A Short Story
I was running through the trees that made up the woods behind our house. It was all because of the vultures. For some reason, they enjoy flocking to a particular bunch of trees in the woods. My family and I see them all the time. But I finally needed to see what was going on. What attracted these birds? I just needed the satisfaction of knowing. It really could’ve been no reason at all. They just know to go there. But I didn’t care, then. There just needed to be an answer. Isn’t that what everyone says about, well, everything? There’s always an answer? A solution? A cause? A reason? It just needed to be found. That’s at least what I was going to do.
Jogging wasn’t exactly my forte, but I could break a sweat for this. The only thing I found truly annoying was that I had to keep looking up as I ran otherwise I’d be lost. It wasn’t like I’m not used to being lost. Secretly, I just don’t do woods, or anything forest-like for that matter, well. Lately, there’s been some murders in this area happening all in woodsy areas. None in these woods, but still. The news calls him The Woodsman. Pretty corny if you ask me, but it’s still terrifying. These vultures have been around longer than The Woodsman, and if they knew something was around, there probably wouldn’t be so many of them in the trees. Then again, what did I know? I was just a teenage girl who’s failing biology.
I stopped as I saw some birds in the distance hopping around on the ground. A few were flying back and forth between the tree tops and the dirt. Others were just on the ground of sitting low in the trees doing nothing more than observing. But I couldn’t see much. Just something protruding from the ground, they were hopping around. Dead animal, perhaps? It seemed kind of big from this distance. Maybe a deer. Or what if it was a bear! I wasn’t even sure if bears were common in this area. If I charged right on over, that should alarm the birds enough for them to leave, right? Well, I hopped so.
I charged. Straight for them. As I approached some turned and fled, others didn’t move. I ran faster, even screaming some as the other birds just sat there. Suddenly some birds flew into my face and I couldn’t see. Sharp claws pierced at me. Instinctively I closed my eyes and covered my face with my arms. All I could hear was frantically flapping wings and loud screeches. It was just like that story, The Birds. My eyes were going to be pecked out, I just knew it. My skin was pinched and my hair tugged at, but then it stopped. I took a breath – more like a sigh of relief to be honest. Then I opened my eyes to see a horrible sight.
A dead body was lying face down in the soil. My heart stopped a beat and it flew into my throat. I wasn’t as scared as I was curious. Deep down, I was just aching to know who that was. Someone I went to school with? A neighbor? Were they killed by The Woodsman? The only way to know for sure was to see the face. From the news reports he left the victims face down, but also cut a deep slit across their throats with an axe after being dead. I covered my hands with the sleeves of my sweater. Carefully I crouched down near the body. I was going to do it. I placed my hands under the arm and with all my strength I pushed the body.
It rolled and showed me it’s face. Horror seized me. My scream was caught in the back of my throat. Tears pricked at my eyes I was so afraid. For the person I saw with the slash across the neck was me. I was staring into my own glazed over hazel eyes. Without a second thought, I crawled away, still staring at my dead body. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. No sound could escape my mouth. Finally I twisted my body and crawled on my hands and knees. I needed to call the police. They’d know what was going on, right? Then some vultures flew right toward me, screeching and pricking at me again. But their noises soon became a voice:
“We warned you!”
“We warned you, foolish girl!”
This time I fought back, waving an arm feverishly as I crawled away. What was this? Nothing was under my hand as I pulled myself away. Before I realized what was happening, I slipped and fell into a small stream. Cold water soaked into my sweater. I turned onto my back and looked up. A dark figure was looming over my holding up an axe. My eyes widened, and I screamed louder than any bird…
I was screaming as I sat up in bed. A layer of sweat coated my forehead. It was a dream. Just a nightmare. I sighed and fell back on my bed. I touched my hand to my wet forehead, then let it run down my cheek, and then my neck, but there was a slight bump on my throat. What was that? I stood, and turned on my light, then walked over to my mirror. Fear rose inside of me. There was a small cut going across my neck just like in the dream, except it looked well healed. I cried out in terror.