Omega Forest

📅 Published on May 23, 2022

“Omega Forest”

Written by Hank Belbin
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 19 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 3 votes.
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“Ye needn’t think the only folks is the folks hereabouts.”
— H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

“Even in this world, more things exist without our knowledge than that with. And the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there.”
— Judge Holden, Blood Meridian

Part One
New Mexico Territory. 1850

The survivors of the calvary fled north across the salt plains. Ten miles after them, the Comanche retinue pursued. The raid had failed. And now the company were the prey.

East was Fort Apache. West was Tijuana. And south lay the fiery furnace of Sonora desert. Endless and white and dead and shimmering under the sun like a boundless sea of glass. North was the only option. They made for Coconino forest in search of escape and sanctuary. They were all coated in blood and gore and the black powder from the battle that had carried them wearily across the desert for days now. The ingredients of which sticky against their tattered uniforms like tar.

The Comanche savages had pursued the survivors relentlessly since Juarez. And they aimed to finish the job before days out. Forty-two of the company’s men lay cut down and scalped in the desert wastes some ways back. Now there were only ten more to see to.

The raid was ambushed before any defense could even be mounted. The rattling hail of arrows that had descended onto the unit from the ridge days gone, like an unwelcome rain, had sent the calvary into pandemonium. Plumes of grey gunsmoke then echoed in the valley and had carried off into the winds, and the battle raged, but the shots failed to find their targets.

After an hour, those at the back saw that the battle was lost and they were routed. The ten men, under command of Captain Morton, turned on their heels and stole into the shimmering heat of the desert. None of them looked back to see the finale of the nightmare. Men that they knew well were now laid strewn across the sands behind them. They all screamed as the grotesque carnival of savages butchered and danced their way through the company.

But it was not over. Those who had survived and fled across the salt plains had merely lived on only to face a new nightmare. Of those men, something far worse awaited them.

Of the men who did escape the ambush, there was Morton—the only surviving officer—Corporal, whose Christian name was not known to any man, Jackson, Hughes, Bill, Lewis, Carson, and Powell.

They rode on for days, away from the massacre, all of them fused to their saddles as if they had merged with beasts alike and had become an abstraction of the centaurs before them.

It was on the third day that Morton noticed it. Something out there on the prairie behind them pulsing in the midday heat. On the horizon behind them, a cloud of dust grew. Captain Morton stopped and produced his spyglass and aimed at the cloud. He knew what it was. The Comanche tribe were following them. That much was clear. Morton slammed the spyglass home with the base of his palm and snorted.

“We’ll not make camp tonight. We’ll leave a fire in the night and ride on,” he said. The men about obliged.

* * * * * *

Much later, after the sun had set, the trick did not work. The Comanche knew that it was a gambit. They’d ridden past the decoy fire and pursued the remaining cavalry into the twilight all the same. They’d expected the routed to flee South, across the border, but they did not.

The tired survivors rode their horses hard. They whipped and lashed at their horse’s behinds, desperate to break away from the pursuers. The night was long and cold and dark. They rode on.

And just after dawn, the survivors then saw looming up towards them the deep and brooding forest. A great wall of silhouettes poised there against the tenebrous blue sky of the early morning sun. They believed their salvation was nigh. Yet something else was instead.

Still behind them was the chief and his tribe. However, suddenly, they had lost all compunction to pursue the survivors. They saw their prey and gasped each at what the calvary in front was about to do.

“Kee!” One of the Comanche shouted.

When the ten survivors came to the fringe of the forest, the Comanche pursuers suddenly halted, as if gripped by something. They snatched and tugged at their reigns each and the horses skidded in the dust eight hundred meters behind the survivors and the tree line. All of the tribe were suddenly commandeered by unassailable fear now. They had been focused on the mission of dispatching the survivors so much that they had not noticed just where they were pursuing them to—the dreaded forest. The motionless Comanche leader watched on as Morton and the nine other survivors disappeared into the wall of dark trees. One of the savages mumbled some kind of prayer and shut his eyes of the sight. The chief knew that all who went into that forest never came back out again. There was something else in there. Something old.

They turned around, panic-stricken, and rode quickly back in the direction they’d just come from.

Part Two

Deep in the trees, the men teetered and trotted through in silence. They’d been riding in it for almost an hour. The decaying forest all around wholly unnatural. Drizzle fell and the trees creaked in the languid breeze. No other sounds apart from the hooves moving through it all. Rows and rows of unmoving pine trees sprawling endlessly before them, bearing down on them, yet no sound. They all soon noticed the eerie quiet.

“You hear that?” Bill called out.

“I don’t hear nuthin’,” Hughes replied after a pause.

“Exactly. Forest this big and not so much as a bird makin’ noise. Strange…”

“Keep it down,” Morton then barked. “Could be another ambush.”

They moved on down gulches and finally stopped at a trickling fetid stream to fill their canteens and tend to their wounds. The ride took most of the morning. Lewis had caught an arrow in his arm during the ambush a few days ago and his shoulder was beginning to fester. His linen shirt was stained brown with pus and blood and the flies all about swarmed him eagerly. None offered consultation on his injury.

Morton knelt down to the water and considered his reflection in the blade of his bowie knife. He looked ten years older than what he was. As he examined his face in the metal though, he caught sight of something. Up on the ridge to his left, something moved. Something big. Too big to be Comanche. Morton snapped his gaze left and up at the ridgeline at the sight. He’d thought he saw something move in his peripheries. He was sure of it. But peering up there now, he saw nothing. Only beams of sunlight slanted through the dead trees and onto him and there was nothing else up there. He frowned then resigned himself to the task of filling his canteen and shaving his sideburns. The men about him were solemn and filled with dread, like the attendees of some morbid wake. Morton calculated that any further acknowledgment of anything untoward would only panic the men further. He chose not to mention it to his retinue.

Hughes however had already seen something. He stood motionless in the river. The water up to his knees. He stared up absently at the same point on the ridge that the captain was looking at. His eyes were wide with terror and he quivered in his boots.

“Hughes? What you lookin’ at, boy?” Corporal snapped, noticing his odd behaviour. Hughes did not respond. He just kept staring up at the part of the ridge where the sun straddled the earth.

“Hughes! Fall in line! Captain Morton barked.

Hughes came back to reality, the tears still fresh in his eyes. He looked up at Morton on his horse. They shared a glance.

“Yessir,” Hughes said obediently and shuffled out of the river to collect his personal effects laying on the waxed tarp at the bank.

After a small rest, they mounted and rode on.

The day was almost out and their pace had slowed to a crawl as they negotiated over mires and small ravines. When night fell, they stopped and made camp up on a ridge that overlooked the boundless mass of dark trees. They could not see the edge of the forest.

Captain Morton briefed his men and devised a rota for sentry duty. They made a fire and orientated their sleeping bags around it. All of them huddled around the only warmth like a litter of starved puppies waiting for their mother to return.

Jackson had first watch. After taking on some cold coffee, he navigated through the dimness of the forest and stood at a point fifty meters away from the campfire. He then held his rifle loosely and stared off into the brooding night. It was a long shift.

* * * * * *

Later, after Jackson’s sentry duty was over, he was relieved by Lewis who took up the exact footprints in the dirt that he had made himself. Jackson then came back to his roll matt and bag of particulars and saw that the roll matt next to his own was empty. Powell was not there. Jackson frowned and noted that the man’s possessions and rifle were still by the fire.

“Where’s Powell?” Jackson asked Hughes.

“Gone,” Hughes muttered as he spat into the fire. He was sharpening his knife, but was not focusing on the task at hand. Instead, he merely rubbed the filthy whetstone up and down the blade with seemingly random motions.

“How long he been gone?”

“Reckon ‘bout two hours now. Said he was goin’ for a shit. Ain’t came back.”

Jackson nervously knelt down to Hughes. “You reckon them Indians followed us in here after all?” He whispered.

“I reckon they did,” Hughes said and his eyes darkened as he stared into the flames. “There will be blood tonight. I’ll take no sleep, you can be sure of that.”

Jackson looked away from Hughes and pondered what he meant by such a statement. All the same, he felt something heavy fall into his chest—dread. Hughes stared absently into the fire as if taken by something. He would not say what exactly and didn’t speak for the rest of the night. Jackson smoked a cigarette and tried to forget about the whole notion.

 

It was almost midnight. The men about the fire snoozed and dreamed of seeing the inside of a saloon again. They fantasized about collecting their wages and buying a hot bath, a bottle of whiskey, and a seat at the poker table. The swollen silver moon hung above them all in the black starless sky like a great primordial egg, or like an augury to their own fates. The fire cracked and smoldered and no other sounds were heard. Jackson slept and snored softly.

Then, from somewhere out in the twilight, something awoke him. One of the men on sentry screamed. A guttural agonizing screech that echoed through the night… and then nothing.

The men about the fire bolted up in their sleeping bags and reached for their rifles. Cold fear assailed them all like an arctic wind. An icy shiver clawed its way down Jackson’s spine. He felt the color drain from his face as he stared out utterly terrified into the silent night beyond the campfire. Something was out there in the dark. They all opened their ears to the wilderness but heard nothing. Just… silence.

None dared to call out for Lewis. Whatever was out there, it had taken him. His screams sounded like choking, then like he was gargling something. Then, nothing but the unnerving widening silence. Jackson’s eyes were bulging with terror. He panted and shuddered and tried to take command of his shaking body.

“Son of a bitch,” Carson said. “Something has got Lewis!”

“What? A bear?” Jackson asked.

“I reckon. Cain’t no Indian produce sounds like that from a man. That boy’s been snared by the jaws of a goddamn bear! You heard it on his throat!”

“Shut up, Carson!” It ain’t no bear!” Morton shouted. “We got traps all around.”

“… Then what the Hell is it?”

Morton stood above the cowering party and shook his head, remembering again what he thought he’d seen on that ridge earlier. “I don’t know. But that ain’t no fuckin’ bear.”

Some of the horses had broken from their hitchings at the sound and had bolted off into the twilight, all frantic and feral like something driven demented with rabies. No one attempted to reign them in. No one dared to leave the fireside. All were too terrified to even think of moving.

There was no sleep to be had for the rest of the night. The men all sat up in their bags in a circle. They held their rifles outstretched before them as if like a phalanx; gun barrels probing into the darkness all around. All refused to leave their bags nor the glowing side of the campfire as if both would offer shielding and insulate them from whatever lurked out there beyond the black trees. A juvenile notion that there was safety in the light.

Everyone sat motionless on the freezing ground like a huddle of terrified rabbits and they could only hope for the morning and safety in solidarity. None dared imagine what it was. They prayed to see a band of savages running out of the darkness towards them. There would be no fear attached to that. But, deep down, before any explanation had even been offered, they all knew it was something else, something much worse. Hughes was eerily calm throughout the whole ordeal. He simply stared ahead into the heaving darkness, as if awaiting something.

Part Three

Dawn finally crawled around. The men shivered in their spots. The metal of their rifles so cold in their palms it was gnawing into their skin. The morning was damp and grey. After first light, the men, all haggard and haunted and pale from the night gone, jumped out of their rolls and packed away their possibles. The lines and wrinkles on their greyed and weathered faces ever more prominent. No coffee was made.

Everyone packed and stuffed their possessions into the saddlebags with quick skittish movements, looking all around as they did, like birds nervously checking behind them as they fed. Carson remained at the perimeter of the camp on sentry whilst the rest prepared to leave. He fixed his eyes on points in the trees. In the gloom of the dawn, however, the woods all around blurred and merged into shades of mottled brown. It was hard to distinguish anything at all. There was no movement in that teetering dimness. Not even woodland animals could be heard.

“What you suppose that was last night?” Bill asked the somber group.

“Indians,” Hughes replied, lying to himself. “Like I said they would be…”

No one else said anything.

They saddled up quickly and rode on through miles of tall swaying trees, checking frequently over their shoulders as they did. Lewis was not found. Only his rifle remained. Bent into a U shape and tossed into the brush five meters from his sentry point the night before. They moved as one entity, horse and man, men and horses; all locked into a common alliance of survival, no one being separate from another. A covenant of mutual diligence from both creatures. As if the very nature of Lewis’s gruesome disappearance had ignited the primal instincts of ‘being prey’ long dormant in both man and beast. The sun was low and white and the rays barely filtered through the branches onto them. After another hour they came to a small creek, then a valley.

And Further down that valley, they found Lewis. He had been disemboweled and dismembered and his head sat in the cavity of his own chest. His dull fish eyes now frozen in their socks like two orbs of jelly, staring up absently at the clouded grey sky beyond the canopy of trees. Flies buzzed around his desecrated body and the stench was unbearable for the men. Morton gagged and spat from the side of his horse. The men gawked and stared silently at Lewis’s corpse, all too stunned and horrified to speak.

They rode on and no eulogies were said. No one dared to speculate what manner of living thing existed on this earth that could do that to another.

* * * * * *

It was late in the afternoon the next day. The men were tired beyond saving. No sleep was had and they remained unfed. The horses scuttled through the underbrush wearily as if being led through it all in a trance. The tall grass tickled their underbellies as they stepped and scrabbled over the terrain. The men moved forward and still, the forest kept coming forward back at them. No matter how far they all moved, it seemed that there was no edge to the trees.

Hughes, at the back of the party, swayed from side to side in his saddle. His eyes rolled around in their sockets and he could not focus on the ride anymore. He was so tired and delirious that he hadn’t noticed the party were no longer in front of him and he’d been riding off in the opposite direction for a long time. He could only recall the horrific sight of Lewis back there in the valley. He’d never told anyone what he saw up there on that ridge, but he knew it in his heart that it had done that to Lewis. The shadow that walked had made a mockery of the man’s body and Hughes wondered who of the party would be next.

It was only after another ten minutes that the party all noticed he was no longer with them. Morton had called for Hughes to come to his side for assistance with the compass, but when there was no response, they all looked over their shoulders for the first time in a while and saw that he was gone.

“Hughes!” Morton bellowed into the trees but was met with no response.

Morton then turned to his second in command. “Corporal, he’s fallen behind! Go get him.” Captain Morton shouted.

Corporal sat on top of his horse near the front of the party like he’d received a final summons. The prospect of riding back alone turned his stomach. He quivered in his saddle and merely looked back at captain Morton with doe eyes, like a child.

“Did you not hear me?” Morton snapped.

“I heard you just fine. But I’ll not do it,” he said as his horse tottered underneath him.

Morton glared at Corporal with blistering red eyes. “He has the second compass… Do it.” He snarled.

“… Caint no man compel another to tasks he ain’t equipped for.”

“A higher ranking man can. And you are equipped for it.”

“In the confines of a regular scenario I reckon so, but this ain’t no regular scenario, sir. I’ll not do it. There’s something—”

“You will or I will shoot you.”

Morton soon produced his Colt revolver and pointed it at Corporal. The party froze in anticipation. Corporal squirmed, but only for a moment.

“Then shoot me goddammit. And I’ll be shut of this,” Corporal snarled.  “Better than the fate out yonder them trees. You saw what they did to his body! But consider this, you’ll have one less soul watching your back if’n you do shoot me dead now. You reckon you cain make it out these woods alive on your lonesome?”

Morton locked eyes with Corporal and both stared at each other menacingly. Corporal had begun to slowly reach for his Cattleman revolver, the hand movements slow like a snake’s. Morton watched. All about the pair expected blood, but the fight never came to fruition. Morton considered, then slid the hammer up and holstered his revolver once more.

“Bill, you go back and bring him back here,” Morton instead said over his shoulder to Bill. Jackson’s gaze vacillated between Corporal, Morton and Bill.

Bill nodded obediently and turned and rode back into the twisted mess of branches and bark. The unit then all watched him silently as his form dwindled against the bleakness of that raw mass of ancient wood.

“That ain’t Indians out there. That’s something else,” Corporal muttered to himself. Jackson pretended he had not heard it.

Later, in the day and neither Bill nor Hughes returned. After an hour waiting, Morton decided that they were not coming back and they rode on. Night fell with practiced bravado, the overcast lowering clouds smothered and sucked all warmth and comfort from both earth and man. They made camp near a large boulder and the night was long and uneventful. They sat around the fire and each man stared into the flames, each man seeing something unique in the effulgence; as if the flames themselves were extensions of man’s hubris unto the world; burning in all directions without a moment’s consideration on where to go next.

In the morning, they rose and saddled up and dispatched without admin.

The day was long and monotonous and Jackson began to wonder if they were merely going in circles. He’d sworn he’d seen that same fallen tree before, and that same trickling stream. Time moved forward without definition. But, then…

* * * * * *

Five miles north, on a fallen tree, the unit soon found the severed heads of their lost men. Bill, who’d ridden ahead to investigate Hughes’ disappearance, Powell—who’d disappeared the night previous, and Hughes himself—who’d fallen behind. All three bloodied heads now sat on the moss-covered tree trunk in front of Morton like some gawky exhibition.

He looked down from his horse at the carnival scene and recognized nothing of the men he once knew from his unit. They were gone, and the husks they’d left behind held nothing anymore. They looked to him like a row of coconuts that one would throw rocks at. A fairground game that people would laugh at. The hacked-off heads nothing more than a pantomime of gore.

Bill’s lifeless eye looked up at Morton from there on the tree with an absence that could only now be acknowledged as existence. He once was, and now he was no more. His greyed head perched on the tree trunk with one eye shut and the other lazily, vacantly, looking up at his Captain. Powell had no jaw and instead, his head sat on the bark like some grotesque ornament. His face festooned with dried black blood. He had no eyes. They had been scooped out and replaced with dried grass.

“What the hell done that?” Carson mewed.

“Indians,” Morton said and no one believed him.

“That ain’t no Indian’s doin’. Them faces got bite marks on them! You sent Bill off like that, Cap’ain.”

“Quiet!” Morton then shouted and Carson did.

Morton sighed deeply and shut his eyes to regain some semblance of composure. They rode on in silence. They were down to four men now—Corporal, Carson, Captain Morton, and Jackson.

Later, they found a small river at the base of the valley and set up camp next to it. Corporal sat in the dirt. His knees pulled up to his chest. He stared vacantly into the rolling flames of the campfire, as each man about him did also. Morton watched him from the other side of the yellow blades of fire. Jackson smoked his last cigarette.

“Hughes saw it, didn’t he?” Corporal asked Jackson in a low defeated voice. “I mean, whatever it is out there.”

“… I reckon.”

“You got a woman?” He then asked strangely.

“No.”

“Ever been with one?”

“A whore.”

“Where?”

“El Paso.”

“I have a wife. Dolores. She’s waiting for me…”

Jackson flicked the butt of his cigarette into the fire and struggled to find the right words.

“I’ll not wait here any longer for judgment,” Corporal said after five minutes. “I’m leaving tonight. One ways or another.”

“You go it alone and you die,” Jackson replied.

“I’ll take my chances. We’re as good as dead sitting here anyhow. Whatever that is out there, it ain’t of this world. It’s hunting us. There are things abroad out here and I’ll have no part of them.”

With that, Corporal rose silently and unhitched his horse and rode off into the darkness without so much as a word passed. Captain Morton sucked on his pipe and watched him leave and said nothing also. Jackson watched the behind of the horse and Corporal alike steal away into the wall of inky black. Corporal was never seen again.

With the departure, the three survivors then fell in on themselves. The crushing gloom in their souls heavy against their bodies like chains of bondage. The fire smoldered and no man rose to furnish it with more wood. All were too taken with the plight to think of anything else.

* * * * * *

The remaining three horses had escaped at some point in the small hours of the night. They’d chewed through their bindings and took solace in escape, seemingly seeing more promising refuge in the smothering black out there.

The next day, the men rose, all grey and sullen and beaten. They saw that the horses were gone and could not afford any more than a grunt and a sigh at their passage. They packed their things and walked North. The day was arduous and it carried with it the sense of guilt or some abstraction of survivor’s guilt therein. Why, when all others had fallen did these three stand?

The remaining three then made camp at nightfall with what provisions they had carried with them. They did not eat and instead installed themselves in their bags, all facing outward. They sat and waited and dreamed of home.

The night was heavy and vibrating and was full of strange rustlings. Beyond the meager glow of the campfire, something was moving around quietly out there. Something big and heavy, but stealthy and taciturn. It was coming closer. Twigs snapped and the earth squirmed under something. All of them heard it. But they refused to acknowledge it just the same. They prayed it was wolves out there on the perimeter, but it was not.

The fire died later and only the oil lamp illuminated the cold dark floor of the forest about. A small island of light against a sea of black. They sat, waiting on guard, ready for any advance.

It was much further into the night when Jackson’s eyelids finally began to sag. He hadn’t slept in almost three days and he could not fight it any longer. At some point, he didn’t know when, his head slumped forward and he leaned down into his chest. The rifle fell against his head but went unacknowledged. Then, he closed his eyes and everything went quiet.

* * * * * *

He awoke later only to hear the shrill screaming of Carson assaulting his ears. There was this savage jarring scream that filtered through the trees and had awoken him from his sleep.

“Heeelp!” Carson shouted. “It’s got me! Please, help!” He shouted as he was dragged off into blackness.

Jackson bolted up from his slumber and looked around. The spit in his mouth clumpy and salty. His eyes were swollen shut still with the task of sleep. Jackson looked to his left. On the ground, where Carson was sitting not moments earlier, were now drag marks leading off into the grass. There were claw marks also and clumps of underbrush had been ripped from their roots by something.

“Ahhhhhh!” Carson shrieked somewhere back in the forest.

“Goddamn,” Jackson gasped in horror. He instinctively reached for his rifle and stood up in the gloom. “What the Hell is this?”

Carson’s dwindling screams then slithered off into nothingness and his gut-wrenching cries of despair soon vanished. And both Jackson and Morton stood up from their bags and positioned themselves back to back next to the oil lamp, both rifles facing out. Neither one of them saw what took Carson.

“Holy Jesus, what is it?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know,” Morton replied. “I really don’t know.” His voice was cracking.

The forest was silent again and the pair stood by the hollow glow of the lamplight with all the loneliness and dread in the world bearing down on them; both men awaiting their turn. Minutes went by like hours and Jackson probed into the pit of his stomach in search of a warmth he might have called hope. The only reassurance he felt was Morton’s bulky back pressed against his own. The last two tethered together in an uneasy partnership of survival.

“It’s gonna come back,” Jackson said.

“I know.”

“It’s gonna take us next.”

They stood together like two stalagmites soldered down to the primal earth below their boots. They waited and there was nothing. Minutes went by.

“How long you calculate till dawn?” Jackson whispered to Morton after another few minutes. But there was no reply.

“Sir?” Jackson asked.

He turned around and saw that Morton was gone. “Sir?” He asked once more.

Dropping his gaze to the floor, he saw what remained. On the ground by Jackson’s feet was a bloodied rifle and Morton’s Calvary hat, all ripped up.

“My god…” he said as he stared down at all that was left of his captain.

Without even thinking, Jackson turned and ran. He snatched up the oil lamp and panted and screamed as he lurched forward through the woods, away from the scene, away from it all. He ran and ran.

Then, without prelude, he smacked his head on a low-hanging branch and fell into the mud. His body dropped into the mire and he laid there for a pause. His hearing rang like someone was firing an Evan’s repeater right next to his head. Tingling nauseating noise that sounded like iron pots being kicked down the stairs.

When he came around again, he sat up blearily in the dirt… and he heard it. Something was coming toward him. Lumbering heavy footsteps squelching through the marsh. Jackson cautiously stood up. The noise had brought him back to reality and he took hold of himself once more. He was trembling. He could barely keep a grip on his rifle. He retreated two steps and found his back against a tree. The rough bark prodding through his thin blazer. His eyes darted in all directions, squinting into the shroud, trying to spy the origin of the low steps stalking ever closer to him. He looked right and saw nothing. He looked left and saw only unending blackness. Then he peered forward once more and saw it. He gasped and the rifle fell from his suddenly weakened grip. There in front of him was a giant shadow. This immense black gargoyle that seemed not to have form nor aspect. Just this mass of wet reeking fur. It had protrusions and antlers spouting from every angle on its behemoth-like body that moved around like driftwood caught in a tide.

It came closer and leaned down to Jackson. He whimpered. His lips quivered and a tear rolled down his blistered face.

“Please, have mercy,” he tried to say but his voice shook too much for the words to be distinguished.

The breath of the beast was hot and wet and rancid on his face. It smelt like rotting flesh, copper, and stagnant lake water. Its giant damp snout inches from his own. It snorted and steaming strings of saliva hit his face. He held the oil lamp up in the darkness and saw only a massive slimy and hairy mouth in front of him. All the dripping red gore clinging to its flat square teeth. He screamed, but not for long. It was cut short by the towering goatish beast before him.

* * * * * *

Back at the Comanche camp, the chief snapped up from a horrific nightmare. Cold sweat rolled down his face and he puffed and panted. Somewhere deep in his dreams, he’d seen that all of the survivors who had gone into that forest were now dead. But it was what would happen to them after death that made the chief feel utterly terrified. Their souls would never find rest and he knew that.

His wife reached up to console him, but it was not warranted. He pushed her away and stared forward at the opening in the teepee, past it and out into that ever-expanding blackness of night. Out there, he knew the thing still lingered. He did not see the face that killed them all, nor hear its movements in his nightmare, but only knew its presence as an ancient and evil spirit. It had no name and he knew those men would not be the last to perish in that forest because of it.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Hank Belbin
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Hank Belbin


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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