Slender

A nameless protagonist, an isolated trail leading through a nameless wood, a nameless entity leaving its invisible mark...

A short 'Slender' inspired narrative that I wrote for an English assignment. Hope you enjoy, reader!

Murdoch

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1. Slender

Although the darkness had now completely engulfed her, clinging to her jacket, its icy fingers sliding through the curls of her sodden hair, she was certain that she was heading in the right direction. A gush of wind whipped past her, fingering the pockets of the girl’s tarnished coat, desperately trying not to lose its grip. She batted it away, freeing herself and then proceeded to smooth out the creases now embedded in the worn leather. Her dainty fingers slid across the rough surface, exploring every valley of folded material, flattening them down with the greatest of ease.

Upon reaching a stage of neatness that pleased her, she returned her attention again to the path ahead of her. Raising her arm, a beam leapt back into life, covering the inky blackness in a blanket of glorious golden light. She sighed softly to herself, as she found these woods uneasy in the day, let alone in dark abyss of night.  The light of her torch darted on ahead, dancing idly through the trees, illuminating the darkness. As she marched down the barely visible path, which was now predominantly covered in rotting and decaying fallen leaves (which found much pleasure in grasping onto her shoes and already mud splattered jeans) she felt a sharp tug upon the battered lead which hung lazily around her wrist. Turning back, she laughed as she saw her defiant little pooch, its wiry black fur stuck in various dirty clumps, sitting on a watery bed of leaves; its tongue licking intensely at a damp leaf which was sitting on its snout. Kneeling down beside him, she picked the leaf from his nose then discarded it, and clasped the benevolent pup’s head between her palms.

“Oh dear,” she sighed, rubbing his ears with her thumbs, “could we have come a more convoluted way?”

The dog stared back at her cheerful face, a dumbfounded expression smeared across his. The young girl sighed again then clambered to her feet, wiping her hands upon her jacket to rid them of dampness, and as she reached for her torch once more… the silence was shattered.

 

The scream had taken her by surprise, so much so that the torch had dropped from her hand. Scrambling around in the dark abyss of the night, her fingers met with it once more. She leapt from the ground, her torch’s beam of light scanning the area ahead of her. There it lay. She stepped cautiously towards it. Its frame was contorted, bent and broken by some unknown but clearly powerful force. The front of it had buckled inwards, leaving a huge indent. Around the edges, she could see tiny specks of dark, fresh blood.

The bike was destroyed, but there was no sign of a rider. She stood amazed by the wreckage of the bicycle, whose owner, she could only assume, was the same owner of the scream she’d heard previously. Her dog, who was niffing the red, blood tainted ground besides the wreck, let out a low and painful whine. There was a crack, like that of a branch but much more solid. She spun towards the sound, the light of the torch flicking amongst the trees. She instantly wished she hadn’t.

 

His eyes were wide and empty. His mouth hung loosely open, revealing his bloodied teeth. His head rolled back on his shoulders, lifeless. The young boy stared back at her, his long gone scream caught in his throat. However, it was not his face that held her attention.

 

The creature had no face. It’s head looked to be the same structure as that of a human, but that was as human as this featureless thing was going to get. It stooped, towering above her, tall and spindly like the trees surrounding it. It’s huge, branch like arms hung low and limply by its sides, and at the end of one, enclosed by the beast’s monstrously sharp claws was the dead child. Her mouth had gone dry, and her arms were as numb and useless as her legs. She simply gawped the beast, shocked, overwhelmed. Motionless.

Without warning, the creature cast aside the boy’s corpse causing its arm to flex and stretch in peculiar directions. It was now that she realised the thing’s body was contorting itself, twisting, turning and growing towards her. Her young pup had long since abandoned her. No one watched as the beast’s huge hand clamped around her. No heard her final scream of terror as she was lifted up, until she was level with where the creature’s eyes should have been. No one saw her struggle and kick within the monster’s grasp, only to then become motionless.

 

She stared deeply into that blank, expressionless face. It stared into her blue, shimmering eyes. She was no longer afraid.

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