Monday, August 03, 2009

The Forest

You stand on the sunlit rock and watch me crouch in the ferns. The plants are matted. Fronds torn. You saw the raw signs of disturbance when you crested the trail.

"It's another one," I say.

You don't approach. Not yet. "All of it?"

"Mostly. But this deer is missing one of its front legs. And part of its chest."

It doesn't mentally match the other fresh remains you found. "So that makes six? Including the three skulls we found?"

"Yeah. Six."

So many. Impossibly many.

"I don't think coyotes did this," you say, still not approaching my pained expression. "I know we heard the pack last night, but--"

"No, I agree. They left the back end untouched this time. Coyotes don't do that. They start eating from the back end. Something attacked this one from the front."

You shiver at the thought of silvery moonlight. "The coyotes sounded like they were crying, anyway."

"I know," I say. "I know."


Rachel Green said...

very creepy!
I love the coyotes crying.

Shadow said...

creepy, yes, that's the right word!

Catherine Vibert said...

It does make you wonder and want to know.

I recognize those legs, didn't they star in the Ascension photo?

Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee said...

You constricted my heart, Jason. I want to cry.

Adisha said...

Wowww .... freaky !!

Sarah Hina said...

What I liked most about this was the experiment in second person narration. It manages to be both intimate and kind of creepy in its omniscience. It is the perfect voice for this mysterious tale of predation and prey. And it even makes me wonder...well, how much does he know?

The coyotes were a great, unholy touch.

A very juicy story to whet the appetite for more, Jason. :)

Meghan said...

You shiver at the thought of silvery moonlight. "The coyotes sounded like they were crying, anyway."

Love that. Very powerful.

Karen said...

Oh! I love the mystery of this one. It feels like the set up for a longer story. More on the way?

the walking man said...

My first thought was Ted Nugent had been visiting your neck of the woods. But then I know Nugent, would have killed 6 with no problem but he would never leave anything for the coyotes unless it was bait so he could kill them too.

So I am going for the pack of teenagers theory because I know from experience they will eat anything and not finish it but as soon as they *burp* they are ready for more.

Now let me remove my tongue from my cheek and say that I liked the shortness of this but also the length of the story that is conveyed within, The open ended questions including the one: who are these two that are looking?

Hikers, researchers, land owners and what are they going to find regardless of their occupation and reason for being there.

Another fine slice of a bigger pie Jason.

Aine said...

Walking Man, Ted Nugent!! Ha!! :D

Nice one, Jason! I just love the possibility of a supernatural mystery. Or prehistoric-- this makes me want to go back in time to visit with the native peoples who lived on our mountain.

And I do shiver when those yips sound like crying...

Anonymous said...

Leatherdykeuk, the coyotes were inspired by the real thing the night before.

Shadow, nothing like a chill in the bright light of day. :)

Catvibe, yes indeed! The legs make yet another appearance! I can certify that they are attached to Aine. ;)

People, Places, I take it you're not a lover of horror and suspense. I used to love those genres (and Gothic) but don't really write them anymore. I hope it wasn't too upsetting!

Adisha, thanks. :)

Sarah, that was really the soul of it--the second person voice. It's such an aggressive voice. Reaching out and grabbing the reader, forcing him/her directly into the story. I thought that might give this foreboding vignette and extra layer. ;)

Meghan, *I* felt that shiver the night before. A pack came through in the middle of night by our cabin. They yipped and howled until falling silent and moving on.

Karen, this could definitely be a much larger story. I wanted to see how well I could deliver that big feel in few words. That was part of the experiment.

Walking Man, yes, Nugent! He could definitely leave a trail like that. I'll never forget that reality show he did where he managed to maim himself chainsawing a small tree down. Come on, Nuge. ;) Glad you felt the size of this story, even though I used less than 150 words.

Anonymous said...

Aine, but I know the truth. You'd be all over that, right up there with me. If I were a mysterious creature stalking in the forest, I'd saunter the other way if I saw Aine coming!! ;)

Laurel said...

Gripping! I am enthralled. Nice, intricate detail smoothly worked in to let the reader know that yes, indeedy, you should be creeped out.

I totally want to know what's been after those deer and so bloodthirsty it doesn't even eat the juiciest bits before it kills another.

Aniket Thakkar said...

First things first. I want to go on record by saying that I believe these legs belong to a very young, beautiful, gracious, benevolent and amicable lady. (Not gonna make the same mistake I made with the fingers :P)

Now, I was so engrossed in studying the style of writing that I had to re-read it to enjoy the vignette. Like Sarah mentioned the second person narrative works well here. But I somehow feel much more relaxed writing in third person for some reason.

Experiment we all must. Best way of learning! (Not that you need much learning :D)

Anonymous said...

Just enough. Just enough words to hold the reader in your hand and quench their thirst for more.

Margaret said...

This left me crying out for more Jason. It's gripping!

And the picture left me crying out to get into my trekking boots and go on a long, long trek. :D

Kim Smith said...

Nice job on the narration. Love the story and the anticipation. Yes, we must have more.

Anonymous said...

Laurel, thanks. :) It's been a long road to develop a feel for how much detail should be paired with action.

Aniket, awesome! I almost forgot about "The Finger" debacle. ;) You're absolutely right about those feet. I don't think I would ever attempt a long work in 2nd person, but it's fun to try it out once in a while.

SarahA, just enough is perfect. :) I'm especially afraid of too much. Too much is major turn off for me.

Kim, thank you for the feedback! Suspense sure is fun to write.
Margaret, much appreciated. :) Meet us at the beginning of the trail, and we'll go!

JR's Thumbprints said...

A mixture of second person narrative along with a tinge of fear for the unknown is what makes this flash work. The coyotes crying gives your story an added twist of mystery. Interesting. Very interesting.

lena said...

now i will be scared to go to the forest next time...
but the narration is awesome, there is a lot to learn from it regarding the style.. Wish the piece could be a bit longer so that I would enjoy more :)

Anonymous said...

JR, thanks for the feedback! It was a fun experiment.

Lena, I'm humbled. Thank you!