Thursday, July 26, 2007

Entry #4

Panic
by Victor J. Banis


Enough heat, a burned body melts. This one was missing hands, feet, most of its flesh.

That odd tootling sound, like a flute, led us right to him. "Some kind of bird, maybe," I'd said when we first heard it.

"No bird I can think of," the ranger said. "A faun?"

"A deer?"

"Faun. With a U. Never heard of them?"

"A woods fairy, right?"

"A satyr, Sheriff. What about Pan? Surely you've heard of him, haven't you?"

He grinned over his shoulder at me. We were following a ragged trail, looking for a missing camper. "The king of the forest. The god of fear."

"Oh, sure," I said, nodding.

It was about then that we caught the smell. We pushed our way through some dense brush into the clearing.

"Jesus," I said, staring at the charred remains. "What could have caused a fire that intense? Clear up here?" I knelt down. "Look, hoof prints. A deer, or…"

"Or a satyr?"

"No, I…" I started to turn toward him and saw his feet—only, not feet now, but hooves, and shaggy hocks.

He was still human from the waist up, though. "Welcome to my forest," he said, his smile sardonic.

I grabbed for my gun, but he did something with his eyes. Just like that, my clothes were ablaze, my hair, everything. I rolled on the ground, shrieking.

"Fear," he said, "as in panic." His laugh was like the bleating of a goat.

22 comments:

SF Johnston said...

Victor,

Your writing, as always, draws me in and doesn't let me go.

Stephen

Jaye Wells said...

Oooh, killer satyr! Love it.

One question, though, who was playing the flute if the ranger turned into Pan? Did I miss something?

SzélsőFa said...

It made me panic, too. Whew.

Anonymous said...

Wicked!

Victor J. Banis said...

oh, that question, who was playing the flute - I just assumed Pan would have a few minions - fauns, presumably. Word restriction didn't allow room to spell that out.

Victor

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks for clarifying. The word count is always a challenge. Despite my question, I liked this a lot.

onipar said...

Very nice. I wonder what it is about a picture of the forest that makes us all write about dead people.

SzélsőFa said...

That's exactly what I've been asking myself, Onipar. All those dark stories...But then, there are some bright ones, too (hopefully...?)

Sharon Poppen said...

Don't mess with those forest people! Good dialog and nice background story as to why they were there. I enjoyed the read

Beth said...

As a C.S. Lewis fan, I enjoyed this strange tale very much.

wrath999 said...

Nice ending. Words brings us into the story as we (the readers) want to know what it is

Jeff said...

Good and creepy. Nice job.

c.s. said...

i like this very engaging piece!

angel said...

two of my favourite genre in the first 5 that i read! brilliant piece!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Brilliant, really liked this - reminded me a bit of Pan's Labyrinth.

Dottie said...

Great writing, great story. The appearance of Pan always puts me off balance, and in your piece I know why.

JLB said...

hee hee - this is great! So playful!

tea and cake said...

Wonderful!

I wouldn't normally read this genre, but you may have convinced me.

Bernita said...

SG-1 meets Greek mythology.

Pearl said...

Huh, that was a twist beginning, middle and end.

Thérèse said...

Oh my.

I like how it goes from one genre to the next without warning.

I like it a lot actually. Nice piece.

jason evans said...

I like the ranger/Pan taunting him. Amazing hook in the first line.

High marks!

Thanks for all of your amazing support in the contest. Having a veteran writer sharing thoughts and advice is a great gift.