The warm afternoon sunlight was dancing through the canopy of leaves overhead as I expertly wove my way between the tall trees around me. I let my body take over as my mind wandered, not bothering to focus on each of my footsteps. Eventually I came to my tree and I swung onto the makeshift ladder. My hands and feet fell into place on each worn wooden rung until I got to the top. When I was barely three my father had made this little room for me, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to use it for a couple of years. It still makes me smile to remember his complete shock when I was able to climb up the tree like a squirrel since almost the day it was finished.
The room at the top is small, barely big enough for me to comfortably lay down in, but I manage. When the house was first built I mostly kept my drawings and writing up here. I used to think of myself as a spy for the wood sprites that I imagined in the trees. It was my job to know all of the inner-workings of the forest, and I would leave any reports I had to give here, so that they could find them. Now it functions more as my reading space. Though the walls are still covered in drawings, old and new, the floors are covered in worn pillows and blankets. I hung up makeshift curtains over the two small windows in an attempt to keep the warmth in during the winter. Most days I find myself wandering to what I’ve come to think of as my haven to just read or write or relax. This day was no exception.
I was practically bursting with excited energy as I settled into my nest of pillows and blankets. I could feel all of my muscles and bones relaxing as I opened my book and flipped to the page I was on. As my mind found its spot between the lines of the book, I felt a jolt of nervous energy spike through me. My consciousness was ripped away from that of the characters’ and my head whipped around to scan the room. Everything was just as still and familiar as it as a moment before, and the soft, comfortable rustle of the leaves outside hadn’t stopped. As suddenly as it had come upon me, the nervous energy drained out and I was able to release the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
I drifted into the book again, this time able to lose myself for hours. The world slipped away around me. After a while I felt my eye lids go heavy and my hands grow limp. I let the peaceful drowsiness wash over me, almost like a spell. I just barely caught the faintest hint of honey and vanilla in the air before my mind drifted into a peaceful, comfortable, darkness.
I woke with a start, my eyes practically bulging out of my head. The warm darkness of my dreams had been replaced with a colder, hostile darkness. I felt that familiar jolt of nervousness and fear run through me as I pushed the blankets away from me and scrambled to the ladder at the end of the room. I blindly searched with my foot for the nearest rung. After a few seconds of frantic reaching, my foot landed on something solid and I shifted my weight onto the wooden bar. I began to make a quick descent when my foot slipped and the ground came flying at me, knocking all of the wind out of me. I lay on the ground for a minute, trying to get my panicked mind under control.
After a few deep breaths, I was up again, this time moving slowly and carefully. I could feel something watching me, just out of my line of sight. I forced myself to look only straight ahead. My whole body was shaking as I tried desperately to control my movements. Each leaf under my feet seemed to scream into the darkness and silence around me. I tried my hardest to keep my breaths low and shallow, praying that whatever was following me couldn’t hear me.
I paused for just a moment, and felt a hot breath on my neck. The air froze in my lungs as I listened to the heavy, ragged breath behind me. My blood turned to shards of ice and cold fear seeped all the way to my bones. I could feel the beasts claws lifting, being careful to avoid touching me, all the way up to my neck, it’s fingers curling, one claw just a hair away from touching me….
My body exploded. I sprinted through the woods, almost tripping over every tree root that seemed to grow suddenly in front of my feet. My clothes were drenched in sweat, but I pushed myself faster and faster. No matter how my feet flew across the forest floor, the beast always seemed to be right behind me. Suddenly I burst out of the woods, and into a clearing lit by the white light of the moon. Shards of memory began to fall into place as I took in the quiet farmhouse where I lived and the small garden to the side of the house. I felt relief wash over me and I let out a small laugh, reminding myself to not let my imagination to get the best of me. I took slow, casual steps back to my home, not once feeling any malicious presence behind me.
So I haven’t posted anything I’ve written in a really long time, but this is just a little writing prompt I did a while ago that I really liked.