Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Worley Woods, Part One

“Jeffery!” Lydia called out drunkenly as she stumbled through the underbrush, swearing as her tights tore from a stray branch. Balancing on unsteady legs as she wove around the brambles, bottle of beer in hand, she sought out her wayward boyfriend in the woods behind the house thrumming with deep bass. They’d had a fight when he’d caught her kissing an old friend, a truly innocent thing really, and stormed off brazenly into the forest by himself.

Seeing as he had the car keys, she couldn’t just let him leave without her. Tossing her purple plait over her shoulder, she straightened her bare-shouldered sweater with her free hand as she stepped over a fallen log, scowling as her heeled foot splashed into a puddle of murky water. Stopping for a moment, she looked around, eyes glazed over and face flushed from her night of steady drinking.
“Jeffery, come out here now! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you!” She called out to the woods, flinching as a score of birds fluttered from a nearby tree. “He’s just an old friend, I had no idea he would take a simple kiss as something so forward. I was just saying hello!”
The only response she received was silence, save for the low call of a lone owl somewhere unseen. A distant crack of a branch caught Lydia’s attention just as she was turning to try and head back to the house.
“Jeffery? Is that you?” She called out plaintively, spinning on her heel to look in the direction of the sound.
“Lydia…” A voice whispered, drifting on the cold wind blowing softly across her lithe frame. A voice that sounded just like Jeffrey’s husky whispers.
“Jeffrey! Oh Jeffy, I’m so sorry! Please forgive me, it really meant nothing!” Lydia called out, tromping over puddle and through several briar bushes, ignoring the scrapes that appeared on her hand as she pulled at the prickly branches.
Moving through the shadows of the forest, the light of the full moon serving as her only guide, Lydia followed the sounds of the forest that were clearly made by another person moving through the dense foliage: the snapping of twigs and the rustling of leaves. Lydia followed the trail left behind, calling out to Jeffrey in earnest as she tried to convince him to come back to her, to stop running away from her.
After several minutes of this, Lydia tripped over an upturned root, stumbling forward and spilling the remnants of her beer on the front of her sweater, the faintly colored alcohol staining the grinning skull framed over her breasts. Angered, she threw the bottle to the side and cupped her hands over her mouth.
“You know what Jeffrey? You can just go to Hell then! If you don’t want to come back to me, then you can live without me. Once I get home, I’m leaving! You juvenile prick!”
Turning, Lydia angrily trounced back through the shrubbery, ignoring the faint whisper that tickled at her ears. A bitter wind swept past her, causing a shower of leaves to begin lightly raining down on and around her. But she didn’t stop to notice; instead she stared at the seemingly unbroken woodland scenery around her, the scenery she could not perceive as having been from whence she came or where she was headed.
She was lost in the woods.
        Reaching into her black skirt, she cursed as she patted the small pocket down. Empty!
        “Must’ve left the phone in the car,” she mumbled as she looked around, trying to determine where she was, “I threw my beer over there, so the house should be… no, no I didn’t.”
Looking in the high weeds in between the briar bushes, Lydia didn’t see her beer bottle where she knew it had landed. Kneeling slightly to part the grass in search of the bottle, she jumped back when she found a yellowed skull, its fleshless features grinning up from the mud.
“What the hell?” She shrieked, leaping away from the spot, landing hard on her rear end. Shuffling away from the skull, this now seemed to have trapped her with its soulless gaze, she didn’t even find it odd when the shower of leaves began to swirl around her, the wind shifting in flurries of cold bursts, howling like a child as it whipped through the trees.
Another snap of a branch, this time far closer, broke the spell the skull had over her, allowing Lydia to spin around and look for the source of the noise. Seeing nothing but darkness and briar bushes, Lydia sniffled.
“Jeffrey, this isn’t funny!” She cried out, tears welling in her eyes as she struggled to her feet. “You better not be messing with me or I swear I’ll have James beat you up!”
The silence around her was deafening as she realized what she’d just proclaimed, clapping her hands over her mouth as her blue eyes darted back and forth, searching the shadows for a form that could be her boyfriend. No such form emerged, though the leaves crunched in the distance, a methodic sound that was growing fainter by the second as Jeffrey walked away.
“Wait, wait Jeffrey! I didn’t mean that, I couldn’t get James to do anything for me, not like that! He’s just a friend!” She raced through the bushes, wincing as the thorns tore at her stocking clad legs, the fishnet tights now being reduced to tattered rags as she chased the crunching sound to its source.
She ran for minutes, pushing aside low hanging limbs and dense shrubs, her heels crunching the leaves gathered on the forest floor in rapid succession as she tried to catch up to her long-legged boyfriend. But no matter how hard she ran, or how much she begged of him, he wouldn’t slow down.

Finally she stopped in a small clearing, hands resting on her knees as she gasped for breath. Looking around, she could just make out in the dim light of the moon a vine covered iron-wrought fence, rusted from being exposed to the elements for so long without maintenance if the heavy verdigris spotting the dark metal was any indication. The fence broke open in front of her, a wide entrance into a darker region of the wood that Lydia didn’t think she wanted to venture.

No comments:

Post a Comment