he was disoriented from the tumble and his body began to throb with the pain.

It was here.
It was stopped, and looking at him, its head cocked to one side.

The shiny, almost transparent skin was rippling. Two large eyes slanted upward, moving their gaze over him.

Tentacles, too many to count, all sizes and lengths, undulated in a never-ending spiraling mass around its body.

As he watched, it moved forward using two thick legs that bent backward, the opposite of our own. The tentacles curled up at their ends and touched the earth much like an ape’s fists.

When it was directly beside him, it leaned its enormous head over his body and peered over him.

Afraid to move, and no longer noticing the pain, he watched.

Slowly a mouth opened underneath its eyes. It started as a small slit, and enlarged to a gaping hole. Many teeth glistened, and it drew breath in large gasps.

Watching its mouth, he never saw the tentacles fold in over his body. Quickly they lashed onto him, and the poison was warm, filling his body with a pleasant numbness.

It drew him up under its body. There was no more pain in his leg.

His body rolled a few times once it reached the creatures belly, and he could make out the strong legs. They were covered in a course, sparse fur, and flexed with each small movement.

They began to move.

He began to feel as if he were being pulled backward through a tunnel. Now he couldn’t feel anything. It reminded him of being numbed at the dentist office, only all over his body. That thick, spongy feel covered him.

He could hear the sound of water. It was the lake.

Still, he felt no fear.

Nearing the water, it lowered itself to the ground, splaying the tentacles out all around.

He could barely see anything now. Everything seemed so far away.

It drug him along the ground, sliding and pulling him at the same time.

They entered the water, and slipped in with ease.

When the water filled his lungs, he felt nothing.

His vision merely left him. Faded out.

The creature swam deep, taking him to its nest.

Once there, it tore him limb from limb.

But he was already gone.


  1. Nice. I love the ending.

    (I had similar inspiration after reading about the ancient "kraken", but I'd already finished my entry by then. )

    -- Jo Eberhardt

  2. That was an exciting theory, even if it's eventually proven wrong. For a moment, we all really believed in the kraken. :) I mean, if we didn't already. ;)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the ending. There were a few different ways I could have went here, but I decided to do this.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks, next time I'm hiking every tree limb is going to be a backward bending tentacle out to get me :(

  4. Interesting take on the myth-critter. I like the way your mind works Amber…

  5. "If you go out in the woods today, You'd better not go alone. It's lovely out in the woods today, But safer to stay at home." I'd say that song would have saved that poor man's life. Very nice story. Nice, meaning dark and scary. I like scary. ;) Great description of the beast and the character's rising fears and tension. I'll be keeping my eyes on you. :)