Forest

Follow a man's terrified flight through an unnatural forest.

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1. Running



Despite the blazing summer sun, the feeble beams of sunlight could not penetrate the thick canopy of trees and the wood remained in darkness. To stare upon the landscape was like staring upon a dream; everything was obscured in shadow. An ethereal place, drifting in fog. Nevertheless, Ha’argath forged on, red eyes squinting into the gloom. To his fevered mind, trees were transformed into deformed figures. Their arms grasping out, snagging on his clothes, raking his skin. Roots on the floor caught his left boot sending him stumbling. Leaves crunched as his knee struck the ground; he winced at the sharp pain. His knee throbbed.
 
“Curse this place!” he spat and immediately regretted it. He had an odd sensation of guilt and fear at swearing in this place. Like swearing in a church. A subconscious taboo. But why? He was just in a forest. In his confusion, Ha’argath thought he saw a light in the fog. He strained his eyes into the mist. Hoping it was a friendly party. He called out a greeting. Nothing. Just the endless swirling of whiteness. Nothing.
 
He started to feel the blood oozing down his leg. His determination was wavering. Imagined terrors flitted around him from the shadows. He started to sweat under his layers of leather armour. Perspiration soaked his face. His muscular back strained under his hide shield while his arm ached from carrying his iron sword. He forged on through the tangled undergrowth. His heart beating rapidly. Eyes darting to every noise. Every suspicious shape. He heard noises that could not be made by man. Supernatural grunts. Screams. Wails. Cries of souls in torment. He increased his speed but the sounds could not be outrun. He forged on for hours through this theatre of horror, the mists enveloping everything but a few yards in front of him. The misshapen trees unceasing. Relentlessly surrounding him. Mocking him. Finally, after hours of blind flint, Ha’argath crumpled to the floor like soaked parchment and wept. Still surrounded by the mists. Still surrounded by trees. So, with no apparent sign of escape from this forested hell, exhausted, lost and without hope, Ha’argath’s world turned to black.
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