In a bid to connect further with the blogosphere and to flex my writing muscle, today I embark upon a journey through WordPress’ Writing 101 course. Here’s the first instalment, 20 minutes of free writing, no forethought or editing allowed…
The night brought with it an inky blue hue. I could feel the cold air sweeping past my tongue and down through my throat, where goosebumps would prick out from beneath the skin, a tale tell sign that I was numb. I couldn’t hide my nervous disposition. Anyone with a calm exterior would be breathing long, subtle breaths, but mine were hurried, forcing tiny clouds of visible vapour through the midnight air with each exhale.
At least I could blame the shaking on the temperature. They didn’t have to know that the chill I felt, which sunk deep into my bones, was owed to the situation, and not the frost that was biting at my ankles with each step I took.
I came to a standstill once I reached the place. We had said we would meet here, where the forest floor forked into a star like possibility of pathways, each one offering a different narrative to whoever traipsed down its track. The floor was uneven. Days of rain had muddied the surface and now it stretched across the area in frosted peaks, each one a frozen menace just waiting to meet you face down.
There was no sign of life here. Even the thick trunked oak tree that I was to wait at looked as though it had thrived amidst a world entirely of its own making. I perched against the tree, checking every few seconds to my left and right, only stopping to crane my neck to spy through the fork in the tree trunk, inspecting the trail behind me. I wasn’t aware of where they were coming from.
I was early. The situation didn’t need any further temptation towards the deadly, and so I was careful to ensure that nothing I did would coax it in the wrong direction.
It troubled me that there was not yet the snow of winter on the ground, as much as it worried me that there were no loose leaves of the autumn rustling across the floor. They would be approaching, deadly in their silence.
I hung my lantern on the branch nearest to me, an amicable act of honesty, so they could see me from a distance. That is when I started to hear movement. Not the footsteps of a man, or the rustling of a human navigating through the trees, but the heavy breathing of a creature whose movements were not second nature.
The sound of a forced, strained motion came closer, but still I could not see a thing. Until the soft light of my lantern fell in severe angles across his face. A face which towered above the oak tree.