Deep Woods and Dark Water

The second instalment of the ‘Short Scary Story – Halloween Horror Challenge’. Almost didn’t get this one done in time, been struggling to write these past few days. The experience pushing through the struggle is valuable however.

This story is about a primordial fear in a modern mind. The analysis of that fear from the victim, and the possibility of the truth being beyond what we consider to be possible in modern nights.

If you enjoy horror you can follow this challenge here.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron

The burnt orange horizon of the tree line holds the romantic autumn spirit on its chilly late afternoon breeze. With my beautiful golden boy Captain by my side, I stroll happily through the park following the path through the woods. With the sun still in the sky the moon has risen to peek through the haunting glow of sunset. As the transition of day to night begins in earnest, the chorus of birds cries loud and bats spiral upwards like shadows across the moon. I’ve always loved the way that the colours of the evening, even more when framed with the vibrancy of autumn.
Captain bounds along beside me off the path, sniffing at leaves and trees, chasing squirrels and keeping an eye on every little thing while never losing sight of me. Runners pass me in both direction, their numbers increasing with the cool air before light fades. So many gorgeous sights and sounds accompany the season.
Wrapping my scarf tightly around my neck and face I bury my hands deeply into my pockets to keep away the cold. The fading light lets me know its time to leave. Calling out to Captain as he is investigating something at the edge of where I can see, he looks back at me and barks before continuing sniffing.
Frowning, I shout for him to come again being met with him determinedly ignoring my call. Vocalising my annoyance, I step off the path to fetch him. The moment he notices me approaching he bounds off deeper into the woods, stopping every few meters to look back to be sure I’m following. My first thought is just to leave and trust him to follow, but this strange behaviour has me curious for what he wants to show me so I follow.

Eventually he comes to a halt by a lake I’d never known was here. In fact by the undisturbed appearance, I’d even say that no-one knew it was here. Captain was sniffing curiously at the water’s edge, running up and down anxiously.
Moving up beside him I rest a calming palm on his back, he pushes against my legs without turning away from the still water. Something about the area makes me feel nervous and I keep a few feet from the edge as I look in. The sun has set almost completely now and only light from the moon peering through the branches casting dancing shadows on the water that undulate and writhe entrancingly.
My heart races in my chest as the hypnotising shadows dance on the unmoving surface of the lake, forming distantly familiar shapes. Long forgotten memories stir within me, their details still beyond recognition but the feelings of terror, sorrow and helpless anger resonate within me making me feel smaller than I had felt since being a child.
Captain whimpers. Pushing himself harder against my legs, his enthusiasm for exploration seemingly spent but now I can’t bring myself to look away despite his whines making me realise the complete isolation and silence of the area.

The shadows in the lake begin to grow in depth, the reflections of light vanishing under the true shadow of something large and physical rising up from beneath the surface. Captain barks loudly, and shoves me with his full weight causing me to stumble and shaking me from the paralysis I’d been trapped in.
A ripple forms on the surface of the unnaturally still lake. The simple sight I know without a shadow of a doubt the deadliest thing I had ever witnessed. My body ignited, flooded with adrenaline driving me as Captain and I run. Not daring to look back for even a second as the sound of something breaking the surface of the water behind us breaks the silence.
In the treacherous darkness I can hardly see the trees, without Captain faithfully guiding me I would have surely fallen and injured myself in our flight from the woods. The illumination of the path heartens me to run faster, bringing myself to the safety of the late evening joggers who guide me gibbering from the woods.

The police are called and they question me, thinking I had been assaulted or worse. In the company of other people, and explaining the experience out loud I’m forced to realise the silliness of my reaction. The officers offer me a lift home, no doubt thinking I was on drugs or something.
I decline, letting them instead walk me to the parking lot where I’m parked. The whole time the strange memory of the experience already like a distant half forgotten dream. As I pull out of the park with Captain in the back seat, I make it half way home before my hands start shaking and I’m forced to pull to the side of the road and sob uncontrollably.

I can’t explain what it was we found in that lake in the woods. I’ve spoken to a psychologist and she suggested it may have been a repressed memory of childhood trauma. I hope that is the case, and mostly I’ve managed to convince myself that that actually was the case. I haven’t gone back to the park since, and whenever Captain has strange moments I am brought back to that day and feel like whatever the creature beneath the surface has found us.
The world is a deep and ancient place. Legends of dark things in the deep places of the woods and under the water are some of the oldest in human history. I’m not saying I believe in those stories, but simply that I understand the feeling our ancestors must have known so much more intimately before we tamed the world with technology and numbers.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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